Make Room For The Stuttering

Holidays! Holidays! Holidays!

Posted on: November 15, 2022

I’ve read many people post on public forums, especially Reddit, how much more difficult stuttering becomes for them around holidays. Some say it’s because of the tension that arises from being around family members we rarely see during the year.

Some people who stutter feel strangely vulnerable around their parents, who were the first authority figures in our lives. We may feel that we disappointed them then, and nothing has changed, so we think we’ll just disappoint again. We often find ourselves trying to adapt to different family dynamics each year. Maybe there are new members of the family or we are adapting to a loss. Sometimes, we see extended family members we have not seen for years. And it may feel like all eyes are upon us when we speak, and if we stutter, the room can go silent, so the only sound you hear is the prolonged or lingering stutter.

I always felt uncomfortable and embarrassed in family gatherings. I chalk it up to having had a very chaotic and traumatic childhood. But, really, I found it hard being the oldest child of six. At the dinner table, everyone would be chattering at once and we’d have to compete to be heard. I was literally trying to be heard, which created tension, that I internalized.

That tension has always stayed with me. Of the few family gatherings I attend these days, I tend to stay quiet and only pipe in when I feel I have something important to say. But usually I don’t. Because gatherings are often shallow, with people sharing about mundane everyday stuff that none of us can really relate to because we only get together once a year.

This year, I have noticed that I stutter much more when on the phone, especially with my closest sister. I can feel and hear myself stuttering, her waiting, and then me trying to be less aware of stuttering, but stuttering more.

After so many years of stuttering and holidays, it’s the same complexities that keeps the mind busy.

Wishing you good stuttering and happy days.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
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