The Power of Silence...
In a desperate attempt to find some control in an untenable situation, I have started only texting my son. It was something we came up with when the police were here the other night. The officer asked me if there was anything I thought would be helpful, and I immediately blurted out, “no verbal communication.” So we all agreed (the cop, my son and I) that my son and I would only text. Of course, my son broke that promise before the officer was even off our property, but I have held my promise.
It is fictitious and weird. He keeps talking to me and I just keep texting him back. It is like some scene from a movie. Sad and funny all at the same time. But fuck if I don’t feel better!
For example, he just came in, as I was writing, and demanded that I give him back the .75 that he left on the table that disappeared. I texted him back and told him that I didn’t have his money and he should be more careful with valuable things. What would have likely been a complete shitshow between us wasn’t because I engaged but only through text message. And so I was totally able to not let his wild accusations and ridiculous demands spin me out. Fuck, it was amazing.
Normally, I would freak out because he would be demanding things from me, like the return of his .75, when he has stolen so much money from me over the years. The fact that it was in the past, from his perspective, gives him a pass. It is completely lost on him that him losing .75 in the long run is relatively minor and isn’t worth further injuring our relationship. But that is not how he rolls.
I watched him completely verbally abuse and denigrate his sister a week ago over $20. He just isn’t capable of seeing that his behavior, even when he is aggrieved party, is so much worse than what the other person did. He is willing to blow up all of his relationships, even the most foundational and supportive ones over $20, or well, .75. So sad.
But for me, the silence between me and him is so powerful. I feel like a new person and a much better mother. The tone is gone, the exasperation is gone (ok, that is an exaggeration and wishful thinking, it is diminished and I will take it!) I can respond, instead of react. I wish I would have done this years ago!
But like everything, we are only ready to change our behavior when it gets too painful. When it is so excruciating that we can no longer live with ourselves and carry on. I move and change at the speed of pain...and sometimes it really amazes me that given how long I have been working on this spiritual path, I am still willing to engage in quite a bit of pain before I am wiling to do the change.
But fuck, the power of silence. It is amazing. And yesterday it felt so damn good. I felt like I was in control (I mean I know that I am not but it is not a good life when you feel like your emotional balance is being constantly eroded and exploded by someone you live with - this is not to say that my son is to blame for me losing my shit - no that would be me, but he has openly admitted that he intentionally fucks with me, just to upset me, so there’s that).
I counsel people all day about reactivity and slowing down the fast paced twitch of emotional communication and I do practice what I preach...in all areas and with all people in my life, save my son. Our dynamic is such that I can be calm, content and feeling great and all he has to do is walk in the room, say one word and I begin lose my center. And having a person like that in your life, doesn't feel good, or right. And when it is your son, who is not an adult yet, it is a very horribly powerless feeling.
For today, and well yesterday, I am going to engage the power of silence. I am going to hold to my promise to the officer to give this whole texting thing a week’s trial. And just for today, I am not going to speak to him in anything but the written form. I know it works because I have watched communication nightmares be righted in divorce and custody situations. Stopping two emotionally overwrought people from escaping into nuclear meltdown by forcing the communication into only written form.
There is great power is silence. There is also peace, equanimity and even joy. I am a talker, but perhaps this time in silent reflection and repose will teach me to be a better listener. To be better in my communications with my son, while also helping me find solace and comfort within the confines of my own mind, instead of allowing him to walk in, and have me unwillingly give my peace of mind and serenity away for yet another go round with him that never gets us anywhere except more hurt, more confused, more upset and more destroyed.
I have so many words, and I am finding out that perhaps they really are better written than spoken...well, maybe you all have known that all along.