Make Room For The Stuttering

Do We Accept Differently?

Posted on: September 2, 2009

Acceptance is acceptance, right? We all strive to love ourselves, our complete selves, warts and all. It is only then that we can love others and allow our self to be loved. We can only become self-actualized when we have accepted our true self and can present that self wholly to the world.

So why then is acceptance of self so hard for so many people? People with differences often struggle to find value and strength in that difference. People who stutter often spend a life time chasing fluency, hiding their stutter, using uncomfortable fluency techniques or spending money on devices that might provide temporary fluency. I have written before on the concept of what if stuttering were the norm. If that was the case, then it wouldn’t be difficult at all to accept stuttering in our lives. Fluent people would instead struggle to accept their fluent speech. Hmmm?

A close friend and I discussed acceptance in depth recently. He wondered if people who stutter as a result of a neurogenic accident – such as stroke or brain injury – who had previously known fluency, would find it easier to accept their stuttering. He pondered that maybe it would be easier to accept stuttering as a  “no fault ” result. “An accident caused the stuttering – see, its not my fault.”  So then it’s easier to accept.

Another example might be: Does a person born without legs have an easier time with acceptance than an athlete who has a skiing accident and becomes a paraplegic? Does a person born blind learn to accept and embrace blindness easier than a person who accidentally loses sight? Does acceptance really have varying degrees based on the severity of the disability or difference?

Interesting. We got into a good discussion about this, because if the stuttering argument holds true, then those of us with persistent developmental stuttering somehow fault our self  for stuttering. We did something wrong, we are not trying hard enough, we don’t practice enough, we don’t want fluency enough. I personally get uncomfortable with all this because then it makes me feel like I have failed.

Maybe someone who has known fluent speech, and then starts stuttering late in life as a result of trauma or accident, perhaps they less blame themselves, as they know it was some “uncontrolled” event that “caused” the stuttering. Friend thinks it would be easier to accept. I am not so sure. I have talked to someone else who started stuttering at age 12, so she knew fluency for many years and now stutters.  Her parents have great difficulty accepting this because she experienced so many years of “taken for granted fluency.” Person herself is moving towards acceptance, after several attempts at trying to regain fluency. (Interestingly, she used the term “failed” when describing her attempts.)

I wonder how many people think about this. Does our level of acceptance really hinge on how long we have had our difference or how it came to be? Or does acceptance just depend on how you view yourself wholly, as a person with unique differences and abilities?

2 Responses to "Do We Accept Differently?"

I have stuttered from I knew myself and as far as I know, it is herediatry becasue my dad stutters and an Aunt and so it is not my fault that I stutters.

The problem is, It should be easier for me to accept my stuttering but I don’t and I am wondering why is this so.

I think self-acceptance has to do with how you view yourself as a pws. Even though I didn’t start until later in life, I do not remember being fluent, even though I knew I was. I asked my parents if they remember me being fluent up until age 12, and they said no. This really shocked me because I would think they would remember me as being fluent since that was about half of my life. So, even though I didn’t start stuttering around age 3 or 4 like most people I feel like I have stuttered my whole life.

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