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how to respond to silent treatment

Top 4 Expert Ways To Help People - How To Respond To Silent Treatment

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Sam is dating coach, life coach, and style expert. His expertise has been featured on Lifehack.org, Apartment Therapy, Wisebread, Best Life Online, and Up Journey. He lives with his Australian Shepard, Max, in beaut ...
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by | | February 3, 2022


If you want to know how to respond to silent treatment, you've come to the right place.

I've written many posts about the right things to do and say when one wants to know how to be a better boyfriend, so I know just what you need when you're seeing the obvious signs she's breaking up with you.

Let's get started!

Contents

What Is Silent Treatment?

Silent treatment is a refusal to communicate verbally with another person. It's when someone doesn't acknowledge the other person. They also make an effort to avoid interacting with the person receiving the silent treatment.

Kipling Williams, a psychology professor at Purdue University, studied the effects of silent treatment for 36 years. He also studied the concept of ostracism, which is closely related to the silent treatment because it is basically shunning people completely. Psychology Today also stated that many people use the silent treatment to cut off their partners and cause emotional pain.

Experiencing this would also take a toll on someone's mental health. In the short term, silent treatment causes stress. But in the long run, it becomes a form of emotional abuse. In a romantic relationship, communication is always a key factor in making it work. And, everyone knows it's not always the easiest thing to do.

If you've ever spoken to a therapist, you're probably going to find out that silent treatment is a common topic in most couples counseling sessions. We hope to enlighten you today about the silent treatment and how you can grow as a person when you address this conflict head-on. You'll never know; you might even end up being a relationship coach at the end of this post.

Why Do People Use The Silent Treatment?

If you're telling yourself, "I need someone to give me dating tips in my 20s," then you're in luck.

Today, you're going to find out why people use silent treatment. It doesn't really matter if you're a silent person or an outgoing person. What matters is how you fix a problem and what steps you take to solve it. If you're a proactive person, chances are you won't be using the silent treatment to show someone what you're feeling. But, if you're someone who has passive-aggressive behavior, then you've probably given people the silent treatment many times in your life.

You've probably also run away or yelled at someone when they're trying to tell you something important. These are the things that make you look immature, and they're things you should stop doing. But, if you're the one receiving silent treatment, you're probably wondering why people use it so often.

Here are 5 reasons why people use the silent treatment:

1. They don't want to communicate because they feel it's a lot of work.

This is common in romantic relationships because sometimes it's difficult to process intense emotions. People use the silent treatment because they don't want to communicate and work things out. Keeping a serious and intimate relationship needs two people who talk and solve problems together. It's difficult to do, especially because you have to do it constantly.

2. They don't want to communicate because they want to punish their partner.

Some people use the silent treatment as a form of punishment. When a person wants to cause emotional pain, they shut their partner out completely. If someone uses this kind of abusive behavior to control you, this is a form of emotional abuse. An abusive relationship is something you wouldn't notice immediately. So, if you see these red flags, you've got to find a way to respond to this unacceptable behavior.

3. They don't want to communicate because they are afraid of their own anger.

When someone doesn't want to cause physical pain, they sometimes resort to silence. Domestic violence is a growing problem in the community. Children see it happening often and eventually do it in their own households once they're adults. Avoiding physical abuse sometimes leads to other forms of abuse, though. That's where the silent treatment comes in.

4. They don't want to communicate because they don't want to look like the bad guy.

In a toxic relationship, couples often blame each other when something bad happens. So, they avoid being the source of arguments. They would rather stay quiet and not talk about the problem instead of initiating a conversation that turns into a scream fest.

5. They don't want to communicate because they want to be taken seriously.

Sometimes, when you have a narcissist in a relationship, they cause arguments with their partners because they think they are always right. Now, their partners might take the silent treatment route because they feel like they're never heard. If their partners always shut down their ideas, they will most likely resort to staying quiet because they feel like they are not being taken seriously.

How To Respond To Silent Treatment

A healthy relationship needs constant and open communication. It never helps when you turn to silence to make your negative emotions known to a loved one. The feeling of being ignored isn’t great. It can lead to a sense of self-doubt and self-blame. You'll be able to tell when they're ignoring you. It's hard not to be paranoid if that happens.

