Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

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.

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My daughter uses the silent treatment on me regularly. It’s just awful, especially now that I have a granddaughter from her. I’ve gotten really attached to her (she’s 2 yrs old), I’ve been babysitting for her for free for about 9 mos., now my little grandbaby is sick, and my daughter stops talking to me for some reason I’m not even sure of. I am so depressed I can hardly stand it. How can she do this to me? I would never do this to her, never did this to MY mother, don’t understand why people do this! Pls reply, I’m really at a loss and don’t want to live without my grandbaby.

Karen Young

I wish I knew something I could say to make it right. I will never understand why people use the silent treatment, particularly against people who care about them. The problem with the silent treatment is that in shutting down communication, it shuts down the potential to make things right. If you can, ask your daughter whether there is something you have done to upset her, and what she needs from you to allow you access to your granddaughter. I’m sorry this is happening to you.


im sorry and i may know the feeling, i am a daughter that give such treatment to my mom,,, i dont know your case but i stop talking to her because she makes me sad by her words and i just do keep silent so she also did the same.. ask to your daughter and look at yourself maybe you did or said something wrong to her or her baby

Bea J.

My husband does the same thing. I’ve asked him about why he does it. I’ve expressed the pain it causes. However, he denies it even exists.

He is also able to go days or weeks without “connection”, makes for a lonely marriage.

Is there therapy or strategy management that can be used to decrease the pattern?

Karen Young

Couples counselling might be a way for you and your husband to explore the effect the silent treatment is having on you and your relationship. Otherwise, it’s letting him know exactly the specific behaviors he is doing that is hurting you, and the effect is has on you, and hoping that he is able to understand the damage he is doing and find another way to get his needs in the relationship met. Ask him what he needs from you or the relationship that he might not be getting.


Be prepared for him to go against couples counseling. My first husband was a controlling, abusive, manipulative and cold hearted man. Although we were best friends and conquered every obstacle, we were unable to save our marriage because he wouldn’t go back to counseling when the counselor wanted to address some of his issues. Throughout the marriage when I found out that he was abusive to my son, my mother and best friend pointed out that I was like a porcelain doll of his that he had brain washed. I thought he was the best guy in the world. He wanted me basically to himself, wasn’t family oriented- he was adopted and hated them all but I am all about family. We moved to WA and 2 years later got a divorce. It was a horrible time for me, suicide attempts, kids manipulated so they didn’t want to be around me and testified against me in court. I was all alone- no friends or family near me. A family broken apart because of selfishness and we were married 15 years.
My second husband had an affair and we separated. I decided to give it another chance and we agreed to counseling. The same scenario- he wouldn’t go back when the counselor started addressing his issues. He was so upset that the counselor was BLAMING HIM.
MY story is that during both of my marriages, I started doing the silent treatment because it got to the point of arguing everyday and never being heard. I did the silent treatment for my own sanity.
Open communication is key and both parties have to be willing to allow for open communication even if it does hurt because that’s the only way it will get resolved.
Moral of the story- 12 years later and I still don’t talk with my first husband and I’m still so angry at him for what he did to me. But I’m suffering because of not having any resolution. I’m carrying my past every day with me and it effects everyone and everything around me.
Silent treatment is not good.


Hug him for 4 minutes will change him to better. This silent treatment problem is might due to lack of intimate physical contact.


I am going through the same thing with my 2yr old
grandson , his mom won’t let me see him and she is not speaking to me. I spoke to my Dr about it and he said it is emotional abuse and being over 60 I have grounds because I am protected by the Elderly Abuse Laws of my State.I am considering filing charges against her in order to stop the abuse begavior



