Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why Does Not Talking = Power?

I guess we all make a subconscious decision about how we retreat, about how we take care of our selves, about how we survive.  For me the only 'power' I had was to not talk.  I could soothe myself by turning inward, but I also knew I was lashing out by not saying anything.  I hate that it always goes back to my parents, in particular my mother, but my inability to express myself and my feelings was my shield of armor against her.  You see for her, my withdrawal drove her crazy; it frustrated the hell out of her.  And that my friends is something I totally relished!

But now instead of a shield it's more of a scar, or maybe a wound, I think.  You see my modus operandi keeps me frustrated, probably like the way I frustrated my mother(can you say 'what comes around goes around'???)  Part of my constant push-pull, especially with L has to do with me giving up my imagined power.  I've been thinking about this the past couple of days, and it caused me to send this text to her:

Me:  Wishing I could talk to you right now.  No particular reason I guess, just feeling blah, in need of a pick-me-up.  It will probably be gone by tomorrow morning and I'll be my usual distant self.  Oh, and I deny sending this too.

L:   You can call me now or any time today.  But if it doesn't work for you I hope you are still in the mood to talk tomorrow.  I am interested in your thoughts, so talk to me.

Me:  Thanks, I'm ok, just tired.  I can't make any promises about tomorrow, but it helps to know you're still there.

I'm so much braver via text.  I could never say in person even half the things I text her.  And seriously, what more would L have to do for me to trust her and believe her, and to give up this false perception of power?  Actually, I think I now realize it's not her who has to change.....


  1. I'm quite a bit braver by email to my T than in person also. I think there's just no immediate threat of some kind of negative consequence - at least until I hit send, at which point I get anxious.

    The not talking = power dynamic is one a lot of people use I find, especially men I have known. It's as if the less information they let slip, the more in control they are. It makes a lot of sense to use that tactic when you are a powerless child - and then it's difficult to change that pattern. Seems great that you are trying to address it in therapy.

  2. It's funny with text. I actually go through a whole process before I actually send it. I typically don't address it first, just in case I hit 'send' accidentily and then I just type what I really want to say. Then I sit and think about it, and drive myself crazy by going back and forth about it, and then eventually I send it. As soon as I send it, I nolonger have any anxiety and I'm able to let it go for a while. Which has been helpful. Sometimes just putting it out there helps. Weird, but true.

    I was able to talk to her today about the not talking=power, hopefully I'll get a chance to post shortly about it.

    Thanks Ellen. Your feedback has been really helpful!

  3. This post makes me want to chat with my therapist via text - for times when I too, feel like this. I have never done it, was never offered it. I did use email to chat with one while she was away for a couple years (I work with her now) but don't use it now.