Breaking Silent Treatment
- Have you been subject to silence from your partner, often over relatively trivial issues, on a regular basis?
- Are you frustrated that apologising has not helped you with breaking silent treatment from your partner?
- Has trying to appease/pacify your partner been largely a waste of time in trying to overcome and break silent treatment?
- Do you worry your marriage/relationship is slowly but surely edging towards disintegration?
- Are you dreading the next episode of silence from your partner and anxious to break the cycle?
If you have answered Yes to most or all of these questions, read on for practical advice on how you can help yourself to rise above this form of non-communicative passive aggressive/narcissistic type behaviour and become stronger, wiser and happier.
For a huge part of my marriage, without realising it, I effectively let my husband use silent treatment to manipulate, disturb and distress me. I can’t express how thankful I am that this no longer happens and I really hope this group of hubs might give some insight to others who are going through this with a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.
Resolve to Help Yourself
Rising above the tactics employed (intentionally or otherwise) by a partner who gives you the silent treatment can be on ongoing trial. However it is well worth your while to consider employing the key suggestions put forth in Part 1 of this series to help you thwart and overcome this form of emotional abuse. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t try to put an end to the range of negative feelings a victim feels such as depression, worthlessness, anger or guilt.
Below are some additional approaches you can use. If your resolve wavers from time to time, sometimes a visual prompt can motivate you to stick to your altered responses to breaking silent treatment - e.g. a handwritten note or an object you associate with keeping on track to become stronger wiser and happier that you will see often throughout the day.
Be self aware –
Make a list of the things you do that let the other person know that you are upset by their passive aggressive silent treatment and resolve to stop doing those things. This might include going out of your way to prepare their favourite meal, carrying out jobs about the house that you know they particularly want you to do, or dressing in a manner which you know they are partial to. Instead of rewarding their bad behaviour by trying to please them, get going on the things in your prepared survival list of things to do and just be your own person.
Again, it's crucial to be conscious of what you might mistakenly be doing that entices and rewards your partner to habitually give you the silent treatment. In other words, know what it is that lets your partner know that their "punishment" is working and cease such activities. This is not to say it is necessarily your fault that you are being given the silent treatment - just to be aware of what is likely to elongate/repeat such ill-treatment.
In being self aware, you should also reflect on whether or not you are generally approachable, reasonable, open to negotiation, compromise or agreeing to differ with your partner on potentially contentious issues. Be sure that your spouse had no excuse to resort to silence.
Be conscious of your thought patterns as regards your partner –
Even whilst they are not speaking to you, make a point of regularly calling to mind their good personality traits. Don’t necessarily talk to your partner about this but keep it in mind and it should encourage you to persist with pursuing these strategies and help you towards a happier relationship in the long term.
Silent Treatment - What to actually do if your partner won't answer you!
Try to bear in mind your tormentor’s mindset –
Perhaps they do not have the maturity to deal with the ups and downs of a relationship in a constructive manner or they are delusional in thinking that they are always in the right/you are in the wrong. Some may well need help in acknowledging their manipulative behaviour and turning things around. Ultimately you may consider forgiving them for their emotionally abusive ways but forgiving them does NOT mean you should simply put up with it.
Take time out each day to count your blessings, big and small.
For example, you might focus on being thankful for, say, five things at the start and/or end of each day. Examples - having a roof over your head, food in your kitchen, a thoughtful kind colleague, friend or sibling, living in a hospitable climate rather than an area prone to flooding, hurricanes or the like, residing in a safe environment as opposed to a war zone, or simply a hassle free journey to work or the politeness of a stranger.
The point here is that regularly focusing on good things will help you to keep matters in perspective and give you a more positive outlook on life in general. And when your partner is not speaking to you, it can help you to handle problems without becoming too overwhelmed or down.
It helps to develop a more positive and resilient mindset
Look after yourself
Take extra special good care of yourself when you are in the midst of being dealt the cold shoulder or silent treatment by your significant other. For these vulnerable times, plan ahead and engage in a series of activities which lift your mood. A little pampering goes a long way so you might want to add a manicure or a long soak in a bubble bath to the list of things to do to help you stay genuinely upbeat, as suggested in Part 1. Consciously choose not to allow your partner’s unreasonable behaviour to leave you desperate or cheerless. Making sure silence abuse doesn't break you is just as important, if not more so, than breaking the silent treatment itself.
