Too Anxious To Speak Up?
Has any of you been too anxious to speak up?
I have. So many times in my life! In the past, when I have spoken up for myself, I have been treated like I am overreacting. This has made me anxious to speak up the next time.
People had called me crazy, critical, over-reactor, and ridiculous. They have told me to "calm down," and relax, making it look like my fault instead of acknowledging the injustice done to me. This is a tactic of power. It undermines the protests and does a great job of shutting me up. Exactly what that person wants. To ward off more resistance.
This can happen in any relationship but it especially, since I am a woman, happens when its a man I need to speak up to.
If a male colleague offends me, I have to think long and hard if I would let them know, since he might treat me as if I am overreacting. This possibility often makes me too anxious to speak up. And I often don't.
I wish we can just make a little deal out of something, an appropriate response to the situation and it be validated. I would feel great and go on my way, heartened, happy and robust. The relationship would stay intact and be even closer, trusting, and compassionate. But I am too scared to try, since it almost never happens this way. People are too defensive.
I think I have invalidation anxiety. (I just made that up but I like it!)
Even when I try to speak up, I am worried the other person will, in his own defense, make a bigger deal about it, just by accusing me of overreacting. This has happened too many times to count. I'm invalidated when people don't understand what I am so upset about. It makes me feel like I don't matter. I'd rather stay silence than endure this invalidation.
When I have been hurt and express anger, I am afraid the other person, misunderstanding, will get mad at me for being angry. And then I, even though I feel worse, would end up apologizing to him–which only justifies his defense. And solidifies than I am, in fact, overreacting since in my apology is admittance that I was wrong.
Find people you trust
Is the answer to speak up? Do I need to get rid of this anxiety and start expressing myself? Sometimes it is probably OK for me to express myself. But not always. It is not always safe to do this and, sometimes it hurts to other person to do this. Also, speaking up and being invalidated could make me feel worse. We cannot expect validation from someone who hurt us--as much as we want it. Sometimes that person is so far in his or her own misery to understand or acknowledge you. And holding onto resentment of what they did or that they cannot acknowledge you will crush your soul.
What we have to do is spend time with people that love us and can acknowledge us. Not to commiserate, but to talk about what is important to us, appreciate each others goodness, skills, and actions. Validate and love each other. Surround yourself with people that can support you.
What do you do when someone offends you and feel too anxious to speak up? I love to read your comments below!
By Jodi Lobozzo Aman
I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
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LCSW-R, J. (2012, June 27). Too Anxious To Speak Up?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/06/too-anxious-to-speak-up
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
Now I am re-learning how to be me again, after coming to accept I have bipolar. Now I usually shut down, I am afraid to speak up because my emotions are so wild. I am a mother, wife, and an employee and I care what others think of me. But shutting down has gotten me nothing but low self-esteem, extreme anxiety, and it eats me alive and makes me feel worthless.
I'm slowly coming out and speaking up again, really you got to realize like you said in your post that people who will respect what you have to say will listen and not put you down or make you feel invalidated and 'overreacting'.
Really, screw it, we all should be all be able to speak our minds, you just have to remember that "you" matter and what you have to say matters!
You can practice this on friends because it seems like you would be very uncomfortable doing this at first. Like you said, the only person that it leaves feeling discredited is you if you don't speak up. Sometimes the person may not even know that have offended you.
You deserve to be treated with respect unfortunately, sometimes you have to command it and like Jodi Aman ssid...don't ever appologize to someone you treats you poorly.
If one were to chose when to be respected and when not, then you would be anxiously waiting to decide if this is the time and place you are going to stick up for yourself. Which may be interpureted as over reacting.
Whatever the circumstances, there is nothing wrong with commanding respect from anyone especially if that person is being degrading.
The only time I would not suggest this is if it was physical abuse. Then I would suggest walking, no wait, running away for good!
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. I am just passionate about not letting anyone belittle or disrespect you. We have all been there.
I am trying to change and only succeeded in my work place. In fact, thinking about it now, I didn't even succeed in my work place, because when I do speak up there it's in protection to one of my colleague's rights, never to mine. When it comes to my rights, I take the attitude :"it's not important and I don't care".
If someone I love offends me, I become speechless, and don't say a word. Once I calm down, I write an apology, but explaining the facts as they happened. I state the facts as they are, showing the misjudgment and offense, but I never admit I was offended not to let the other person feel guilty.
Many times instead of seeing the offense, I consider it a misunderstanding.
Thread!! This is a thread - at least I remembered at some point. And I see that these posts are 2012, so you will probably never read mine. I talk too much anyway.
I see a common thing here - a beautiful quality amongst you all. There is no doubt in my mind or my heart that You are the beautiful, kind, generous, um, let's see - well, you are the kind of women and men I would like to have as friends. Chin up- and keep those eyes on the horizon. And keep smiling.