One of the things I enjoyed the most about The Silent Patient is Alex Michaelides’ writing. It’s easy and straightforward, but some sentences underlie meaningful messages and I find myself relating to most of them.
I think good thriller books always find a balance between the crime itself and the humane aspects that draw readers’ sympathy and compassion. With this book, Michaelides did a wonderful job.
Below, I’ll showcase examples of what I meant by discussing some of my favorite The Silent Patient quotes. To help you get more context, I’ll mention the page number of each quote.
The Silent Patient Quotes
1. The real motivation was purely selfish. I was on a quest to help myself. I believe the same is true for most people who go into mental health. We are drawn to this profession because we are damaged—we study psychology to heal ourselves. (p. 13)
I don’t study psychology, but I do know a friend who studies it because of a similar reason.
However, I do not see it as a selfish motivation. Instead, I see it as a sign of bravery.
2. The development of our personalities doesn’t take place in isolation, but in relationship with others—we are shaped and completed by unseen, unremembered forces; namely, our parents. (p. 14)
I agree that our personalities are not predetermined, but rather shaped by the experiences we have throughout our lives.
Particularly by our parents, as emphasized by Theo in the quote, because they were the first people we met in life.
3. Somehow grasping at vanishing snowflakes is like grasping at happiness: an act of possession that instantly gives way to nothing. (p. 15)
I like how the quote shows the impermanence of all things. Just as snowflakes eventually melt, everything in life will eventually disappear.
By chasing happiness, we might be seen as trying to hold onto things that are ultimately beyond our control.
4. It’s odd how quickly one adapts to the strange new world of a psychiatric unit. You become increasingly comfortable with madness—and not just the madness of others, but your own. We’re all crazy, I believe, just in different ways. (p. 18)
I do believe everyone experiences mental health issues, to some extent, and that these issues manifest in different ways. But they are a normal part of the human experience.
5. I’ve always had difficulty formulating an opinion until I’ve written it down. (p. 38)
I unfortunately can relate to the core.
Whether it’s in school or even sometimes with my partner, I have to write down what I was about to say first so I can utter it clearly.
6. Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways. (p. 53)
Suppressing our emotions can have negative consequences, because they may resurface later on in potentially harmful ways.
So it’s important to address our emotions in a healthy way, rather than ignoring them.
7. Choosing a lover is a lot like choosing a therapist. We need to ask ourselves, is this someone who will be honest with me, listen to criticism, admit making mistakes, and not promise the impossible? (p. 100)
I have never experienced choosing a therapist, but yes, finding a partner who is emotionally mature is important for building a healthy and strong relationship.
8. How we often mistake love for fireworks—for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm—and constant. (p. 101)
The non-existence of drama and conflict in a relationship doesn’t mean the love is not real or meaningful.
True love is something that is much deeper and more enduring.
9. One of the hardest things to admit is that we weren’t loved when we needed it most. It’s a terrible feeling, the pain of not being loved. (p. 102)
I think love is an essential human need.
When we do not receive these things, it may have a profound impact on our emotional well-being.
10. You and I experienced similar kinds of childhoods, with similar kinds of fathers. And we both left home as soon as we could. But we soon discovered that geographical distance counts for little in the world of the psyche. Some things are not so easily left behind. (p. 258)
Our childhood experiences can have a lasting impact on our emotional lives, and leaving home does not necessarily mean leaving these experiences behind.
Did you find your favorite The Silent Patient quotes on my list?
If you want to find more quotes like them, I have picked several books like The Silent Patient that you can read. However, make sure to check the age rating of each book!