The Psychology of Silent Treatment Abuse

Social ostracism has been a common punishment for millennia. But freezing someone out harms both the victim and the perpetrator.

Daryl Austin | The Atlantic

Kipling Williams has studied the effects of the silent treatment for more than 36 years, meeting hundreds of victims and perpetrators in the process:

A grown woman whose father refused to speak with her for six months at a time as punishment throughout her life. “Her father died during one of those dreaded periods,” Williams told me. “When she visited him at the hospital shortly before his death, he turned away from her and wouldn’t break his silence even to say goodbye.”

A father who stopped talking to his teenage son and couldn’t start again, despite the harm he knew he was causing. “The isolation made my son change from a happy, vibrant boy to a spineless jellyfish, and I knew I was the cause,” the father said to Williams..

A wife whose husband severed communication with her early in their marriage. “She endured four decades of silence that started with a minor disagreement and only ended when her husband died,” Williams said. Forty years of eating meals by herself, watching television by herself—40 years of being invisible. “When I asked her why she stayed with him for all that time,” Williams said, “she answered simply, ‘Because at least he kept a roof over my head.’”

A teacher. A sibling. A grandparent. A friend. Each story that Williams, a psychology professor at Purdue University, told me was more heartbreaking than the one before. As I listened, the question that lingered most was How could these people do this to those closest to them?

The silent treatment goes by many names: shunning, social isolation, stonewalling, ghosting. Although psychologists have nuanced definitions for each term, they are all essentially forms of ostracism. And the tactic is nothing new. Ancient Greeks expelled for 10 years citizens who were thought to be a threat to democracy, and early American settlers banished people accused of practicing witchcraft. Religions have frozen out individuals for centuries: Catholics call it excommunication, herem is the highest form of punishment in Judaism, and the Amish practice Meidung. The Church of Scientology recommends total “disconnection” from anyone deemed antagonistic toward the religion.

“My research suggests that two in three individuals have used the silent treatment against someone else; even more have had it done to them,” Williams said. Experts told me that although they need more data to know for certain, instances of the silent treatment have likely increased over the years as new forms of communication have been invented. “Every new method of connection can be used as a form of disconnection,” Williams said.

Ostracism can also manifest in lesser ways: someone walking out of the room in the middle of a conversation, a friend at school looking the other way when you wave at them, or a person addressing comments from everyone in a message thread except you. “Partial ostracism,” Williams told me, might mean monosyllabic replies—a terse period at the end of a one-word text message. But in serious cases, ostracism can take a heavy toll whereby victims become anxious, withdrawn, depressed, or even suicidal.

“Because we humans require social contact for our mental health, the ramifications of isolation can be severe,” Joel Cooper, a psychology professor at Princeton, told me. “In the short term, the silent treatment causes stress. In the long term, the stress can be considered abuse.”

Read the rest here:

See also:

Is the silent treatment a form of abuse?

5 Ways the Silent Treatment Is Really Damaging (And How to Deal with It)

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Fun with Minor Keys

A Sad Cover of the Village People Song ‘Y.M.C.A.’

The Melodica Bros performed a truly mournful cover of the otherwise cheerful anthem “Y.M.C.A” by the Village People turning it into a sad ballad. This version features a key change from major to minor, a slower tempo, and a quiet performance that included various guitars, double bass, and a simple synth solo.

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New stuff!

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Why one man started an Instagram account showing churches’ wealth

My parents raised me as Anglican, and I was a reasonably keen member of their church during the ’70s, although I began attending a Pentecostal church’s Youth Group on Friday nights, because: “girls”. Also, the guitar-based music seemed pretty cool to me at the time.

And thereupon the fence, I sat for many years… One foot comfortable on old red prayerbook Anglicanism, and the other, on something more strange — but exciting and interesting to me. After all, the Evangelical churches had Youth Ministers — imagine! There was a sense that we were able to explore our own concerns and interests within that construct… It felt like a spiritual buffet.

It’s effectively been two generations since I was first introduced to Evangelical Christianity. Where I stand in faith today, is complicated (and probably a story for another day). Suffice to say that I think of myself as a recovering Evangelical. I can state, with conviction, that the rhetoric of the Prosperity Gospel never sat well with me, and now makes me very uncomfortable. I know I am not alone, but I really haven’t discussed the evolution of my faith with any of my former church friends. I say former, because they don’t seem to be very good at staying in touch with those who are no longer active in the church. But, neither was I while I was active in the church — so there’s that. Which raises a nagging question, or observation, really: Why are my non-church going friends so engaged with my life? They always have been, despite my lack of engagement while I was mired in the Church community. Is it that they know life is short and precious? I really don’t know. I don’t try to overthink it these days. I have no idea what I don’t know.

