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The relationship between stuttering, isolation, forgiveness & community

I read a great post at Pam’s site entitled “Social Acceptance and Stuttering.”  And it led me to think a little bit–regardless of how you cut it, stuttering can result in some fashion of personal isolation.  If we chase the fluency god in hopes of gaining better acceptance into fluent society, we’ll fail on both accounts and subsequently feel isolated.  (And largely, I maintain, because of a hope/myth that if stuttering stopped–all of life’s problems will dissipate.)  So if we cease to chase the fluency gods, we can certainly improve our quality of life.  But–will this change societal acceptance?  No–it doesn’t.  Even in the groups (such as family) that often seem to matter the most.  Subsequently, we can feel isolated.  Either way, isolation may be a part of living with stuttering.

So how to deal with this sense of isolation?  I’d like to hear some thoughts!  With me, it has been through forgiveness (of self and others) and prioritizing personal relationships (such as a greater emphasis within the stuttering self-help community).

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  1. May 21st, 2009 at 13:27 | #1

    Hey Greg,

    I really like what you say here . It is powerful. And of course, thanks for the plug.

    Forgiveness seems like such an easy thing to do, but I really struggle with it. I know most of it has to do with the pain and trauma I went through as a child, and that has absolutley nothing to do with stuttering (though there may indeed be some connection.)

    But I can see the reality of forging people who don’t get stuttering and allow myself to move on, with or without them. That is really appealing to me, and could indeed lift burdens.

    I can see how you are successful as a teacher – you offer ideas, and really challenge us to think, and you use personal anecdotes to help make your point.

    This post really gave me pause to think. And wonder what is the “it” I need to make the leap I know I need to in my life, to open up even more doors, more freedom, and most importantly, peace.


    Greg @ Stuttering.me Reply:

    Thanks for all your kinds words, Pam. In all sincerity, I really do value and cherish your opinion, comments and contributions.

    I’d like to toss something out there for you. Forgiveness isn’t about the other people. It’s not for the wrong-doers. Forgiveness is for yourself. It’s releasing yourself from the power that the wrong-doers continue to hold.

    Sure there’s an element that forgiveness is extending grace to the other person; no doubt about that. But relative to stuttering, the powerful aspect of forgiveness is extending that grace onto ourselves to move on from the past *and*not*look*back*. Forgive them, for they know not what they do; and what they do and think has no bearing on my self or societal worth.


    Jane Lebak Reply:

    Pam, there’s an awesome book on forgiveness called “The Unburdened Heart” by (I believe) Teresa Nelson Hyden, written from a secular perspective but drawing from several major world religions and philosophies. I used that when I was having trouble with forgiveness.

    In my own experience, forgiveness can be unilateral or bilateral. In bilateral, I say, “I screwed up, please forgive me” and you say, “you’re forgiven.” In unilateral forgiveness,t he other person does not ask for it , may not want it, and probably never will find out that he’s been forgiven. You do it in order to relinquish your own pain and anger and unburden yourself.

    THe decision to reconcile is ALWAYS separate from the decision to forgive. It’s valid to forgive but not reconcile, keeping your distance from the person who’s hurt you.


  2. May 23rd, 2009 at 13:47 | #2

    Greg and Jane,
    I am going to refelct on the different perspectives of forgiveness. I absolutely know I need to lift this weight from my heart in some way, but I guess it will have to be in my own way. I am a little mad at myself and still feel guilty for not being able to do this, not being able to visit my father, not being able to talk more than just surface b-s with my mother.
    But its coming – I feel it – both of you have offered such good thoughts. Thank you!


    Greg @ Stuttering.me Reply:

    Hey Pam–let’s talk about this some time…



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