I’ve always struggled with being a good listener. Or acknowledging the importance of others speech unless I admired their intelligence. I suspect it stems from my childhood. I was raised in a household where any type of expression or opinion was religiously forbidden.
It was like living in a vacuum. One with no sound. Seventeen years of a bottled existence. Boxed emotions in need of a heavy dusting. That is unhealthy. Our first lessons in self worth begin in the home. A child silenced at every turn is being shown that what they see, think or feel is of no value or concern to those entrusted to guide their light. So it dims.
Years later enters the insecure adult who is unable to grapple with all of these emotions that suddenly they are now free to express. Love. Hate. Lust. Anger. Fear. Joy. And of course pain. Having had no experience in such matters, conversations turn combative and criticism, even when constructive, is viewed as a rejection of one’s thoughts, opinions and feelings. Relationships eventually crumble under the weight of rotating unpredictability.
Validation is key to most of our existence. We all want to be recognized for whatever it is that we say or do. All of the time. For the adult who had somewhat of a happy childhood, given a sense of emotional stability by parents capable of showing love, it is a juggling act in social skills already developed. They usually survive because they are not interested in winning the game. Only in strengthening their bonds.
But for the silenced child. The invisible child. It becomes a dangerous game in attention seeking. One they will play their entire life because the child that shrinks inside is still not fully grown. Severing ties along the way. Never truly seeing those who see them. Left to wonder why those before never saw them at all. It is a constant soul searching. Every glimpse has been painful.