[friend]: …But therein lies the problem- I don’t like it when people are rude and dismissive. I operate from my insecurities and it gets the best of me.
 me:  I definitely relate there. It’s a big trigger for me to get defensive and want to tell someone all the reasons they should listen to me.  Like we’ve been silenced too many times and now someone needs to listen, goshdarnit.

Have you ever felt this way?  While this is the most recent example, it is definitely not alone in this category.  I can quickly recall (but won’t elaborate needlessly) several times in my life where someone else’s behaviors or words have triggered something in me.  And then I behaved in a way I am not proud of.

I’ve yelled, “You’re NOT listening to ME!”  I’ve screamed at someone to “Shut (insert expletive here) up.”  I’ve stormed out of a room.  I have hung up on more than one customer service agent…and a few friends.

And I would love to explain away this behavior.  To tell you story after story where I was the person being silenced, where I could not share my oh-so-important perspective. Or stand up appropriately for myself. To say yes willingly. Or no.

Please know that I carry each and every one of these silenced moments with me every day.  They are an important part of the roots that have grown into this tree.  But the times where I have responded out of anger and pain instead of the caring understanding of someone who understands – I carry them, too.

As I get older, it is easier and easier to feel like I am right, that I know best, and to trust every piece of my own experiences – to go with my gut.  That instinct also protects me, right – it keeps me from dealing with difficult situations by dismissing them.  My number one strength is empathy, though, and I owe it to myself and the peeps in my life to listen, even through the anger and pain.

with open ears and an open heart…ekt

1 Comment

Filed under life stuff, relations, social justice

One response to “silenced

  1. Pingback: Recap: Authentic Women in Student Affairs | Erica K. Thompson

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