Here’s Why The Silent Treatment Almost Never Works

By Lynsey 8 months ago

The other person might actually like it

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There's nothing worse than deploying the silent treatment on your other half, friend, or family member to display just how angry you really are, only for them to seem to get enjoyment out of it. In moments like this, you'll often find yourself getting more angry by their response!

It's destructive to all involved

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Giving someone the silent treatment can be emotionally destructive to all parties involved, and it shouldn't be an easy behaviour to display. When done frequently it an actually lend itself to causing psychological harm towards either yourself or the third parties experiencing the silent treatment.

They may not notice

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Even worse than getting enjoyment out of your silent treatment is when your silent treatment simply goes unnoticed. So you find yourself wandering around, trying to make a point of how angry and upset you are, only for it to not be acknowledged! The very purpose of your silent treatment is being missed...

It's hard to maintain it

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In the moment, when you're fuelled with emotions and your anger is at an all-time high, the silent treatment may seem like the most sensible option, however one things start to calm down, you may be left trying hard to maintain it - an exhausting place to be, especially if you're not naturally a confrontational individual.

It doesn't address the problem

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Giving someone the silent treatment may feel like it's doing the job, getting your point across or making change in the relationship, however all it is really doing is showing a lack of the communication skills needed to talk through how you're feeling and it can often lead to problems being left unresolved.

Where next?

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You've done it. You've committed to giving someone the silent treatment in the heat of the moment but what next? How long do you continue it for? How do you get yourself out off the cycle? Do you continue until you get the apology you're seeking or do you concede and pretend everything is normal after a day or two? Who knows!

You think the other person will give in, they won't!

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We've all been there when we've argued with someone and we are 100% convinced that we are right and there is no other way about it. So, you're giving the silent treatment whilst you wait for your other half to realise this and give in themselves but chances are, this won't happen. So, are you wasting your time?

It's a display of control or power

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Deciding to give someone the silent treatment can be seen as a display of controlling behaviour or a power struggle in a relationship. If done occasionally to showcase how you're feeling or to prove a point, it can be effective to some extent, however if done regularly, it can be an unhealthy trait to have.

It's withholding love

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Deciding to give someone you love the silent treatment, be that a significant other in a relationship, a close friend or a family member is simply a form of withholding love from and can be seen as a form of emotional abuse. It shows that you feel you have control over when and where you can love one another and it can come across as unfair to the person experiencing it.

It shows a lack of communication skills

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Communication in any relationship is essential for that relationship to progress ands weather the storms you may experience. If you struggle to communicate how you are feeling, chances are your chosen method of communication will involve giving the silent treatment.

It can be a toxic cycle

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Once you've decided that being silent and making someone aware of how you're feeling by withdrawing your interactions with them, it can become your only form of communication. This is because in some respect it's the easy way out as it avoids all forms of confrontation and rather distances yourself from the problem. Some may prefer it but it creates a toxic cycle that can be tricky to break!

It's a form of gaslighting

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When angry with your partner, you may find that your go to response is to turn cold and to shut them out. Although this might feel like the right thing to do from your perspective, it can be seen as a form of gaslighting: pretending that your significant other no longer exists and downplaying their emotions by saying 'There's nothing wrong, you're imaging it'.

It can make your loved one feel isolated

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Shutting out your loved one is a form of emotional abuse and will leave your loved one feeling unloved and lonely in the relationship. It can also be exhausting to not know whether they are coming and going and they'll feel like you haven't got their back when the going gets tough.

It can make your loved one feel rejected

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One of the most common issues that arise in a relationship is the feeling of being rejected. You put your heart out there; you're feeling vulnerable; and then you're isolated and ignored. It will leave you feeling rejected like never before because you should be coming together, when you're navigating rough patches yet you couldn't further apart.

Persistent silent treatment can lead to a breakup

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There is only so much silent treatment one person can take. If it is a regular occurrence within a relationship it can be exhausting and you'll find that you end up pushing your loved one away through a lack of communication and because they feel emotionally drained.

