Five Stages of Grief: How dealing with a douche bag makes it harder

The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, which come following a death, end of a marriage, end of a relationship and so on. Each person may go through each stage differently. Grief is a personal Journey.

However, there is a new and startling trend that I like to call, “Fuck you, I’m out.” Otherwise known as the silent treatment or “Ghosting”. This usually happens when the other partner (the one who did the breaking up, or maybe you’re only having a fight) has decided it’s over or they don’t want to talk about it, and you’re trying to contact them, but they would like not deal with whatever the problem is. As far as their concerned, it’s done, let it go. They don’t want to talk about it, say sorry, or work anything out with you.

What’s even worse is, this is becoming so normal, that people consider this okay behavior, even though they’ve done multiple studies and found out how damaging this can be to the partnership and building trust, people still consider this to be an appropriate response. However, It’s also just as reasonable to then find a partner who becomes destraught, because they’re attachement system has been activated and they’re animal brain has been pushed into fight or flight. Yet, we’ll still call that person crazy, and not the other person who’s doing the narcossistic behavior. That person is taking away someone’s basic human right, and cutting off emotional contact too.

While, I understand that it’s hard to always talk about uncomfortable things, avoiding those doesn’t make them go away.

The silent treatment, Which is like when you wake up from a nightmare and you can’t scream. Which I just found out is called old hags syndrome. It’s real, look it up. The silent treatment is actually considered a form of torture. It’s used very often used to control or silence the person. But the person isn’t actually silent. Just to the person who no longer wants to hear them. The pain just becomes stronger, the questions still go unanswered, and person who’s been left without a voice, now feels like they have been punished. Like a child that’s been put in timeout.

However, the silent treatment is in fact childish behavior. It’s what kids do by holding their fingers in their ears and singing loudly, so they don’t need to listen to what their parents are saying. It’s not only a method of avoidance. It’s a method of a coward without respect or empathy for someone they once claimed to care about, but only because it suited their needs at the time.

Look, I understand that sometimes we need to cut people off, this is never an easy choice. Sometimes it’s because both people don’t know how to transition and be true friends, like my ex and I couldn’t be friends, and he didn’t want to actually be my boyfriend. Every time we would try to be friends, we would have sex. I would get hopeful like a little kid and he would have to shoot my hopes down, like no silly, I still don’t want to date you. Neither one of us could maintain boundaries, so we can’t talk to each other. It sucks, but it’s also for the best. It’s not because we don’t love each other, it’s because we can’t be the people we both want and still be healthy. But we don’t hate each other.

Who are the types of people to most likely Ghost?

These characteristics are often associated with narcissistic personality disorders, sociopaths and people that tend to lack empathy for other humans. Because the persons pain no longer suits their lifestyle, they cut that person off in cold calculated fashion.

A better way to end things

The first stage of grief is often denial, and in this stage it might be that the couple is already broken up, but they’re still seeing each other sexually. Or it could simply be a mix of denial mixed with negotiating, one person thinks it’s over, the other person thinks things can be worked on. The key to these things is always absolute clarity. If the person doing the breaking up isn’t totally clear, then that will cause more anger when the break up actually becomes a reality. When the break up does happen and anger hits, that’s when things might be said and feelings might be hurt. It’s totally understandable that the person doing the breaking up wouldn’t want to go through this period. But it’s essential to be just as loving in this time as you were when you first met, things said now aren’t personal, they just suck to hear…and the person saying them is just trying to process. You must set boundaries of course, but understand that this is when you have a chance to resolve any left over issues, say your apologies and give each other forgiveness.

Without doing that, the other person must struggle alone to find those answers. It will be an excruciatingly long process, the answers they come to may not be right, because they are assumptions. Even worse, now you’ve left that person more damaged. They will eventually go through the depression and eventually come out as warriors, but the sad fact is, they’re crushed more so than a person who had a partner, that remained until the day they both mutually decided that no contact was best, and to see what would happen after some time and space happened, maybe they could be friends one day.

With the silent treatment you’ve decided it’s better to ignore a human being. It’s cowardly and weak and the opposite of loving. Don’t think it’s anything other than that. Don’t make excuses like, “she/ he was being crazy.” They were probably angry, we avoid anger because it makes us feel bad. However, they are not crazy for feeling angry, and they’ve shown studies of what happens to the brain when it goes through a break up or separation. All of the areas associated with love still light up, but also, the areas of withdrawal. Therefore it makes sense that similar to an addict, this person is probably going to try whatever they can to get you back, and they’ll get depressed and hurt, swing back and forth emotionally. They are actually coming down off a drug of sorts and that drug was being in love with you, so be kind.

By not acknowledging their very normal feelings of abandonment, rejection, hurt and anger, we don’t make them magically disappear. We simply magnify their own feeling of being unworthy of love and compassion. Instead of taking the time to be loving, the choice was to push away, put them in solitary confinement and ignore their suffering so we wouldn’t need to face our own feelings. That’s just cruel. Basically, we would rather another person feel shame, then go through a moment of discomfort. That’s sort of sad when you remember that this is a person you loved at one point, and now you have no problem basically letting them be in terrible pain.

What’s worse, is because they been silenced to no longer have input or voice, to no longer get validation, when they continue to seek it, to simply get closure. They are made to feel crazy. That’s the saddest part of all. To silence someone when they are at their most vulnerable and then punish them for asserting themselves and trying to have a voice. I still ask, who is the crazy one? The one who took away someone’s voice to avoid discomfort, or the person who simply desires closure, but has been put in an isolation chamber and forced to talk to walls that don’t respond back?

“The silent treatment is ALL about control. It is emotional abuse at its cusp. It is not a break up, it is a ploy to get the other person to feel uneasy, unsure, hopeful that things will get better, etc. It is intended to break the other person down, in silence, building on the ‘slotmachine’ concept of domestic abuse. The person getting the silent treatment will just keep hoping that the next time they try to have a conversation or have sex or ask a question, the person giving the ST will ‘come around’. And finally, when they do, the person on the receiving end sighs in relief…they finally hit the jackpot. Except the jackpot isn’t really a jackpot: it’s a grunt, or a shrug, or an unemotional sex session. Thus, the person on the receiving end comes to expect less, to be happy with less, to become less.

The silent treatment, in all its simplicity, is an amazingly destructive form of abuse. No contact, on the other hand, is just two people who decide it no longer suits them to communicate. It is not a tactic, it is a mutual decision. I think the silent treatment is being confused with the ‘disappearing act’ form of breakup, and it’s only making it harder for people to truly love.

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