This can be a very stressful decision – Do I speak up or say nothing? I have struggled with finding my voice for many years. I have also been healing that which stops me from speaking up for myself. My tendency would be to “stuff it” down and say nothing out of fear of reprisal. I have recently been in a situation that challenged me yet again to speak up. I share the following in hope that it will help others sort through this dilemma!
All The Voices
Discerning which part of me wants to speak is sometimes the hardest part:
- Is it my victim telling me to speak out in defense?
- Is it my truth?
- Is it fear?
- Is it anger?
- Is it my bruised ego wanting to look good, win, or be right?
During my recent trip to Peru, an opportunity presented itself. It was the perfect situation and provided me with lots of food for thought.
Here’s What Happened
There was a miscommunication about what to bring to the Bolivia border crossing and the plans for the day. We all heard – take only your passports and leave the rest of your stuff on the van. We left Bolivia Passport Control and crossed a bridge by foot over into Bolivia, boarding a different van. We wondered what was going on. We had no idea we were on our way to some sites in Bolivia for the day – without our packs.
When arriving at the first site, still all wondering what was happening. The group started to get concerned – we didn’t have our hats, sunscreen, cameras, water, etc. We brought our concerns to the leader who, when confronted, got defensive, stating: Well I got my pack, I can’t help it if you all didn’t hear correctly! He then said to all of us: We all need to take responsibility for ourselves. I heard [from the hired guide] to take my pack! It’s time to put dissension aside and move on from it!
It didn’t seem to matter to him that I, and everyone else on the tour, left the van with only our passports and without any idea about the day’s logistics. His defensiveness surprised me . . . I expected understanding. This had the unfortunate effect of placing me in a less empowered place. It triggered a victim button in me . . . I was no longer clear and present.
My head was yelling at me to say something!!
Here’s what it wanted me to say when he was addressing us:
You are the leader, we paid for your trip with our tuition with an understanding that you make sure we are aware of the day’s plans and have everything we need. A leader would have made sure we had our packs and checked in with us. We have asked you questions and requested better communication, but you get defensive. You’ve been on this trip many times and this is our first time here. Some support and guidance would be appreciated!
But I didn’t speak up. I stayed quiet. I found myself in a submissive place – actually, thinking about it – this is not a good place to speak from! I wasn’t empowered and could not deliver a clean message, free from judgment and defense.
So what stopped me from speaking up? Ultimately . . . fear.
Here are a few justifications fear/victim threw in to stop me from speaking: (all in a matter of seconds)
- You don’t want confrontation, he’s already angry
- You’ll sound like a driveler and complainer
- I wouldn’t bother – he won’t get it anyway
- My impulse to speak up and use my voice was ignored
- You’ll look like a hard-ass complainer trying to prove a point
- Aren’t you spiritual? Move on and forget it all – like he said
Speaking my Truth vs. Speaking to Defend
I used to think that defending myself was a good thing. For example, if someone makes a wrong assumption about me – I get angry and defensive and must set the record straight!
I am not that person you think I am!!!
My ego, believing it was wronged, started defending itself by attacking the other person! Oh my God – that can’t happen! Bt avoiding being a victim, it ultimately ends up as one. The defense comes from an unhealed wound, wanting at all cost to avoid the pain and suffering it experienced in the past.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
The more things change, the more they stay the same. – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
The pattern had to complete itself – my ego wouldn’t be fully satisfied until it was feeling guilt, unworthiness and giving me a good dose of lashing for not speaking up. This is what my victim is comfortable with, what it expects. Twisted? Yes! It got rewarded for staying small by avoiding feeling the real pain from the past – shame, embarrassment, unworthiness, despair, helplessness.
The ego is clever, but the wounded ego is king!
This triggered wound needs some investigation and healing. It comes from a learned victim mentality, believing “I am worthless.” Once healed, it can no longer be triggered, allowing me to have compassion for others, understanding they too are suffering if they are attacking. As stated above, I have been in their shoes!
By the way . . .
I have been on other tours in different countries and have had no issues. The people I booked the tours with are leaders and always aware of the group members and the group’s progress and well-being. They were available, kind and open. So I can appreciate being cared for and led.
I manifested this opportunity to learn about taking care of myself and what that may look like. It also presented me with an opportunity to heal a deep wound. For that I am grateful. My body endured one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever faced – again, I learned about appreciating my body and understand that I need to take care of it.
Please only take what resonates and disregard the rest. I would love to hear any comments!! Thank you for reading my blog!!
For more information on my book, please visit: The Path to My Heart