The Surprising Truth About The Silent Treatment

The Surprising Truth About The Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a way to inflict pain without visible bruising – literally.

Research has shown that the act of ignoring or excluding activates the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain.

The best predictor of divorce isn’t whether a couple fights – arguments are inevitable – but how a couple fights. The key to being closer in the good times lies in the way a couple treats each other during the bad.

The silent treatment can tend to present itself as a response more fitting of the ‘high road’, one of grace and dignity, but research has shown it is anything but.

Kipling Williams, a Professor of Psychology at Purdue University who has studied ostracism for twenty years, explains, ‘Excluding and ignoring people, such as giving them the cold shoulder or silent treatment, are used to punish or manipulate, and people may not realise the emotional or physical harm that is being done.’

The ability to detect ostracism is hardwired in us – it doesn’t matter if you’re being ignored by a group or a person you can’t stand, the pain still registers.

The silent treatment, even if it’s brief, activates the anterior cingulate cortex – the part of the brain that detects physical pain. The initial pain is the same, regardless of whether the exclusion is by strangers, close friends or enemies.

The silent treatment happens when one partner pressures the other with requests, criticism or complaints and the other responds with silence and emotional distance.

Paul Schrodt, PhD, Professor of Communication Studies reviewed 74 relationship studies which involved more than 14,000 participants.

Findings from his in-depth analysis revealed that the silent treatment is ‘tremendously’ damaging to a relationship. It decreases relationship satisfaction for both partners, diminishes feelings of intimacy, and reduces the capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful.

‘It’s the most common pattern of conflict in marriage or any committed, established romantic relationship,’ says Schrodt. ‘And it does tremendous damage.’

It’s an incredibly hard pattern to break because both partners lay the blame at the feet of the other.

‘Partners get locked in this pattern, largely because they each see the other as the cause,’ explains Schrodt. ‘Both partners see the other as the problem.’ One partner will typically complain that the other is emotionally unavailable. The other will accuse his or her partner of being too demanding or critical.

When couples become locked in this ‘demand-withdraw’ pattern, the damage can be both emotional and physiological include anxiety and aggression as well as erectile dysfunction and urinary and bowel problems.

It doesn’t matter which partner demands or which one withdraws, the damage to the relationship is the same. It’s the pattern itself that’s the problem, not the specific partner. 

The silent treatment should not be confused with taking time to cool down after heated or difficult exchange. Williams suggests that instead of reverting to the silent treatment, try ‘I can’t talk to you right now, but we can talk about it later.’

Nobody engages the silent treatment expecting it to damage the relationship, and that’s the danger.

Generally, it’s called on as the weapon of choice because it’s powerful and it’s easy to get away with. There is nothing subtle about a physical or verbal lashing, but an accusation of the silent treatment, ‘Are you ignoring me?’ can easily be denied.

Silence can feel like a dignified, high road response but it’s not. It’s a way to inflict pain but without the physical marks. 

Being noticed is so close to being loved, that sometimes they feel the same.

Being ignored is just as powerful.

[irp posts=”810″ name=”Fighting Fair in A Relationship: How to Get What You Need and Stay Close While You Do It”]

677 Comments

Keli

The silent treatment at this point in our generation is a cliche. Everyone knows it. Personally, when someone decides to give me the silent treatment (ignoring my call, late text reply, etc) instead of a healthy communication so we see how we can make things better, it means they don’t value what exists between us, so why should I care?! I will simply walk away and never look back. I have had people from my past who have given me the silent treatment and then wonder why I am always cold towards them. I simply just respect myself, and since they have decided not to respect me, by acting like a toddler, well I am not their parent so I won’t deal with that behavior.

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Patrick K

Cool but, unless one knows, for a fact,
their friend is intentionally or maliciously
ignoring calls or texts, it is unhealthy to assume so.

I, for one, am Not a slave to any phone.
As a researcher, I practice “Block Time”.

That being said,
I did divorce my wife, due to the ‘silent treatment’,
induced by a methamphetamine addiction. 🙁

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Jody

I guess in a way if you’re being cold because of their silence, then you both are acting like toddlers. I read your response and gained that if someone doesn’t immediately give you what you want that you become vindictive and then put on the coldness. Both sound kinda childish honestly.

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Tshepo

She angrily dumped me on the phone, when I asked her to meet face to face she agreed, but she fails to meet,is she mybe leaving an open door to come back with stories when her new relationship fails?

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Vera

Hi Sigmund
This time it’s me. I always give people silent treatment. I just subconsciously do it because the person annoyed me. Sometimes it’s when I feel someone might give me a cold reply when I talk to them and I just decide to do it first.
It happens mostly with guys, especially those that ask me out. I just don’t talk when I meet the person because I don’t want to seem desperate or something. How do I stop this and also, is it something psychological?

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Ben

Yes, it’s psychological, and probably has its origins in your early life. You’re seemingly being triggered by your interactions with others and this is likely activating a trauma response. If you’re not in therapy, I encourage you to seek it out. Find a supportive, empathetic professional therapist, tell them you have this problem and describe to them any other challenges you are facing in your life.

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Ella James

Take a deep breath! You’re not in this alone. You’re an amazing person who doesn’t deserve this. Everything Will eventually be okay. I promise!

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Mona

I give a good silent treatment to a narcissistic husband. I can be crazier than him.

