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”]

595 Comments

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Crying in da club

I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and change now. For a couple months, we’ve been having more bad days then good days and I’ve come up with a bunch of ways to make it better but he’s just not for them. This past Friday he said he’d stop by and then never did and that’s when the ignoring started. It’s currently Sunday and I’ve tried to call him 3 times and sent a text and Snapchat. I don’t even know what to do anymore

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Theresa

Hello, ive been with my boyfriend for 24 years. We have 2 sons together and i have 2 sons from a previous relationship. Lately my boyfriend ignores my texts calls and or takes a while to respond, with an answer from him saying he was busy his phone was in the car, he didnt hear it. He gives me the slilent treatment. Should i be worried?

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Kelly S.

Yes you should be worried. For one, The silent treatment is made to inflict pain and it does trigger the same response in your body as physical pain does! Some questions to ask yourself, truthfully:
Does he ignore your needs? Do you walk on eggshells? Does he gaslight or triangulate you? Does he let you have any control over anything: money, choices, decisions? Or do you just let him handle things because you have been conditioned {by him} in that way? And why hasn’t he married you? Did he help with the kids; all four of them, in disciplining? Is he still interested in sex with you? And, can he look you in the eye still?
You should read or listen to the audible books: Psychopath Free by Jackson McKenzie and Healing From a Narcissistic Relationship by Margalis Fjelstad. I was truly awakened by these books from my 23 year marriage to a narcissist! (in which I had no idea about because I had read every other book to save a marriage except..!) So when he left is when I learned I had been with a textbook narcissist! From the love-bombing at the start, how I was perfect to him, to him hating me at the end. But every once in a while he would throw me a grand gesture or a grand present and I would think, “we’re back!!” Psych! We owned a heating & ac company and now he has our two kids working there. I was the outed one, the broken one, from him sucking the life out of me over all of the years! I hung in there waiting for the guy I met to come back, to step back inside of his body or his brain. But I wasted so many years! I also have four children: two before and two with him. So we have some similarities, for sure. It’s a roller coaster, as I felt it! Jump off!
Start protecting yourself now by saving anything you can I know it sounds awful but if this is truly who he is then protect yourself first and foremost. And of course if you protect yourself, you will be protecting your children! There is so much more I could say and tell you! I may start a blog soon!
Good luck and take care of YOU!
I was discarded by him at the end, like trash.
DO NOT WASTE ALL OF YOUR GOOD YEARS WITH A MEAN PERSON!! GO!

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Amy

Hey Sigmund
My partner of 10 years and father of my children will not talk to me for weeks if we have an argument. He has not spoken to me for a week because I disagreed about the size of something and snapped at him when he told me not to complicate the learning for the kids. He says he can’t talk to me.
I understand I shouldn’t snap but I don’t think it warrants not being spoken to for weeks.
I’m not sure if this is normal or what I should do.
I also find I can’t talk to him about much as he throws it in my face if we argue.
He can also be cruel with words and Over the years has called me many nasty things. I realize he is just angry.
When we are not fighting it’s okay, he is affectionate and tells me he loves me all the time and helps out. He does withhold sex from me-he says he needs to feel an emotional connection and likes to be in control of sex.
I’m not really sure what to do. I know he is stressed but the silent treatment and not having a sexual relationship is making me pull further away. I also don’t want to be screamed at that I have mental health, or that I am a loser or idiot or stupid.
It’s not a great situation right now.
Thanks for listening.

