Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 320: The art of the silent treatment

Silence somewhere between the casino and a gas station. 
Palm Springs, California

I'm currently involved in a silent treatment. There was a fight. It happened fast, like the other day when I turned a corner and a gust of wind whipped at me with such force that I lost my breath and felt slapped in the face.

I left hurt. He left hurt. And now, we sit among our friends at the coffee shop. I observe that he's well-versed at the silent treatment. Conversing casually with everyone else, not rousing suspicion that he is deliberately not talking to me. I stare at him astounded that we are here.

How did we get here?

The content of the fight is largely blocked from memory. That's what happens with me. Trauma begets amnesia, which makes it rather difficult to work things through once the dust has settled. I recall that there was his frustration at me not opening up and my frustration at feeling pressured. I probably shouldn't have mentioned the part about me not being emotionally slutty, which probably implied that he was.

And the truth is that I did imply it.

Not my most stellar moment.

My sister told me once that if she were to give me a silent treatment, she'd call me up right away and we'd talk about it until the silent treatment was over. In that vein, I reached out with a quick little text. A shy move, I realize. But I'm scared he'll yell again and if that happens, I will react in one of two ways:
1. My inner mother will remove me from the situation. This is what happened the other day when I hung up on him.

2. My inner mountain lion will reveal herself, reveal her sharp teeth and claws and pounce with the intent to kill. She's fierce, powerful and cold-blooded.
My text was met with more silence.

So now I sit with the silence, searching for the gift. I send him love. I forgive him. I forgive me. I let us both off the hook. I catch up on Netflix. I make soup because chopping vegetables helps. And I remind myself that people do what they do based on who they are with the information they have at the time.

I honor that there is a part of him that hurts and sit with the part of me that hurts. I reach for the celery.

I have also come to the conclusion that he and I may be in the winter of our friendship. That we are divine beings currently engaged in the human experience of ending something. That we will gain skills from this that we can use later. And then we'll be grateful for the training. That this is an opportunity for growth, as all situations like this seem to be.

This silent treatment could be his soul opening an exit door for me and it could be my time to walk through.


  1. Janice, Janice........I understand. Silence almost hurts more than words ever could. We were raised to talk it through, to work things through with words, and some people weren't. I understand.....

  2. Wow. I want to remember this next time I fight with someone. It may just be my time to walk through the exit door. Love that.

  3. "I honor that there is a part of him that hurts and sit with the part of me that hurts. I reach for the celery." Best line ever.

  4. You have a way of getting to the heart of the matter. Pure.


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