‘Speak the change you wish to see’ - Lockdown can be the end of a stutter’s confidence
Monica Shanahan, Stutterer
13 October 2021
From avoidance in using telephone communication to seeking out a question, I would apply email communication instead. I’ve recently been given feed back that my communication style has been very instructional via email, yet I’ve been shown no understanding or empathy towards my disability. Could there be a reason as to why I am unable to approach people in other communicative ways? i.e. face to face, other than email. Us stutters get locked in with the ‘avoidance’ behaviour, a pattern that is very familiar with many people who stutter (pws).
Avoidance is when we choose to use other forms of communication other than ‘speech’, where we use the easy way out, because we don't want to get stuck over the phone. We don't want to face rejection, we don't want to feel stupid on the other line and we defiantly don't want to feel that we are taking up peoples time, with our stutter especially in the situation in lockdown, where time is precious. So we choose to avoid that situation altogether.
We have the feeling of dread, its the anxiety that is blocking us from confronting people physically and saying what we need to say. Its the anxiety that is behind this ‘avoidance’ behaviour that contributes to the ‘stutter’ which makes the experience in making that phone call so traumatising.
In many cases people don't want to understand, they choose to ignore you, they choose to not be present. You can only educate others, you can’t change the way others perceive you, you can’t change the way people view your disability.
In the end, tolerance, empathy and understanding can’t be taught. It needs to come within that person. If that person doesn't show empathy towards your disability and has a lack of understanding, that only shows you that persons true self is a measure of who they are as a person.