The Sound of Silence

Germany

One could argue that we have more communication options available to us now than we’ve had at any point in human history.  We find ourselves complaining about technology; how it weakens interpersonal relationships, damages friendships, and complicates romantic relationships to no end.  Things like texting can disturb our symbiotic relationship with our surroundings and though being connected has its advantages it is not without its faults.  I have a couple problems with texting.  The first problem that I have with it is that it has become our primary means of contact despite the fact that such a medium seems ill-suited for ideal communication.  It is difficult to convey emotion for example by text.  Texting is also very annoying when someone other than you is doing it.

I had a girlfriend who would have “face to face” conversations with me while texting the entire time.  That’s not a conversation; in such a context I existed only as something additional for her to interact with when it was convenient for her.  What was worst about this situation was that sometimes it felt like she was only meeting with me face to face because she could better manage her conversations that way.  It wasn’t about me in other words, it was about her and making matters more convenient for her.  That’s not a relationship, that’s a way of trying to keep everyone content so that you don’t have to make tough decisions.  The fact that I was there was of little consequence other than the fact that I kept asking her to get off the phone.

The most irritating thing about the interconnectedness of our universe is that it makes the silence all the more punishing.  I know of no worse treatment than being completely ignored.  It’s the ultimate insult voiced by someone who clearly could not convey their thoughts in an articulate manner through words.  It also is the treatment that hurts the most.  Say every nasty word you can think of, call me everything that you can think of but dear god please don’t ignore me.  Solitary confinement is considered the worst punishment because of the word “solitary.”  It is when one is isolated from human contact that one truly goes mad.  It is when a relationship sours to the point that one party ignores the other that one feels hurt the most.  It isn’t merely a feeling of hurtfulness that overcomes us when we’re ignored but genuine anger.  It is the knowledge that not only is the other person not communicating with us, but that are making an active effort to do so that really gets under the skin.

It is easier to dismiss something when it only happens once and thus easier to get over because you think that such behavior is unusual and you will not have to deal with it again.  When it happens again your heart sinks to a new low.  When this pattern gets repeated over and over again it is difficult not to feel truly hurt.  That hurt will never go away.  You’ll never be able to talk to that other person and get some closure and perhaps that is what makes this all so incredibly painful.  The pain and anger gets turned inward.  When we are treated in such a way it does not give way to anything good.  No one emerges from these kinds of situations as being better off.  All you wind up with are two people who couldn’t agree and one side that decided it was easier to give up on the other person than to continue trying to work something out.  It is that feeling of abandonment that sticks with you.  It eats away at you and makes you wonder if maybe you are not this terrible person that this other person suggested.  You have no way of figuring it out.  All avenues close down.  It’s like getting the jail card in Monopoly; it’s not the going to jail part that hurts it’s the “do not pass go, do not collect $200” part that is depressing.  The real world jail card is indifference.  Suffering is exponentially increased by the indifference of others.

If there were general ignorance about the problems that I face then perhaps it wouldn’t hurt as much.  Perhaps if they didn’t know about my depression and anxiety, the difficulty of living with Aspergers and the constant feeling that I’ve had my whole life that I was never good enough or that I would never be able to live up to people’s expectations then it wouldn’t be so bad.  But, you see, because I’m so terribly honest, because I put myself out there to everyone, because I care it is for this that I feel as though I am being punished.  Ignoring someone doesn’t just diminish the person that you are ignoring it impacts the lives of everyone around that person and how anyone could ever think that such a punishment was worth it will be forever beyond me.

Ultimately, there is nothing you can do about it and therein lies the biggest problem of all: helplessness.  You’ve got to sit there and feel every ounce of your anger, frustration, and disappointment.  It’s like being suffocated in a pile of your own vomit.  Not just vomit that you coughed up, but vomit that exited your stomach through your mouth in a projectile manner.  You feel chained to the ground and forced to inhale your own toxins and bathe in your own depravities until the only thing left is a fraction of your heart and a pittance of your soul.  To the people out there who engage in this kind of depravity know that you are the reason that evil exists in this world, your actions or coordinated inaction as the case may be is why good people turn bad and people who were once merely hurt become broken beyond repair.

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