It’s hard. Let’s face it. Sometimes, depending on the situation or person it can be nearly impossible. Fear of speaking up is one of the biggest fears we have in relationships, and often a result of some past hurt or trauma that occurred in our past.

For me, the fear came when I would anger my mom. Anything could trigger her, and her anger was potent. Mental illness was a factor, and some emotional traumas of her own from childhood contributed as well. Regardless, as a child, speaking up often resulted in pain both physical and emotional.

It hasn’t been easy for me to admit that to many people. Mostly, I am a very private person who keeps a lot to herself. What has that gotten me? A lot of damage in my relationships that I could have avoided if I had dealt with my past pain at an earlier age.

But like a lot of us, I buried it to look normal, to take care of others, to just survive. I wasn’t accomplishing any of those things. Inside I was chaos. The fruit of my pain was a fear of communication.

A trigger for me is being snapped at. I want to crawl under something when that happens unexpectedly. I want to crawl there and cry, and hide, and never come back out. So I often bury things to avoid these types of feelings and reactions.

I’m getting better now though. I have done a lot of spiritual work in the last few years. Still working. I’ve talked to a psychologist and now have a life-coach. I learn by doing too. Sometimes, if I’m feeling extra brave, I might go to a communication technique I’ve learned and try to approach a delicate subject with someone to talk it out. But it’s hard because you never really know how the other person may react or what pain they are carrying in the conversation.

You have to take that risk. That risk is important. Not just for you, but for them as well. First, you are showing the person that you respect and value the relationship. You are showing them you trust that they are going to listen and care enough to put a value on what you feel. If you are on the receiving end, you listen. Reciprocity is important. We receive what we give.

Finally, you are showing that you are a high-quality person whose needs and wants are important in the relationship too. By being brave enough to be vulnerable you are actually creating a sense of confidence in yourself for the next time.

Compassion for yourself is important By accepting your triggers, recognizing that healing is needed, and valuing yourself enough to speak from the heart, you show the other person you care about them as well. Creating a space of love and openness can help a relationship grow and thrive for years to come.