Here are 4 things to do when your partner is ignoring you:

1. Don’t let your emotions win.

When you're in the heat of the argument, never let your emotions win. Sometimes, we shut down when we feel too frustrated with each other. These are the things high value men never do. Don't react right away if you want to apply good conflict resolution. It's easy to let your feelings get the best of you. But it's essential to take a step back first.

Figure out if your partner really is ignoring you, or if it's just a misunderstanding. It's best to calm yourself down before you do anything.

2. Talk. Once you’ve calmed yourself down, communicate with your partner.

If you want to avoid causing your partner unwarranted psychological abuse, the best thing to do is talk to them. Even if you hate talking, it's probably the only thing that will save you from creating bigger problems. We've mentioned before that silent treatment causes severe emotional pain when it constantly happens.

So, if you value the other person's feelings, you've got to talk to them and figure out what to do with your issues.

3. Look for distractions. If they’re ignoring you, maybe it’s best to give them space.

I know it can be really stressful when your partner has this disrespectful behavior. So, if you are tired of the silent abuse you're getting, it's probably best to do something to take your mind off of it. Look for distractions that can keep you from thinking about your partner. Give them the distance that they need. You can try some new hobbies or do fun things.

4. Get some professional help.

When you are in a serious relationship, the silent treatment can damage a lot of your patterns and goals as a couple. If you have experienced all the emotional stress you can possibly go through, you should get professional help. Couples therapy is one way to fix your communication. A therapist will often have many exercises to give couples who have trouble talking to each other.

Before the concept of marriage is in the mix, you have to know if you can handle this. That's why you need to seek professional help if you want to actually get married someday.

Frequently Asked Questions

If this info about the silent treatment still leaves you confused, these frequently asked questions will definitely help you clear some things up.

How long should silent treatment last?

If you're just trying to prove a point, the silent treatment should not last more than a day. When you and your partner have cooled down, you should sit down and talk about the problem. You should not let the silent treatment last for days or weeks because it will definitely create much bigger problems.

Is silent treatment a form of manipulation?

Yes. Sometimes, when people want to avoid verbal abuse, they think that silent treatment is a better way to express themselves. But, if you use the silent treatment to manipulate your partner into apologizing or coaxing you into talking to them, then that's where silent treatment becomes harmful. It's one of the habits that instantly make you uglier, because you're using silence to manipulate someone else to do what you're supposed to do.

What do you text someone who gives you the silent treatment?

If there were a guide on the rules for texting girls, it would probably say that you should never beg for a girl's attention over text. Honestly, if she doesn't want to talk to you, you shouldn't be texting her. You will only get more stressed when she doesn't reply. The only acceptable text you should be sending is to ask if they would finally talk to you and get your issues cleared out.

Why is silent treatment so painful?

It's painful because we, as humans, crave company. When someone gives you the silent treatment, you will feel so alone. You will feel like you have no one to talk to. This usually happens to couples who live together. It doesn't feel like you're at home together.

It just feels like you're coexisting in one space. It makes you question your worth and the strength of your relationship. Basically, it makes the other person question everything in silence.

More Awesome Articles To Explore

If you need some more articles to explore relationships, these related articles can definitely give you a lot of help.

  1. Do you want to know how to stop being the nice guy and actually get the girl for once? Build that confidence and keep your head up high. Read up, and you'll absolutely find yourself the girl of your dreams.
  2. If you're a guy who hasn't had much luck with the ladies, you may be wondering how to make her chase you, instead of the other way around. It would be nice to be the true alpha male you are for a change.
  3. Dating requires attraction from both sides. If you need to know how to make a woman want you, be mindful of the things you say and do. Remember that everything you do leaves a lasting impression on her.

In Conclusion

Now, you know exactly how to respond to silent treatment.

Suppose you're experiencing silent treatment in a relationship. In that case, I hope this list of the things to do when you spot some signs she's breaking up with you will help you navigate your way into becoming better partners for each other. When you're figuring out how to be a better boyfriend, you have to consider both of your needs.

If you're constantly getting the cold shoulder treatment, then maybe it's time to reevaluate your relationship and take the necessary steps to respond to this issue. You should not be thinking of how to win the silent treatment.

Instead, you should be concerned about how to tackle your problems head-on, without the need for silent treatment. Good luck!

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