From one PWS to another

Hey everyone on this panel. We are all people who stutter, but differently and uniquely. I often still have moments of shame with my stuttering, as it is still so misunderstood by society in general. I tire of having to educate others upon receiving negative reactions. What about you? Anyone have similar feelings or experiences?  

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From one PWS to another — 2 Comments

  1. It’s very rare these days for me to receive negative reactions to stuttering. Perhaps because I now live in Norway, where there is a strong sense of equality of people (everyone is equal to everyone else), as well as a cultural rule to be careful not to intrude into the private situations of others. In fact I can’t even recall the last time I received a negative reaction to stuttering. And my stuttering is severe and nearly constant.

    I’ve never felt shame due to stuttering. Even since early childhood, I understood that stuttering was a problem that I happen to have, and it’s in no way my fault.

    These days I only talk about stuttering with others if someone brings up the topic, which doesn’t happen too often. I sometimes mention my stuttering to others if there is some special positive context – for example, a recent gathering of people who stutter or one coming up soon.

    A long time ago when I was actively practicing and monitoring fluency shaping techniques (with daily practice of an hour or more!), I made it a point to educate people about stuttering. I actually enjoyed doing this, but I think there were people who weren’t all that interested in the subject who I may have bored. Over a long period of time, I came to realize that we who stutter (as well as family members of those who stutter, and professionals in the field) are very interested in the topic of stuttering, but not many in the “outside world” are as interested in the topic as we are.

    Educating those who have negative reactions to stuttering is somewhat different. I admit I seldom did that, even during the periods when I was educating many listeners about stuttering. I guess I felt that such people weren’t worth my time. But if they had a question for me about stuttering, I answered it; and if they said something to me about stuttering that was untrue, I corrected them.

  2. Thanks for your openness, Pam. Yes, feelings of shame will always show its ugly head every now and then. But I’m trying to use Mindfulness: my stutter is there, the feelings are there, but I’m only ackowledging them, not letting them rule my life anymore. I’ve done that for way too many years and allowing these emotions to silence me, making me feel less worthy. Now I just allow them to come and go, but no more than that.

    Educating people? It depends. When I’m on a plane for several hours, sitting next to a person who’s interrupting me and finishing my sentences, I educate. When I ask for street directions and a person reacts to my stutter in a negative way, I won’t give them a second of my time to explain why what they are doing is unpleasant. I also like to educate people who are sincerely interested. While on the other hand, people who “know the cure”, as in “take a deep breath” or “speak slowly”, I smile at them and say “thank you, I never thought of that”. 😉

    A while ago I had to call the bank and this lady kept on interrupting me, “knowing” what I wanted to say. I was so annoyed and the call was already way too long, as she coulldn’t help me anyway, I thanked her for the information, hung up, and wrote a letter to the bank, telling they to educate their employees to be respectful and listen to their clients, explaning what stuttering is about, but also mentioning this is crucial for other clients as well.

    In short, it depends on the listener, the situation and how it makes me feel at that moment.

    Keep talking my friend, and happy ISAD


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