/s = sarcasm
Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about silence - this time about the silence we are forced into by the abusers. This way ensuring that the abuse remains a secret and the victim as powerless as possible.
I won’t try to tell you how to treat this or let go of it, as I think that would go beyond one episode, instead we will be focusing on talking about it and its mechanics to get a better understanding.
This will help you to get more immune to similar things in the future and where to place that sort of treatment in your mind. So let us talk about it.
To this day I am still affected by it. There was the promise of incredible pain and even death, if I say something. I did and paid a horrible price. To this day I am affected by those many years of being forced to silence.
If I get too upset or emotional, my lips become sealed. I literally can’t speak anymore. It has gotten better, but something burned like this into you over a decade, won’t disappear in a few years.
Especially if your survival depended on it. It is really like they are sewn shut, which is really frustrating for my friends - as they want to know what is wrong so they can mend things. As people who care for you should.
There were also others, who wanted me to remain silent, but without those drastic consequences. They just made obvious that “no one” was interested in what I had to say. I had a “lovely” environment growing up. /s
These are habits and lessons taught during the abuse, that you need to unlearn and relearn healthy alternatives. I talked about in episode 31 ‘rewrite your brain’. It is really surprising how hard hurting habits are to break.
Before we start: Your voice is valuable. Just as valuable as the voice of everyone else. I recommend being around people who like your voice and you like their voice.
So, first we start with the uses of the silence and then how it is established.
What uses has the silence?
It is rather obvious what purpose the silence has. But just so we have it all covered, we go over the main plots.
First it prevents the victim from being able to rally support or call for allies. Isolating someone is usually the best way to make that someone as weak as possible. Taking their voice away of sorts.
Second, they can fill the narrative. Why is person x not talking to you? Well if you got no reason, the abuser can tell you any reason. Most likely to either trust the abuser more, make him stronger, you weaker and so on.
Third, you can’t use silence as evidence. Like I said yesterday, silence might be a hint but never a clear sign. This way can be used to confuse and get away with the abuse, as nothing clear was said.
Forth, so they can determine the narrative afterwards. Clearly the silence was a sign of the abusers disapproval of what is happening. And it is hard to argue against that, isn’t it? So you get gaslighted and insecure.
The silence treatment is also a form of punishment and not without reason. If you are unsure in such a situation… demand an answer. Even if a wink with “you know what I mean” or the like is given - stay on your course.
So - in summary - the silence is mainly used to confuse and gaslight the victim, letting the abuser keep a mostly white west and being able to shift all the blame to the victim. Who often don’t dare to oppose the abuser.
How is the silence established?
But how is the silence usually established? There are three ways. The direct, indirect and the passive way. Going from obvious to not obvious. Usually the passive are the more manipulative ones… unsurprisingly.
First the direct one: “If you say something, I am going to harm you.” Pretty straight forward. The key is to make an believable threat to actually keep the victim quiet. The key here is blank fear.
Second the indirect one: “You know, if I ever did something, no one would believe I did it.” Did he just say what I think he said? A lot nonverbally happening. The key is making the victim as insecure as possible.
Third the passive one: That is most sinister one and hardest to describe. It is basically making the victim feel out of place whenever they say or do something. The key is to confuse the victim as much as possible
You might be treated with one or up to all three versions. Some more frequent than others. All of them have the purpose to discourage the victim from speaking about it. This way it stays a secret.
Then there is always the nice addition of involving others. Be it coworkers, neighbors, etc, but of course the best are the enablers - who the abuser can use and play like he wants. Either way.
They are used to enhance and magnify the version of the abuser. This way giving you the impression YOU are the abusive or weird one. YOU are the one going against the group. YOU are the one in the wrong.
Unless it is enablers, than those people are often not even aware that they ARE helping with abuse. Abusers are often very good in spinning the narrative into a version THEY prefer.
And the silence they use is REALLY helping them.
I am sadly in the position again, that I am sick. Not really sick. More the exhaustion form of sick. It sucks. You can’t really do anything and your pile of work just gets bigger. It’s frustrating. But that is how it is.
I also know WHY I am sick. Because at the moment, there a lot of things in my life that make me sick. I am removing those elements, but they can only be removed slowly and one at a time. So patience is needed.
Which has never been my strongest suit. Though if I look at my overall situation, I am actually doing pretty well. Which is a huge relief. And I am also learning and exploring - which is a new sensation.
I broke out of the cage and now slowly spreading my wings. So I shouldn’t be upset that I can’t fly yet, but happy that I can finally stretch my wings and enjoy that feeling after being stuck in the cage for so long.
But as usual - and typical human - I just see the sky above me and just want to fly like the others. That is sadly not how it works. As much I would like just to focus on this right now.
So, while I try to appreciate the spreading of my wings more, I will also try to be more generous with myself for not erasing every problem at the same time. But honestly I tend to be quite stubborn.
That was it for todays episode. I hope you liked it and my voice is fine. And as usual, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.