I recently came across Tara Jean Steven’s podcast called “Heaven Bent” in which she explores her own experience with the Charismatic movement, and particularly, the phenomenon that expressed itself onto my path — the Toronto Airport Blessing. This “happening” set off a tidal wave of a sort of nouveau revivalism that spread hither and yon, including Tara’s home church in Prince Rupert, BC, and the Montreal Anglican church that I attended from 1999 until it sadly split in two in 2009. This is very interesting stuff.

Here’s a a YouTube video with Tara Jean Stevens discussing the podcast:

Meanwhile, here is an article that I came across today:

PreachersNSneakers on Instagram: Why one man started an account showing churches’ wealth

Sarah Pulliam Bailey | Washington Post

From his couch in Dallas, Ben Kirby began asking questions about the lifestyles of the rich and famous pastors when he was watching some worship songs on YouTube on a Sunday morning in 2019. While listening to a song by Elevation Worship, a megachurch based in Charlotte, the evangelical churchgoer noticed the lead singer’s Yeezy sneakers were worth nearly the amount of his first rent check.

Kirby posted to his 400 followers on Instagram, “Hey Elevation Worship, how much you paying your musicians that they can afford $800 kicks? Let me get on the payroll!” 

Plus, Kirby wondered, how could the church’s pastor, Steven Furtick, one of the most popular preachers in the country, afford a new designer outfit nearly every week? 

With a friend’s encouragement, Kirby started a new Instagram account @PreachersNSneakers posting screenshots of pastors next to price tags and the street value of shoes they were wearing. Within a month, the account had attracted 100,000 followers. 

“At the beginning, it was easy for me to make jokes about it,” he said. “Some of the outfits are absurd, so it’s easy to laugh at some of the designer pieces. The price tags are outlandish.” 

On his feed, Kirby has showcased Seattle pastor Judah Smith’s $3,600 Gucci jacket, Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes’s $1,250 Louboutin fanny pack and Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado’s $2,541 Ricci crocodile belt. And he considers Paula White, former president Donald Trump’s most trusted pastoral adviser who is often photographed in designer items, a PreachersNSneakers “content goldmine,” posting a photo of her wearing $785 Stella McCartney sneakers. 

As the Instagram account grew, Kirby started asking more serious questions about wealth, class and consumerism, including whether it’s appropriate to generate massive revenue from selling the gospel of Jesus. 

Read the rest here:

See also:

Preachers and their very expensive sneakers: why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge

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Crosby, Stills, and Nash Detail ‘Deja Vu’ 50th Anniversary Reissue

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young will release a 50th-anniversary edition of Deja Vu on May 14.

The box set will include the original LP, as well as four CDs of demos, unreleased studio recordings, and alternate versions of songs for a total of nearly two and a half hours of music.

A hardcover book will also be available.

Read More: 

CSNY Announce 50th-Anniversary Edition of ‘Deja Vu’ |

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ISS Ditches 2.9-Ton Pallet of Batteries, Creating Its Most Massive Piece of Space Trash

George Dvorsky | Gizmodo

The external pallet packed with old nickel-hydrogen batteries, photographed shortly after being released by the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The object was orbiting 265 miles (427 km) above Chile when this photo was taken from the ISS.Image: NASA

Weighing 2.9 tons and traveling 4.8 miles per second, this heap of old batteries is now the heaviest single piece of garbage to be jettisoned from the International Space Station.

The pallet is packed with nickel-hydrogen batteries, and it will stay in low Earth orbit for the next two to four years “before burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere,” according to a NASA statement. SpaceFlightNow reports that the pallet is the “most massive object ever jettisoned from the orbiting outpost.”

NASA spokesperson Leah Cheshier confirmed this as being the case.

“The External Pallet was the largest object—mass-wise—ever jettisoned from the International Space Station at 2.9 tons, more than twice the mass of the Early Ammonia Servicing System tank jettisoned by spacewalker Clay Anderson during the STS-118 mission in 2007,” wrote Cheshier in an email.

