That loud, empty quiet…
That anxiety-filled, exhausting space…
That question-producing, self-conscious place…
That lonely headspace that happens when your loved one, friend, or significant other is hurting, struggling, down, reflecting, or experiencing some other emotion or situation to which you’re not invited…
I used to employ the silent treatment. In my other life…when I thought nobody understood me during my teens and again when I thought it wasn’t important during my marriage. I would retreat to my cave–remember that place? The mind cave where I go to crawl into my feelings…the place that can trap you if you’re not careful. Yeah, that place. I would pack my bags and settle in for a long winters nap…or until my brain worked out my emotions and created a plan for dealing with the outside world and my inside turmoil.
“The Silent Treatment.”
I get it. I really do. I still retreat to that place sometimes, y’all know that. My visit is much shorter than it used to be. But I still go. My process time could be described as giving the silent treatment. It’s not on purpose or meant to hurt anyone. It’s more of a self-preservation thing. Like, I’m experiencing this THING and my emotions are chaotic.
The realization that you’re hurting “outsiders”–meaning those people who don’t live in your brain– is one that doesn’t happen until you happen to be an outsider, yourself. You don’t even realize the questions you’re producing in someone else’s brain when you retreat to your mind cave. You don’t know the extent of self-doubt, confusion, or hurt you’re potentially spraying into your loved ones’ brains and emotional banks.
This is a recent realization for me, personally. Y’all might be on a different level, might have different perspectives on this process and treatment…I stand by my fine print–my statements are based on my experiences and emotions, not an end-all, be-all.
So, like I said, I employ the silent treatment. Always have. BUT…come on, y’all knew there was gonna be a “but.” I love a paradigm shift, a change in perspective, a devils advocate-type of discussion.
Anyway, I have retreated to my mind cave. Sometimes I still do retreat to my mind cave. Like, yesterday. And I employ the silent treatment. I have and I do. Like, last week. BUT it’s not days, not a multiple-day trip. It doesn’t even require bags anymore.
Because I talk. I leave the lonely space. I stand up. I allow myself time to be on the floor, in my head, in my feelings for a minute……..and then I. Get. Up.
Y’all find someone to talk to. Find someone who won’t talk back. Find someone who won’t ask questions. Find someone who has no dog in the fight. Find someone who will sit and listen to you talk it out.
Find someone who will listen to YOU FIGURE IT OUT.
You don’t need to hear advice. You don’t need to hear how someone else did it. You don’t need to hear how you’re right and he’s wrong. You need to hear–I understand…what do you think…how do you feel about that… Be in a judgement-free zone.
Y’all find a friend like that. Be a friend like that. Talk. Seriously…TALK. Get up. Seriously! GET. UP. Figure it out. Don’t be the reason someone takes a trip to their own mind cave. Forward progress, people.