Finding Your Voice

Learning to Communicate Effectively

finding your voice

I wish I lived in a world where people could communicate honestly, freely, kindly and safely. Not just the nice stuff but the hard stuff as well.

Sadly that doesn’t happen in my world.

Emotionally dysfunctional families have problems with communication. They have all been trained since childhood by unhealthy examples.

They are either aggressive, passive/aggressive or passive communicators. Healthy or assertive communication has no place in a dysfunctional family.

What Communication Style are you--Passive, Assertive or Aggressive? - News - Bubblews

Children of abuse learn early on, that life is not comfortable if they speak the truth openly, that it’s painful to try to tell people what you really need, and that it’s not safe to talk about your own problems.

In abusive families everyone has problems and baggage, no one can hear yours over their own.

In order to survive and have some degree of peace, you have to stifle your voice, edit your truth, you are unable to express your uncomfortable emotions. Every time you have tried, it has only caused pain, ridicule, minimalization, conflict, confusion, misunderstandings, rejection or hostility.

Lets face it.. we will all try to avoid that.

Having to avoid it, is what causes depression – the hopelessness of trying to communicate in dysfunctional families where no-one hears you. The inner anger at not being allowed to speak freely without fear. For some the outer anger at the injustice.

Let it out....

As a child I needed to express myself, my worries, my problems – my opinions, my anger, my sadness without fear of rejection, misunderstanding, ridicule or hostility .. but it was not possible.

I wasn’t allowed to be angry, overwhelmed, sad, annoyed or frustrated – these were not appropriate emotions for me to have – words like ‘get over it’ were used or ‘there are people worse off than you’, stop crying, quit moaning. I had no choice but to repress it. Narcissistic families have enough drama to cope with, the children become invisible, emotionally neglected, ignored, abandoned.

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing ~ Aristotle

Emotionally abusive families don’t deal with stuff, they blame others, they never take responsibility. I finally started to speak out as an adult in order to heal..  and I was ostracized by my family. They didn’t want to deal with it, they didn’t want to hear it or heal it  – they would rather I disappear. I was silenced. Even if I tried to communicate effectively, they didn’t want to hear the truth. It came to the point that.. either you allow me to express myself or I cannot remain in this family.

Due to this dysfunction from childhood..  boundaries, dealing with conflict and verbally expressing difficult emotions becomes an area in which we have no expertise as adults.

It sets us up for more drama in life and ongoing problems relating to people. Great feelings of disconnection, loneliness, confusion and emotional pain.

There becomes a hopelessness in trying to communicate effectively with people. Sometimes we do not know how to deal with or handle emotional issues with others, so we instinctively do it the family way – the only way we know how …  ignore, deny, repress.. repeat – usually with bad outcomes…

ignore, deny, repress, repeat

In order to heal from emotional abuse we have to learn as adults to communicate and express ourselves in a way that is good for us … and in a way that does not hurt another.

We have to become assertive and practice and learn healthy communication skills.

When dealing with conflict..  ‘I feel..’ is a good start to a conversation. I felt annoyed when.., I feel hurt because… I’m unable to cope right now as..

Learning to verbalize healthy boundaries becomes an art to learn and you find others appreciate and accept your truth if you speak it openly, with kind but assertive words.

It takes baby steps and practice.Facts over Volume http://media-cache8.pinterest.com/upload/176836722838581918_oH7b1Mz8_f.jpg alyjuma words

The unhealthy cycle of communication is based on fear of conflict, it’s understandable from what we’ve come from. It’s not our fault, but it is only up to us to change it.

To learn new healthy ways to interact rather than what has become habit .. to shut down, avoid, stifle or run ..  or rant, yell, scream, mock, curse, threaten.

Both these actions and communication styles hurt people.

Signs of verbal abuse.... I hate when people mock. Especially when they mock children!

If not we are destined to repeat our unhealthy painful family history by communicating in a way that is no longer necessary.

– We need to express the hard stuff in a healthy manner in order to have peace and to be free from depression.

The words you don't speak...

In time we learn who the aggressive communicators are, those who don’t care to understand us or our feelings, and we learn those who run to avoid conflict, those who attack instead of talk.

People who won’t let us speak or don’t respond to us as adults keep us wounded.

Unless we change, we become emotional abusers ourselves. We become passive or passive/ aggressive or aggressive in our approach and that is hurtful to yourself and others.

Emotional and verbal abuse hurts, healthy communication heals.

We need to break the cycle.

Passive-aggressive can sometimes be worse than aggressive since it requires higher emotionally instability and dishonest manipulations while appearing decent to the outsider.

