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The Right to Remain Silent

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

by MOLLY SIMMONS
PHOTOS by PENELOPE DARIO

When we’re children, most of our lives are on display to the world around us: to our parents, caregivers, teachers, and siblings, if we have them. What we wear, what we eat, how we act⎯-so much of ourselves is externalized and dictated by other people. Not unfairly⎯-as children we’re still learning what it means to be human and we don’t yet have the skills to take care of ourselves independently. Our internal worlds are the only things we have that are truly private, and so often become something truly precious to us.


Communication is our tool to bridge the gap between our internal and external worlds, a skill we begin developing the moment we’re born. As children, we’re giant sponges: soaking up our environment and synthesizing it, learning how to be human. The communication skills we learn in childhood are carried with us throughout adulthood, and can often be a source of conflict in our romantic relationships. Not necessarily because we are “bad” at communicating, though this is sometimes the case, but simply because we may have developed a style of communication that lies in direct contrast to that of our partners.

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