Silent treatment occurs in a relationship when one person ignores the other person, especially after an argument.
The silent treatment also known as withholding happens when one partner pressures the other with requests, criticism, or complaints, and the other responds with silence and emotional distance.
Silent treatment if not dealt with early enough has the power to destroy or cause a toxic relationship among partners.
While silent treatment is a learned pattern of communication that isn’t easily admitted or healed, you do have the power it takes to unlearn it and create a healthy relationship.
Here are some tips to help you:
1. Learn why your partner uses the silent treatment
Sometimes people can’t express their thoughts or feelings, so they clam up. Other times their emotions – anger, hurt, fear – are so strong that they simply can’t talk about how they feel because they think there are no words to express it. Sometimes people may also feel that they aren’t a match for their partner verbally, so they shut down.
2. Avoid letting the silent treatment get the best of you
One way to cope with silent treatment is to act like it doesn’t affect you even when it does. Yes, it might sound like pretense but it sure works. Remember that men who give the silent treatment are looking for ways to get a particular reaction out of you. If you refuse to play into their hands, they’ll know better than to try to get you into the game next time.
3. Learn the pattern of the silent treatment
After you’ve given your man time to cool down, maybe you have to be the first to apologize. It doesn’t seem fair, but often the giver of the silent treatment is the one who needs to be approached.
What’s the pattern of the silent treatment in your relationship? If you can identify it, then you’re in a better position of dealing with it. If your partner needs two days to cool off, then don’t approach him before that.
4. Talk to him kindly about how silent treatment makes you feel
At some point, you will have to confront your partner, even if your partner doesn’t want to be confronted. When that time comes, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and ask your partner to talk in a private, comfortable place.
Share how it feels when you get the silent treatment, and how it affects your relationship. You might even discuss other examples of verbal abuse in relationships, so your partner sees how serious it is.
5. Take care of yourself
You might feel like you’re grasping at straws and start beating yourself up for not being able to know what your loved one is thinking. The moment you start to feel like that, please stop.
Stop reprimanding yourself for not being a mind reader. Stop thinking it’s your responsibility to help an immature person mature. If someone gives any indication that they want to change, offer to help them. Otherwise, let them be.