My significant other and I had a disagreement over a month ago that ended very badly. After not speaking for a month to let things settle, I contacted him. We share an apartment and I contacted him to discuss what our options were with the lease since he moved out. The discussion turned to pretty much that our disagreement was my fault because I did not have enough faith in him, causing him great grief and mistrust. I apologized and explained my experience in sharing intimate space and where I was lacking. At this time, he admitted that he forgave me and didn’t want to necessarily want to end the relationship, but said it would take him a while to get over what happened. I agreed that we could work on things, but should take it slowly. I have tried to be accommodating in this process, but he is still very distraught over what happened. He repeats that it’s my fault our relationship is like this and that he can’t trust me until I prove I can be trusted. He will sometimes give me the silent treatment or tell me that he doesn’t feel I am anything different than what he experienced when we argued that day. I’ve told him repeatedly that is not who I am and I have no intention of entering that negative space again. While I will always take responsibility for my actions, it is very hard to accept how negatively he see me right now. Is this a normal reaction? Should I allow him to heal however he feels is necessary or will this have no benefit to our relationship in the long run?

Karen Young

It sounds as though both of you feel as though there is something important you need that you aren’t getting. Sonetimes the best way to be heard is to first of all, listen.


It sounds like your partner hasn’t owned up to his role in the argument. It takes 2 to tango, and you couldnt have had an argument alone. Why is the blame solely on you? And why does he keep harping at it?
If he really can’t get over it or forgive you, why did you two get back together.
While I understand (a bit) that he needs to feel his feelings, it just doesn’t sound like he’s owning up to his part of the fight. After all, there was something he did for you to react the way you did.

In all honesty, my ex fiance did the same thing to me. He cheated on me, so i cheated back . He found out – and all of a sudden, it was my fault he cheated and i was a horrible person for cheating on him. Needless to say he had cheated on me numerous time, and i just kissed some other guy.
This single thing lead to years and years of emotional abuse at his hands. He wore me down, broke my confidence – all becasue of the cheating and him not owning up to his part in the cheating behaviour. Every fight was my fault, I was the one with a problem, I was the one who needed to change and earn his trust. I was the one who couldn’t be trusted.
And believe me when i say, if he doesn’t trust you, he’ll make your life miserable, beacuse you’re constantly justifying everything you do. This is NOT healthy any relationship.
My advise to you is make a clean break – count your losses. I doubt he will get over anything and when trust is broken/lost, it’s hard to start over.
Just my 2c


so he cheated, and that means “had sex multiple times”? (right?) and you got mad and kissed one guy…that is not a comparable retaliation. It is like the equivalent of you giving your cheater a little slap, minus the “physical violence”. It is not even mean, it’s mean-lite!
The first red flag was definitely in full bloom when he cheated. His never ending, ever worsening response to your mini-slap, from the moment it began FOR DOGS SAKE A MIGHTY MAN WOULD NOT REACT LIKE THAT. A MIGHTY MAN WOULDNT EVEN CHEAT BUT IF HE DID HE WOULD SAY “Thank you. I deserved that.” to your kissing one guy. That’s what non-cheaters are capable of when cheated on and feeling humiliated! It’s, like, PROOF you aren’t a cheater.

But you know, we gotta admit, your whatshisface (a word I define as “jerk ex”. ) would have found something else to start that frippin rage rollercoaster he needed to be SO BADLY.

My mom says “You’re never angry about what you think you’re angry about” and I agree and add that there are chronically unhappy and angry humans of all kinds who spend their lives shedding endless anger on anything remotely plausibly upsetting. Especially things normal humans do and say. To them, you can never be right. Sometimes people have empathy-related personality disorders that wreak havoc on relationships. That’s what I expected to find when I searched “silent treatment” because people with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) and other empathy-lacking peronality disorders like borderline and psychopathic… also sociopaths, well, they see people express sympathy as irritating weakness. Which fills them with anger, which leads them to be, to be blunt, psychological terrorists in relationships. You should google NPD and angry boyfriend rage and learn some of the characteristics of psychological disorders that negatively affect relationships- learn with relief that none of that was your friggin fault! NONE OF IT. YOU DESERVE NOTHING BUT PURE LOVE HERE ON OUT.

