The art of remaining silent

The tongue is a lethal weapon. With ammunition, it can cause mass destruction.

As human beings, it’s within our power to craft sentences by selecting words as a means of communication on a daily basis.  But how often to we actually pause for a moment to think about the impact that our words are having on our quality of life?

Speaking is natural for most of us. Words just tend to flow out our mouths. The type of speech we exude on the other hand, is a habit. For example, some people have developed a vulgar vocabulary and swear after every other word. These people can come off as rude, unapproachable and unhappy. Some people ooze with kind and comforting words. These people can come off as considerate, likable and happy. So when we are speaking to someone who values our words it influences how they feel about us, but more importantly, it can influence how they feel about themselves.

My father only speaks to me to insult me and has done so for as long as I can remember. I grew up terrified of him and I have never felt good enough for him. Being told that I am stupid, ugly and worthless constantly from childhood has stripped me of self esteem for a long time. His words made me lock myself in the bathroom and cry for hours. I’ve lost sleep over it. Up until I started CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) I wholeheartedly believed all of his insults. I thought there was something wrong with me. That I was an awful daughter who couldn’t do anything right because he is never happy with me.

During my early teenage years up until recent, I noticed that his words enraged me so I worked up the confidence to challenge his insults. I know he enjoyed provoking me because arguing is what he does best. We argued aggressively and consistently until he felt threatened by me. Eventually it reached a point where he’d get physical and slap me, push me, punch me, kick me and step on me. I tried to fight back but as a young girl being gripped by a grown man, all I could do is struggle and cry.

Therapy has helped me understand that this man will not change. His words are not true. I’m not the problem.

Today, I was filling out yet another application form for him whilst he stood over me, insulting me.

“Your handwriting is so fucking terrible” (it really isn’t)
Me: *silent*

“Call yourself a student? You can’t even write 1! That’s not how you write 5! Is that an 8??”
Me: *silent*

“You’re so stupid, I’m sick of you! Why are my children like this??”
Me: *silent*

It baffles him. He tries to provoke me more each time but I just don’t give it to him. I remember that it’s not true. I keep my cool. I can’t fight hatred using hatred. I learned that the hard way.

Words are powerful. We can either use them to build people up or break them down.

When in doubt, kill people with silence.

“Silence is a source of great strength. – Lao Tzu”

23 thoughts on “The art of remaining silent

  1. You are not the problem or the one with the problem. He has a lack of self-worth, which he probably gained from his upbringing, but that is not of your making and you cannot change it. He is projecting his lack of self worth on to you and in some way that gives him a feeling of being in control. However, he probably hates himself for doing this and sees himself as a further coward for doing it so it becomes a vicious circle, but only he can do something about it.
    You, on the other hand, have chosen to not continue this legacy and sought help. Good for you.
    Silence is a source of great strength but silence can also annoy someone who is looking for a reaction.
    I studied CBT and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programing) for much the same reasons as you did and one of the things I learned to do was acknowledge the abuser without supporting or intimidating. A little sentence I learned was: “I am sorry that you feel that way about..(me/my writing/ my actions/whatever).” This shows that you have acknowledged that ‘they’ have a problem with you, but that you do not necessarily agree.
    All the best with your journey into self healing and new found confidence.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a courageous person you are! Learning how to do things differently almost insures getting different results. The old saying is “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” It’s so impressive that you are being the mature one and handling your part of this relationship. I think the comment about his feeling bad about himself is probably spot on. I’m thinking of my own dad, in my youth…not saying anything for now at least, sounds like a good plan. So glad to have found you. Thanks for coming by and following my blog, so that I could find you!:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh what if I told you that your comment made my eyes well up? I’ve lived with his abuse for so long and it took me ages to realise that I have the power to change. I don’t have to be helpless. I’m not at all used to being called”courageous” and “mature” so I feel really touched. Thank you so much for your kind words and I love your blog 🙂 Glad we’ve crossed paths.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m very glad our paths crossed, too! And I’m blessed to know I had something to do with your “happy” tears. We really are all just pilgrims trying to find our way. So happy to help your heart grin. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow. I do not need to see you in order to see how strong and beautiful you are. Thank you for sharing painful memories in order for others to relate, find comfort, and find company. I know of a similar situation and the little girl grew up to be very strong and happy. Since she knew what pain and suffering felt like by recognizing her past, then she knew and had decided to live her present and future with happiness. Events in our lives have a purpose; we choose what to name them and how to extract useful knowledge and wisdom from them in order to keep paying justice to every second we have. I am very happy to learn that you found CBT; I learned about the practice almost 2 years ago in school and continue to learn about it, since my belief in its effectiveness grows. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading about your path. Many blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your heart felt words. “Events in our lives have a purpose” exactly. I find it therapeutic to express my pain and simultaneously help people in the process. I still struggle with the pain but at least I’m able to maintain a rational outlook thanks to CBT. It makes me very happy to hear about this girl – gives me hope. I look forward to connecting with you more ☺ Lots of love ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • As you mention, by knowing and understanding your pain and suffering you are able to identify and relate to others who undergo similar or dissimilar pain and suffering. You are better equipped to lift others. Because of the darker and ugly times you have endured you know how to recognize and seize lighter and happier times better, which I am sure you choose to experience. I am proud of you for sharing this post. I am also looking forward to connecting more. Much tranquility, joy, and love!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate to your sad, yet somewhat hopeful post. There seems to be some light being shed on your own personal growth and distancing yourself from his toxicity. I agree with the other commenters and your reply about sticking with what is working at present. It is a good thing that you are learning to deal with his abuse now. It often is not escapable even once free of their immediate daily reach as it often transfers onto other relationships once an adult unless the wounds of such treatment are dealt with. It sounds like they are being dealt with from your perspective. If you no longer feel the need to seek his validation or to argue your worth, as you truly know it is his belief/tool he uses to control your emotional response/reaction in order to manipulate you for his needs. They are not truth. You are strong and developing your own self worth by not getting caught up by his actions. I hope you do not have to endure this treatment for too long. I hope you find your therapy continues to help you.
    Embrace your gift of writing and share with others your journey. It serves to help both yourself and others to gain personal strength and release.

    May all that has become noise in you…become music again.
    Take care ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow I feel very touched by your words of advice. Thank you for reminding me that this abuse can indeed be transferred into other relationships in my life, my therapist has also told me about this exact problem. Hopefully my awareness and strength will prevent it from happening, as I’m determined to create my own happiness. This is probably one of the best comments I’ve received on my blog and I hope to hear from you again in my future posts. Thank you for being kind. You take care too ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your power is in yourself and your writing. How strong you are to recognize and cope with this toxic behaviour, especially from a figure who most think would be a support in your life. Know that no matter what he says, he is labelling or judging you and that is only his (wrongful) opinion and he is using it to control an subdue you. No matter what he says, it cannot make you in to what he claims you are, or aren’t. This is a metaphor I use to manage negative feelings that arise when I am criticized. If someone calls you a duck, no matter what he says, it can’t ‘make you INTO’ a duck.You are still you. It is merely their opinion and that is all.
    In the same way if he calls you something derogatory, it cannot “make” you into that. We can’t change other people’s negative or abusive behaviour, but we do have the choice over how we react. I love your quote on silence. Silence is powerful! Please seek help too if he physically harms you. And continue to write. It is a great outlet for emotional outlet. Abuse is never acceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your “duck” example is such a great reminder for me. Even after writing these posts, a while later some negative thoughts always come back and I forget that I am not what other people call me or think of me. Thank you so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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