The (False) Belief No One Cares What I Have to Say

For most of my life, I’ve believed no one cares what I have to say, or what I need, think or feel and that I have nothing of value to add to (insert any situation here).

I’ve realized over time that this manifests in a number of ways. One of them is in how I speak. I find myself reciting something in a monotone because I’m imagining no one is listening, anyway, and/or that if someone actually is that I need to get it out as quickly as possible before I bore the shit out of them, or they dismiss me or interrupt me. This shows up as speaking more loudly, more quickly, deepening my voice, or trailing off into nothingness before I’ve finished.

In my cohousing Zoom meetings, everyone is asked at the beginning and end how they are arriving to the meeting and how they are leaving the meeting. People mostly talk about what is going on with their families or how their day went. I end up thinking “I have nothing to say and please, Universe, just let them not call on me this time.”

Then I’m afraid they’re going to think I’m standoffish or not wanting to contribute, when what I really need is to be able to hide in the corner of the (Zoom) room and speak when I have something to add.

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It doesn’t appear that you have these same feelings within our Tapping Circle…I hope you don’t because your thoughts and experiences are very much valued, I can say with certainty. So, I’m wondering, is there always an element of this feeling in every situation in which you feel compelled (or impelled)to speak? Is there a sort of spectrum of intensity that shifts depending on the context? It might be helpful to define the elements that ‘need’ to be there for you to have those feelings…the ‘drivers’…and do some tapping on that. Maybe you don’t even need an external context? Maybe it’s currently a part of your learned identity? When you imagine ‘in the theatre of your mind’ speaking within similar circumstances does the same response occur? Just some thoughts that come to mind.

Speaking up, speaking out, and especially feeling like I ‘should’ or ‘have to’ speak because the organizational format seemed to demand that was always difficult for me…in school and other ‘formal’ situations. I’m not sure how but that has lessened to a great degree for me. I somehow let myself off the hook about it and have relaxed immensely. I wish I had a magic solution because I know how uncomfortable that situation is.

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My father constantly questioned me (“Why did you do that?”) for the express purpose of tearing apart everything I said. No answer was ever enough to satisfy him. I finally stopped speaking to the point that when I went to kindergarten my teacher told my mother how concerned she was about my “painful shyness”.

If I speak because I choose to, it’s a lot better. I still often find myself thinking - especially if it’s a man - that I will be corrected, criticized and dismissed.

Thank you, Glenn. :hugs:

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So… asking everyone to contribute and speak is not very “trauma informed.” It puts people on the spot, and in most circling systems is not viewed as optimal. “Pop-corn” style or raised hands gives so much more freedom for people to reflect rather than feel ready to reply when it is their “turn” or feel forced to add when their gut says they are holding space.

I have, in many circumstances like that, said “Thank you, I pass.” I’ve even done that in one group every meeting! I know, for Mr. Jabber Jaws that’s really odd. Still, in groups I do not want to “have to” speak. So I model that freedom. I also do speak and ask for that freedom to be made explicit.

Earnestly, I know that if people do not HAVE to speak, there is deeper listening. When everyone has to come up with something, yeah, I don’t feel like people are really listening because everyone is trying to figure out what THEY are going to say! Eeeek! I can’t listen in such cases because I’m trying to figure out that, too.

I’ve seen it done also where the invitation is for people to come present, and if there is something the group needs to know in order to respect what’s more alive for you than the meeting here and now, there’s space for that.

Of course, every group has their own guiding principles. We can also speak from a slightly different vantage point, about what matters to us.

All that said, with the intention of sharing that group energy dynamics can be tough… I deeply appreciate what you bring here on the center and in our circle calls. Just because some space-energies bring out the best in us and others are more strained doesn’t mean that it’s us! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :wink: )

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