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How to Deal With Silent Treatments in a Relationship

Have you ever been in a silent relationship with your partner, parent, child, or friend and wondered if you were the one who was wrong? People use silent treatment in various situations and not only in romantic relationships but also in other relationships.

What is Silent treatment?

Silent treatment happens when both parties or one individual refuses to communicate verbally with the other. Nothing creates more curiosity than silence! With silent treatment, you're left to guess and wonder what is going on between the two of you. 

What causes silent treatment in a relationship?

Relationships in life come with various benefits and challenges. As an individual in a relationship, you need to be aware of the various situations that you may come across in a relationship. One of the key things to note is your partner's behavior. 

Silent treatment in a relationship may arise and you need to know how and why they come about.

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When a person is too angry, hurt, or overwhelmed to speak, they may give someone the silent treatment. They may be afraid of saying something that will aggravate the situation or even hurt their partner.

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In these situations, it may be beneficial for each person to take some time to cool off before gathering to discuss the issue calmly. Counselors refer to this as "taking a time-out."

The silent treatment may also be caused by too much of something or someone. When a person is used to interacting with someone more often, it may reach a time that the partner gets bored and it may lead to the silent treatment.

The silent treatment may also arise after a fight between partners or even parties. Sometimes when you disagree with your partner, parents, children, or even friends, you may experience a silent treatment. It may last for quite some time.

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How long should silent treatments last?

Silent treatment varies from time to time. It may also be affected by how individuals are related. 

The simple answer to how long should the silent treatment last is that it should not last for days, weeks, or months.

Why do men give silent treatments?

In our previous article, we also looked at why men stop communicating in a relationship and this move is one of the factors that could lead to silent treatments from the man you are having a relationship with.

While some men are considered "talkers," many men are less talkative than women, especially when it comes to sensitive issues.

A man's silence can perplex a woman to the point of driving her insane.

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There are two main dynamic reasons that could make a man give you a silent treatment.

1. A man processes information differently

Most men prefer to "think it out" and "work it out"—alone unlike women who may prefer to "talk it out".

Silence does not always imply disinterest, indifference, passivity, insensitivity, or upset.

2. A man sharing his feelings might be difficult

When it comes to sharing feelings, it's a different story for many men.

Sharing certain feelings may give a man an unwelcome sense of vulnerability. He is opposed to giving a woman a psychological advantage.

How to handle silent treatment well

1. Share the psychology behind the silent treatment.

Give your partner information about silent treatment abuse during a calm period after he or she has punished you with silence. Discuss how the silent treatment affects trust and intimacy in your relationship.

Even though it is concealed by silence, this behavior is hostile. Communication and closeness withdrawal is deeply painful and unkind, and your partner should be aware of the harm he or she is causing.

2. Look for the reasons behind the silent treatment.

People who give silent treatment do not always do so maliciously.

They may struggle to express themselves, particularly when it comes to negative emotions such as anger and grief. They may also be concerned about how you will react if you know how they truly feel or think.
Before you do anything drastic about the silent treatment, make sure you understand why it works.

Ask the person directly (but calmly) why they are clamming up, and express your feelings. You'll know you're dealing with a toxic personality if you're met with defensiveness or a lack of empathy.

3. Respond with calmness and speak kindly.

If you're getting the silent treatment in a relationship, you'll have to confront your partner at some point, even if they resist. When the time comes, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and initiate a conversation in a private, comfortable setting.

4. Consider professional therapy

In a relationship, the silent treatment is emotional abuse. Putting up with silent treatment can be exhausting.

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Because of how you're being treated, you may become enraged, depressed, and anxious. In that case, seek professional assistance. If possible, invite the person who is giving you the silent treatment to join you in therapy.

If the person refuses, make appointments for yourself anyway.

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