Author Kathy Batesel writes about topics she has experienced, worked with, or researched thoroughly.
What Is the Silent Treatment?
The silent treatment is when one person in a relationship ignores the other person, refusing to acknowledge them verbally or through any other method. This usually happens after an argument, but it can also happen when the silent partner is angry and the other person doesn't know why.
Being on the receiving end is painful and frustrating. It's a form of ostracism, and it can feel like a punishment and even a form of pressure to get a response to criticism or submission to a request.
If you're on the receiving end, it's important that you know that no one, male or female, should accept the silent treatment as an acceptable behavior. You don't deserve it. While both parties are responsible for creating healthy communication in a relationship, no one ever deserves to be ignored, and you didn't agree to this type of passive-aggressive communication.
The silent treatment is a common pattern of conflict for committed, romantic couples, and it can be damaging if left unaddressed. It is important to break this communication pattern, and there are constructive ways to respond and, hopefully, find a way to move forward that both of you can agree on.
Here are some ways to respond to the silent treatment.
1. Take Time to Cool Off
During a time of silence both partners should pause to reflect on what led up to the silent treatment episode, especially if it was preceded by an argument, fight, or emotional outburst. If you're on the receiving end you may feel frustrated and angry, so take a cooling-off period to get a breath and calm down.
2. Give Your Partner Space to Think
Avoid trying to figure out what your silent partner or spouse is thinking. You're not a mind-reader. The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive form of communication. If you do their thinking for them, they won't learn how to be direct when sharing their thoughts and feelings.
3. Don't Apologize Unless You're Truly Sorry
Never apologize for something when you don't believe you did. How can you have an authentic, connected relationship by being false? Instead, try to empathize with your partner by saying you understand that they're upset or angry and that you would like to bridge the gap that has come between you.
4. Apologize if You're Truly Sorry
Think about whether you really may have done or said something to hurt your partner or make them angry. Admit and acknowledge any wrongs that may have caused offense and apologize sincerely.
5. Ask Yourself Whether it's Just a Personality Difference
Is your partner an introvert while you are more of an extrovert? Introverts need more time to process their emotions, especially when things get intense or they feel that they've been attacked or insulted in some way.
If this is the case for you, tell your partner that you'll give them a certain amount of time to themselves and that you'll be back after the time is up to talk. Of course it's best if they agree to this plan.
6. Set Rules for Healthy Communication
When communication is difficult it can help to create some rules. Give your partner (and yourself) permission to calm down.
Sometimes when we feel waves of anxiety, panic, or rage, our bodies become saturated with adrenaline. This is called "flooding," and it happens when intense feelings, thoughts, or sensations are just too much to integrate in the moment.
"In a conflict, when one person gets flooded, they usually choose either fight of flight," says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a marriage counselor in Boulder, CO. "In this case, flight would the silent treatment or stonewalling. Regular stonewalling is toxic to a healthy relationship."
Fisher recommends that couples recognize that one or both partner is flooded and then separate for a period of time to calm down. Then they should come back together at an agreed-upon time when they are relaxed to talk through the conflict.
It is often part of a pattern of poor communication. But the silent treatment, when structured, is a part of research-supported Behavioral Couples Therapy.
— Nicole Prause, Ph.D., UCLA Psychologist
Is the Silent Treatment a Form of Psychological Abuse?
I've been surprised to learn how many women have suffered the silent treatment for days, weeks, even months at a time in their marriages. I remember feeling extreme anguish when my guy wouldn't talk to me for a couple of hours—and he wasn't trying to dole out the cold shoulder but simply cooling off.
The silent treatment is painful to endure, and in my opinion someone who stonewalls another person to gain control of a situation is emotionally abusive. They're saying, in essence, "You are unworthy of being recognized as a human being worth decent treatment."
Some psychologists say that the silent treatment causes emotional damage that similar to physical abuse. The brain reacts in the a similar way, whether the behavior is physical harm or emotional neglect.
Others, however, say that typically the silent treatment is just a poor form of communication.
"It is often part of a pattern of poor communication," says Nicole Prause, Ph.D., a psychologist at UCLA. "But the silent treatment, when structured, is a part of research-supported Behavioral Couples Therapy."
In this form, Prause says, the partner states that they are starting to become upset, need to take a time out, and will check back in an hour. They can then be silent towards their partner for that time.
"This is in no way abusive and helps improve each person's ability to regulate their own emotions when they come back together to discuss," Prause says. "It also is not a 'get out of jail free escape, as the partner taking the break has agreed to engage again at a specific time."
6 Ways to Respond to the Silent Treatment
1. Take some time to cool off.
2. Give your partner space to think.
3. Don't apologize unless you're truly sorry.
4. Apologize if you're truly sorry.
5. Ask yourself whether it's just a personality difference.
6. Set rules for healthy communication.
Changing Your Approach to the Relationship
Since the silent treatment is a way for your partner to gain control, you need to take care of yourself so their behavior doesn't leave you feeling humiliated and rejected.
- Remind yourself that your partner feels uncertain and out of control.
- Do not resort to sulking, pouting, or badgering. Try to maintain a calm attitude if you can. Take a walk to get a breath of air.
- Consider whether you too might be trying to control the relationship more than your partner is comfortable with.
Other Ways to Address the Problem
The majority of arguments don't start because of what is said. They start over how something was said.
If you find yourself sounding like you're making a demand (or you feel like you're about to!), ask yourself how you can solve the problem you're having without asking for anything from your partner.
He didn't pick up his towels (again!) even though he keeps promising to do better. If you think it means that he's forgetful, you'll have a different response than if you think it means that he doesn't have any respect for you. Once you define what the event means—to you, not to him—you're ready to answer the next question.
- What is your real goal?
Is your goal to have a clean bathroom or to make him do things your way? If you're really only looking for a clean bathroom, you'll need to figure out what you can do to make sure your bathroom's clean even if he never changes his behavior. On the other hand, if you think that he's been using the towels to show you that he doesn't respect you, and you're wanting him to show you that he does by picking up his towels, you're heading into demand territory.
A goal of making another person do what you want will never work in the long run!
Once you fully understand what meaning you assign to an event, and what goal you want to reach, you can figure out how to get it done without your partner's help. You might discover that you want to hire someone, have fewer towels available, or pick them up yourself instead of arguing.
When the Problem Is Just Too Big
Then again, you might discover that the real problem is something that's a possible deal=breaker. If you honestly believe your partner is inconsiderate of you, then it's up to you to only get involved with people who are considerate enough that you feel loved instead of fighting.
If you're questioning whether to be in relationship, you really only need consider your own viewpoints, not your partners. Their opinions, values, and reasons are irrelevant while you figure out what you want.
Then when you talk about it with him, describe the way you feel, listen to their views respectfully, and see if you can work together to find common ground.
The Victim's Role
In some cases, the silent partner is attempting to escape another toxic dynamic. If you are trying to force them to change or do things your way, you're giving them a reason to withdraw. If you criticize them as a person or assigning blame instead of focusing on finding solutions, you're contributing to the dynamic. If you let yourself feel like a victim, get depressed, or pout, you must recognize that you've been engaging in control tactics, too, and pledge to stop.
The silent treatment is part of a "demand-withdraw" pattern that is deadly to relationships!
