The Power of a Quiet Voice

Power isn’t necessarily loud.

Earlier this week my husband made a remark in jest that, because of my “stuff,” was painful for me to hear. I had the presence of mind to notice my pain, and I had the presence of mind to softly say to him, “Ouch, that hurt.” I continued matter-of-factly with what the comment brought up for me (shame, honestly) and he gave me a kiss and apologized. It was a tender moment that was deeply healing for me…and it came from using my voice softly and honestly.

If you’ve been through traumatic relationships, you might feel like speaking up for yourself is impossible, unnecessary, and fruitless. In fact, speaking up on your own behalf may have brought on even more turmoil in some circumstances. And trauma can literally take the words right out of one’s mouth, so it may be that you’re too stunned to say a word - until much later.

When going through the healing and recovery process, many people I know have had to use their voices in loud, outlandish ways, usually SCREAMING to be heard. In addition to my own experience, many women have shared with me that they were so triggered into using their voices that they created HUGE scenes that caused even more trauma. Yikes! I get it. Sometimes it seems that exploding is the only way to get attention when first starting the skill of communicating feelings and experience. That stuff has been bottled up for so long, it’s like a pressure cooker waiting for sweet release.

So I did all that, y’all. The people I work with have done all of that. And then we keep practicing, keep facing our shame in how far behind the curve we feel with adulting skills…and one day we get to the point where we can speak our truth clearly without the need for the huge charge.

How does that happen? How do we come to own our power, our voices? And how do we come to use them naturally and in ways that heal, unite, fulfill?

Doing the difficult work of moving forward - establishing safety in your body and in your environment, taking the risk to feel all of your feelings, acknowledging guilt and shame, coming terms with and mourning the loss of innocence and opportunity - these are the things that invite the integration of trauma so that you can own your being, your story, and your voice.

This has been a lengthy process, buoyed by the intention to create a harmonious and loving home with my husband. When I shared how healing that interaction was for me, my sweetie said he didn’t even remember it until I brought it up. In this case, that was an affirming signal of growth on my part and between us as a couple.

Until it happened I didn’t realize how easy it was to speak my truth quietly and to be heard; what used to take the effort of a shrieking banshee (which NEVER worked) has now become the effort of a whisper. How sweet it is to speak softly, tenderly, and openly . . . and for that to be the marker of success.

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