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I will start by stating that I do not, nor have I ever, had selective mutism. I think that there was somebody in my family who did… but I don’t really know. I just watched a documentary on it, and I was surprised at how much I could relate to what they were going through.

According to this special, one of the reasons why they don’t talk is because they’ve developed a sort of phobia regarding speaking in front of others. When they do speak, it’s often to a select few that they really trust. It’s not a matter of lack of ability. It’s more of a matter of simply feeling completely terrified to speak, even if they’ve done something like broken an arm.

Although I have a different set of problems, I can relate to that. I too am often afraid of having to speak to people, who sometimes are people I’ve known for all of my memory. Although, I wasn’t always like this. It developed as I sub-consciously knew that I couldn’t socialize effectively. Eventually, after trying Zoloft for what appeared to be social anxiety, I found out that once the fear was gone, I was rather rubbish at speaking with people. Once this became conscious, there was no turning back. So the Zoloft became useless, as my fear was now a rational one that had basis for existance.

Yet I know what it’s like to be with people, wanting to communicate and say something, and being unable to open my mouth to speak. Sometimes the person I’m speaking to seems interesting, and I actually WANT to talk to them, but I just can’t bring myself to utter a word. I’m just so afraid that somehow, whatever it is that comes out of my mouth, it will somehow insult the other person and I will be percieved as a person that doesn’t care.

Also, much like selective mutism, people have a tendancy to assume that it is a conscious act. They assume that people with selective mutism are doing it on purpose- often for that same sorry explaination that they’re seeking attention. When I’m inadvertantly insulting, inconsiderate, or insensitive, people assume that I was fully aware of what my thoughtless remark (or the parts of the remark that don’t actually involve words) would induce, and that I meant it deliberately and completely.

You know, for people who spout about how inconsiderate and insensitive AS people can be, they can be very inconsiderate or not understanding themselves, can’t they?


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