Of course the obverse to The Silent Treatment (TST) is the Talk to Me NOW!(TTMK). I was a bit undecided at first if this is a Power Play, a hoover or a behaviour. I am actually pretty much settled on the fact that this is a hoover with a dash of behaviour thrown in.
TTMK is a consequence of the split thinking that some people exhibit. It is the demanding of your instant and unwavering attention but only when it suits them. It is driven out of their grandiosity and feelings of superiority that encapsulates them. It also speaks volumes on their lack of recognition of boundaries of any kind. It also driven out of the need to gain a quick hit of narcissistic supply. The response will either be positive (good) or negative (even better!). So what forms does it exhibit?
The demanding of instant attention is a lot actually like a toddlers’ behaviour. I want it NOW. Give it to me NOW! It can be relatively benign or it can be utterly malicious. I will give real-life examples of both.
N: I know you were at your friends’ and I’m glad you saw them but I’ve been rattling around the house waiting for you. I missed you.
Me: I know. I cut short my visit to be with you. You OK?
N: I am now. But everything’s OK
N: Where are you? Are you OK? I thought we were speaking at 9 ish?
Me: Yes I know but the procedure took longer than I expected (I explain why).
N: OK but you’re here now. Tell me how you feel?
N: [On IM] Where’s my Girl? (Gauges how long it takes for my response)
Me: (Five mins or so later) I’m here!
N: Yes you are Girl!
N: Read this email then give me your thoughts. Don’t think, just act and do it now…
Me: [Reads with interest, drives off to see a friend where we discuss it].
N: [On IM – an idea is proposed.] Thoughts?
N: Don’t go dark on me, thoughts??
Me: Whoops I needed to do something (checks time ident between messages – only a few mins had passed)
N: You said you would be online at 6. It’s now 7. Where the actual fuck have you been?
Me: Busy sorting out the kids! I’m here now.
N: Nah. You’ve been out fuckin’ haven’t you?
Me: What??? (Engages snark mode). Yes, indeed you are correct. The rugby team has just left. I’m not sure one of them could stop a pig in an alley after I left them. Poor dears. They have a game on Saturday as well… [Enter epic argument, stage right]
N: When you’re not around I pace and worry and fret. Is that what you want?
Me: No… but I’m here.
N: I just worry about you soo much sometimes. I don’t like you going to those places (was a Fet club – tame) on your own.
Me: I wasn’t on my own, I had a chum with me. I’m a big girl.
Me: (On IM) Help. I’ve managed to lock myself out! I don’t know what to do? Guess I’m going to have to break a window? I’m scared. It’s cold.
N: Well it’s your own fuckin’ fault. Goin’ out drinking with your mates! Back at 10 YOU SAID!!! What kind of a fuckin’ slave are you?
Me: [Shuts of phone and cries. Promptly find key in purse. ]
I have other examples but I think these are among the best.
Of course it is difficult to recognise some of the benign ones as just simply one person caring for another. But in all of the cases the gap between message being sent out and my response was remarkably small. In all cases, my own response if I were in that position would be a simple ‘Let me know when you get this. Thinking of you’. Then allow them that space to breathe.
These responses are very typical of the positive/negative ways in which the target is viewed. Push/pull, on/off, black/white. When you couple TST with TTMN, it leaves the mark in a state of almost constant anxiety. Do this to a person who already has an anxiety disorder and you are seriously asking for trouble. Do this to an Empath and you are really asking for it. In spades.
Or maybe, that’s the point? Everyone has a place where even the most cool headed will snap under these hoovers. No-one has a permanent state of resilience and anxiety/depressive disorders already leave the mark compromised. The only real way to deal with these manipulations is to go No Contact.
As always, I welcome genuine thoughts.