Skip to main content

Silent Treatment is Emotional Abuse – How to Cope and Start Feeling Better

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
How to Cope with the Silent Treatment in Relationships

How to Cope with the Silent Treatment in Relationships

On this page, you will find solid, practical advice on how to cope with passive aggressive silent treatment and how to stop letting it overwhelm and intimidate you.

This article also contains observations and advice about what to do when you're not speaking on special occasions and points to what can be done to strengthen the relationship during good times.

Personal Experience

Year in, year out, I just could not understand or work out the reason why my husband and I could not seem to go more than a few months without an extended episode of not speaking (almost always over some trivial, inconsequential matter). During much of our marriage, his silent treatment left me feeling depressed, bewildered, and tearful to say the least. Finally, I found a way to turn things around and diminish this pattern, and I am so much happier for it. The changes I made to handle this issue, and my current reflections, are presented in this series of articles for the consideration of anyone who can relate.

What is the Silent Treatment?

The term "silent treatment" refers to when a person uses silence to convey their anger or grievance by ignoring or not speaking to the victim. Here's an introduction to this topic. Often used by narcissists, silence can be a form of emotional abuse and as such, it is unacceptable. Often, the person giving the silent treatment does so because they want (consciously or unconsciously) their victim to feel unworthy, to appease them, or to feel guilty about something. Alternatively, they may want their victim to apologise for something, even though often they choose not to clarify what is wrong!

A person who is repeatedly on the receiving end of cold-shouldering can wind up feeling resigned to being isolated, intimidated, insignificant, and/or despondent. Other times, the victim may feel angry, defiant, resentful, and/or vengeful. Over time, they can become totally worn down; no one should have to endure such conduct. In a family situation, the uncomfortable atmosphere created when parents are intermittently but persistently not speaking (which may ultimately lead to separation or divorce) can negatively affect children. Additionally, emotional stress brought about by persistent silent treatment can affect physical health.

If you are now in the initial stages of a relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend who engages in the silent treatment, the best thing you can do is to nip this negative behavior in the bud before it becomes a pattern of your union. It is true that the longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to deal with and eradicate, but it is never too late to do something about it. Dealing with a significant other who refuses to talk and interact can be extremely challenging and daunting, but there is hope.

Difference between a Cooling-Off Period and the Silent Treatment

Following a disagreement or awkward episode, silence can be a good thing as it allows both parties to calm down. A cooling-off period works best if both parties can agree to a time when they will come together to resolve the issue.

However, do note that the silent treatment differs from a cooling-off period in that its duration is extended and unknown. It is not recommended that the victim approach the perpetrator of the silent treatment with a suggested time and date to sit down and discuss matters. This might seem like a good idea, but it is my belief that this tactic does not work when dealing with a habitual abuser of the silent treatment, since they see it as a capitulation, and it only serves to feed their desire to control and manipulate.

How to Deal with the Emotional Abuse of the Silent Treatment

Some victims have noted that the more worn down and miserable they get, the happier their abuser becomes. The victim must know that a silent treatment abuser thrives on observing the negative effect they have on their target. Therefore, it is necessary to stop “feeding” that desire for control and power.

This means NOT giving them the satisfaction of seeing the negative emotional effects of their immature behavior. They can derive a great sense of self-importance and triumph if you get irate, annoyed, upset, capitulate/apologise, weep, or plead with them to talk to you. Starve them of these rewards for their unjust behavior and they will likely eventually tire of engaging in the silent treatment.

Whether or not the reason for the cessation of communication is known, here are some strategies to help with “starving” them out and breaking a silent treatment:

  • Don’t appear upset. The best way to do this is not to allow the abuser’s actions to get you upset in the first place. Stop yourself from getting stressed by having on hand a previously prepared list of positive things you will do to distract yourself from feeling overwhelmed by the silent treatment. Your list could include listening to uplifting music, exercising, watching your favourite comedy shows, and engaging in hobbies such as painting, reading, or the like.
  • Appear to be upbeat. Essentially go about your normal day-to-day activities and be seen to be positively and contentedly getting on with your life in spite of their efforts to unsettle you.
  • Refrain from engaging in tit-for-tat silence. This is easier said than done but it pays to make a superhuman effort to speak to the other person whenever the need arises about everyday matters. When you talk to them, be sure to use your normal delivery and tone of voice. Do not be tempted into trying to beat them at their own game, for they are experts at it and it will ultimately get you nowhere in terms of eradicating such behavior. Do not allow them to drag you down to their level of immaturity: Two wrongs don’t make a right!
  • Do not try to coax your partner into conversing with you. Just be secure in the knowledge that if they don’t answer you, you will survive. You’ve survived in the past and you will survive now, only this time you will be surviving much more contentedly. When they don’t respond to you or don’t respond well, simply move on with your day and refuse to dwell on their rudeness.
  • Do not rise to the bait. When they use sarcasm or will only speak to you in a patronizing manner, instead of getting upset or responding in kind, simply get on with enjoying something on your previously-prepared silent treatment survival list of things to do! Let them see that their attempt to rile you is a waste of their time and yours! Remember: Do not “feed” their habit.

Acting on the above guidance is not easy, and you may falter at times. When this happens, just forgive yourself and press on with the suggestions, for you know you deserve better treatment. Make it a conscious choice to be responsible for your own happiness and soar above the silent treatment.

Please be aware that if you tell your partner your plans to put the above strategies into action and then, for some reason, you do not follow through, it will likely lead to your partner feeling triumphant and encourage them to engage in silent treatment emotional abuse even more! Therefore, it is not recommended, at any stage, that you tell your partner about these strategies. Just do what you need to do without explanation or prior warning.

Important: If the silent treatment is from a partner who is verbally or physically abusive, rather than acting on the suggestions given here, get help from a professional experienced in such matters. Also get professional advice before acting on these strategies if you believe your partner may gravitate from silence to physical or verbal abuse, even if they have not done this in the past.

Physical, Emotional, or Verbal Abuse?

Some people who give their partner the silent treatment feel they are justified in doing so because their partner has been physically, emotionally, and/or verbally abusive towards them.

In the long term, silence is unlikely to enhance the relationship, and it is no guarantee the abuse will stop. Thus, the root cause for why someone feels they have no alternative but to become silent must be addressed, and it is wise to seek the help of a competent professional to deal with such issues when personal safety is an issue.

Not Speaking on Special Days

It's sad and awkward when there is a special occasion (e.g. Christmas, Thanksgiving or a wedding) but you and your partner are not speaking. You may feel stressed and obligated to keep the not-speaking a secret lest you mar the day for others. My advice is to continue with the above strategies and to re-double your efforts at being positive. Do not allow yourself to wallow in feeling sorry for yourself or get indignant at the insanity of it all (especially when it's over a petty matter).

Scroll to Continue

Past experience may have taught you that your partner is not just magically going to start treating you right just because it is a special day. Therefore, instead of merely dreading the occasion, actually plan ahead how you will keep yourself busy and buoyant. Be absolutely resolute within yourself that you are going to have a good day, despite their best efforts to thwart you. You can rise above the silent treatment so that the day will not be a total washout.

You Cannot Force your Partner to Stop the Silent Treatment!

Most people find that no amount of pleading or apologising will make their partner stop this behavior. Bear in mind that the only person you can change is yourself, so the only way forward is to change the way you respond when he/she gives you the silent treatment.

You Can Stop Yourself Becoming Overwhelmed with Negative Feelings

By executing the methods suggested above, taking good care of yourself, and positively investing time and energy in choosing to be happier, you can limit negative feelings such as misery and isolation.

Further, when you stop “feeding” their unhealthy, destructive, relationship-killing habit, this can lead your partner to re-evaluate and decrease such behavior, since the silent treatment is no longer getting them their desired result— i.e. controlling the way you feel or making you feel bad.

By conscientiously carrying out the above strategies, you can stop walking on eggshells because you're no longer so anxious of your partner's silence. Moreover, you can stop unintentionally making silent treatment worthwhile for your significant other and become stronger, wiser, and happier in the process.

Emotional Abuse Awareness

Emotional abuse does not get talked about as much as verbal and physical abuse, but it can be just as devastating and damaging. With a better understanding of the issue, we can help ourselves and also arm our friends and loved ones so that they too can recognise abuse should it present.


When the Silence Ends . . .

When you and your partner are back on speaking terms, it is worthwhile endeavouring to fortify the relationship. Speaking your partner's love language could help in this regard.

Thinking of Leaving the Relationship

Emotional abuse does not get talked about as much as verbal and physical abuse, but it can be just as devastating and damaging. Thus for some, the only solution to recurring silent abuse is to end the relationship. This takes courage, but many who do so only wish they had done it earlier.

It's natural to feel extremely apprehensive at the thought of breaking up. For those who find they cannot leave immediately and those who have reason to choose to stay for the duration, the strategies here can empower them to rise above silent abuse.

It may be that a partner will tire of their control tactic if it no longer “works” for them, but there is no guarantee that a person who employs silent abuse will change at all, particularly if that person has a host of other passive-aggressive or narcissistic traits. For those who are contemplating leaving their marriage this article, Passive Aggressive Partners —Why Do They Act That Way and What Are Your Options? will be of interest.

Balance in Relationships

Communication is a vital component of a successful relationship. As well as taking on board these suggestions for how to handle and cope with silent abuse, it is important to look at yourself to ensure you are approachable, assertive, a good listener, and open to negotiation, reason, and compromise. That way, your partner cannot legitimately claim they have no alternative to deal with you but to resort to silence.


Click here for the next article (Part 2) on How to Cope with Silent Treatment

Further Strategies: From the link immediately above, you can learn how self-awareness can stop you from inadvertently making it worthwhile for your partner to continue giving you the cold shoulder and how keeping things in perspective helps you become stronger, wiser, and happier even though you are being "ignored".

N.B.: There are interesting experiences from male and female contributors from both sides of the silent treatment fence in the comments section below. Topics raised include illness and feeling desperate as a result of the silent treatment and other insights and ways of coping, so do check back periodically for new comments and responses. Thanks to all who have commented.

© 2012 Ebonny

Comments: How Do You Cope with the Silent Treatment Emotional Abuse in Relationships?