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AP

Its been a year since a friend (atleast thats what i thought about our relationship) i spoke to that individual… i wasnt even there or involved in an argument the individual had with a friend we both know… i have had enough of the shit as its a repeat offence and i am trying my best to move on, but when u live next door and see that person every day it sure does inflict pain more than you can imagine… For fuck sake people need to learn to communicate….

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Leigh

Going thru this right now. It’s been 2 weeks. He is mad about something I did 2 weeks ago. He’s done this before and I admit it makes me sick to my stomach. If he wants out of course he can have out. Our children are grown. Why would I want to be with someone who doesn’t want me in their life. Can’t stop crying unless I am sleeping.
I’m really sick. Can’t eat. But I can really sleep. It’s my only escape but then… I wake up.

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Paul

So very sorry…this is abuse- I will do this to my wife on occasion for a day or two (thinking that its not deliberate but it is- I am lashing out for one reason or another)
I will be doing everything in my power to stop this “punishment”
I truly hope you get the help you need or your husband gets help
NOONE deserves this…

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Time to Heal

Hello Leigh, I’m sorry to hear you are being manipulated and abused, in this case, by way of the silent treatment. I would suggest you make a plan and act on your plan.

In the mean time, simply tell him, “It seems you may be preoccupied or possibly upset about something. Let me know if this is the case, otherwise I will assume all is well and I certainly hope it is.” You will have addressed the obvious and provided an opportunity for him to respond in a healthy fashion. He may respond with anger or continue the silent treatment (or if heathy, talk with you). No matter his response, take good care of you and carry on as if you are not troubled in the least.

The only power in the silent treatment is your emotional response. Deny him this.

Take care of yourself. I know how painful this can be. You deserve a happy life. No one deserves abuse, and your physiological responses are harming your healh. Breathe through this. You are strong. Make a plan. You will succeed.

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Allie

I’m in the same boat. I dared to get angry and express my feelings and thoughts. I also asked something of him! Now he is ignoring and avoiding me. I feel sick too.

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D.

Leigh, I am actually very sorry you’re dealing with this, but I have a question and some comments that may help? What was it you did? Doesn’t have to be specific. Has that been something historically you knew upset him? Do you admit or even know if you were wrong? As much as I hate to say this I’m also doing it to my wife as we speak. It will honestly start out unbeknownst to me initially as a reaction to being hurt or angry. I didn’t use to be this way. I just have no other armor or weapon and am lost so I just withdraw. To me, it stops it from escalating for the moment. It gives me some semblance of not being powerless, or may be the only way I can garner her attention when I’m dying to be noticed or cared about because I’ll get to a point where I feel so unloved and useless. It’s wrong, it’s childish, and does neither of us any good. But when you’re up against a spouse that has anger issues, is verbally and emotionally abusive, has no filter and is NEVER the source of the problem/pain, what do you do? The solution to me would be so simple. A light bulb would click on in her brain telling her she’s being mean, abusive, and tearing apart her marriage and husband’s self esteem. Then she would realize she needs help, apologize, and ask if we could do it together. But that never happens. So what is someone in my position left with? Divorce, obviously. Or if not that, then all I have left when it comes to sticking around is to stay on the roller coaster and take the abuse and use what few tools I have even if they’re not truly effective. We’re both wrong. I’m willing and would love to go to therapy/counseling but there’s always *something* she comes up with that stops us.

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Ollysmum

Love this reply from a male. I came here as my husband is currently on day 9. This came from a disagreement following from a conversation rather than a shouty argument about what we do with the house, we disagreed on what to do. He tells me he can’t cope with doing more than one thing at once, I said he doesn’t start anything and go one thing (which is actually true and why I get really frustrated with him) but he’s also not willing to pay for someone (we’re talking about fairly simple fixing and decorating here) then silence, now day 9. I’m now fed up, 20 years of being mainly happily married with the normal ups and downs, kids etc I now don’t know if I’m not wasting my time. When silence tends to be the answer with him, usually it’s only 1-3 days never longer

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Ronnell

I am the husband and I cheated on my wife.
I struggle to be able to be constantly reminded of the losses as a result. We chose to stay together and work at a better relationship. It gets very repetitive and I am not stupid. I heard it all the first fifty times it was mentioned. I am sincerely sorry for my transgressions and I believe that how we progress for the days ahead is where we should invest our time. By constantly being reminded of how bad I was 5 to ten years ago is not helping me. I have admitted it and apologized. Shouldn’t we be moving past those old issues that are painful to use both?

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KELLy B

I’m also goin thru this. My husband hasn’t spoken to me for a week and he locks himself in our spare room. He comes home and walks past me like I’m not even there but yet says he doesn’t want me to leave

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Rose

I know how you feel. I’m going through right too. He’s been doing this to me for years. He had a mental ill Ed’s that’s never been diagnosed, so he most times don’t trust me and think I’m trying to hurt him. I love this man and would never try to intentionally hurt him. I told him this but he don’t believe me. I only get relief when I sleep too. I’m so exhausted.

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Claire C

I know just how this feels going through it at the moment. Anything that goes wrong he gets angry with me and then gives me the silent treatment.