Finding Healthier Ways to Communicate
This means you'll need to learn some healthier ways to confront issues, too, and learning takes time. You won't find a solution that works in just a few days or weeks. This may be a dynamic that has evolved over months or years, and it can take many months to replace it with better methods. As you learn, so will your partner, but it won't be on your timeline, so focus on progress, because perfection's still a long, long way off.
I hope these tips help you change your relationship and take steps to discourage stonewalling. I encourage you to use all of these steps, and to give yourself permission to make mistakes. Learn from them and then get back on track.
A Special Note About Abuse
When people feel out of control, they seek ways to regain control, as we already discussed.
If your partner is physically abusive, any change you make to how you respond to the silent treatment might escalate their behavior. Be prepared for this by having a plan to leave the environment if there appears to be a threat. Find a therapist who specializes in abuse. Know who you can call upon, where you can stay, and save enough money to give you a cushion if you need one.
Because people who give the silent treatment typically are trying to avoid uncomfortable confrontation, most of them won't resort to this, but I mention it because it's always one of the options people have for regaining control.
I wish you the best. You matter. Show the world that you won't simply be written off, and the world will respond by listening. Hugs.
- Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Abuse
Domestic violence often starts with emotional abuse or verbal violence. This article explains how abusive tendencies develop and what can help break the cycle.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: My husband has been giving me the silent treatment for over eight months now. I find it very hurtful. What should I do?
Answer: Either find a way for it to stop bothering you, or else start planning your departure.
Question: How do I cope with weeks of no response from my boyfriend?
Answer: Well, you have only a couple of options. You can accept it completely, to the degree that it truly doesn't bother you at all. You can leave the situation entirely. You can struggle with trying to accept it only to find yourself feeling resentful and angry.
Can you honestly say, "I would love to have an unresponsive boyfriend?" If not, then you probably will never reach that acceptance. (Believe it or not, some people might feel fine with this, because they want their own time to get things done, go out with friends, and so on, but to be this way, it's important to let his silence be his own problem without taking it personally.)
If you believe he's unresponsive because he is trying to punish you, well, you can choose to keep being abused. You can leave. You can do neither and stay trapped in turmoil.
Question: My boyfriend said he can't see me for a couple of weeks because he is getting his home ready for winter, and because he's busy on his job. (He can take off whenever he wants, but he lives 40 min away.) He said he'd text me. Do I get a good nite text? No!
I asked him if he wants me with other men.
"No," he said.
Then I asked, "Do you want other women?"
"No," he said. I'm confused 24 hours a day! For two weeks he has had no time for me! What should I do?
Answer: You should remember that interested people act interested.
While it's possible that he's truly so wrapped up in work that his stress level is too high for anything else, it sounds like you know that's not what is happening here. I believe when a person's words and actions don't match up, you should probably believe the one you don't want to believe. In other words, "He says he's busy, but he acts disinterested" means he's probably disinterested. This is especially true if you called his attention to it and he hasn't tried to improve things and hasn't taken your complaint seriously.
Question: My boyfriend of ten years stopped talking to me after I stayed at a party without him at his family's house. What shall I do? I tried calling and texting him, but he doesn't respond, and it's been two weeks.
Answer: What you should do is count your blessings that you dodged a bullet. Possessiveness is an early sign of much bigger problems.
Question: I've been with my husband for 18 years and never got the silent act. Recently, I made a statement about my cell phone. He didn't understand what I said. I repeated myself twice. He balled up his fists, wrecked the dining room and ignored me for two days! I refuse to believe my comment caused all that! There had to be another reason or agenda for all that, right? Can you please help me?
Answer: Yes, it sounds like something else is going on. Have you said, "I'm worried about you?" Your reaction tells me that something's really bothering you. What is it?"
Question: What if the silent treatment happens at work, and one person or a few people do it?
Answer: I would encourage you to research "hostile work environment." Workplace bullying is not the same as relationship silence, but might be illegal in some cases.
Question: Silence can be golden if you live in my shoes. There are two sides to each story, I believe. However, I feel hurt and feel like a real scumbag by doing this to my precious wife, yet the choice was hers after a warning. Was that wrong?
Answer: There aren't enough details for me to say if you're right or wrong, but judging by how you feel, I'm going with "Yes, it's wrong." It sounds like you made a threat to get or keep control of some situation instead of letting her have any influence on the matter, except to choose to get punished, that is.
© 2012 jellygator
jellygator (author) from USA on November 11, 2018:
Thank you, Rebecca!
Rebecca from USA on November 08, 2018:
Great article with many useful tips and suggestions. :)
Rebecca Rizzuti from Euclid, Ohio on November 26, 2017:
I'm confused by the "expert review."
Verbal and emotional abuse are a tricky subject, and I feel that this review fails to address the difficult nature of these forms of abuse. My sister and I grew up together and were treated similarly: I grew up to exhibit signs of emotional abuse, while she did not. Later therapists have ascertained that the treatment was, in fact, abusive. My sister might not have mentioned the same treatment to her therapist, because it didn't bother her.
What feels abusive to one person might not feel abusive to another person. I don't feel that it's up to the "expert" in this case to say whether someone is abused by being stonewalled. It ought to be up to the person being stonewalled to determine whether this behavior is abusive to them.
It seems that both expert reviews on this article (I've seen both of them) are comparing their apples to the author's oranges.
jellygator (author) from USA on November 15, 2017:
Thank you, I agree!
jellygator (author) from USA on November 15, 2017:
Thank you, Marisa. I am just now seeing the review and while I respect his professional opinion, it sounds like the opinion of someone who has never experienced the punitive silent treatment for days on end. That isn't a "fight or flight" response, but can only be interpreted as emotionally abusive by those who experience it!
LongTimeMother from Australia on November 14, 2017:
Many years ago I had a partner who gave me the silent treatment. At first I thought he just didn't know what to say or lacked confidence in certain situations, so I used to jolly him.
Then when it became clear he was using it as a way to make me 'suffer' and cause me frustration, I started laughing at him and I'd say I couldn't believe he was giving me the silent treatment. "Well if you won't talk to me, I'm going out to visit someone who will."
It didn't take long before I left him forever. Turns out it was a great decision because I've been married to a man for the past 20+ years who never gives me the silent treatment and we are wonderfully happy together!
If a man (or woman) uses the silent treatment as a form of passive 'abuse', I see no reason to stick around. Problems don't get addressed or resolved unless both parties are willing to communicate.
Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on October 30, 2017:
Very interesting and useful article for people going through such circumstances. I experienced all these circumstances and even myself also adopted such things during my journey of life and realize how dangerous such things are if prolonged for longer durations. One should try to settle things through peaceful communication within a due course to avoid untoward results.
jellygator (author) from USA on October 18, 2017:
Sorry you are going through this, Syrenagirl! I hope you'll use some of the suggestions here.
Syrenagirl on October 11, 2017:
These are hurtful situations.
I believe from what I read his the reader is a woman and was just speaking out of context to her situation (example: he , men etc) but i dont see it as just toward men??
However Im responding because I as well recieve this treatment, and there is no talking, no cuddles , no questions for hours than the problem always just has to be dropped! It seems like 8/10 arguements end this way and never have a positive result or get resolved. Its soooo continuous! I dont like being quiet for huge expanded periods of time (which explains also why I cant "talk" for more than a minute or 2 during YouTube videos- mind you goes on for like 8 hours a day!)...
