Silence - Part II

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Negative and The Positive

By Pamela Brewer

JOYOUS USES OF SILENCE (used by those who are respectful of themselves and others)

Feeling music.
Exploring art.
Experiencing the written word.
Active listening.

ABUSIVE USES OF SILENCE (used by those who are disrespectful of themselves and others)

To punish.
To withhold.
To frighten.
To manipulate.
To control.

NEGATIVE USES OF SILENCE (used by those who have experienced trauma)

To hide.
To protect.
To avoid.

If you use silence joyously, continue to revel in the pleasant and powerful tool you own. If you use silence viciously either against yourself or others; realize that no one deserves such pain and rejection. If you are in a relationship in which silence keeps you safe, think about what, if anything, you need or want to do to be in a consistently more safe environment.
There are those who believe that "if you don't have something nice to say, don?t say anything at all." In fact, many children were taught this by parents who were attempting to instill in them the inappropriateness of saying the harmful things children know so well how to say. However, when this philosophy carries through into adulthood (and sometimes in childhood too), it can serve to stifle one?s true feelings. Think of how much is not said in the service of "being nice." While it is important to be mindful and respectful of the feelings of others, it is also critical not to forget the importance of being respectful of yourself.
Many times those who choose silence as a way to express/avoid the expression of the feelings are fearful that they will say/do something that is "over the top." Guess what?! The more you fear appropriate self-expression, the more you avoid self-expression, and the more likely you are to feel unable to express. What happens to feelings that stay buried deep within over time? Do the feelings just "go away" because you do not express them? Not at all. In fact, the silence allows the feelings to grow and become more complex and more frightening.

If silence is what you do consider that it may not be the safe, powerful haven you have believed it to be; perhaps it is not the gift you have thought it to be, and perhaps now is the time to work at freeing yourself of the burden. You can begin with reading and working with a professional who will help you understand and move past your fears.