Angelina on September 03, 2020:

Everything I have just read is what I am going through presently. My husband did not speak to me for 6 days straight at one point. Although I apologized and tried talking to him,he never once said a word. Had to get other family members involved and then he spoke to me. It was devastating and draining each day. I felt sick. Most of the time, he doesn't answer when I ask him simple questions. Not even a word. He pretends that he does not hear me. I try talking nicely and asking the question calmly and still he ignores me. He barely helps with chores at home and ignores me most of the time. I am thinking of giving him a break tight now and most of the time I'm trying to get the courage to leave him...

Ebonny (author) from UK on June 30, 2020:

Hi Lee

So sorry you are going through this and my apoligies for delay in responding to your comment. Six weeks is such a long time - and not sleeping and not workng is detrimental to both a person's physical as well as emotional/mental health.

I do hope you can get local qualified help, or speak with a wise friend, to unburden and share what you are feeling and seek to objectively weigh everything up and look at all the options available to you - because you must take care of your health.

My sincere best wishes to you in your decision making.

Lee Coveney on June 02, 2020:

Six weeks. That's how long it's been since he spoke to me. I have been following your advice (worked out on my own) not to try and coax him or force him to speak to me. He's done it so many times before, and I've done it so many times before, that I'm not going to rise to that bait. But six weeks? I can't sleep. I can't work. I don't know what to do. Please help me.

PoetikalyAnointed on September 24, 2018:

Thank you for that!

Great read here.

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 24, 2018:

Hi PoetikalyAnointed

Sorry your circumstances mean you have to be on this page but I really appreciate your feedback. Do take very good care of YOU and know that you can find the strength not to let anyone's selfish, manipulative ways defeat or control you. Best regards, Ebonny

PoetikalyAnointed on September 23, 2018:

Hi Ebonny,

God Bless you for this Hub; you might've just saved a life! I saw myself from start to finish in this brilliantly written article.

Emotional abusers are MONSTERS and can be just as bad or can be worst than Verbal/Physical Abusers.

It's a sick pychological mind game that they play on those who are willing and capable of loving them. Problem is, they can't handle our love because they can't reciprocate it. They lack the love within to love purely and freely. So they Hate themselves and You!

Great Hub!

Ebonny (author) from UK on April 05, 2018:

Hi Linda

Many thanks for sharing your experiences. Yes, we do have a duty to ourselves to make the best out of the situations we find ourselves in, and it's uplifting to know that you are putting a smile on your face and steadily moving on and up.

Linda Poole on April 04, 2018:

I left my emotionally anusive man 2 1/2 years ago and although I had come to miss him in time I learned he had been dating someone for a year. Despite out and out mentioning to him that he had straightened his act out and had become much the man I met. I told him it was not too late to reverse things but he thought it was best things be left as they are. I remain in contact with him despite his new partner majorly being disagreeable but we need to be in touch due to my use of his benefits which does make it hard on me but I just accept that some things never change and go on with my life. I hate to say it but it is not without guilt of what part I had become in the marriage, though he seems very cold about the whole thing. If I didn’t know better he may have dated her while I was still there because he had lots of time to do so. Just as it was in our situation he is the type of person who hates to be alone.

I just deal with in about insurance and support matters and have moved on to do things I want to do now instead of having someone else saying “we can’t afford it”. I have grown a lot from my situation with him but I still think of how sad I was and distraught while I was with him. That is enough to make me focus on me, as there is obviously no reason why I should bang my head against the wall about the marriage and am much happier for it. One cannot change the past but they can learn from it. One also cannot predict what the future will hold for me so I just

keep busy and get on with my day.

You are your own best advocate, so put a smile on your face and move through your day with a smile on your face. Be proud you get by each day as it will get easier in time.

jesse massengale on February 02, 2018:

the topic answers look good but what if the wife and children are abusing the husband also what advice do you have? could I use the same advice also?

Ebonny (author) from UK on January 03, 2018:

Hello Devie

First I must tell you how much I admire your resolve and determination at this most challenging time in your life and I sincerely wish you all the best for the future.

I must also thank you for sharing your experience on this page. I am sure will give salient food for thought to others dealing with recurrent/extended silent bouts from a partner.

Take good care and may your emotional and physical healing continue at a pace - Ebonny

Devie on January 02, 2018:

I have been a victim of this for 16 years. I use to cry and lock myself in the room for days until I would beg him to talk to me or apologize for something I didnt do. I just hated the fact that the man I love wasnt talking to me. But what really opened my eyes was when I was diagnosed with cancer. Liver and gall bladder, a few months later, ovarian cancer, and a month after that liver again. During this time when I needed him the most, he bailed on me. We had a small little arguement that lead him to take off for a month and a half. Just when I needed him the most after my first surgery he takes off. I had over 65 staples in my chest/abdomen and hip area. I couldnt get out of bed, walk, shower, and so on. I had to do this all myself. He came back after his tantrum was over, and yes I took him back, but letting him know that I was done with his behavior and not forcing him to be with me if he didnt want to. He behaved for a while, we got along and was very attentive, But once I had to start chemo, he became cold, hard, un supportive, and now is giving me that silent treatment. I am done with his tantrums, I am not falling into his trap again. I am going on with my life, not letting it bother me, and I can tell its bothering him, I am not crying or locking myself in our room. I am healing from the abusive behavior, and I am in GODS hands once again. I will be moving forward in life, with or without him. But at the moment, I am making my move to leave him.

Ebonny (author) from UK on October 17, 2017:

Hi Amy - Well done you with stopping smoking. I'm so sorry to hear of your situation and it's very concerning as to why the ST has this set pattern! As to the other issues I do hope there is someone you can talk to about these issues and get some support as otherwise, for some people, the ongoing situation can become overwhelming and, as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved, at least somewhat. Take care. Ebonny

Amy on October 11, 2017:

Silent treatment, every 2 weeks for 3-4 days, I've started a part-time job, cause no tax credits, husband won't give me the £80 a week, I have to hide bank statement, as I take money out to cover costs, of school dinners , diesel and shopping, he would go mad if he found out, also I managed to stop smoking ?!

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 21, 2017:

Hi Shelly

Thank you for your comment. Yes, I too consider myself a survivor and I am glad to know your faith has seen you through, as has mine. Sincere best regards, Ebonny.

Shelly reese on September 18, 2017:

I would never want anyone to go through any of the wild extreme craziness I have survived with GOD'S help

Ebonny (author) from UK on August 11, 2017:

Yes, Greatsword23 - unfortunately, silence is all too common in relationships.

Ebonny (author) from UK on August 11, 2017:

Thanks June - glad to know you are enjoying your freedom from silence.

June Liandra from State of Wyoming on August 10, 2017:

i had a partner whom i lost 90% contact with, i was still with him but he couldnt control his pants and went to another woman, i was not devastated at all because the pressure was in the silent times, when it was over, it was a joyful release

GreatSword23 from Belgium on August 04, 2017:

i've been in multiple relationships and silence always bothers me

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 31, 2017:

Hi JDMichael -

Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your thoughts and feelings. When reccurent bouts of silent treatment is the norm from a partner who either deliberately or steadfastely will not change their passive aggressive silent ways no matter what, it is only natural to seriously consider separation/divorce. Ultimately, we must not forget we have a duty to ourselves to save our sanity!

I can readily concur with so much of what you have said and, as mentioned in the article "for some, the only solution to recurring silent abuse is to end the relationship". Whatever you choose to do, I do wish you well. Regards Ebonny

JDMichael77 on July 28, 2017:

Perhaps i need to gather more information about this topic, but I am currently going through yet another silent treatment from my partner over an issue that could have been no big deal at all. I read this article, and thought it had suggestions that were quite a perfect world. I like what this article says because it validated what I (possibly us) are going through/feeling. I liked the article so much because I have been trying to implement all of the suggestions it offered prior to coming across it. There is one problem though. The actionables it recommends, many times, are beyond the realm of benefit I am willing to give my partner. If you review the article and many of the subsequent responses, how many times do you encounter the phrase "easier said than done"? ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! "Super human effort" was even used once I believe.

In my opinion, when you are certain the other person is exactly aware of what they are doing and continue to do it, they show zero remorse, and trying to reach out to them as humbly and cautiously as possible, yet this makes their behavior continue or worsen...I DO NOT THINK SO! I only say this because someone you care for, and who claims to care for you, this much would NEVER NEVER EVER EVER purposefully put you through this any more than they would beat the daylight out of you, or rape a person. Of course those are all varying degrees of abuse, but all fall into the same category. Someone you love and care for this much, should respect you, honor you, always do whats in the best interest for both of you, and be considerate always. And visa versa of course. if its decided that the person who gives the silent treatment will continue doing so, then one really needs to ask if they are appropriately invested in the person. I'm not saying leave or end the relationship, but with each silent treatment, reevaluate the relationship and while they are still permitted to remain a part of your life (should you decide that is best), and always be self aware of what you mean to eachother. If you are honest with yourself, you will fine that with each "temper-tantrum" you distance yourself just a little more.

in addition, if you are looking for someone who you met that magical day when you first met, but never seem to find them...and always longing for THAT person...guess what? They are gone to Disney Land, and likely will never return. Don't kid yourself, be strong, and don't make excuses for the behavior.

The article is correct though, ultimatums and timeframes are sure-fire ways to evoke further silence . Anything you request or would like that you ask for, you can basically expect the exact polar opposite from them. If you ask me, that is not someone who cares much for you at all.

