“I am not talking to you.”
“Jao main tumse baat nahi kar rahi.”
We say these statements without thinking about their after effects. As kids, when someone said these words to us, we’d burst into tears, run around and do anything to ensure the person who said it would break the silence. This practice of (so-called) taming kids turns into the worst nightmares when done to adults. After all, we had a very precious piece of advice which our dear moms always say, “If you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all.”
Reprimand me, shout at me, vent out what has to be spoken but never give me the cold shoulder treatment. However, as grownups, we are rebellious and have our own thought processes. Our egos are bigger, and the ‘Me’ always comes before the ‘We’.
After reaching a certain age, we develop logical thinking and feel that we need to start to make a few practices better and eradicate redundant age old norms. Youth is tempestuous. The impulsive decisions which we make then cannot be justified as we haven’t experienced the importance of the practices which define a family.
This is where parents should step in. They should stand with their children, hold their hands and calmly explain to them the ‘WHYS’. Instead, they use the dreadful weapon of Silence. They stop talking to the faltering child and think it’s the best way out. Truth be said, silence causes emotional agony that equals physical pain.
A year ago, I had an argument with my Dad on a trivial issue. I didn’t realise this argument would turn into torment for me so much as to make every breath burdensome. I knew what I was saying was right but the way I said it was certainly not. My tone and choice of words of sharing my thoughts turned against me which led to emotional exhaustion. I was fine for the first two days when we didn’t speak.
Each had a valid reason not to do so. I thought he must be angry and let him have his own time. He was in front of me with a blank look and the anger in his eyes stopped me from apologising. I thought to myself, “Why should I say sorry when I am not wrong?”
After a week, the silent treatment started troubling me. I was unable to focus on my work. It seemed as though everyone and everything was conspiring against me. A month later, I turned into a person I never was. I became short tempered, over reacting on the slightest cue of disagreement. Dad’s silence was now taking away all who were precious to me.
My children, whom I have always met with a smile and hug, were seeing my worst side. I was constantly scolding them. My husband wasn’t spared either. He was facing the brunt of my frustration. I was an ideal person to work with and my team and colleagues started staying distant. I knew I wasn’t the happy go lucky person anymore and everyone around me was paying the price of this cold war.
Now, I found it difficult even to smile. I was approaching every one close to Dad and asking them to talk to him. Though I knew it’s only me and him who could resolve the issue, we both were walking in opposite directions and the hope of a ceasefire started fading out.
As months passed, I desperately wished for a reconciliation with Dad but the quiet kept us locked at horns. We soon reached a stage where being in each other’s presence would irritate us. We started avoiding being in the same room. If we crossed each other, our pulsating anger was visible on our faces. People around us started noticing it too. I was extremely angry at him but I can assure you all, we both never hated each other.
Prolonged silence also increases misunderstandings when you fall out with someone so close. This silent treatment became the slayer of the most beautiful of a father and daughter relationship. You bring back the past mistakes and forget all the sacrifices this person made for you. Silence of a loved one acts like a whiplash and when ignored by an important individual, it feels as though that love has turned into hatred.
Communicating is equivalent to therapy and when this path is closed a mental block is created from a human being you turn into an undesired object. Fight, argue, do whatever you can but never ever go to the extremities of the wicked silent treatment. Silence makes people distant and reconnecting later is grueling. We should rather invest time in reconciling with the person than in putting them in isolation.
Words may sting, but silence is what breaks the heart!
– Seema Chhoriya