Not stoic enough to be silent or aloof, I am practicing saying and doing nothing in response to underhanded invitations to enter into indirect conflict. While I
now set boundaries for only myself, without arguing to be heard, my abstinence from standard entanglement is labelled abandonment—“cutting them off” because that is how silence is used in my family. I just say No. Or Sorry that won’t work until it no longer makes sense to say it again.
“In my program, we learn to “think” before we react to angry outbursts and accusations. We learn the value of silence.
But silence can be more cutting than cruel words when it’s used to punish. Deliberately ignoring someone’s attempts to communicate is no better than engaging in a battle of words. Rage that is expressed non-verbally– is still rage. When I seek to hurt someone else with silence or any other weapon at my disposal, I always hurt myself.” From Al-Anon’s Courage to Change p 360