Just want to post this because everyone's situation is very different and widely varied regarding elements of what is at stake. So I am not advocating anyone do anything permanent or regrettable, just be self aware and know where you stand with that person. Once you feel you have a clear and settled understanding of the situation, THEN decide which behavior you will show to them. If leaving is right, then you better be ready to stick to your guns and do not regress. You'll find yourself back where you were only a few steps further back. If its decided to remain with the person, here's where i think the suggestions in the article would be MOST HELPFUL. When you are on peace time. They need to earn your trust back into your circle. Don't make it easy either, and allowing them back in WILL TAKE SOME TIME! You think they've got patience with their little silent show 'em how much time you've got. Be with them...dangle yourself in front of them like a carrot...always just out of reach until YOU ARE COMFORTABLE giving more, and not a moment sooner. All the examples and responses made me feel like everyone was making excuses for their partner and not giving themselves enough credit. My partner and I are about to discuss our latest bout in a little while and I'm standing firm as i have the past 2 times. tonight could be the end, but doesn't have to be. I just want him to validate why I felt disrespected, stop being so defensive and for the love of Pete...STOP ARGUING!! I won't go through any more details about my little soap opera going on over here. But be strong, know where you stand, and have a clear view of the big picture, days, weeks, months, and then years go by...suddenly you've wasted 5 years of your life when all along you knew it should have been over long ago. Then you'll REALLY BE UPSET WITH YOURSELF thinking about all the stuff you missed out on doing while you were playing cat and mouse with the current moron! Its a sad state to be where that person is, but you're almost no better if you let it linger on. Cut both of you free for the better of you both if thats what its come to, just maybe don't wait for that person to come around...they are gone never to be heard from again. Good luck to everyone, and thanks for reading this response.

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 20, 2017:

Hello lonelyandanon

First off - there is no need for you to apologise for your posting. Thank you for sharing your situation and feelings. I am sorry to learn of your bereavement and you have certainly had difficult times so I can understand how you feel overwrought and anxious right now.

Unfortunately there are no easy answers but if you are able to get before a wise, experienced, independent listening ear this could help you think things through, get stuff out of your system, reflect on and learn from your experiences, acknowledge shortcomings and appreciate good points (in others as well as yourself), forgive yourself and others and hopefully find ways to take more control of your own emotional well being. No doubt all this will take time so be kind and patient with yourself but resolute.

If I have understood correctly, it doesn't sound as if your partner is a serial giver of silent treatment so he may simply need space after recent events and the aftermath. If he wants space, I would have to say best give it to him but do be sure to use the time to positively and productively work on developing yourself and believing in yourself. Try to explore what coping mechanisms might work best for you - and avoid those which don't - and find out what helps you feel calmer and more in control of yourself emotionally for the long, as well as the short term. Please don't underestimate your potential to become more resilient all round. Best wishes Ebonny

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 20, 2017:

Marketing Merit

Thank you for your very pertinent comments. Because disagreemens will inevitably occur in a relationship, it makes sense to develop an agreed positive approach to tackling contentious issues.

lonelyandanon on July 16, 2017:

I'm feeling really overwhelmed just now as I'm getting silent treatment too and my partner knows how much it hurts me. I will try to do as the article suggests. My partner is a good person and I had BPD and he stuck with me through my worst. I was doing well for a while, at college, then uni, but my mum died and I'm slowly sinking backwards. I got really drunk on a rare night out with friends and travelling home in the car I grabbed the wheel. He threw me out the car, and the police got involved when they found me wondering down the road crying. I know it was my fault and now he's giving me the silent treatment but not before telling me he could lose his job. Im now so worried it will be taken to court. Everything is just getting on top of me and if truth be known I'm terrified of losing my man. We've been together 13 years and until I went for help he would constantly threaten to leave me and it really scared me. I don't know what I would do without him, I have deep rooted abandonment issues and despite years in counselling, I don't think they were ever resolved. I really hate myself right now, have feelings of utter shame, and just really overwhelmed and sad. I don't know what to do, and I can't talk to my partner as he just doesn't want to know. I will try acting like it's not affecting me and do things to distract from it, but he will know its all an act. I just want to wipe the slate clean and him to talk to me. Sorry for blurting this out, but I feel so lonely and helpless.

C L Grant from United Kingdom on July 12, 2017:

It is never a positive step to stop speaking to your partner. However, there is a big difference between knowing why the situation has arisen as opposed to not knowing. Many victims of emotional abuse are typically left wondering as to what they did wrong. This is not healthy. Also, taking time-out to resolve mutually agreed problems, can be a constructive means of reaching an amicable resolution.

Ebonny (author) from UK on May 28, 2017:

Many thanks Matty

It's sad when withdrawal feels like the only way out.

And most certainly we do need to be self aware and honest enough to ask ourselves if we are giving the other person no alternative but to resort to silent treatment and indeed this is where the bit above about Balance in Relationships comes into play I feel.

Faced with a partner who is never willing to end an argument there comes a point where the silent partner of a person who is verbally, emotionally or physically abusive is indeed a victim and a very unhappy one at that and I would say he or she must carefully consider the long term effects on their own emotional and physical health and well being.

Thanks again for reading and commenting - Ebonny

Ebonny (author) from UK on May 28, 2017:

Many thanks Matty

It's sad when withdrawal feels like the only way out.

And most certainly we do need to be self aware and honest enough to ask ourselves if we are giving the other person no alternative but to resort to silent treatment and indeed this is where the bit above about Balance in Relationships comes into play I feel.

Faced with a partner who is never willing to end an argument there comes a point where the silent partner of a person who is verbally, emotionally or physically abusive is indeed a victim and a very unhappy one at that and I would say he or she must carefully consider the long term effects on their own emotional and physical health and well being.

Thanks again for reading and commenting - Ebonny

Matty Navarro from Pennsylvania on May 24, 2017:

Silent treatment can also be a coping mechanism, where the person chooses silence over arguing. I think the victim is not always the person giving the silent treatment, it could be the other way around. When you have to deal with people who love arguments but never seem to be willing to end it, you can get emotionally stressed and withdrawal becomes an option. Great hub!

Ebonny (author) from UK on April 13, 2017:

Hi Mari

Every situation/couple will differ so it's a choice to leave a partner alone whilst going about your business as usual in a contented manner, or whether you approach them about things as usual without showing/feeling any great distress should they choose to remain silent when you engage them. (You might indeed choose to do a bit of both to see what you are most comfortable with and works best in a given situation.)

Either way you might say its about showing a partner, and importantly yourself, that it's not the end of the world when the SO isn't speaking to you and it's knowing that you can disengage from any undue manipulative tactics dealt you. There's no guarantee if or when a partner will change their silent habits. If it does happen I would say it takes time/a number of episodes rather than just 1 or 2 episodes to see change, so being consistent is key - although often easier said than done. Regards, Ebonny

MariDickens on April 12, 2017:

I would like to ask if it's recommended to leave your SO alone (no matter the duration) during their silent treatment until they choose to talk again. The above advice makes sense, though it has been since Saturday evening (it's now Wednesday night).

Ebonny (author) from UK on April 08, 2017:

Hi Ocean - my thanks to you for your feedback and I am uplifted to know this has been of help to you. Ebonny

Ocean on April 07, 2017:

Hello, thank you! This article has gave me so much positive confidence when I'm dealing with the "Silent treatment". Now I am able to ready well during the night and better self regulate when critical times arrives. Thank you

Ebonny (author) from UK on March 30, 2017:

Hi Rosemary

Hopefully you can talk some sense into him when he's sober - and hopefully if he cares and is truly invested in continuing and bettering the relationship, he'll seriously put effort into drinking less.

RosemaryPoche on March 27, 2017:

My boyfriend has been doing this for 18 months.He tries to pick a fight with me&goes home?It always happens when he,s drinking beer.I,m sick of him doing this to me.What can I do about it.Rosemary

Ebonny (author) from UK on January 19, 2017:

Hello “Is it ST or Withdrawal”

It is good to know what we are on the same page as regards ensuring that we monitor our own behaviour so that we do not give a partner no alternative but to want to give out silent treatment/the necessity of finding out root causes as indicated in the article. Thanks for expanding on this and for sharing your experience. I admire you for trying to have your partner attend counselling with you to address the concerns which you felt were driving you to be silent. I’m sure there are many who are on the receiving end of silent treatment who wish their partner would offer and/or agree to go to counselling.

Is it the silent treatment or withdrawal? on January 18, 2017:

What could seem like the silent treatment to one is withdrawal to the other. Withdrawal is a common protection method when one partner is afraid that saying anything will get nagging, criticism or an explosion.

Don't assume it's simply the cold shoulder. There are methods for dealing with this (an excellent audio program or book on this is called Coping With Difficult People).

I withdrew from my now ex-wife after a series of criticism and explosions for my own protection. I talked to her, told her that I was avoiding her because of this and suggested marriage counseling, and she refused to go. This made me withdraw from her further, as I felt that she didn't care about the relationship.

Now, having dealt recently with two people who had to be hospitalized for psychotic illnesses, realize that she was also mentally ill and disconnecting from reality. She left me and the kids suddenly, cutting us all off.

The lessons:

First, try to determine if you are doing something that has deeply offended your partner, or are continually doing something. A common pattern is that one sees the other as a nag or hypercritical, and withdraws, and the other sees someone who is giving the silent treatment.

Second, try some of the techniques in Coping With Difficult People for breaking a negative interaction cycle, which is often (probably generally) what is really going on. I won't go into these here, but you can find them on the internet (or read the book). This will take work, and it will probably hurt, but you could make a breakthrough.

Third, if you can't break through yourself, try to get help from a couples counselor or some other third party, such as a pastor, etc.

... and certainly, if your partner asks to go to counseling, and you refuse, regardless of how you feel about it, the message you'll be sending is generally that you don't care or you want out of the relationship (yes, the research bears this out).

Ebonny (author) from UK on December 18, 2016:

Hi CruelIntention

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is indeed very difficult to know where you stand when people are silent and leave you hanging. When you are hurting It’s very tough to come to terms with the notion that you may never ever know the truth or get the full explanation you deserve.

I only wish there was a guaranteed formula for initiating, speeding and completing the acceptance of a situation, learning from it and positively moving on. It’s a process and no doubt it’s different for everyone but I do hope you can find a way to help yourself to increase your resilience and positivity and help yourself look outwards, move onwards and upwards. Ebonny

CruelIntention on December 17, 2016:

I have been with a man, who would talk every day 3 hours with me on the phone, promising me bring starts from the sky, saying so many lovely words to me about LOVE, then we met last time and then suddenly he dissipated. He went to another country without even saying Goodbye! I was shocked and cried more than a year every day. I cried because I didn`t understand how it is possible to put me on a pedestal and the next month just leaving me. There was a story behind about as if he was a hero leaving another country because of me but then again...he left me. When I wrote him a letter, he responded that i never needed his true love and that he can not exist and live anymore. It made me feel horrible even paralyzing! I never met such adult people who do Silent treatment. It is the worst nightmare to wait somebody`s email one year just to clarify what happened!!!

