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”]


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


I went through meeting a guy online who was a widower, he said he wants a sincere woman, he said I was what he wanted he said that he loved me, but when I use to text him everyday to say good morning he use ignore my message for hours, to say he had a busy schedule everyday was the same, and when I asked why his ignoring my messages but I saw him online on the matrimonial site we met on,his excuse was I’m not there for the reasons you think he was looking for someone for a friend,like I was so stupid to believe that. He then hid his last seen and online and would text randomly am I there, that’s when I came to the conclusion there was a third party involved that’s why he behaved that way, he says he loves me can’t do without me and knows what he wants with me, but ignores me, I told him many times his behaviour shows his not interested and he does not want me then he will be okay texting 1or2 days it’s back to the same, I have strong feelings that he has another woman and he probably used me to get her jealous and chase him and give him attention, while I was chasing him and being kind caring loving and taking this abuse from him which I call breadcrumbing. I finally decided that his narcissistic, I blocked him on WhatsApp this time I decided never to unblock him again I decided I deserve respect and be valued. He won’t do that and he will never change. I came to realise his a player.


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?

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.


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.


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


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!

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 .

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.


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 .

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….


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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


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!


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.

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.


@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.


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.


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?


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



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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


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 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 really confused


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.


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??


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.

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.


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?


My boyfriend traveled for about 10 weeks, we were doing very fine.

A week now he started ignoring my text, he doesn’t longer check on me.

I called him trying to find out the problem, if there is any, he told me there is nothing and yet still ignore my text.

After telling me there was no problem, he added that, he has a new girl and what position would I like to fix myself in.

What should I do?


I have a male friend, whom I consider a really close friend, I think I have began developing feelings for him. He is very kind and polite, I would get excited when he winked at me, or he asked how I am, or he shared his chocolate with me, but then at times I get the feeling that he isnt that into me. So I sent him a Good Morning message and asked how he was doing, he replied “Working with a winking emoji and typed You? I was offended, I didnt mean anything bad, I just said Good Morning and thought it courteous to ask how he is doing. I then decided that maybe its best if I stop messaging him or contacting him, as I am always the one who makes the effort and initiates conversations. And I told him that I will no longer message of call, he read the message and never responded. What do I make of this?


So my boyfriend recently celebrated his birthday. He arranged an apartment for him and his boys and spent two nights there. Now first he explained it as just a guys weekend but stated that a few girls might be there.Then he asked me
If I had something to wear and if I would really some to which I said yes! He then said fine, I’ll send you the address in the morning.

The day of his actual birthday ( which was a Saturday) I heard from him 3 times during the morning, to which he promised that he would call me later. However, by 12:30 he was completely ghost for the rest of the day. I messaged him in the evening asking for the apartment address ( if other girls are going then your girl should definitely be there too). He made me get my hair done as that’s what he wanted as well as my nails and he said that he would pay for it. The money never arrived. By this point I was LIVID ! Because I feel like a fool. He posted on social media multiple times, but he never responded to my message. He got a hair cut and he said that he would sent me a picture and a picture I did not receive.

He called me late the next evening after I had ignore his 3 morning messages, and I could hear loud music and then the phone was muted for a short period and then it sounded like he was in the bathroom. I played it cool and pretended like I was unbothered and he started to get irritated that I was so chilled. He even asked if I am angry. Why would he ask that ?!!! I simply said, why should I be angry ?

I just feel like I’m too mature for him and maybe I want too much and he just can’t give me what I want. I’ve kinda been giving him the silent treatment (not messaging back) but when he calls I’ve been the sweetest on the phone. He got mad and said we’ll talk when I’m back tomorrow. I said no it’s okay we don’t need to talk about anything. All is well.

Should I be upset about the weekend and what is his behaviour about ?

30 years of hurt

My wife has been doing this to me for 30 years, probably 6 to 8 time a year, every time we have an argument. It wasn’t until now that I found this and understood what was happening to me mentally and physically. The last episode ended me in a rage that has probably ended our marriage.

