When Silence isn’t Golden
Silence is golden is a very common idiom. This type of silence pertains to keeping silent in a situation when silence is the best option. There are just times when nothing needs to be said.
Another example of silence is golden is when after a weekend having guests in your house and they have now all left, the silence can be defining yet beautiful and greatly needed.
There are even guidelines for when to keep silent.
Stay Silent When:
You have nothing to say. …
You need time to solidify your reaction. …
It’s better left unsaid. …
You don’t have a receptive listener. …
You have not been asked your opinion…
Keeping silent can spare your hurting someone. Oddly enough, keeping silent can also hurt.
Consider the following quotes:
“Please tell me I’m not as forgettable as your silence is making me feel.”
“Silence hurts more than truth.”
“No response is a response. And it’s a powerful one. Remember that.”
“It hurts everyday, the absence of one who was once there.”
“Silence hurts and makes us feel unwanted.”
“Harm is done with acts, but also with silence.”
I grew up with the “silent treatment.” It was traumatizing. It can be a form of abuse. It can cause anger and distress. Research has shown that the act of ignoring or excluding activates the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain (The Surprising Truth about the Silent Treatment. HeySigmund.com).
I would rather someone yell and scream rather than remain silent. I would rather someone tell me that they need a break for a while than remain silent.
Ghosting is similar to the silent treatment. ‘Ghosting is a form of ostracizing. Being ostracized activates the brain’s pain centers, incites sadness and anger, increases stress, lowers self-esteem and robs us of a sense of control. Ghosting offers an extra special boost of uncertainty.
“All social animals ostracize. It’s an evolutionary selected trait. In the savannah, where ostracism usually leads to death in a matter of days, prides of lions ostracize if another lion starts limping — even if it’s their own mother. This points to why it hurts so so much when a friend just vanishes or a hiring committee who seemed to really like you during the first five interviews is no longer in touch. They are effectively telling your evolutionary brain that you’ve been deemed damaged goods. Your brain’s hardwired response to being ghosted will be along the lines of ‘I can die now,’ but — mercifully — there are ways to tamp down that message.” — Kipling D. Williams, a professor of psychology at Purdue University.
Williams continues, “Any form of ostracism registers in the brain as pain, the very same way a burn or a cut might register,” says Williams, whose research concludes that even brief episodes of ostracism involving strangers or people we dislike activates the brain’s pain centers, incites sadness and anger, increases stress, lowers self-esteem and robs us of a sense of control.”
Ghosting researcher Gili Freedman, assistant professor of psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, says the behavior is particularly painful because it also offers an extra special boost of uncertainty. “When someone tells you you’ve been rejected, you at least know for sure,” says Freedman. “With ghosting you are left thinking, ‘Well, maybe it’s not over. Maybe there’s still a chance.”’
The above is an excerpt from an article in Parade Magazine, There’s Actually a Scientific Reason Why ‘Ghosting’ Hurts So Much — And Here’s How You Can Cope, by Victoria Clayton.
It may seem easier or kinder to ghost someone versus be honest with the person. In actuality it is less painful to be honest. There are many reasons for wanting to break off with someone. As many reasons as exist there are just as many ways of telling someone that you need a break or are no longer interested in talking with them. Feelings may get hurt, but they will mend. Not being honest and simply disappearing causes uncertainties and much more pain. Step up and be honest. You’ll both feel better in the end.