Guest golden lady

Finding our voices?

18 posts in this topic

I've noticed that a common theme that is running through the responses to the "Hugs,"  thread is people being afraid to respond to other's posts, fearing that their words have little value.

Personally, I feel that we each have something really unique to contribute to this board and to the people who surround us in every day life.  I know a lot of you very well, but you have such amazing and differing perspectives that continue to enrich my life and I have always been deeply grateful.

Yet, many of us remain silent.  I hope that this thread can serve as a place where we can explore our fears when we communicate with one another.  When I first came here, I was terrified of posting and revealed very little of myself.  More importantly, the idea of responding to posts left me cold because I feared that my words would be ineffective at best and damaging to others at worst.  However, I gained confidence because I found that people responded to what I had to say and appreciated it.  That has translated into real life and I communicate my feelings more sympathetically and effectively as a result.

One area in which I still struggle is expressing disapproval and dealing with disapproval from others.  I am working on it and getting better.  For instance, I was able to tell my boyfriend that he had triggered me the other day.  I was afraid that he wouldn't hear me though, or that he might even get angry with me.  Fortunately he didn't and we were able to have an honest dialogue about what had happened.

So what about everyone else?  Where does communicating your feelings and thoughts scare you?  Do you have any idea why?  Have you made progress in any areas?  Do you want to improve in any others.

I feel that this issue is so important to survivors.  When we were assualted or abused, we were silenced and since then we have been told to remain quiet in too many different ways.  Using our voices, though, is necessary to heal.

Hugs,

Jes

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Jes-
I know for me, the whole idea of ridicule is what stops me alot of times from expressing my feelings.  In reality I know that I will not be ridiculed here, it is just hard to break from what I have known for so long.  Being a survivor of both verbal and sexual abuse from my dad I was taught through his actions that what came from my mouth was stupidity and worthless.  
I have become stronger, I am able now to express my feelings at times, but there are still days where intimidation takes over and I am not brave enough to say anything at all.  
And yes I would love to be stronger, braver, have more confidence in my words, I am just not always sure how to accomplish that.  
Sometimes it is just so much easier to be silent than to put yourself out there and run the risk of critism or rejection, but then no one ever said healing would be easy!
I also just want to say that I think both the Hugs in Replying thread and the More Dialogue Within Posts thread are wonderful, very thought provoking and I think at least for myself they have helped me to open up more and be more comfortable.  
It is almost like everyone had an opinion but no one had ever known it until now!
-Kolee

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Excellent thread! I think you are absolutely right on target when you say that using our voices is an integral part of healing. When I think of all the things that people do in the aftermath...eating disorders, drinking, drugging, self-injury...they are using their bodies to communicate. There is a movement in the past couple of years in the eating disorders field that says "Voices not Bodies" --or more directly "use your voice not your body." It's the only way we can ever be truly understood by others. If people don't hear us the first time, we have to try again and keep trying until we are heard. At the same time, it's also important to [i]respectfully[/i] disagree with things that don't resonate with/for us. Every point of view is important and valid. So...let your voices be heard!

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Just thought of something-

I am constantly telling my 5 year old to use her words.  When she doesn't get her way or has troubles she always goes right to the whining and crying and sometimes screaming.  I tell her to use her words to get what she needs, maybe I should listen to my own advise for a change.  
Funny the things that you do that you don't even realize.
-Kolee

(Okay I am a posting machine today!  I am just all over the place.)

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It's amazing you say that about your five-year old, Kolee hon. My 3-year old Suzy lapses into yelling and whining instead of saying what's wrong, and I hadn't thought to do what you do until she started a tantrum the other day at the end of day-care, and the wonderful day-carer said, "Now Suzy, please cut the noise out and tell us what's wrong". Suzy-Woozy then clearly articulated that she couldn't find her bag. So much more effective than my "oh knock it off, Suze".

