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The Courage to Communicate

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 day, 3 hours ago.

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  • #315923

    Ray
    Participant

    I grew up in a Carribean household, and the way my family grew up expressing feelings was not really something that was taught. I was spanked by my father whenever I would get a question wrong while teaching me math. That meant I also was chastised if I cried, so from a young age I was learning expressing your pain was a no-no. So whenever my dad did or said something that hurt me, or my mom, or my friends, I would basically…not do much. I’d roll with what was done or said to me. Maybe I would put up a little fight in some circumstances, but I never felt like I’d “won”.

    This is why it took me 4 years to admit to my parents I was depressed due to my OCD (I just told them depression, I didn’t know it was OCD at the time). In 2017 at age 22 I had the worst wake-up call ever and sought therapy. I learned all the good stuff, mindfulness, meditation, you name it. I’m currently a point where it’s managed and can go about with my life.

    But now, as I sit here, the cumculation of bottling up my emotions has really put me in a place where it’s a solid, “Yes, I need to address this,”. Because I would literally zone out, mull on the situations where someone threatens my feelings or my boundaries in some way, real OR imagined, and I’d do my absolute best to come up in my head the best comeback, how I’d physically fight back, how I’d make them inferior, etc. etc.

    All my friends are able to spill to me how they feel, what they’re going through. Even now, no one outside my parents and therapist know I had struggled with OCD for 10 years. And that’s because some of them had made judgements about me before, about my behaviors that stemmed from my OCD, and I just shut down and silenced myself to everyone. It’s just now I’m really noticing how much I don’t talk, most importantly with anything that’s going on with me.

    So because I had failed to communicate my boundaries and my struggles before, my memories of all these people teeter on the edge hatred. I thought this place was a good platform to start speaking, because tinybuddha got me through some moments in my therapy journey, and I express infinite gratitude to this lovely, priceless site. Now it’s just a matter of finding my voice, and I know it’s not going to be the most comfortable of experiences. But because I deserve love, not just from other people, but from myself, I am committed to opening up to people and expressing my authenticity.

    #315957

    Peggy
    Participant

    Hi Ray,

    Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a good and safe way of releasing them.  It provides its own therapy.  Please be aware that as you write them down, give expression to them, you will find more coming up waiting to be released.  I’m looking forward to hearing more from you and sharing this journey with you.

    It doesn’t sound as if you are actually asking for advice so I will just say that the more you learn to love yourself, the more you will find yourself loving others.

    Thank you for your post and for showing trust and courage.

    Peggy

    #316007

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ray:

    “I was spanked by my father whenever I would get a question wrong while teaching me math”- what he did teach you effectively is that getting an answer  wrong is dangerous.

    “I also was chastised if I cried”- you were taught that it is dangerous to cry.

    “whenever my dad did or said something that hurt me, or my mom, or my friends, I would basically.. not do much”- because it was more dangerous to protect yourself or fight back than it was to be hurt. There was fear of more hurt to be added to the hurt that already happened, if you asserted yourself in any way.

    “I would literally zone out.. where someone threatens my feelings”- you learned it is safer to not respond to danger.

    “I just shut down and silenced myself to everyone”- safer that way, so you were taught.

    Anger, when silenced does turn into hate (“my memories of all these people teeter on the edge  of hatred”).

    “Now it’s just a matter of finding my voice.. I am committed to opening up to people and expressing my authenticity”- please do this here, do express your authenticity.

    And it is most authentic for every human and animal to protect oneself from danger. Most children learn early on passivity or aggression. Few are taught assertiveness. For you, Assertiveness is Key.

    anita

    #316111

    Aiko
    Participant

    Writing down your thoughts & assertiveness are definitely the key.

    Maybe think of someone whom you admire & respect that communicates effectively and model them. Re- teach yourself. Unlearn the unhelpful stuff you learned in your household and replace it by modeling new role models.

    My parents. Well, were nonexistent other than giving birth. I literally read, watched & modeled people I respected as chosen parents. Some were celebrities but it worked all the same.

    also throw away all criticism in your mind about how something should sound. Release your fear of judgment . The bigger piece is being your true self . If people don’t like it, what does that say ?

    #317359

    Ray
    Participant

    Hey, Everyone!

    Yes! I just started journaling again! I haven’t done so in a while that there are some issues “backed up” that would turn into an essay in one sitting! Thank you Peggy and Aiko for the advice on journaling.

    On the assertiveness, I’ll have to practice on that because like you say, Anita, it’s a skill not a trait, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect balance between grace and respectfulness, and being stern and confident. Blowing up doesn’t get me what I want, being “in the grey” so to say with aggression and passivity is the best area for me or anybody to respond better to your feelings.

    And Aiko I love the idea of modeling someone who I want to emulate when it comes to their assertiveness!

    I express my deepest and most infinite gratitude to you, Peggy, Anita, and Aiko. All this advice is brilliant and I can’t wait to show my therapist!

    Peace be with all of you 🙂

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by  Ray.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by  Ray.
    #317415

    Peggy
    Participant

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for expressing your heart felt gratitude.  I have a feeling that you’ll be just fine.

    All the Best

    Peggy

    #317443

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ray:

    You write very well. Your recent post is gracious, you addressed each respondent, impressive and not common to come across- I appreciate it!

