18 August, 2008

The Silent Treatment

Sometimes I think I talk too much.  I am so concerned about ensuring that my point  of view is understood that I don't realize that I am probably wearing out the issue.  I don't see that the person has stopped listening because I have gone on and on and on...  At no time is this more poignant than when I am engaged in a disagreement.  There are times when I want to go silent; to use the silent treatment as my frontline.  But such a strategy seems impossible for me; I communicate my issues; I believe whole heartedly in talking it through and clearing the air.   
 
I remember, as a kid, using the silent treatment to demonstrate my disapproval of something a friend had done to me.  There is something about treating someone as if they aren't there that can be worse than expressing anger or emotion in another way.  
 
Adults often outgrow the use of the silent treatment.  When we are angry or hurt, we tend to find other means of demonstrating that emotion - crying, shouting, yelling, throwing things, removing ourselves from the situation... and many other ways.  Sitting and ignoring another is often not the first choice on our list.  
 
Or perhaps it is, but instead of ignoring someone when they speak etc, we ignore them physically.  
 
For some this means the cold shoulder.  Others deny their partner affection perhaps not considering the power of the tool they are using.  I hear of so many using it though.  Women and men alike, choosing to deny their partner affection or physical touch to make a point; holding their partner at arms length rather than finding a means of communicating the issues at hand.  This seems like a weapon or a tool used for manipulation to me.  I have always thought of sex as a means of communicating or of uniting rather than as something to be with held or denied.   
 
What motivates people to use sex in such a manner?  Using sex as a means of manipulation is a tactic that I don't truly understand.  Is it based in fear, insecurity, or something entirely different?  Does the person using it understand the results of employing such a sensitive weapon?

5 comments:

T said...

This is interesting to me because, thankfully, it has been a really long time since I was in disagreement with someone. I think it wore me out to disagree with the ex for so long... now I try not to enforce my views on people. Everyone is doing the best with what they know right now. Including me.

I agree with you though. I used to talk and talk just to see if I could convince someone to see my point of view. And then one day I realized, we all have differing perceptions and you can't force anyone to see things as you do. They were raised differently. They have had different experiences. They have differing ideas of the past and the future. We can only do our best.

Why use sex? I have no idea. Maybe because when you feel as if you are not being listened to, it is difficult to connect with someone on such a vulnerable level. But perhaps, if we were vulnerable together, we would then be more apt to listening?

dadshouse said...

Denying sex and touch - I hate games like that! I totally agree with you that sex and touch shouldn't be used to manipulate, but should bring two people close together.

Yes, we all have different perspectives. No object or action has any intrinsic meaning at all. The world is what we individually see, think, and feel.

Seven Seas said...

It is a sad thing, that some will use any weapon at hand in a fight.

harassedmomsramblings said...

I talk to much - even when the listener has stopped listening - I keep talking! I irratate myself sometimes to be honest!

I cant do the silent treatment! There is NOTHING more frustrating for me when someone does use it!

Why use sex? Cos its about the biggest thing you CAN deny in a r/ship. A few months before my ex and I split - I used it but in the opposite way! I gave it freely and often - it distracted him from fighting with me! It was VERY wrong but at the time it was easier than spending my evenings being yelled at.

Denying it is about control - I have what you want and until you do what I want you wont get it!

It is not something I would ever do now!!!

(Found you on Dadshouse)

The Exception said...

T - I talk because I want to be heard - we all have different perspectives (which I love) but I hate it when I know, beyond doubt, that the one to which I speak is not hearing mine. I don't care if he agrees with me - just that he opens his mind/heart enough to listen.

DH - Using sex to manipulate boggles my mind. It is this amazing thing and yet so powerful. Perhaps the draw of using it against another is one some can't resist.

7 Seas - Good to see you! Before using a weapon, people should consider the results of its use!

Harassed Mom - Welcome aboard. It drives me crazy when I realize that I am talking and... no one is listening - or hearing what it is I am saying. I am working on it though. I suppose if someone doesn't want to hear my perspective, then it is better for me to stop talking. I only hope that I don't close my mind to the perspectives of others.

Sex is power at the most basic level.