CruelIntention on December 17, 2016:

I came across this article so desperate that I couldn`t help but crying!

Ebonny (author) from UK on August 24, 2016:

Hi Laurinzo

I’m glad for your feedback. Many thanks for dropping by.


Ebonny (author) from UK on August 24, 2016:

Hi Fati74

I’m not on here daily so it may well be you have made some decisions by now and that’s fine. For what it’s worth, and as difficult as it is when you love someone, in your position I hope I'd be thinking I’d had a lucky escape! (Although to be fair, when I was younger, more needy and more naive, I might not have come to that conclusion, more’s the pity.)

With him saying he “needs a very long peaceful time” I’m not sure you even have the option to rekindle/get back together, and if he is unsure what he wants in terms of a relationship with you, then I imagine continuing would be a very bumpy ride. Only you can decide if he’s worth it.

His blame thing doesn’t bode well and him saying he cannot remember why he stopped communicating is a huge red flag in my opinion. Is he even now prepared to discuss your concerns about him always being busy with work and friends or is this something that must be brushed under the carpet never to be mentioned again? (I have to say I’m somewhat biased as I know what it’s like to ask something and then find that the other person is so outraged or averse to my even having the temerity to ask, that they behave in such a way that I would never dare to ask the question again (i.e. silent treatment can also conveniently silence the person on the receiving end.) Now, that’s me, and I don’t know your man or his side of the story, and I don’t know you so again I have to say be your own best friend, give yourself your best advice, the advice you would give to a well loved friend in your situation, and then take your own advice.

Again, he may not want the same things as you for the relationship but if you need space and time to think about things, just tell him so and delay your decision.

Fati74 on August 22, 2016:

Dear Ebonny,

Thank you for your kind reply, I do appreciate it. I thought It was over between us.

He texted me today seemed depressed, he wrote that he is lost and feels useless and does not even remember what happened that made him stop communicating! He says he just felt he can not deal with anybody and/or anything, that the anger and this silence are making the gap bigger between us and he doesnt know if we will ever go back to how we were, he concluded by saying that "the strange thing is that you didnt even notice that i am in my worst condition", and that he was sorry if I was hurt, but He needs a very long peaceful time.

I guess he expected me to be super happy that he finally replied to me, but this text hurt me more, how is it my fault when he pushes me away, when he doesnt open up to me, and when he would leave me wondering what's wrong for over 2 weeks!!

I love him Ebonny, but I am so confused now, I dont know what should I do, I want to keep him but also to teach him a lesson so he thinks twice before doing this again to me. I did not reply , Iwill not untill i hear from you.

Thank you again ,

LJ Scott from Phoenix, Az. on August 22, 2016:

Very well said... it is a horrible thing to once love someone and then be afraid to see, or know them.... Wow... Great hub!!!

Ebonny (author) from UK on August 20, 2016:

Hello Fati74

So sorry to hear of your situation but I thank you for sharing. Given what you have said, I guess you would never have imagined that this could happen and are seeing a different side to him. To summarise, my understanding is you’ve established that your boyfriend is alive and well and choosing not to acknowledge your messages or engage with you at all.

Having to accept that you may never know the reason for a partner’s silence and withdrawal is never easy and unfortunately I can only say there is nothing you can do to make him change his behaviour if he doesn’t choose to or want to.

I am wondering what advice you would give to a much loved friend in your position? A very important thing to do is right now is to be your own best friend – give yourself good, constructive advice to move forward and take your own advice. Deep down you know yourself better than anybody so take time to constructively reflect on how you can best healthily get over him AND thrive. Do also seek support from friends, family or perhaps a local counsellor as necessary. The only way is up so take good care of yourself - Ebonny

Fati74 on August 19, 2016:

Hello Ebonny,

Thanx a million for this, i was frustrated searching the net to find some answers. I've been dating my boyfriend for about a year now and he has been great, compassionate gentle man, but always busy with work and friends and i felt i had to talk to him after all this period of being understandind. I did write him a brief gentle message two weeks back , saying that i understand hes busy and all but i miss him and if i didnt love him it wouldent matter ..etc.

he saw my message and from that second without saying a word he stopped talking to me, i am untill this moment totally ghosted!

I did write to him yesterday after two weeks passed (thought he might needed some space) i wrote that i dont know if this is a punishment or hes not alright, i wrote that this is not a mature way to deal with any peoblem, if you even need to breakup just tell me but dont leave me hanging here like this, he say my message (whatsapp) and ignored me totally.

I really dont know how to deal with this, i do love him and dont want to lose him, please advise me i am helpless

Ebonny (author) from UK on August 13, 2016:

Hi Your Baby

Many thanks for your take on a previous comment from John - a reader who felt his repeated silent treatments to his wife were justified.

You said “This is ridiculous. So you punish her for something way before the start of your silent treatment? And then you don't even tell her why? If these faults are so important to you then why not say them to her again? Why play such silly, stupid, immature games that do NOTHING to make your relationship stronger or better? In fact, your silent treatment is guaranteed to hurt not only your "baby," but you and your marriage too.”

I have to agree with you. His attitude only serves to make the relationship worse.

Ebonny (author) from UK on August 13, 2016:

Hi Emma

Sorry to hear of how you are feeling and sad to know that this is also affecting your daughter. Maybe it's difficult right now to do this for yourself, but if not for yourself then for the sake of your daughter, I hope you will try and eat at least 3 small meals each day to help you keep your strength up. With some extra strength to sustain you physically I also hope you will seriously consider the strategies on this page, and on the other related pages, to rise up over the silent treatment, so that you can stop be quite so crushed and fearful of it. I understand you saying that you want to be happy but completely suspending your eating/sleeping is only adding to your emotional difficulties and is not helping you to be happier. Sure, just by eating and sleeping more is not going to make your husband start speaking to you again, so as well as that I believe you need to start being your own best friend and doing things to uplift yourself in the interests of your own happiness. Lots of people unfortunately look to others for pretty much the entirety of their happiness whereas a huge chunk of it should come with within them-self. I wish you well with taking back more control of your own happiness. Let me know how it goes. Ebonny

emma on August 11, 2016:

Im going through my husband giving me the silent treatment after the fight we had. He has done this before and it hurts me and its affecting our daughter. I feel motionless and cant sleep or eat because of my husband blanking me. He dosnt want to look at me or even answer my calls. Its emotionally draining me. Hes alright when we r talkiing but i just wish he would talk to me cos i dont want to break up or anything i just want us to be happy. Cos its not good for our daughter

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 27, 2016:

Hi Sabariaz - thanks for reading and commenting

sabariaz on July 26, 2016:

its better for the people to avoid those things that creat tenshion for him stay blessed

Ebonny (author) from UK on June 13, 2016:

Hi "Senior P..."

My apologies for the delay in responding. Please email me and I will respond further.

Ebonny (author) from UK on November 08, 2015:

Many thanks for dropping by. Yes - Seeing silence as the norm in our parents relationship makes children prone to perpetrating, or tolerating, silence in their relationships as adults and I think it's fantastic that you recognised and managed to break the destructive cycle of silent treatment in your own marriage. It's great for the two of you and for the next generation.

McKenna Meyers on November 06, 2015:

Fascinating. I've had 2 people in my life -- my mother and brother-in-law -- give the silent treatment to their spouses and, as you noted, both are narcissists. When I got married, I started giving my husband the silent treatment because that's what I had seen my mom do with my dad and I thought it was just what women do. Luckily, I realized how immature that behavior was, and I learned to communicate more effectively over time. Fortunately, my husband grew up in a very functional home where he had good role models. Otherwise, we'd probably be long-divorced by now!

Ebonny (author) from UK on November 02, 2015:


Depending on your level of dissatisfaction or hurt or however else you may be unsettled by these silent episodes, I guess you just have to weight everything up and decide whether or not you want to stay around someone like this, even though you may indeed be able to cope better. See if there’s any lessening of the silent episodes, or the durations, when you consistently apply the strategies and be your own best friend and question yourself - does the good far outweight the bad/are you with him because you genuinely want to be or just because you are anxious about not being with him(someone)/why exactly are you putting up with less than you believe you deserve? He may simply continue just as before but you don't have to stay on the receiving end if you don't want to.


Confused on October 29, 2015:

I think i might be with a person who uses ST abuse, if he is tired, if something goes wrong in his day, if he is hungry, or if i am percieved to have caused him trouble, i get the silent treatment, up to 2 days. He will look past me, ignore me in public, if i speak to him he does not answer, when he finally blows up and answers sometimes he says it's not about me, even though half the time i know it somehow is my problem. I do everything, work full time, pay rent, cook, listen to him incessantly about work, if i try to talk about my work he says he doesn't like it. When he comes back around, things are great, he is my best friend. He is an over trained athlete and that might play into it, i deserve better, but i don't want to lose my friend. Your techniques worked this time around but i don't want things to continue like this. Advice?

Ebonny (author) from UK on October 21, 2015:

Hi Indifferent

Yes, detaching when constantly faced with this type of behaviour can be of enormous help and it's often the case that the silent person is put out or confused when their silence no longer has the desired effect.

Regarding your Father, it may be that he simply does not know how to cope or deal with your Mother which is a great pity for the family as a whole (I am assuming she gives him the silent treatment too). He could certainly gain insight by reflecting on the way you handle your Mother and if you think appropriate, you could encourage him to read up on the issue, albeit change is not easy.

Many thanks for sharing your situation and please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

Best regards


indifferent on October 13, 2015:

We've (my brother and I) been on the receiving end of silent treatment since we were born by my mother, and it's followed us into adulthood. I've grown to have a tremendous amount of hate and anger towards her, this is only one area of emotional abuse we've suffered. I now switch off when she ignores me, but let me tell you, they hate it when you ignore them back! And have a tendency to come out as the perceived victim at the end. I blame my dad for still allowing this to go on.

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 23, 2015:

Attention: John

Many thanks you for your kind feedback. I'm afraid I'm not as internet savvy as I should be and I don't have a newsletter or subscription service as such. If you choose to sign up with hubpages and "follow" someone I understand you will be sent email notification whenever they publish. It's also possible to follow comments on a particular article.

