Monday, May 16, 2011

Fear---You Might Not Like Me If I Have An Opinion

Remember the feelings of being asked a question and being afraid to answer because you didn't know what the person who asked the question wanted you to say. Any answer you might give could be wrong. The person might not like you if you give an answer different than what they think.
Remember the panic of being asked, "What do you think?"  I remember thinking what does this person want me to say? What am I going to say? Can I get away with not saying anything at all? Do I tell them what I really think and take the chance that the person might not like me? Do I take the chance that what I say could anger this person and make them hate me?

So much fear was involved in the process of answering even simple questions. My mom and dad taught me that my opinion wasn't important and that I shouldn't even have an opinion unless it mirrored what they thought.  So much stress and fear was created because of this belief that you might not like me if I tell you what I really think. The statement, "Who do you think you are?" comes to mind here.  I thought I was nothing, of no importance to anyone.  I didn't know who I was because I was so busy trying to be who I thought you wanted me to be.

When I was a child, I was so rarely asked what I thought about anything. When I was asked, I would usually say that it didn't matter, whatever you wanted to do was okay with me. (A friend tells me that I am still guilty of doing this.  What I told her recently was that if it was something of importance to me then I have an opinion about it.  If it isn't important, then I really don't care where we go eat, for example.) If I said, I didn't know then I was open to ridicule for being stupid if the questioner was my mom or dad. My dad would then fly into a cussing rage. It was better to not give any kind of answer than to give one that might be wrong. 

I learned at an early age that Life wasn't safe if I had an opinion. In my family, as a child, my dad was the only one of us who was allowed to have an opinion about anything. If you didn't agree with him, you better be quiet unless you wanted a verbal lashing from him. With adults, I believe that he loved to argue. If you were a child, you kept queit, to use his words, "if you know what is good for you."

As a Saggitarian, I should have been very outgoing as a child and as an adult. Growing up in an alcoholic home along with being a victim of incest, I learned to curb my natural inclinations at a young age and became very withdrawn and shy.  I rarely laughed out loud or did anything to draw attention to myself.

As an adult who is healing from incest, I have learned that what I think and feel is safe and okay. I am an extrovert rather than the introvert of my childhood.  Today Life is safe for me to speak up about my beliefs and I can defend myself when necessary without reverting back into my shell of silence and safety.

Today if you don't like me because of what I say or think, oh well, that is your problem. I won't shrink away into nonexistance because you don't like what I thought or said. I won't be hurt because I disagree with you or you disagree with me. I honor what is different in each of you and ask that you consider doing the same.


Mystic_Mom said...

Patricia, how true! This was my growing up - if they wanted my opinion they would give it to me. Being wrong or being outside the boundaries by thinking something different was a terrible thing.

Thank you for sharing this...!

Patricia Singleton said...

Mystic_Mom, I know what that feels like. You are very welcome. Have a glorious day.

Anonymous said...

Patricia -
Sorry it's been so long since I posted here - I've just been reading your words with kinship, but this post really resonated.

I could barely talk at all as a child, partially because oral incest tends to make you keep your mouth tightly shut, but mostly because the mechanism of control the abusers use to keep from getting found out is to berate you into silence about everything - because if you can't talk about anything, then you won't talk about the abuse.

I realize it is their version of a truth insurance policy, and they are a kind of truth police, and their fear of being found out is so great they would rather be angry demons their whole lives than let go and be revealed for the mentally ill subhumans they really are.

It must be such a full time job to be not only the prison guard, but the prisoner of your own lies, and the prison itself, and it's interesting how many posts I've seen on your site and on Darlene's about abusers who have died of heart attacks. When the heart is not being used it eventually stops working.

I realize too that only very sick people would want such a "job", as we victims know only too well. It is so empowering to hear my inner journey mirrored in your words, and this post in particular I am going to print and put up on my wall so I can remind myself that it is not only ok to have a voice and speak my mind freely, but it is the way that I change my past into something I have power over, and it no longer rules my present and my future because I can tell the truth, even if my family couldn't.
Thank you so much!

Tara said...

This is my first visit to your blog. A very insightful post. Thank you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Tara welcome to Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker. I hope you will return, read and share more comments as you feel comfortable doing so. I warn you that some of my posts can be triggering if you are a survivor.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment and for letting me know that my words help you. My dad was a controller so much that I call him a dictator.

People who live to control others are some of the unhealthiest people that I know. When I first got married, I became a controller because I thought it would keep me safe and make me happy. Controlling did neither of those things.

When I was hurting enough to want to change, I did. Before that people tried telling me what I was doing and I just didn't want to hear it.

Today I recognize controllers because I was one. I know that controllers are full of rage at life and at themselves and they are terrified by everything. Controllers are so afraid that their lies will come out and people will see them for what they are. That is why they force those that they abuse to be silent.

Colleen said...


Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you.

dbrannem said...


When I read your posts, even though our experiences are different - they are also SO similar. I could have written much of this post about my past. I am learning to understand what I want and need - starting with a small list of things that will hopefully feed an answer
to the larger question - how I want to lead my life.

Thanks for sharing.

Patricia Singleton said...

DBrannem, thank you. I needed to read this kind of comment this morning, one that lets me know that I am making a difference.
You are very welcome.

I remember being in the early days and having to figure out what I liked about me. Just simple things like where I wanted to eat for lunch could be major decisions for me.

I wasn't allowed to make decisions for myself as a child so I didn't learn how. Nobody taught me, so like a lot of things in my life, I had to teach myself, at a later age than most people.

Patricia said...

Your posts are difficult to read and it is sad that they must be written and read. It angers me that what you write you (and others) have lived.

Your transparency is courageous and appreciated.

Though I did not suffer incest, I hope that someday I can be as open about the abuse I knew as you are about yours.

Patricia Singleton said...

Patricia, thank you. I feel your compassion coming out through your words. One day you will be as open about your abuse as I am mine.

Baker said...

Nicely done post. I think it is great that your words come from a higher plane! Excellent points made here.

Patricia Singleton said...

Baker, thank you. I am glad that you found my post helpful.