Silent Treatment Abuse also known as The Silent Treatment.
Much if not all of my depression and weight gain can be traced to my experience of being on the receiving end of the silent treatment.
It has been a bit over a week now that I began Hashi Mashi to improve myself in areas that I can control and clearly I have to find a way to cope with the deep pain caused by the silent treatment, because I do not want to go back to midnight blueberry muffins as the only way to handle the great sense of rejection.
So, I have reflected on this for a long time, actually longer than I could ever imagine, coming up on my tenth year, and this is my conclusion at this time on how to deal with the silent treatment. You might wonder, what does this have to do with losing weight or moving past debilitating depression, I think everything, because until I had a reasonable narrative in my mind of how to interpret and respond to the estrangement nightmare, I really had a tough time of stringing any reasonable days together of self improvement.
I would move forward a little and then fall off the wagon. Now, I think I have enough of a sense of acceptance as well of desire to move forward to share some thoughts on the subject that might be helpful to others and continue to be helpful for me.
It is natural for a person existing in the world to relate to their fellow colleagues, their family, their friends.
There is no time in life when communication is totally cut off except for death. Only in death is there total silence. We wish that we could communicate with our family or friends that have passed. It is always too late. But in life, when the potential still exists, to communicate to those we love or do not love, there are many times that potential is not exercised.
Since only death creates total silence, with no chance of communication, it is this reason that my view is that the Silent Treatment is essentially a weapon.
The silent treatment is used as a weapon by the person or persons wielding it against you to essentially remove you from life. They treat you as if you are already dead. They create the illusion that in fact you no longer exist, so it is impossible to communicate with you.
My guess is that we have all been on both sides of the silent treatment.
At one time or another, we became so angry or hurt by someone else that we decided to never speak to them again. We decided that for us, they are dead, they do not exist, therefore there is no more speech. We decided that whatever they did to us or said to us was so hurtful or painful, that they deserved to be excluded from our life.
And at one time or another, the same has happened to us, where someone, a friend, neighbor or relative, became so angry or hurt from our words or behavior, that they decided to kill us off with their silence.
How do we deal with the silent treatment, from a friend, from family, from a parent or from a child?
The silent treatment is an inevitable part of life. Of course it is sad to experience the silent treatment in life. It is enough that in death there is no possibility for communication and it is absurd to implement it during our lifetime, but that is what happens. Human emotions result in this type of war. Wars are not only fought with tanks and missiles. Wars are fought by people with words and with no words.
This type of war is fought with no words.
How do we deal with this type of war.
Let's assume that you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment. There are a few options:
1. Make no movement to contact your silencer. Accept it and move on with your own life.
2. Continually try to appease your silencer, attempt to create peace, attempt to have your silencer bring you back to life because the silencer has effectively treated you as if you are dead, so you want to live and look to the silencer to confer life upon you again.
3. Sporadically do number 2, maybe once a month, maybe once a year, still send a birthday card or good wishes for some other even that you know is taking place in your silencer's life.
What is the best path? What is the most effective path?
If we think about it, your silencer has made their own decision, which they are free to make. Whether there was influence or not, from either you or your behavior, or from people around them, they have made a decision to cut you off.
I believe that if you have an idea of what your role was in the cutoff, I think it is reasonable to make the effort to contact your silencer, to apologize, to mend the fences.
Hopefully your silencer will then accept your apology and you can continue to be friends, family, lovers or whatever you were before the silent treatment. Clearly many couples and many relationships do follow this type of pattern, live, fight, makeup, live, fight, makeup.
And we all know that due to the fragility of the human ego and our sensitivities and our desire to be respected and have dignity, it does not take much to create a war between people. So, it seems like a natural reaction to a perceived hurt or injustice to either openly shout at the offender or to take the passive approach of silencing the offender.
In fact, I think shouting at the offender is preferable, at least there is still communication in that scenario and you have a chance to work things out.
The silent treatment simulates death where there are no chances to work anything out, it is all over.
So, if you have already taken the action to attempt to mend fences. If you have apologized, if you have taken the effort to reach out to your silencer and to make peace, but still the silencer keeps you at a distance and pretends that you do not exist.
In this case, I think that the best course of action is to move on.
I know it is easier said than done.
What if your silencer is your own parent? What if your silencer is your husband or wife? What if your silencer is your child?
To move on is a tough one in these cases.
However, the fact is that your silencer has made this decision. And you had also made a decision to do what you could to resolve the dispute.
You cannot resolve a dispute unilaterally. You need two people to fight and you need the two minds to make up as well.
How long should you keep trying to make up with a silencer? Weeks, months, years? How many years do you keep trying to win over their affection or to just their acknowledgement that you are still alive and that silence is only for death?
The answer should be clear.
Yes, make the attempt to make up. Especially if you know that your words or actions were a prime reason for your silencer's choice of war.
Hopefully there is enough love and connection between you to heal the wound and get on with life in the world.
But after you have made the attempt, and it is still not accepted, then you have only one option.
Stop chasing after a person who is silencing you. In their world, they have cut you off. You are no longer part of it. Stop pursuing them. Leave them alone. You no longer exist for them, so stop pretending that you do. They have made the decision to pretend, so let them live in their illusion.
Start chasing your own life. Make new friends, make a new family, create a new life, as best as you can.
Stop running after people who do not acknowledge you and start to put your attention on those who do.
Of course it is natural for all of us, nobody wants enemies and nobody wants to die before their time, and the silent treatment kills people off way before their time, while they are still living and it is clearly a great source of pain.
So that is why it is so critical to start living again.
Your silencer has given you the death sentence, you are locked up in solitary confinement, you have already been executed by your silencer.
The best path is to have the courage and conviction to know that your silencer is just an imperfect human. Your silencer is wrong, the sentence is wrong, the execution is wrong and you must not continue to behave as if it is correct.
You have to dissolve the connections in your mind which force you to continue to beg and plead for your silencer's affection or attention.
You have a choice. Do you want to accept your silencer's version of you? That you no longer exist? Do you want to accept your silencer's narrative?
Your other choice is the choice of truth. You know that you exist. You are alive today, so live it.
Keep living. Pay attention to people who treat you well. Pay attention to taking care of yourself. You must live in truth and the truth is that you are alive, so stop playing along with the people that treat you as if you are not.
Have a good meal, have a good workout, have as much fun today as you can, rejoice in your life now and live it.
Start making goals for yourself that are real in the sense that it is up to you and no one else to implement them. Stop looking to your silencer or estranger to give you permission to live. Live now with your permission. Give yourself the permission to live.
Get up, stop mourning, start living, do as much as you can to help yourself and help others who want your help.
That is how to deal with the silent treatment abuse.
Zehhu, That's it.