7 Shocking Facts About the Silent Treatment in a Relationship

27.02.2019

We all need some alone time, right? Partners are not constantly talking to each other all the time. Actually, it is quite fine to spend a day or two without talking to each other. Well, if that’s what you think of a romantic relationship, you might have problems. Cause most likely you are volunteering to become the victim of silent treatment. While you may think that you are just bored a bit with each other, and that’s the reason behind your partner is not talking to you, in reality, you are most likely being punished for something that your partner doesn't feel brave enough to confront you. That doesn’t sound that okay, as "just having some alone time," right? Well, that’s the silent treatment. We offer you to learn what it actually is as well as figure out how to deal with the silent treatment. So, let’s check it out without further ado.

how to win the silent treatment

What Does the Silent Treatment Mean in a Relationship?

While it may sound as a surprise, you are being involved in the silent treatment more frequently than you may think. What may sound even more surprising is the fact that you may both receive and give silent treatment, without realizing that. You may wonder how that’s possible. To figure that out, just think how often you opted for remaining silent in order to avoid open confrontation. Quite often, right? You do it with colleagues, you do it with your friends, and, quite possibly, you do it with your partner. Most likely you were giving the silent treatment to your ex after a breakup. Now, you see that the silent treatment has more presence in your life than you might have thought. But there is a slight difference between what we’ve just mentioned and the silent treatment in a romantic relationship.

When it comes to silent treatment in work, it can be quite okay. When you realize that an open confrontation can be a threat to the workflow, probably it is better to avoid it. When you are giving the silent treatment to your ex after the breakup, you also use it in a productive way - it allows both of you to move on. But when you are in a romantic relationship, giving someone, in this case, your partner, the silent treatment speaks volumes about your character. Mind that the silent treatment in a romantic relationship doesn’t necessarily mean not talking at all. It can be avoiding participation in any meaningful dialogue, becoming emotionally detached, distancing yourself from the partner.

Now, considering the fact that a romantic relationship is about trust and communication, you realize that the silent treatment is very wrong. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as you are about to reveal seven shocking facts about silent treatment in a relationship.

Psychological Effects of the Silent Treatment

Something had happened, and your partner started avoiding any meaningful conversation that you may have. They may start rejecting going to social events with you. They may start leaving your phone calls and text messages without a reply. They may even start rejecting physical contact with you. Sometimes you get the feeling that your partner is doing that deliberately. The scariest point is that your assumption may be closer to the truth than you may think. In order to give you an insight into what the silent treatment is, we offer you to check out the shocking facts about it and the psychological effects that it may have on you.

1. Avoiding Confrontation

We’ve already mentioned it, but let’s go a little bit further, talking about the effect that avoiding the confrontation can have on your relationship. Some people prefer avoiding confrontation, as they don’t feel comfortable with arguing and making their point. There can be several reasons why your partner gives you the silent treatment. Maybe they are afraid of losing you. Maybe they don’t know how to express their feeling. Your partner may also be afraid that they are not good enough for you. That’s why your partner is growing colder, increasing the distance between you. Okay, that can be their own way of coping with problems, but things that are suitable for an individual doesn’t always fit a couple. Your relationship starts falling apart without discussing the problems and fears that may occur, culminating into an inevitable breakup.

how to deal with the silent treatment2. Cooling Off? Unlikely!

Sometimes partners need to take time out from a relationship, to cool off and figure out what they need. That may occur after infidelity or conflicts based on smaller reasons. And it is normal for a healthy relationship. But you shouldn’t confuse it with the silent treatment. You had an argument with your partner, and they need some time to cool off. That’s quite a reasonable decision. And you know the reason why your partner acts that way. You both have the time to calm down and figure out whether your conflict worth sacrificing your relationship. But if your partner takes time out, without giving you any reasons, and refuses to communicate with you in some childish and strange manner - that’s about the silent treatment. Once again, it is leading to a breakup, but on the way you are going to feel guilty without a reason, thinking that you have done something terribly wrong to deserve that. Let’s be honest, a caring partner won’t make you feel guilty groundless.