Visual reminders may help you to maintain your resolve to stop inadvertently encouraging your partner to continue giving you the cold shoulder. Often a note or symbol somewhere you will see it often can serve as a reminder to remain positive and become stronger, wiser and happier.
You are welcome to comment - please see end of page
Important – Seek the assistance of a trained therapist in the field if your silent treatment emotional abuser also gives you (or you fear might give you in the future) verbal or physical abuse.
Understanding how your past impacts your life now
What Next ...
Click here for the next article (PART 3) of How to Cope with Silent Treatment - Specific Examples - Find out how you can cope with difficulties such as your partner not responding if you, for example, call them to come eat a meal you have prepared. Also what you can do when you feel overcome with misery/plus other examples of strategies in action to help with breaking the cycle of Silent Treatment abuse.
About what you can do when you are on "good" speaking terms
- Silent Treatment Relationships and Speaking your Partner's Love Language
- 5 Love Languages Quiz
Without asking your Partner to do anything, YOU can do this simple Quiz and find out his or her Love Language(s).
- 5 Love Languages Quiz Alternatives
There are a number of methods for determining a partner's love language without either of you doing a quiz. Find out how here.
- The Five Love Languages in Silent Treatment Relation...
If you are dreading the next seemingly inevitable segment of silent treatment from your partner, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do now, whilst you are indeed on speaking terms, to help avert it. Rather than rely on walking on...
© 2012 Ebonny
Comments - Further Strategies - How to cope with Silent Treatment Emotional Abuse in Relationships – Part 2:
Ebonny (author) from UK on June 20, 2017:
Making the decision to move on is a difficult one but I believe that once a person makes up their mind and is determined to follow through, it gradually becomes less daunting and less scary. Yes, there will very likely be ups and downs throughout the long process but when we look after ourselves well, emotionally and physically, we become stronger and more resilient and can indeed advance to next steps of gaining peace of mind. Thank you for sharing your situation and for your feedback and I send you my sincere best wishes for the future. Ebonny
Sarah Hooper on June 16, 2017:
Hi, I'm currently going through the silent treatment, again! Longest time was about three weeks over the course of our thirteen marriage. My husband refuses to acknowledge any part in our problems which revolve around his ex wife being included in all his family's celebrations. That and his eldest daughter playing him to effectively force him to choose his marriage or what she wants. I don't deserve this treatment as I have contributed much to the marriage in the form of emotional, financial and thoughtful support. Being able to write this down is a great help in giving me the courage to move on, difficult and emotionally draining that it is. I can't carry on with the lack of respect, empathy and childish lack of communication any more. Thank you for this article
Ebonny (author) from UK on June 13, 2017:
Thank you for sharing how you feel and I'm glad to know the articles have given you some food for thought. When we own our mistakes, apologise accordingly, learn from our mistakes and try hard not to repeat them, there's not much more that we can do. I note that you are physically as well as emotionally affected. If others consistently won't accept us or seek to manipulate or continuously try make us a victim, or take almost every opportunity to make mileage out of mistakes, or perceived or convenient make-believe mistakes, it's definitely time to take stock and make some changes.
Change can be a challenge but it's not impossible and I sincerely wish you well, and would be pleased to have an update in due course. Meanwhile, do take very good care of yourself and please make a point of telling yourself that you are a strong person. (I hope the articles about Silent Treatment and physical health may be helpful to you). Best regards, Ebonny
Denise on June 11, 2017:
Hi. I'm a week into the silent treatment and to make it worse he's been out of town for the last 4 days. He refused to hug me or tell me he loves me before leaving for the airport. He left me standing on our porch crying. He won't answer my text and I'm sure he wouldn't answer if I tried calling him. I've been physically ill since he left. This is my third marriage and tried so hard to pick an awesome man so I could be sure not to have to go through another divorce. Now the fear of that happening again is making me ill. We've only been married for 10 months. He says I'm mean rude and that I say hateful things. I've apologized so many times for anything I've said that has hurt him. I've begged for another chance to make things right. You have no idea how reading this article has helped me see I'm doing everything wrong. I'm enabling and feeding right into what he is wanting. He's punishing me and likes having control over the situation. At least this is what I believe. Thank you for this article. I pray that when he gets home today from his trip (I guess he's still coming home today but I wouldn't know since he won't talk to me) I can do exactly what you have described I. This article. I'm not a weak person. I was a single mom for 7 years before I met him. I can do this!
