How to help a person who talks fast and gabbles, always with praise of others - family and whoever is present?

My sister is a kind lady and earlier in life a natural nurse. She is now a manager in a tertiary college - polytechnic. Stable mild WASP background.

She is bright and enthusiastic, engaging and generous. No alcohol, gambling, church or anything else. She was married but now divorced - no children to her great regret but she never talks about it.

She rarely ever talks about herself. If asked she uses the broad brush of “stuff happened and its all good now, tickety boo”. She was in hospital for sudden pain and said it was something under the ribs but everything was Aok, 100%, no problems. I had to press her the third time I asked as to exactly the diagnosis. She is always deliberately vague although she has a BA from London.

My sister is aged 59 but has the energy of 40. Until she crashes at weekends. Friendly but like most of us has just a few close friends who tend to be emotional people like her.

About 10 years ago her speech became a gabble. Most of the words were repeating in run-on sentences and focused on finding examples of great things about everyone else.

“Mike you have always had good ankles. And Jen you have such a good voice!”

She loved our father but a hour before he died he told her with exasperation to shut up and get out of the hospital room. This is a very good example of her almost uncontrollable talking.

However I don’t think she does this at work because it would interrupt other people.

I live 2 hours away and usually visit and stay with her once a month. But that has become too hard - can’t face the unreal compliments and questions about me and my family. My brother notices it too but shrugs - indeed she is caring for him right now after a serious chainsaw accident.

Any thoughts about this type of affliction? That could help guide me to talking with her.

I’d ask a Speech Pathologist or a psychiatrist.

My word that was quick. Agreed and I have asked on Reddit but no response.

Since th e OP is asking for personal advice, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

My elderly father-in-law is sort of like that. He’s a little shy and awkward in conversation, and often the only thing he can think of to say is to offer inane compliments to whoever happens to be in the room (“What a nice shirt,” “I like your haircut,” “You always had good taste in shoes,” etc.). He means well but it gets a little irritating.

I think it’s a nervous reaction to things.
I had a friend who would laugh inappropriatly when nervous.
It was very off putting.
I agree, maybe some therapy could help your sister.

Thank you Elendil and Beckdwrek, much appreciated. It is interesting to learn other people have a similar compulsion.

My theory is she talks to avoid thinking about underlying anxieties or any challenge. For a long time now she politely leaves the room if anything upsetting - to her - comes up. Or freezes like she is caught in a spotlight. Very recently I lost patience twice and asked her to stop speaking - and then I apologised and said whatever I had tried to express.

Whether it is anxieties or fear I do not know.

She shows no signs of an addictive personality, but avoidance certainly.

She loves children and has five nieces and nephews but has never done more than bits and pieces with them. Never babysat our three. The children are young adults now.

Instead she cares about older people. Our father was very involved with WWII servicemen for all his adult life. She stepped into his shoes for his sake and is still there today although most have died.

My theory is that older elderly people are no threat and reward her kindness with smiles etc because they feel lost from the busy world.

Insecurity - good thought. It would arise from not having any children and not being married. She is alone.

Therapy - oddly enough my sister was at first a psychiatric nurse for 15 years and good at it, so I thought she had a handle on mental health. However the knowledge has dimmed leaving her nursing and caring aptitude which is lovely but there is a huge hole as well - I think. I will gently suggest counseling although she needs a psychologist and even better a psychiatrist. I know a very good one but he isn’t funded by our health system.