One challenge I find among many who are experiencing complex trauma (CPTSD, narcissistic abuse syndrome) is the chronic feeling of being unheard. It feels like being alone in an ocean of people who are all shouting to be heard, and your voice is always drowned out. You’ve been fighting for so long, trying and trying to communicate and connect with others, that you feel you’re about to give out, because you have no energy left to shout, no will or desire to scream above the masses to be heard.
Others may find you to be distant, aloof, “introverted,” and the like, and their perception of you is very triggering, because they would know who you really are, if they could only truly see you, if only they would take a single moment to listen to you and actually hear you.
We tend to beat ourselves up, thinking there must be something wrong with us. We poke our own unhealed wounds, dig in deep with our fingernails, berating ourselves for staying in “victim mentality,” because someone told us we were a victim, while failing to realize that a victim is simply someone who has been hurt or injured. We’re human beings. We get hurt. We have all been victims. Some of us get stuck in our wounds, and some of us get trapped there by abusers. Some of us need to grieve and allow for grief, and some of us need compassion from ourselves and others so as to heal, rather than to be shamed and abused or berated for having human reactions to wounds that hurt human beings.
At some point, maybe we even reach out to a friend we trust, or even worse, a healing practitioner or therapist, for help. We pour our heart out to this person, and the moment we finish telling them “I don’t feel heard,” they open their mouth to confirm your belief: you were not heard. Perhaps you were even invalidated, which is a huge betrayal of trust.
Instead of staying silent to show that they’re listening, they open up their mouth and tell you how they deal with something that isn’t even the problem you went to them for help with.
Perhaps they say something like, “sometimes people just have to complain until they don’t feel like complaining anymore.”
Maybe they give you a spiel about your boundaries. And while you know that you need help with boundaries, there’s a time and a place for that. In a setting where you are going to someone for help who has offered their help, such as a trusted relationship with a friend, or a professional service from a healer or therapist, you expect that you should be able to say what’s bothering you without being made wrong and invalidated by implying that your boundaries are the problem. You just breached your boundaries to pour your heart out to them in your cry for help. And maybe that was excruciatingly difficult for you to do, because as someone who’s going through trauma or abuse, you’ve had to have your boundaries set up like Fort Knox. And this person just taught you that even they are not safe to lower your defenses around so as to ask for help. Now the belief you have about being unable to be heard is even more concrete than before.
I want to take some time to address this, because it’s important to consider that maybe you’re not the problem. Maybe it’s actually not evidence of your belief that you can’t be heard. Maybe the other people in your life are actually the problem. Maybe they simply are incapable of hearing you. Take a moment to wonder if they can hear anyone, and if they just made you wrong and invalidated you when you came to them for help, then take a moment to also consider whether or not they can even hear themselves!
Here are some translations to be aware of.
“Sometimes people just have to complain until they don’t feel like complaining anymore.”
Translation: I can’t hear anyone, and they give up on trying to tell me anything.
Translation: I feel unheard too, and I don’t know how to help you with that.
Translation: I’m good at making passive aggressive comments to make you wrong so you’ll back off on asking me for help with this because this triggers my own unhealed wounds.
Translation: I’m not heard, so why should I hear YOU!
Translation: I was never shown compassion, so I don’t know how to show compassion to you. Suffer like the rest of us and quit complaining about it.
“It’s about your boundaries and being able to speak your truth and let go of how it’s taken or not.”
Translation: I don’t recognize the abuse you’re going through.
Translation: I also bought into the belief that there must be something wrong with me if I don’t feel heard, so if something must be wrong with me, then something must be wrong with you. It never dawned on me that the problem was never me, but the abusive people who instilled this belief in me. My boundaries need work, so yours must need work too.
Translation: I have no clue how to deal with traumatized people.
Translation: I don’t want to go there because it triggers my own trauma that I’m trying to avoid feeling.
Translation: I don’t recognize your grief or comprehend that you can’t simply just let go.
Translation: I’ve given up on trying to be heard because I don’t know how to be heard either.
“How I deal with ______” (unrelated to what you’ve asked for help with)
Translation: I have a lot of knowledge and advice to share that I need to share, and I’m going to hope it distracts you enough to feel better because I don’t actually know how to help you.
