Speaking my truth has always been hard for me. I tend to say what I think people want to hear so as not to cause disharmony. The net effect is that I am left voiceless, unheard. I still struggle with this. One of the reasons I started writing, first in my journal, and later sharing with others in my reflections; was to practice voicing my truths in a format where I could not be interrupted.
My experience in the past has been that when I did dare to express myself I was:
- told I was wrong
- told I was over reacting
- told that I did not know what I was talking about
- told what was wrong with me
- told what I ought to do to fix me
- given the "looks" that said I was boring
- interrupted at the first opportunity so the other person could talk about themselves and their experiences
My knowledge of people and understanding personality and character was extremely limited and flawed. I had also been taught to ignore or distrust my "gut feelings", that what I felt was wrong. I was taught to distrust my instincts. All of this ended up with me being too trusting, and lacking effective boundaries, and thus putting up with things simply ‘because’, not for any good reason.
My healing journey has been about learning things I never had been taught and unlearning false things that I had been conditioned to believe.
I sometimes now speak my truth, to a very selected few that I sort of trust. I say sort of trust, because my track record has taught me that when I speak my truth I get rejected. I am not yet able to fully trust. I hesitate to become vulnerable and so far I continue to hold in much more than I share.
Recently, in the aftermath of being excluded, I felt hurt. I dared to be brave and asked, "why did you exclude me?"
In reply I was told it was my fault for not calling them enough.
Of course with all the healing work under my belt I should have said; "are you telling me that rather than calling me and including me you choose to blame me for not calling you often enough to suit your standard, as your reason for excluding me? Do you realize this is typical manipulative behaviour?"
Instead I froze (my typical reaction to "danger" situations in relationships) as they went on to call me names (selfish and narcissistic), and even while I realized I was being projected upon, my throat closed and I was left speechless.
I did however on this occasion feel thankful. I was thankful that with my new knowledge this person’s personality / character was clearly revealed to me and I understood much more deeply exactly what had transpired. Instead of addressing that fact that they had treated me badly by excluding me they decided to play the victim card and blame me for the choice of actions. I believe that in the process they convinced themselves that they did nothing wrong, that I deserved what I got and being excluded was my fault. And in convincing themselves of this they don't feel any need to apologize for treating me in a disrespectful hurtful manner.
This scenario has been typical in my experience.
This was mostly because I did not have the skill set or knowledge to see the actions / comments for what they were. It was my ignorance that kept me silenced even when in my gut I felt that something was wrong. In my ignorance I was encouraged to continue to believe that the something wrong was me. It was only when I started to question the truth of that self-diminishing thought; that I started to gradually change and the biggest change I made was to ask questions about what kind of person is it that treats me this way and thinks it is okay?
The techniques that others use so smoothly to silence me still have a measure of success on me; this is a clear indication that I am still on a healing journey, getting closer, but not there yet.
However there is one important change; before I would quickly forgive them (even though no apology was offered) and allow them back into my life. Now, I withdraw from the conflict and I am quite happy to wait and see if they ever notice that I am gone, to see if they ever consider that their actions / words may have something to do with why I am gone from their lives and if I will ever get a sincere apology from them in an effort to have me back in their lives.
The change is that I am happy to be without those kinds of relationships. I am no longer willing to do anything, to beg and plead or try to buy my way into their affections. Mostly I have become aware that no matter how much I try it will never be enough, my insufficiencies will always be pointed out and used as the excuse for any and all failures.
So many believed that my role as scapegoat was so secure, so ingrained in me; that I would never have the courage to question my status, that my voice was forever silenced by my insecurities, that I would never be able to free myself from the false core beliefs that held me captive.
I do believe I have caught them unawares. While my need to feel loved is probably as great as ever, I have learned that it is only by loving myself that I can attract the kind of relationships where loving caring actions are reciprocal, not a bargaining chip for inclusion.
So I no longer wait for others to change in response to my healing changes, I no longer expect them to recognize that has transpired and see that I have boundaries. Instead I am cultivating new relationships and strengthening those old relationships where I am heard, where my voice is valued and where my throat chakra, my inner truth is allowed to flourish and grow.
I take tentative steps each day, toward becoming more courageous, more truthful, more assertive, having more faith in my right to be heard.
I try hard to balance my willingness to listen with an equal expectation to be heard.
I am striving to balance clearly stating my displeasure as well as clearing sharing my pleasure.
I am discovering that my power lies in taking that awareness of what it feels like to be unheard and instead of freezing in silence, learning that my need to express my hurt when I am unheard is a right that I will no longer be denied.
As I continue to learn to have a voice in relationships that have succeeded only because of my reluctance to speak my truth in the past; I share my learning with others. What I share with my readers here and on my Reflections page on Facebook, is a way for me to have a voice that will be heard by those who recognize themselves in my stories of healing and personal transformation. People who can relate and say, yes that is how I also feel. Maybe you too have stories to share of how you have felt silenced or unheard?
Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 - 08 - 24
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