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Emily

To me this sounds way more like emotional and mental abuse. No one should be calling you out of your name. Him withholding sex is him almost like him punishing you after he already basically did by giving you the silent treatment for so long. He sounds very controlling and demeaning towards you. It’s a huge red flag. He likes to be in control in the bedroom and it sounds like he likes to be control outside the bedroom. Try not to give him what he wants. You should not reward silent treatments. He clearly doesn’t know how to communicate well and he shouldn’t just run away when things get hard. You are aware of your faults and that is the first step to change. Now
He must become aware of his toxic behaviors as well and maybe you both can find a way to find the solutions for things. Good luck !! Xoxo

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Walter

Sounds like Narcissistic behavior. My ex wife is a narcissist and would get angry very easily, call me all kinds of nasty names, and give me the silent treatment for hours and then forget that we even had a conversation. It hurts when someone you love is emotionally abusive. Its like they do not care and have no empathy at all. I feel your pain. Lean on God during tough times and be will give you shelter. God bless!

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Jane E

Hey..just came across this site..I have known my man for the last 1year. we started dating 3months ago. life has been good and full of joy and happiness. Its a long distance rlshp so we’ve managed to meet twice only. Recently deleted a text i had sent to him and he became very angry and accused me of being with another guy. He claimed i sent him the wrong text which was meant for the other guy. He didnt talk to me for a day.Then next day he claimed to be fine so i assumed everything was okey. after like a week i sent to him a meme which said am all yours,he bluticked ,the next morning i asked him if the meme offended him. To my surprise he claimed that he’s not into our rlshp like before.H e claimed he belives his instincts are telling the truth but to be honest am very loyal to him..we had a planned future together since we knew it was meant to be when we first met. I’ve been texting him but he’s been ignoring me. its now 6days .i dont even know whats wrong with him,am hurting,stressed out ..cant even concentrate at my work place . He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me so am really confused and broken right now. I dont know if i can recover from this .

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Robin W.

I was married to man for three years who practiced the silent treatment…..often. He then taught the technique to our daughter. I’ve been divorced for 34 years. My daughter and I go through this cycle about every 3-4 months and have been for the last 18 years. I actually feel like I’m married to her or rather like her surrogate husband.

She has managed to ruin virtually every holiday, birthday and event in the last 7 years since I moved closer to her when she was pregnant. One Thanksgiving she had to go to her dad’s and convinced me that she and her family would come over for dessert. I spent $70 on ingredients. When they got there, she did not say a word to me, just kept playing games on her phone….she was 32 at the time. I’d talk and she’d nod. After about 30 minutes of being ignored I asked them all to leave. I returned all the ingredients. To this day, I have no idea what the problem was. But, generally the cycle starts the same. She gets irritated and starts a fight……then yelling……name calling…..a huge argument that can last for days….then the silent treatment for about a month or longer. Her husband got so angry at me because I wouldn’t just get back into the cycle this last time, he tried to threaten me with not being able to see my grandchildren. He simply would not understand that it wasn’t “this” issue but ALL the issues, hence the cycle and I’d was the only one who would stop it.

Finally, I sought counseling and was educated on how to be “the adult in the room.” I am maintaining boundaries with her but it’s not an easy thing to do. She is very manipulative, guilt trips are a fav with her (was also with her dad who was also a master at the silent treatment). I don’t answer texts or hop-to when she wants something or acts all needy.

Best of all, I DO NOT feel guilty about it. I could not care less that she needs “help”, which is generally just an excuse to suck me in. I am currently not falling into the guilt trap and don’t react to her attempts to instill guilt. It’s actually very rewarding.

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Babuu

Hey ,
I met this girl like three years ago , she was making a internship in a city of a country where was just moving in to . We went on like to dates but because I have like low self esteem, I’m shy and anxious nothing happened . She moved back to her hometown after the internship was over (which was like 5 hours away) and she stopped replying me so I kinda of gave up on her . 1 year after she hit me up une-as travelling and all and she said I was looking nice and all so we met up … that night we ended kissing and sleeping together . From there we saw each other like every couple months because of my work I couldn’t really go there often and it was far . We never communicated much though in between between and our encounters were messy because of my insecurities , I could never be sure what she wanted for me because never initiated anything . Then she came to meet me one time for the first time and I had a friend over because I was afraid of being alone with her., after all the lack of communication , I was drunk and high, we barely spoke to each other that night we slept together , she left in the morning and kissed me for the last time .

