“Why won’t you talk?
“I just want to know how you feel but you just sit there, staring at me and not talking. We can’t go on like this if you won’t communicate with me…”
You remain in silence, yet in your mind it is a whirlwind of thoughts. Your inner voice is screaming all kinds of accusations, pleas, threats and apologies but you just can’t organise them into any kind of coherent sentence.
So you choose silence, and feel you heart turn to stone even as you hear your partner crying out for connection.
Sometimes a conflict, especially with someone we love, can flood us with emotions to the point where we just don’t know how to make sense of them. For some people this turns on the verbal flow and frees the poetic description of emotions.
For others, myself included, the noise of this emotional flood makes verbalising very hard. Whilst we are trying to find words, we are also thinking about the potential effect of those words. Positive or negative, “If I say that they will think this…”
The person we are trying to communicate doesn’t hear our internal dialogue, they just see a blank face and closed lips.
The more we think about what to say, the harder it becomes.
Unfortunately this is about MORE than words.
Sealing your lips also means sealing your heart. If you cannot allow your lips to express your emotions then your heart cannot feel them.
If YOUR heart cannot feel them, then neither can the person or partner who you are communicating with.
Emotions feed relationships and without this life blood flowing freely then the relationship will wither and die. Our silence becomes a steel cage around our hearts that slowly closes us off from those around us.
A pattern of sabotage that too many of us use too regularly.
The good news is that patterns, Good or Bad, can be broken!
Self Awareness and Empathy.
Look at yourself in the above situation and pick out just one emotion, thought or feeling that is whirling through your mind. Consider the other person and how they must feel with this uncertainty you are presenting them.
Speak it out in whatever way possible. “I’m feeling really confused right now, and it makes it very hard for me to find my words…”
“I have so many angry thoughts in my mind, even though I just want to tell you about it, they are keeping me so busy…”
Anything, just let the other person know you ARE there but your inner process is so shaken up that the words are stuck.
Take a STEP towards them, palms up, and gently make physical contact. The lightest touch can melt the toughest barriers we place around our hearts.
Most of all, REMEMBER that this is not who you are, simply a moment where emotion and thoughts collide.
As your hearts warm and connect again, maybe words will tail off into silence…But the silence of LOVE is the loudest and most powerful conversation you can have with anyone.
When do you close yourself off?
What happens to your relationships?
Thanks to Paddy Honan for braving the darkest depths of the internet to source an image for me.