Thanks again for your interest.

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 23, 2015:

Hello AwakeonPurpose - again sorry for the delay in responding. Fact is my response got so long I have tried to turn it into an article in it own right and I've just published it (although I will probably edit it a bit more when time permits). You can find it here.

Hope it covers at least some of what you raised in your comment. It was good to hear a male take on things and so thanks again for contributing to this page. Also I plan to publish something on intimacy issues and ST within the next week.

You seem to have a very rational reflective take on life right now and I'm confident you'll work things out.

PS I can be contacted via email here

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 16, 2015:

AwakeonPurpose - I thank you for your interesting and thought provoking comments/observations but must apologise as I have to ask for your patience since I am not able to fully respond to your comment at this time. If you check back in a week or so, I'll respond then. Again my apologies. Best regards, Ebonny.

AwakeonPurpose on September 14, 2015:

Thanks Ebonny. Really great stuff. I respect the effort you put into followup.

Im a middle age man. Grew up in a large family complete with examples of human flaw and weakness as well as strength and love. Yellers, STs, pouters, bullies, whiners, drama kings/queens, perfectionists ... blah blah. Also quiet heros and untold generosity. The full human gamut.

As the decades have rolled on, Im convinced most people do the best they can to evolve. Mostly, they get to the point where pain motivates evolution and blame weakens the personal power to improve. Its hard because the subconscious tricks us into behaving in a way we learned early would protect our unrealistic sense of imperfect love. Its work to be aware.

I think we get into relationships because nothing fosters the dance of self improvement more than doing it with someone else. Sure, chemistry does its magic but then when the purple haze moves on we choose to learn from the uncomfortable dance or resolve to be stuck.

Even though I know this, it is STILL hard to manage the silent treatment with women. I prefer the respectful bluntness of straight talk because life is short and there is so much to learn. So much joy to experience.

Mostly, I think we societally lack comfort in conflict resolution. Its scary to hang in there, be straight up, be assertive, be respectful. But, when done well creates unbreakable bonds.

The ST is a lazy alternative. Its not a punch in the nose or a slap in the face, but it is the same in terms of the core damage it creates. Perhaps worse because you cant resolve something you cant address.

I loved your reminders of getting on with life in a positive way. Thats actually easy. Whats hard is not taking bait when casually communicating with someone who gives you the "cold shoulder". The most often combination i c among women is the condescending tone of superioty followed by the half ST comments of "fine".


When a person is condescending they are basically saying "FU" in a politically correct manner and then moving around like a fly in the air by not acknowledging their anger .. "I'm fine". Move along nothing to see here.

Awkward. I want to dance and learn to resolve issues. The sex is better, the laughter more real and the connection deeper. Love can conquer all in those moments.

Btw, men deal with other men who give the silent treatment. We basically say, "stop that nonsense, your not a child" ... and then we typically move on to the task at hand. Men have very little tolerance for doing that to each other. You lose you man card pretty quickly that way.

::: laughing :::

Not that easy with someone you are intimate with. Try that and you will likely sleep alone.

I have a particular question.

When living with a woman who likes to do the setup of being condescending, followed by "im fine" leading to extended cold shoulder ... to what extent should you tell her where your going, what your doing, when you'll be home, or greet them when they walk in or wake up or say goodnight when they go to bed. Casual pleasantries.

Btw, I became aware of the "live your own life" technique about 10 years ago. I think one of the things that can block the awakening is the desire for sex. I have seen patterns (girlfriends) who are open and enjoyable when they want sex/affection ... fill up the tank ... and turn on a dime shortly after. Its very common.

Its easier for a man to see the sex dance when hes no longer completely consummed by it. Blood to the brain begins after mid 40s.

I have this thought on relationships. Nobody is perfect. The conflcit resolution you practice with one mate should be honored. They are doing something very honorable with you. Its karmic that the new realtionship often picks up where you left off with the old.

Im very eager to move past this ST dance knowing that it is a very popular form of dysfunction these days. Odds are good that the grass is not greener. Remember, there are NO perfect humans.

So, to repeat. To what extent should you perform the normal pleasantries of hello, goodbye, where yur going, when youll be back, blah blah when the return answers are cold as the artic in the night AND you have to always initiate.

Ebonny (author) from UK on June 27, 2015:

Hi Aneesa

Sorry you have to be here but thank you for commenting and sharing your situation. - The repetitive bouts of silence coupled with abandoning you when out in public must be extremely challenging to contend with. It is not surprising you are concerned for the future of the relationship.

I am wondering how you feel about trying to put some of the strategies mentioned above into action. For some people who are conflicted about leaving implementing these methods can help them come to a decision about the future and strengthen them whether or not they decide to stay, so I do hope you will give them serious consideration and, if you do give them a try, give them a fair go and don’t expect him to change overnight. Also give yourself time to adjust – you’ll need time and determination. There are no guarantees he will change as the only person who can change him is himself. It’s much more about changing your own reaction to the silences and gaining more and more control of your own responses, emotions and happiness, rather than staying on a destructive merrygoround indefinitely.

It’s certainly wise you are thinking about the long term before starting a family. I believe employing these strategies can encourage the silent partner to think about their actions and if their negative traits are not too engrained they may choose and may be able to modify their own behaviour. Again no guarantees but if the person is not all bad it may be worth the effort to see if they do want to rethink their habits.

Also to help extend my own peace of mind and feeling of security when out, I would plan ahead for how I would deal with any future public abandonment. Always have plans for how to safely get home so that you don’t feel so compelled to have to plead/beg for him to act in a reasonable manner. Still, on the other hand, I would be asking myself why I have to be making such extraneous contingency plans and if this is something I could put up with for the long term. Being prepared for and able to cope with another person’s bad or negative behaviour is empowering. But just because a person learns to cope doesn’t mean they necessarily have to stay. Hope you can help yourself feel better for the long term.

Aneesa on June 25, 2015:

Thank you for this article. I feel like I can relate to alot of the above points however I have only been married for 10months and my husband had started his silent treatment punishments from the 2nd week into our marriage. His first episode was on our honeymoon whereby we had an argument over dinner and he left me at the restaurant table and walked back to the hotel leaving me to find my own way in a foreign country, he again did this whilst back in the UK (1.5months into marriage) We were driving to my parents house, had an argument and then he pulled up off the next junction on the motorway and got out the car and told me to go back to my parents house and stay for 1week, 1month, 1year he couldnt care less. I practically begged him to get back in the car and was driving next to the road following him and he just ignored me completely. So I went to my parents house and my brother tried to call him to resolve it but he wasnt interested eventually after 10days of silence and my parents intervening he came down to reconcile and take me home. Through-out these 10months he has constantly done the silent treatment for days on end over things like when i tell him he said something rude. One time he called me fat (as a joke apparently) I said thats not a funny joke and because of that he walked away from me again (we were in a park) and didnt speak to me for the next 4 days.

I am currently on a silent treatment punishment episode again because im too emotional and cry 'crocodile tears' that and he said my over sensitivity is destructive to this marriage therefore hes not speaking to me and has given me a timeframe of 10days this time.

I am at a loss, should I just leave because we dont have any children yet and these first 10months of marriage he has tried to change me and controll every aspect of me, and our lives. Or do I get physcholigical help (as he says i need it) to stop being so sensitive and emotional.

I am so confused. I know people say that the 1st year of marriage is the hardest...but if hes this horrible now, what hope do I have for a brighter, happier future?!?

Ebonny (author) from UK on May 15, 2015:

Hi Fay - Thanks for reading and commenting. For many people, I believe "days" is too long but If your partner is genuinely fine with this and knows in advance when normal relations will resume etc. then I guess it's fine.

Fay on May 13, 2015:

I do give the silent treatment but it's nothing you said is the truth to my situation its for mine own good because if i said what I was thinking at that time nothing good would come out if it for him or I it may take a few days but it does come out with careful thinking

Ebonny (author) from UK on April 15, 2015:

Hello Yiancy

Thank you for sharing your situation. I feel sure you did all you could to improve your relationship and just because you now find an article which relates and has suggestions for possibly changing things for the better please don’t beat yourself up thinking you could have, should have done more. You said yourself that you did employ some of what has been suggested and it didn’t work out for you and so I think the important thing now is to try and move on and really strive to be positive.

There is always lots we can learn from difficult experiences but no doubt moving on is a challenge when you your heart aches for somebody. One of the books above “How to heal a broken heart ....” may be of particular interest to you as you move on with your life. Always remember you did not break up your relationship lightly. It takes two to make a relationship work and if your husband was not budging on his end for whatever reason, there is nothing you could do to guarantee that he change if he was not minded to. Best wishes, Ebonny

Ebonny (author) from UK on April 15, 2015:

Hi Dan

You certainly have been in a very difficult relationship and seem to be a caring person - it’s great that you are happy to be there for your ex-girlfriend’s daughter. This might not be easy given your ex-girlfriend’s personality traits but I certainly hope this works out well.

I feel confident you did your best for relationship and although it’s possible handling things differently might have had some effect, as I say in the article, there are no guarantees and so please do not dwell on what might have been. It is what it is and you have learned from the experience and can use it to help you in the future as you now move on. I know it's difficult when things don't go the way you want them to but I hope will be positive as you go forward. Thank you for sharing and my apologies for delay in responding. Best wishes

Yiancy on April 13, 2015:

Ebony, thanks for this article, much in it was very familiar to me, it was making sense to me somehow but not completely. This silent treatment can be so hurtful and self damaging to one person, that I really hope he doesn't go through this and I most certainly don't wish it upon anyone. I went through this for 2.5 years, never thought that this would be considered as abusive. I would always ask him "What did I do now?", "Now, what did I say or do to upset you?". It was always me who was always wrong, even when I didn't do anything wrong. It was hard for me to have to go out in public or with family as a family because there was always something I said, did or looked at. I wouldn't do anything to hurt my back then husband, I was and still am madly in love with my husband. It was very difficult and very painful to have to go through this, as up to this day, I don't understand how can someone who apparently loves you, can hurt you this much. It's going to be 5 months this month since I left him. I was becoming him and he didn't like that. As I read this article, I had tried some of the strategies mentioned, he didn't like it, because I wasn't behind him trying to ask what I did wrong or pleading for forgiveness. I am free from that but there are times were I do wonder if I should have kept on fighting for my husband and try to work on this issue of his? It's hard to accept the fact that you were indeed, treated like this. I still find it hard to understand why he would give me the silent treatment?! I did try to save my marriage and stood by his side even when he gave me the silent treatment in public, family reunions and at home. Could I have done more to have saved my marriage? I would've loved to have found this article 6 months ago, maybe I would've understood more or done more for my husband to help our marriage. Now, I have to deal with the separation process and deal with the emotions that come along with it.