We talked after but corona virus was starting … I started getting angry because she wouldn’t text me back until she said I was more emotional involved and she couldn’t match it at the moment … I reply to her bitterly , that broke my heart and I kinda of deleted her number and tried to forget her . But i couldn’t , so I called after some months but she was like accusing me for deleting her number yet was saying it was nice to hear from me and like insinuating for us to meet but I never talked about what we meant , if it was over.
I tried to call after some months after but she wouldn’t answer , I tried to text no answer …
Then an answer ..she was moving , we talked for like an hour , she asked me if I was seeing anyone , I said I’ve been seeing some people but not serious but wanted something serious .. and she said that she thought that going out for like 5 times with someone was kinda serious , and i was like wtf ? I grew silent and said It depended but asked the same and she said that anyone seemed to want to get down with her . I was relieved .
But after that call we never talked again ,
Rarely I called her , texted her , hey why are you doing this , just say I’ll stop bothering you , I miss you , she would change pictures in telegram once in a while , until I uploaded some of mine and that’s when she took her picture off . I call after two months ( yesterday) because I though she had finally blocked me , texted hi how are you
she doesn’t block my number but she deleted her Facebook , whatssapp , she only has my telegram and phone number … I don’t know if she’s using another number as well but why she won’t just block me or just tell me too fck off . Why is she silently treating me , it hurts a lot because I really liked her .

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Lynn P

I have a significant other I have known for nearly a year. He was widowed almost a year ago unexpectedly. I have supported him during his grief and continue to. We had no contact for 6 months after a catastrophic breakup. I was and have been devastated as well as quite heartbroken. He recontacted me me nearly 2 months ago to see me. He profusely apologized for his behavior when we broke things off. He “missed me” and wanted to work things out but take things slowly. He used to text me every day throughout the day in the beginning until we broke up. Now that we reconnected not so much. I am the one having to put the effort into contacting him. After reuniting we were intimate and he was happy and content but very frightened. I gave him space he did not contact me after this. I contacted him 10 days after we were intimate to set up a time to talk. We met once again I was told he is grieving his loss (wife) and has not done “”This” in several years. I left more confused than before we met. I met him for breakfast a couple of days later. I can tell he really likes me and the attraction is definitely there but he keeps running away. I have also discovered he is on dating/affair sites seeking out other women. 😌 So here I am again confused, hurt and heartbroken. I truly feel he is using his grieving time to be with other women and I fit the bill when he has an itch to scratch. I want to face him off. What can I do or say to get to the bottom of this silent treatment? He doesn’t realize I am aware of his website activities with other women. Thank you so appreciate any recommendations this hurts deeply….

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HP

I’m slightly confused, as you say you’ve known this man for nearly a year, and his wife died a year ago, which means you got together pretty much as soon as his wife died? (Apologies if I have this wrong). In which case it’s WAY too soon for him to be even considering another relationship.

He is using contact with women (you included) to try to ease his pain & grief, in the same way someone might attempt to use alcohol or other substances. Firstly this won’t work for him – it will gives him an initial high, but nothing more, as grieving is a natural & necessary process, & cannot be “fixed” in this way. Secondly, it will continue to hurt you terribly, as you say yourself you are an “itch to scratch” As much as there is attraction, he will not be in the right place to give any new partner what they need in a real relationship until he has come to terms & processed his grief, & that could take months if not years. Please see this for what it is, & walk away – there are other men, but only one you, & you are worth so much more than what this man is able to give you.

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Rebecca B

It’s over. Move on! This guy is really cruel. Never contact him again and don’t take his calls or reply to his pleas for sympathy. He doesn’t care about you or your heart. You dodged a bullet.

