One of the most acerbic truth about getting into a very transparent relationship is when we realize that we are pushed towards the end of a friendship spectrum. At such disposal, it leads to the shrinkage of usual communication to the bare minimum creating a huge vacuum of silence. And when this silence is further silenced by silence, it becomes a beginning of an end for a small and beautiful journey of friendship, and compromises thereafter, are rarely promising. Such awkward episode in the smooth sail of friendship rather stonewalls the intimacy and the one who is at the receiving end of such cold shouldering business suffocates with incurable emotional abuse and rejections.
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This demand-withdrawal pattern witnessed in the cloth of any relationship, by some marital therapists and clinicians, refer as “Silent Treatment”. It is one of the cheapest form of passive-aggressive manifestation of contempt, disapproval or discontentment because by prolonging silence, it conveys undying grievances, resentments and ignorance. When one willfully breaks the bridge of normal conversations with a malicious intent of isolating and insulating from the circle of cordial rapport, due to an involuntary resignation, the victim on the other side becomes defiant and vengeful. So, as long as it is painful for the giver to withdraw, it is even more terribly hurting for the other to accept rejections and step-mother treatment of insignificance, without really understanding the reasons of the stony mysterious silence. In this situation, both giver and the recipient are tortured and emotionally punished - one for attempting to withdraw and the other for being unable to withdraw. For this vicious cycle characteristic, few psychologists have even called it as ‘manipulative punishment’.
Silent treatment tests boundaries. It forces one to demarcate its own territory. This is risky especially for the relations written on the white paper of trusts and faith. While there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to settle the dusts of misunderstandings, it is important that both the ends come to a midpoint to make the things more transparent. In fact, both have to accept on speaking about the silence directly instead of avoiding silence with silence.
“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained”- Anonymous.