And I also agree with you about finding it hard to break patterns that have been integral parts of us for so long. What stopped me from using my voice at first was a sense that I might be imposing something on somebody somehow - I've struggled with feeling as though anything I hold out isn't worth anybody else having.


Little anecdote for those who haven't been here long - when I first came here, it was as a researcher. I got the most horrendous caning from some people who unjustifiably believed that my motives were exploitative. Remember the moronic word war and the incredibly arrogant and insulting bullshit, Lis & Shan?

I almost never came back, because of course I felt about as welcome as a mother-in-law on a honeymoon. Then I exercised my right to complain to the mods, who dealt with it appropriately, being the terrific and fair-minded women they are.

Though I was very hurt and afraid of more hostility, I kept creeping back in, and couldn't help noticing the warmth and generosity of some of the posters, who managed always to make room for somebody else in their own space.

I wondered if I could ever have a place here as a fellow survivor and friend. My first replies were gingerly put out...almost apologetic. It took me I'd say a full year though, to get over my fear.

And the rest is history....

Does anybody here creep back in here after replying, even kindly, to a thread, and be terrified that you've been given a caning by somebody?.

I often feel real pain for new members who might be feeling those same fears around posting, and I can only hope that they'll soon come to know that they are not less welcome to be heard than people who have been here forever; their voices are just as important.

This is a wonderful place to come to know that you and your voice are valuable. People often thank the mods for what this community is, but it wouldn't be what it is without YOU.

The other thing for scared people to remember is that abusive or ridiculing replies are extremely uncommon, and will generally be subject to censure by other members or mods.


Hugs all

Lou xxxxx

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[quote]I feel that this issue is so important to survivors.  When we were assualted or abused, we were silenced and since then we have been told to remain quiet in too many different ways.  Using our voices, though, is necessary to heal.[/quote]

I agree completely with you on this Jes. It's so hard to overcome that feeling of worthlessness. But every person who comes to this forum is worthy of being heard. Sometimes the tiniest voice or the briefest acknowledgement can be the one that helps the most.

Barbara

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<font color='#000000'>interesting thread - the two issues for me are feeling overwhelmed by another person's expereince - as was said earlier in the thread feeling that what happened to me was nothing compared to what I am reading about and that I therefor am not in a position to contribute. On posting myself - I find it very hard to share even though I still feel the burning need to do so. After posting I tend to feel stupid and worry that ppl who read my post will think I am stupid and needy and pathetic :oo: - it's all pretty complicated isn't it!

Steph</font>

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wow...so many thought provoking threads in one day
Honestly those of you here on the board have no idea how introverted i am in real life. I put a lot of thought into attempting to speak my voice  when i post here and connect with others through my replies because I have always been a very quiet person in RL. Just my personality, I am a dancer, i express with my body, not my words. Part of it too is fear b/c growing up whatever I said was always the wrong thing, so i just didn't ever say anything or voice my opinion about anything. But i've never before dealt with something that so badly needed to be talked about. Suddenly holding everything inside, only letting glimpses of myself out through my dance doesn't cut it. I have never encountered anything but support here...I even registered under the name Starless_Night to speak about HIV b/c i was scared of how people would react, but there was nothing but love and caring. So yes I admit sometimes i don't let my voice be heard, but I do so much more than i ever have before, and it IS starting to rub off in RL, i find myself beginning to voice my opinions and trust MY voice....and the confidence to speak with my voice makes my dancing speak all that more loudly. (((((everyone)))))))) Thanks for helping me find my voice!!!
~Always,
Heather

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It all is very complicated and for me, it is very much tied up in my own self worth.

When my boyfriend upset me, I was afraid to tell him what I felt because I was afraid he would get angry.  Well, if he had gotten mad, that might have said a lot more about him than it does about me.  And what does that say about the way I feel I will be heard?  What sort of respect do I feel I deserve when I speak out?

So much to work on, isn't it?

Please know that I value your voices so very much.  We all have learning and teaching to do within this forum, don't we?