3. It’s Emotional Abuse

A most common question about the silent treatment sounds like, "Is the silent treatment in a relationship emotional abuse?" Well, it is. When your partner lets you know that you have done something wrong with the silent treatments, it’s the passive-aggressive emotional abuse. Your partner forces you to feel shameful and helpless, without disclosing the reason, which is most likely beyond trivial. Mind that any attempts to show you that your feeling and arguments worth nothing are already an emotional abuse.

4. Welcome PTSD!

Unlike its physical counterpart, emotional abuse leaves an explicit trace. But that’s not the reason to underestimate it. If the damage is not visible, it doesn’t mean that it’s absent. Emotional abuse can give you PTSD the same way as physical abuse. Considering that, it’s no longer about your present relationship, it’s about you and your future ones. People who have experienced emotional abuse are 70% more likely to develop poor mental health and will have trust issues in their future relationships.

5. Get Ready for Physical Abuse

Emotional abuse goes pretty much hand in hand with physical abuse. According to the statistics, 95% of those who use emotional abuse may end up physically abusing their partners. You may think that the breakup is the end of your relationship, but your partner may start stalking and harassing you afterward.

6. Dysfunctional Relationship

Even if you don’t experience physical abuse from your partner, you are already in a dysfunctional relationship. Relationships are built on trust, and you can’t achieve trust without properly communicating with your partner. Needless to say that it becomes impossible when your partner is giving you the silent treatment. You are forced into the role of a peacemaker, and you are the only one who’s trying to solve the problem, but the couple requires two people.

7. Sleeping with a Narcissist

You’ve been probably wondering why your partner is giving you the silent treatment. The answer may be simpler than you think. Your partner is a narcissist, so the great sin that you have committed is not giving them enough attention to keep their fragile ego satisfied. The more you try to solve the non-existent problem the better they feel. Maybe you should give your partner a silent treatment too, then. Giving the silent treatment to a narcissist will leave them weaponless.

How to Handle the Silent Treatment with Dignity?

Now let’s figure out how to react to the silent treatment. Definitely, it is extremely hard to come up with some definite answer. Still, there are a few steps that you may take in order to understand how to respond to the silent treatment in relationships.

1. Consider Your Situation

When you’re figuring out the ways of reacting to the silent treatment, you must consider your situation. If silent treatment has already led to a dysfunctional relationship or if your partner has turned out to be a narcissist, you should consider ending up your relationship. Most likely, nothing good is going to come out of this situation. If you think that your relationship can be saved, you should consider further steps.

does the silent treatment work2. Break the Silence

Break the silence and reach out to your partner - that’s how to stop the silent treatment. Tell your partner how you felt all along while they refused to talk to you. Tell your partner that you want to know the reason behind the silent treatment. Tell that you care for them and that you don’t feel okay with the way things are and try to discuss what can be changed.

3. Let Your Partner Share Their Story

You should let your partner tell their view on the situation. That’s how to win the silent treatment. You shouldn’t make it all about the way your partner hurt you. So, you need to carefully listen to your partner, without arguing with them, even if you don’t agree with everything your partner says.

4. Establish Boundaries

Tell, your partner that if both of you want to continue your relationship, they need to stop abusing you emotionally. It means that they need to engage in meaningful conversation and abandon all the manifestations of silent treatment that occurred in your relationship.

5. Discuss Your Further Steps

While it is better to ask the third parties for advice if you want to handle silent treatment with dignity, you need to discuss your further steps with your partner. So, devote some time to figuring out what are you going to do in order to save your relationship.

How Long Should the Silent Treatment Last?

Does the silent treatment work? That’s the first question that you need to ask yourself, before wondering how long it should last. Well, it depends on what you want to achieve. When it comes to using it after the breakup, then the silent treatment should last until you both feel that you can talk to each other normally without causing pain. When it comes to the silent treatment in a relationship, it should last zero seconds. Unless you want your relationship to end up with a breakup. If you want to solve problems that may occur in your relationship - silent treatment is no way an option. Are you offended by your partner actions? Did your partner disappoint you or make you angry with something? Talk about it. Are you afraid of losing your partner? Discuss it with your partner. The more open you are with each other, the stronger your relationship is. Mind that silence kills the romance.

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