Avoidance Spill Over
Posted August 6, 2015on:
People who stutter tend to be very good at avoiding. We avoid speaking situations in which we fear we’ll stutter. We avoid certain words and switch to words we can say without stuttering.
For a long time, as I’ve written before, I was extremely covert and avoided situations where I’d be vulnerable and exposed as a person who stutters. I always had the fear of being negatively perceived or judged or labeled.
As I’ve gotten older, I find that I don’t care as much about my stuttering and am largely open about it. I stutter openly, without apology, and feel I am living a much more authentic life, at least as far as stuttering goes.
But what I’ve found is that avoidance has seeped over into other parts of my life. I’m sure many of you have found this as well. How could it not? Practicing stuttering avoidance for many years becomes such a strong habit that it almost seems to become default behavior.
What am I talking about? Well, I find that I avoid difficult conversations. I avoid conflict. I sometimes avoid change. I sometimes avoid making decisions. I sometimes avoid being too assertive at work, for fear of rocking the boat and being perceived or judged negatively, much like when I was covert and avoiding stuttering.
I’d like to say that I have transcended all of this now that I am overt with my stuttering but I can’t. I keep noticing pockets of avoidance that I am positive relates to my stuttering. This is something that I am continually working on. I am mindful of when I seem to be avoiding something big and acknowledge that it’s happening.
Acknowledging avoidance is only half of the battle. The other half of the battle requires action and courage. I’m working on both. How about you?