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Juliette

I need advice please. I have a daughter who just turned 40, who has been in a relationship for over three years with a man who is separated from his wife yet not divorced. They have been on & off several times. He & his former wife have a company together & two teens. My daughter had a job where allot of people knew his former wife and it caused allot of stress on the job for my daughter as some would say I am team ——-/ .
They get into discussions about him finalizing and divorcing his former wife so they can move forward with their relationship, however, he keeps dragging his feet and making excuses. Ie. He recently hired an attorney & allegedly the next day she quit the firm & to date hasn’t hired a new attorney. He gives my daughter the silent treatment often saying he needs to be silent & meditate over urgency! He texts on occasion but that is it. My daughter is in love with this man & makes tons of excuses for him when I bring up issues.
She gets angry with me if I disagree with her about the relationship. My daughter cries herself to sleep many nights & doesn’t eat.
She quit her job & the New job I recently found out her boyfriends good friend a female also works there & he does too just In A different department! This friend is bing a mean girl and is already making my daughters job stressful & he knows about it & does nothing. There are just so many red flags yet my daughter doesn’t see them & continues to make excuses, is lonely, cries and she has two teens at home who need her. I worry this other girl may make things so bad that she will have to find another job or it will cost her her job. She doesn’t sleep well. This man has done nice things for my daughter like buy her a new refrigerator & they go on weekend trips. I think she feels obligated to him for this? He has also been kinda mean to her too, verbally. Too many examples to mention here. Right now he is in one of his many silent moments. She gets upset because My husband & I don’t want to know him until he is serious about divorcing his wife. We feel he isn’t getting a divorce because maybe he still has feelings for his wife, or financially he doesn’t want to face the financial burden divorce costs. Yet our granddaughters are in the middle of this mess. And every month it’s hen isn’t talking to me, her stomach hurts, or she is crying. It is taking a toll on our energy too…any advice is greatly appreciated 🙏 Thank you.

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Osy

I hate it when men do that.

I had the father of my son, silent-treated me, i left him.
The next boyfriend did the same, i left too.
my recent ex-husband was doing the same, i left.
Then i have a boyfriend who is now doing the same, not texting me or texting me back withno words but this, ????.
I left him today.
I love these men, with all my heart, but i will never allow silent treatment, i am not Charlie Chaplin, i don’t bark, so i want someone to talk to me if they have a problem with me, if they don’t, then bye.
Next!

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Richie

There could be a pattern that is perhaps repeating itself that you might have been ignoring from your own part.
When every one you meet & love treats you the same way all the time, you ought to address a pattern that dominates in your relationship.

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Gracie

Leave him. It is not your fault. This behavior won’t go away without tons of work and you will become exhausted and possibly physically ill. If you stay and have children it will become even worse trying to maintain a house of harmony. All your energy will be put into making it up to the kids that dad is sulking and not talking. He will even use the kids against you during his silent treatment days to make you and the kids think that the problem is you. Worse yet when he decides he wants to be back to being a “good” family he will be very cooperative and sweet and then you will really be confused, angry, and have false hope will set in only for a huge disappointment to follow. It will hurt a lot less to get out now. If might think about seeing a professional about this on your own. This is your life, you are the only one that can save yourself. You did great by reaching out with this question.

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Tina

I’ve been married for 41 years. My husband has ignored me the majority of the time. He’s also silent and in his own world of cattle and our farm. I only stayed because I didn’t want to hurt our son and I kept hoping he would change. He has improved some, but it will never be what I want. I’m so alone in this marriage. I’m only staying with him for his life insurance. Sad…. isn’t it?

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Cathy

Yes, that is sad. Reminds me of The Bridges of Madison County. Ever see it? There’s a difference in ignoring someone during a fight, and someone who just isn’t a chatty person. Hopefully you have the latter and perhaps have some aspects you can enjoy about each other.

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Beemy

My husband who I am considering leaving is emotionally exhausting. For example we had a disagreement 5 days ago we exchanged words and he hasn’t said a word to me. I also am very stubborn so I didn’t talk to him either. This is not the first time it’s constant a d balames me for everything.
What should I do.

