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"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The power of our voice or Another Brick In the Wall
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, February 26, 2015

This is something that we don't talk about too often in group. The role-plays we do at PSST are good for assertiveness and there is power in a person when he simply and yet firmly, with resolution and when appropriate, with steel-in-the-eye, tells you something. Usually this is all about boundaries.

But what about the the other side of the coin? What if there is power in our voice that backfires or becomes counter-productive? This is spelled out in a blog where the blogger is speaking about empathy in his 13 month-old baby. I like what he says here because he becomes aware of the power of his voice.   I also recently I had something happen where I used my voice in a way that backfired and so after you follow this link, come back and I'll share some of my story with you.

OK so you're back. Here's the thing, because of anonymity I don't want to go into detail here about who was my target; however, recently, I flipped out on a family person. Almost immediately after this happened I started to play back the tape. This person already felt bad. This person knew they were wrong. I didn't need to go off like that. Just a quiet disapproval would have been as effective. So, it's not as though I had to prove to them that thy were wrong; this, they already knew. Therefore, the way I reacted was scary and completely unnecessary. Looking back, I made a mistake. It was as though I left the "teaching moment" and I just wanted to punish the person.

How forgiving can we be when we have the edge? I had the edge here. All I had to do was be a bit generous, and that would have been a nice "brick" in the relationship wall. Instead, it was a "Pink Floyd Brick" in the Wall. One more obstacle to a better relationship and one more reason to embitter youth towards us old guys. If we have constructed years and years of "Pink Floyd Bricks," the only way to take those bricks down is the way they went up: one brick at a time! Remember that line in the song, "Teacher! Leave them kids alone."

Babys become children. Children become teenagers and by then it's easier for a teenager to be angry, snide, cocky, unruly, disrespectful, or even scary in their own right. This is preferable to being afraid.

As far as taking the brick down I chose to simply apologize. I was wrong to flip out. I said I was wrong to the whole family. I didn't say it like, "I was wrong, but really it's not all my fault because so and so shouldn't have done what they did." In that case the "but" would have ruined everything. I was just wrong. My family knew why I flipped out. I don't have to mention that. That part was over. Now the last part was that I had to take responsibility for my behavior without any "buts." Maybe I didn't get as much of the brick down as I had put up. I think that's the way of it. Those bricks are much easier to put up than they are to take down.


Anonymous said...

Great posts lately. I especially liked the way this one was written. It's so true--sometimes we think we are being assertive and firm, and maybe we are, but other times we can go overboard in our righteous indignation and our voices become harsh and wilting. I know it's true for me anyway. Great reminder to check in every now and then.

Jenn said...


I have such fond memories of Pink Floyd's songs, especially Another Brick in the Wall. A good analogy here, thinking about how we as parents don't want to add to those bricks that wall us off us from our children, especially the ones that discourage honest, open and intimate communication. And how difficult it is to tear down those bricks once they've been cemented in place.



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