Kim m

Ive been close friends with a man at my work for years ! And I’ll admit work gossip has made us argue a few times . Leaving him disappointed in me doubting him but we’ve always got through it . Until recently I got jealous that he was getting close with a another co worker . I got mad at him , and now he has completely shut me out . Even after I texted and admitted I was jealous and I was sorry . Ten years of friendship and he is giving me the silent treatment. I feel worthless , like I mean nothing to him and it sucks


I too am having some of the same issues. I find it’s now me who is doing the ignoring .


Help I’m 66 was in a marriage for over 30years divorced 10years ago, he has since died, it was him who done the ignoring. I am now living with my partner and it is me now thats doing the ignoring. It hurts me so much to do this to him l love him so much. Help


Reading everyone’s comments have really helped me gain some new understanding. Thank you for sharing.

Charles S

I am in a long distance relationship. Notwithstanding the distance, it is a great relationship since 5 months. The only thing that really bothers me is seemingly small things set her off easily in conversations, and she the mood turns. She becomes quiet then I get the “silent treatment” for a couple of days, After its over, she always says sorry, didn’t mean anything by it, she just felt like pranking me, had her period, etc. But in the meantime thee are two problems: 1) I suffer from sadness and worry every time, and 2) if I am even a few minutes delayed in replying to her texts, or am on the phone and miss her text for 30 minutes, she reacts badly. I have asked her to tell me that she is okay during this times if she needs space for any reason, so at least I don’t have to worry about her welfare during these times of :radio silence” which she agreed to, but has not honored. I am tempted to do the same to her so she can feel the pain she inflicts on me once, but its not in my nature, and am told it would not be productive or conducive to a healthy relationship. What should I do? What is the way to respond? I have talked to her about it and that hasn’t worked/.


After we got engaged, I quit my job and came to US with him. He is from Ecuador, I am from China. He seems like happy and good with me. But one day he asked me in the morming,”Do you want to go to Ecuador with me?” I honestly said no. Then in the afternoom, I waited for him for 1 hour in the parking lot, till I realize that there is something wrong. He disappear. I was crazily looking for him. Then at midnight, I received a msg from him. He already went back to Ecuador. I was angry and upset. Then he started to complain about my personality, my temper and my fights with him. At the end he broke up with me. But the same time he still contacts me. After one month, he told me he doesn’t have any doubt anymore, he wants to marry me. But now when we have conflicts again, he became unstable again. He will be cold and warm, if I said sth that makes him unhappy, he shut off his phone. I do have my problems too, when I am angry I shout at him and throw stuff, when he hang off my phone calls I will keep calling and msg a lot. I don’t know how to solve this problem, I do love him, and he said he loves me too, but we don’t know if we should continue this relationship.


Hey..I have been in a long distance relationship for two years now… everything has been going on well with us but suddenly he has started ignoring me and even forgot my birthday yeah I am hurt but I don’t know what to do


my ex and i had a disagreement over a month because i was at my house celebrating my sons 25th birthday, things were going good until i told her the milk i bought for her to take it home when she goes home, she took that as me telling her to leave. i explained to her i a very calm way that that is not at all what i meant, things did get better that day but then later all she did was sit on the corner of the couch and ignored all of us, i tried to ask her what was wrong several times and i got ignored finally i stood up after 3 hrs and confronted her she got very upset and left, now she is giving me the silent treatment i have apoligized for my mistake and didnt mean to embarrass her and i have reached out every few days asking how she is and if we can discuss her feelings about what happened but no response since the breakup. what more can i do?