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Carolyn

I have had a boyfriend for about two months now but as of yesterday not and more all I did was ask him to spend some time with me and let’s go somewhere and do something he got up and has straight up went and got into his jeep and left and he has even block my phone calls I have got to say I am very hurt I didn’t see it coming at all

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Cathy

Jay – can this be a safe place where people come for support or do you have to get your back up and try to defend an entire gender? You know nothing about this woman or her life so if you don’t have anything nice to say – say nothing!

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Linda

Tina,
I totally understand. I spent 20 years in one long silent treatment. The longer you are with them the more like them you become because it is the only way to survive. Don’t pay attention to the negative comments from people who have no idea of your experience. If you feel you still have the spark of life in you, maybe consider leaving him and finding yourself, and maybe a bit of happiness. You don’t have to lose financial security either. 41 years is a long time. You could get a lawyer and look at your options.

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AJ w

In a 21 year old marriage with a sulker who goes silent for days. A few times it’s been weeks. A very lonely life. Zero sex or intimacy for years. I stay because my kids are grown, I’m 66 and have health problems. I’m retired and he has 5 more years til he retires. He works hard at work but isolates himself from 6pm until 9pm when he goes to sleep. He is self serving and self absorbed. Totally uninterested in me. But, I can go wherever I want, whenever. I often go to our vacation home to get away from him. I dread when he retires.

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Sue

@Jay – I guess that I’m the woman with the gold and my efforts to get his attention for long failed because I didn’t flash the gold. With that remark of yours (above), I can say that you’re a misogynist.

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Kyla

Tina, you say you’re only staying with him for his life insurance? But suppose he outlives you? There’s no guarantee you’ll outlive him. And suppose you only outlive him by 1 year? You really need to do what you can to leave. Your kids are grown now. Start planning your escape.

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Jo

I had this boy best friend before. We only had 6 months of being a bestfriend. We had an argument or a conflict, I think, that I don’t even know what’s my exact fault back then. One thing is for sure, he express his feelings through text that if he courted me, would I say, Yes to him? Though I really like him but I really wanted to be like the way we are at that time. I feel so confident that our relationship as bff lasts long because we’re happy, I think so or maybe I’m the one thinking it only. I’m contented on our relationship at that time that’s why I composed another answer to addressed his questions. It was 1 week after my debut and almost New Year of 2011 at that time, he was admitted to hospital because of dehydration. He texted me that he wanted to die and don’t want to feel the pain anymore. I replied that he should not say those words because there are still people who needs him and loves him including myself. It was already 10 years but his reply still fresh on me up to this moment. I admit I’m too insensitive to him that I can’t understand his feelings or behavior towards me. His reply leaves me standing paralyzed that says, please give your love to others because you never loved me..Never! I loved him more than anyone, maybe not in the way he thinks but I do loved him in my own way. That was the start of the silent treatment. I think I deserve that, but it’s already 10 years of silent treatment. Do I still deserved that? I even contacted him via mobile phone, friend requests on FB but I think I was ignored. He never replied. I still have this feeling incomplete of mine until now. What should I do?

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Jacob

JO…. seriously I’m a man and I’m telling you he’s a manipulator. Don’t fall in to the feeling guilty trap! He’s not a good person using emotional blackmail to get you to behave like that after 11 years! That’s not a friend, that’s some sort of narcissistic behaviour.

Move on in life and stop punishing yourself for his weak, self centred righteous attitude.

Do not feel sorry for people like that! Simple

Jacob

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Kathy

My fiancée is currently giving me the silent treatment. This argument started because he had excluded me when his family came down for an overnight visit and I was upset. He then was, in my opinion, rude to me. He has since gone away and has been silent overnight. This is not the first time. How do I handle it?

