What You Actually Mean When You Give Someone The Silent Treatment: The secret language of women, and risk of vulnerability.

You're in the car with your partner, they weren't clear about that thing you specifically said you wanted clarity on. It started a fight, and now things are tense. The plan was to go to dinner but you're hurt now. Your stomach is growling and you're feeling disappointed.

They ask what you want to eat and you say 'I'm not even hungry anymore, let's just go home'.

What you mean was: 

  • It hurt me when you said _____ and now I'm feeling too vulnerable to say that.
  • When you said ________ I felt hurt/not seen. 
  • I feel _________

Simply saying "lets go home" is a quick way to not have to get vulnerable. 

Being vulnerable feels gross. Kind of like a hangover, but for the feels, you know?

Understandably why we avoid It. With anger, the cold shoulder, the silent treatment, avoidance and layers built of resentment. 

How Do You Step Into a More Vulnerable Place?

Last year I kept seeing the same patterns show up in my relationships. Instead of communicating to my partners how I was feeling, I would try and 'win' the argument. Or say "I'm fine". All the while being 100000% not fine. Then getting mad at them as if it was their fault. 

I hated this place of being stuck with not only my partners, but people in general. Not being able to open up was keeping me in a rat race of heavy emotions.


I decided that I was going to Brene Brown myself. Not to be confused with Brooke Davis-ing yourself. 

I was going to put my guard down in that moment. No questioning, no creating stories, no nothing—just lean into the vulnerability and be honest. 

When my then partner and I were fighting and I wanted to be right because I didn't want to feel hurt and pain I said "Okay, I see what you're saying." 

That was it  . That was the first step. She expected me to fight back, argue,  or get angry, so instead of using those as a defensive mechanism to avoid pain, I said okay. Not to be mistaken for being walked on, I wasn't being walked on. I simply asked myself if it  was necessary that I show up in the way I was trying to (being right). 

Later, when a friend said something that hurt me, instead of avoiding her and not liking her instagram posts (don't act like you've never done this), I told her: When you said ____________ I felt really hurt. Which opened the floor for conversation. 

Take Action

If you find yourself being short with people and holding back how you feel because it feels vulnerable, scary and uncomfortable, I get it  . You're not alone. But...you kinda, gotta take action so the same behaviors don't keep showing up and so you can actually be IN your relationship/friendships etc. 

The next time you're holding back and find yourself about to say "I'm fine" when you know you're not, I want you to pause and take a moment, then share how you actually feel. 

You can even word it with "this makes me feel so uncomfortable, and really vulnerable, but I feel ______"

The more you lean into this space, the more courage that is built within you. And the more you begin to feel, love and experience your life. 

I know what you're thinking, "Rachel, vulnerability is gross, why would I lean into it?".

We avoid the pain because pain hurts and we think we share our most raw and exposed selves that we won't be liked for who we are. 

Forgetting that pain, is a normal human emotion that comes with well, being a human. 

There is no moving around pain. We can't not feel it  . You can try, for sure. 

Is it heartbreak you fear? The thing about heartbreak is that nothing happens to your physical heart. You won't find tears, or scars on your actual human heart. To your ego and the idea of love you felt like was going to be lived within this space in this moment in time? Yes. But your heart is stronger than you think it  so you might as well show up to love and life with all you fucking have you. Okay?

The risk of being vulnerable is living a life full of feels. Full of experiencing every single of moment, joy, pain, sadness, excitement—all of it  . Heartbreak guaranteed. 

Be all in, all freaking in, when it comes to your life. Feel your feelings. Honor the space of pain thats being asked of you, and don't shut down when it feels scary. 

I think the risk of not leaning into vulnerability is much worse though, wouldn't you agree?

Soften, soften soften.