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Tish

It’s been two weeks today. Stonewall, silent treatment. He did this a few times in the past, but definitely more frequently this year. We’ve had trust issues about his online activities. He thinks its okay to masturbate to webcam girls and keep secrets from me. Thats not the biggest problem for me, my problem is he expects me to be sexually intimate every night with him no matter how im feeling. Or else. Its total coercion, intimidation. He’s physically abused me, verbally abused me, emotionally abused me, he throws a fit that im not running to our bedroom, ripping my clothes off and having passion for him like I once did. He thinks his secret sexual life and double standards shouldn’t have any consequences. He expects me to still be head over heels for him. He doesn’t like it when I ask questions or tell him how would he like it if he caught me looking at sexy naked dudes and masturbating to them? He’d be so pissed and jealous! So he thinks silent treatment is the answer. We live under the same roof and totally avoid one another, no communication. I don’t want to continue to live like this but I’m done being the bigger person and sweep another fight under the rug. It just shows him, he gets away with hurting me once again, he’s off the hook and with no apology to boot. I used to want, wait, beg for a response when he’d ignore me.. but then I realized,.. no response is A RESPONSE!!! I would be uncomfortable and so sad when he gave me silent treatment. Why would he push me away? Throw me away? As if I did something wrong when all I do is try my best to love him and not be a nagging girlfriend. We’ve been together 15 years. We know each other so much and he knows what upsets me and vice versa. I don’t want to cause tension in our relationship but I finally got to a point in my life where I have to put up boundaries to protect myself. When my feelings aren’t validated by him, it’s disrespectful. He turns away instead of trying to communicate. That’s immature and unacceptable. He doesn’t apologize or show any remorse or empathy. He wants Me to prioritize his feelings while he could careless about mine. So I’m stuck on what I’m supposed to do… for my future, do I give up? Or keep going on this merry go round of happiness, sadness, happiness, sadness….

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Catherine E

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this for 2 weeks. I caused an argument with my husbands daughter which then resulted in a nasty witch hunt from his ex and another daughter. My husband says I caused it all. I know I did and I have said I wished I could take it all back even though i only told the truth about something i didnt agree with. Im on the 3rd day of him not speaking to me, when I challenge him he is horrible to me and just points for me to get out of the room. Je does this every time we have an argument, he believes he is never wrong and has NEVER apologised for any hurt he is causing. If feel so sad, I want him to understand how this behaviour is breaking me. I know I have to suffer a few more days then just carry on as normal when he chooses to speak to me again.

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Ben

I’m so deeply sorry to hear this. I hope that if you are able to do so you will seek out support from a therapist. The silent treatment is incredibly harmful and is a cause of PTSD. You are being denied connection. Do not deny it to yourself by suffering “in silence”. Give yourself the care he won’t by getting help. Sending you my best.

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Jehan

I am a female 48. Married for 27 years My husband gives me silent treatment whenever I confront him for being abusive controlling and complaining person. He starts his day with grumbles, spends the whole day with blabbering, and ends with complaints and gossips. I started suffering with stress and anxiety around him, My blood pressure goes high and my heartbeat goes faster when he keeps on complaining and gossiping about others to me. I tried explaining him how it’s affecting our relationship but he is ignorant. The moment he starts talking, he is back to the same traits.
I usually enjoy my own company but the silent treatment makes me sad and anxious. I am planning to quit this marriage because it’s putting toll on my mental health.

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Jazzy

maybe that is the best for you because no-one wants to be around a person who’s never even happy with themselves. He’ll realize later that he needs to work on himself after you leave. I did notice that men do tend to act mean to the closest one to them and act nice to others as a front.

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Candy

What a powerful message. Messages like these help me to continue on with my healing journey. Thank you for this <3

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H.R. Lost

In reading the comments I know what I have to say will be similar with different details yet, at it’s core, a paralyzing and painful truth that we have been forced to experience from another human being’s behavior towards us. The justification they have for treating us this way is something I can’t understand no matter how hard I try. I have been with a woman whom i allowed to move in to my home because she claimed to have come from an abusive relationship and needed a place for her and her dog due to a breed ban. We seemed to click on many levels and seemed to have the same philosophy in relationship goals. We fell in love fast, well one of us did. I have paid all the bills and supported her for months on end when she was unemployed or just decided she wanted to stay home for weeks at a time. She had no drivers license due to a 7 year gap in child support payments and was jailed for missing a payment after an arrangement for payment was just made. I bonded her out and took a week off work, hiring an attorney to settle her debt for good and allow her to get her license back. I was Mr. Wonderful for about a week then slowly things went south. I felt her getting distant and she quit initiating anything in the bedroom, told me that she doesn’t do that. for a couple years she seemed to like my advances yet on occasion would put me down or laugh at my attempts to be romantic. She started shaming me and picking apart my charachter to make me feel like I was violating her in some way. Then things I had told her about my childhood and past relationships were weaponized and used against me in arguements. When I told her I felt unwanted she would roll her eyes and tell me I was hard to love and that talking about her withholding intimacy was “unattractive” and that she would continue if I kept talking about it. Finally now she has been avoiding me and tries to be in a different room when I am home and will stay in the bathroom for hours at a time until she knows I am asleep. If I try to ask her why she is doing this she will walk away or pick up her phone or close her eyes and just go to sleep. No matter how nice I am when I am asking- no response-. I am becoming resentful and my confidence is broken. I am in good physical shape for my age and I am very active and I used to be a lot of fun to be around so I have been told. I have women that tell me I am good looking but I don’t think I am. I have been put down and ignored to the degree I feel ugly and pathetic. What used to happen a couple times a day with passion is now a going through the motions for her selfish needs once every month and a half. She doesn’t care if I am satisfied or not. I have asked her to either tell me what is wrong so we can deal with it, start acting like she did in the beginning towards me-no apology required- or leave my home and find someone else who can make her happy. She does nothing but make things worse. I can’t live like this anymore.She has not made any effort to repay me nor am I allowed to bring it up without her getting angry. I don’t ask her for anything but her genuine self and if this was it all along I would have never allowed her into my life…Why can’t people just be honest about who they really are before they hurt someone else like this?

