It took many years to understand the depth of being silenced by the silent treatment. “But it’s me, nothing has changed, it is still me, you love me, remember?” But no response. He said he loved me, proclaimed it indeed, in front of anyone who would listen. “What’s wrong? Did I do something?”, digging inside trying to understand where I may have failed him. Against the grain it felt, something was not right, yet I continued on. Cried in the driveway with the deep knowing of this being so foreign, so painful, so unnecessary and unexplainable. I told the kids, “daddy is just busy”, “he has a lot on his mind” when he did not answer them, too. A knot of pink scars ready to open by any slight trigger is what became of me after years of emotional abuse by silent treatment. Years of thinking that I was not perfect, not a good woman, not a good partner, not a good cook, not a good employee, never enough. Years of beating myself down into a smaller and smaller person, less significant, less capable, less ambitious, less attractive, less me. And he never spoke those words to me directly, what he did was much worse. He withdrew his attention, his love, his communication, his touch, his respect and acted as if I was nothing. Sometimes for days or weeks. His tone of voice, his demeanor, his whole self became indifferent in regards to me. This cannot be intentional, why would one inflict such pain onto the one he loves? I tried explaining my feelings, my pain, my suffering, yet no conversation ever left me feeling better and understood. It became a torturous game, a puzzle of what I would later learn to be known as a “word salad”, without any real resolution. Worse yet, the horrendous waves of silent treatment will return again and again without warning, sometimes because I said or did something that he did not approve of, or because he was having a bad day at work, or because the kids were not behaving. I know now that I became his accomplice, his filter for the children, as I attempted to shield them from the dysfunction of our wicked dance by pretending this was normal, but covering for him, by justifying his bad behavior toward me and them each and every time, while dying inside. It took me years to realize that this had to end or I would end. I would diffuse into nothingness as I allowed myself to exist only in the way that he created me. I was in chains of a narcissist and I just broke free. This is my journey.
I am a love song
I am love song, baby
I am a love song but you don’t sing me anymore
And words they can hurt
They can hurt but the silence hurts harder
When it’s pointed toward you
Like an invisible bullet
And because nobody sees it you must play on
You must act strong
You must put on your smile and your happy face
And drive the kids and play with them
You must do laundry and clean the rooms
You must make breakfast all
While the bullet is digging inside
And the targeted silence seeps through and through.
But I am a love song
I am a love song baby
A love song must have sound
A love song is beautiful and harmonious
A love song is happy and sometimes sad
But always true.