Do you have trouble finding your voice?
I will always remember the guy who told me ‘my partner won’t talk to him.’.
I replied what if you change ‘won’t’ to ‘can’t?’
He paused and the realisation came.
She can’t talk to him and its was not an active choice. I know myself from personal and professional experience that finding our voice for the difficult stuff can be challenging..
The body has a sophisticated survival mechanism that can shut down under threat and the speech region can not be accessed.
Speechless terror exists and it doesn’t just happen on stages. It can happen with the people you live with or meet out and about.
It can happen in social anxiety or when we get into conversations that are triggering. It could be conflict, pain or shame that sets off alarm bells. Resulting in people saying “I don’t want to talk about it” or avoiding, or blowing up.
Nothing can then get resolved without honest communication and things get stuck and relationships slowly break down.
Anxiety and trauma can stop the words coming out. I used to be the same. I learnt to write letters for the tough stuff and with therapy could eventually talk about stuff, as my body learnt to cope with the discomfort and not shut down.
Lots of us may have learnt to stay quiet as children to stay safe. Sadly as adults that survival mechanism keeps us quiet and safe but also stuck and we may struggle to set boundaries.
It can take time to find your voice and heal, I often ask “Who listened to you as a child, who was safe to talk about feelings to”. Often the answer is nobody.
Often we can be raised by emotionally absent parents or abusive parents and as children, we did not have enough safety. We may have been punished, shamed, hit even, or sent to our room rejected or ignored all of these have an impact on how we navigate the world.
Finding your voice might be a sign some healing is required. Its can be hard to be vulnerable and let someone into your inner world. We need to feel safe enough to do that. I speak from my own struggles as well as a professional whose studied trauma for decades. You might be a safe person for your loved one but history has wired us up for survival
So if you can’t find your voice or someone else is struggling, please know it could take time and pressuring them does not help. Writing might be a way to over ride the survival response and can be a fantastic tool to slow things down..
I ask clients to get used to how it feels in their body as they find their voice. Very slowly they find enough safety to access that Broca’s speech region. The creative imaginative parts of the brain in the prefrontal cortex can also be asked when we are calm enough, these are required to help us come up with questions for conversations. That on the spot thinking.
To not be a frozen bunny in head lights can take time, I know its absolutely possible to heal and find your voice.
Its absolutely life changing!