We turned to the new book Silent Agreements: How to Free Your Relationships of Unspoken Expectations by clinical psychologists Linda D. Anderson, Ph.D., Sonia R. Banks, Ph.D., and Michele L. Owens, Ph.D., for help. Ask yourself first what you get out of your tacit agreement, if at all. (Does there feel more control in the relationship when picking up the cheque?) Then you create an atmosphere in which you and your partner will feel safe to discuss your concerns without criticism or judgment. Better yet, put a pencil on paper. Psychologists recommend “mapping your convergences and incongruities, so that you understand where you and your partner are not in alignment, and that you shed light on what you have tacitly agreed upon.” Exploring your silent chords will help fill the communication void and find yourself on the same side. Now go ahead, make him pay for his dinner.
Later, instead of acknowledging her true feelings and walking after seeing the first (or second or third) red flag, Sarah learned to live her relationship in an unhappy way by speaking and showing irritation and impatience, while she hoped that her partner would end her relationship so as not to have to do it herself. At one point, the relationship ended because their behavior pushed their feelings into the light. Only then was the tacit agreement broken. A silent agreement between two people often shows that both parties have thoughts and feelings that have not been completely shared, for fear of ending their relationship or having to acknowledge some deep emotions intact. As a result of your silence, your behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that accompany it are often misread. You internalized this way of doing things, because your open expression of feelings was often risky or received an answer that made you anxious, ashamed, guilty or uncertain. And that`s how you learned how to create silent chords. The only time the U.S. Supreme Court has discussed silent agreements in recent history is in the case of Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. The Tribunal found that tacit agreements between the parties do not necessarily permit arbitration for a later class, unless there is a contractual basis for that arbitration procedure.
This experience has been very powerful for you. If you had never seen another example of this kind of dishonesty, the memory of the incident might have been erased and had little influence on your conceptions of truth and openness.