Friday, January 25, 2008

Silence is Golden
Holy epiphanies, Batman! Some days you learn incredible amounts of information about yourself. I have always LOATHED the silent treatment and will talk to the silently angry person until I'm blue in the face in an attempt to get them to talk to me. Whenever I've done this, I've ended up feeling weak, angry, hurt, and desperate, and the other person is allowed to feel smug. They are relishing their victory over me.

No wonder I can't handle this - it's point-blank manipulation: withholding affection - even basic acknowledgement! - from someone until she is broken to your will. It is psychological warfare - torture. Don't respond to the person until she addresses you in some way that you deem worthy of a response. It's a guaranteed way to make her feel like she has no worth apart from you - that she has no right to any opinion different from yours.

This was my dad's big, bad trick. Of course, he really didn't understand that he was manipulating me and he DARNED sure wouldn't have agreed that's what he was doing, but that was the effect of this behavior.

I will say again as I have said elsewhere that I love my father, and I have a comfort in knowing that he is home with God. Now I believe that in his perfected state, he is truly remorseful for the wrongs he did while here, and that makes it easier to forgive him. I know in my heart that what he did was not intended to harm me. It was just the easy way out.

But it was what he learned at his own father's knee. At one point during my father's first marriage (to my sister's mom), his father refused to speak to him for one entire year. (I do not know the circumstances well.) When I realize that, my heart goes out to my dad - the man who didn't know how to break the chain.

Having friends write you off is just as painful when it's your family. Sometimes more so because you don't always have the benefit of knowing what makes them tick. It just kills my spirit when people will not permit me to be nice to them. It may sound crazy, but it's true. I don't want to be nasty to people. I think it makes me the better person to be able to speak to those who have done or meant harm to me.

NOT that I mean that in a superior manner. I am just the same as everyone else, but I will not allow myself to be diminished or demeaned by someone else's actions or attitudes about me, even when it means they react badly to pleasant comments from me. They do not have the right to make me feel unworthy or less than unless I provide them that right. I choose not to do that any longer. I do not like taking the silent road myself. I know that comes as a great shock to you. (Oh, REALLY?! We'd never have guessed!)

What I am, I am. I am kind. I have more love in my heart than I know what to do with. I am selfish in that I want things for myself. I feel young. I am not perfect. I spend more money than I have and I trust people from the start. I fall in love hard. I am generous with giving. I am protective of myself but still let myself be hurt because a life that has no pain has no love. I love my family and my friends. I am a person with hopes and dreams, just like you. I do not live up to my potential. I overreach my goals. I am a paradox, but that is part of human nature.

Mother Teresa said it best:

People are often unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.


FuckED said...

I disagree with your stance on the silent treatment. I don't think it's psychological torture. Sometimes the other person just needs to think and wants to avoid and overly emotional display. I often give the 'silent treatment' when something has just hit me in the face. I'm not intentionally willing someone's psyche, I'm just collecting myself, thoughts, etc before I am ready to respond. Just thought I would throw that out there...

DeskDiva said...

That's not quite the situation I mean. With what you're talking about, yes, and if that were the case, I could agree with that - hoping the person would actually tell me they needed space.

What I'm really talking about is someone simply turning the other person off in anger for a length of time - sort of a shunning. I cannot bear it. When my dad did it, it was very cold and deliberate. That's what I'm referring to by silent treatment.

Of course, because of my dad, any silent treatment causes a lot of pain in my heart because the gut reaction is that old one. It's another neural pathway that I have to change....

WriterDude said...

Great quote from Mother Theresa, and thanks for the link to my blog. I hope you find all that you seek.

You mentioned over in Dave's World that you have an email address for LBFF. Do please send it, and leave me a comment if you run into any trouble doing so. Thanks in advance.