Ebonny (author) from UK on March 30, 2017:
Yes, it's frustration when someone insists on controlling your actions and then punishes you with ST when you don't comply - So wrong!
Xyz on March 30, 2017:
Hey... im getting silent treatment right now...bcs didn't fulfil my spouse expectations while was talking with my mom... he expected that i must ask some questions-like how parents r going to share their assests between me and my sibling... it didnt happen... so i got ST....
Ebonny (author) from UK on November 22, 2016:
Hi Risa - Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your situation and your concerns for the future of your child.
Silent treatment can indeed have a detrimental influence on every family member and I can understand your concerns both in terms of your child feeling that this type of behaviour is ok to mete out, or in terms of him feeling that they have to tolerate it if their own spouse (or anyone else for that matter) gives them the ST. My best wishes to you as you weigh things up and contemplate the future. Ebonny
Risa on November 22, 2016:
Thank you for posting these articles. They have been very helpful for me over the past few months.
My husband has always given my the silent treatment when I've said something that he doesn't like or that he doesn't want to talk about. I used to think it was a maturity thing and that one day he would mature and stop behaving like an adolescent. He is now 37 and we are expecting our first child and his ST is worse than ever.
Now that I am pregnant I am not only thinking of the effects of this behavior on myself but also my child. I expected that parenthood would also make him realise the immaturity in his behavior but it hasn't. And now I am concerned about him as a role model for our son - I don't want him to teach our son that this behavior and treatment of your wife is ok.
He has some wonderful qualities and when it's good, it's really good. He takes care of me. But as soon as I want to discuss something or ask a question that he doesn't want to answer - the ST starts.
I feel like life is too short to waste days on this behavior. I am seriously considering leaving him after 15 years together, for the sake of my child.
Ebonny (author) from UK on September 14, 2016:
It looks like you now know where you stand and well done you for getting on with things and do persevere with this. It won't be all plain sailing and the prospect of starting over can be understandably daunting for all sorts of reasons, but I hope that through it all you will be your own best friend and think positive and know that as well as being an ending it’s also a new beginning.
Having a good support system around you helps alot but again being your own best friend cannot be overrated. Give yourself the advice you would give to a beloved dear friend who was in your situation and then, crucially, take your own advice. Treat yourself with TLC as you stay strong at this uncertain and new phase of your life and, once you are comfortable, don’t be too afraid to speak to others about your situation, because talking can be very therapeutic and you may well find that others have had similar relationship problems and can be a source of support.
No doubt there will be bad days and good days but I think being both positive and practical builds resilience and is key to getting through all this and thriving. My sincere best wishes. Ebonny (do email me if you would like some links for possible peer support - https://hubpages.com/@ebonny#email )
Jackie on September 12, 2016:
Hi Ebonny. Thank you for your response. I had been very strong until this weekend when I'd had a few glasses of wine and sent him silly texts. He responded by saying its over, we can't go back. I said I would struggle financially and he said he would continue to pay me what he usually does until the lease runs out next year. Very surprising as the last time he stopped. I've been reading all the posts on here and they have given me strength. I know I don't deserve this treatment, no one does. I am trying so hard to get on with things. I ok today off work as I just felt so down, but I will be back tomorrow as I need to be with people. I haven't told my work colleagues as I've not been there long and I feel embarrassed. It's so bizarre, he bought me a car last month then this?