He is not at all unique. He is not confusing or one in a million…he is one OF a million who all do the same things and say the same crap and hold you in a house of horrors. It is a non-fixable defect: he is a broken person and you survived a length and level of horror worse than death and somehow can still live and breathe. You deserved none of that EXTREME EMOTIONAL ABUSE, yes! it WAS!, that was not at all your fault. You were in a prison in a prison in a prison. Not one speck of blame goes to you-even if you ever let yourself blow up. You were in survival mode. Wow. You are a warrior now. And a victim of a horrible, toxic person’s pathetic typecast rage. Don’t even worry about trying to get over it, and don’t feel bad if you still care! Has it been a thousand years? If you are at this point able to stand up that is massive success. If you feel slight glimmers of being kind of okay every once in a while, that is moving mountains. If no glimmers yet, I hope for you to have one someday and think of this. Remember
You didn’t know. you were lied to. it’s not your fault.


I had hard times many silent treatments since 18 years in my marriages. He will angry for very simple things. I stil dont know how to manage this. And now he do it also to my children. We are so confused about how to react to make him “happy” and begin to talk to us. It happened for simple things. For the kids usually he angry about their score at school. He has high expectation for them. He has anger problem and will yell for minutes or hour and continue it with silent treatment. Outside home he act different. Many people like him and adore him. He is a good doctor and very kind person. He also give to the poor people. No one will believe who is he for the real. I really need suggestion for this. I live in a country that has very close relationship with family. He also Christian religious person in reading bible.


Get out of the relationship. You deserve better. He is living a lie and using you and the children to cover it up. The truth is he takes out on you everything he is not. He’s insecure about life and needs help. It is a form of emotional abuse, manipulation and control. Confide in someone about what’s going on and then tell him how his actions have made you feel all these years and at this point, you have had it. Tell him to get help and change or you’ll get a lawyer and get a divorce. YOU don’t deserve to be treated like that, NO ONE DOES!


My wife also has been giving me the silent treatment for the last 13 years of our 18 years of marriage. If she does not get her way,, or takes things the wrong way I get the silent Treatment. Its always my fault, nothing is every good enough, will not talk ,but will put me down through texting telling me I ‘m not a good husband that she deserves better.


If you’re Christian, my advice is for you to 1) pray about it – take it the Lord is prayer
2) speak to your pastor or elders or someone who he admires and trusts about it. maybe he doesn’t realize how he is
3) speak to him in love about it. Maybe he is unaware of what he’s doing?

Sounds like he is suffering from some internal issues. Anyone who acts like this in public and at home is someone totally different is a sign of depression or bipolar… He needs help. But my advice is to PRAY about it first.


Amanda did you read the letter you replied to? This is a man telling how his wife gives HIM the silent treatment. This is the way it usually happens, as this is a favorite tactic of women.

You need to change every pronoun in your response. SHE is the one who needs help.


He is showing signs of pathological behavior. It is not like other mental illnesses like depression, it is a defect he has, he created a malformed personality. Usually someone who had childhood trauma and grows up creating coping mechanisms that are flawed ends up a person who is badly emotionally deformed. He is toxic, abusive, and never will get better. If you can’t leave, most people stuck in that kind of nightmare end up quiet and as close to invisible as they can. It is not a life. If there is any way that you can escape, ever a chance to get somewhere better, grab the kids and run for your life and don’t look back. You have to be meek or escape. That is how little control you and kids have with this abusive and nauseous person. You may as well pray so to hold on to something. Even if you don’t believe, do it to calm yourself down and escape in your mind. I’m so sorry you haven’t a better life. Try to find the easiest way for you and kids to live in this one.


If someone could me (a very caring man) why the woman that I care a lot, someone that I am courting, suddenly gave me the silent treatment. My last plead (via email) was please to let me know what I have done wrong. Although I respect her being silent, I asked her for a face-to-face conversation, but so far the painful silence I got. I have stopped communicating with her, being afraid that I might make the situation worse.