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Ben

I encourage you to research something called “Borderline Personality Disorder”, and in particular what is colloquially referred to as “Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder”. You partner’s behavior, based on your description, raises many of the red flags. In particular, google what is called an Idealization and Devaluation Cycle, which is a core symptom of the disorder. I encourage you to leave this relationship and work on yourself, because without many years of therapy, which she must undertake willingly, your partner will not improve and you will continue to be abused.

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yes

weve been married for 9yrs now,this is how he handle his anger towards me,giving me the cold shoulder.but this time i have done so much disrespect,a mistake,for him he shuts me out,my parents,my relatives including our child and its been months now.he doesnt even look at me
hoping for a miracle,a great miracle
i really love him though
Im willing to do everything to save this marriage and have the guy i married back 😭

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Scarlet

Your husband never exist before the real him is this guy from now who disrespect you at the top level. The only person you really need is you please stand by you, respect yourself and leave this marriage, you can give a good example to your child.
Believe me it is only get worse.

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Lotty

This is trauma bonding. He is controlling your behaviour though intermittent reinforcement – be nice to you only when you comply with what he wants, emotionally neglect you when you don’t. That’s not remotely excusable or loving. What we tolerate will continue. I hope you love yourself more in the future as you deserve better.

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Dave M

This is narcissistic behavior, and people like this never change, my ex-wife used to do this, giving me the silent treatment, here is one thing that helped, I told her how immature giving me the silent treatment was, and it wasn’t something that I was going to ever put up with, I told her that if she kept doing it, it would be the end of our relationship and that I would leave, and if she was upset about something she needed to talk to me about it, not act like a 5 year old, and give me the silent treatment. If your husband has been doing this for months, and getting away with it, it might not be something he is going to stop doing, it’s very abusive. My wife stopped doing it when I told her I would leave but only found other ways to be abusive toward me. The thing is that I didn’t let it go on for very long, she did it a couple of times and wasn’t about to put up with it, I found it extremely toxic, and abusive, a couple of things that they will do is give you the silent treatment, be passive-aggressive, argumentative, and try to push your buttons to get you to react, so you lose your temper, if they’re successful in getting you to lose your cool, they will then say that you are the one that has a problem. they try to get you to lose your temper, and they know that you will, anyone would who is being treated like this, it’s a big game they are playing, they have a playbook they use, and have spent years honing their craft, it’s usually that they were raised in a narcissistic family, it’s a learned behavior, they weren’t born this way, you can also find yourself behaving like them if you don’t know that they are a narcissist, it can rub off on you, and you might not even realize that you are also behaving like this, that’s what happened to me, I started acting my wife to other people, and someone pointed it out to me, I didn’t even realize I was doing it, I said snarky little remarks to people for no reason, just to get a reaction, once I realized I was doing this, I had to really think about what I was saying before I said anything I was responding to, so I didn’t say something really rude, or abusive. It got so bad that I had to leave my wife, she was a covert narcissist. You might want to study covert narcissists, they are the worst kind. It took a long time to get myself back to the happy go lucky person that I am. There are a ton of Youtube videos on the subject that can be a great help in understanding why he acts the way he does, it’s not only men that act this way, women also can be covert narcissists

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Dami

We talk to each other often ,he bought me wristband which indicates love ,he bought me food when am hungry but he suddenly decided not to talk to me again and it really bothering me even though we see each other every day

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Dee

There could be any number of reasons why he’s not talking to you. The fact that he sees you everyday and not talk lead me to believe that he either found someone else he’s interested in and trying to stay loyal to that new person or someone in either your or his circle probably told him something about you whether it’s true or not. Have you done something that you may not want him to know about? Even if you did or didn’t, he ought to be an adult male and address the situation and not let you continue to wonder. That’s cruelty in and of itself. He’s childish. Keep your head up and motion waves as a form of communication/greeting when you see him and keep it moving. Act as if it’s not bothering you and he’s just another human being passing you. You him know you think highly of yourself and his worth is no larger than yours.

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Dean

Hi,

Im a 46 year old male who is getting the silent treatment from my partener. This all started last year (2021) when my partner kicked me out of the house after an argument. She told me a week away from each other would do as good. She stated lets have 7 days away from each other and meet next week and talk. So i agreed and moved back in with my mother who is not well and i have since become her carer. So the week passes and i sent her messages with no response so i went passed her places and she wasnt there she wasnt there sat and returned sunday night. I called past on the sunday night and she was so belligerant and sarcastic with me that it got me upset. She said she went out of town for her work however the job that shes in currently which she was at the time, does not require her to travel. Now my marriage previous to her ended because my wife was cheating on me with someone from her work and my partner weas behaving in the exact same way my ex wife was when she was breaking up our mariage. I was beside myself asking her is there someone else you can tell me if there is ill walk away but dont hurt me i cant go through the same crap i went through with my ex wife it caused me a nervous breakdown. She said she didnt however she was saying she coudlnt believe how i was acting when all i was asking was for answers in a calm way. She said i needed help for anger management when no anger was displayed. This coming from a person who through a rock hard peach from arms distance straight at my left eye who to this day i still cant see properly out of all because i put a small piece of ice on her as an affectionate joke.
Moving forward the weeks passed and she was teasing me (sexually) one night and it led to sex. We spoke and we agreed to start a fresh slowly again. The next day she did a 180 and stopped talking to me. This happened about 6 – 7 times and just after xmas i stopped communicating with her for 4 weeks. She messaged me one sunday night saying it was weird its the longest weve ever gone without talking to each so i went over and it led to small talk and sex. Again we agreed to start fresh and take things day to day. The next day sex again the day after that the same thing again. A week later again sex then things were fine up until 2 weeks ago when she all of a sudden stops talking to me. Its madness. I cant do this anymore. I asked for an explanation no response. I went over she wont open the door. Blocked my number. I dont understand this. Can someone please help understand. It feels as though she has someone else but she says she doesnt but she always out with “friends” goes interstate with her “friends” what are your thoughts? I just a professional opinion please.
Thank you Kindly
Dean