NASA’s ballistics officers “indicate no threat” of the pallet smashing into other space objects, but “this item, like all, will be tracked by U.S. Space Command,” she added.

It wasn’t the original plan for the pallet to be discarded like this. The failed launch of a Soyuz rocket in 2018, in which NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were forced to make an emergency landing in the Kazakh steppe, caused a disruption to the spacewalking schedule, leading to the leftover pallet…

Read the rest here:

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Rethinking the Canada-US Relationship

Folks who are much smarter than I have suggested that the COVID pandemic, and in particular — the US effectively throttling vaccine availability for Canadians — underlines the need to rethink the Canada-US relationship. This is an ominous task given the high degree of integration of our economies and security institutions. A generation of Canadian government’s policy decisions has inextricably linked our fate to that of the United States. Clearly, Canada has benefitted at times from the relationship (and we would argue that our US friends have benefitted more), yet we Canadians find ourselves in an increasingly unenviable position as subsequent American administrations vacillate between abject isolationism and big-guy-on-the-block globalism. It’s not unreasonable for Canadians to assess whether a future inextricably linked to a politically unstable US is a prudent course to follow. To add to the challenge, Canada finds itself being figuratively crushed between China and the United States, as they each scale up their respective high-level geopolitical hegemony. Great article today in the Toronto Star by my good friend Richard Nimijean, and David Carment. – cPaul

In a post-Trump world, Canadian sovereignty is at a crossroads

by David Carment & Richard Nimijean | Toronto Star

Canadians reacted positively to Joe Biden’s election and the February summit between the Biden and Trudeau governments, reflecting the historical reality that they are more positive towards the U.S. when Democrats occupy the White House. This is especially true after the chaos of the Trump years: the January insurrection, his personal attacks on Prime Minister Trudeau, and his general disregard for this important relationship soured Canadians’ outlook on the U.S.

Biden has already returned the relationship to normal by making his virtual meeting with Trudeau his first as leader, reflecting his plan to stabilize American foreign policy.

Despite disagreement on a few key issues, Canadians were pleased. Biden and Trudeau have an obvious personal chemistry, reinforced by their centrist ideological outlooks and their recognition that politically they need to tack left. Both want their countries to “build back better” while paying attention to climate change and addressing socioeconomic inequality. Progress will occur on other shared concerns, such as NATO’s future, multilateralism, human rights and democracy promotion.

Canadians love international attention, so hearing President Biden acknowledge the importance of the relationship was a big win. His forceful words on the plight of the two Michaels showed he was aware of strong Canadian feelings on this issue.

However, a friendly American administration will not necessarily make it easier for Canada to pursue its interests and enhance its sovereignty. Biden is an American president first and foremost, and is using diplomacy and statecraft to promote his interests and goals. Like Trump and Obama before him, Biden will pressure Canada to help him succeed, such as by spending more on defence and security.

But on issues that truly matter to Canadians, he so far has given precious little. There was no word on American assistance on vaccine procurement, exemptions from Biden’s nationalist procurement strategy, or consideration for Canada’s pipeline concerns…

Read the rest here:

Read also:

Rethinking the Canada-US relationship after the pandemic

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New content

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Bill Murray Explains How He Was Saved by John Prine

link from Open Culture

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France’s female dervish takes transcendence online

One of the world’s few female whirling dervishes, Rana Gorgani has opened up Sufism to a wider audience and is now making surprising spiritual connections over Zoom thanks to the pandemic.

French-Iranian Gorgani, 37, used to think of whirling — a sort of “moving meditation” through which Sufis seek to commune with the divine — as something that should remain behind closed doors.

Despite growing up in France, she was initiated into the practice while visiting Iran, a place where Sufis often face persecution by the authorities and dancing in general is frowned upon.

She had never intended to perform the whirling in public — that was something normally reserved for men.

But a decade ago, she decided she wanted to share its beauty with a festival audience in Montpellier.

“After some minutes, I panicked and stopped for a few seconds. It felt like I was breaking some rule,” she recalled. “But I started turning again, and heard a roar of applause, and I told myself ‘everything is OK’.”

When people came up to her after the show, with tears in their eyes, to thank her — she realised this was something she wanted to pursue full-time.

– ‘Extremely intense’ –

Sufi whirling, sometimes known by the Arabic name Sama (which means “listening”), sees performers twirl in distinctive wide robes in a rhythmic turning that mirrors the movement of the Earth around the Sun.