Dan on April 07, 2015:

Hello. Thanks for this. As I was reading through much seemed familiar, although there are differences in my situation.

My girflfriend always had "moods" and while we were just friends I learned to leave her alone till she felt better as I just could not get through to her when she was in one of these moods.

I accepted how she was and a couple years later we ended up together, properly (there had been some on and off before then with me unfortunately rejecting her romantically as at the time I thought we were not compatible). However, I started to see her differently. She was always there for me, and apart from the moods, so kind and loving.

But, while we were together, her moods sometimes caused problems. She would not even look at me, I would talk to her and only get grunts or single words as replies. She would also snap at me over tiny little things that weren't even a problem. I put these moods down to stress, as I noticed when the kids misbehaved, or didn't do what she wanted, she would get like this with me. I could see it happening but she would never accept any help with the kids, or with tasks about the house, she would angrily refuse help and would not tell me what was wrong.

This all got worse a few weeks back. Her daughter was hurt on a trampolene so I drove them to hospital, bought them supplies, looked after them. During this time my GF was distant and barely noticed me. I just went with it, as I knew it was a worrying time. When I picked them up she was stressed and wanted to get out of there but was sighing and tutting at everything including me. She got very angry when I suggested she was stressed and should take it easy.

Since then, her moods have increased. She would not talk, touch or look at me and when I put my arms round her she would often push me away. It is very confusing because other times she would ask me round, and would not want me to leave. She would be all over me. But the bad times kept getting worse, whatever I did, however I tried to help. She said she was depressed. She said that weas why she felt that way and she struggled to talk when she was like that. I don't know if that is true or not.

Anyway, time before last I was there, she was so cold and off with me the whole time I came home early. No drama. I didn't go back taht night - I didn't say I was going to so no broken promises. She text me at half 2 in the morning asking me about it. I explained that due to her mood I had chosen to leave her to herself that night until she felt better. I also told her (like I have before) That when she gets like that it makes me feel unwanted. She ended up saying we were "On a break" a couple days later, after hinting at it that night and saying she didn't want me to come round.

So, the very day she told me we were on a break, a few hours later she phoned me, upset. I talked to her about her issues, suggested ways we could deal with them together, helped her feel better, made her laugh. She then asked me round and told me that the problem wasn't the relationship, it was her. So I went round that night, expecting to be in each others arms, happy to see each other after nearly losing each other.

So I get there, I put my arms round her, she stayed stiff, didn't move. I kissed her - she didn't kiss me back at all. A bit later she did when I made the first move again, and she stopped me moving away when I went to play with her daughter. That was the last bit of affection she showed me. The rest of the night she didn't go near me. Didn't reach out to me once. We ordered pizza, she went to bed, then so did I - back to me all night and seemed to barely put up with my arms round her.

In the morning things weren't too bad but we went to the shops and her 2 and a half year old daughter acted up. I had to pick her up as she thew a tantrum on the floor. I took her outside and held her so my GF could do her shopping, but that was it. I went back in when the daughter had calmed down and I could see my GF was in the mood again. She fought it, but on the way home she wouldn't talk to me, only go "uhu" when I spose. At home, back to me, putting shopping away, and then putting dishes away. I asked her what she was doing now. She said "nothing" and carried on with her back to me. I said I felt like a spare part. She didn't say anything. Before she had told me that we didn't spend enough time together. I told her that was because when she was in a mood I had to leave her till was was ok again, and she agreed this was the best thing to do. So I went out the room for a minute to think and try relieve the pressue in my head. But I couldn't take it. I felt so rejected, so alone, so worthless to her. I went back and told her she had only once briefly shown me any affection the whole time I had been there and I had to initiate it. I said affectoin has to be two ways. She told me not to talk to her like a child, and started shouting when I explained I wasn't and told me if I feel like that to "just go". So we shouted about it for a bit and she kept telling me to go, so I did.

I have been trying to make sense of it. It wasn't always like this. I love her so much but I can't cope with her like that. It has happened more and more, even though 5 weeks prior to this she was messaging me saying how happy I made her and that things were great. It is like there are two of her. The lady I love and another cold distant angry person who hates me. When she is like that, she treats me like I am an enemy, like I have just called her mum a rude name or something. It's a complete personality change.

She broke up with me last night and I had to agree with the decision. I am past begging to be with people - done that before and I know how it goes. Tried to keep my dignity. I can't leave the daughter though, I have to go back see her whatever happens. I love her like my own daughter and she loves me. Coping better than usual this time but just really trying not to be a mess.

Reading this helped me feel better for a bit, just trying to work stuff out. But, it sounds a little different. I never thought my now ex GF was vindictive or cruel. I find it hard to accept now, unless it was just subconscious. But I am not pandering to those moods, I am not going to message other than to arrange to see her daughter in a week maybe. Poor girl shouldn't lose another father figure after her real dad didn't have anything to do with her. Just trying to work it all out. I don't think I could have done anything else to fix it?? I don't know. Maybe if I had read this before it all happened I could have.

Ebonny (author) from UK on March 20, 2015:

Hello Sam

I guess by now the silent abuse from your partner will have ended and if things are okay again, then now’s a good time time to think about what you could do differently in the future if you want to stop this pattern of behaviour (which, understandably is leaving you feeling so distraught that you are anxious, stress and not getting any sleep). Even without the menopause to contend with, being on the receiving end of silent treatment is a horrible place to be.

I hope you have taken some time to familiarise yourself with the suggestions in this series of articles and will seriously consider putting them into action next time this happens (in particular Part 3 talks about coping with a partner who leaves the room when you enter etc.).

Also try to employ some positive affirmations when you feel down as this can help stop you becoming overwhelmed when your partner ignores you, and hopefully over time with you being seen to be able to rise above and not be defeated by such behaviour, he might be inclined to do it less often.

It is interesting to note that you both acted a certain way in your first marriages and want to act in an opposite way in this marriage. Since he did not enjoy always having to be the decision maker in his first marriage, hopefully if you talk things through with him he will come to realise that sharing the burden of decision making is worth aiming for, and healthier in the circumstances. I am also thinking your daughters can learn and benefit if you and your husband can model shared decision making. Likewise if they see you taking good care of your emotional health, rather than tired and distraught, it can help them with future relationships.

Again, positive affirmations can help a lot when a person is at risk of drowning in depair. It can feel strange and “silly” to be saying affirmations to yourself to begin with but I hope you’ll give it a sustained try.

Best wishes


Sam on March 16, 2015:

I’ve just come through a night of anxiety filled non sleep, silent tears and a physical ache that feels as if my heart is being torn in two. Being just over 2 years with my husband (18 months into my second marriage) I am experiencing what I deem to be the silent treatment, but on a much shorter term basis. This usually lasts less than 24 hours, but the hurt and pain it inflicts is soul deadening. The smallest things seem to trigger it, if I appear unhappy without giving a valid reason, must add, I’m 49 years old and seem to be entering either pre, peri or full blown memopause, a slight change in the tone of my voice, giving him options instead of telling him what to do when it comes to decisions that need to be taken. Last night was simply because I wanted him to decide what takeaways to get, instead of me.

The looking past me, the avoidance, the no touching, no talking, leaving the room when I enter, getting out of bed when I get in… I never really thought of it as abuse, but if this is how it starts, then it seems I am in for a helluva ride.

When my first marriage ended, I was told that no-one expected that it would. It seemed perfect. We never fought, never had any real issues … I found out why, Hubby no 1 told me that he always let me wear the pants, make the decisions to keep the peace. Even my daughters tell me that I ruled the roost and they want to be like me.

Am I heading for an unhealthy marriage? We spoke about what we expected from this marriage, how we were, what we expected to change. In his first marriage he says that he always had to make the decisions and just wants to not have to shoulder that responsibility second time round. Learning that Hubby no 1 let me have my way to keep the peace, I am terrified of always doing things my way lest I end up in another sham of a relationship. I am not a controlling person, I always put the feelings, wants and needs of others in front of my own, I try to clear the path for others and make life easy for them.

I’m becoming stressed and see going to work as an escape from the anxiety that I’m being swallowed up in.

Ebonny (author) from UK on March 05, 2015:

Hi Charleigh

I think I can well understand how the silent treatment and attitude from your partner that you are experiencing can lead to a person feeling needy, unappreciated or under-valued. It’s also very unsettling when you feel that your partner is a good person as it just doesn’t make sense that they would continue to treat you this way despite your explaining time and time again how awful it makes you feel. It’s a very challenging and frustrating cycle.

And unfortunately there are no easy or instant solutions for this situation. However, I do urge you to seriously consider implementing the strategies explained in the article above. They are about changing your own response to silent treatment and uplifting yourself. You may feel that in an ideal world you should be able to rely on your partner to uplift you. Fact is you cannot make your partner change if they don’t choose to. For some reason the prevailing status quo doesn't leave them feeling enough of a true desire to make any change.

The methods suggested above are about doing things differently and taking more care and control of your own emotional response so that you are not so adversely affected and/or overwhelmed by the silences.

Implementing them can help a person feel less needy and more self sufficient and whole. They can lead to the silences will not being so overpowering anymore and help a person feel measurably better.

