The Power Of Disclosure
Posted January 13, 2016on:
In one of the stuttering groups, a woman recently shared her experience with disclosing her stutter to a guy she liked. She was surprised that he was actually OK with it.
She thought he was going to reject her because she stutters. She further shared that she felt so much more comfortable knowing that he knows. They have gone on a couple of dates and are enjoying their new relationship.
Disclosing that we stutter has so many benefits. Like this woman shared, it made her feel relieved that her partner knew. She didn’t have to work to keep it hidden, like she said she had done in the past.
Trying to hide stuttering is a lot of work. I know, as I did it for years. I was always tense and afraid that I’d be exposed as a stutterer and people would think less of me as a person. Or would reject me. That was always my biggest fear – rejection.
So I switched words, avoided speaking and pretended to be a shy introvert, something that I am not. I felt such relief when I stopped trying to hide my stuttering and just stuttered openly and actually talked about it.
People’s reactions were surprising to me at first, just like the woman in above’s anecdote. Most people didn’t care – it was like disclosing that I am left-handed. So? There’s nothing wrong with being left-handed, just like there’s nothing wrong with stuttering.
And many people already knew that I stutter, which was a big surprise. I always thought that since I didn’t talk about it and worked so hard to hide it, that I of course no one knew I stuttered. Wrong!
Disclosing that we stutter also lessens anxiety, as we are not so fearful that we are going to be found out. And disclosure also often leads to a real connection with another person. By being brave enough to disclose, often another person will share something personal about themselves and before you know it, a connection is formed.
Finally, disclosure that we stutter opens the door to questions. Often, we’ll find that people are very interested in learning more about stuttering and will ask questions. They were just waiting for us to signal that it was OK.
Disclosure can be powerful. It can open doors for us that we thought maybe were closed. And that brings good things to life.