The Silent Treatment

 

I thought I would begin by defining the word, “silent,” defined as not making or accompanied by any sound.  Synonym is “unspoken.” 

 

Not only in my own life, but also in my practice, I often hear people speak of the “silent treatment.”  It means different things to different people, but I feel it is when someone, usually of importance, withholds any verbal communication for a little to a long period of time. 

 

As a child or teen, it affects deeply.  It becomes internalized to the child or teen as, “I’m not even worthy enough to be spoken to,” in others, it becomes anger, and later, the child or teen might begin to hurt others before they can hurt them.  These behavior patterns are repeated on family members, non-family members, and even their own children if not addressed.  It can be a hurt that cuts to the core when they are around this person as an adult, who has inflicted this kind of pain.  It’s like they immediately become that hurt child around that person, especially a parental figure. 

 

This is often when someone comes to therapy to address their family of origin issues and begin working on their child within.  When the person begins to focus on healing the child within, they begin to know who they are and then very importantly, who they are becoming.