Make Room For The Stuttering

The Pain Of Stuttering

Posted on: November 26, 2014

Someone wrote this on one of the stuttering email groups I participate in. It really resonated with me.

“The pain of stuttering is not in speech interruptions as that just takes an extra moment… And the speaker sometimes doesn’t even know it’s happening.  What’s painful is feeling different and feeling that the difference is unacceptable to you and to the world….”

How many of us can relate to this? How many of us have had a stuttering moment happen and we felt so embarrassed that we felt different? That stuttering was unacceptable?

I first experienced the pain of stuttering as a young child. I don’t remember what stuttering was really like for me at 5 years old, but I do remember the pain I felt when it seemed that my father was ashamed of me. He would yell at me when I stuttered and make me feel as though I was doing something bad.

As an adult, I stutter pretty openly and confidently but sometimes I still experience the pain and shame of stuttering. And I believe some of that rises up from those early painful memories.

I feel the pain of stuttering when I get stuck and someone laughs at me. Or looks at me quizzically, asking if I’ve forgotten my name or where I work. I am sure everyone who stutters has experienced that and probably more than once.

I feel the pain of stuttering when I feel I’m being judged by someone in authority. That makes me feel inadequate, thankfully only momentarily, but inadequate nonetheless.

I feel the pain of stuttering when I explain myself to put a listener at ease. Sometimes it’s painful because there’s times I just don’t feel like explaining.

I feel the pain of stuttering when I want to chime in with a joke and I stutter on the punchline and people give me “the look.”

There has been more and more awareness of stuttering in the media, especially over the last year. But I’m not convinced that the world is ready for stuttering yet. It’s still not acceptable.

What do you think?


4 Responses to "The Pain Of Stuttering"

Pam, this is quite the post … yes, I often feel different and inadequate when I stutter. I guess the problem we have is that we look like everybody else. Until we open our mouths.

I mean, for people sitting on a bus, they see the person in the wheelchair slowly being lifted up into the bus. They think, ok, yeah, they’re disabled, no big deal. But when you’re holding up the line trying to say your name, nobody knows what’s going on.

Advertising is so hard, too — even if we all did it once a day, I don’t know if we’d really make that much progress with the public.

Hi Pam, this really hit home for me. I work in a pharmacy and I dread every time the phone rings. I’ve tried to hide my stutter for so long, scared of people judging me and knowing that I stutter. Little by little I am able to tell people I stutter, but I still have a hard time accepting it. This blog really helps and encourages me knowing that people have the same struggles that I do.

Jeanette – thanks for the honest feedback about your own stuttering and about this blog in general. I appreciate hearing from you and always like to hear from someone new.
The phone is often our worst enemy, isn’t it? It’s good to hear you are gradually telling people. Baby steps is the way to go.

Your father is such a jerk, stuttering is nothing wrong at all, it is just something that you cannot control. He feel ashamed of himself, not you. Stuttering/stammering is not your fault, never was, never will be. I’ve also had a severe stuttering problem before, and now I am learning how to slow down my speech rate to minimize stuttering/stammering. If you stuttered/stammered, remember that it is not your fault. Your father/dad is wrong for yelling at you and that is not okay, he should be helping you, not yelling at you. I also stuttered/stammered really badly, too. But I never got yelled for stuttering/stammering. It is a speech disorder/disability. The good news is that you can overcome stuttering/stammering and become a better speaker. It takes lots of time, patience and effort to overcome stuttering, but you can do it, you will win.

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