Am I being Heard…

What does it mean To Be Heard?

This has come up a lot with my clients recently, that they feel unheard and, are confused about why. They know that they experienced this as a child but, why are they still experiencing it as an adult?

So, I thought it was worth talking about here.

The problem for many people is that they did not feel heard as children. They were in situations, circumstances or had carers who did not give them an opportunity to express themselves, to feel seen and heard and as if their opinions mattered and their thoughts and feelings were valid.

This in turn creates a blueprint, an idea a belief that the subconscious creates and then projects into the adult life, where the feeling of being unheard continues as does the idea that the person is unimportant and that their needs are invalid.

So, why might someone continue to feel unheard as an adult?

There are a couple of main reasons for this:

Genuinely Unheard

Because we all repeat patterns and are drawn to what is familiar, even if it does not serve us, it is highly probable that even though the details might be different someone could now, as an adult, be in a relationship with someone who is very similar to those who raised them!

Controlling, domineering, with very definite ideas about how things should be done, what is acceptable and what is not, uninterested in the individuality of people and  in listening to the ideas, opinions and needs of others.

Someones feelings of not being seen and heard might not just be triggers or an “over reaction” because they have CPTSD. It may be that the person, or even people in their life now, really are dismissing them! 

Maybe they really are being made to feel that what they say, their hopes, dreams, values, boundaries, opinions and needs are invalid, unimportant and of little/no consequence or interest.

So, if this resonated with you in some way, how do you know?
You are so used to being made to think that you are wrong, over the top, too dramatic, want or expect too much! All great ways to easily shut you down, so, how do you work out what is really going on?

Well it is well known that one of the best supports for overcoming past triggers is a supportive and loving relationship. Being with someone who truly cares about you and sees and values you and is interested in your needs. If you are in this type of situation, it means that you should have the support and safety you need to state how you feel, knowing that you will be seen and heard!

Remember, a loving and supportive partner cares about your happiness and will want to listen to how you feel, what you are experiencing and support you with that, as far as they can.

If you express your wounds/needs to a non healthy person, they are very likely to use it against you as they know it is your weakness! And they will treat you as prey! Wounded and easy to defeat. They will use your weakest points to their advantage. This is something to be aware and to look out for.

What kind of response do you get when you reveal any thoughts, feelings or needs? 
Can you express yourself or are you shut down? Made to feel irrelevant and as if this is your problem and there is something wrong with you?

In this case, the only thing wrong with you is how the “wrong” people, those who are incapable of understanding and giving you what you need , the safety to feel heard and relevant, have made you feel about yourself!

Now that you have an understanding of this you can start to observe your own situation or situations to find out if you are genuinely being dismissed!

Using your own words you should be able to express yourself, along the lines of ;

“I often find myself feeling unheard, I know that it comes from my childhood and I want to overcome it, do you think you could help me with that?”

Someone who understands and wants to help you with offer support and ask you what they can do to help you, what do you need?

Or, you might simply express something that is important to you and pay attention to the response that you receive.

If you receive a positive response well, great, go ahead and ask for the support you need and work out the details of what that would ideally look like.

If you receive a negative response to the above pay attention to it.

What is being said?
What were you expecting instead?
Why do you think they have they responded as they have?
How has it left you feeling?
What are you assuming this response means about you?
(we all receive information around us and attach a meaning to it according to what we think it means about us)

you can also try other responses like asking

Why don’t you ever listen to what I have to say?
Why do you always interrupt me
Why did you respond like that when I expressed a need?
Why do you always dismiss my opinions
Why are you not interested in what is important to me?

Use what feels right to you, use your voice and your words

if you ask any of these questions or similar to someone who is uninterested or incapable of a loving and supportive relationship expect that they will immediately put this back onto you! They will not look at how they have responded and make you feel that your concerns are valid, they will not be prepared to look at their behaviour or responses and will certainly make it all about you “CONFIRMING” as far as they are concerned that you are the problem.

All of the above will help you to asses if you are genuinely being heard or not. It will help you to sort out if this is a CPTSD trigger or, if it is valid and what you experienced as a child is still happening in your adult life.

Either way, it can be overcome, they are just totally different situations requiring different approaches.

Just doing this will be enormously helpful and beneficial for you as you can assess your current situation and get clarity on  what is going on and how you might need to proceed from here.

Remember, just because someone else makes you feel that there is something wrong with you, that does not make it true!

Ask deeper questions
Look at their motivations

In a Safe Environment

It is also possible of course that you are now in a safe environment but, your past experiences mean that you are very easily triggered but, what you feel and experience does not relate to the present and is simply your mind and body automatically recalling old reactions and experiences.

The above will help you determine which situation you think you are currently in and this in turn will help you understand the personal and healing work that you need to do.

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