Talking about muteness in foreign language situations.

This email is my advice reply to a fan email. The issue is that after a year and a half of studying English abroad in a language school he can still barely speak a word. During this experience his whole personality has changed from confident to shy.

He writes in his email that he was originally shy as a child / young person but he got over it in his native language. The fan’s situation is very similar to my own in many respects so in this video I share my own personal insight and story.

What I did’t explain very well in the video is that it is good to confront the parts of ourselves that we learn to hide because we cannot accept them. In my own journey I learnt to hide that I was shy and didn’t understand social rules by getting skilled with words and the English language. I got so stilled with words to the point that I could dominate most people in a talk or discussion.

With this skill of using words I was able to mostly avoid situations in which I would be triggered for feeling ignored by not being spoken to. The whole reason for developing this speaking skill in myself was so I could avoid the painful, panic attack triggering feeling of being ignored or not being spoken to.

Now I have lost this coping mechanism because I am living in Turkey and I can’t speak much of the language nor do I understand many of the social rules. This has been very hard for me because I have had many explosive panic attacks (meltdowns) but there are positives to this challenging experience too – I am learning to accept rather than fight against the shy part of me that is still inside. I am also learning to ‘be ignored’ and to not react with an explosive panic attack.

What I expect to happen eventually is some kind of synthesis between the shy part of myself and the part that talks all the time and dominates situations. It will take time, but I already did this once before so I know it’s possible again.

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