It’s more than a dance, said Gorgani — “it’s a prayer, an act of devotion to the divine”.

A traditional part of Sufism, particularly in Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, it is normally only practised by women when they are separated from men.

But for Gorgani, in Sufism — a more spiritually focused approach to Islam founded by followers of 13th century spiritual poet Jalal al-Din Rumi — the soul is neither masculine nor feminine.

To be female and a dervish “does not go against this spirituality”, she said. “In Europe, I am lucky to be able to express myself artistically and freely.”

Her parents fled Iran after the revolution, and it was during her first visit there at the age of 14 that Gorgani became interested in Sufism. She has since taken part in many ceremonies in Iran and Turkey, but often secretly.

Now her performances have been forced online by the pandemic, but she has been “touched and moved” by the number of people reaching out to learn more about Sama.

Her first Zoom class, during France’s first lockdown, attracted around 100 people and the numbers have continued to grow as she delivers performances on every new and full moon.

To her surprise, the experience has been “extremely intense”, with participants saying they are in profound need of meaning and connection.

“I think I’ve helped some people reveal something to themselves,” she said.

While rooted in her studies in the anthropology of music and dance, she nonetheless likes to mix up the soundtrack, opting not only for traditional Sufi music, but also live piano and even traditional French tunes such as those of Jacques Brel.

“Wherever I find a state of grace,” she said.

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New Photograph Series – “Winter Oceans”

Here are two images from my upcoming Winter Oceans series. I hope to be posting the full collection to my portfolio soon. – cPaul

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From the 35mm vault

While sifting through photographs today, I came across this previously overlooked image taken during a walk through Morgan Arboretum in early December of 1993. I was living down-home in St. John’s, Newfoundland during those years, and would try to get to Montreal to see friends and immediate family as often as I could — when work and travel requirements allowed. Showing up in the middle of the week is not conducive to connecting with friends (just as well, for my outgoing introverted- self), so I’d sort myself out on revisiting familiar places.

The Morgan Arboretum is a jewel of a forest reserve I frequented while attending John Abbott College from 1976-78, and it holds particularly fond memories of long walks in the Fall, and skiing in the Winter.

I remember pretty clearly this particular late-afternoon when I started out on the trail. The light was low and long. The ground was starting to freeze, and puddles were freezing over, capturing the last colour of fallen leaves. I had my Pentax Spotmatic with me, and a few rolls of something or other… I don’t recall, but likely ASA 800 given the noise in this image.

I have re- rediscovered the Arboretum recently and did a series in the early Fall of this year. The photos were good, but not as evocative as this one, at least for me. The softness of the photo enhances the solitude of the moment. I remember that I had only seen others leaving the forest as I entered, and assumed that I had the whole place to myself for the hours I was there, chasing the light. – cPaul

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The St. Valentine of Valentine’s Day never existed

Tristin Hopper | National Post

We all know the origin of Valentine’s Day: Some guy named Valentine was working illegally as a priest – an illicit priest, if you will – he was secretly marrying people against the wishes of Roman authorities and for that he got his head cut off. And that’s why we honour him every year with Prix Fixe dinners and intimate grooming rituals.

But I have bone-chilling news for you all. That guy never existed.

Now, there were guys named Valentine who became saints, to be fair. Several of them. There was this guy, Valentinus, a Roman priest executed under the reign of Emperor Gothicus. Reportedly, Gothicus initially just imprisoned Valentinus with a wealthy Roman family, but when Valentinus converted the entire family to Christianity the Emperor decided to just kill everyone.

At around the same time we get Valentinus of Terni. Similar story: An early clergyman who gets himself executed by the Romans. Here’s a super-classy display of his alleged skull inside Rome’s Santa Maria Basilica. There was also a Valentinus who died in Africa.

And that’s about all we know. That’s not me talking, that’s the Bollandists: A team of monks who in the 17th century tried to dig up everything they possibly could on Catholic saints and found out that a lot of them had some pretty sketchy biographies. It’s even possible that two of the three Valentines I mentioned were the same guy.

Another tiny detail: The Romans didn’t really behead people. They would stab you, strangle you and of course crucify you, but … beheading? That’s more of a Middle Ages/Early modern period thing.

In fact, so little is known about the various St. Valentines that in 1969 the Catholic Church demoted him from having his own day. February 14th isn’t St. Valentine’s Day anymore, it’s Saints Cyril and Methodius Day.

