Shatter The Silence

Silence is golden they say. In today’s hectic world it is almost impossible to escape the constant hustle and bustle of everyday life. With technological advances we are rarely totally alone nowadays. We crave anonymity and inaccessibility. We just want five minutes of peace and quiet. We need a break, a time out, a little ‘me time.’ The ‘must have’ holiday invariably involves a deserted beach with no internet.

Some people choose to drop out of society. They become hermits and recluses. They turn their backs on human interaction. There can be a plethora of reasons for this. Some say it is the only way they can sustain a meaningful relationship with God. The noise of the world creates too many barriers between them and their Creator. They argue that by turning their back on modern life they are discovering the true meaning of life.

Others are hounded into silence. They have given up. Life has knocked them to the canvas once too often and they cannot pick themselves up again. They have been abused, betrayed and hurt beyond repair. The pain of a lonely life is preferable to the horrors they have experienced. They retreat into their self made fortresses. They become ghosts, drifting through life like wraiths on the wind.

All of the above scenarios involve choice. Although all three originate from differing needs they all entail a decision being made in order to improve an individual’s set of circumstances. Be it for physical, mental, emotional or spiritual requirements the quest for silence is all-consuming. It may be for self preservation or self improvement but it is dictated by free will. We decide. We crave the silence. It is more precious than anything. It is the gold at the end of our rainbow.

What if we don’t have that choice however? What if the silence is forced upon us. I see so many relationships today that are empty shells containing nothing but silence. So many friendships derailed by miscommunication and misunderstanding. For some silence is a weapon in their armoury that they wield to devastating effect. It can cut deeper than the most refined steel, piercing dreams and shattering lives. Silence can be a killer.

The victims are left bewildered and broken. Their is no closure, no explanation for how things have turned out the way they have. Questions are unanswered, apologies are snubbed, olive branches are thrown into the fires of recrimination. They are left hanging in limbo, twisting in the wind, clutching at the noose which squeezes the last breath of hope from their screaming lungs.

Many say Hell is a place of eternal silence and darkness. I can think of nothing more horrific. Silence is golden they say. It can also be toxic, sickening and leave its victims broken and bleeding. A cold shoulder can burn as deeply as a white hot poker. It can brand people for life, scar them beyond recognition. There is much to be said for reconciliation and restoration. No relationship is beyond salvage if embraced with love and hope.

Swallow the bile and the pride. Find it in your heart to forgive. Expose yourself to the healing glow of forgiveness. It’s not easy but it can be done. Put down that stone you are about to throw. Look around and then look deep into your very being. Are you really any better? Taking the high moral ground means you only have farther to fall when the tables are turned and you find yourself in a similar situation.

For that time will come. As certain as night follows day. Shatter the silence. Let your voice be heard. It could save a life of today.

Have you been a victim of silence?

Have you used silence as a weapon before?

Can you forgive someone today and shatter the silence?

49 thoughts on “Shatter The Silence

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  1. I was the one who gave the cold shoulder. I completely cut all ties with a former neighbor/friend when my husband and I moved nearly 7 years ago. (I just learned that the kids call it “ghosting” someone.) I followed her life via her public Facebook posts, and finally sent an apology last month. I took responsibility for what I did and for the fear and shame I felt about it and for taking so long to apologize. I know she received my message, but unfortunately haven’t heard back.

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  2. Thank for your post here. I have been the victim of silent treatment and ghosting, and of people blocking on social media, and of friends who pretend not to see me. It is all very hurtful, and it takes a huge amount of confidence and courage to stand in the face of this, and know that we do not need their approval, and that we are beloved and wonderful and perfect just who we are, and no one can take that away from us.

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  3. I have been a victim of silent treatment on many occasions. Though I survived and I know I’ll survive but it completely shatters you when it is from someone you love

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  4. I have been a victim of silence my entire life. First my mother, who would go for weeks without speaking to me, until I finally caved and gave her a card apologizing for what I never knew. Then my sister would practice the same abuse, and go for months without speaking to me-especially after I got sober-her cruelty and abuse sicken me still, and I can’t even begin to imagine where she will end up-praying for her helped, but I am still extremely angry, I have given it to God. My “best friend” would give me the silent treatment as well, and she, too, was given the boot. As always, a poignant and relevant blog. xo

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  5. I’m going through this now and after four months of being cut off and ignored I think I’m to the point where hurt turns to resignation. I don’t even know what I did which is the worst part. I’d rather have someone tell me off than the silent treatment.

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  6. Yes! When we were in our last church, it was silence that was the most hurtful. Every Sunday, I’d get sick before church and not want to go. I dreaded it. I’d go and people would stare. This was a small church and I later found out that it was also one that liked to gossip. But I think I was seen as a bad apple. Some church members were on my Facebook page and noticed a post of mine and saw me as kind of rough around the edges. Apparently they were all perfect people, with their shiny, plastic smiles and goody-two-shoe attitude. Anyway, I just said what I felt and I didn’t care if people thought I was awful. One thing I remember posting was about spanking. I was against it and they weren’t. Having been brought up with spanking, I don’t remember feeling God’s love very much and I had bruises, not grace. So I was verbal about that and so my views weren’t well accepted in the church. Apparently you should be beating the snot out of your children and wife. I don’t know. I’m still bitter about the whole thing. But Sunday mornings consisted of silent treatments. If I approached someone, suddenly they had something to do. I’m not an idiot. I read body language pretty well and they just didn’t want to be around me.