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Run

You need to run and don’t look back. That relationship is toxic ASF. It should have ended a century ago! Are you waiting to lose vision in your other eye or to have an early death from all the misery she’s putting you through?

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Isabel

Breaks my heart for what you are feeling I can relate to you I too am searching for answers, please keep us updated on what is happening,

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Sarah

So sorry you are going through this. I am not an expert but I know some things about angry women – being one myself. I have the suspicion she is hurt and is trying to punish you but can’t bring herself to explain what it is you have done wrong or why she is so angry. If she has been crazy and unpredictable from the start – my theory doesn’t hold but if things were once great and then suddenly this started, it is quite possible you have unknowingly done something bad to upset her. This pattern of behaviour doesn’t necessarily say to me ‘work partner affair’. I am hearing more that she is intentionally trying to hurt you to get revenge. If she is so important to you despite all this try ‘have I done something to hurt you?… can we talk about it?’

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Jenn G

Hi there,
I am not a professional but have lived awhile and seen abuse. This seems to be a situation where she doesn’t respect you and you sound like a really nice guy but the power dynamic is way out of line to the point she hurts you and you come back for more. I would ask myself what is it that keeps making me go back? Is it really that she is the most amazing woman or is it that you can’t stand being rejected and want to fix it to prove to yourself you are worthy? Or somewhere in that vein.
Some things seem worth figuring out but the way to do that would mean healing the things inside of you that allow this treatment. Nobody deserves to be treated like this not even you. Remember who you are. Deep in your soul. I personally found meditation to work for me. Helped me center myself to find more answers to similar questions. The. For me Kundalini yoga really grounded me. For you it might help but you will find your way. There are sooo many great people on YouTube sharing for free. Look around and you will find what you need. I know I could sound a little Hokey Pokey but hey nothing else is working so like that definition; crazy is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Or something like that. Good luck my friend.

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Barbara

Dean, I know you wrote this a year ago, but no one as yet has replied so I would like to.

Import to know: I’ve been a mental health counselor at a large college for 25 years & psychiatric social worker at a University teaching psychiatry hospital.

You are dealing with a SOCIOPATH. RUN, and don’t look back.
Do NOT have ANY further contact with her no matter WHAT she says because, Each time you do, you’re going to feel as horrible as you do now…
Please DON’T be tempted to send her even one text~ unless you want to be beaten up again.
Hard as it may be, you need to change your phone #, maybe even move, do whatever you need to do to stay strong & have NOTHING to do with her.
Sociopaths have no conscience nor any empathy or feelings for anyone. You deserve BETTER, Dean.
Find a counselor/ therapist who’s knowledgeable about abusive people & abusive relationships. He/she can help you recover and become a strong, self assured man who can identify & Run from abusive women & refuse to ever be treated so badly in the future!
You can do this, Dean.
PS: don’t start dating again till you have a wonderful counselor by your side helping you understand what happened, how to avoid sociopaths & cheering you on. Barbara

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Nirmohi

Hello,
I am going through the same things , I got married two years ago, and I completely changed myself for him, he humiliated me for materialistic things and made me feel that I am nothing, and I don’t understand anything. His parents did the same things.I am well educated still was humiliated and disrespected at every step… my tiny wishes were counted in money … I did go through emotionally and mentally a lot … humiliation of me and my family … recently my brother got diagnosed was leukemia… I called him with me as I lived with his family … they humiliated him and me so much that I had to leave with him … during his second chemotherapy … with no money … no place to leave.. we will filling separation tomorrow and divorce later… but since two months he hasn’t even cared to ask if I am alive or what am I doing … how can someone say that they love and not care even a bit…..

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Jana

More than likely you answered your own question. However, it may not be what you are thinking. Do you always bring up the EX factor? “You’re acting like so n so when she cheated on me …etc.” you have trust issues from your ex or previous, now you are putting that on your wife. I have friends that we hang out do shopping , disco, bar, just as their other does too, n their other is blowing up their phone accusing them of cheating cause they saw them driving or getting into a car with a guy when we were at my house. She vented and cried about him, etc.
The ice joke, how small was the ice, you probably dropped it in her bra or pants, or tossed it on her maybe 1 too many times or in front of guests maybe? Or maybe you did this often knowing she don’t find it funny. Affectionate joke, and jokes always on her? Like you said “I can’t do this anymore”. So don’t. Move on. No one is there, she blocked you calls, won’t open the door, she seems to be done. Maybe should self reflect. She made it clear but you don’t listen. She is having good times with her friends, don’t assume she doing what your ex did to you. Let go, if she comes back, make sure you become the best version of you, or a better one. If she doesnt, work on yourself, do you.