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Cathy

Sorry Kathy. I’m getting the silent treatment right now. I suggested that my husband park his truck down the block so the plow would be able to clear the front of our house. He didn’t want to bother cleaning off his truck. So I said, oh then maybe just back it up 20 feet and you won’t even have to clean it off. Well he flipped out. Oh I know everything, I don’t listen to him, I’m like talking to a brick wall. So he went and moved it and now hasn’t talked to me in three days. The quarrel was my fault I guess. His father used to do the same thing. And he’d acknowledge how it was unfair to his mother and childish of his father. Yet he can do it to me? 🙁 IDK I think I’ll suggest marriage counseling.

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Mina

OMG!! How old ARE these men? They sound so immature!! REALLY. ARE THEY CRAZY? How is this making a marriage work? DO THEY WANT TO BE MARRIED is my question. Most men are so cowardly.. they won’t even tell you WHAT THE HELL IS REALLY!!! WRONG.. CAUSE IT’S NOT THE TRUCK, THE SNOW, PANCAKES.. trust me.. it’s usually something else. When I finally realized it’s wasn’t the petty little things.. It’s bigger HE RESENTED THE FACT THAT I MADE MORE MONEY THEN HE DID!!!. This happened to me twice!! 1 was a coward.. the other I saw the signs AGAIN! Really pathetic. I had no problem.. but they castrate themselves… EGO.. man’s greatest enemy!! Would you blame me for gold digging! I’m way past that .. TREAT ME GOOD, BE HONEST, KIND TO EVERYONE, DON’T CHEAT just leave. I love myself enough to be WITHOUT you. Guys told me all guys cheat eventually..11 friends. all cheated but 1 guy. After 2 yrs .. you should KNOW FOR SURE if he’s the ONE. YOU HAVE TO KNOW BY THEN!..or you decided to tolerate and accept being SHUNNED .. and that is a form of abuse. NO THANK YOUI need m never fully trusted him BUT HE NEVER CHEATED ON ME .. SHOCKING CAUSE HE WAS GORGEOUS!! but he never thought so. CHEEKS M GEORGIA MGEIFK IT Sbad treatment and friends 35 to 60.. said EVERY MAN CHEATS..BEEN THRU KNOW

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Jackie

I am getting the silent treatment because I pulled my husband up for saying you people referring to our kids when he was doing my daughters biology with her. He also said it has got nothing to do with you. he didn’t like it so I am getting the silent treatment.

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Shinead

Leave him. Don’t marry him.
You deserve someone better.
Even if you did marry him he would drain away your happiness, you will continuously be thinking what makes him happy so he doesn’t give you the silent treatment.
By doing this you will neglect your own happiness.
Surely relationships are a two way street, not a one way street, there should be give and take on both sides. Not just giving by one partner and continuously taking by the other.
My opinion.

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Sue

1) Does he exclude you from meeting his friends and families? and if he doesn’t exclude you, you’re only around a brief moment with them before he whisks you off?
2) Does he make a lot of independent choices on you where you find out later, after he’s done it?
3) Does he go hot and cold with you?
4) Does he do the “it’s my way or the highway”?
5) Is he unable to handle conflicts? And goes off, only to come back and pretend like nothing happened?
6) Is he unable to talk about emotions/feelings?

If your answer is “yes”, don’t marry him. He needs therapy before you marry him.

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Jobie

If you can handle it ….stay. But it is probably a pattern. It is harmful to you, him and your relationship. Tell him that and see if he accepts it. If not, it may be time to break the engagement. He’ll probably continue and the episodes may last longer – speaking from experience.

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S

Run, Kathy, run! It will never get better. That is a RED FLAG! It will only worsen.
Do it for the sake of your future kids and your health – nothing good can come from living with an adult who cannot handle life as an adult. He will wear you down and make you sad. You will be walking on eggshells all the time – would you want your own daughter to be with someone who treats her that way? So how should it be any different for you. Just no – from my own experience.

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Robin W.

Leave. The last thing you want is to be married to this person. You’ve read enough stories to know what’s in store for you if you marry him.

