Due to some issues in my home having to do with my step-kids, I've been researching how the silent treatment can affect a person. I have spent the past two months literally having two words per day spoken to me by the kids. The rest of the time, I am invisible... unless they really, really need something and hubby (their dad) isn't around. I walk in a room, they leave. I try and talk to them, they go in their rooms and shut the doors.
You're probably wondering what I did. Am I the wicked step-mother? No, not at all. When hubby and I married they embraced me. We had fun together, we laughed, we cooked, we went on bike rides together. I guess we were having too much fun because slowly but surely their mother has turned them against both their dad and me. She has stopped at nothing trying to destroy our family and she openly states that she won't be happy until she succeeds. So unfortunate and so painful for her own kids. Fortunately hubby and I have a solid marriage and a commitment to our family. But it still isn't easy.
I can't describe the feelings I physically and emotionally experience during these times of the silent treatment. It is both numbing and painful. I want to throw up my hands, I want to dig in and fight for my home and my family, I want to be invisible like they wish me to be, I want to be left alone, I want to scream in the middle of my living room until someone acknowledges that I do exist. Maddening.
Here's what I found on the silent treatment: Probably at one time or another you have been either on the giving or receiving end of a silent treatment, otherwise known as the cold shoulder. What you probably didn’t realize is that the silent treatment is a form of ostracism. When someone is ostracized it affects the part of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. Do you know what the anterior cingulate cortex does?
The anterior cingulate cortex is the part of the brain that detects pain. When you give someone the silent treatment you are causing that person physical pain. Simply by ignoring someone else’s existence you can inflict pain on them. This is what the ever popular “time out” with a child is so effective. The child feels ostracized, therefore is feeling pain even though no physical pain was inflicted on them, and therefor they want to behave so they don’t have to feel that way again. The silent treatment can be a very destructive behavior when it involves personal relationships. (http://www.kensavage.com/archives/silent-treatment/)
Everything I read related the silent treatment back to the brain's reaction and the physical reaction. No wonder I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and that there's a bowling ball in my stomach on the weekends that this takes place in my home. I know that some reading are probably saying "but they are just kids...". I tried making that excuse for them too; until I saw that they are wholly capable of being warm, friendly, and affectionate to others when they want to. And they are not young children either. They are Jr Highers who get decent grades, stay out of trouble in school, and have friends. They choose this behavior and that is probably the most difficult part of all of this. They want to treat me like this. I feel like a complete and utter failure. I feel like a stranger in my own home. My automatic response is to blame myself even though everyone around me tells me that I've done nothing wrong. It's their mother, it's the situation, etc... Whatever it is, it hurts.
Writing all of this has made me think of how this applies to how I treat myself. How I give my own thoughts, feelings, memories, and even dreams the silent treatment. No wonder I have relentless self-hatred and self-destruction that runs a mile deep. More later...
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22 hours ago