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Dee

First of all, you don’t change for ANYONE!!!! That was your first mistake in letting him know you were weak, needy, and hungry to be loved. Recently, I was in the same situation. Family and all. My mom sick and he “Jetted”. He couldn’t be bothered with my family situation but when his mom got sick and passed I was there whenever he needed or wanted me. And when he and his siblings were fighting about materialistic things, I was there with my perspective for everyone’s benefit. This man down graded you to his family and friends that they are going to take his side and treat you like he does.He and his family are jealous of you and they will bring you down at all cost. This man has NPD Narcissists Personality Disorder. Look it up. They love bomb you, gaslight you, and then elicit others to help them hurt you mentally and emotionally, after a while they get rid of you like trash. Like Steve Harvey said “You will know if a man or woman truly loves you when they stay beside you during your bad times and help you with solutions to your problems “ when he cared nothing about you or your brother that told the story. People with NPD are empty souls. Like a bucket with a hole in it. It can never be filled. They can’t love or have empathy. And sadly there’s no cure. Lastly, don’t ever try to change for anyone. If you become what someone wants you to be then where are you? And the sad thing is they still won’t be satisfied. You’re like clay to them. They will constantly keep molding and changing you until you run thin and crumbly and then you will be discarded. Like a NPD person does when his narcissistic supply runs out and is no longer of use to him. Hopefully this helps.

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Sam

Hey,
I had one good friend I met him in one of the trips. Then we beame good friends and went for some more trips together. After some days my parents got his marriege proposal for me. I was too happy that it’s his proposal. He didn’t speak to me anything about that.. After 1 week I asked him what he thinks about this proposal. He said he will think and tell me in 2 days. He didn’t call me at all, I called him after 1 week he didn’t speak anything about marriege. Even I was scared to speak about this due to trauma I faced in my last relationship. We started speaking, I used to always initiate the meetings. I only used to call him. It was going too well.. I decided to speak about our marriege seriously.. But suddenly for small joke he started ignoring me, I called him like so many times, asked him sorry. I tried for 2 weeks and left a voice note of me telling hom sorry and told him to come and talk to me when he is ready.. I didn’t get reply for that also…. It’s already been 2 months we are not speaking. I am too depressed , I am not interested in any activities. I am not getting interest on any other guy…

What I should do

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Rena T

I am going thru the same thing and my heart truly goes out to you but I believe at this moment you should walk away as I did. Five years of my life just gone in a second. You will recover from this. I am still struggling but you will find your way. People who ignore you aren’t worth your time

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Bobbie

it is obvious that he does not want to be married…and if you did marry him he would make your life miserable because this is how he would treat you, he is not going to change (without professional help, but even then). and when children come…oh my then your life would be hell. it would be very difficult to leave now. but be strong ask the Lord to help you leave…down the line you would be so grateful and happy and free. he is manipulative and not very nice, you deserve a happy relationship. leave him ..in the dust

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Jana

Let it go. 2 months not speaking…Now you know.
For now, let him go, carry on with your life. He not the one. It hurts,. It will keep hurting cause you think about him. Snap out of it. Seriously, get up get dressed go to work call your beastie hang out and don’t talk about him make it a point to not think about him. It seems hard but it not. There is someone out there for you. Focus on you. Mend your heart and mind. So you will be the best you. And don’t settle for less, be picky. You deserve the best. Live love laugh

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Emz

My story is, I come from a typical brown family, brought up in a quite conservative manner. I was never been appreciated or shown that my opinion ever matters in my family. We are a close-knit family.

Since before the pandemic, my parents have been in contact with a family that has a son. They are a traditional close knit family as well. Son and parents live in different countries. Their proposal for marriage came by like 1.5 years ago for me and after that parents got close. Parents pushed the guy to send friend request on fb to start talking to me but he only sent the request and that’s all.

Moving on, 6 months later, my parents asked the guy to come home and see me just like any other brown gestures of a proposal would take place, difference is there were no parents. My mom cooked like tonnes of dishes like how we browns do it 😏. We got some alone time to talk and it wasn’t too bad although I felt he was too immature for me. I am a person into deep conversation and all-time reality checks. His spirit was like a child still dreaming with eyes open. But whatever, he was a successful guy and silently intelligent and quite sneaky with his words. Anyway after that he and me was pushed again to talk to each other over phone. He never made a move until I got fed up of my parents yelling and rants and started a short conversation over text. He took a long time to reply and the feedback wasn’t too satisfactory. Moving on, it took some time to get him to talking over phone but I realized after two months of conversing he never would talk about marriage orientated discussions than to be extremely sarcastic and super dirty talk. For me, being goofy and talk about the process of making love is essential but only when we are firm with our purpose. At first I enjoyed it but later it got me thinking is he really just enjoying the current time and me? However, we would share wedding colours, kids’ post over socials to each other constantly until a while later, both parents had a disagreement and decided to not move with this proposal any further.

