An observation on silent treatment and its consequences

April 10, 2024

Let me share some observations of real events which happened some years ago.

I knew a person who is brilliant. You know, sometimes nature could be very generous and the person seemingly has it all - looks, brains. But unfortunately, no one is perfect, and that person's weakest side has been his ego. He had a habit of ending conversations suddenly, sometimes even in the middle of an argument, without coming to any conclusion and mutual agreement. This has been a consistent behaviour for a very long time, and happened especially often with those closest to him.

It always surprised me how does he ever feel comfortable to end the communication like that with someone important and then disappear for a long time, only to later reappear again, while all the time consider the connection is still there. But for that person, this was the way of handling the conflicts, because more than anything he needed to be right, all the time, about even the smallest thing - all without thinking of the price for it.

One day, he ended up the conversation in a middle of the heated argument, as he usually did, and stopped talking for a long time. The person he had an argument with was very close to him - think relative level closeness. After some time, he received a message of this close person's death. The last words he told to this close person were words of anger, followed by the silent treatment. He was devastated. He couldn't get back in time and fix it anymore. No way to reappear and make amends as usual. This is how it will stay now, for the rest of his life.

What made him think people around him were to be taken for granted? What made him think there is a guarantee they will still be there every single day? Slamming the door for the first time, was he ready for the consequences, especially with the closest people? Was he ready to accept that even if there will be a chance to come back, the relationships will not be the same anymore?

Despite that event and emotional turmoil afterwards, his habits ended up being stronger than grief, and he kept doing the same thing with others. Lately, I don't know if this is still the case though. I blocked this person once he disappeared on me the same way yet again last time, so I will never know now - and have no interest anymore. I did everything I could for him, I don't wish him any bad, and in the end, everybody makes their own choice.