In my work, I come across many people who through the years have lost their voice, also known as their personal power. If you grew up in a home where there was an addiction, conflict, abuse or neglect, chances are good that you lost your voice. It was not safe to speak up in such an environment. And so you learned to say nothing regardless of what you needed, what you thought or what you felt. You were simply trying to survive.
Stage 2: Adulthood
It is here where your lost voice may find a voice, but it is not your own. This is a marriage made in heaven! The person without a voice often finds and marries the person with a voice. It is a natural attraction. You need someone who can know what you think, what you need, and what you feel in order to continue to not have a voice. Conflict arises, however, when your spouse gets tired of making decisions, anticipating your need and reading your supplemental behaviors and facial expressions. Spouse will complain that you don't communicate.
Stage 3: Midllife (aka Change is needed. What do I do now?)
After years of being silent, feeling lectured by others who do have a voice, and perhaps feeling talked at, you reach a place where it no longer feels good to not have a voice of your own. It leaves you in a dependent, vulnerable and lonely place where no one hears or understands you. You thought your spouse understood you when he/she could read you without your communication. Spouse now begs you to talk and relinquishes responsibility of talking for you. You feel lost. Therefore, you must either 1) find another person willing to be your voice or 2) Finally find your own voice.
To find your own voice, you must first heal your fear of getting into trouble or the reaction of others. These are residual feelings from childhood that is brought into the marriage. In other words, it was there before you ever met your spouse! The squelched voice whispers ( or HOLLERS in frustration for not being heard or understood), "I cannot talk to you because you react." This translates into "I cannot talk because you will have feelings." And feelings (according to my history) are detrimental to my safety." As long as you place the blame on the spouse, the fear of others reactions remains. You just transfer ownership to the next person.
Some suggestions for finding (and using) your voice:
1. Speak up. Increaseyour volume so others can hear you. Low voices are indicative of shame.You are afraid of being heard or being visible as it is vulnerable. People will know that you are there. Speak so that others can hear you and respond to you.
2. Look at people when you are taking to insure that you have their attention. Do not talk while looking away or while they walk out of the room.
3. Ask for clarification or validation that you have been heard. Did you hear what I said? (People without a voice blame others for not listening when in fact, they are not talking.)
4. Singing and chanting are ways of opening up the voice. If it feels too threatening, do it in the car. It is healing for your voice.
5. Ask others (who are your talkers) to not interrupt you when you are talking. Remind them that you are learning to communicate and would appreciate having no competition. You will let them know when you are finished and ready for their response.
6. Thank those who give you space to talk. Let them know that you appreciate their time and patience as you learn a new skill. Learn to rotate "my turn, your turn."
Have you checked in the lost and found lately?
I trust that you will find it.
It just needs to be picked up!