I work with a colleague who takes the silent treatment to extremes if either I’ve had to take a
Couple of days off work sick and she’s had to work with a colleague I usually work with. Then when I come back I know for definite that it will be several months of solid silent treatment, with piercing stares, sulks, running out of a room once I approach or barging me out of the way when ever she came across me in a corridor.
Whenever she spoke to me it was to tell me off. She always ensured I was alone in the room with her, no other colleagues about. Then she would shout at me.
Then the next time I saw her she could be holding a door open for me, the time after that shut the door in my face.
So a Dr Jyckell and Mr Hyde personality.
This lasted for a year and a half. I’m unsure whether it’s completely resolved.
I’ve been treated unfairly at work as the manager accuses me of being difficult. I’ve been told by the manager it’s best for everyone if I left because I’m ruining the morale of the team. I’m currently looking for another job.
I’m hoping that there will be a day when this lady gets caught by her nasty ways and it won’t be my problem to sort out. It will be their problem.


In the beginning beginning i said (NO)

We live together 10yrs marry for 4 .

step son lives with gramar and grandpa kid 18yrs

Brings It to stay with us( this is a boy)

so i ask a question when will this end

Common sense here

If he comes@18 hi school. Drop out smoke weed

mom support It

She calls me by his name

lol no skill

Her reply was that’s my son & what’s wrong,if he stays here

I never,spoke to her again.

Am the bread winner she’s a at home house wifey


My husband ignores me a few times a year which lasts for weeks to a couple months. He’s currently ignoring me which started the weekend before Easter. He does his ignoring tactic when i catch him in a lie. We own a house, but he sleeps in the other room with his dog, he won’t say a word, he goes places without me, and basically acts like i do not exist. I’ve been dealing with this for 15 or more years, so it no longer hurts as bad as it used to. I’m secretly saving money to pay off bills so i can leave. He thinks this behavior is controlling me, but it’s actually making me stronger. I’m now saving for my future without him in it.

Tuxedo Cat

I am sorry for your situation, but I am happy you are making plans to leave. My husband does not often ignore me, but one example of his nasty narcissism is keeping plans to go places a secret, then going with his kids. I am left behind wondering where they went. The years I wasted with him will never come back. So please keep on with your plans, and I pray everything goes as you want.


I too am going through the same situation. Been with my fiancé for 10 years, been living in a house we bought together for 6 years. Every 6 to 8 months he gets mad at me for something and if i don’t fix it (or fix me) he gives me the silent treatment for weeks/months until I cave. He’s giving me the silent treatment now because I don’t make my teenagers leave at a certain time (by 6:00) when it’s their time to go to their dads house. He wants them out of the house by 6:00 and the weekends they’re at their dads, they are not allowed to drop by the house to get things clothes/books/etc. tired of being the one that’s always fighting to keep this relationship.


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The need to feel connected to, and seen by our people is instinctive. 

THE FIX: Add in micro-connections to let them feel you seeing them, loving them, connecting with them, enjoying them:

‘I love being your mum.’
‘I love being your dad.’
‘I missed you today.’
‘I can’t wait to hang out with you at bedtime 
and read a story together.’

Or smiling at them, playing with them, 
sharing something funny, noticing something about them, ‘remembering when...’ with them.

And our adult loves need the same, as we need the same from them.♥️
Our kids need the same thing we do: to feel safe and loved through all feelings not just the convenient ones.

Gosh it’s hard though. I’ve never lost my (thinking) mind as much at anyone as I have with the people I love most in this world.

We’re human, not bricks, and even though we’re parents we still feel it big sometimes. Sometimes these feelings make it hard for us to be the people we want to be for our loves.

That’s the truth of it, and that’s the duality of being a parent. We love and we fury. We want to connect and we want to pull away. We hold it all together and sometimes we can’t.

None of this is about perfection. It’s about being human, and the best humans feel, argue, fight, reconnect, own our ‘stuff’. We keep working on growing and being more of our everythingness, just in kinder ways.

If we get it wrong, which we will, that’s okay. What’s important is the repair - as soon as we can and not selling it as their fault. Our reaction is our responsibility, not theirs. This might sound like, ‘I’m really sorry I yelled. You didn’t deserve that. I really want to hear what you have to say. Can we try again?’

Of course, none of this means ‘no boundaries’. What it means is adding warmth to the boundary. One without the other will feel unsafe - for them, us, and others.