OMG im stressed, hopefully he dont get mad Im here talking about it , but hey he dont wanna talk right? I love talking, solving issues and never want to leave anything un resolved! I even lately try to take blame even though I know thats wrong but I cant stand the constant bickereing between us. ;(
realtalk247 on August 22, 2017:
I say you should blow someone's mind by being honest when someone carries on the silent treatment past 48 hours. Just tell you're partner very calmly that while you understand they are upset, a sufficient amount of time has passed for them to process the situation.
Calmly say: I really have to reconsider this relationship. Arguments and disagreements can be resolved however I am unwilling to consider a meaningful, long-term relationship, with someone that behaves in this manner. Please keep that in mind if things change radically in the near future.
jellygator (author) from USA on August 19, 2017:
Hi A.M. I'm sorry that the article sounds as if it's slanted toward male abusers, because it certainly goes both ways. As I said in the article, I wrote from a perspective that I can personally related to and that I've heard about most often. Many men don't ever talk about these things, so it's not as recognizable. However, it happens - and a lot more often than might be believed.
As far as divorce, if you're unhappy and KNOW that you would prefer to be divorced if you could, I'd encourage you to talk to a few divorce attorneys after getting recommendations from friends. In general, men's financial situations improve significantly after divorce despite losing a lot IN the divorce, while women tend to get more from the divorce but end up with a WORSE financial situation in the long run. And don't buy in to the idea that you would be prevented from seeing your kids. Maybe not every day (which is what you said you want) but only you can decide when the tradeoff is necessary. As it is, they're learning "how life works" by watching this situation.
Abused Man on July 15, 2017:
Why does this article bash men? I'm a man, and my wife does this crap to me all the time, and I'm the one who has to end it, or she never would, ever!
I've been contemplating just divorce, but I have two awesome kids, and I don't want to lose the privilege of not being able to see them everyday, no way I would get custody, and no way I would keep the house, which I paid for 100%, total BS!
jellygator (author) from USA on July 09, 2017:
Hi AngelMyne, I can only say that with a parent, there are some different dynamics that I'm probably not as qualified to discuss, but I would still encourage the same principle: Treat yourself well, don't take it personally, and figure out how changes you make in yourself would change the relationship. If you can't find that answer or you conclude that the silent treatment is intentionally abusive, get away from it.
Concerned Hubby, I have said elsewhere that women are also guilty of giving the silent treatment, but I wrote it as if it was a male toward female because that is what is most familiar to this female author. The principles of how to address it don't really change, though.
AngelMyne on July 02, 2017:
I have to ask, what about when it is a Parent? how do you deal with them? I wound up here because of a dysfunctional parent and wanting to learn how to constructively deal with them. I get the silent treatment for being too ill to take over their business so they can run off and do something that isn't even important.
AngelMyne on July 02, 2017:
Wow I see some guys in the comments that advertise their Hatred for ALL women based on the looser They Chose to invest in. I married a guy that turned out to be a pedophile, it devastated me but I don't go around calling all men kiddie rapers and saying I will Never allow another one in my life again what an absurd notion. We Choose bad people in our lives unconsciously because a parent or an abuser close to that role screwed us up with their dynamic but as adults we can recognize those patterns and Change them and move beyond them and accept out own roles in them as well without hatred for the entire world. That hate the world and blame us all is abusive in its self not only to others but most profoundly to your self and any children you manage to screw up with it.
Concerned Hubby on June 25, 2017:
OMG!!! Why does the author of
This article automatically assume that it is tbe man giving the silent
Treatment? Unbelievable! I am
Going through this with my wife
Right now and she is the one giving
Me the silent treatment. She asked
Me if I was mad at her because she
Cant take off from work to be with
Me at my surgery. I told her I was
Disappointed and then she got
Upset with my answer. Now the
Kawai from Singapore on February 27, 2017:
I agree that signs of an abusive nature can be seen when the couple is still dating. My ex used to be pretty aggressive (and I'm glad we ended it).
However, some individuals choose not to acknowledge their abusive behavior and give excuses for the partner's behavior because of the fear of losing the individual or being alone. Of course, some people can be very manipulative and don't show their bad side until they have more control of the situation. I never realized silent treatment could be a form of abuse - thanks for the interesting insight.
jellygator (author) from USA on December 17, 2016:
I'm sorry you went through this John, but it also saddens me that you feel like it's worthless to have any woman in your life now. This kind of betrayal is so hurtful and I hope you'll one day feel healed enough and strong enough to take a chance again - but with someone who you can treasure and who will treasure you just as much. I'm living proof that even someone with a bad relationship history can find a supportive, lasting love despite all the odds.
jellygator (author) from USA on December 17, 2016:
As I said early on in this article, this can go both ways and I only used pronouns this way as a matter of convenience because it's what I'm personally most familiar with. However, it might be even more common in the other direction. Thanks for reading and commenting.
jellygator (author) from USA on December 17, 2016:
A year of being ignored! I just cannot imagine going through that! I'm sorry that you had such an experience and I will bet that when you do let go and stop allowing people to treat you that way, you'll discover a world where you feel better and your children learn better ways of handling their own relationships as they grow. It's a difficult decision, and tough to start over, but it can certainly be worth it!
jellygator (author) from USA on December 17, 2016:
Thank you, Diana!
John on December 15, 2016:
What a joke. A man giving the silent treatment? Yeah right. I know you just used this as an example because women "complain about it more", but the fact is that the women complain more PERIOD. About everything. The silent treatment is the woman's #1 weapon. But your advice is good. I called my ex-wife's bluff. I didn't get mad, and I didn't try to get her to talk. If she wasn't going to participate in the family, then I was going to do it MY WAY. And I did. When her abuse didn't get her what she wanted, she raised the stakes by asking for a divorce. I rocked her world by quickly agreeing; she was NOT expecting that. Well, too late, you want a divorce, you got one. Now she's out of our lives, the kids and I are happier than ever, and I will never, ever have a woman in my life again. Good riddance, bitch.
Tremini on December 03, 2016:
I've been dealing with this for 4 years, from 3 days to 1 year of being ignored... it hurt, mad me angry, a reacted and over reacted, I cried many many many years never understanding WHY we couldn't just talk and resolve the issue... but i NEVER EVER seen it as abuse... and it changes everything... i have to let go of the love off my life because... any form of abuse is unhealthy for me and our children... my heart is broken in a million pieces!
diana on November 28, 2016:
This is a very good article
Book of Job on September 20, 2016:
How to bring on the silent treatment:
- When your daughter dies, explode at him as he runs the funeral. Blow up when he tells you what the coroner, the police, your priest, the cemetery manager and the funeral director told him. It’s his fault, and he’s obviously thoroughly enjoying running the funeral for his daughter. Certainly don’t offe to help with any of this.
- Blow up at him about how much the funeral costs because funerals cost too much, even though his father is paying for it. Once again, he is responsible for everything that occurs in the world, and if was a better person, funerals would be cheaper.
- Chastise him for asking if your mother had a good night’s sleep a couple days after his daughter died.
- When you get a flood a month later, refuse to help with the flood repairs. Do whatever you want as your husband spends every spare minute for the next two years repairing your heavily mortgaged and barely affordable property.
- Criticize him for going outside for 15 minutes or so most nights for the first month after the flood to talk to the neighbors and to watch the progress as the FEMA workers begin to rebuild the missing or damaged roads, missing bridges and flood debris. Tell him this is his way of maintaining control.
- Say nothing as your husband completes the funeral arrangements over the next six months. Don’t say thanks for doing this as he has a tombstone carved, goes to probate court and creates an online memorial. In fact, it will be better if you yell at him if he wants you to look at the online memorial.
