The silent treatment is something no one wants to experience, especially from someone they really care about. Sure, being ignored for a few hours might seem like a good break but when it goes on for days serious problems are clearly present.

Now, for those who might not be familiar, the silent treatment is something that people tend to use when they feel they are being wronged whether they’re right in that sense or not. Many times over it is a tactic used by narcissists to manipulate their lovers into doing something that they initially refused to do. While there are exceptions to this the tactic itself is quite immature and doesn’t do anything to resolve the situation at hand.

When your partner or someone you care for gives you the silent treatment it leaves you feeling unimportant and as if you do not matter to them at all. This kind of treatment is not something anyone should be putting up with. This in many ways sets the mood for some major gaslighting and is not ideal for anyone.

In regards to the silent treatment and what it is/does Psych Central wrote as follows on their website:

The silent treatment serves many useful purposes to the perpetrator. The silent treatment is one means for him to keep his target under his control. Not only does it enable the abuser to control his target, but it also enables him to avoid discussing matters that he wants to avoid, and helps him to completely evade any types of responsibility he has in the relationship. It is also an effective tool for devaluing and discarding a target and for remaining in the “one-up” position. Mainly, it’s used as a punishment. Think about how audacious that is – the silent treatment giver deems it his superior right to punish others!

Since the target is not as adept at playing emotional head games as most narcissists are, she is completely out of her league. The target usually feels extremely anxious and, over time becomes very distressed over the lack of communication and connection. Eventually, she will do almost anything to get her loved one to start talking to her again, even apologizing for things that she didn’t even do just to get the whole thing over with. She is willing to wave the white flag because whatever caused the silence (and causes can be either imaginary or real) in the first place pales in comparison to the injury caused by being emotionally shut out with the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is emotional abuse.  When a victim is in a relationship with a person who causes the above-mentioned distress, her mind and body remember how upsetting and anxiety-provoking the previous silent treatment occurrences were. Because of this negative association, the victim then becomes easily controlled by the perpetrator because she does not want to experience the silent treatment again. This causes her to be very compliant and agreeable. She starts walking on eggshells in the relationship and eventually loses her own voice and sense of self.

When you find that someone in your life is giving you the silent treatment you do not need to let them win by breaking you down or making you give in to whatever it was they wanted you to do or wanted from you. While you should not pressure the person giving you the silent treatment to respond to you, you do need to let them know how you’re feeling in any way you can. For instance, if they refuse to see you send them a text but leave things quite open. 

From here start thinking about yourself and show yourself the kindness that you feel this person is not being willing to give you. If their intentions are truly malicious you should consider cutting ties altogether and in many ways, you need to think about how often this kind of thing happens within your relationship as a whole in regards to this person. Just because you think you’re great together doesn’t mean you actually are if this person is making you feel in this manner.

If you feel the silence was warranted, be ready to listen when your partner decides to speak. Always consider their intentions. Are they ignoring you because they need space or are they ignoring you because they want you to give them their way? This matters more than most people stop to consider.

In regards to the silent treatment and how we react to it Psychology Today wrote as follows:

If your partner gives you the silent treatment more than you feel is reasonable, look inward at how much support you provide for your partner’s self-worth. Both you and your partner need to feel this deep sense of value to have a fulfilling relationship that lasts over time.

Are you and your partner in a proper healthy relationship and just facing a rough spot or does he or she simply shut down and refuse to communicate? All of these things need to be considered and you never need to blame yourself as a whole. It takes two to communicate and if one is closed off things will never work as they should. For more on this topic please check out the video below.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201802/the-best-way-respond-the-silent-treatment

https://pro.psychcentral.com/recovery-expert/2016/07/the-silent-treatment/

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