    You mentioned that you suffer from OCD for the last ten years (14-24). I did too. I can hardly believe I am using the past tense, did- but true. My OCD was significant to severe. I don’t remember feeling the urges to perform compulsive acts lately, but I did not too long ago. The improvement after decades of OCD is very significant in my life. It is possible that I no longer suffer from OCD. If you want to communicate on the topic with me, please do.

    Otherwise, you wrote in your original post: “I am committed to opening  up to people and expressing my authenticity”- you are welcome to  do  so here, on your thread. You can keep this thread going and going. I will be glad to read from you and reply every time you post.

    anita

    #318297

    Ray
    Participant

    Thanks, Peggy! All the best to you too!

    @anita: Yes, my therapist says my OCD is completely “managed’ at this point. I even gave it a name throughout therapy, I called my OCD “Bob”. She told me to give it a loser name, ha ha. But I’m glad to hear your OCD has been treated well too. Glad you’re still interested in talking, you seem like a very wise person! Feel free to talk to me whenever you want about things also!

    Right now, I have another issue. Since I’m a college graduation, the fear of not getting a job has been pressing down on me for quite a while. After graduation, my certainty and confidence in my skills has been severely threatened  (quite normal for lots of graduates) and I’m even embarrassed to say I even resorted to attempting “spiritual” practices like Law of Attraction because it promises your “heart’s desire”. I need to be honest with myself and say uncertainty is a really uncomfortable feeling.

    How would you deal with this, Anita? Have you been in this situation before?

    #318333

    Priyanka
    Participant

    Hi Ray!!
    I suffer a lot too when it comes to communicating effectively. Earlier I used to bottle up my emotions so much that it ultimately used to burst in wrong situations and on wrong people. I suffer a lot when it comes to communicating in relationships.
    What I have learned over the years -that you have to be your Authentic Wholesome self. This means you should be able to communicate how you are feeling, it is very difficult I know but once you re-educate yourself that I am my best version when I am myself then life becomes quite easy. Being your authentic self helps you build a better relationship with others.
    Another practical solution my therapist told- whenever you feel bottled up record yourself say everything you have in your heart in the recording then listen to it later.
    Journaling also helps a lot as it gives your thoughts a framework and a face.
    I am so proud of you and I hope my answer helped you.

    #318389

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ray:

    Yes, I was in this situation of fear and lack of confidence in my skills, have been there too long.

    You wrote earlier: “whenever my dad did or said something that hurt me, or my mom, or my friends, I would basically .. not do much. I’d roll with what was done or said to me.. I would literally zone out, mull on the situations where someone threatens my feelings or my boundaries in some way, real or imagined”. I suggested assertiveness and you wrote about it: “it’s a skill not a trait, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect balance between grace and respectfulness, and being stern and confident”.

    My input today: following early childhood, for a person to feel less afraid, a person has to trust one’s ability to protect  oneself and to bring about positive changes in one’s life. You will feel less fear if you successfully practice protecting yourself and bringing about positive changes into your life, bring about good things into your real life experience. Real, as in not in fantasy, when daydreaming.

    Only when you successfully experience your ability to do these things, your fear will lessen and confidence will grow.

    First you will need to find in different circumstances if you are really threatened or if you inaccurately believe that you are.

    Second, you wrote that assertiveness is “just a matter of finding the perfect balance between grace and respectfulness”- this is something one reads in  a book, or someone who  is already assertive says about this skill. But for someone who is not yet assertive, it will be a long, long… long time before the practice of assertiveness feels anything like a “perfect balance”, or grace. In reality, for the nonassertive person it feels very uncomfortable to learn and practice assertiveness. So many people try and abandon the project.

    There is no other way to do it but through discomfort. Start small and rest between practices. Plan each one and execute the plan. Rest and figure: what happened, did it work, what are the results. In other words, reflect and evaluate your performance and decide what changes to make next time.

    If you want, I will be glad to try and help you with the first and the second. You can give me an example and we can work on it together, here on your thread.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 6 hours ago by  anita.
    #319165

    Ray
    Participant

    @priyanka “I am my best version when I am myself.” I love that! I’m going to turn this into an affirmation! I hope you feel a lot better knowing you’re not alone. Yes, several here have expressed the benefits of journaling and I am currently maintaining that. Thank you so much for you input, I truly appreciate your advice!

    @anita I love your advice on depending on myself to protect myself and be the one to bring about positive changes in my life. This really helps strengthen my idea that all the best resources are within me. Wow, I’m really going to meditate on this point later.</p>
    For the assertiveness, I’ll give you an example that has already happened. I have a “friend” of mine that can be very argumentative, haughty, and hypocritical at times at the expense of humiliating me.

     

    So let’s say in a scenario she texts me, “Hey, I’m back from school for three days. On Saturday me and X are going to a party. Come with us!”

    Then I’ll say, “Nah, I don’t feel like going to a party. I’d rather stay home.”

    Then “friend” would say something like, “And do what? Stay home and be lazy like always? You’re coming.”

    And here is where I’ll unassertively squirm my way out….

    • This reply was modified 1 day, 3 hours ago by  Ray.
    #319173

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ray:

    Assuming you didn’t tell this person previously that you are lazy and unhappy staying home alone (in which case the person is simply repeating what you shared about yourself), that means this person just called you “lazy”.

    Well, if calling you lazy is part of his “very argumentative, haughty, and hypocritical” personality, if he does humiliate you at times  (“at the expense of humiliating me”)- he shouldn’t be texting you at all- block him.

    anita

     

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