Hugs,

Jes

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Using are voices..... this IS such a big issue for me. In fact, as a singer, my taken voice lessons in the midst of all this is  actually therapy for me.
I've always felt like my voice has never been heard and am actually afraid of my own voice at times. Sometimes during counseling I sense like a cry or a moan that wants to be released but I am really too scared (or embarassed ) to let it out.  But I do know it must be done.

I so appreciate other people's thoughts and opinions of things we face... and welcome different views  - as long as I am not belittled or put down for how I think (as was my constant past)
Thanks for allowing our 'voices' to be heard here!
Debbles :bee:

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I am frightened of disagreeing openly with people...I don't want them to feel attacked, and I don't want to be attacked back myself. As well, some people are so much more articulate and able to define their reasons for believing what they do than I am (Emma and Lis for two),  that I feel that my opinion, now matter how strongly felt, will just sound vague and ridiculous by comparison - and will be less valid. My fear makes me wishy-washy.

A domestic violence advocate recently said something to me that I (privately) disagreed with in the strongest possible terms...yet I instantly felt as though my thoughts would be less valid than hers. They aren't, and I'm working on that.

In the midst of such a large number of people, it would be nothing short of ridiculous if we all spoke with one brain - our diversity is a wonderful thing.

Yep...I'm going to work on the notion of respectful disagreement without fear...and of honouring my own validity - that is, of course, if the person hasn't taught me something that has made me really think and change my mind, because I'm not for stubbornly maintaining a position just to be right.

:D

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(((((( Jes )))))))

Have read both your threads with interest, as I am one of the members who has sent a lot of Hugs recently to members.
I feel, I have a zip on my mouth re, my own issues, so not been able to voice anything about me at all, although I am struggling really hard,  but feel, so useless, when I try to answer a post, I know what I want to say, but feel scared to post, incase I upset anyone or anger them with whatever I want to say, so then I delete it, or erase it.  And just send safe gentle hugs,
To let the person know, I am thinking of them.
Not really sure, if My words, MAKE sense now either, but felt I needed to answer your thread.
Not sure, who I have answered either, if I have upset anyone by not replying with words just hugs, truly sorry.

Take Care, all of You
Love Catherine :love:

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[quote name='Louise' date='Nov. 13 2003, 2:18 pm']I am frightened of disagreeing openly with people...I don't want them to feel attacked, and I don't want to be attacked back myself. As well, some people are so much more articulate and able to define their reasons for believing what they do than I am (Emma and Lis for two),  that I feel that my opinion, now matter how strongly felt, will just sound vague and ridiculous by comparison - and will be less valid. My fear makes me wishy-washy.[/quote]
Ironic reply considering the post to which I'm replying, but -- Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Me, too.  You summed up so much of the way I feel, Lou.

And Jes -- Your second post in this thread (especially the part about what kind of respect you feel you deserve when you speak out) hit home as well...seems to be an on-going pattern with you these days. :;):

xoxo

Lynn

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i am honestly terrified of speaking up, even amongst people i have known for years. i am most scared of being scolded or disagreeing with authority figures, and i think this is because of the way things have always been with my dad. not really sure how to put this the right way, but i am incredibly intimidated by the mods here, i have been since i came.

i will do things for people i dont want to do just because i dont like having to say no. i am so terribly frightened of saying the wrong thing. its always been for me that if i say the wrong thing once, that was my only chance, and if someone disagrees with me their is no chance that they could still like me. i also have always believed that if someone disagreed with my opinion it meant that they must not like me either. i dont know how to get over this, and i think in real life my shyness has actually been getting worse latly


mary

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[i]I do so much more than i ever have before, and it IS starting to rub off in RL, i find myself beginning to voice my opinions and trust MY voice[/i]

I think this is the ultimate goal of this group.  Finding support here is so important.  So many of us have been frightened to use our voices in life, that this message board is a safe haven.  It's really my hope that some of the skills and abilities we use here, like expressing ourselves and our needs, will be carried over to real life.


