Make Room For The Stuttering

Caught Ya

Posted on: May 30, 2009

Being on a journey of opening up means sometimes other people are going to point things out to me. I have long struggled with being too hard on my self. It obviously comes from feelings of shame associated with my stuttering and the other hard times I faced in childhood. I never learned how to accept compliments and let them in.

This is not just a stuttering thing. Women who have been abused have issues with self-worth and esteem. Sometimes to the point of feeling they deserved the abuse. In my case, I certainly thought since I wasn’t good enough, I deserved the criticism and negativity. That’s where I developed the negative self-talk.

As an adult, I have had such a hard time saying thank you when someone compliments or encourages me. I tend to shake it off, play modest, or say something like, “oh, you don’t mean that. You’re just saying that. That’s nice, but . . . .”  Always a but.

Anyway, as I spend more and more time on ME and being open to my feelings and how they feel (!), interesting things keep happening. I spent some time with J the other day, and we talked about feelings, and I got teary as I often do. Admitting that I have such feelings as sadness and longing, anger and loneliness, gets overwhelming. Why? When you have spent as much time as I have “blotting out” those feelings, I actually feel them when I talk about them now.

I was sharing a story with J, and I was cool and collected in the telling. I was sharing how smart I had been as a kid, but hid it because of the stuttering. I happened to say something like, “and I’m still smart.”  J stops me, with this weird smile on his face, and he doesn’t say anything for a moment. I felt uncomfortable. You know those uncomfortable, awkward silences. So I start thinking, ” Did I offend him? Did I say something he didn’t understand?”

He says, “That’s the first time you have ever complimented yourself with me.”  I choked up and got emotional. He says, “no one ever complimented you when you were a kid. That’s something you missed out on. That’s why its so hard to do it for yourself now. But you just did, and I caught you. I liked that. Hope you do too.” 

This was a bittersweet moment, like others I have had. It felt good having J point this out to me, but sad at the same time realizing that I had missed out on this.

That’s it – just wanted to share that brief moment my friend and I shared.

It really caught my attention. Yeah, it did!

Copyright © 2009

4 Responses to "Caught Ya"

You know–I can relate to this. It’s taken me a very long time to feel comfortable with positive feedback. (And I’m not even sure that I am. But at least I don’t reject it!)


Thanks Greg. Sometimes I feel so hypocritical, because I don’t/can’t always walk the walk.

It is always so much easier for me to encourage others to do things than it is for myself. But I get embarassed when someone compliments me. Have to work on just letting it in and feeling good with it.

I’ve told you this before, but I say it again; I really like J =) So good that he pointed this out to you. I’m happy that you’re getting there Pam. It is difficult believing in the good feedback when you’re used to so much of the bad, or a “it was good/ok, but…” comment. I still struggle with believing the good things I hear about myself too. Get really embarrassed, and don’t know how to respond. Maybe we should practice this together?

Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment!! Keep at it… Hug

I am going to tell J that you approve. I think he would like that. He would also like to hear that I am actually talking to other people. For so long, I kept everything inside, afraid to let my thoughts and feelings out. It is really a wonderous thing to realize that while I am discovering myself, it may also be helping others with discovery on their own journey.

That is what really helps me to keep going, to keep thinking, I should write about that, instead of the old habit of trying to blot everything out.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
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