I could not believe it because I took some time but my dislikes turned into liking him apparently. Suddenly he stopped responding after the incident as well. But I could not stay quiet. It was haunting me because by then I couldn’t think of any other guy so what I did was I went to him to his place and kind of surprised him. In my mind, I had a long list of mental notes on what to talk about to him in order to fix the situation and be together. Once I reached nothing like that ever happened, what happened was he jumped on me and we got intimate which wasn’t approved by my gut feeling and that I also mentioned it to him that we shouldn’t be doing what we intending to do. He really didn’t care as though all he wanted was lust because he was sober sexually for too long. Argh. Anyway! Sounds like I was over analyzing. So I just enjoyed my moments with him with a feeling in my gut that what if this is the last time I am seeing him? 😞

After which we started talking back over socials and phone but this time no parents knew or anyone, it was just us communicating. I told him the reason the came to you because I do think our parents didn’t take the right decision of disagreeing with each other rather they could break it down and asked us as well because we both were close already. Anyhow, our conversations didn’t last too well. I tried making proper date plans with him but he would either cancel on me or say something came up and I would do so much for the date till I know I simply have to cancel it. 🥺 The sadness, aggression and variable questions in my mind was bothersome. I would keep asking myself, am I too demanding or clingy or is it that I actually don’t interest him? If I am not his type then why does he share so much of kids and relationship videos? I found myself all confused.

Today it’s exactly 7 months and 2 days, this got worse, he kept giving me cold shoulder and silent treatment for last 3 weeks and I noticed a pattern that every weekend he would not reply me at all but weekdays he is back again. 🙁 This use to put so much negatives assumptions in my head but I would believe it because I think he is a good straight trustworthy guy.

During last week, his last seen on WhatsApp was like a week ago. I waited till he gets back but I impatiently texted him if he was okay or something go wrong over a normal text not WhatsApp. I kept asking my friends, is he testing me or am I being too clingy? Why am I treated this way!!! My friends said, if he liked you enough he will come by otherwise don’t think about him and focus on yourself. Well in my opinion it’s true but I would think that he should be just fine and would pray to god every night for his success and well-being.

Just now, I opened his WhatsApp and his last seen was last night which means he still didn’t open my message that was sent a week back yet entered WhatsApp.

At this point, I cannot sleep, cannot eat, hating the idea of having another guy in life. I honestly and truly just need and want this guy. He is not totally my type but looking into bigger picture, I could accept each other and the difference and move forward.

Please tell me what to do.

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Jeanne R.

Give yourself a break and dump him…he plays too many social mind games, and marriage won’t improve that. He’s not worth your hurt.

Reply
Martin

Hi I’m in very bad situation and in dire need of help. I’ve been in a relationship with this beautiful adorable and amazing lady for Seven months now. Well I accept I betrayed her deeply before, but when she forgave me I dedicated myself in the relationship and decided to fully commit to her.

We started living together and things were amazing both our love and our intimacy too, and yeah we would’ve normal couple fights but we would always find a way of resolving them and move forward.
Well she never really forgot what happened and it has been hard, sometimes she had trust issues. She would think I’m cheating on her again, even though I would always assure her I would never do that again that she’s the only one I love.

Anyway we had a terrible fight on July 5th this year and I did the unspeakable, out of anger I found myself slapping her. To this day I regret it and I carry that shame everyday and I can’t even forgive myself for what I did, it pains and I still wonder how? I’ve never hit any lady in my life, I’ve never seen violence at home cause even my dad wonders where I got that character from.

Long story short, my lady can’t forgive me. She move out and it’s been a sinking ship every then. We used to at least talk even if it’s for a few hours. But it changed again, she became so mean and would just remind me of all the mistakes and see me as a pretender and a violent man, despite me apologising to her ever since until now. Recently, my cousin tried to talk to her on my behalf and I think maybe she just told him what he wanted to hear not what he needed to know. That she loves me and it’s only me and that she’ll wait for me, unless otherwise I decide to move on.

Well of late, she changed and became even more resentful and very mean. Went to see her after work in her house and it didn’t go well, she was super mean and so rude. She said she hates me and even chased me away. She doesn’t call or text or pick calls. If picks she’ll be like lets talk some other time. Well what pains me is that she’s always online on WhatsApp and I feel like maybe there is someone else. Her phone when I call is always busy and well I guess maybe it’s true.

I’ve been depressed and I do drink and smoke weed sometimes well I’ve tried everything and it seems nothing works, I’ve even prayed but I guess nothing still works.
Please advice me

Reply
SP

I am a woman and can tell you that if my man hit me, it would be over. I would never give a man a chance to “make that mistake” again. It only escalates.

Too bad she is playing games with you instead of just directly ending it. This is not good for either of you. For your own peace of mind, accept that it is over and move on. And work on your anger management so this does not happen in a future relationship.

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Anna Mae

The relationship is done. You can’t fully recover from that. She will never forget what you did. You don’t deserve her. Move on and try not to ruin your next relationship.

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Gary

Hi, can I offer another viewpoint.
Mainly, the view of silent treatment as a form of “isolation” and high road. Also withq Reference to in the original write and many of the responses, there seems a view the person who has had the silence imposed on them, is free from any cause, or involvement in that happening. Also, they themselves often do the silent treatment, though better worded, “isolate” the other person too.

Also this view is looking at isolation with these Synonyms
aloneness, insulation, privacy, secludedness, seclusion, segregation, separateness, sequestration, solitariness, solitude

There has been discussion on the person being given the silent treatment.

What about the person doing the silent treatment? This goes against human nature of being social, so why do it? What are they thinking and how are they feeling?

Is not, being silent a self isolations? So that person feels all that was said previously by others.
As listed above there are many views of isolation.

