25 Nov When Silence is Not Peace
When silence is used to shut someone out, to avoid, to pressure, to punish etc. it is not peace. There is an increasing trend these days to cut people off suddenly without explanation or walk away. Unresolved conflict can be carried for years or even a lifetime. This is when there has been no closure from the situation. Often there will be reasons such as people are afraid to discuss their feelings, or confront the issue or they simply believe they are right and the other wrong, let them suffer. This attitude of ‘I am right’ is often used to justify cruel acts, silence is one of the most violent and disempowering.
I did some research some years ago whilst I was experiencing the silent treatment from a man I fell in love with. He expressed with his body language interest when I saw him around a university, but he ignored all communications. There was one moment when we did talk but it was not resolved. This became a source of great pain for 8 years. I have to say, out of that pain sprung a wealth and depth of poetry as I had to find the truth in the silence. So always there is a gift even in terrible suffering. The research I conducted into the silent treatment revealed that it activated a pain centre in the brain that was equivalent to physical violence. It was deemed a power and control behaviour to subjugate the other. It is a form of emotional abuse as it is continuous over time and the one engaging is aware of the pain it is causing or simply doesn’t care. There are issues of why stay in a situation so painful. In my case I wanted to understand why. As I am into peace I had to look into the mind of another who didn’t have feelings of empathy for me, and even when he knew I didn’t think I could go on, he said and did nothing. That was a line he crossed that linked us. I have been searching for what went wrong in this person to not care for another human being. I also looked into myself as to why I needed a response. Where was his humanity. This was a question that I knew opened up more questions around how we hurt others and in the extreme to kill others with no remorse. The heartlessness I witnessed was astounding and yet it is the reality for this person. It raised the question, how can a person can be disconnected from his emotions. I went through the socialisation of the masculine, how men are taught not to feel, that to express feelings is being ‘a girl’. I do find that offensive, to be a girl is a beautiful experience, particularly when showing emotions. This put down of the feminine is part of the problem I feel and a denial of the feminine or feeling side within men. Men are exposed to stereotypes of the strong silent type who feels nothing but is the hero because of this. We see such grotesque violence dressed up as courage when in truth it is weakness and failure to solve problems. Just kill it or destroy it and make sure you win.
Emotions for a long time have been seen as weakness. Yet in reality they are natural and they help us to feel life more fully. They also activate creativity and awareness of others feelings. To cry releases tensions and as I tell boys we have tear ducts to release tears and then we feel better, it is healthy for us. It has nothing to do with being a boy or girl. It is a human expression and an important release that prevents violence from suppression. So the distortion of emotions and indeed suppression of them, I feel, disconnects some people from feeling empathy for others. They go through life just hurting more and more people. It is very sad when you reflect on it. I see the perpetrator as the one who is truly suffering, to live in a stagnant world that feels empty or devoid of feeling is a deeply unhappy space. They never know the freedom of true love. Anyone that thinks having love is some form of hindrance doesn’t know love. It is the most freeing and liberating expression. The love I had in my life was true equality and no judgement. It just expressed natrually and was deeply peaceful.
What I would like to say to anyone who has chosen to not respond, remained silent or cut someone off, is go to that person and simply tell them why. Don’t leave any stone unturned to communicate the reasons. You don’t have to make up and be bosom buddies again, but just speak the truth without causing pain, allow them to at least know and if they wish to reply they have a chance to share their side. Learning to listen without interruption, keeping your mind open is key to resolving conflict. It is not easy sometimes to hear the truth or realise you may be wrong, this is what I often find. We are mostly wrong when we judge others. There is usually more to it. You can be honest without being brutal. If you can’t speak it, write it but make sure the other knows why and be totally honest without trying to justify, just say it as you would to yourself without covering. This is the true courage of man or woman. To not deny the truth. To leave someone in uncertainty is where the pain is and if unresolved, the other carries it and energetically you are actually linked until it is resolved. When you seek to resolve a problem and not hate people you are becoming a peace maker and it is the first step to adulthood. This releases people and yourself from the negative conflict and the illusion of how bad this person is. Forgiveness has to happen for you and the other to be freed. Then you let go and it is over. Is it better to be right or happy. Something to reflect on.
Another way is to go to Byron Katie’s website and do The Work (www.thework.com) and find the truth in yourself to let go.
To create peace is to actively take responsibility for your part, it is to strive to make peace with everyone, but particularly within yourself. Not everyone will come to the party as they can be stubborn or stuck in ‘I am right’. However, at the very least speak the truth then work on letting it go. You deserve your happiness as does every person. We are each other’s keeper I feel and what we do to another we do to ourselves. When we bring peace to another it returns to us.
Give it some thought and have the courage to make a change. Cultivate love for yourself and only then can you love others. Forgive others as you would want to be forgiven. When we let the world be free then our potential can truly shine. Everyone is great in their own way when you see to look and notice the beauty of all people. Always remember this is not an empty statement ‘The truth will set you free.’
With that I must get to sleep. Another late night, oh well. It is a subject that is worth it.