[i]I feel, I have a zip on my mouth re, my own issues, so not been able to voice anything about me at all, although I am struggling really hard,  but feel, so useless, when I try to answer a post, I know what I want to say, but feel scared to post, incase I upset anyone or anger them with whatever I want to say, so then I delete it, or erase it.  And just send safe gentle hugs,
To let the person know, I am thinking of them.
[/i]

Your words more than make sense.  I suspect that many people agree with you.  It's so frightening to put ourselves out there because we might experience disapproval, which will further teach us that our voices are not worthy or wanted.  I think a lot of people feel it is better to stay silent.

However, it's important to recognize that all of the members of this board and it's moderators are fallible, imperfect humans.  We can't expect perfection from ourselves and we can't expect it from others.

It's terribly difficult to accept that we are all [i]good enough,[/i] isn't it?

Hugs,

Jes

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Hi all :)

I have to admit I haven't read most of the replies to this thread, b/c how ironic, I thought that once I read the eloquent words the others have found to express themselves, what I have to say seems too ridiculous to even mention.

I do, however, want to share something, especially for Lou and Jes, b/c I could not believe it when I read that you are sometimes afraid that your words might not be heard.

We had a conversation in chat the other day, about how some people's posts and replies to ohters are just perfect. Yup, perfect.

Your names, Jes and Lou, were the first two that were brought up.

The two of you (and many, many others of course), always find the most suitable, eloquent and passionate words to say. Actually, sometimes if one of you ladies has already replied to a thread I'll leave it, b/c there is no way I could ever come close to that perfection.

It drives me nuts sometimes :;):, but it usually awes me.

I am really struggling myself with finding my voice, I know that it is there somewhere and I have proved that by using it. However, I have been rather quiet for a while, b/c it feels like my words are never enough.

I hope you forgive the "pick apart and quote" thing, but a few things I have read mean so much to me.

[quote]I almost never came back, because of course I felt about as welcome as a mother-in-law on a honeymoon. Then I exercised my right to complain to the mods, who dealt with it appropriately, being the terrific and fair-minded women they are.[/quote]Having experienced something similar recently (and yes I AM sorry for bringing it up yet AGAIN :;):), it helps a little to hear that others have undergone something similar and reacted the same way as I did.
And guess what, Lou, you are one of those incredible women who make sure that this wonderful place stays as safe as it is :)

[quote]Does anybody here creep back in here after replying, even kindly, to a thread, and be terrified that you've been given a caning by somebody?.[/quote]
Lol, I did that the other day when I replied to a thread of yours, Louise, but you haven't bitten my head off yet, so i guess it should be ok. :;):

[quote]On posting myself - well I am usually drunk when I do it!  And that is because I find it very hard to share even though I still feel the burning need to do so.  After posting I tend to feel stupid and worry that ppl who read my post will think I am stupid and needy and pathetic[/quote]
That is exactly how I feel, Steph. I also often post intimate things when I am more than just tipsy, b/c it makes it so much easier. The next day though, I usually regret having posted to an extent that i take my post down.


One more thought that has come to my mind, is that I never had any problems using my voice in real life, but I do here.
I feel like everyone has come so far in healing, while i am still stuck at the border to denial. Isn't it ironic that in the one place where I am encouraged to speak up I feel silenced, while in real life people would do anything to make me shut up? ;)

I could go on and on about this topic, but I don't want to annoy anyone the one time i DO actually use my voice ;)

Savannah

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My voices were actually just that... I had 13 of them. Being a survivor and having multiple personality syndrome, I had 13 voices who saved up all my happiness, dreams, anger, guilt, resentment so that in time, I will be able to deal with them when I am ready to do it. It is important to have a voice... abuse and the abuser isolates and silences you and especially your soul. Alice Miller calls it soul murder. My "little ones" never forgot my voice and saved all that I have to say. I thank them for this. Thank you for your time.

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