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Silence Avoids Confrontation, But It Can End Your Relationship Without Notice

Silence Avoids Confrontation, But It Can End Your Relationship Without Notice

Communication is the lifeblood of all successful relationships, whether these are personal in nature or connected to the business world. So just as silence and inactivity can undermine new business connections, it can also create distance within a romantic relationship and sever it without warning.

How Silence Can Impact Negatively on Relationships, Regardless of Our Intentions

The issue with this is that silence can often be used to avoid conflict in a relationship, particularly during times of stress and/or in instances where one partner is particularly dominant. This can subsequently cause significant issues and divides in the relationship, primarily for the following reasons.

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1. Silence can be used as a form of manipulation.

On a fundamental level, such silence speaks to an absence of verbal and, in some instances, emotional intimacy. It can even manifest itself as a form of sub-conscious control, as silence creates the impression that there is an issue or emotional state that is simply too difficult or sensitive to talk about.

An unwillingness to communicate feelings with a loved one (regardless of the reasons for this) can subsequently leave others feeling as though they are being punished for a perceived wrong, forcing submissive individuals to attempt to placate their partner as a direct response.

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2. These false assumptions can compound relationship issues.

As we can see, calculated or unavoidable silence can have an indirect influence on people’s thoughts and subsequent behavior. More specifically, it can create an internal narrative in the human mind, which unchecked simply reaffirms that negative perceptions that have been project through a lack of communication. These emotions are based on assumptions about the gravity of the triggers that are causing such silence and introverted behavior.

These assumptions only compound any issues that may exist in the relationship, particularly in instances where silence is being used as a weapon of control.

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3. Silence merely creates the illusion of peace.

Perhaps the biggest issue with silence is that creates the illusion of peace, particularly among those who tend to be more submissive by nature. They can be misled into believing that silence is preferable to an argument, but this is self-injurious as this invalidates them and their own opinions. It is also less preferable to a frank exchange of ideas, which can identify the root cause and expedite resolutions.

Sadly, silence only exacerbates issues and creates distance in a relationship, while preventing couples from resolving their differences.

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How to Overcome Silence in a Relationship

Silence in a relationship creates division, as individuals seek out their own private sanctuaries such as a second bedroom or a specially-designed man cave. It is not enough to say that people simply need to communicate more, however, as this proves ineffective in the case where one partner is continually silent or emotionally absent.

Instead, the key is to focus on the effectiveness of your communication and learning how to be heard, which is a skill that can be taught through assertiveness classes and similar educational tools. While you develop these communication skills and understand how to break down a wall of silence, you can also look to alleviate the issue by creating deliberate, short-term distance that leads to a period of reflection. This negates the effect of silence and simultaneously allows both parties to deal with their emotions.

It is also important to heed the message of this article and understand the impact that silence has in our own mind. If we are silent, this is either because we need help tapping into our emotions or are trying to condition a response in our partners. If you are constantly attempting to communicate with a silent partner, you must strive to avoid making assumptions and instead take practical steps to increasing the level of communication that exists within the relationship.

Featured photo credit: Nick Fuentes via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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