It didn't matter if the "crime" you were sentenced to justified the punishment, but silence was always one of the measures that was taken. Yes, there were other punishments as well, but the silence played a key role in any judgment handed down.
In fact, when someone was given the silent treatment, the entire family knew that this was happening. You did not dare cross the line of speaking to that particular family member because if you did, you risked getting the silent treatment upon yourself. If this happened, most of the time any other person would be free from silence jail if they were in it.
I freak out at silence...
I struggle with this today. Whether it is a friend or some business contact, if there is silence, I'm beginning to freak out. I can't deal with it that easy. It was such a weapon growing up that the slightest hint it is being employed and I'm down the river.
If you didn't do what the family expected, you got the silent treatment. If you didn't answer a question in the way they demanded and expected, you got the silent treatment. If you gave them a look that caused them to feel threatened or wounded, you got the silent treatment.
If you disobeyed their every command or decided to embark upon a decision all by yourself, you got the silent treatment. If you dared to not follow the pack, you got the silent treatment. If you even gave the slightest hint that you might share something from the family with anyone else, you got the silent treatment.
So many unwritten rules...
There were so many unwritten rules where they would pronounce you the judgment of being thrown into the silence jail. When that sentence would be lifted was up to them and almost had nothing to do with what you did or did not do.
You could beg and plead, but that usually got you an extended sentence. The best way out of it was to hope that another member of the family screwed up in some way and they got sentenced to silence. There was generally only a place for one person in the silence jail.
It was horrible having people around you, but they wouldn't speak to you. It was gut wrenching. It was nerve racking.
As a member of the family, you were not allowed to pronounce silence on any other unless they were less significant than you. However, the patriarch judge of the family was the supreme ruler with no appeal process. He and he alone doled out the silent treatment.
To this day...
To this day, I can't stand the silent treatment. If you want to lose me as a friend, give me the silent treatment and see how far that goes.
As I once told a boss who was worried that I was upset with him, "as long as I'm talking to you, I'm not upset." Its when I get silent that usually signals I'm upset. For if I get too upset, I find it better to just not say anything because my words will not come out correctly.
Silence messes with your mind. It makes you feel less than. It is a control and manipulation technique that was passed down to me which I try hard to never use. Unfortunately I am human and I was taught well how to employ this technique.
At times in life, I'm hurt by silence. I love hearing the sounds of someone's voice, or the thoughts of someone that is a thinker. I love to hear the connections made by the utterance of sound and silence stops all that. Silence prevents all that. Silence hurts!
Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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