Remaining silent when not speaking hurts

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Joe Dispenza
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Remaining silent when not speaking hurts

“We don't talk about this!”. This is an expression that we sometimes perceive as an imposition. But what are its consequences?

Last update: May 03, 2020

It is very common to find ourselves in situations where we feel we must remain silent. Sometimes we are told clearly: “Don't talk about it!”; at other times we sense it from circumstances. Once we have gotten the message, it's up to us to figure out how to behave.



There are times when we self-inhibit and do not express our thoughts, even if no one has told us: "This is not talked about". Today we want to deepen this topic. We will find out why staying silent can hurt us and what tools we can use to avoid finding ourselves in such a situation.

"Secrets and the prohibition of speaking can lead us to have harmful interactions with ourselves, with others and with the environment around us."

Why must we remain silent?

It can happen in different situations. Sometimes they forbid us to speak, justifying this imposition by telling us: "But what will others think?". Others prevent us from talking about a topic without giving us an explanation. It may also happen that some facts have to be hidden from one or more family members. Or we don't know how to express our thoughts with words and how to make others understand us.

Often, even if we pretend that some problems don't exist, they actually exist. As a result, we can have thoughts, feel feelings and engage in behaviors that we could define as "particular". This happens because each of us perceives and communicates things differently. While we don't express ourselves using verbal language, we do so through non-verbal language.



Not all people who tell us not to talk about something do so with bad intentions. Sometimes, unconsciously, they tell us something they don't want, but without wanting to hurt us. In other cases, however, our interlocutor wants to hurt us and therefore forces us to remain silent. Still others do it to protect us without knowing that they are actually hurting us.

Why does staying silent hurt?

Silence can make us feel bad because it does not allow the brain to express itself by limiting our thoughts to internal dialogue. We have all experienced the sensation of exploding because we have been in silence for too long without having had the opportunity to express ourselves.

When a person does not allow us to talk about certain things, he is limiting our freedom. There may be times when it may be necessary to remain silent, especially if the person in question is going through a difficult time. But if we are always prevented from speaking we will not be able to help her and we will only increase her problems.

Other times, however, it is we who remain silent out of fear. Especially when we have had a painful or embarrassing experience. However, it is important to talk about our repressed emotions so that we can express them and experience the moment as a kind of apprenticeship. If not, we will continue to feed what makes us suffer.

It happens to keep some situations hidden so as not to create further problems. However, this is not always the best choice. The person in question may have discovered them in another way or may not have been able to overcome some problems because they were unaware of what was happening.


Strategies for dealing with the inability to express oneself

There are several strategies for dealing with the inability to express oneself. Let's see some of them:

  • Express what you hear. You don't necessarily have to do it through the word. For example, you can use art, exercise or meditation. These are all means by which we can connect with our emotions.
  • Seek help. You can go to a professional such as a psychologist or talk to a loved one. You do not need to be ashamed if you feel overwhelmed, overwhelmed or if you have had painful experiences.
  • Be resilient. How can we go on? You have to overcome the problems and give another meaning to the experiences that have made you suffer. For example, think of what happened to you as an opportunity to learn about new aspects of yourself.
  • Establish limits. If something makes us feel bad, it is important for others to know. It is a way to protect ourselves and to let others know what worries us.

Beyond that, if we think someone is avoiding telling us something, we need to invite them to share their problems with us. In this way, we will reduce his difficulties and help him to put in place a series of psychological mechanisms that will lead him to face his problems (coping strategy).



Remaining silent has very important consequences, which have been dealt with by the various branches of psychology through systemic therapy. Several studies and researches have also focused on this aspect. The scholar Ludmila da Silva Cateva in an article by her reflects on the “unspoken” and on what we “censor” by relating these choices with trust and pain. In particular, she analyzes the reactions of victims of direct or indirect violence and those of generations who have never experienced violence.


Any problem that is not talked about can cause great suffering. You can express your difficulties in various ways. People who, directly or indirectly, force you to remain silent don't always want to hurt, but they could. It is therefore important to speak assertively about what we are feeling and this requires certain strategies, skills and a certain attitude.

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