When confident, assertive people with effective communication skills feel wronged, they tell the person who they feel wronged them. Maybe not in all cases, but they can. Once they do, they can do something about the problem.
People who don’t assert themselves or who don’t have the skills to communicate their feeling wronged often, instead of telling anyone about it, simmer in their feelings. I refer to them as suffering in silence. They may feel self-righteous, victimized, hurt, angry, or a range of emotions. Feeling wronged, they won’t feel good about it. Not sharing how they feel means they can’t enlist anyone to help. They can’t resolve their problems. They make it hard for anyone they felt wronged them to change their behavior. They prevent effective problem solving or conflict resolution.
Sometimes people who suffer in silence act like martyrs. Sometimes they feel increasingly wronged by the interactions that they do nothing to stop, leading their emotions to increase until too intense to suppress and they lose their composure, yelling or acting out in some way they feel justified for but that tends to ruin a relationship, their credibility, or more.
Sometimes I find myself suffering in silence. When I do, I try to fix the situation. In the meantime, I choose to regard the consequences of my inaction as my responsibility, including the growth in intensity of emotions I may have felt. If I don’t tell someone the consequences of their actions on me, how can I hold them responsible for them?
I find taking responsibility for my emotions tends to decrease their intensity, enabling me to act effectively. Suffering in silence takes power away from me. It may feel better to blame someone else for my feelings, but it removes my ability to do anything about it. Responsibility means I can’t blame anyone else, but I can do something about my problem.
How to avoid suffering in silence
A recent post describes how to avoid suffering with a skill that helps communicate without losing your composure, “How not to lose your composure: Rational Emotion“.
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