TMJ is caused by over-clenching the jaw. We clench our jaws when we feel stressed out, but also related is when we feel silenced.
Unable to speak, forcibly silencing ourselves, we shut our mouths. Either we feel that our opinions are not wanted, or that will not be respected or well received. We fear speaking because we will be laughed at or be punished. We forcibly clench our jaws to keep ourselves from talking.
Give thanks for the self-preservation instinct. Give thanks for mindfulness too, and becoming aware. It keeps us safe, but it also operates from a fight or flight, caveman place.
Here are some options –
Give speaking a try. Write what you want to say down first, then speak it. Practice alone, like you are in a play. Before you are around those people again, pray for the words. Pray for the right time to speak as well.
If you honestly feel that you can’t talk, then create. Give voice to your fears and concerns in art. Write about it, paint it, dance it. Express it to get it out. Then you have an option – if you still feel that you cannot share this, burn it, offering it up to God.
One of the last options is to change jobs or friends. Every difficulty is a chance to grow. If you leave a difficult situation early, you are missing out on the lesson, and it will simply be repeated in the next relationship you create. However, sometimes leaving is the right thing to do. Pray about it and feel out the right answer.