Is Silence really golden!?

It is tact that is golden, not silence. ~Samuel Butler

So goes the popular quote and for the most part, this is a pretty valuable quote to remember.  However, for the last few days, I have noticed many Facebook statuses touting how silence is NOT golden, but downright ugly! First of all, I think it should be made clear exactly what kind of silence is golden and which is not.

Reserving your comments in an argument to either stop it from escalating or so you won’t say something you would later regret is a good thing.  When you choose to keep negative thoughts to yourself, that’s a great thing. Even when pushed and antagonized, choosing to remain silent if the only words you would offer would add more fuel to the fire, well that is definitely golden.

So what is not golden about silence? In a nutshell, prolonged purposeful silence where one refuses to communicate on any level for long periods of time.  This is literally giving someone the silent treatment, the cold shoulder or showing apathy. One of the statuses I saw recently said “silence is violence”. I thought to myself, wow, this is actually a pretty true statement. When you think about it, there are people who use silence as a weapon of sorts. It is their favorite way to “teach someone a lesson” by showing them that by their silence, they are not worth the energy or even courtesy to communicate with them. They essentially erase their existence mentally if not physically. They banish that person without giving the person the benefit of closure or reconciliation. People who practice this behavior feel this is ok to do, because they are not physically hurting the person, so technically they cannot be considered an abuser. WRONG! This is one of the most malicious forms of abuse, simply because it reduces the person to feeling unimportant. They are literally torturing someone they profess to love. So now the victim questions whether or not they are truly loved by them.  To me this is really pretty hostile and uncivilized behavior. In my opinion this behavior is definitely emotional abuse.

Deep vengeance is the daughter of deep silence.

The hurt and pain this behavior causes is enormous.  What is ironic is the perpetrator uses this behavior as a form of control not only on their victim, but on themselves. Using silence is a way to avoid uncomfortable topics and to keep things in limbo, till they can get control of their own emotions.  Users of this method are more times than not emotionally detached, this is where they refuse to try and connect with anyone emotionally for fear of hurt, rejection or even abandonment. The control over the victim comes in, in that the more one is ignored, the more they want to come to a resolution.  This is exactly what the ignorer knows and wants. This refocuses the attention back on them. The funny thing is, with repeated use of this behavior, and make no mistake, when an abuser uses this behavior once they will use it again and again, they actually push the person away from them. Granted some people stay longer than others and some are emotionally disturbed themselves, so this scenario can play out for many years causing a toxic, dysfunctional relationship. Abusers have lots of excuses why they act this way. Some are:

• I don’t want to fight
• You told me to leave
• I needed some space/time
• You were out of control and you needed time

These excuses are just that excuses. Mature loving and caring adults communicate and discuss issues.  You can always agree to disagree. Using these excuses and any others is really another way to blame the victim. Two people trying to resolve a disagreement is normal and healthy.  Once person withholding communication so the other is left in limbo is cruel and abusive treatment!

So, why do they do it? I believe this is done simply because the abuser fears abandonment. They feel extremely insecure and feel that if they abandon the other first, they will be able to emotionally handle it, IF the victim chooses to leave them or reject them. They choose that moment to do this, because they know this is the time they are needed the most, so they are assured that the impact will be severe and they will have a psychological and emotional hold on the victim, and as such will not be abandoned by them. This form of control they may want you to believe is love, but it is not. Love does not hurt and this does! When an abuser is feeling pain and conflict because of their insecurity, they see nothing more than to make you feel pain as well. Hurt people, hurt people. The abandonment they feared will happen, maybe not physically right away, but certainly emotionally as the victim will start to mentally and emotionally close their heart to them. While many people are able to maintain love and care even in arguments and disagreements, most cannot bear this type of emotional abuse and that is what will kill the love and precipitate the abandonment the abuser feared. To be ignored and denied affection is a horrible thing.  It basically relegates one to being an invisible object not worthy of love.

Now, I am sure the abuser would deny that they are causing all this when they choose to use the silent treatment, but that’s only because they do not give any serious thought to their actions. They are only thinking about what they can do immediately to feel back in control. Relationships of all kind require communication to stay healthy and function optimally. I understand that at a heated moment you may feel pretty overwhelmed and may choose to have sometime to yourself. However if that time lasts several days, weeks, months well you can be sure that that person is thinking solely of themselves and not of the relationship and certainly not of the other individual.

I want to make it clear, that both men and women use this form of abuse. Silent treatment ruins trust. Silent treatment causes insecurity. The bottom line is silent treatment is not beneficial to either party because it degrades a relationship and cause the very thing that the perpetrator does not want. Many times, the person giving the silent treatment would like to let it go, but their ego adds another layer to this complicated and dysfunctional behavior causing them to continue when they would rather be done.  Why give the cold shoulder? Communicate, express your concerns and this will strengthen your relationship which will in turn simply warm your heart.
Peace & Light

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About Caroll Atkins

Loving Designing Living!! All forms of design intrigue me. As a graphic designer, I design for my livelihood (C.A.SlyDesigns) but as a writer, I do it for my living! At this time in my life, I MUST write. LoveDesignLife, is my joy and my gift to you. If my articles resonate with you, I pray they will also help you in life much as living them and writing about them has helped me. Today, it is no longer about thinking outside of the box. It’s bigger!! It is all about “Transcending the sphere!” coined by yours truly. I work hard to accomplish my goals. However, if I ever fall short I don’t worry I just eat cake cause tomorrow is another day!!
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8 Responses to Is Silence really golden!?

  1. jolynproject says:

    I would not have considered the silent treatment as a form of abuse but I think your piece really does a wonderful job to make the case.

    • Thank you! I didn’t either till I saw it in action for several days even months. At that point I reevaluated it and developed quite a bit more thoughts on it. I also asked people who were effected how they felt. Finally, it happened to me and I knew everything they were saying was valid and more. After more consideration, I concluded that this is very definitely emotional abuse at its height. Thanks for reading and thanks for following my blog, I am very honored by that 🙂

  2. James says:

    Very interesting topic, and applicable in relationships other than “love relationships”. I must admit while in a “love relationship” I reverted to the silent treatment as a means of protecting myself when I began to feel as if everything I revealed about my deepest emotions would eventually be used against me as a weakness. I suppose trust was lost and it was a defense mechanism I used that in retrospect turned out to be correct.

  3. The silent treatment. I so enjoyed this piece. u touched on some very key points and pointed it out as a abuse or way to abuse. Silence never solved anything except when guarding ur heart or avoiding imminent danger. Otherwise its just plain stupid……..

    • Yes Toni, that is one thing I did not even say, that it is stupid. It is just plain sad that someone is so fearful of loosing control or facing their emotions that they resort to this behavior when a good heart to heart is really what they need. Thanks Toni!

  4. Doris says:

    I agree. When someone chooses to stop communicating with you and not give a reason, it is abuse. I had never thought about it in this way. If as time passes he/she decides to resume talking to me again, I never forget about it
    and walk on egg shells around them.

    • Exactly Doris! They don’t realize they erode the relationship with this behavior. What they believe they will gain which is control from one leaving, is actually what they hasten to become a reality. Very detrimental.

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