Examples Of Assertive Behavior | ... The Difference Between Assertive, Passive and Aggressive Behaviour

Love and baby steps,

SilverGirl

8 thoughts on “Finding Your Voice

  1. Don’t need to read more about the depressing stuff that went on in my abusive marriage from hell. I need to know more about how I can heal and how to move on without my children, a husband, and maybe even without support even from God. I really am in a difficult situation right now. I’m living with a man right now who I can’t talk to. Tells me I ended up in the mental hospital because I “have a chemical imbalance” or my thinking isn’t right. So sick of being viewed as crazy.

    • I understand.. I have been in the same position. It’s called ‘crazy making’ because of the subtle emotional abuse that is confusing on your mind.
      I will add a post on how I left safely. I too had to leave without support of any family or friends and without my children.
      First up – don’t do anything hastily, You first have to have a strategy – you have to think smart. ..You have to make things ‘work for you.’ Basically you need a plan. This is something women from abusive situations aren’t used to doing – strategies, planning, making things work for them.. somehow they feel it’s wrong… but this is what you have to do if/when you are in survival mode. I will add more info. Take care

  2. This is beautifully well written advice…I come from a dysfunctional family too and it is going to be difficult to step back and away from them all; all except my daughter….she’s still a teenager. So I have hope with her.

    But you are right, for years I have tried the assertive “I” statements and using words such as “I feel hurt” and have received negative reactions from both my parents. Doesn’t help any that I have SZ and they think I’m just “TOO sensitive.” When I recently tried to set a boundary, Mom went spastic and got mad and magnified the whole issue…

    But, like you said, “It came to the point that.. either you allow me to express myself or I cannot remain in this family.”

    I am beginning to feel like I am at that point as well. Have you severed all contact? Or did you simply lower the number of times you went to be around them?

    Anyways, it feels good to know that my feelings do matter and that I don’t have to take the “Oh, you’re just crazy” attitude from no one, including my family.

    Thanks! – LaVancia Phoenix

    • Hi LaVancia,

      Thanks for your kind words :o)

      Sorry this is soooo long!! I probably could have cut it by half!

      I too have a difficult medical condition that my family didn’t understand. They thought I was a hypochondriac and that I have diagnosed myself with it. . Ironically it is being around them that triggers too much stress in me and flares up my health issues. So for my own well-being I am choosing to take care of myself by staying away. I just don’t feel the need to see them and put myself through that kind of drama. Life’s too short.

      Rather than abruptly cutting contacts with them it just sort of drifted off with each person after I tried to express my feeling and the truth. The truth hurts and my family did not want to hear it. They are in denial. Some gave me the silent treatment (that hurts..) and others were hard core verbally abusive (that was a killer) – after going back and forth like this the pain got too much maybe for everyone. I’m very glad I let things off my chest and at the very least I gave them something to think about.

      I don’t think they’ll ever understand me but I do think they love me in their own way.

      I was always the one to fix things in the family and the first to apologise just to keep the peace… and to keep my emotional balance :o( I was really wasting my life on an emotional roller coaster (hell ride) and I was just losing my life/ time/ years.. they seemed okay.. but I wasn’t achieving anything… I was viewed as the over-emotional family failure..

      Truth is I am a very strong, very capable and very loving soul.. sadly they just couldn’t see that… sometimes I think they could see it and felt threatened by it??

      I often got stressed and depressed after talking to them, I had to suppress my communication . all . the . time (suppression= depression)
      .
      I wanted more than that for my life. In the end it was no major conflict that severed it, it was just a slow process. I carry no bad feelings with me, which is good and necessary for my health..

      I don’t know what the future holds regarding my family… sometimes I think one person having the courage to change can change everything, especially if you can remain loving and forgiving.. I am using this time (which is muuuuch more peaceful) to recover and focus on what is important to me in my life. I’m loving the space and I have more energy for the first time.. ever…so I am doing what I need to do away from all unnecessary drama and hoping to become who I always knew I could be.

      My family members really have no idea just how dysfunctional it all is .. I think it would be really healthy if our family could heal one day but that may be just a fantasy.. at the moment it’s about me healing..

      Hope this is helpful. Take good care of yourself.

      Love SGx

      • I believe the same…in that I think they love me the best way they know how; however, my definition of love is drastically different than theirs. Being gentle, kind, patient and understanding…none of which my family seems to possess. They would rather get defensive, erupt in anger, and be critical with the “should” mantra. Thanks so much for your reply; I think I am a strong one too in that God put me through this test just so that one day my eyes would be open…well, they are open and even though I have to wear glasses, I see clearly. Have a good holiday. Love, LaVancia

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