Maybe it isn’t the best place to admit something like this considering that my real name is floating just above this response. What the heck, I’m for more honesty in interactions over this internet.
I am someone still struggling with the effects of a very toxic, if not emotionally abusive, relationship with a parent.
No one really tells you that in abusive relationships, a parent can love their child, and a child can do so in return. I have not seen much media about how the idea of love itself can be tainted in such toxic situations. It always ends up being framed as maliciousness, with little regard for the complexity of the relationship.
This statement about withholding feedback rings so true to me. As the victim, I kept silent and perpetuated some of that anguish out of a desire to keep the peace. I equated speaking out with hurting myself and hurting my parent, not a surprise considering how much toxicity I would face in doing so.
I had to realize that if they loved me, they deserved to know when their actions hurt me. And I deserved to let them know because my pain was valid no matter how much they lashed out.
To withhold those words devalued my pain to myself and to them. It enabled my parent to keep denying wrongdoing. To be able to tell them the consequences of their words and actions (only if there’s no potential for real harm to you, of course) is to respect you and respect them. Give them a chance to make themselves better for next time. To stay silent is to take that away from them and from you.
Of course, some cases even honesty will not help. And you should do well to secure yourself in the chance that it falls over. Maybe you can’t ever find a way to get them to hear you, you can at least legitimize those words for yourself. In the situation where you are being honest, you can not only give them a chance to grow into a better person, you are maintaining that your feelings and opinions matter too. To keep silent is to maintain an unhealthy relationship.
I chose to express myself with a letter to my parent, safely distanced in time and space from them. Unfortunately, our situation is still too complex to resolve with just one letter, but I made a huge step past the avoidance I practiced in our relationship before.
I know the original post was a bit more about projects and team dynamics. But I just want people to know that this advice about ghosting, open communication, and leaning into the discomfort of these kinds of situations is important in all kinds of relationships too.