I mentioned in my first blog about the power of words, "Sticks and Stones", that I had unexpectedly found the key to dealing with the damage caused by verbal abuse. One reader commented that she was looking forward to reading about the key I had found.
I pondered her request wondering: Why aren't I ready to delve into that realm yet? What is causing me to hesitate and put it off? Why don't I want to verbalize my key? What is holding me back?
Perhaps because from early childhood onwards, I learned to keep things hidden. To keep them close to my vest. I learned not to share thoughts with others - especially those closest to me like my mother, father and sibling. My communication was largely in my thoughts, not with others. I never really learned to interact with others as a child.
Somehow I grew up thinking that people could actually see my thoughts because they were so loud, so turbulent in my mind that I thought the words projected themselves out of the top of my head like the new alarm clock my husband was given that projects the time in LED coloured lights onto the ceiling of our house.
It took my years to realize that people cannot read my thoughts, as much as I can't read theirs. I often look at my husband and wonder what the dear guy is thinking. He's pretty good at being deadpan, keeping his thoughts and emotions from revealing themselves in facial expressions. Not so me. My face is an open book. My eyes, the windows to my soul. I am expressive. I use hand gestures. I speak with body language as much as words. I would fail dismally at poker. My face is too expressive.
Rather than using words, I learned to read people's faces, their gestures, the way they walked, etc. When my children were young, I would watch for them returning from school in front of our house. I cannot see distant images clearly; however, I would know which pair of youngsters was mine - by their body language. The younger was what I call the original "no fear" kid. The older, much more responsible. I would watch this pair of youngsters walking down the street, one staying on the sidewalk, the other jumping on and off walls and know instinctively that this pair, whose faces I could not clearly see, was mine.
I learned also to read other people's speech patterns more than the actual words they said. If someone said something in the same tone of voice, the same words, with the same inflection on certain words, than I would suspect those words. Where did they come from? Was the person parroting someone else's thoughts and words? Or was it merely coincidence?
I became intuitive. More than once I have amazed (and perhaps frightened) people by putting two and two together and coming up with the correct answer of four not by what they said or by any prior knowledge, but rather how they walked, how they talked, body language, etc. Intangibles that spoke more loudly to me than words.
I learned to fear silence as well. In my existence as a child, silence meant someone was angry. In the early days of my relationship with my husband, he would become silent. I would automatically assume he was angry about something. I would assume I had done something or said something to upset him. Because in the family I grew up in, the loud explosions of anger were accompanied by the ice of silence.
Where is this rambling headed? It is background information. A backdrop for the painting of words yet to be put on the canvas of this blog.
Tomorrow: the beginning segment introducing the first, most basic key.