I don’t know if she is confused with the opportunity we can be together or other “negative” host of reasons, such as emotionally manipulating me. I definitely don’t know how to read mind. :-(We have known each other for a long time, and Cupid’s arrow recently hit my heart.

I care for her deeply.


I had a similar situation years ago. I was speaking to a wonderful gentleman online and telephonically. He sounded absolutely wonderful. But my problem was – he was too long-winded. Our phone calls would like 3 hours, and mostly it was just him rambling on and on about what books and poetry he’d read. I get it – he was a hopeless romantic and i always thought i was too. But he was romantic to the point of being obsessed with love, not wanting to be in love (like Orsino’s character in Twelth Night).
Anyway, I ignored him thinking he’d get the hint and leave me alone. He only got the hint 4 years later…. In retrospect i wish i had just told him i wasn’t interested. But that for me seemed too harsh, more so than ignoring.
Maybe your damsel just isn’t that into you?
Sometimes, some stories don’t have a happy ending…. Good luck


Thanks for the reply. My case is a bit different. We have known each other for years, and she had shown signs and emotions toward me. I had kept myself at hand until Cupid’s arrow hit me recently. Now that my heart is open; she became silent.

Things happen in life for reason; time will tell.


Wow, this has been a real eye-opener. I just finished giving a close friend the silent treatment for about two weeks because I was pissed off at her that she couldn’t find the time to respond to my messages. I knew I was being a jerk about it but I didn’t care, I didn’t think the silent treatment was that bad. I wasn’t even going to apologize because I didn’t regret what I’d done…but now I definitely will. This is not the person I want to be.


I did the same thing to 2 former friends – but with good reason. We were close, but had drifted apart. Our morals were also clashing, so to save myself (or moral fiber) i decided to cut ties. The fact that neither looked for me (as i was always the one looking for them) made me realize my actions are justified. Both girls were low-key envious of me and my life – and would always say things about my accompliments that made me feel bad. And i’m sorry, but a friend is never supposed to make you feel bad about yourself. Especially if everything i have i worked for, very hard. And both of them were sleeping around and having men buy them stuff. One even got a new car from her sugar daddy.
This was not the type of people i wanted to call friends. So i cut ties and have never spoken to either girl since December 2016.
I think of them a lot – because the one girl i’ve known since we were 5 yrs old (we’re now 30).
So a huge chunk of my life. I sometimes wonder if i should reach out and tell them why i cut them out….but figured it would be insulting to tell them i disagree with their morals and they way they live their lives. Oh well!


That’s very open-minded of you and I appreciate that you realize now how damaging the silent treatment is


Recently my boyfriend and I had an argument. He believed something was upsetting me, he insisted he could tell something was wrong and persisted to inquire as to what was wrong. Nothing was wrong with me, I was happy, so I told him this and promised.
However he got angry and said that I don’t trust him enough to tell him what was really wrong. I realised I had some stuff at home going on and maybe the stress from that was showing so I just said there was things at home, but I was okay and happy. Which was true.
He then ignored me. He refused to look at me or talk to me until I asked if he wanted me to go, to which he just shrugged so I left. We haven’t spoken since it was two days ago.
I do not understand what I did wrong. This is not the first time he has just completely ignored me and shut himself off and I am unsure how to proceed.