- Never say anything nice about his relationship with his deceased daughter. Make sure you tell him that she was his least favorite child, and if he disagrees with you, prove your case by coming up with isolated examples, such as a time that he forgot to say hello to her – once.
- When he asks you to go to marriage counseling numerous times, starting three months after your daughter died, refuse to go.
Follow these steps, and your husband will most likely do whatever he can to avoid speaking to you and avoid being around you. His only path to safety will be to withdraw.
When you’ve decided that he is the worst human being on earth, move four hours away with three hours notice. Leave the kids behind with their horrible father. Don’t even tell the kids that you’re leaving – let your sister do that. Then cut your husband and your kids off – make sure you never speak to him, and don’t visit or call your kids. Do make sure that you get half of the equity in the home, though, even though you wouldn’t help repair it.
Sorry folks, but this is what happened. Our case may be extreme (I hope that not many of you lose a child and then have a flood), but if you make your husband or wife afraid that anything they says or do will trigger an explosion or draw criticism, they probably will pull away. Take a long look in the mirror if you find that your spouse isn’t speaking to you. Are you making it impossible for him or her to do so?
And, despite what this article says, any apology or acknowledgement that this behavior was inappropriate would have gone a long way to re-establishing a relationship. I did try discussing this with my now ex-wife at times, but mostly held back, distancing myself more and more as time went on. It was better than getting yelled at.
nhanha on September 15, 2016:
am going through the same thing with a guy I met two weeks back but I made one mistake and I've been apologising to him but he's not picking up my calls,not replying on anything....I dont know what to do because I've never experience such a thing before and I must agree it really hurt
need help on September 12, 2016:
I am presently dealing with the silent treatment from my husband just because I tell him he is wrong in his behavior towards the kids n myself and when I talk I am being the one wrong. my partner has the complete behaviour traits of a narcissistic disorder.
he is a compulsive lair, cheater, all the abuser u can think of, I have reach a stage where I m only with him for the children sak. need help
W on September 08, 2016:
It's like he knows I made an anonymous post. Not even 60 minutes later he cut my phone charger cord and locked me outside. I'm assuming it's pissing him off I'm not breaking. Also I have never used the silent treatment, think it's an unhealthy way to control people and even now I make sure to talk.. whether being communicated to or not. And yes I realize what my husband is doing is unhealthy and my current situation. Is fucked up beyond belief.
W on September 08, 2016:
My husband is mad at me for a situation beyond my control. He broke my Ipad out of spite and then came home the next day and said you can do 1 thing or I'm going to stay really mad. I get a new car or else. He currently has a 2015 corvette and his new car was going to be even more a month. In the past I always given in I feel like because I can't take it. But now it's been 6 days and he has said 10 words to me. We previously determined I get the new car next. He has had 8 cars in 7 years and I've had the same one since 2008. I'm more determined then ever I'm not budging. Wish me luck!
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on August 22, 2016:
Jellygator, this is a great article, with good information. I did the silent treatment with my first husband. I divorced him, and no longer do the silent treatment as I communicate much better with my second husband, and have a great relationship. The silent treatment was used because he treated me so bad. I never though I was abusive, I thought he deserved the treatment.
guy on August 21, 2016:
In now way is this why I shut down and refuse to talk to my wife. This is entirely incorrect for me. I'm trying to figure out how to keep myself from giving the silent treatment and this article just says I'm abusive because I do it.
Anna on August 17, 2016:
Thank you !
Michael Wnek from San Diego, Ca on August 12, 2016:
WOW! The echo chamber is deafening. The weak disclaimer stating it's not just men who use the silent treatment is laughable. The entire article bombards guys as if silence screams with abuse. If your commenters are even a small representation of what their partners have to deal with, my bet is the poor souls just want some peace and quiet. Don't forget passive aggressive disorder is an equal opportunity enabler of dysfunction. Now just to bug, I'll be silent now. :-)
emma on August 08, 2016:
Good advice. Im going through the silent treatment so i will take your advice and use it when my husband snaps out of his hurtfull behaviour
Maissaa on August 03, 2016:
Thank you for the article
I have a question: is it ok to just say to him I am ready to talk things over when you are?
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 14, 2016:
I used to think that only women use the silent treatment, but this article reminded me of a married friend whose husband was giving her the silent treatment, and they ended up separating. No matter what, there should be respect for each other and self respect, and as you say, the silent treatment is a form of abuse. I also liked the video. The silent treatment at the end looked so funny but it's not funny when it's happening to you.
May on June 06, 2016:
I completely agree with this article as right now I'm in a crisis, my boyfriend and I had an argument, one where he was clearly in the wrong, he did not apologise and as I wasn't in the wrong I also did not although I usually do in order to "fix things". I got the idea that this was going to affect us for a while so I suggested we put it behind us and behave normally the next day, he simply said maybe and we ended the conversation.
To give a bit of context, we are in a long distance relationship and hes currently taking exams for university, due to this our conversations have already been shortened but we had a routine in place. After this argument however, he stopped messaging, stopped calling, stopped responding. I ended up having to initiate calls and when I do he is very cold and withdrawn, he insists that nothing is wrong however and when I ask if he still wants the relationship he says he does. Its been a week now and I only get one message a day which is to say goodnight and I feel this is to just give me enough that I wont break up with him. He still answers his calls but wont speak unless I ask him a direct question. I know that he is speaking to other people just fine and I am the only one hes ignoring, he refuses to try and talk about what is happening .
I don't know what to do anymore, I understand he is tired and is revising constantly but thats not an excuse, the situation is making me physically ill, I just want things to go back to normal, but how can It when hes not talking to me. He talks to me like i'm an enemy even when I'm being so nice to him. Please help me
Linda Robinson from Cicero, New York on May 31, 2016:
Good Morning jellygator so nice meeting you, just enjoyed your fascinating, detailed hub, you covered so many interesting situations about the heartaches of relationships. As well as ideas and possible solutions, relationships are something not always easy. An excellent hub for all those couples searching for answers. Happy to be following you. Linda
Deborah Demander Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 31, 2016:
Thanks for this informative and helpful article. I was in two previous marriages, and both of my exes would use the silent treatment. In fact, I grew up with it, as my mother still uses it today.
Sometimes, you just need some space. Both partners should respect that, but we should also strive to communicate in a healthy way that will support cooperation and growth.
Thanks for writing.
An abused man on April 27, 2016:
What I am going to write down here is something that will surprise everyone. I am a 32 yr old married guy who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with a girl for the last 6 yrs. To make things worse, I got married to her about five months ago! What my life has been in the last few years is something that I would not even want my enemies to endure. I have been emotionally abused over and over again. I have been given the silent treatment for days, weeks and months! In the entire course of the relationship ,my partner has never extended an apology for anything and has in-fact manipulated me into apologizing by giving me the silent treatment and making me feel I was in the wrong always. She has been so mean and ruthless in her conduct with me that I have ended up crying in front of her many a times. I generally don't cry in life but she has manipulated me so much that I have turned into an emotional wreck! My work has suffered, my relationship with other people has been effected and worst of all my relationship with my own self has taken a beating.
