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
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
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