Misophonia in Love & Mercy

by | Apr 21, 2020 | Misophonia in TV & Film | 14 comments

Love & Mercy (2014) is Bill Pohlad’s beautiful Beach Boys biopic. It focuses primarily on Brian Wilson and follows his tragic childhood, creative genius and disorientating, often overwhelming battles with mental health.

In this scene he’s having a meal with family and friends. Most people with sensory processing disorder or misophonia will identify with the way this has been portrayed. The incessant, all consuming clanging of cutlery on plates building and driving him over the edge.

N.B. This one is (like all of these) trigger heavy so you might want to have the sound low or be ready to stop the video if you find it too much.

What did you make of this scene? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Jessy

    I was just thinking how exaggerated my response to sound was about 3 days ago, when I was really bothered by the sound my husband’s fork made on his plate while eating. You know just picking up his food? So next dinner I gave him a plastic spoon so I didn’t have to hear that sound. But I thought, wow, I’m really crazy! That’s where my mind is at? And it really did feel like torture. Thank you for your website.

  2. Sam

    All that noise made me stressed out a bit too, but clearly this poor guy cleary suffers a lot! This could definitely be related to misophonia! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Sharona

    Rather good! The portrayal seemed realistic to me. Thank you for sharing it.

    One of my triggers is the sound of people eating (lip smacking, etc.) but not of cutlery, so the clip didn’t disturb me, but I can see how it would drive some people mad. My husband and I eat dinner while watching TV because I need ambient background noise so my misophonia doesn’t flare. Just conversation in a quiet home isn’t enough because he is a noisy eater.

  4. Janelle

    I feel like this when there are too many people in a room all talking at once. Doesn’t matter if it’s a small room or a conference hall. My eardrums start to feel like they are throbbing, the sounds seem to hit me in waves, I start to sweat, and go into a low-grade panic looking for an escape.

    At family gatherings with the loudest people in attendance, I have actually yelled in order to be heard and told them to quiet down (I am not the only one that thinks they are loud, but the only one that panics about it), or gone outside to get some quiet time, or both. My husband and I have left earlier than planned so I don’t continue to suffer.

    • Trish

      I definitely relate. I especially notice this When certain people come over. When there’s too much and too loud of talking my impulse control is low. I get angry, rude and try to do whatever I can to make the people leave. As soon as they’ve left I feel really badly. I have no idea why this suddenly started happening.

  5. Lindsey Holgate

    That’s exactly it! Why isn’t anyone else round the table hearing that excruciating painful noise!
    I also changed the plates at home but didn’t tell the family why.

    • Allergic to Sound

      Amazing, what did you change the plates to? I often fantasise about doing this!

  6. Julie

    On point

  7. Aaron

    Yeah, totally normal. That’s how I get, I can’t hear anything else but the sound of the chewing, etc. For me chewing is worse, but clanging is a secondary trigger. If this clip had happened today, he could realize it was just his misophonia acting up and simply excuse himself quietly, or even better, he could have arranged for dinner in less close quarters with nice background music and quieter cutlery.
    Thank you so much for starting this website. I was finally able to prove to my family that I’m not just a jerk at dinner time. We were also able to diagnose my daughter with misophonia and explain it to her, so she won’t grow up thinking there’s something wrong with her. We always eat dinner with music on, and insist everyone closes their mouths, and dinner time is okay. I usually sit on the couch and let my daughter sit wherever she wants, and people understand and accept it. When I was a kid I had to sit in another room and everyone thought I was just a jerk.

    • Allergic to Sound

      Hi Aaron, absolutely. Background music and silent cutlery all the way.

      That’s really great to hear re: your family and daughter! So glad it’s helped.

  8. Shane

    Wow, his acting is spot on. I’ve been in this situation so many times (not cutlery, but chewing sounds). Unfortunately, I’ve acted like this in front of family and friends (not screaming at them, but swearing and running away). His growing panic is shown all over his face. I like how this shows the horror from the guests. I know I cause confusion to others and hurt to my Wife, but in the moment, I don’t see it. Even afterwards, when things calm down, I don’t see it.

    Thank you for your website and emails. I’ve used some of your information to show my family why I act the way I do. My parents were shocked that this is a thing, and started to see situations where my attitude changed growing up till recently, and why. My Dad even started to cry after hearing about my condition and reading your site. This is a horrible thing to have, but you’re helping us learn about our condition and our selves. Thanks to you, I had the courage to talk to my boss and ask for one day a week off to work at home (before the pandemic, naturally). He in turn told his boss, who talked to me, showing full support. That was a hard conversation, and the first I ever had with someone outside my family.

    Keep up the awesome work and please continue to help us.

    • Allergic to Sound

      Hi Shane, thank you for your comment that is so brilliant to hear. I’m thrilled if it’s helped you and your family in any way. Good for you plucking up the courage to talk to your boss, that is super AMAZING (and very inspiring!) Please drop me a line if you want to do a my miso story some time by the way, I’m sure people would love to hear it.

  9. SM

    I now at 43 realize that the tone of my relationships with my parents set before I was 18 and punctually reinforced thereafter was set by my inability to bear the sounds they made, in particular my father. Eating, snorting snd sniffing sounds made me want to do bodily harm to the perpetrator and On a daily basis I would find myself enraged in my room punching things and mocking their noises to myself through hot tears to try to dissipate my seething rage.
    I was 5 or 6 when I remember sitting beside my eating father with my hands openly covering my ears to which he responded by saying ‘well, there’s no point in covering your ears…’. Over the years I coped by finding ways to cover my ears, to use earplugs at night and crazy loud music in the mornings to drown out coughing noises. My main coping mechanism however was just to be absent. Always an excuse could be found. I dreaded Christmas dinner as that day was the only one here I had to be present at the table. I would sit there with rage and panic bubbling up, desperate to be anywhere but there, hearing the eating like torture. My grandfather lived in the same house. Both he and my father were particularly loud and disgusting in their eating manner and I wonder if that fact set something in motion that would not otherwise have been.
    Looking back, I wonder why I was at such pains to hide my ultra-irritation. Was it because I felt the aversion would be considered an aversion to the individual themselves? I didn’t want to upset anyone. Trying to be a nice person. I would make sure to say please and thank you and reel off formulaic niceties to smooth over the relationship even though the sentiments verbalized did not genuinely exist. They probably saw me as cold, temperamental, reclusive, unengaging. Over time, my relationship with my father became inextricably linked to my irritation at his triggering behaviours and, increasingly over time, my pre-trigger apprehensions of his triggering behaviours to the point where there is very little left in the gaps.


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