Did you know that when people that are riding an elevator is getting completely ignored by the stranger next to him in the elevator that it changes his feelings? Going from feeling happiness toward feeling hurt.
The same thing happens with a pedestrian walking past a stranger without getting acknowledgement from the stranger actually felt a lower sense of connection.
If this happens when we are getting ignored by people that we don´t know, can you imagine how we feel when we are getting ignored by the people that we know and that we care about. The people that we are in relationships with. Family, friends, lovers, co-workers.
I always remember Oprah talking about all the people that she had interviewed over the 25 years that she did the Oprah Winfrey show. She said that everyone that she interviewed just wanted to know..... "Do your hear me?", "Do you see me?", "Do what I say matter to you?"
We all just want to be acknowledged by the people around us. Especially the people that we care about and that we are in close relationships with. In other words...... we all want to be seen, heard and know that we matter.
I read the most interesting article last week about how important it is to respond to people when they ask for out attention. That we turn to the person asking, putting out phones down and give them our undivided attention. Often we miss these moments when people ask for out attention. We are so busy all the time and we have very little time for other people´s requests and often we forget to give them our undivided attention.
But the author of the article pointed out how important these moments are and how they can make a huge difference in our relationships with others.
When you respond to someone's request you don´t have to do what they are asking for right away or you don´t have to do it at all. But the important thing is that you responded to the request by giving them the attention when they ask. Not responding several hours later or even days later and also that when we do respond we give them full attention whether it is on the phone or in person.
People might get disappointed if you can´t help them do what they are asking for, but at least they will not feel ignored.
The worst feeling is feeling ignored by people that we care about. And that is what Oprah was also talking about when she said that most people just want to know..."Do you see me...Do I matter to you?"
The article was also taking about that the worst punishment for a prisoner is solitary confinement.
One of the most hurtful things a kid can do to another is ditch another kid on the playground.
And one of the most hurtful things a friend can do to another friend is to give them the "silent treatment".
These are experiences of social isolation, and social isolation is the strongest psychological risk factor for disease. More than stress, more than anything else.
The experience of being seen and heard is a deep human need. Therefore it is so important that we give our closet relationships visibility. The more we share these moments the stronger our relationships will become.
As I read this article I was thinking back on my relationship with an narcissistic abusive partner. His favorite thing was to give me the "silent treatment". I didn´t know it at the time that it was the "silent treatment" and also that the "silent treatment" is in fact.... emotional abuse.
In the beginning of our relationship when we still lived in different houses, he could give me the silent treatment for a week by not calling me. It usually happened if we got into a discussion or a disagreement that he didn´t like or if I did something he didn´t approve of .
He simple would not contact me for days or weeks and the only reason we started talking again was that I finally called him. And when I did, he acted like nothing had happened and of course at the time I didn´t ask why he acted in this way and I didn´t understand what was actually going on.
Later when we had moved in together he had another way of giving me the "silence treatment". Since he could not ignoring me by not contacting me. He came up with a different way of ignoring me. Often during our conversation he would all of a sudden stop talking, shut his eyes, tilt his head backwards and stick his nose up in the air. And that was basically letting me know that I was being ignored right now. He was punishing me.
I didn´t know that the "silence treatment" is one of the greatest tools a narcissist has in his toolbox and it wasn't until I left the relationship in 2012, got away from the drama that I finally had some time to focus on myself that I had time to study about narcissism and that is when I found out that they use the "silent treatment" a lot as a way of punishing their partner if they do or say something that they don´t like. And I also learned that "silence treatment" is psychological and emotional abuse.
So I hope that next time someone is requesting you time, that you will give that person your undivided attention. Don´t ignore the people closest to you and also don´t ignore all the people and strangers around you.
Just a simple smile will do.
Just remember that you can make someone else feel happier and more connected by a simple smile or "Hello".
Karin Glannstam - Personal Success Coach