I keep letters (and mails). All of them. It’s like a diary. It’s like traveling in time, being in two persons’ brains, “dialog archeology”, you feel the water under the bridge, too. And if the person died, you can talk with him/her endlessly.
I found an old letter in which a friend told me that she dated a guy and lived a few weeks of love before breaking up, because he was too intense, toxic, and jealous. Drama! He said he would left the country to live in Madagascar, and that he will never talk to her again! Then he disappeared…
One day, years later, she got an envelope. From Madagascar. She didn’t open it : it was empty.
She wrote me about her boiling brain since : Was it a mistake? Cruelty? A symbol? A paradox (“I think of you but I won’t talk”)? A “Hello”? In fact, she was so moved that it’s been good to her. It made her think about herself, about life, about him, about moving forward, etc…
This kind of cruelty made me think about the concept of “Silence Treatment“.
Silence Treatment always had many faces. And even in the Eighties and before, you already could play with it :
- To sulk in a couple (for days, why not)
- To disappear without an address
- To commit suicide
- Abandoned child
- Quitting your best friend for ever because he/she went too far
Who does that and why? To manipulate? To forget? Protection? Cruelty? Stupidity?
Now we have smartphones and the Internet, tools outnumber old possibilities. You can just BLOCK someone one Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Email, etc… – and all pertaining games :
- you can block the blocker, so there!
- you can unblock someone, say something and reblock him/her (just to imagine the boiling process – which, beware could steam back… where it can).
- you can use real mail (paper) to bypass (I love when reality hits the virtual fan!).
I know a friend who has been almost destroyed by a lunatic pervert (living on the other side of an ocean) who constantly contacted her, flooded her with love and promises then disappeared for months for no reason, in a loop, keeping her disarmed in a boiling despair for years.
Silence treatment is dreadful (see, I learned a new word!), and we should only use it for protection.
Thus I’m back thinking about the empty letter from Madagascar. As an optimist, I choose this (because I choose to think people can’t be “that” mean) : It was a way for the guy to say “I promised I won’t talk to you anymore, but here’s something to show you I think of you, though”.
Thanks for reading!