Make Room For The Stuttering

Feeling Safe

Posted on: November 4, 2009

Yesterday, I talked with two very special people. In both conversations, I felt very safe. Both people’s names begin with J, so I will try to distinguish our conversations.

Late in the afternoon, I spoke with mentor J. He helped me process some confusion I felt recently over being too trusting with people and letting my guard down. I am trying to understand why I do that so quickly. We talked about the very human desire to connect with other people, and feel safe when doing it.

For so long, I did not trust myself enough to let go and be honest with people. I always censored what I was going to say. Sometimes, it was because I was afraid of how I would sound (literally) and sometimes I was afraid what would happen if I let people get too close. Part of that comes from being disappointed over and over again in relationships, but not seeing how to re-frame that so I wouldn’t get burned.

When my feelings started thawing, I realized how much I want and need to be connected with other people. So I have sometimes rushed in and let my guard down too much. In my eagerness to connect, I trusted too much and sometimes got burned. And was reminded of the basic need we all have not only to be connected but to feel safe.

Our discussion reminded me of the basic premise of human development from Psychology classes. I am sure we all remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The very basic of human needs is safety. And that includes both physical and emotional safety. Even when we are sharing emotional stuff with each other, we have to remember to establish boundaries and recognize red flags.

The other person I talked to last night was special friend JR. She called me, to reach out and share (like the old telephone commercial 🙂 ). We both have been going through some tough stuff and we both felt OK admitting that to each other and talking about how it feels to be down. We shared some good stuff and not so good stuff. And felt safe doing it.

We all need that from someone. To be able to connect deeply and without shame, and feel safe doing it. Even in an unsafe world, it feels good that we can still have that. But we have to be smart and realize that trust has to be earned, and that it is a two-way street. When you get burned, it stings for a while and you pull back.

Do you have people who you feel safe with? And do you know what to do when you don’t? Usually, it is best to trust your instincts.

3 Responses to "Feeling Safe"


My first big social burning was at 35, followed six months later by a second. In hindsight the warning signs were there, but I’d never been burned before (mostly because I paid attention to the signs) and was desperate for a social group. I didn’t have the experience or skills to bounce back. My therapist told me that the skills were lacking because I didn’t get the experience most get as teenagers, and helped me develop those skills. I think I’m a better person for it, and will understand my kids better when they go through it.

Hi Pam,

I am Manpreet from India. I have read some of ur posts on stutterrockstar and I think that ur posts are very knowledgeable and interesting. I am also having a blog on stammering which I started just 2 months back. So I want to give your sites link on my blog, If you dont mind.

Incase if you want to visit ma blog :


Hey Manpreet,

Good to hear from you. Yes, please feel free to link my blog to yours. I have checked out a few of your posts on your blog. Good job. It’s truly inspirational to realize that even many miles apart, we who stutter share the same feelings and experiences.
I look forward to reading more about your experiences.
Keep talking and sharing!

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