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My silent killer

Corey Worrell

My silent killer

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THE ARTICLE you are about to read has strengthened and restored relationships here in Barbados and in the United States. It was relevant in June, 2011, when I wrote it and I believe it is as relevant today.
I find it quite interesting and disturbing that we as a people treat the people we say we love the worst. Those people would include our parents, spouses, siblings and other extended family. We shout at them, verbally and physically abuse them, call them names and refuse to assist them in times of need. What is even more interesting is that we do not generally treat our bosses or supervisors this way. Think about it! You know it’s true.
If our bosses or supervisors upset us or get on our last nerve, we would not respond to them in the same way we would our loved ones. I think this is because of the consequences that may arise due to our actions, one of which may be losing our jobs. We do not immediately recognize that there are also consequences for treating our loved ones in an unkind and unloving manner. They may not always be immediate but, over time, they are revealed.
Over the last five years, I have been adjusting the way I approach and communicate with my family, especially my siblings and my mum. It hasn’t been easy at all but it has made me a better person. I do not shout or say unkind things to them anymore, neither do I ignore or give them the “silent treatment” which, in my view, can be the “silent killer” of relationships.
Let’s say my wife does something that upsets and angers me; I don’t want to confront her about it so I introduce the manipulative, controlling and dishonouring silent treatment to teach her a lesson.
I have tried the silent treatment before and I realized something. Whenever I did it, I would have this lump in my chest, this heaviness, I was never at peace. I also recognized that my communication was cold, unwelcoming and
I responded when spoken to in a monosyllabic way. I also never smiled, hugged, kissed or did anything in a loving or kind manner. I wasn’t only hurting her, I was also hurting myself and all because I felt justified in being angry and holding a grudge.
When we did decide to address the issue, the atmosphere was very uncomfortable and tense. Sometimes the issue would be solved but the emotions and attitudes of both parties remained for hours and sometimes days until everything returned to normal. I recognized that approach was a waste of time and energy and had the potential to destroy my relationship once it continued.
My wife and I are trying a new approach. If we recognize that we have let down or hurt each other’s feelings, we immediately seek forgiveness and seek to restore the atmosphere of our relationship to one that is peaceful, fun, full of excitement and love.
We have found that this approach of confronting a situation immediately after it is highlighted makes things so much easier to resolve. It isn’t always easy as sometimes we have to fight past our egos and our “rights” to be angry but, I can assure you, it is rewarding.
Let me finish with two scenarios.
One morning, while driving to work, I drove through lots of mud on the road. Six days later, I decided to wash the car and it took me almost two hours and a lot of hard work to get the mud off the car.
A few days later, on my way home from work, I drove through some mud. This time, as soon as I arrived home I washed the car. It took me only about 20 minutes and the mud came off so easily.
See the situations in your life as mud. The longer they remain unresolved, the harder it is to resolve them.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email [email protected]