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Samantha S

Kathy, this is a WARNING sign!!!
My sister married something very similar. Not only did the disrespect, name calling and such get worse, but he started reading her texts, watching her on the Find me app, going through her social media and made sure he was all glitz up while sis and the kids were rags and a car that barely worked. 15 yrs later she still fights the same narcissistic fights – more like him screaming angrily at her in front of kids, turning whatever the fight was about against her in their eyes and for the sake of the kids she “takes” it.
NO WOMAN, NOR MAN, & NOR CHILD SHOULD BE TREATED SO INHUMANE. You need to watch the dynamics between his parents for that was the first model of how relationships work he learned from. He could break the mold, but whatever concerning behavior he exhibits now will just grow if not addressed and weeded out. Best of Luck!!! Remember, you are worthy of the very best; don’t settle for anything less.

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Desire

My long distance boyfriend is ignoring me for two days now and am really confuse because we don’t have any issues and we were pretty cool the last time we talked on phone ..so should i chat him up to know whats going on with him?because when ever he ignores me …I always try to start a conversation with him
buh right now ..am really confused

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S

You deserve someone who cares enough to reach out to you and be excited to check in on you. Think about it, would you keep someone you care about wondering? I hope you decided not to chase after him and let him go find someone like himself.

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Tils

Gosh. I have read so many things online recently about the silent treatment and I still cant decided whether my fiance is justified in doing it to me or not.
He has done it before when I have caught him out hiding stuff from me – like planning to have his kids extra long because his ex asked him and not even discussing with me first or finding letters in his bag for unpaid debt addressed to his ex that he then tried to lie to me about. This time though I did something. I looked at his Google search history. Found something on there that once again he’d lied to me about partaking in so I questioned him. Admitted id looked at his Google search history, apologised and explained I knew it was wrong of me but I was curious and for good reason it seems! Anyway he then gave me the silent treatment through the day in the house but acted fine on a night through text while he was working. This lasted 2 days. Last night he messaged asking about our honeymoon and where I wanted to go and to have a look etc. And today has been completely fine! I am massively confused! How can he ignore me in person yet act fine on message and then just be completely normal?! Nothing is resolved. I’ve still found something out about him that he has hidden from me. Seems to think everything should be private but I’m sorry, some stuff when you’re about to marry someone can be done in private but shouldn’t be a secret. And finances especially need transparency but I have no clue even how much he earns a month! Or how much debt he has – or who’s debt he’s paying for that matter. He’ll say he doesn’t know my business either but he does because he knows he needs to give me money as my pay only covers the mortgage. Anyway. My questions are – is he justified with this behaviour as I technically did something that clearly upset him (even though what I found upset me)? And also how do I now go about bringing it up again? He’s acting normal and we always have the kids around. It’s impossible to get time to have a proper conversation to sort anything from other unresolved issues which I believe he thinks I’ve forgotten about??

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Sara

My husband, soon to be ex, behaved in the exact same way, with me being given the silent treatment on a regular basis. Always after him hiding things from me, or lying about what he was doing. I put up with it for fourteen years, until I became so mentally exhausted by his behaviour, as above, and more, that I filed for divorce. My advice would be to end the relationship, because this type of abuse, controlling and financial, will lead onto other forms of mental manipulation, which will continue indefinitely. Such is the nature of someone with narcissistic personality. The silent treatment is one of their most used punishments, when they are caught out, or you question their behaviour.

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Robin W

Why would you possibly think that ANYTHING could justify someone treating you this way????

Most of the behavior I’ve read about reminds me, remarkably, like Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A previous counselor told me that people with NPD rarely are able to be treated and must seek treatment (usually they don’t because they really don’t believe anything is wrong with them) from a highly trained counselor specifically trained in NPD. She said that NPD is so difficult to treat that people do one of 2 things when confronted by their disorder: retreat into massive depression or they commit suicide.

The family counselor I sought out to help me with my relationship with my daughter told me that just with the things I told him about my ex, he was sure he had NPD.

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‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #parentingtips
We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
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#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

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