I welcome you to watch the video below where I describe the way in which I struggled to date women due to my stammer and due to the lack of confidence that I had as a result. I have included the transcript below the video for those people that would prefer to read than watch a video.
I suppose for people who’ve never had a stammer, it can be quite difficult to understand why it would be harder to speak on the telephone than just in general, but it certainly was for me. I knew that to have a girlfriend, I would need to phone her. Her parents would no doubt answer the phone from time to time, as would a brother and sister, if the girlfriend had a brother and sister. So it was something that even if I managed to gain, obtain, meet a girl, have a girlfriend, it would then be hard to continue that relationship in the kind of manner that I wanted, a relaxed, happy, confident manner.
At the start, meeting a girl for me was extremely difficult. I had a severe lack of confidence compared to the average teenager and in the end I didn’t actually meet my first girlfriend until the age of eighteen. For the average person, I would imagine they would meet their first girlfriend probably at the age of about 14. I’m just thinking, what a horrible thing to say, “The average person,” this just seems a wrong statement to make. For me, I knew I was different. I was frustrated I was different, but in a way, because I realised I wasn’t accepting the stammer, it was just thinking, “Well, this is me at the moment.” This is why even at the age of say fourteen; I had a goal, a lifetime goal to achieve fluency.
I will never forget one occasion, aged twenty. I was dating a young woman and I got on very, very well with this person and I felt very comfortable when with her. She didn’t mind at all that I had a stammer and even when I did stammer around her, she didn’t react in any negative type of way. After dating her for a number for of months, or certainly weeks, I started to feel rather confident around her and the more confident I became around her, the better I spoke, the more fluent I spoke.
One day we were sitting together watching television in her living room, we were the only ones in the house and I’d been there for maybe twenty minutes, I had spoken really well, hardly a stammer at all, in fact. Then her parents arrived back home, their car pulled up onto the drive, we both noticed the car pulling up onto the drive and straightaway, in my head, I heard voices saying to me, “You are now going to struggle, Steve, to talk, if her parents come in to talk to you,” which is very likely to happen because they were very nice people. “It’s okay talking to your girlfriend because you are comfortable around her, but with her parents, it is a total different ball game, you’re bound to stammer because you want to impress them.” Now these voices I found very hard to control, very hard to fight off, as such, and in a way, I believed that if I could somehow, in the future, eradicate those voices from my head, that that was going to be part of the solution, to enable me to achieve total fluency. That was for the future however.
Anyway, my girlfriend’s parents did come in to see us, they did start speaking, asking me questions, “How are you, Steve? How is work going?” For whatever reason, I just couldn’t answer these questions fluently and the stammer was just terrible. They only stayed to speak to us for a short amount of time, realising, no doubt, that I was struggling in a big way. They left the room and my girlfriend said to me, “What happened there? How come for the last twenty minutes you’ve been speaking to me virtually totally fluent, only an odd stammer here and there, minor hiccups, however, when my parents come into the room, you’re unable to say a word? What happened?”
Again, this was a woman who seemed to understand me a lot better than the majority of people that I’d met in my life and who is now finding it very difficult to understand. To try in that situation to explain to somebody that has never had a stammer why I suddenly struggled is quite difficult to do. This is what I found hard to do during that period, when I had the speech impediment, and why I found it so frustrating, embarrassing and humiliating, and why I was so eager to achieve fluency, which is why at the age of twenty two, I went about attempting to do just that.
Okay, I will leave that there for now and I will continue to make videos on other blog posts. There are other videos on other pages of this website as well. Thank you.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net