Silence isn’t Always Golden

Growing up in a family where silence was used as punishment, I was unaware of the aftermath that enduring this emotional abuse would have on my adult life. Outside the four walls of my childhood home, all appeared terrific. We were the perfect family; my father was the coach of our softball team, and my mother worked the league’s concession stand. My parents attended our extracurricular activities and were active in the community. Inside those walls, a completely different story transpired. My father was “Sargent Silencer.” Our home went into radio silence mode during moments when, whether it was his work, my mother, me, or my sister, if someone or something upset my father, everyone paid the price.  This could last hours, days, weeks, or months.

What is the “Silent Treatment”?

Per, “The “silent treatment” is a refusal to communicate verbally with another person. People who use the silent treatment may even refuse to acknowledge the presence of the other person.”

When Does it Become Abuse?

Again, per,  “A  person may be using silence in an abusive way if:

~they intend to hurt another person with their silence

~the silence lasts for extended periods of time

~the silence only ends when they decide it does

~they talk to other people but not to their partner

~they seek alliances with others

~they use silence to blame their partner and make them feel guilty

~they use silence to manipulate or “improve” their partner, or to pressure them to change their behavior.”

Carrying the Torch

To sustain significant portions of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood as though I didn’t exist created emotional issues, which I am still working through. And as much as I’d like to say, “I learned NEVER to treat those in my life as I was treated by my father,” I cannot. The harsh truth is his actions were embedded in me. Although I endured great pain and was emotionally damaged by his behavior, I unknowingly carried the torch of silence and would utilize this punishment on my husband, family, and friends. It was cruel and unjust, and the only thing I knew how to do whenever I became angry, hurt, or frustrated. My husband would ask what he had done wrong, ask if we could talk, and go out of his way to uncover the reason for my current actions; all he received in return was my radio silence.

Tossing the Torch

I’m grateful to have such a patient and supportive partner. Uncovering and breaking through the engrained behavior of withdrawing myself into silence has taken enormous therapy and constant practice. It had been my “go-to,” knee-jerk reaction for so long, that chipping away at that unhealthy behavior is taking a great deal of time. Learning to verbalize feelings and understanding the difference between needing time to collect thoughts before speaking and freezing people has been beneficial. Owning my behavior, why I adopted such actions, and wanting to make positive changes has been the most complicated and essential steps. Silence should never be a means to control a situation or hold power over others.

Silence isn’t Always Golden; it is OFTEN Galling.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of domestic violence, call 911 or otherwise seek emergency help. Anyone who needs advice or support can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 via:

~phone, at 800-799-7233

~live chat, at

~text, by texting LOVEIS to 22522

Published by dreazie87

Juggling life as a wife, mother, health care professional, and author while discovering and living my authentic self.

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