I fail to understand what on earth made me hang on so much with a person who is really incapable of a human relationship. There was a co-worker of her once who used to chat her up a lot, and his name was Arjun. While I was in some other town, I used to still call her up regularly. Once by mistake she called me 'Arjun' and I felt bad about it as any guy would when his girl would call him by some other name. She repeated this at-least five six times (every-time by mistake) in the next one week or so. When I confronted her as to what was going on, you know her response-'silent treatment'! She just didn't care to get back to me for a few days or so and like a fool I called her up after a few days and apologized! Imagine, I apologized because my wife,(gf back then) had some other guys name on her lip all the time and I had asked for an explanation!!!
Such is the behavior of these narcissists that they have the capability to destroy the people who fall in love with them or like me are unfortunate to get married to them. Let me tell you that such people always find partners who are emotional and can be easily manipulated.
I cant tell you how bad it feels. A man wants a loving wife, and her beauty lies in her heart and if the heart is ugly you really can't put up!
I have now come to terms with the reality , and for me the only way out is a divorce. The idea of me posting this comment is to enlighten every soul in this earth that is trying to make a relationship work- to stop trying! Love can never happen this way. I wasted 6 yrs of my life. Do not allow yourself to remain in love with narcissists and people who resort to silent treatment. If even once you buckle to their way then you are setting a wrong precedence. They will exploit you over and over again. The fault lies in them and not you. In my case I am in a profession which required thorough psychological testing before getting through, and incidentally she had applied for something similar but had miserably failed in the interview, probably because of the psychological test that must have found out her crapped up soul. Good luck to all you lovers in this world, love the right person..it will enrich your soul. Love the wrong person, it will ruin your soul.
Johnny Wshef from New York on April 24, 2016:
Internet reader on February 17, 2016:
I'm giving silent treatment to my girlfriend because she has been using me for my money only. I have found over $5,000 on her in the past 3 months and she's not even my wife or anything. After getting the money she would forget about me and would not even text and would not even communicate.
And when I attempted to discuss my personal life problems with her she would always respond with "I don't know". I felt very much offended with that because I'm paying for all of finances and I'm not even receiving any bit of care or appreciation.
So now I have started giving her silent treatment. Am I doing the correct thing?
EstherTolbert on February 12, 2016:
I like this article! I've always been one who has difficulty in waiting to work things out! My mother gave the silent treatment when she was hurt. Even after an apology, she felt if she forgave too soon, then I wouldn't get the message of how hurtful my behavior was toward her. I confronted her behavior by telling her that she was simply refusing to forgive. Beautiful as she is,, she accepted this truth. People make mistakes all the time with words, and giving the silent treatment is a form of revenge. I suppose she believes it was a "teaching method", nevertheless it is sinful and punishing. Then I married a wonderful man who withdrew upon confrontation. Married 25 years now, I can look back and see that he has gone through stages of change in the way he deals with confrontation. He alternated back and forth between blowing up verbally and holding it all in. Through prayer, I believe God revealed to me that I needed to pray for us before I confronted an issue, and also to avoid criticism at all cost, and to make sure that instead of reacting angrily to his behavior, that I was to ask for what I wanted. This simple tactic of avoiding criticism created a major shift in our communication. We both had issues of blaming the other for our own reactions. I couldn't see the blaming in myself, and my husband still struggles to see it. But, there IS hope in letting God take the blinders off through prayer and taking His advice! Our marriage is the best it's ever been! I do notice that I have been blind to see how that even friends and other family members have been using the silent treatment, and after reading this, maybe I can help them see how they are trying to gain control through this behavior. ##keepinghopealivethroughprayer##
Deborah Demander Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on February 08, 2016:
Another great article. I spent more than 20 years in an abusive relationship, before I had the guts to get out. The silent treatment was one of his secret weapons. Until I stopped responding. It took away all of his power.
Thanks for writing.
Mariana on January 27, 2016:
Thank you ♥
Cummens on January 11, 2016:
Thank you so much for this article as I have a mother who does all those horrible and painful things to me since I could remember ! I recall it at age 4 I'm now 43 she just punished me again by setting up ( being the mastermind ) and robbing me of 300 dollers and had two other people in on it my sister and her friend . It's better than the 16 months she gave me in state prison though ! She got into a fight with my attorney and the judge about God ..., my dad died the day before and she was the one to tell me and the judge was gonna let me out the next day it was over something real small well she came to court the next day got into it about God and called them Satan , I got slapped with 16 months ! Her face was calm and looked like she did some good was almost set at ease. Another time that I'll mention there's so many times she put me in mental hospitals said I was metal and I was labeled the rest of my life but she new I was upset about there devorse hence she took advantage of it and called me mental and put me in institutions through out my copied hood would tell them to keep me 2 more months here and there. Till this day my mother lives off calling me mental and my sisters feed her behavior about it they know I hate being called that cause I'm really not . It started well with my memory at 4 years old I had long hair to my but and she was brushing my hair she got angry and started hitting my head well she cutt I'll my hair off I was picked on badly through my child hood called ugly she new I was picked on because of it . That's all I'm sharing for now I'm still in shock to know she has this disorder I though she was just evil and mean .
GoldieRey on November 30, 2015:
What a wonderful article! My partner of 6 years is the silent treater. He's done everything from ignoring me on my birthday and holidays to degrading my intelligence. He's currently been giving me the treatment for the past week. Oh well, I text him and said if he don't step up then someone else will and they will treat me like I should be treated.
I think he has serious underlying issues from his childhood and lack of empathy to anyone. His past relationships were awful and his own children are distant from him. I'm at the point where I tell him he wastes so much time acting like an a**. Eventually he will come to realize I am right, which he always does. He will never apologize but will know each time he pulls this BS, I set another boundary with his attitudes. I think sometimes he likes that I call him out on his bad behavior. I use to cry and be completely upset for weeks, not any more. I use the time to do what I want, meanwhile he's sulking and nothing (from what he claims) goes right for him! Karma at its best!
temptor94 on November 11, 2015:
What an insightful article! I really loved your advise about considering a silent treatment as a free pass to do things our way.. what a great idea :) I never saw it that way. I completely agree that women get much more affected by silent treatment than men.. probably because most woman are sensitive by nature and also more caring when it comes to maintaining harmony and communication in a relationship.
Typically I have observed that people who chose the emotional abuse path always choose such partners on whom they can have the upper hand, maybe because they are subconsciously or consciously aware that they cannot handle someone similar to them. It may sound a little extreme but I have ended relationships in the past for this very reason, simply because I saw those people as too immature and undeserving of my patience and understanding, if they cannot care equally for me.
Wonderful hub and great tips!
Sandra on November 05, 2015:
Okay, so my relationship is very complicated. We've both made some mistakes, but both apologized, talked it out and moved forward together. He gave me the silent treatment many times in the past but the last time we agreed that we would never do it again, since I told him that it's the worst thing that you could do to your significant other and he agreed. We haven't talked in a week. It all began when I begged him to come to our friend's birthday and told him how much it meant for me. He said he can't come because he doesn't have any money for a gift. He lives with his family so I told him to ask his mom to bake a cake, he wouldn't. He wanted me to go to the party but not get upset with him for not coming. I said I couldn't be ok with this, I'm not mad but can't understand why he won't make an effort to try to solve the situation and ask people for help. I didn't offer him money because in the past he told me that he won't borrow money because it would mean that he must give it back! We always go Dutch when we go out, it has been months since he paid for anything. He also told me that we won't be seeing each other over the next two weeks because he doesn't even have money for a bus ticket! I know he has money problems, but he's been broke for 2 years now and he earns money than I do. We never went on a vacation and he never takes me out. I feel like it bothers him that I want us to go out together or with friends. He stopped talking to me a week ago, even though he was supposed to help me move to another city this weekend. He didn't even send me a text message asking he if I'm okay. In the past, I always reached out to him but this time, I don't feel I've did anything wrong. I always supported him, never called him names, never shouted at him, whenever I was bothered with something I expressed my feelings in a calm and understand way letting him know that his behavior was upsetting me. Occasionally, he does nice things for me and surprises me with flowers, but I don't think he does it out of love anymore. I don't understand him silent treatment. We don't live together, why doesn't he wonder if I'm okay? It's been a week...
