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How The Silent Treatment Almost Killed Me

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Most couples give the silent treatment during an argument. I know I did. It was my way of controlling the situation and making him come to me, apologetic. After a few years of marriage, we went to counseling and it was there I discovered how damaging it can be. While we vowed to never impose the silent treatment on one another, my now ex-husband continued to do. And in the two examples below, I almost paid with my life.

The first occurrence happened in 2007. We were giving each other the silent treatment after a fight. And to this day, I still don’t remember what the fight was about. What I recall is him walking me to the garage and watching me back out of the driveway. He seemed as if he wanted to say something, but he never did.

As I sped off, I made the conscious decision NOT to take the interstate. Living in a new state, I wasn’t accustomed to the 70 miles per hour speed limit and I didn’t want to take any changes.

As I was driving through the back roads, my car started shaking and making a loud noise. Realizing I had a flat tire, I pulled over in front of a church and thanked God for the decision not to take the interstate. A man ran out of the church and immediately helped me.

Thanking him, I drove to the nearest garage to buy a new tire and finish my errands. When I returned home, it was I who first broke the silence. After telling him about my flat, my husband of five years turned and in a hateful tone said, “I saw you had a flat tire but you weren’t talking to me, so….”. Then he walked away.

It was as if he punched me in the chest. The blow from his words literally knocked the wind out of me. The man who vowed to love and protect me sent me off to drive with a flat tire. Taking the interstate could have killed me but he was so angry about an argument he didn’t even care. After explaining how he endangered my life, he promised he wouldn’t do it again.

But in 2013, another fight occurred where we, again, were not speaking to each other. This time, however, I learned my friend had been murdered and although I spent days crying in our bedroom, he never consoled me. Instead, he slept in the living room, played video games and laughed boisterously at the TV.

The grief from my friend’s death and the stress at home brought on a headache like I never had before. It literally felt as if there wasn’t enough room in my skull and my brain would burst. Rushed to the ER, I lost feeling in my legs and passed out. When I came to, the nurse took my blood pressure then rushed me for a CAT scan. Finding nothing, the doctors pleaded for me to have a spinal tap. They feared that my aneurysm had burst.

Thankfully it had not and I was discharged from the hospital. This close call was my final wake up call. Twice my husband showed no regard for my feelings and put his anger before my safety. And what frightened me most was that I would have died silently. There would have been no sirens, blood splatter or murder weapon. And my life would have been over.

All because I longed to be loved by a man who never really loved me.

Elona Washington on FacebookElona Washington on Twitter
Elona Washington
Elona Washington founded Project IANAH (I Am Not A Ho), and serves on the speaker's bureau for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network). Through both avenues, she shares her story of child sexual abuse and inspires victims to live as survivors. Elona was recently featured on HuffPost Live and is a HuffPost blogger for the 20 Beautiful Women series.

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