This means making sure that we’ve claimed responsibility- the ability to respond to what’s happening. It doesn’t mean blame. It means recognising that when a young person is feeling big, they don’t have the resources to lead out of the turmoil, so we have to lead them out - not push them out.

Rather than focusing on what we want them to do, shift the focus to what we can do to bring felt safety and calm back into the space.

THEN when they’re calm talk about what’s happened, the repair, and what to do next time.

Discipline means ‘to teach’, not to punish. They will learn best when they are connected to you. Maybe there is a need for consequences, but these must be about repair and restoration. Punishment is pointless, harmful, and outdated.

Hold the boundary, add warmth. Don’t ask them to do WHEN they can’t do. Wait until they can hear you and work on what’s needed. There’s no hurry.♥️
Recently I chatted with @rebeccasparrow72 , host of ABC Listen’s brilliant podcast, ‘Parental as Anything: Teens’. I loved this chat. Bec asked all the questions that let us crack the topic right open. Our conversation was in response to a listener’s question, that I expect will be familiar to many parents in many homes. Have a listen here:
School refusal is escalating. Something that’s troubling me is the use of the word ‘school can’t’ when talking about kids.

Stay with me.

First, let’s be clear: school refusal isn’t about won’t. It’s about can’t. Not truly can’t but felt can’t. It’s about anxiety making school feel so unsafe for a child, avoidance feels like the only option.

Here’s the problem. Language is powerful, and when we put ‘can’t’ onto a child, it tells a deficiency story about the child.

But school refusal isn’t about the child.
It’s about the environment not feeling safe enough right now, or separation from a parent not feeling safe enough right now. The ‘can’t’ isn’t about the child. It’s about an environment that can’t support the need for felt safety - yet.

This can happen in even the most loving, supportive schools. All schools are full of anxiety triggers. They need to be because anything new, hard, brave, growthful will always come with potential threats - maybe failure, judgement, shame. Even if these are so unlikely, the brain won’t care. All it will read is ‘danger’.

Of course sometimes school actually isn’t safe. Maybe peer relationships are tricky. Maybe teachers are shouty and still using outdated ways to manage behaviour. Maybe sensory needs aren’t met.

Most of the time though it’s not actual threat but ’felt threat’.

The deficiency isn’t with the child. It’s with the environment. The question isn’t how do we get rid of their anxiety. It’s how do we make the environment feel safe enough so they can feel supported enough to handle the discomfort of their anxiety.

We can throw all the resources we want at the child, but:

- if the parent doesn’t believe the child is safe enough, cared for enough, capable enough; or

- if school can’t provide enough felt safety for the child (sensory accommodations, safe peer relationships, at least one predictable adult the child feels safe with and cared for by),

that child will not feel safe enough.

To help kids feel safe and happy at school, we have to recognise that it’s the environment that needs changing, not the child. This doesn’t mean the environment is wrong. It’s about making it feel more right for this child.♥️
Such a beautiful 60 second wrap of my night with parents and carers in Hastings, New Zealand talking about building courage and resilience in young people. Because that’s how courage happens - it builds, little bit by little bit, and never feeling like ‘brave’ but as anxiety. Thank you @healhealthandwellbeing for bringing us together happen.♥️


Original post by @healhealthandwellbeing:
🌟 Thank You for Your Support! 🌟

A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for the "Building Courage and Resilience" talk with the amazing  Karen Young - Hey Sigmund. Your support for Heal, our new charity focused on community health and wellbeing, means the world to us!

It was incredible to see so many of you come together while at the same time being able to support this cause and help us build a stronger, more resilient community.

A special shoutout to Anna Catley from Anna Cudby Videography for creating some fantastic footage Your work has captured the essence of this event perfectly ! To the team Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre thank you for always making things so easy ❤️ 

Follow @healhealthandwellbeing for updates and news of events. Much more to come!

#Heal #CommunityHealth #CourageAndResilience #KarenYoung #ThankYou

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