I was in a relationship off and on for four years, but the only reason that it was like that was because the guy was always breaking up with me and it was always over something that I wasn’t doing good enough in my life. Break ups were always based around me pretty much, everyone that I met who either knew him or were family gave me silent treatments any time I voiced myself that I was feeling hurt or didn’t understand the reason. For some reason they always tried to make me doubt myself, make me feel like I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t anything worthy really. But yet I would do all these things to try to get validation, acceptance, praise from them..but no matter what I did I would get told what I wasn’t doing right or how it wasn’t good enough. Which I would always cry because it was so hurtful. But yet others that they were friends with were treated differently. It was like I was the target to be abused emotionally and mentally. Sad thing is I was and still am in love with this guy. Even though I don’t understand why he and his family and friends treat me in such a way. If you say you love someone why would you treat and allow others to treat them like that?. My parents started to not like him cause of what was happening and I talked to them alot and got into arguments because as bad as things were I wanted to stay with him. Well even after all I did before he broke things off with me, the only thing he could say was for me to get my parents approval and then he would think about dating me. He never tried to do any of the trying to get approval himself. I had to do all the work. Idk id give him chances but mine were never given if I asked. Ive never had a voice with him, even to this day he speaks for me when he doesn’t know much at all about how I feel.


Hi it seems to me you are undergoing emotional abuse from a man who you dearly love. He and his family and friends make you feel small. I understand because I have felt that way before in my relationship. I thought I loved him so much I would give him chances and would never leave him no matter what. However, I’ve come to realize that nobody can make me feel small unless I’ve allowed them to. I would look in the mirror and tell myself it’s time to stop crying, and actually start loving the person in front of you. You can’t have the capacity to love someone, if you don’t even love yourself. And everyone around you can sense this, including your significant other. That’s why he won’t feel the need to love you. I know it’s hard to belive you are worthy of anything after all the mistreatments and the hurts you’ve gone through, but trust me, you are worthy of love, and you don’t need anyone to validate that for you. At one point in my life, during my darkest days, when I couldn’t turn to anyone, parents or friends, for help, I decided to love myself. Literally hug myself and give myself love despite feeling weak and flawed. Start doing things that make you happy and smile, it only takes one person to change, to change the entire world, and that person is you. If in the end you decide to stay with him or not, know that you have the capacity to be happy. Good luck


Me and my husband have been married for 14 years now with 2 kids. We live in a joint family with his parents as well. Whenever I disagree with him or complain about his mother or him not sharing any household responsibilities (since I am a working woman), he starts giving me silent treatment. This has been going on for few years now and every time this silent treatment lasts for a month to few months.. no amount of begging or even trying to initiate a conversation hasn’t helped. For the past few months he has again shut me off and doesn’t want to discuss the reasons for his behavior. No amount of family intervention has also helped. After repeated requests he just said that he is tired of my complaints or added pressure on him to share household responsibilities. And also says he’s done with this.
It just shattered me and tore me apart! Counseling for myself did help me to handle the situation.. however he is not ready to come for counseling. how do I make him unload his emotional baggage and try to restart our marri d life again? I am waiting to hear from him for the past 7 months!! I love him so much to the end of earth! I want to help him understand that I have started mending my ways and as well as changing myself to the better.
Should I end the marriage or just leave him and go away? I also quit my job and an excellent career to correct my married life!!Thinking of kids future I dread leaving him..

Please advice


MY god! He’s ignored you for 7 months??!!! This creep
Is a selfish narcissistic controller who sulks silently to
Get his way. Pack your bags and leave right away! He’s as stubborn as a mule! You deserve so much better.
Awww poor him and his previous little feelings. Not willing to compromise or discuss.
Free yourself and your kids from this never ending nightmare and move on. Good luck x


Mostly people here looking for the answer why someone stop talking to you.

Maybe i can say that myself is a queen of silent treatment. Whenever people said something hurt me or make me feeling low or insecure i will directly stop talking to them

Its not that i want to stop talking or i want to hurt her, but i want they know that it hurts me deeply and i dont want they do it more

Its a kind of jerk reaction i know but its my way to protect myself and my feeling from getting more pain. I think if i just keep silent, they will also will do the same. It is the way i want they stop to do.

Maybe you asking why someone stop talking to you, look at yourself and look at what you have done. Maybe you said something wrong or you do something simple that simply hurt her or him.

Nowadays, i even stop talking to my mom because she always think that im useless and always said bad about me even i always try to be good or doing my best.