It creates a feeling of anxiety, fear and sadness

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For someone experiencing the silent treatment, it can be an anxiety-ridden experience that does not feel good. The feeling that your loved one is that annoyed that they no longer want to talk to you or spend time with you does nothing other than evoke fear of them leaving you because off your supposed flaws.

It can make your other half feel unsafe in the relationship

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Being in a relationship means you should be with someone who you trust the most in the world. Someone you can truly be yourself with and who you can talk to about anything. So, when that person gives you the silent treatment, you can feel an incredible betrayal of trust and find yourself feeling unsafe in the relationship.

It will heighten the conflict you may be trying to avoid

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For some people, experiencing the silent treatment can make them angry with their loved one, causing the situation to become more heightened as the silent treatment continues. You may be plodding along thinking one of you will give in, yet you're both stubborn and in fact the situation simply deteriorates.

It can be hard to come back from as it leaves so much damage behind

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Every time you choose the silent treatment as a form of communication - or lack of - it leaves behind a trail of heartache, mistrust and sadness. If this is persistent and there is no resolving of it post silent treatment, it can be hard to come back from as you will have left your loved one feeling extremely hurt.

Can make your partner overthink

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Overthinking from one party in a relationship is really common: for some people overthinking is a natural trait of theirs. When experiencing silent treatment, it can leave your significant other thinking about ways to fix the situation which can lead them to overthink it if nothing is working. This can lead to extreme anxiety if you're not careful!

Shows a lack of self-awareness

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Let's put it simply. The silent treatment screams a lack of self awareness. It shows that you cannot articulate your emotions and feelings and you find yourself being overwhelmed. Overall it displays a lack of emotional maturity that many of us are looking for in a partner.

It's avoiding conflict and that's not always helpful

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For someone choosing to do the silent treatment, it may not be an easy choice. Rather it is a reaction to feeling uncomfortable with conflict. They may not feel safe enough to express how they feel when encountering conflict and so they then choose to distance themselves.

You're punishing your loved one

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When you're with someone you care about, be it a family member or new partner, you should not want to hurt them or emotionally punish them. By choosing the silent treatment method, you're choosing to play with their emotions to suit your needs and you will inevitably be punishing them for behaviours you deemed unacceptable.

It's avoiding responsibility

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A common strategy to avoid taking responsibility for hurting another person is to withdraw and avoid them: give them the silent treatment to gaslight them. You might think it shows a clever way to avoid conflict but all it really shows is a lack of communication skills - it's time to grow up!

It shows entitlement

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The silent treatment shows a lack of care for others' feelings. It can be linked to narcissistic behaviour traits as it shows a high level of entitlement where you feel like the other person is in the wrong and they owe you to make it up to you. This is an unhealthy way to be in a relationship and you can find yourself in a toxic cycle of control as a result.

It's manipulation

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The silent treatment is a common sign of manipulation in a relationship. It's one partner deciding on how to control the situation and often it is them deflecting how they are feeling or deflecting on to a partner as they don't want to accept any blame or part in the relationship falling apart.

Conversations are emotionally healing

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Conversations are essential in relationships to move them forwards. When someone withdraws from conversation and ghosts you, it can cause severe emotional damage as they are not allowing you to talk through how you're feeling and find that emotional healing that you're seeking.

It goes against human nature

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Human beings are social beings and so the silent treatment is actually an unnatural response. It is said that our species has survived for so long thanks to our ability to communicate our needs. Silent treatment goes against our sense of belongingness and therefore goes against human nature.

It dismisses the other person's emotions

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We all hold certain values close to our heart and it is these values that inform our emotions and how we react to certain situations. When someone chooses to display the silent treatment, they are ineffectively saying that they don't value your feelings and values and they aren't taking the time to listen and to understand where you're coming from.

It can pressurise others in to forgiveness

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Silent treatment is the prize you might pay for standing up for yourself and fighting for your respect in a relationship. If the other partner weaponizes silent treatment in return, their intention is to make you feel bad about standing up for your dignity and to force you in to compliance - don't let them, know your worth!