    There have been instances in my marriage because of stress, baggage, whatever…and silence is common. I hate it. It makes me feel terrible and I say so. Because i’m so verbal about it, it’s hard to remain married to me in that state without changing. So my husband doesn’t like it, but I tell him how it makes me feel and he’s forced to adapt to my standards. But he’s also going through things too and I don’t nag him. But hello…we are married. Try talking to me sometimes. It’s just a marriage and relationship killer. if you want me gone, use silence. That’s my two or twenty cents 🙂

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    1. Yes I couldn’t reply to your previous post sorry. Sometimes I feel the church is the last place on Earth I want to go. I have witnessed some of the most un Christian like behaviour within that environment. It is good to meet someone who shares my views on the topic.

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      1. Yes and its frustrating to be told to keep trying. Why? To endure more abuse? I know there are probably good churches somewhere but I feel at peace without it.

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          1. I think I’m going through a bit of a detox. That sounds weird, but I’ll explain. Growing up, I was forced to read the bible. I went to christian schools, attended church religiously, and everything I did was the church. Then I went to and did a 6 month missionary stint and was in classes, reading my bible, and listening to how to be a Christian. After that, I got married young and did the same–except it was through churches. For the past 37-38 years of my life, I feel like I’ve been talked at, told what to think, how to feel, what’s right, what’s wrong. I honestly, just want to find the joy in life again.

            The problem I have is when I pick up my Bible to read it, which I try to do, I feel so many negative things. I read a verse in the Psalms and remember the way a former pastor told me he loved to read the psalms for comfort (as a way to connect with me, I guess) but then turned around, and later on, told me all the ways I didn’t add up. I remember writing & memorizing verses in Ephesians as punishment from my mom who didn’t want me to burn in hell. There’s a thousand of these instances and I guess it just takes time to heal. I know a lot of scripture, but I don’t know what they mean–only what other people have told me they mean. But it’s not that I never searched them out for myself. I did. But I also was influenced heavily by baptist and Calvinist thinking. When I do read it, I want it to be something that is a comfort to me–I want to not be influenced by all the crap from the last 30 plus years.

            I do read a devotional. I know that’s another person’s thoughts too…I don’t read many Christian books anymore, but I actually found this book in the store and didn’t know it was even Christian. I just liked the uplifting tone of it. And although she doesn’t blast scripture throughout the book, she reminds me what is most important: to love. Love myself, love others, love people I don’t want to love. It’s called “Only Love Today” by Rachel Macy Stafford and every day has short reminders and a little prayer. I know it’s not the Bible or a replacement for it, but it’s where I’m starting at I guess.

            I do pray when I feel motivated to and I probably do that more than I read. When I pray, I don’t force myself. If I feel like praying, I will. If I don’t, I don’t. I think I do think about God a lot and my relationship with him. It’s something I get stressed by at times because I do remember how often people told me I was bound for hell by not staying in the church. But doesn’t God keep us? “No one can snatch the [his children] from his hands”…I think that’s in John. If I know anything about God at all from reading the Bible, it’s that He cares for His children. It isn’t us who saves ourselves, but God who does. And I feel like God is patient with my pursuit–even if I’m not dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. At least that is my hope because I feel like I have to go through this in order to come out the other side with my beliefs in tact.

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  7. Yes, I have used silence not as a weapon but as a reply. Sometimes silence is the best response depending on your situation.

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  8. Powerful post and challenge! Thank you. Someone I don’t know well gave me a cold shoulder recently… I was really perplexed. Don’t know what I may have said or done to offend. Pretty difficult to fix something when you don’t know what is wrong. I usually end up saying “I’m sorry” even if I don’t know what I said or did…I try to make things right whenever I am able. 🙂

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  9. Guilty of using silence before, in recent years I’ve gotten really good at not using it. Except when I’m angry, but it isn’t to be a weapon. I keep silent so I can calm down so I don’t speak out of line.

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  10. Stephen, I love this post. It is is something I struggle with but from the opposite end, as someone being the silence. In an abusive situation it is at times the only option which is a hard thing to carry on the other side of the silence. Communication in health is not always possible in all relationships. I wish it were not the case. It’s hard hearing the other side of the silence and the hurt. Really hard.

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  11. I started back at a new church last week and the Pastors sermon spoke of some of the things you are talking about here. I agree with your post completely about the silent treatment. I am a talker. I want to talk it out and fix it the moment we can. Silence to me is the absolute worst because it allows things to fester and become unresolved.

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  12. Yes, yes and yes.
    I am slowly learning to express and receive disappointments and annoyances in a helpful way.
    Time can heal wounds but it can also tear them right open if you don’t make an effort yourselves.

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  13. I have been a victim of silence. A so called friend would never talk to me even i after i apologised. This action caused me to pull out of my friendship circle. It has hurt me to the very core that i am in this situation. As i commented on your last blog i still have these people on my social media. Wish i could just cut the cord!!!! Admittedly i have used silence as a weapon. I am a very stubborn person and silence is one way i have used to get my point across. How effective this is i have no idea? Can i forgive someone??? I cannot even forgive myself and move on from my nightmare…..

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  14. I am actually on a sort of social media shutdown in the quest to find peace of mind and to strengthen my relationship with God; it’s a silence I have chosen to cause for the sake of all my relationships with people actually because once my God size void is filled and He is all I need, I will be a better friend, mentor and sister to people in my life.

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