I keep myself crying at night, i go to doctor alone, i pretend that im happy everyday, i smile like other people but who knows that i am terribly hurt inside.

who will be happy if your own mom even hates you and at that time you wish you never born.

You work day and night even you just to earn a couple of money and you dream to buy her most favorite things or just to buy some food for dad your little brother, it doesnt even worth for her.

I dont do something wrong, i just keep silent and i know i cant control it. So can someone tell me, is it wrong to keep silent rather than saying something that can hurt other people? I guess no

I know its a sin but i am ready to go hell, i know that a mom is god for everyone, but i dont have one. It makes me feel that im a devil that heaven will directly send me to hell when im die.

you are not the reason of someone else sadness or unhappy life.


About one of the single sorriest things you can do to someone who honestly loves and cares for you is give them the silent treatment when you don’t get your way. You can blame it on pms how they supposedly wronged you. But in the end your mentally ill and you need help. I strongly advise you seek it before you ruin anymore lives


This was a favorite tactic of my ex-wife. I finally decided the only way to handle it was to just ignore her too. After a while, it became irritating when she’d talk to me; I much prefer the silent treatment. The day she announced she wanted a divorce was like my birthday. I told her to make it quick, and don’t let the door hit her on her way out. I’ve never been happier with her gone.


My inlaws are giving me silent treatment, i do think i have made some minor mistakes like may be not visiting them every week or not calling regularly…but thats how i am..i do not call people very often that does not mean i dont care or i dont love the person.
Now their silent treatment is killing me coz it has crossed the limits..i am ok to go and talk and may be apologies too if they have felt bad for some thing, but my question is it ok to treat some one for being what they are (not calling regularly or meeting every week)….am i wrong here ?? does my normal behavior really deserve this kind of treatment…and what if i apologies and talk and still the things dont change..it would kill me even more..
What should i do ?…talk and try to explain myself or should just involve my self into something and try to get out of it..


I am really sad with my marriage right now. Me and my husband are facing relationship issues mainly because we have different personalities. He used to be chilled and never ever upset, even if he was at least he wont show . At the moment, he kind of gets into arguments and is showing verbally aggressive behaviours by blaming everything on me. I admit that I cant take emotional stress very well so I just “Silence Treatment”. I feel like I mean nothing to him and he just does it because I am an easy target as I have no family in this country to go to. We have a 2 year old son, I am just fed up now, but I cant let my child to got through without having his dad so I am stuck. He is a great dad, and a great guy. He is a perfect son, brother and friend. Everyone thinks he is calm, and he actually used to be that way. But I guess its only me who he is quite unhappy so he is behaving like this. In the past, he would own up to his fault and would say sorry after couple of days. But I mean, whats the point. I would appreciate him to own up and act quick when I am hurt not when I have accepted that he doesn’t care. He still does the same. I just be quiet and get busy with my life, he would talk to me like nothing has happened. I just don’t know how to react, because I don’t think it’s normal to not solve the issue and move on like nothing has ever happened. He doesn’t like confrontation. I may be at fault at times by just ignoring him, but what do I do. I feel like my head is bursting out of pain and stress. I just want to leave and go somewhere where I can just forget everything. I even tried to talk to him but he takes it lightly and doesn’t acknowledge the pain and consequences.I think now that I am suffering from depression.


My husband gives me the silent treatment when I disagree with what he wants me to do. I am going on over 24 hours of him refusing to be in the same room with me. My daughter hurt her foot and her doctor and trainer recommended an xray. My husband wanted to wait a few days and see if it improves before we xray. I went against his wishes and took her for an xray because my daughter is 16 and wants to know if it is fractured. The treatment is different for a fracture vs a sprain so to us there was no point in waiting it out since it clearly was a significant injury. All of this came after a couple of very stressful days for me and I was probably short and irate with him a few times. I work full time and manage the household mainly on my own and he senses the frustration……but gives me the silent treatment instead of recognizing my stress and helping me. Asking for help usually results in an evasive response……but he might do it much later on his own time. It is not that easy to walk away from a situation like this, but i do realize it is abusive. I don’t want my family to split, but I really don’t know what to do any more. Any input?