Brian on September 06, 2015:
I agree with much of what you said. At the same time, its important to remember that this is not a woman's problem. I am often on the receiving end. If you take out the gender specificness of the article, it works for men and women. Thanks for the article, its great for men and women who are getting the silent treatment.
Nina on August 20, 2015:
You have no idea how much this article helped me. I'm currently going through a silent treatment phase from both my mom and husband for two different reasons, they are not related what so ever, just a coincidence!
I grew up suffering from this from my mom and then when married I found out that my husband does it too :(
It hurts so much and makes me feel bad. It caused me to actually have depression and I had to take medications for that!
Your article is thorough and gave me some relief knowing that I'm not alone in this! And your suggestions in the section "Changing You Will Change the Relationship" are very helpful and I would print them and post them on my wall if I could, because I need to remind myself of them every time this happens.
I added your article to my favorite list becuase I know that I'll need to read it over and over again.
Thank you very much.
jellygator (author) from USA on July 20, 2015:
Very nice, Susan! I like your comment about writing, but I would like to add a warning or perhaps, just a piece of insight: If a man is NOT highly invested in a relationship and a woman tries to force the communication, I believe it's likely to backfire and earn her more resentment and blame instead. It's very important to think about how to do this respectfully so the other person doesn't feel defensive!
Anthony, it sucks to feel unappreciated! If you really haven't said anything wrong, I encourage you to look at why your significant other is so sensitive to your remarks. Is it her own little "ism" or does she lack faith in you? These are two very different reasons for the silent treatment to kick in!
Anthony P on July 18, 2015:
Thanks for the advice. I'm going through silent treatment right now and it definitley hurts. Sometimes I've said something wrong, I realize it and apologize after the silent treatment. But there are times when I feel like my small comments or opinions get misunderstood and I suddenly get silent treatment instead of a mature discussion and/or argument. I try to be good, nice and understanding. But it seems like it's not appreciated enough
Susan Tolbert from New England on July 07, 2015:
There is a lot of useful and excellent information here! I'm rather surprised at how many women think that the Silent Treatment (I call it the "ST") is only used by them and not men. They're actually better at it than women, I think (if their psychological makeup predisposes them to do so), because most men are relieved by silence, whereas most women are conditioned to talk things out.
I DESPISE the ST! I'm a talker, a former teacher and someone who enjoys expressing my views readily and bluntly. (By the way, bluntness can often trigger an ST outbreak in your guy...AND be used to break it up! More on that).
Yes, sometimes, guys just want to retreat from talking, at which they often don't excel, into their "space". I've finally got my husband to tell me when he needs that, so I know it's not the ST. I'm also fortunate that I love long periods of alone time myself, so if he's off sulking, it's not that big a deal, but the thing that bothers me is that he's trying to get back at me or that we TWO are not really dealing with an issue.
I like the idea of going ahead with what you feel like doing and not consulting a man having an ST fit--for that's what it is: the silent equivalent of a tantrum in a child. Unlike the way to deal with tantrums (ignore them), ignoring silent treatments is counterproductive after a point. I'd give it a day at most.
Another tactic I use is forcing communication, often in writing. Since I know my husband loves me and wants to remain in the relationship, I remind him bluntly, yet adding that I don't prefer this solution, that if he plans to keep ignoring me, then he is giving me the message that he does NOT want me or the relationship any more. I tell him that I will not tolerate being treated this way and that he can leave. This usually has the effect of "knocking some sense" into him (psychologically, not physically, of course!).
However, I would STRONGLY advise couples (this is a two-way process) who keep going through this vicious cycle, to seek couples' counseling.
Or, if it's mainly the guy, who (as you wrote) fears confrontation (often a result of parental abuse or punishment), then he needs therapy. A good therapist can teach the man how to address disagreements, fear of confrontation and loss of control by boosting his self-esteem and learn to stop projecting insecurity onto others, such as his partner.
Most people I know who have used this approach (therapy), learn new, constructive ways to address old, toxic feelings that not only help them in relationships but in life as a whole.
Don't be surprised if your once sulky, manipulative spouse, after therapy, is not only acting in a more respectful healthy way toward YOU, but toward others. His new way of interacting with people may get noticed at work and lead to a better job that further boosts self-confidence. He will have more positive experiences and probably more or at least better friendships, too!
The point is: the silent treatment is a symptom of deep neurosis and should not be addressed for long, nor by the spouse alone, but treated in therapy. People (men or women) don't act like this without some painful things in their past that cause them to be deeply insecure and unhappy people.
jellygator (author) from USA on May 23, 2015:
I don't believe I said that, Grant, and this has been addressed quite a bit in these comments already. Thank you for taking the time to stop by!
Grant on May 14, 2015:
Because women never give the silent treatment, right?
jellygator (author) from USA on April 29, 2015:
Thank you, Chuckandus6~!
Nichol marie from The Country-Side on April 24, 2015:
great article it really shows the non physical side of abuse, and it really is hurtful and should not be tolerated.
cipher on April 05, 2015:
Somehow the notion is set about guys giving the silent treatment to girls.. i searched on google and am reading this as I believe my girl is avoiding me for this reason...
jellygator (author) from USA on March 26, 2015:
He gets mad and does something that hurts you. You tell him "Hey, you hurt me when you do that." He says, "Too bad. I'm cooling off and I am not going to let you influence me to hurt you less."
At the same time, you're also being critical of him when you say it's unhealthy.
So if you want this to change, change what YOU do! You'll have to find a way to see his silence as something that has no power to hurt you. Do you have a hobby or incomplete tasks to catch up on? This is when you can enjoy your progress without getting interrupted by him, so do it!
When he comes back to make up, instead of criticizing him, I would stay neutral about his behavior and instead, tell him about all the progress I had made while he was "away."
Rita on March 21, 2015:
I have a husband who gives me the silent treatment whenever we have a fight. After we make up, I always tell him that his silent treatment is very unhealthy and hurts me emotionally. He says it's not a silet treatment and that he is merely cooling off. When I tell him cooling off is for a few hours and not 2-3 days , he says I have no right to tell how long he needs to cool off . What am I to do?
jellygator (author) from USA on March 16, 2015:
Alima, I'm sorry that you're going through this. You can't change him, of course, and you've taken an important first step when you recognize that your own actions can contribute part of the problem. However, it's not ok for him to be dishonest and then expect you to be all smiles and rainbows, either. Here's what I'd encourage YOU to do:
Figure out what you need to feel good again if you KNEW that he would not ever understand or try to help. How could you solve this problem all by yourself with no assistance from him? Once you have that answer and start to live your life without placing these kinds of expectations on him, you'll be surprised to find out how your relationship (and you) will change.
aiy i on March 16, 2015:
im a silent type of husband..
ive used a silent treatment on my wife,,, for 7 months,,,
one to surrender the silence,,
ive started greeted her,,
its not bcoz im a losser...
it becoz i want PEACE ON MY MIND..
