Silent Killers

December 29, 2009

Gas Leak - Silent Killer

My wife and I were discussing some of the silent relationship killers that we have observed recently.

The big things are easy to spot…. abuse, infidelity, raging, name-calling, etc.  Those are no-brainers.  Any relationship would be endangered where these are present and it would be obvious.

But what about the silent killers?  Things such as, but not limited to…

  • Silence
  • Blame
  • Taking for granted
  • Mild, repeated criticisms
  • Indifference
  • Guilting
  • Oblivion
  • Letting attractiveness go
  • Over-talking
  • Cutting sarcasm
  • Subtle control
  • Intolerance
  • Others

Do things like this not sneak in under the radar and lodge themselves into our relationships and slowly kill them?  Or at very least make them perpetually painful?

Do these not become well-rehearsed habits of behaviour that get woven into our patterns of interaction and tangle themselves to intricately that we don’t see them until years of damage is done?

How do we prevent these from happening?

In my experience, it starts with an awareness that these kinds of things can sneak in on anyone’s relationship.  I am not just talking marriage.  I am talking siblings, parenting, friendships, workplace, etc.

Next, I believe a good dose of humility and some brutally honest feedback can help a great deal.

In my experience, it is not a matter of IF some silent killers will try to make their way in, it is WHEN. 

Forewarned is forearmed.  Silent killers helped destroy my last marriage.  My wife’s too.  We are taking every precaution to remain aware this time around.





  1. Interesting post. — How ironic is it that I want “him” to read it.. instead of looking at the qualities that I have! j/k! Sarcasm is one of my worst.. Its so funny to me.. that makes it an extra hard habit to break.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, great post – you are so right – silent killers is a great way of putting it. I would add complacency to this list as well.

  3. Ditto Parker…. sarcasm and ridicule are a source of much laughter to me. Glad they arent as caustic as they once were…. however, I do not know that I may not offend or hurt people still. Which rolls in another one of the silent killers, oblivion! We men have perfected this one.

  4. Jolene…. yes, complacency is probably one of the most sneaky. I suppose cause it doesnt require us to do anything (duh). It is the most passive, yet painful when something needs to be done. “Good enough” doesnt usually remain good enough for long. The only way to coast is downhill. Thanks for reply.

    • Agreed! Coasting isn’t good, and it’s so hard to identify as a problem, usually until it’s too late. Great post! Happy 2010!

      • Ditto…. all the best for 2010! Ciao. Chaz

  5. Hi Chaz–I’m the Affaircare lady and Jolene referred me here. All I can say is WOW! Excellent post and exactly the kind of thing I was getting at with my blog. So often pro-marriage places give “romantic ideas” and don’t even deal with the things that are killing the marriage. Have to stop killing it before you can give it CPR. 😉 I’m adding you to my blogroll!

    • Thanks Cindy…

      The way I see it and have experienced it, with decreased barriers to leave a marriage for pretty much any reason (as our culture endorses anyway), it is no surprise to me to see people pack it in over these kinds of annoyances.

      I feel we are in a relationship climate that defines one’s right to happiness so liberally, that we can set ourselves up for failure by ignoring these seemingly small things. People will and do leave over them.

      This does not overlook the fact that there is pain in any one of them.

      Will cruise by your blog.



  6. Chaz, Recovery Anorexic here. You left a comment in my blog a while back. I don’t know where my head was before but I don’t think I responded. Thank you so much for the insightful words you left; it was probably one of the most helpful comments I’ve received lately.

    Love your post — it’s very relevant in my life right now as some family members are going through some marital issues right now. It’s making me rethink and prioritize my marriage as well.

    Going to an OA thankathon today. Hoping it will inspire me to do more recovery work!

    • Hey Rec-An…. glad it was of some meaning. I pass around freely what was given to me. I have received many an inspiring word from sources unlikely and unexpected.

      I’ve read your blog a few times. Seems like you are on a wise journey. My wife suffers from some body image matters as well. It is constantly on her mind so it helps me to understand her perspective by listening to others in similar situations.

      Have a great NY! See ya on the blogs.


  7. […] one out before, but it’s been awhile, and his blog has some amazing reads. Check out “silent killers” – it’s spot-on, and received a ton of feedback. Good […]

  8. Chaz, Really good post on the silent relationship killers.Like a lot of recovering people, I am more comfortable with crisis intervention than I am with maintenance. You describe the kind of actions that, unattended, quietly erode a relationship into non-existence. I’m going to “re-blog” this post to share it with my followers. I am new to your blog, but will definitely be a return visitor.

    • Hi Ken…. thanks for comment. Will cruise by your site as well. Sounds interesting.

      And yes, I do observe that those of us prone to addiction tend to draw and bask in chaos… we strangely and largely unknowingly seem to prefer it. Then are shocked when we suffer the painful outcomes.

      Glad this was helpful. Will cross paths again am sure.



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