Picture this: After knowing a friend or partner for a while, you move in together. Suddenly, her “cute quirks” turn into what feels like nails on a chalkboard. But rather than tell your roommate not to drink your almond milk, you just ignore it and talk shit to your friends.
Let me tell you, I’ve been there.
Many of us express ourselves in a myriad of unhealthy ways.
Some of my personal favorites include:
- The "whoever shouts the loudest is right" disorder
- The "bottle it up and blame myself" syndrome
- The passive-aggressive "I don’t have any issue with what you’re doing" approach
Today, I want to focus on the Silent Killer AKA The Silent Treatment
The Easy Way Out is The Hard Way Out
While it may seem easier to be silent and avoid confrontation, it’s a lot like shooting yourself in the foot. While a temporary cool off period is healthy if stated as such, extended silence can lead to resentment. It may also lead to an eruption where you’re unable to express yourself in a healthy way. When that happens, the expression isn’t directly linked to the issue you had in the first place so there’s little to no chance that you will be heard or validated. (Ex. “I want you to want to do the dishes!”)
Silence is manipulative
When we deploy the Silent Killer we create a storyline in our heads assuming how the other person would respond if we actually shared our feelings. We play out an entire script that locks them into a stalemate and gives neither party the chance to respond or evolve. You may believe that “They won’t listen” or “I know how they’ll respond,” but you’re invalidating yourself when you fail to communicate your authentic self.
If You’re the One Receiving the Silent Treatment:
We tend to blame the person who’s silent for his or her lack of communication, but it’s both parties who contribute to the issue. Not only do you allow it to continue, but if you don’t share your feelings, there’s a greater chance you’ll act on the underlying negative emotion in a number of unhealthy ways. And when you do this, you’re just supporting the storyline in the other person’s head. This creates a vicious cycle of silence, resentment, and acting out.
So What’s The Silent Killer Really About?
Silence is really about a lack of verbal, emotional, and/or physical intimacy. While it not only impacts the relationship, the greater damage is that it robs us of our ability to express ourselves and our needs.
So what do you do?
Express yourself. Try stating your feelings calmly in the moment, even if it feels uncomfortable or you feel vulnerable. Expression or the lack thereof is a choice you make. Make the right one.
Have you deployed or received the Silent Killer? Share your experience in the Comments Section below!