The punishment of indifference

The punishment of indifference

Indifference is one of the worst treatments we can receive, given its devastating consequences. Let's see what it is and how to deal with it.

The punishment of indifference

Last update: December 22, 2022

The punishment of indifference is one of the worst. It is a form of psychological aggression that consists in making someone invisible, emotionally nullifying them and vetoing their need for social connection to lead them to a limbo of emptiness and suffering.

This practice, as we already know, abounds in many of our contexts: at school, in couple relationships, in the family and even between groups of friends.

Lack of communication, avoidance ... We could give a thousand examples of how indifference takes place, yet the effect is always the same: pain and suffering. The pain of that child who, sitting in a corner of the courtyard, sees how he is being ignored by the rest of his companions.

And the suffering also of that couple who, from one day to the next, perceive how the beloved stops showing the same emotional correspondence as before.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it is indifference. In turn, the opposite of faith is not heresy, it is indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but the indifference between life and death ”.

-Elie Wiesel-

No one is willing to inhabit that social void in which others pass through us as if we were a formless entity.

Emotions and needs are present and require attention, crave affection, respect. To be visible to the rest of the world. How to deal with these situations?

The Punishment of Indifference: Social Invisibility and Emotional Pain

The definition of "indifference" is simple at first glance: it denotes a lack of interest, attention and even lack of feelings. Beyond the dictionary definitions, there are the psychological implications.

There are, so to speak, those personal universes in which certain words are more relevant than others. The term "indifference", for example, is one of the most traumatic.

There are those who do not hesitate to say that the opposite of life is not death, but the lack of attention and that absolute emptiness of feelings that shape indifference.

We cannot forget that our brain is the result of evolution; social connection and belonging to a group made us survive and advance as a species.

Interacting, communicating, being accepted, valued and appreciated places us in the world. These very basic processes from a relational point of view make us visible not only to our environment, but also to ourselves.

This is how we shape our self-esteem and also our identity. The lack of these nutrients has serious consequences, implications that need to be known.

Indifference generates a strong mental tension

We need to "read" in others what we mean to them. We need certainties and not doubts. We want reinforcements, gestures of appreciation, welcoming looks, smiles that share complicity and positive emotions.

All this shapes that non-verbal communication in which the emotions we like to perceive in our daily life are rooted. Do not see them, perceive only one cold attitude, causes anxiety, stress and tension mental.


The punishment of indifference also generates another grueling dynamic, namely an alteration of a basic mechanism in human consciousness: the mechanism of action and reaction. Whenever we act in a certain way, we expect the other person to react accordingly.

Although sometimes this reaction is not what we expected, it is very difficult to understand its total absence. Communication becomes impossible and the attempted interaction is forced and wears out. All this confuses us and plunges us into a state of worry and suffering.

It gives rise to low self-esteem

By not receiving any response, therefore reinforcement from other people, any feedback fails. In the stages of personality formation, this can seriously affect self-image.

It is likely that the person who has received indifference at these stages will come to believe that interacting with him is not worthwhile, giving rise to a strong insecurity.

How to react to the punishment of indifference?

As the social beings that we are and endowed with emotional needs in turn, we aspire to establish a relationship of constant interaction with our loved ones: family, friends, partner.

If at any given moment we begin to perceive silences, emptiness, coldness and indifference, our brain (and in particular our amygdala) will panic. It will warn us of a threat, of a deep and evident fear: to perceive that we are no longer loved, appreciated.

The most reasonable thing in these cases is to understand what is happening. This emotional disconnection always has an origin and as such must be clarified in order to act accordingly. If there is a problem we will face it, if there is a misunderstanding we will solve it, we will have to accept the lack of love and move on.

Because it is clear that no one deserves to live in indifference, no person should feel invisible in any social context, whether at home, at work, etc.

There is still one aspect that needs to be considered. Long-projected indifference to someone in particular or a group is a form of abuse.

Furthermore, a study conducted at the University of California showed that these dynamics based on exclusion and indifference cause pain and anguish. It is a suffering that transcends our emotions to reach our body as well.

The last resort: escape

If fighting for that relationship, if investing more time and effort in that or those people brings the same result, the healthiest thing will be to walk away.

In the presence of harmful consequences (exhaustion, low self-esteem), it is urgent to give up having a close relationship with these people and seek closeness with others, for whom you are important.

Join groups where you are listened to and where your being is valued. Breaking up a relationship based on indifference will give a new perspective on the world and improve personal development.

add a comment of The punishment of indifference
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.

End of content

No more pages to load