Alima on March 12, 2015:
Yes, I'm considering it of course. We went for a short time a year ago, and we have individual therapy (but I'm more constant with it than he is). As everyone knows, money is often the issue with therapy... As for the "silent treatment" that I talked about yesterday, it ended when I silently went to bed by myself. An hour or so later he came by and said "are you ok ?" (in a sort of mad voice, still), I said calmly "well, not so good", and asked him if he wanted me to come in bed with him (I was in another room). He said "I don't know" (still angry voice). I responded that I could come and not talk, if he'd like. He said "ok, if you don't talk". Then he cuddled me in bed and fell asleep, all was good in the morning.
Now the issue is coming back on this misunderstanding (me wanting him to reassure me before leaving because of the recent lies, and him feeling extremely controlled into not being able to go see his friends) we had without starting it over. I'll wait for a better time to initiate this conversation ... hopefully it will be more constructive next time ... !
georgegould on March 12, 2015:
Much of what you say makes sense to me - with your situation changed, would you be interested in couples therapy?
Alima on March 11, 2015:
I've read your article twice in the past months, as if sort of makes me feel better when this happens in my marriage. I am 7 weeks pregnant after years of trying to conceive, and trying to stay as calm as possible in the situation. Yet, I am guilty of all the wrong reactions since this morning ; sort of forcing a conversation he was not into, being insecure about his whereabouts (because he has lied in the recent past), and confronting him about it & forcing him to reassure me... when he started ignoring me I kept talking and telling him how not nice that was... or trying to change the subject, or being nice, or staying silent by his side, or giving appologies, or leaving him alone a while but coming back after 1-2 hours asking if he was feeling better ... I've done it all wrong, in this crazy attempt to easy my own emotions and the anxiety that comes from feeling this gap between us. I even guilt him by saying that I'm pregnant and that the stress that he is making me feel right now is not good, and that he sould be here to calm me not stress me out ... Just writing this out I can see how frustrating I must have been since he woke me up in a good mood about his plan of a day with his friends. The hardest thing is really not doing anything. It's so hard for me to live my life as usual, when my whole body-mind-emotions are focused on this situation and being so sad about it. If my brain understands that I should just get work done, I have no concentration and feel so unhappy right now. And I don't like confrontations either, so the mere idea of going out to see friends myself, or whatever, feels like pouring oil on fire, which I really don't feel like doing at all. I know it will be better eventually, and I guess I can be happy that it has been much much less frequent recently. But it still hurts.
jellygator (author) from USA on February 11, 2015:
Thanks guys, for visiting and leaving kind comments!
georgegould on February 07, 2015:
This tendency kinda reminds me of a familiar phrase, something like "I don't know what love is, but I know it when I see it!"
Chris Powell from Atlanta, GA on February 05, 2015:
Great information...this hub is exactly what im going through right now. Im a guy that's currently going through the silent treatment because of some squabbling, I would love to get through this temporary issue the best way I can so that Ill know how to handle it.
Robert from Arvada CO on February 03, 2015:
The first paragraph is me totally. When me and my wife fight, which only happens maybe once a year, I go silent because I just don't want to be a mean jerk to her. She understands that now and just lets me be until we both cool down a bit and talk things out the next day.
Good information, I gave you a thumbs up!
Human on February 02, 2015:
Stonewalling is used also outside of intimate relationships to humiliate and control a target, and to evade accountability.
Brandon Hart from The Game on February 02, 2015:
This is a very well said article. I would agree that most people don't know how to respond to the "silent treatment", especially in relationships.
jellygator (author) from USA on November 25, 2014:
Nadine from ohio on November 23, 2014:
I love your Harry Hardhead analglgy. I will for sure be quoting that the next time one of my friends talks about giving her bf the silent treatment.
Personally, i have never been a fan of this technique. Silence will not solve any relationship issues, it only makes the problems worse because no one is dicussing why they are angry. Awesome hub!
georgegould on November 14, 2014:
jellygator (author) from USA on November 10, 2014:
Ah, ok. I get what you're saying now. BTW, welcome to HubPages. I see you signed up!
georgegould on November 03, 2014:
Honestly, I believe people usually do the best they can, but get tangled around because of various allegiances and wind up having to make do without assurances because this is better than lying to someone.
jellygator (author) from USA on October 28, 2014:
Your post is somehow poetic, GeorgeGould, which is great, but I admit that I don't understand your second paragraph very well.
georgegould on October 28, 2014:
Perhaps Love isn't love, sometimes, or at least it doesn't feel like it. That's where the word derives from the French: l'oeuf = zero, zip, zilch (in tennis, anyway...), or in normal French class, egg... what's the score??? 30-Love?
Luckily, solitude has power/control issues to keep us busy in the meantime. Caring for others isn't easy, fair, or worthwhile unless sacrifices made for relationships are made freely. I find myself wondering how silence is relative to something "in the air", as well. If someone's needs are met, perhaps that is better than not. I'm also reminded today of a line by Depeche Mode: "Lie to me, and do it with sincerity. Make me think of some great reward..."" from the album some great reward. Thanks to posters!
jellygator (author) from USA on October 27, 2014:
C'est vrai! Thanks, FSF!
FirstStepsFitness on October 26, 2014:
Very good Hub Abuse can be narrowed down into one statement " Power and Control " Keep in mind ladies Control isn't love .
jellygator (author) from USA on October 24, 2014:
Ai Yih, your question just now showed up, so I am sorry for the delay.
You asked what I would do differently? The honest answer is that if you treated me the way you're treating your wife, I would leave you. I believe that a person who loves me acts like it. I believe if someone acts like I don't exist to them, then I should respect that I am not important to them.
Elsie, thank you!
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on October 23, 2014:
Very good subject, there is more of this abuse around than most people think, only a lot never discusses it with other people as it makes more problems in their marriage. Thanks, nice to see many are opening up about it.
mslenai on October 22, 2014:
jellygator (author) from USA on October 22, 2014:
Thank you, mslenai! I hope you'll find a less harmful way to manage your hurt and anger in the future. It's so damaging!
mslenai on October 20, 2014:
I give the silent treatment a lot. I guess I never considered how it would feel if my man gave me the silent treatment. Great post!
jellygator (author) from USA on October 15, 2014:
I appreciate your honesty. Also, I know that many people feel like you do, that talking can be a waste of time.
However, I need to ask you to think about one thing:
You say you stay because you love, but you also say you act like she "never existed" to you. Can you see how a person might feel abused by this? And if you do see this, do you think this will ever help fix a problem or will it make her lie and say sorry when she isn't really sorry?
Ai yih on October 14, 2014:
Well i am tell you guys, specially to all the wifes.. Most men do not like arguing, talking much,
Our main reason. Its better not to talk, than talking nonsence...
But we are much easy to pls.... Just give us a simple saying sorry, in deepest sincerity.. Men will forgive and forget.
(yet its depends ) what's d issue...
You ask why im not to leaving on my wife,
Its because " i love my family, i don't want to be broken family, and i know my wife , as family she loves us, she loves our children....Ive feel it.
But as a man, as a father, head of the family... Ive never tolerate if they done something wrong... And im so much agree. SILENT TREATMENT, are more effective . Just to let them know... Respect me, our desition or You WILL NEVER EXIST ON Our EYES.. Thanx for give me time for what i feel . My opinions..