I will admit, I am the one giving my boyfriend the silent treatment. I will start out by saying I love my guy, we are in a very happy and loving relationship. This just happens to be our biggest fight, and the longest. We’ve been having the same argument over and over, and it’s about the way he treats his dog. He puts a lot of the responsibility of taking care of the dog on me, when I was against getting a dog to begin with. He doesn’t see my point, and is very stubborn (a quality we may share…). So I feel as though the only way to get through to him is to make him feel like I’m serious about this issue. and by that, I use extremes like giving him the cold shoulder. I feel like this is so immature, and petty and all the things that it probably is. but I honestly don’t know how else to get him to listen to me.
The other issue is now I don’t know how to come back from the silent treatment. I miss him, I miss his warmth. I miss telling him about my day and this has only been going on for a day or two.We’ve both said what we need to say on the issue, I’ve made my point. I’m still upset. but I don’t know how to get back.


i tend to do the silent treatment on my dad. but i dont do it to manipulate or ‘abuse’ him. i tend to do it whenever he has annoyed me (he tends to get too ‘familiar’ or too much when we are on good terms) or after an argument. i tend to do this for 1-3 days depending on the ‘severity’ of the argument. but somehow within that period he’ll get me to do something like clean his car, do the gardening,etc.. and i always tend to sulk or not do it or just stand there sullen. this leads to a huge explosion of rage from him, which further leads me to retreat into my ‘hole’. my mum will always come on the scene and start shouting at me too. she never tries to understand my side – automatically she sides with him. i guess normal for a couple but makes me feel utter dislike towards them both, even if it was only towards him before.


Hi there, I am in a situation that ‘gives’ the silent treatment. It is not between a couple but rather colleagues or friends at work. I am supervising one staff at work and one day, he went directly to the Director’s office requesting for transfer without my knowledge. I was very upset as we were sitting next to each other whole day and he didn’t even tell me about his plans. I was very furious when I learned about it and told him that he made me look like stupid and not letting me find his replacement before he transferred. He apologize but I could not accept it. I was really hurt as I did not expect it. As of now, I just chose to ignore him, not to speak to him and avoid any interactions with him. He’s been telling to our co-workers as well that he already apologize and it’s me who did not accept it. I could not see him as a friend anymore after this and the people around us is saying to forget it. But what about my pain? Is that it? I know everybody makes mistakes but he can choose if he wants to tell me or not. He chose not to tell me being his immediate superior.


I would like to hear any advice as they see me now as the villain. It’s not about his transfer but it is the matter of telling me at least before he goes to the Director’s office. Being his Immediate superior, I think I have the right to know about it. I feel that I look very bad in front of the eyes of my colleagues as I could not forgive her. If a person did something wrong to me, I find it hard to forgive and tend to harbor ill feelings towards other people.


All of this seems well and good but what if what you are facing is universal? When no one responds to emails, phone calls and the like. When it’s as if you are invisible, you don’t exist?

A. Seven

Thank you for this article. I use the silent treatment because I do not have any other option. My wife constantly accuses me of cheating when she knows I am not. I have never cheated on her, nor will I ever. This is her weapon. She has been accusing me of cheating on almost since the day I met her 16 years ago. She knows I am not a person who would cheat on her. A Dad who walked out on her when she was a child is the core of what’s wrong. I think her constant accusations are an attempt to control me, where I go, what I do, how I spend my time. I refuse to be controlled by her. I insisted that she apologize after her last screaming attack and accusations and she will not. She never has apologized for anything in 16 years. So, I have not spoken a word to her in about 6 weeks. This might be the place where I check out. I think marrying her was a mistake. I thought 2017 would be a better year and it has not been. If you read this, thanks for listening. Any insight you can offer is appreciated. Thanks!

