News Karnataka
Tuesday, February 27 2024
Brian's Subtle Humour

In a muted response, ours is but to reason why!

Silent Treatment in a marriage
Photo Credit : By Author

I received a muted response to my column last week. Perhaps it’s why  I feel a rich vein of silence coursing through my veins.  And it’s why I carry forward the disquiet of last week to this week.

Silence is Gold is a proverb for Ages, not just the aged, like Chivas 25 years old. It’s one to be cherished and sipped from occasionally. Not frequently. In a world filled with noise and constant chatter, the ability to hold one’s tongue and listen attentively can be precious. But do respond when called upon to do so!

But silence is also used in treatment – firstly in Ayurvedic Treatment in the form of compounded Gold powder called Swarna Bhasma. Though I’m no Ayurvedist, I understand from Encyclopaedia Google (Brittanica is now a poor second in the Encyclopaedia race), that Swarna Bhasma has a number of health benefits, including Rejuvenating the body and mind, Strengthening the heart and nervous system, Improving memory and intelligence, Treating anemia, dyspepsia, and epilepsy.

Silence is used as a treatment in Marriages too in its original form – it’s called silent treatment. It is used for diseases like spousal disaffections – studies and experience shows that it helps detoxify a marriage. Like Swarna Basma, it strengthens the heart and nervous systems. It’s something like reiki but the human touch is best avoided during the treatment, though proximity is essential.

Let’s understand this wonderful, sometimes puzzling, and often hilarious world of the silent treatment in marriage in a little more depth given that it is a widespread phenomenon.

Now picture this: It’s a peaceful morning, birds chirping, and the sun is just starting to peek through the curtains. You wake up with a smile, ready to start the day. But wait! The sun isn’t the only thing rising – so is the tension in the air! You realize you’ve been hit by the dreaded silent treatment because there is no response to your Good Morning. And you quickly realize, anything you say can and will be held against you, without seeking clarification. Your hypothesis is confirmed at the breakfast table!

For those not in the know – read yet to get married – the silent treatment is a form of passive-aggressive communication in which one partner refuses to speak to the other to communicate disaffection with their spouse’s behaviour, words, or deeds, without saying a single word. There may be eye-rolling, door-slamming, and unplanned vacations! It’s also a form of punishment but more like a reformatory punishment with the expectation of a zero relapse rate! It’s why it is related more to Ayurveda than Allopathy, though it has elements of both – the shock, and the massage! Sorry, I meant the message! It’s a pretty common tactic, and it can be incredibly effective at getting under someone’s skin, but it has nothing to do with dermatology.

The Silence in silent treatment is rife with hidden meanings and encrypted messages and these hidden messages are expected to cure the perceived issues between spouses. Communication would easier solve these issues you would think, but maybe holding your tongue is perhaps better than speaking in tongues that neither understands!  And it is Hitchcockian in its slow build-up of suspense. The Climax when all is revealed is not part of the movie, with conciliation taking precedence over revelation! It’s a plot spoiler in a potboiler, but that’s better perhaps than cleaning up the spill!

There are two distinct advantages that accrue to the initiator of the Silent treatment! They are at liberty to not say why they initiated the treatment – I mean what really they saw as life-threatening in their spouses – basically why they are disaffected or how they are affected – so this has to be assumed or presumed – and second, if it prolongs, the stress levels increase in the receiver until he or she is forced to submit to the treatment and end it by issuing an apology in some form or the other.

In its later stages, it resembles the statue game we played as kids, only we forget we are adults. Silent Treatment works like a game of emotional chess, where the pawn has the powers of both the King and the Queen and of course, holds all the aces.  It affects you more if you are used to volubility – several consecutive moments of silence can affect your equilibrium tremendously! And herein lies its cost-effectiveness.

But wait, there’s more! The silent treatment can be administered anywhere and is not confined to the privacy of your home. Oh no, it’s a traveling circus that goes wherever you go – family gatherings, social events, even the grocery store.

But it’s exhausting too. Imagine all the energy it takes to keep that frown on your face, avoid any meaningful eye contact, and maintain a cold shoulder even on the hottest days. Off-Shoulder is easier! If only we could harness that energy, we’d have a renewable source to power the world!

But how does the treatment end? How do you get a discharge certificate?

First figure out why – that’s not easy because there is no telling but nowadays you can text and wait for the blue ticks! That’s a good beginning! Or leave a note on the fridge door. Or keep doing something that comes naturally and expected but seems unexpected in the vacuum of silence! and do it patiently! Then drop your ego a notch and then have those tough conversations!

If nothing works – don’t come to me – go to a counselor! Who will tell you the same thing for a fee?

Now, that you’ve read through it in silence, let not your spouse mistake it for the beginning of a silent treatment cycle! Enjoy the rest of this week in cacophony, not telephony! It’s where love grows!

Photo:relationship-development.com

Disclaimer

This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find, or make a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

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Brian Fernandes

Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 30 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. Journalism, poetry, and feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Besides, he is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of Toastamasters.org and a designated Distinguished Toast Master.

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