Why do we say we’re fine when we’re not? To others and to ourselves? Why does our body nonverbally communicate socioculturally derived “normalcy” and wellbeing when we feel horrible? And why might we ignore messages our body tries to send us? Why do we silence ourselves? These questions transcend interpersonal communication and point at intrapersonal denial of embodied struggle. Using a new method, artifactual autoethnography, I attempt to understand self-silencing behavior through a communicative perspective and assess why self-silencing behavior is so difficult to break. I revisit a novel I wrote when I was 16 years old, Unchanted, to see if there were patterns in my self-silencing behavior, and find the relationship among sociocultural mechanisms, communication, embodiment, trauma, and self-silencing. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I find in returning to my novel this trauma impacted my self-silencing behavior more than I assumed and propose a term for the multi-layered complexity of internal and external self-silencing behavior: trauma-induced subconscious self-silencing.
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Program of Study
Olson, K. L. (2022). An unchanted life of self-silencing: An artificial autoethnography introducing "trama-induced subconscious self-silencing" [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/1257/
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