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Withholding Communication Is Cruel

Collage by doug smith


If something is bothering you, do you talk about it?

For years, I would push down my feelings and keep them all to myself. Do you know what good that got me? No good at all. Unless we talk about our outer AND inner lives, how can we expect anyone to help us, to join us, to feel influenced by us?

Withholding communication prevents you from feeling fully and dealing completely. Keeping it all inside keeps the air out. How you breathe in there?

Have you ever stopped talking to someone? Some people do it suddenly, ghosting the person they once talked to (maybe even someone they professed great love for) giving them no opportunity to understand what's going on. And some have more dignity than that - they TELL you that they won't be talking with you anymore -- and then they follow thru -- by not talking to you anymore. A person I once thought was the love of my life didn't just break up with me -- she cut off all communication.

Maybe you've done some degree of this. Maybe you've unfriended someone on social media. They don't even know that you're gone, you just stop communicating. But you ARE communicating. What you are communicating, when you refuse to communicate, is that that person is not important to you and that that person's feelings do not matter.

Are there ever times when it DOES make sense to withhold communication? Yes. It's possible to deal with someone who is pathological in their behavior and who communicates in ways that make it unhealthy for you to keep the connection. Even after attempting civil reconciliation, you might find someone impossible. Still. While withholding communication may feel like the best thing for you -- is it your kindest response?

I'm not here to tell you when to communicate and when NOT to communicate. You decide. But, I have learned what it feels like to be at both ends of that communication freeze-out, and it's not good on either side.

Withholding communication is cruel.  What if there's a better, more creative choice?

It's at least worth pondering, don't you think?

-- doug smith





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