Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Silent Screams

Communication can be slippery, like a small, wet, wriggly creature that desperately doesn't want us to hold it. I can say what I mean (or write it), and you can understand something other than what I meant.   That misunderstanding can be my fault, for not being precise or focused, your fault, for not paying attention or choosing to misconstrue, or it can be from a multitude of complications that form a barrier to understanding.  There are so many ways for it to all go wrong.

My communications seem to be going very awry lately, which makes me frustrated, but also fearful. Is there something wrong with me that prevents me from communicating my needs and desires to other people?  I tend to automatically blame myself, and over the years, I've had to develop tools to avoid accepting blame for things I didn't do; I'm still not 100% sure that I'm not at fault for everything.  For example, my orders in restaurants have been going very badly, even when people around me are making more complicated requests.  Friends and family don't follow through with our agreed upon plans. People talk to me on the phone without asking how I've been, but with the expectation that I will be there for them.  People forget things I tell them. It all makes me wonder if I might not be real and that people really can't see or hear me, but then I try things like taking a bath and my children certainly notice if I'm not there when they want me, so I'm pretty sure I'm corporeal.

When we feel we can't be heard, we can try to rephrase and make another attempt, or we can be bolder, louder. We can stop trying to communicate. None of these will do anything for us if people around us aren't willing to meet us halfway and be open to the idea of communicating.  Having our physical and emotional needs neglected hurts, and that pain can manifest itself into many unhealthy coping behaviors, and so I believe that trying to address these issues is in everyone's best interest.  Feeling robbed of one's voice seems to be a theme today as I just read a fascinating article about feelings of exclusion causing people to embrace conspiracy theories and other fringe thinking, but I'm digressing. 

I am trying to examine my relationships and figure out why I feel unheard. I can change my behavior based on what I find, but I can't change anyone else.  If my voice continues to be ignored, I don't know what I'll do, but at least I will know that I did my best to change myself.  That's what I can do right now. If it doesn't work, there's always billboards, interpretive dance, passive-aggressive text messages, and tears to communicate my thoughts.

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