How do you get your voice back when it’s been taken or silenced? Or even harder still is how do you find your voice when you’ve never really been able to have one? After you find it then how do you learn to use that voice?
Being silenced screams that those doing the silencing are not interested in what you have to say. And if someone does this on a regular basis you can be sure that they don’t care about you.
From my experience, these thoughts below are what I told myself that allowed the silencing to continue to happen:
- Because several different people often silenced me, I came to the conclusion that I was the problem other than those trying to silence me.
- My silencers were people I thought loved me, so I took their words to heart. I also had trouble doing this because it’s always been hard for me to totally discount what someone says, since it is like what has been done to me.
- I learned to go into myself and be on-guard with people (which means, in some ways, they won).
- I have allowed myself to be silenced so many times and, for the past few years, that silencing has been done by me.
The last point above takes me to the observations I am learning about those who silence others from my experiences and hearing how it is being done to others. I’m pretty sure these observations don’t just apply to these silencers:
- It appears that those who feel it is OK to silence others feel what they have to say is more important than what anyone else has to say.
- From their actions and ways of speaking to others, they tend to think of themselves as better than others.
- Appearances seem to be of utmost importance in their relationships and lives.
- When asked why they did these things or after I told them what they had done or were doing hurt me, without fail, the people who practiced silencing me in our relationships said that I was to blame. But I realized that this can’t be true, because no one can make anyone treat another human being so poorly.
After sorting through those items and realizing the damage done, I have a few takeaways that I am trying to accept so that I can live in freedom and I hope my observations can help someone else in a silencing relationship:
- When you have not had the freedom to use your voice, it is very hard to believe that you have anything to say that anyone would want to hear. But that’s not true. Each of us was uniquely created by God to impact the world in a way only we can and with a voice only we have.
- When I think of what they tried to do, I picture that they were digging a hole, throwing me into it and trying to keep me in the hole. They could only succeed, though, if I allowed them to continue and stopped fighting to make my way out of the hole. I accomplished this by walking away and refusing to let it continue.
- Because they didn’t want the best for me, or even good for me, why should I consider anything they said to me?
- When people have made it clear that you are of no concern to them and bear no impact on their lives, they, in turn, from that moment on, lose the right to speak into your life. Once someone says something like this to you, it is clear that the eyes they are seeing you through are distorted and they will only see you through these distorted lenses throughout your relationship. Therefore, the person they are seeing and commenting on is not the same person that you are. If you allow them to continue to speak into your lives, as I did because I didn’t know any better, you are allowing confusion into your life. I say this because you will never be able to make their distorted image fit into your mind and life because it was taken with a lens that doesn’t give an exact image of who you are.
- There are those who speak and what we hear goes so against what we know or believe about ourselves that what they are saying is like garbage spewing from their mouths. No matter what the relationship is, you don’t have to take their image of you to heart. Your image is found in whom God made you to be, definitely not what those who don’t even love you say you are.
When I wrote the first draft of this post, I ended it by asking what I was supposed to do with these realizations since I’ve taken so much to heart and even built the way I live around their statements (mostly by building defenses against any further attacks landing and taking root)?
I left it with this question, but as I’ve organized and put all my thoughts into something that makes sense, I feel the answer to this question is that I have to start using my voice. However, since I have lived a huge part of my life guarding what I say, I don’t feel comfortable using my voice more by speaking. In my case, I feel like God has given me a challenge to use my voice in writing every single day. This truly makes me sick to my stomach. This is bringing out a part of me that only a few people truly see in a relationship with me. I just don’t share very much of what I think with most people.
So, I will accept this challenge. Please understand that I am in no way going to be telling everything I think. Everything has a place and a time and some things we think have no place ever coming out of our heads. There will be more posts on my blog, but there will also be writing on my personal Facebook page, starting to venture into some fiction writing and so on. I am comparing this challenge to the year I felt I was supposed to write something that made me happy every day and post it on Facebook. I didn’t write every day, but I always posted more on other days to make up for it. With this, I am going to strive for something being written every single day.
I’d love for you to join me in this venture by asking what challenge you can take on in your life to break out of the barriers that keep you from being fully who you were made to be. It would be great if you also added what your challenge will be in the comments so we can walk through our ventures together in some way. This is my challenge to each of you who read this.
~ Joanna Lynn