“Saints Cyril and Methodius holding the Cyrillic alphabet,” a mural by Bulgarian iconographer Z. Zograf, 1848, Troyan Monastery

So where do we get the idea of St. Valentine as someone secretly marrying people or passing love notes between imprisoned couples or whatever? Easy; people just made it up in the Middle Ages. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer noticed that St. Valentine’s Day seemed to be right around the time that birds started getting jiggy with each other, so he wrote it into a sexy poem. There’s also speculation that, just like Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day is a Christianized version of a pagan holiday. Specifically, Lupercalia, an ancient festival on February 14th in which people got naked in the streets, sacrificed animals and then were randomly paired with neighbourhood women for sex.

Imagine you’re a clergyman in the Early Middle Ages. You obviously can’t have naked blood orgies in your local parish, so you encourage people to instead spend their February 14th venerating St. Valentine, and maybe they can hold hands or engage in heavy petting if need be. And after a while of marking St. Valentine’s Day as the romance holiday, people start getting a little fast and loose with the facts around the holiday’s namesake. This is what online nerds would call “retconning.”

Now before you get too judgmental about Medieval Europeans’ loose respect for historical facts, I would direct you to the works of Mel Gibson.

So the St. Valentines, despite paying the ultimate price for their faith, are all remembered for something they absolutely did not do. But don’t feel too bad for them: We do this to saints all the time. I’m afraid Ireland never had snakes, so St. Patrick didn’t really have to banish anything. And here’s Nicolaus of Myra, a Greek guy who lived in what is now Turkey. Due to a baffling series of events, he became rewritten as this guy (Santa Claus).

Anyway; it doesn’t matter where St. Valentine’s Day comes from. It’s a holiday celebrating love. Just buy your wife some candy, give her a backrub and try to be pleasant for a change.

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The Strangeness of Our Animal Bonds

Ben Crair | The New Yorker

Charlie Gilmour, the author of “Featherhood,” with his magpie, Benzene, named after her plumage’s resemblance to the oil slicks in the junkyard where she was found. Photograph by Polly Samson

Last spring, I started boiling two eggs for breakfast every morning—one for me, and one for the crows. A mated pair patrolled the rooftops around my Berlin apartment building; I’d begun luring them to my balcony with peanuts and other snacks. They loved not only eggs but also mealworms, cat food, cashews, chicken hearts, stale bread, cheese, and chunks of lamb fat; they barely touched liver, walnuts, vegetables, and dried fruit. In Germany, we were under a covid-19 lockdown. But the birds were free. They fascinated me with their distinct personalities and intelligent behaviors. The large male was a glowering bully who tipped my potted plants if I forgot to refill his plate. The smaller female was curious and sweet. She watched me as closely as I watched her, and learned to manipulate me by fluffing up her feathers; I always responded to this adorable display by rummaging in the refrigerator for treats.

“Wherever you go, crows are watching, making note of our habits, our weaknesses, our wasteful tendencies,” Charlie Gilmour writes in his memoir, “Featherhood,” which was published in North America this past January. The book begins as Gilmour’s partner, Yana, brings home an abandoned baby magpie—a beautiful black-and-white member of the corvid family of birds, and a relative to crows, jays, and ravens. Gilmour asks his mother for advice about caring for it. “The person you should really be talking to about this is your father,” she tells him. In the nineteen-eighties and nineties, Gilmour’s father, the writer Heathcote Williams, published several long poems about animals; one describes his adopted bird, another kind of corvid called a jackdaw, which he took in shortly before meeting Gilmour’s mother. In “Featherhood,” therefore, the challenges of parenting a magpie become entangled with Gilmour’s lifelong quest to know his father, an infuriating and unwell man.

The British press heaped praise on “Featherhood” when it was published in the U.K., last year. Many compared it to Helen Macdonald’s memoir, “H Is for Hawk,” and to Ken Loach’s film “Kes,” from 1969, about a young, vulnerable boy who finds solace in caring for a kestrel. The Sunday Times called “Featherhood” a “work of magpie investigation that ranks among the best modern coming-of-age memoirs.” Having spent the year wondering what it would be like to raise a crow myself, I was eager to read it. But I set it down a little disappointed. It’s odd that so many stories about animals turn into tales about babies and parents. Why do encounters with wild lives so often domesticate our own?

Read the rest here:

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