Thank you for sharing your situation and best wishes for the future. Ebonny

Charleigh on March 03, 2015:

So I'm reading this as I'm lying in bed next to my husband who literally left me crying for two hours and is so stubborn he will never admit he is wrong for what feels like constant rejection. He thinks that by me always asking him to care about our relationship that I "wanna fight" Ye I wanna fight for US. We hv five kids n we both work very hard. I thought I was a homebody until I met him. He puts a whole new meaning to it. So I get he's tired n that he can't take one day to even take me out for my birthday n promises he'll make it up to me but it's the second year i ddnt get a card n no the ring he bought was beautiful but I'd rather a card. He's actually a good man but he resorts to the silent treatment anytime I get remotely upset. I can be talking with no emotion but his defenses go up n he's GONE LITERALLY feels like I'm dying inside. I've explained how it makes me feel I've articulated it n calmly explained it n he still does it all the time. I even went so far as to tell him tonight I'm done fighting fir us which in 8 yrs could never bring myself to actually say (espec cuz I'm not done) but I did. I wanted to invoke a reaction- something toshow he cares. N nothing. Freaking sleeping like a baby right now. I know it's abuse cuz I've said it before to him n felt it deep in my core that it's not right. Now I'm not perfect. I get passionate I curse i yell but only bc I'm trying to get a pulse from him. I would rather talk n be rational n come up with solutions instead of feeling sooooo helpless when he gives me the cold shoulder. The only differences with him is that he will act as if nothing happened the night before n the next day converse about day to day stuff n Ye I hv occasionally given him the huh really ur pretending like nothing happened. N there's times where I forgive n forget bc I dnt wanna hold onto it either but I feel like it's so cold. He grew up w his father not talking much n I get why. His father had extenuating circumstances n but I dnt think he gives the silent treatment. I know partly that when my husband gives it to me it's bc he feels attacked but he feels attacked pretty easily to sometimes. Sometimes I feel like he tries to make a fight so he can avoid talking about something n then resorts to the silent treatment. In 8 yrs I'm married to him I never felt he was arrogant. But last month or so I hv been. I've always respected n looked up to him n things r eroding lately n yes I think we need to get away but he never will leave the kids. I dnt want to either but I think there's a balance. He just dsnt ever put me first. Is once a year too much to ask. Anyway I'd like to know your thoughts n just needed to vent too. I'm not as articulate as I could be bc of the late hour n lack of sleep in general so hope I came across somewhat coherent

Ebonny (author) from UK on December 10, 2014:

Hello Flo - Thank you for your feedback and update and really hope that this transpires to be the turning point for the long term. It’s good that you are conscious of how your partner may be feeling and I certainly hope this is reciprocated. If someone is unaware, uncaring or in denial about the consequences of their silences on their partner, I think it is highly likely that the silences will resume sooner rather than later. From what you say it sounds like you are seriously considering putting the suggestions in these articles into action. I know it is very difficult to apply the suggestions I give here consistently over the long term. If you should fall off the wagon, get right back on (change can be difficult, but not impossible). You might also consider individual counselling/couple counselling for the future as necessary.

I also want to say that sometimes, when setting out to change reaction to silent treatment, people apply the strategies without placing much emphasis on finding ways to uplift themselves, and this includes becoming less isolated. It’s important to note that a person who is isolated will have a more difficult time in carrying out the strategies so working on such aspects in order to nurture emotional well being is key. It’s all so easy to ignore general isolation when on good terms with a partner but “oh boy” isolation can take a strangle hold when the relationship is not going right!

Again, many thanks for your update. It’s good that you found a way to get things back on a more even keel from which you are growing. ;-)

Best regards, Ebonny

Flo on December 10, 2014:

Dear Ebonny,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply, it meant so much to me. Thank you ! I cannot express in words the amount of consolation, encouragement and happiness, your reply brought to my heart.

I'm writing to tell you we are fine. I started a chat on skype since he would not speak and we had meaningful and fruitful conversation. He is talking to me. Most of the conversation is about our daughter but this is better than nothing and he smiles.. he smiles at me.

After reading your reply I took the time to read some of the other comments and John's long comment made a lot of sense. So, I am going to try a few things mentioned on this page and hope for the best. Thank you again and will keep you updated.



Ebonny (author) from UK on December 06, 2014:

Hello Richard

Sorry to hear of your experiences. Persistent silent treatment does indeed lead to feeling angry and hurt and it is extremely difficult to content with. I am wondering if you have tried any of the strategies in this article and/or the follow on articles. If you give them a try they are not guaranteed to magically make your wife change her ways, but they have the potential to help you to feel better and more in control of your own emotions. Whether or not you plan to divorce, I believe they are worth a try so please consider and try to be consistent, even if you falter in applying them at times, get right back on track asap.

It also sounds like you could benefit from support from a professional experienced and qualified to help with your issues - being/staying isolated is something you want to move away from. Best wishes. Ebonny

Richard on December 04, 2014:

Dear SH,

i have been going through this experience for almost 2 years now and have had bp challenges because of it.When ever we argue and i need answers i am given the silent treatment and this goes on now for even longer periods with most of our comms being via email or IM.This has now caused me to be very angry at times it hurts so much because i love my wife very much and this has resulted in the extended family(my inlaws) siding with their daughter and i can not discuss this matter with my family out of respect for her.

i need your advice as i am not thinking of divorcing her.

Richard (Zimbabwe)

Ebonny (author) from UK on December 03, 2014:

Dear Flo

I am very sorry to learn how despairing you are feeling at this time. Being ignored for weeks on end is taking its toll. I can only imagine how difficult things are for you if you are thinking about leaving but do not have the support of friends or relatives, or without an income of your own.

I can tell that you want the best for your baby daughter, and your own peace of mind is likewise important.

There is an organisation called Befrienders Worldwide – please google “befrienders worldwide find a helpline by country" – and I understand they exist to offer support to people in a variety of difficult circumstances. I urge you to reach out to them for support to see you through this crisis of emotional abuse. I imagine they may be able to direct you to local support also. Keep reaching out until you get the support you need to see you through this difficult time. Remember it is a strength, not a weakness, to reach out when you are in need. I know it’s easier said than done, but if not for you, please try to be strong for your baby daughter. Take very good care.


SH on November 24, 2014:

Thank you very much Ebonny for your speedy reply. I have taken your advice on board.

Will get back to you

Ebonny (author) from UK on November 24, 2014:

Dear SH

I am sorry to hear what you are experiencing. I am going to refrain from suggesting you implement the strategies I mention because I feel you first need to address the atmosphere of intimidation and fear that exists in your relationship.

It may be that you have been giving your husband the benefit of the doubt and feel that he may not realise quite how frightening his anger is to you, or you may doubt that he gains any advantage from acting this way. Regardless, I think he needs to be clear about of effect of his anger, how one sided the relationships is becoming - and how damaging this anger, and his silences, are to the relationship/you. Then he can choose whether or not he wants to do anything differently and you will be clearer about where you stand.

Behaviours that have such negative consequences on both your physical and mental well being should not be allowed to drift on indefinitely, lest things get progressively worse or suddenly go ballistic. It’s hard to make the decision to actually do something to change things but I hope you will find the courage to find a way forward and to move towards a happier and more fulfilling future.

Please seriously consider getting some couple counselling and/or anger management for him, and/or individual counselling for you. You can’t force him to go to counselling with you (I am guessing he may not be keen to go!). However, you could go on your own and get support from a suitably qualified and experienced counsellor. Take great care. Ebonny

SH on November 23, 2014:


I’m in a very difficult situation. My partner gives me the silent treatment also.. Sometimes it can be for the most trivial reason and completely uncalled for.

The worst part is, he’s a very large man and can be extremely intimidating when he is angry. I feel so isolated when this is going on. I feel physically sick and can’t sleep.

Thankfully this usually only lasts a day or two. He used to bring me flowers the next day once he calmed down but he NEVER says sorry.

One day we met up with my friends & he just completely ignored me. I never even found out what I had done on that occasion

Every time this happens he pushes me away a little more. When I am angry with him over something it gets turned around onto me and I am given a guilt trip like “everything I do is for you and I’ etc.

I can’t ever say anything that I have an issue with.

I’m always scared to set him off

Ebonny (author) from UK on November 02, 2014:

Hi Unknown

Thank you for your comment. I did not deem this article to be gender specific but I note your perception.

If a partner, male or female, is threatening violence then it's important to seek professional advice by a suitably qualified experienced professional soonest and for safety's sake seriously consider the future of the relationship. Such threats are simply unacceptable and must not be lightly dismissed. Take care.

Unknown on October 31, 2014:

The article is good but i think its very feminice how about if its the husband whos getting the silent treatment, and have done this but the wife whos giving the silent treatment just makes it even worst for the husband? To the point that shes trying to be slightly violent throwing tantrums at you if your doing what has been suggested?

Ebonny (author) from UK on October 09, 2014:

Dear Tom

Thank you for sharing your experiences with your brother. Your situation is different to what I have experienced as regards silent treatment in that your silent person is schizophrenic. That said, there are similarities in that it is so very disheartening, confusing, upsetting and frustrating to be on the receiving end of silence. From what you say, I believe that it is your brother’s psychiatric disorder which has changed him from his former “thankful” attitude to ignoring you now.

It’s easy for me to say to you “don’t take it personally – he cannot help it” but that won’t necessarily make your feelings of frustration and upset disappear. I am wondering if you have any outlet to air your feelings. Perhaps talking to another family member, friend or a qualified counsellorwould be good for you and I do hope you will seek help of this nature. (A health professional who has experience of working with people with your brother’s condition might perhaps give you a clearer understanding of how this illness manifests, what to expect etc).

I’m guessing that it may be your brother cannot change even if he wants to and I empathise with your feelings around not being motivated to continue to serve your brother as you have been. I'm sure you are not the only person who has felt this way in your situation so I hope you don't feel guilty about having such feelings. It must be very difficult day in, day out but, for what it’s worth, may I say myself how it VERY admirable it is that you assist your brother as you do and thank goodness for people like you who help others without recognition or appreciation. I do hope your life is fulfilling in other respects as this can help sustain you in what you do. Again, do seek out any support you need in coping with your situation and making the most of your life generally.

Best regards - Ebonny

tom vogel on October 05, 2014:

My brother lives with me and my mom and for over four years he never looks at me or talks unless he wants me to bring in something like food. Before this we would always look at each other and talk about stuff. My brother has schizophrenia so he depends on me to bring food and stuff in. He just ignores me when I walk past him and never speaks to me. My brother used to be so thankful for what I brought in but never acknowledges anything since this started. I don't speak to him since he will either not answer me or say shut up. Doesn't it sound like my brother should change if he wants me to keep getting what he needs to live in the house? Should I want to bring food in for him if he never talks about it and acts like I don't exist?

