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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Marlink

Self-imposed silent treatment

Last week, I had a couple of friends ask me how many people had signed up for Breathe for the Girls, a fundraising event that I'm hosting this coming weekend. With a deep sense of shame and humiliation, I replied, "two." Each friend responded with comfort, compassion, and reassurance that they would be there. I appreciated each person and I also knew there was some internal work to be done based on what was coming up within me. So, I opened my journal and poured my heart (and a few tears) onto the page.

As I sat and wrote out what I was feeling, I noticed how deeply embarrassed I felt for not only setting but sharing my lofty goal of sending the organization a 4-figure check. In complete transparency, my highest grossing breathwork event to date has been less than $300. I knew it was a big leap. I also felt ready to grow the event exponentially and thought that having a big goal would push me to get the word out. Having only two people sign up after I vulnerably asked for support in a couple of different ways took a huge hit on my mental and emotional state.

I continued to write until the shame and humiliation started to lift. Then I began to notice a thread of frustration. As I followed that thread for a bit, I noticed that I felt like I was receiving the silent treatment from my followers. I had asked multiple friends to share the event with their communities which I thought would grow my reach (and the chance of achieving my goal) significantly. But not even their followers were clicking through to the event, let alone signing up.

This was not the first time I've marketed to crickets, but the silence was much louder than usual because I had taken the courageous step to share my big goal and ask several people to help me. So I leaned into the discomfort a bit more and was guided to a memory of being ignored by my dad as a little kid. Not sure if I had done something wrong or if it was even really about me at all, but I recalled receiving the silent treatment from him for days.

I'm sure there were other ways to view whatever happened, but the little girl inside me had taken the silent treatment and buried it deep inside. The longer I sat with this memory, the more I began to see all the times in my life when I've been ignored by others. The pain and humiliation grew within me, and then I experienced a breakthrough.

With a flash of insight, the dot connected, and I realized that I was the one who was ignoring myself. I wasn't listening to my own wants, needs, and desires. I had become unresponsive to myself and my needs, and the world was now reflecting that internal state back to me in my current lived experience.

Yes, I fully realize there might be a little bridge to build here between the little girl and the deaf adult versions of myself. So, I will do my best to explain how I connected the dot.

As a child, the silent treatment I experienced created a thought within me that my voice was not heard or perhaps that my needs were not worth responding to. The pain and emotion wrapped around that experience got buried along with those thoughts and later turned into a subconscious belief. Living with that belief for decades led me to become a woman who didn't believe her voice was worth being heard, not even by herself.

Looking at the whole experience, from silent treatment as a child to not hearing my own self as an adult, feels like such a weird and wild concept, but that's how the mind works. It takes these little moments from our past and turns them into subconscious beliefs that we then get to uncover and heal as we begin to wake up and evolve our conscious awareness.

The more I sat with this awareness that I had become deaf and unresponsive to myself, the more I could see how that was permeating my current life. I could see the countless evenings when I would wait for Dave to get home to eat rather than feeding my own hungry body. I could see the times when I wanted to take it easy and chose to push through and be productive instead. I could also see how I was doing things to make others feel comfortable and valued rather than tending to my own personal comfort and value first.

The list of ways I have neglected myself is long, and that's ok. I didn't know until now that I was even doing it in this way, and I'm sure that the timing of this awareness is perfect. I wasn't ready to hear and heal this wound until now, and now that I know, this changes everything.

Now, I am choosing to tune into my own personal needs and desires on a daily basis. I am also choosing to take action on whatever comes up. I'm sure there will be moments where I will slip back into temporary deafness as I'm learning how to hear, nurture, and love myself again. And that is totally ok.

I also know that the people who are ready to experience breathwork with me will sign up when the time is right. I trust the Universe is doing the heavy lifting in that respect and that my role is to continue to clear out any internal clutter that is keeping me small or hidden. I've come a really long way in this area and I am truly grateful to continue growing, evolving, and serving in this way.


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