Karen Young

It sounds like your wife needs something she isn’t getting. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to give her whatever that is, but if she is fighting with you over something that shouldn’t be fought about, it might be a need for connection, attention, control, influence – we can only speculate. We have to be emotionally responsible with other people, but not for them. We all have needs and those needs are always valid, but until you are both aware of what those need are, it is likely that your relationship continue to suffer because of the attempts to meet that need in ways that hurt the relationship. Counselling may help in this instance, but it’s for you to decide whether you are both willing or able to commit to this with an open heart.


A Seven,

If you look back to your past where silent treatment has been used before and you’ve seen and learned how it is done, you will begin to heal from your past by understanding it. If you look back to your Wife’s past or ask her about it – what is making her falsely accuse/blame, she will begin to heal from her past by understanding it. The answers to present problems and pain are by looking at past problems and pain that are manifesting and without learning from the past, we can’t heal our present or protect our futures. I sincerely hope you and your Wife can take a journey to truth and focus not on what’s ‘out there’ but what is happening ‘in here’ within you both. This is where you find your souls and while it seems a joke to egos, it is pure love and pure joy when you get there which endures forever. Knowing psychology is a stepping stone but knowing the soul is the cure.


My boyfriend does that very often. At first I was very upset by this and I was showing it, which fueled his narcissism even more. I was always the one who was trying to fix this situation and I have also discussed this very maturely in the past with him and explained how childish and damaging this behaviour is. However, he still does it over silly things such as when I asked him to get off the couch and go shopping for once as I was so stressed and busy with uni. As years go by I kind of got used to it. I ignore him as well and although it still is a bit irritating I don’t care that much anymore.We share a flat together and ignoring each other for weeks and sitting in different rooms is pathetic, to say the least. I start to really wonder whether this can go on any longer. No one deserves this treatment. People who do that are emotionally immature.


I have been in a relationship with my husband for eleven years now. At first it was amazing and all as MOST relationship’s are but now I am at a loss. It just seems to ALL be going down hill. He is a CNA nurse and I am a stay at home mom. We have a 13 year age gap he is 52 I am 39 in the past five years our sex life has become non-existent. And as for spending any time together it’s more like being roommates. He goes to work at 5:30 am and gets home by 3:30pm then it’s straight to his ps4 system with his headset on he hears nothing while I cook, clean, and take care of the pets and kids. At 10 pm he gets off, takes a quick shower, and goes straight to bed. If I ask for cuddling or intimacy he tells me he has to wake up early and rolls OVER. On his days off he makes certain to be up before me and on his system. If I ask for him to get off the system for 10-20 minutes to spend any kind of time with me whether it’s a work day or not he immediately starts with how he NEVER gets any time for himself! How I am ALWAYS nagging him how I always can do things like go shopping, or out with friends during the day, or to church on Sunday mornings ANYTIME I want but he only has work and home and his video games are his only stress relief. Then when I say I am only TRYING to get a little bit of time with him just a few minutes to talk or cuddle or something. He says he feels like I am putting a chain around his neck like a dog and storms out of the house then I get the silent treatment for like three days and suddenly he will bring me a makeup present or something apologize and it starts all OVER. The actual fact is I am disabled with epilepsy and so I rarely even leave the house because I have so many seizures so I really don’t go anywhere except maybe the grocery store and my one friend takes me to pay bills and shopping for necessities for the house at our neighborhood Walmart once a week. Other than that I am ALWAYS in the house. Our sex life is gone, we don’t talk or communicate anymore. It’s like being roommates instead of husband and wife. Has anyone else ever gone through this type of thing?


so he distance himself when i try to discuss issues of
disrespect towards me in the relationship and gives me the silent treatment, however after reading these comments i am at peace with myself that i have not done him any thing wrong, as far as i am concerned i have nothing to lose and would not beg or plead with him to communicate with me,,it is his problem to solve not mine .


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