yin me, yang you.

Sticks and stones are hard on bones
Aimed with angry art,
Words can sting like anything
But silence breaks the heart.
~Phyllis McGinley, “Ballade of Lost Objects,” 1954

Soon after we got engaged, my mother made a comment that stayed with me long after. She said that finally in k, I had someone, who wasn’t going to try to out-fire me in my temperament. I think she sense in k a resilience, a kind of a grounded staying force that wasn’t going to get blown away with one of my hurricanes.

The biggest difference in the way k and I fight has been our modus operandi. I will flail my arms, shout and scream and be verbally murderous to the point of going literally blue in the face, whereas he will retreat and be silent. I will say that silence claims an indifference that cuts through your heart- that makes you feel that even if you dropped off the face of the earth, the person concerned wouldn’t notice. He resolutely maintains that the uncontrolled mean words are hurtful and cannot be forgotten all that easily. I counter by saying that silence is way louder than any words I can come up with- and he says its a matter of perspective, really.

For me the words have no consequence in this regard. I find them to be utmost fickle, coming out of my mouth at random and dissipating into the atmosphere like inconsequential particles of dust- I mean who wants to catch dust anyways? I don’t believe that words spurted out in the heat of anger mean anything more than a dispelling of the negative energy and they should not stay stuck in your head, or come back to haunt you at other unrelated times.

Silence rankles. It makes me want to make the person say something- anything- even if I regret it later. K maintains that silence works best because you don’t want to say anything you may not mean. What is the point of fighting I ask if we have to be careful about what we say or be in complete possession of our mental faculties. Isn’t a good fight when we finally let go and let it out?

A friend of mine used to use the phrase “agree to disagree” fairly often when describing her relationship with another friend of ours. She claimed that they had very different views so they made peace with knowing that they would never agree. I always thought that this sounded rather convenient and easy way out-y. It either meant, that neither of them felt passionately enough about their stance to try to convince each other, or that they simply were not bothered enough. But looking back, I admit she might have had a point. Perhaps for the world to exist in the order that best suits us in our relationships, there is that agreement to disagree that kicks into place- a point where you simply take both the sides as part of the constantly yo-yoing energy of existance and then you make it work for you in the ways you need it to for your best.

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19 thoughts on “yin me, yang you.”

  1. i just has to respond to this one:) V fights like K…he calls it not fighting…he just won’t respond…the silent treatment…it unnerves me!!!!!:)

  2. 🙂 i hear you. I tried doing the silent treatment once- but he didnt notice!! I think he thought it meant all was fine- SO not doing it again!

  3. I guess that’s how most men are – my hubby too chooses the silent treatment. On the other hand, no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep shut when angry. I just HAVE to say something really hurtful, and only after sensing the emotional damage being done do I feel better 😛

      1. Well, that’s the problem, He isn’t immune to it – even after my repeatedly telling him that whatever I say in anger is NOT to be taken seriously.
        He can’t ignore what I say when angry, and I cannot stop myself from saying something hurtful. 😛

  4. sara, im the same. i fight, scream and shout, say hurtful words and what do i get in response? the silent treatment!

    but as of late, since i ve been so far, having a long distance fight made me realize how much easier it is to just talk things out, cause when u r long distance you just HAVE to talk. you have no choice.of course such rationality doesnt work when im face to face with F.

    it also made me realize that my screaming and shouting and the hurtful words that i spurt out during my angry fits would definitely STICK if they were thrown at me instead. since im at the giving end and the less forgiving one and sadly also the less forgetting one (as are most women) i think its best (as annoying as it maybe) that F stays quiet. and then when the storm is over and the the harsh words received/heard with much patience, there is silent contemplation followed by rational talk. urghhhh….!!

    it IS the perfect balance 😉


    1. i think eventually one HAS to talk it out because by either method of screaming or silence it isnt really reaching a point but i think that initial reaction of shout or scream is very necessary too 🙂

      but agreed that any constructive stuff can only happen after the storm passes.

  5. Once in a fir of anger I told my husband that the only time one utters the absolute truth is when they are angry. he agreed.
    A few months later I apologized for some seriously harsh words screamed in a fit of anger and he asked me why was I apologizing for my truths.
    Since then, ever time I’m angry and feel ugly words boiling inside, I refrain from saying them out aloud lest he thinks that this is actually the truth of our relationship.
    His anger is completely silent.
    I want to scream, but after two years have taught myself not to. so, in the end, we talk about the ‘issue’ only after the anger has subsided/

    1. hmm i know i say things that have an element of truth in them but i am severely dramatic and blow it out of proportion so much that once ot twice, we have actually burst out laughing in the middle of roaring fight because what i say sounds so funny.

      i think if you have a great enough relationship where truths dont hurt that much- nothing like it – although hearing an ugly truth about yourself isnt fun.

      and yes, again talk after the calm is impt 😀

  6. argh. i know just what you’re talking about. i hate, hate, hate the silent approach. i mean dude, i’m pretty non-confrontational myself, and don’t like screaming matches and stuff, but z takes it to a whole new level.
    we do the agree to disagree thing on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!

  7. i also think it’s important for one of the two to maintain some sort of calm during the whole !@#$@%!#@% otherwise things could really go KA-BOOM!

    i also think a lot of guys read your blog, but choose not to comment out of fear of getting KA-BOOM’d =)

  8. i also think words stick with you, the person saying them might not mean them or they could be a fickle of dust but they always stay, “silence yad nahi rehti, words yad rehtay hain”
    but i also get pissed when people go silent on me during a fight…my sister does that:P

  9. 🙂 I am the silent treatment one in my relationship. I have always had a horrible temper (genetic courtesy from my Dad) and people are still terrified of my Dad! So over several decades I have learned to just shut up and be silent (the introvert’s way what can I say!) and think things over until the anger has subsided and objectivity has returned . I always tell him my heart is unable to work like an ‘on and off’ switch and is rather like a dimmer. I cannot scream one minute and be over with it the next.

    Incidently my husband hates the silent treatment! However, after a few major fights gone from petty to serious with material damage involved (really funny now by the way!) where he “made me talk right away and scream and discuss” instead of letting me retreat to my corner and calm myself down, he has learnt! He still hates the wait time in between the fight calmed down conversation but I can safely say we have made wonderful progress under this system! Also I am sure kids are the same or even better deterrent but I have none so for now our cat is a wonderful control factor in our fights. Our cat used to get really scared with the yelling and we found ourselves stopping in the middle of an argument that got loud and feeling horrible about the distress we caused him! 🙂

    1. nia yes, the advent of the child does change this things- sometimes you just dont have the energy to do the whole dramatic shouting screaming fight so you actually end up talker way sooner! i think in our case atleast its worked out for the better… 😀

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