Important Language — 9 Comments

  1. “This too shall pass.”

    “They don’t really care that I just stuttered.”

    “The world is not going to swallow me up.”

    “They’ll never see me again.”

    I think it’s easier to take speaking risks when I am free from negative self talk. If I perceive that I won’t be judged, there’s more likelihood that I will “speak my truth.”


  2. Thank you for your interesting question, Rita. I used to close my eyes and pretend I didn’t stutter. But realized that that only worsened the situation for me and make my listener wonder even more. Today I use a mix of Mindfulness and NLP, both about making a decision and leave it there.
    Mindfulness: Can I do something about this situation to make it easier? If I can, do so. That might anything from opening a window to get some more oxygene or use a speech or handeling technique, to not caring about my speech but focusing on my message or to simply not entering the speaking situation. The fact that I decide what I chose to do gives me more confidence.
    NLP: Will my listener really judge me because of my stutter? Am I sure I won’t get that job before I even entered the interview room? How can I know what they think and what makes me think I can change other people, when it’s more helpful for me to focus on my reactions to other people’s reactions? How can I know I will fail, instead of recalling the moments I succeeded really well?
    To work on myself and my reactions, making sure I have the resilience to bounce back even when I’m not happy with a situation, instead of focusing on my listener and keep on slapping myself over a situation that has passed, has been my tools to be in control and of not, to move on without the could’ve/should’ve. There are no failures. Just learning experiences. 🙂

    Stay safe


  3. Hello Rita,

    Over the years, this thinking pattern has helped me when entering tough speaking situations:

    I first of all ask myself, what’s the worst state I can find myself when I stammer “badly”? Is it going to kill me? Once the answer is no, then I can always take the risk. Is it embarrassment from what the listener might be thinking? I cannot ascertain what my listener may be thinking so again I can take the risk.

    When I finally decided to get help for my stammer, I realized that the best ‘strategy combination’ for me was ACCEPTANCE and STAMMERING CONFIDENTLY. I always bring this to bear when entering any “panic” new situation. This has really served me well and I believe it would serve others too well.


  4. Thank you for this interesting question.

    These days I usually just jump in and start talking, as I enter a new situation. Most of the time there would be severe stuttering right away, and the person or people I’m talking to would know right away that I stutter (if they hadn’t known beforehand).

    I make it a special point to focus on important and meaningful content, sending the subtle message that what I’m saying is worth listening to, and is worth the effort to be patient with me and absorb what I am saying. This also sends the subtle message that while my speech may not be fluent, the ideas that I’m expressing ARE fluent – and communication of ideas is more important than the degree of speech fluency used to present them.
    So in effect I try to compensate for the disfluency by the content of what I’m saying.

    I find that this approach really helps to minimize the importance of speech fluency. If I subtly send the message “my disfluency is not really important”, I find that my listener(s) accept that also.

    – Paul Goldstein

  5. Hi Rita! Thank you for your question. In situations I feel uneasy going into I try to think of why I feel that way – and it’s usually because I don’t feel “safe” being my true self, whether that’s fearing being judged or not being seen etc. Knowing this, I can separate any negative thoughts and my identity, reminding myself panic is not who I am but a fleeting feeling that will pass eventually. I practice a lot of self-compassion when I’m faced with these intrusive negative thoughts and to calm myself down I validate how I’m feeling at the moment (“This is difficult for you. That’s ok.”) as well as trying to soothe myself through it (“You are worthy”, “You are capable”, “You deserve to take up space”, “You are not your stutter” etc). That’s something that’s been very helpful to me.


  6. The language and thoughts must come before the panic. If the panic comes then it is quiet difficult to get out of when you are in it. You must focus on not getting into panic. That is the key. The language and the thoughts are all an inside job. It is all self sabotage we are doing to ourselves. Having said that it is understandable as the panic is coming from past trauma. What you are experiencing is akin to post traumatic stress syndrome and needs to be treated as such. EFT therapy can be helpful there. The degree of panic is made up on two parts. They are probability and consequence. What is the probability of you stuttering badly and then what will be the perceived consequence. If you can’t alter the probability of stuttering you can atleast try to reduce the chances of panic by addressing the consequences that your mind is creating. Those consequences come from your own thoughts. Change these thoughts and then you will change the experience. It is within your poweer to change your thoughts. Thoughts that you have come to believe are your reality. There are a couple of good articles I have written about all this on my blog. Hope that helps.

    • Hi Destiny

      As you posted this in another thread instead of creating your own, other PWS might not see your question. But here is my reply. It’s very common for PWS to stutter on their names, and on the letter their name starts with. So for me it was A, which I block on. It’s also quite common to stutter on p, t, k, etc, where you press you lips together. For me and others it’s vowels and the letter H, where my vocal cords close. Again others stutter on s-sounding letters. As you can see there’s a huge variety.

      And just one thing, people don’t use the word fumble. It relates to being nervous, awkward, clumsy. Just use the word stutter. As that’s what we do. And are good at. 😉

      Stay safe and keep asking questions

      Anita Blom

  7. Hey! We are two graduate students from the University of South Carolina earning our master’s in Speech Language Pathology and are currently taking a course on stuttering. We loved exploring your page and learning more about stuttering. After reading some of your pages content we had a few questions for you.

    Throughout your daily routine, where in your life do you experience the most pressure to avoid stuttering? What steps can be taken either by you or another party to alleviate those pressures? What can we as future SLP’s incorporate into our future practice to best improve the therapy for a stutterer?

    Look forward to hearing from you!

    Eliza Jane and Mackinlee

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