Translation: I’m going to control this narrative because your trauma and grief make me feel out of control.
Translation: Oh yay, I finally get a chance to be heard.
Translation: I can shout louder than you can.
In a world where human beings are systematically abused, not only in our individual lives by various people in our lives, but by the governments on a larger scale, and where people are literally masked under false guises to actually silence them, it seems it’s getting more and more difficult to find those who can hear us.
When our original perpetrators were our parents, this created a belief early in our childhood that became cemented as our brains are designed to look for evidence of our beliefs, because the brain has to prove us right about what we believe. This is because of the way this holographic reality works – our perceptions and beliefs are powered up by our emotions to create the reality we live in. So the brain does its job of proving us right about beliefs we form by looking for evidence and proof of said belief.
In this world, more and more people are struggling to be seen, acknowledged, heard, listened to, recognized, appreciated, valued, and shown compassion and empathy. This can make it difficult to find very many people who can actually hear us. And this strengthens an already hurtful belief that we have about ourselves – that we can’t be heard.
Here are a few new beliefs that you might like to consider:
- I can be heard.
- I can hear myself.
- I know when to be heard.
- I know how to be heard.
- I know how it feels to be heard.
- I’m allowed to be heard.
- I can allow myself to be heard.
- I am worth hearing and listening to.
- I deserve to be heard.
- I can listen to others.
- I can connect with others.
- It’s safe for me to connect with others.
- It’s safe for me to be heard.
- I can find others who can hear me and connect with them.
- I can have healthy boundaries with myself and with others.
Pick one or more of those new beliefs to work on. Ask your brain to show you evidence of the new belief(s) you choose to embody. As you resonate with the energy of a new belief, your mirror changes, and you start to reflect back the proof of the new belief.
Yes, sometimes you will still reflect back the old belief, but remember, beliefs are malleable. We can choose them once we become aware of them.
Keep working on your new belief, and once you actually can feel it in your body, pick the next belief to work on, and when someone comes along showing you your old belief (and they will still come), remember to tell yourself, “maybe I am not the problem here.”
Practice listening to others so that you know what it feels like to listen, really listen and hear them. In doing so, you model this for them too, and energetically teach them how it’s done. If they can’t learn, they can’t learn. It’s not your fault, and it’s not even your responsibility to make them learn to hear you.
People in this world are always going to hold mirrors up for us to see what we’re reflecting and attracting. They help us to become aware of our beliefs, especially the ones we haven’t been consciously aware of – the subconscious beliefs. So when you’re ready, after you’ve felt the betrayals and the anger, the hurt and the grief, remember to thank them, at least in your mind, for showing you the wounds you’ve held for so long without realizing what they were. This helps you to let go of any power they may have had over you in the past, when they had the power to hurt you by not hearing you. You don’t have to keep trying to get them to hear you, like throwing pearls to the swine. Just keep asking your heart to guide you to those who value you and can’t wait to hear what you’ll say next, and KNOW that they’re out there. Remember to tell your brain they’re out there, and ask your brain to show you the evidence that supports your new belief.
In the meantime, good practices include journaling, and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), as it helps you to hear and listen to yourself. Treat these sessions with yourself as sacred, and give yourself compassion for all you have been and are going through.
To be a human being in this world today takes strength, courage, and valor beyond what any other being could ever imagine. Go gently with yourself. You deserve your own compassion and honesty.
Journal or tap about how you feel unheard, how much it hurts, who doesn’t hear you, who didn’t hear you when you were a child, how that made you feel, what it caused you to believe, and how you created your life based on that belief. It’s not easy work, but it is liberating.
Remember to journal and tap about your new beliefs too, and always consider, “maybe I am not the problem. Maybe I CAN connect with others who can hear me. Maybe it’s just a matter of finding people who know how to listen.” This shifts your focus to what you want instead of what hurts, and it gives your brain permission to seek new evidence. “Maybe it was never my fault.”
And you’d be right. It wasn’t your fault someone didn’t hear you when you needed to be heard.
For additional support, try Bach Flower Remedy: Water Violet to help with connection disturbances. Apply it topically to your throat center, right on the front and the back of your neck, as if you are applying perfume. This will overlay the emotional layer of your bodymind with a frequency that helps you to connect with others and to be heard.