Thank You

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 20, 2014:

Hello Lee

It may be frustrating for your partner to feel that you will not listen to her but yet are willing to listen to an “outsider” but in your shoes I would still seek professional help to move on from what seems to be a very concerning impasse.

It is good to know that you are so keen to stop giving your partner the silent treatment and it is not easy to change old habits which manifest themself seemingly automatically. I also hope your partner wants to stop “slapping” you as ALL forms of abuse are intolerable. Do be safe and seek help and guidance as soon as possible. Thank you for sharing your experience. Regards, Ebonny

Lee on September 19, 2014:

Thank you for the article. I am told that I am an emotional abuser that wants to break my partner with silent abuse. I am trying so hard to find out how to break the habit...I am lost, upset, and confused that I am doing this to her. I want to stop and try to seek counseling. She did not approve when I told her that. If i cannot listen to her advices, why should I go to someone else and pay money to hear the same words? I do not understand what that means...they are professional that will help break my silent abuse...right? I want to stop hurting her when I do not understand the root of my silences...

I try to take blame, but it ends up being "all about me" when I try to apologize and tell her "my" mess ups are unacceptable and "I" have to make myself change and try to discuss what happened. I end up shock and sad when I fail and upset her by doing so...and make things worse when I can't seem to make myself say anything. I become so afraid to make her feel insignificant...I say everything wrong and end up stop saying things when I keep failing. It got so bad that she had enough and I get scolded and slapped near daily. I do want to stop but have no idea how to go about it. Still I keep trying to seek professional, despite her wishes? Thank you, Ebonny.

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 14, 2014:

Hello Maya

I note your concerns and thank you for sharing your experiences.

I think the two headings towards the end of the article starting with the words “You CANNOT ...” and “You CAN ...” relate to what you say about changing another person and I am glad if we are in agreement on this.

I appreciate what you say about leaving and as a consequence I am considering an addition to article to clarify that I am not ruling out leaving an emotionally abusive partner. As you say, for some, leaving is indeed the right thing and the only thing to do. Thanks again - Ebonny

Maya on September 13, 2014:

This article is well written and informative. However, I am concerned that the author is suggesting that you should stay in a relationship with the passive aggressive person and if you communicate that this behaviour is unacceptable to you, that behaviour will change. In my experience having been in a toxic relationship with a passive aggressive person...the best thing you can do is leave the relationship. That is actively showing that you will not tolerate this highly unacknowledged form of emotional abuse. People need to remember that a person will only change unless they want to and you cannot change how someone else behaves but you do have control over having that person continue to be in your life.

Ebonny (author) from UK on September 02, 2014:

Hi Addy - Welcome to Hubpages and thanks so much for sharing your views on this issue. Until relatively recently I myself did not recognise ST as abuse but it most certainly is.

Thank goodness there is more awareness and attention given to the wickedness of physical and sexual abuse in the media nowadays. Rightly so, and hopefully one day emotional abuse, including ST, will also be more widely recognised for what it is so that people know to stop simply accepting and/or perpetrating it.

I am sorry to learn you are going through this and my apologies for my delay in replying. Positive thinking helps me alot when I am nervous. I do hope that whatever the outcome of your conversation with your partner, you will rise above the silences rather than let it overwhelm you. Best wishes. Ebonny

Addy Bell on August 31, 2014:

Hi - I'm new to Hub Pages (an emigre from Squidoo). Thank you for addressing this topic. So many people don't recognize emotional abuse *as* abuse. Even when they do, they think of it as name-calling, constant criticism, or belittling. Very few people recognize that the silent treatment (also known as "stonewalling") is abuse - let alone that it's one of the most damaging to the victim.

As you said, stonewalling conveys utter contempt for the partner: her feelings don't matter, her thoughts are insignificant, her experiences aren't important. She's just not worth listening to. She's barely even a person.

I'm going through this right now with my own partner, and I'm preparing to have a conversation about it. I'm pretty nervous - wish me luck!

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 31, 2014:

Hello Shiro

I am sorry to know of the emotional and physical difficulties you are experiencing in your relatioship. It is good that you have recognised how your mood affects your interactions with your children and I hope that this, if nothing else, might motivate you to give the strategies in these articles a try for an extended period of time.

I do not personally have experience with a long distance relationship but in your situation I think I would decide on how frequently I will contact my partner and stick to it. E.g. perhaps 2 or 3 times a week by phone. Regardless of whether or not he answers the phone (leave a voicemail) or if he answers but responds in "silent mode", I would ask him how he is and then proceed to give him information about the children, house, finances whatever in a pleasant, matter of fact manner and leave it at that. I would include information about the activities of the children and myself and leave him in no doubt that despite his decision to give me the silent treatment, I am not simply sitting at home moping, desperate and devastated anymore.

With all this, the IMPORTANT thing for me to do would be to consciously make sure I AM taking good care of my own emotional health as detailed in this and the other articles in the series. i.e. it's up to me to take responsibility for my own happiness. Positive thinking and positive self talk has helped me alot. The aim is not to merely pretent you are content, but to actually make yourself happier.

Hope this gives you some food for thought and that you do choose to take control of your own emotions.

(Do see a doctor, or perhaps consider some support from a suitably qualified counsellor as necessary to get out of this rut.)

shiro on July 30, 2014:

Hi, am so glad to read this article as i am going thru silent treatmeant.

I am in a 7 yr mariage with 2 kids. The silent treatments have been there all thru the 7 yrs but now worse even as he is away for 1 yr project in a different country. When I upset him, he lashes out at me & I apologize. We never talk about the problem. When he upsets me & i tell him that i dint like how he talked to me, al hell breaks loose. He says am ungrateful and dont appreciate that he provides for the family. Which makes me wonder, just because a man provides, does it mean i should overlook other faults? This will be followed by days, weeks & months of silence. He'll just pass me by but smile, laugh n play with kids, laugh with a friend but totally ignore me & when i talk to him, hes response is in a harsh tone. I am fed up, i cry, been ill, i get headaches, ulcers, i put a lot of anger towards my kids and now i realize i hurt them & myself yet my huby lives like a normal happy person. I would like your advice on how al cope with this, self happiness and treat my kids better. I am so torn apart.

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 23, 2014:

Many thanks for the update Lex - you seem to have the right attitude and I wish you well for the future.

Lex on July 22, 2014:

Thank you for your reply. To answer your question it makes me more resolute. It doesn't make me fold but rather the opposite. I feel like if he won't support me I have to stand up for myself even more. He called last night. I'm on holiday so the signal was terrible but I told him I am not happy with his behaviour and that we'll have to talk on Sunday when I'm back home. If he can't promise me he will stay away from risky situations I am breaking up with him because I won't let myself be put in this situation again. One good thing about this experience is that even though I was beaten down hard (homeless with no support and not enough money for food) once I started getting back up I got up twice as strong. I'm now studying nursing at one of the best universities in the world and won't let anyone bring me down.

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 20, 2014:

Hi Lex

I do not have much first hand experience of long distance silent treatment but I imagine it must be extremely difficult to cope with especially with your fiance being in jail. I am wondering whether him not contacting you leaves you feeling more resolute or less resolute about the decisions you related to him in your letter.

If you have a wise, trusted friend or relative you could confide it this might help you through this difficult time, or maybe talk things through with a local suitably qualified counsellor. Also it might help to think carefully through what you would advise a dear friend to do if she were to come to you with the same issues, and then take your own advice (often easier said than done though, so get some support if you need it).

Lex on July 18, 2014:

Good article. I'm currently on day 8. My fiancé is actually in jail. He is in the situation he is in because he trusted the wrong people. He is too far away to visit so we keep in touch by phone and letters. In my last letter I explained to him very nicely that I can't stay with him if he puts himself at risk of going back to jail when he gets out because I was close to the breaking point this time around and we want children which I would never want to have to go through the same. He called up saying he didn't like what I wrote and that a partner sticks by the other no matter what happens and that what I really mean is that I want an easy life. I said that no, I can go through difficult times but that every person has a choice and if he chooses to put himself at risk I can't just stand by. He said he had to go but that I should take care and I haven't heard anything from him since. That was now 8 days ago. Usually he calls at least twice a week, often more depending on his financial situation. I can't call him and sending letters take a minimum of 2 weeks to reach him. I was so worried I called the jail to make sure he was still alive which they assured me he was and called his friends and surprise, surprise, they had heard from him. I haven't seen him for 7 months and I don't know how to handle him just cutting me off like this. It has happened twice before (both while in jail). I really don't know how to handle it. He has never treated me like this before. I'm not sure if it's jail or that the dynamics of our fights have changed since I can't contact him but it's really getting to me.

Ebonny (author) from UK on July 03, 2014:

Hi Amanda

If you feel a need to say your piece then go ahead rather than keep it bottled up and festering. As you have stated, it may well lead to another bout of silence but fear of silent treatment is not the way to go. I suggest you deal with both initial and ensuring silence as described in the articles.

You are right to be thinking about the long term. Should it become a dealbreaker then a person must do what is right for them in all the circumstances. No easy answers but hope this gives some food for thought.

Amanda on July 02, 2014:

I'm currently on day 7 of a bout of silent treatment, this one for which I am adamant I did nothing to provoke. My question is how, after the dry spell so to speak, do you bring up this treatment and how it made you feel? Or do you simply never respond to the stint of silent treatment and hope their actions will change as they realize it no longer works? Is there a way to approach it where I can say my piece afterward (knowing full well it could lead to another bout of silence, sadly)?

Our relationship is fairly young in the grand scheme of things but I cannot have a future with a man who can essentially cut out our relationship for a week at a time. I refuse to continue on, have kids and have to come up with an answer for a toddler questioning why daddy isn't talking to mommy.

shelly on July 01, 2014:

Thank u for responding to my post I am going to consult with someone to find out what my legal options are I do live in fear of not knowing what his real plans are or if he is just blowing off steam behind my back

Related Articles