The following is experienced views of a person being silent. Silence is due to multiple visits to the same situation or state of concern or conflict.

They are, angry, sad, lost, frustrated, stressed and are experiencing mental health issues, isolated.

1. Angry, with the situation, often that it happened again. Often that they allowed it to get to this point. So it is a control measure to stop lashing out.
Anger because the same front from the other person is unchanged after calm (example hands on hips “well”) Right there is a form of “isolation” from the person who everyone here has said is isolated by silent treatment (think about it).

2. Sad, absolutely. Sad not being able to communicate or feel they can communicate. Sad there is conflict again. Sad they feel alone (isolated).
3. Lost is directly from sad as there is no knowledge of how to deal with this and stop it happening.
4. Frustrated, for not having an answer or other better option. Also the feeling of not this again (isolated ?)
5. Stress with trying to deal with situations that often cannot be because the other persons, arguement, or view of there is no black and white answers (ever) only grey. Or, when discussion occurs all view points are dismissed or ignored (here is an isolation ).

6. Mental health is real here, depression and other thoughts are real by the the person being silent (not being social is unhealthy medical fact).

7. Isolated, very much so. The fact that they feel that will get nowhere if they talk, discuss is “isolation” and this form is far longer in time than say a week as many have mentioned.
I will add a point (though a different arguement), limiting or stopping a partner from being a romantic, and an intimate couple, is isolation, and every bit the same as we have discussed. Yet that is accepted as that persons right to say no… Why then is it not a persons right to be silent if they believe it is the best solution at the time?

A 100% fact of the person feeling the above points. Hospitalised, due to stress.
Throat ulcers causing constriction and hard to eat. Blood pressure problems and all the other stress related health issues.

It’s not always the one that feels hard done by, that suffers the most. It depends on where you look and which view and why.

Reply
Terry

This is an interesting and valid point.
I appreciate your comment.
Sounds like what I’m going through with my boyfriend now.

Reply
Sasha

Yes thank you for sharing the “other side” of this situation. I’m still lost as to why someone wouldn’t communicate to their partner, the need for isolation and some idea of a time frame, when entering into this arena. Otherwise, how would your partner know what you are feeling to any degree and be able to be responsive in a supportive manner. Your response “seems” like something a victim would say, to validate behavior that overall doesn’t benefit the relationship as a whole.

Reply
SilentGhostKate

When do you stop feeling traumatized and hopelessly depressed? It’s been a very long time and thinking about it still causes panic attacks that make it hard to live

Reply
shane

My wife of 30 years,has ignored me over every single thing,she also has taught our two daughters that the way to resolve a conflict is to avoid it…By doing that she is not viewed as angry(which she is),but viewed as reasonable….Emotional witholding is her gig,she barters with her affection…She thinks that I have forgotten how to court a woman…I have been 100 percent faithful,I treat her in an endearing manner,I speak of her with fondness(or used to,now I just dont speak about her to others),but I am telling her that she is without me to manipulate anymore…in about 20 mins ,her day will change drastically,and my life begins again..I am a strong but gentle lover,eager to make sure I put my partner first in all I do…and if I say those 3 words to you,know I have your back forever…Has anyone noticed with the folks that ignore,generally are superficial,materialistic? Perhaps just in my case,best regards to all of you ,start living immediately,oppression on any level is wrong all the time,every single one of us deserves to be happy,its our only entitlement in life.

Reply
Gerri

I have been married 7 months to this 84 year old, I’m 82. I was very happy when we first met. Because he showed me so much attention and said we were going to enjoy our life by traveling dancing all the things he knew I liked to do. As soon as we got married it changed. He didn’t want to take me on small trips or do much. We’ve been married for 7 months and he hasn’t taken me anywhere yet. We were suppose to go to Florida on our honeymoon but he has postponed it 3 times, now he say’s he doesn’t want to go cause he has been there many times. Oh and he gives me the silent treatment for day’s if I don’t agree with him on something. Now he has treated me with silence so much I’ve got to where I don’t even want to be around him. Need to figure out if I should leave or not. He’s a very wealthy man. But gives a lot to his Children. Which is okay, but I’m afraid he will get upset with at some point and tell me to leave as he has done 2 other women.

Reply
MB

Get away from him…❤..he is a NARC.
emotionally abusive Man.
I’m sorry…you come first ….your mental spiritual & physical health….go NO contact
God bless you. BLESSINGS

Reply
Lee W

Hello

I’m in a bit of a predicament and I came across this article whilst looking for suggestions. My wife has been self employed for three years now. She’s barely made any money at all and all the pressure is on me. I can’t do my job as well because I’ve got no car and can’t go to meetings or events without public transport, and walk to work every day which is 3 miles from our home. I can’t afford to buy a car, and we can’t do any work on our house to make it nicer for our kids because we are living just off my income. I’ve moved jobs once and it hasn’t been enough of an increase.

My wife’s sister is an ardent feminist and constantly posts on social media about controlling men who “mansplain”. I’ve tried not to interfere in my wife’s self employment because I don’t want to be accused of this, and I get the silent treatment and the guilt if I ever express any frustration at our circumstances.

I agree that blanking someone or not talking to them is not a healthy or mature response to someone expressing their feelings about something, but what can I do? If I leave I lose my kids, if I stay I remain unhappy and frustrated. I’m also wary of upsetting my wife as I can see that the lack of any real work has sapped a bit of her self confidence. I’m concerned though that unless things change our marriage could be going down the drain.

Reply

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