Im talking in general as a Man , Husband....
jellygator (author) from USA on October 14, 2014:
Hi Ai yih, and thank you for posting this. If you stop in again, I hope you'll tell us why you did not simply leave if her betrayal was a deal breaker.
jellygator (author) from USA on October 10, 2014:
Thank you, George!
georgegould on October 10, 2014:
Silent treatment no laughing matter! Though space in relationships is important, it can be carried too far, even relatable to passive aggressive behaviors in shorter terms... there's also needs for people to grow on their own and not assume about what's going on for the other person. Thanks for this great topic, Kathy
jellygator (author) from USA on October 08, 2014:
Thank you, msdcoggins!
Michelle Scoggins from Fresno, CA on October 05, 2014:
Great article jellygator. The silent treatment is another form of abuse and should be addressed. Many people disregard the indiscriminate types of abuse - thank you for exposing this topic. I really like how you explain that the silent treatment is due to that person's problem not yours. Voted up.
jellygator (author) from USA on September 17, 2014:
Good for you! Thank you for showing another option!
Jane Wilson from Geogia on September 14, 2014:
Growing up, when my mother and I had a disagreement, usually because I sided with my father in one of their arguments, my mother would give me the silent treatment for 3 days. I always took 3 days for her to get over it.
It was very uncomfortable, living in a home with someone making faces, turning away silently when our paths crossed and working hard to show you how disgusted she was with you.
Now 40 years later, I just plow through and keep talking to her while she sulks. I find something that she cares about and it forces a response. So she gets over her sulk in an hour or two typically.
jellygator (author) from USA on September 04, 2014:
Thank you, M Abdullah Javed!
muhammad abdullah javed on September 04, 2014:
Hi jellygator. Wonderful piece. You have dealt with an aspect about the gender relationship over which we usually maintain silence. The central theme of the hub is rightly pointing at an alrming aspect. But one cannot be sure that the silence is abusive? It might be owing to one's weakness? It happens that in some sensitive issues it becomes difficult to say something, and if happens to be the earlier days of marriage it becomes obvious that silence rule between the two. However a long time silence is definitely an abuse over which you have expressed a lot. Thanx for an insightful matter.
jellygator (author) from USA on September 01, 2014:
Hi Need Advice, and thank you for reading.
I don't think leaving is your only choice, but you'll have to figure out if your husband is an abuser who also drinks, or if he has an addiction to alcohol. From everything you described, he appears to meet the clinical requirements for a diagnosis of alcohol dependent. I have a couple of other articles that may help you with what you are going through. They will advise you to start going to Al Anon, because alcoholism is an illness that affects the whole family, but by sharing the experience, strength, and hope of other people who have been in similar situations, you may be able to have a good life whether you stay or leave.
Need advice on September 01, 2014:
First of all thank you for the information in this article. I found your article because I was searching for an advice on Google about how to cope with abuse and silent treatment and I am happy I found this information and am feeling hopeful I might get the specific advice from the author of this article. **I am not native English speaker, so I apologise if I make any mistake on my English writing. But I hope you will understand what I am trying to say here and give me an advice**.
I am 31, married for 8 years now, have a kid who is 6 and living with my husband which I think he is abuser. At this moment I am totally confused and don't understand what is really going on in our relationship and how to cope with this situation. Only thing I know for sure is something is wrong with our relationship and I am feeling unsure about my future life with my husband, even I wonder if it is the best solution to leave him.
When I got married with my husband, I thought he was quite, honest, humble, kind and calm person. I liked him and I fell in love with him because of I believed that found a person who I could be safe and happy with.
My husband likes to spend time with his friends and drinks. Actually he doesn't like to say "no", if somebody asks him to hang out with him and drink something together. And if he starts drinking he doesn't have control over how much drinking is enough and when is the time to go home. Especially when he is upset, he drinks way too much and spends his all money. (When he is sober, he is good dad and good husband. At least I think so). His this behaviour was bothering me almost from the early days since our marriage and each time I failed when I was trying to express my feelings, even we ended up with huge drama, argument followed by silent treatments over couple of days. Normally he apologised and I forgave him. I can remember he threatened me, hit objects, he will commit suicide if I don't stop nagging at him and blaming him for his drinking habit with his friends for few times when he was drunk. Over years my life is going like this. I didn't leave him because I trusted that he isn't that bad person to ruin our life and he would change and also I couldn't imagine I can raise my child by myself as I don't have much support from my family. I am financially dependent from him now.
He doesn't drink everyday but when he drinks he becomes totally different aggressive person. Initially he was better then now, he apologised, he promised to change and I could see he was trying his best to be better person. But I think he's getting worse gradually and even getting more aggressive then before when he's drunk now, even acting violently among his friends.
3 days ago we went to the party in his friends' house. Everything was OK until he made a trouble. I told him not to drink excess on that day and we had to go home not too late and he agreed. But as he drinks he forgot what I told him and drunk too much until he lose his control. I was too worried, because he claimed that he could drive home even though he was too drunk. As I insisted him to go home by taxi, he started getting angry at me because he was capable to drive car even if he's too intoxicated to walk straight and started creaming and pushing chairs. His friends tried to stop him he got more angry and fought with them. It was such as shame for me and it was the first time that he acted so violent among people (outside home). The saddest part was my kid witnessed all of his violent act on that night. He's friends took us home that night and that night I couldn't sleep well because I was disgusted, ashamed, disappointed with his acts and felt in doubt about our relationship. I felt insecure and worried my and my kid's wellbeing. I felt like I am walking on the eggshell. But I hoped that he would wake up and realise how bad he behaved last night and feel guilty when he's sober.
But next morning he didn't even feel guilty at all, didn't apologise, therefore he didn't communicate with me. I asked what was going on? but he told me he didn't remember anything because he got blackout last night. I asked him if is it right to drink like that and behave like that? and I told him that I am feeling insecure with him if he drinks like that and I am worried about our wellbeing, but he simply got angry at me and refuses to talk with me. We both got angry at each other (even though I don't understand what he is thinking and why he is refusing to confront with his drinking problem) and we didn't talk on that day. Since then we both treated ourselves silently and we slept on separate bed for 3 days. He didn't try to open up with me about the real issue, instead of it he just shut out. I am still don't understand what to do, and this relationship seems miserable and unpredictable and even insecure. And I don't know how to express my feelings, if he decides to talk (if this happens, but I don't think so). I am just speechless!
Also I am worried about my kid's future. Dad must be a role model for his kids, but I don't think he's showing good model to my kid. Also if he drinks again today or tomorrow and threatens us because of he is still angry (at me or what? I am not sure what's going on with him?) my kid and I don't have anybody who protect us. I am bit scared of it in deep down.
What should I do now? Is leaving him only option I have after all? Please give me an advice? I am totally confused now. Sorry for writing too long comment. But I hope you will read it and help me.
Additional: My husband and I have financial difficulty at this moment (actually we always had) and he is the only one who is working to feed us. I know he is really exhausted because of his hard labour work and he says he drinks to cope with his stress and pressure. But I don't accept his this kind of solution (drinking).
Thank you for reading.
Elizabeth Wood on August 24, 2014:
We have discussed about this situation once and he had agreed to try to not do it again. But, it seems he has forgotten.
Anyway, Thank you! That was a thought-provoking response. I will think about it