Over the many years that Iâ€™ve been practicing therapy, Iâ€™ve found that couples that are struggling in their relationships often succumb to the default mode of silence. Sometimes, itâ€™s one person who defers to the unspoken, and at times itâ€™s actually both. In either circumstance, such silenceâ€”not a healthy pause or meditative breakâ€”speaks to the absence of verbal and emotional intimacy. Unless weâ€™re communicating on levels of extra sensory perception or body language, words are the only tools available to us to communicate let alone resolve our issues. Thereâ€™s little sense to being in a relationship and resorting to silence. Not only does it sabotage the lifeline of a healthy coupling, it chokes your expressive needs.
When you can express what youâ€™re feelingâ€”in the moment that youâ€™re experiencing itâ€”thereâ€™s much less likelihood that youâ€™ll act out on that feeling. Problematic feelings that go unexpressed tend to percolate and boil overâ€”they take on energy of their own, and the ensuing conflict hours or days later may have little correlation to the original emotional insult. When this occurs thereâ€™s little chance of being validated, as there may be little correspondence between your hurt feelings and the disruption of the moment.
Telling someone that you feel angry, and explaining why you do, will ordinarily sever the reactive state of being angry or acting angrily. Furthermore, the non-verbalization and suppression of your feelings willâ€”over timeâ€”result in substantial resentment, with the accompanying behavior that we might expect. If you donâ€™t share your problematic feelings, there is a great probability that youâ€™ll act out on them, in any number of unrelated ways. Having done so, you now become the problem in the otherâ€™s eyes. Weâ€™ve now entered into a negative spiral of silence and struggle.
When we think of controlling people, we ordinarily conjure images of loud or aggressive individuals. They may, in fact, appear to be bullying and controlling of others. Yet we know exactly what weâ€™re dealing with. There are no surprises. hereâ€™s a much more insidious type of control, however, which is predicated upon silence. When we donâ€™t share our thoughts with each other, we are often doing so to control the otherâ€™s reactions and behavior. If they donâ€™t know what weâ€™re contemplating, then they canâ€™t possibly respond. At times, people who are inclined to please others or avoid confrontation fall prey to this dilemma. The tendency is to choose silence rather than upset the other party.
SOURCES: Psychology Today