...the Journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

For the next few weeks, we'll be seeing magnets from Ned & Marta's refrigerator door.

This isn't one of Ned & Marta's pug, but just a pug magnet

Here are some of my theatre reviews, if you're interested.

Updated 3/10/01


She's Come Undone
by Wally Lamb


The Weakest Link

That's it for today!



25 April 2001

Someone once pointed out that I spend a lot of my life suffering in silence, doing what I don’t want to do because I’m reluctant to speak up for myself, or to make my desires and feelings known.

Maybe it’s having grown up with a rageaholic father and learning from the earliest age that to speak up was to invite an unpleasant consequence. I didn’t see it as suffering in silence so much as I saw it as weighing the results and the consequences of expressing my feelings, and deciding that whatever was bothering me wasn’t worth the immediate rage, and the week or two of a strained silence that would affect everyone in the house. There was never any “winning,” of course. Nothing ever changed if you did speak up, so what was the point?

There were times when I took a chance and spoke out, and it always had a bad result. It just wasn‘t worth it. I wasn’t the only one. My sister and mother also were experts in playing the “don’t make waves” game.

After I moved out of my parents’ home and began my own life, the “suffering in silence” mentality followed me. It had been deeply engained in me for 18 years and was so much a part of my being that it never entered my head that perhaps not everyone behaved the way I did.

(It was like that fact that it took 10 years to diagnose my ambliopia because as a kid it never occurred to me that everyone didn’t have one good eye and one bad eye, so I never mentioned that I couldn’t really see out of my right eye.)

My relationship with most people, professionally as well as personally, has always been based on not making waves. I am married to a man who also does not like to make waves, and we rarely, if ever, openly disagree.

There was a period of time when I was seeing a therapist who was trying to encourage me to speak out for myself. I remember coming to a session once quite proud of myself because I’d actually allowed myself to get angry about something. It was a big moment. She asked me to explain what happened. I did and her comment was “you call THAT getting angry? That’s hardly even ‘miffed.’” We laughed about my stumbling attempts at releasing negative feelings and how inept I was at it.

When I took on the job of office manager for an ob/gyn office, I forced myself out of my reticence and realized that I was an advocate for our office, so I became quite outspoken in my comments when fighting for our office. Not surprisingly, the job didn’t last long. The medical group which took over our office (and many others) was looking for “yes people,” and didn’t want someone who was going to make waves. They didn’t want to have someone point out how patient care was being compromised. They just wanted me to push those figures and make the doctors agree to spend less time giving less care in the interest of increasing profits.

When it was not-so-subtly pointed out to me that I did not meet the corporation's idea of a proper office manager and I felt shamed into leaving the position, the value of suffering in silence was once again brought home to me.

Once in a great while, someone will enter my life who makes me feel comfortable enough to get past “suffering in silence,” someone whom I trust enough to hesitantly allow my true feeings, negative as well as positive, to surface, with whom I feel I can say “I really would like it if you would...” or “it makes me feel such-and-such when you do or don’t do such and such.”

The problem with not suffering in silence is that you open yourself for disappointment when things don’t go quite the way you expect them to. It’s still a learning process for me, accepting that you can disagree and not cause the end of a relationship, that things don't happen just because you'd like them to happen a certain way, that by being open with your own feelings, you invite the other person to be open with theirs as well. You sometimes find it’s easier to just keep silent after all.

At times like that, you realize that you haven’t really progressed very far at all. You’re still weighing the pros and cons of speaking out and choosing the most comfortable alternative, the path of least resistance.

There are some definite advantages to suffering in silence.

One Year Ago:
Turn around...turn around...
Happy Birthday, Jeri!

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 4/25/01 by Bev Sykes