Silence is used as a weapon, as a place to hide, as an excuse for cowardice...but it never conveys what the person wielding it intends. What silence ultimately communicates is tremendous insecurity. You lack the ability to articulate with eloquence, so fear no one will listen. Or, care.
It's true, too. One must use their words wisely. But you don't have to be Hemingway to get your point across. Just keep it simple. But silence is simple, you say??? Why yes, dear, it is. So simple, only you know what it means.
People tend to fill in the blanks. When you maintain long-term silence, all you're doing is isolating yourself further. Those who care about you will only attempt to draw you out for so long. After a while, your silence becomes as meaningless as you. You literally silence yourself into obscurity. An obscurity you secretly wish to be saved from. As if your silence is a social test of some kind. And the person who remains undaunted will be your savior. Good luck there. If that happens, you've got yourself a big ol' piece of codependent pie. Enjoy choking on that one....
Silence is rooted in shame. And the guilty are the worst offenders. In every sense. They often feel entitled or "owed" because of social hardships that inhibit socio-economic growth. An immature attitude, allowing the offender to remain a victim and therefore sympathetic, perpetuates the apparent arrested development, making these people expert saboteurs. Every action and interaction is a trap. Why? Don't take it personally. It's about them, not you. They're into emotional BDSM. Self-punishment. If you prefer whips and chains to emotional pain, run, don't walk, in the opposite direction.
How do you best deal with these silent sad sacks??? Leave them to their own devices. Let them drown in their silence. They will tire of it. And when they decide to lift their self-imposed exile, you may also decide that there is nothing worth listening to.
Silence is a facade. A bad one. Socially, it's like committing suicide. In a romantic relationship, giving a partner the silent treatment is a transparent method of control. Disappearing on a loved one and ignoring communication is psychotic. Literally. It's a pattern of behavior associated with Psychology's "Dark Triad": Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy.
A person who cares for you will not disappear, will not cut off communication, because they value you. They realize you are worth their time, their words, and they want yours, too. Being cut off only communicates fear and self-loathing by the person who's gone dark. It's creating drama where it isn't needed because there is simply nothing of substance behind their action. Yes, silence is an action. An act of hostility.
Drama queens are extremists, a trait also associated with narcissism. While technology has helped create a narcissistic society, there is a difference between real life and say, a video game. You can do all kinds of bad things in video games. You can even die. You can walk away. Forget all about it. And return weeks, months or years later as if nothing has changed. You'll be whole again. Alive. People in the game will not remember the evils you committed. You can pick up right where you left off. But in real life, when you commit unthinkable acts against living, breathing people, there are consequences that your virtual reality experiences have not prepared you for.
If you're the person staying silent, you can redeem yourself by coming clean. Making yourself vulnerable. Saying how your shame, your guilt, your insecurity, and of course, your uncontrolled fear, is living your life for you. Try telling the person you care about that you actually care for them. What do you have to lose??? Pride? Ego? That's no big deal to someone like you. You don't feel much self-worth anyway. But it does make you even more scared of rejection.
Well, if you've been a silent git, it's likely you'll get at least a verbal kick in the pants. You deserve it. But if your WORDS are genuine, and you back them up with authentic ACTIONS, people will generally listen.
On the other hand, if you are the victim of silence, though difficult to accept what often feels like rejection, you can take comfort in the fact that such an insecure, fearful, and damaged individual is out of your life. People like that can't be saved; they are emotional vampires. Unless there is a(n unlikely) sudden spiritual awakening, and complete shift in self-awareness, said individuals will only feed on your every resource until there's nothing left. Not even you.
The thought of a silencer's return can cause anxiety then, because, of course, they always come back. Like a bad burrito. But fear not. Even if they're too cowardly to do more than cyber stalk you like you're their new religion, it's really a no-brainer. Because the moment they went silent, the proverbial ball went careening into your court. Should they suddenly decide to talk to you, you can return the silent favor. Or, you can listen. The beautiful part of being a receiver of silence is that YOU, not the offending silencer, have UNLIMITED options.
People who attempt to hold you emotional hostage on any level are bound by their own fear. You do not have to take on their problems. You will grieve for their loss, for their pain, for the limits they put on themselves, but you are not responsible for the decision of another independent adult. They may want you to feel that way. But manipulation will only get them so far.
Funny how silence is sometimes seen as clever. Do you want to know what clever truly is? Using your words to better yourself and others. That's something. Silence is nothing. And nothing comes from nothing.
But words? Whole countries exist as a result. That's TRUE power.