Ebonny (author) from UK on September 11, 2016:
Hi Jackie - I find this combination of silence plus abandonment for weeks on end is appalling. Are you expected to just be there when he reappears and act as if nothing happened and never to know what has transpired in the intervening time? I do not have any personal experience of abandonment but my gut reaction is I wouldn’t be there for him to come back to if it happened more than once.
You are to be commended for taking into account his difficult childhood but a difficult childhood doesn’t give anybody the right to keeep nonchalantly inflicting emotional pain on anybody else and so if are overwrought with the silence and abandonment don’t feel bad about looking after your own emotion well being and think carefully about your future and whether or not you will ever allow this to happen again. Perhaps some couples counselling might help if you are unable to get through to him and have him consider your feelings too. Just my take.
Jackie on September 10, 2016:
I'm in the fourth episode of the silent treatment in sixteen years. He just ups and goes when I say or do something which upsets him, usually very trivial. He is the most loving, caring and hardworking man when he's not like this. He has issues from his childhood when he was treated very badly by his stepfathers and we've talked about it. He has a split personality, I'm sure. This time I'm reacting so differently, just getting on with life and taking day by day. He has been gone two weeks now, the longest was the last time when he moved into his own flat. It's bizarre, I don't think, hope, I won't let Gus happen again, 56 now and just weary of it all.
Ebonny (author) from UK on July 17, 2016:
A month is a very long time to be treated this way and having to numb yourself isn't an ideal situation. I can understand you giving up and hope things get resolved soon, one way or the other. In the meantime you might consider some of the strategies on these pages to uplift yourself as necessary.
mo on July 16, 2016:
my gf has been giving me the silent treatment for nearly a month. she'll barely speak and when she does, she's cold and short. at first i tried to talk to her and find out what happened, and when all she'd say is "i'm fine," i just gave up. i haven't tried to engage her, and she continues to be silent. i'm pretty much numb to it now.
Ebonny (author) from UK on July 04, 2016:
JOAN wrote ...
"i never could figure out what i did to initiate the silent treatment. but after it was initiated first i would plea, then yell and bitch, then when he talked to me a week later it was only to listen to how im an a****** and cuz i bitched that some how caused the silent treatment, yet the time line proves otherwise. i think its s***** to tell a victim they gotta figure out what they are doing to trigger silent treatment--the abusive partner don't need a reason and there isn't any, its part of the game the abuser gloats while the partner scrambles through mind reels of the day looking for her possible faults. "
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When the person on the receiving end of the silence stops pleading, appeasing, shouting etc (i.e. when they stop "rewarding" their partner for not talking to them) it can make a significant and welcome difference because the silent person's attempt at manipulation yields no result.
Thanks for sharing how you have reacted to the silences, and for your observations.
Ebonny (author) from UK on May 20, 2016:
Thank you for sharing your circumstances. I am sorry to know of the way you are feeling and that you find yourself in a very difficult situation. I can understand that in the initial stages of the relationship you imagined that you could cope with the silences your wife pre-warned you about. However, coping with silent treatment is easier said than done – but where there is a will there is a way. So now, I believe, is the time for you to take stock, take control of your own emotional state and develop your coping ability.
For both your sakes you need to make up your mind that you will not be intimidated, overwhelmed or fearful of silent treatment. Cry if you feel to cry but after maximum 1 minute of crying take control of your yourself by repeatedly say to yourself “I can cope without crying” and it will become easier to stop. With every crying episode, repeat this protocol.
Please have a good read through the strategies suggested in this series of articles and seriously reflect on them and how you might adapt them to suit your own situation.
In line with the advice to pleasantly occupy oneself rather than sit and mope, I suggest your next message to your wife should take on a different tone, telling her how you have spent your day doing xyz (of course prior to that you MUST ENSURE you do indeed have a more pleasant day – as necessary force yourself to engage in activities and pastimes you can enjoy, maybe sport/ exercise/ artwork/ reading/... whatever - and the more the merrier. Don’t just lie to your wife pretending you have had a good day or a better day – actually resolve to help yourself have a better day and keep busy, not just with work, but with other stuff that you can enjoy and which will take your mind off the problems in your relationship, if only even for a relatively short time.
Again, I think it helps if a person can make a start with moving on from their situation by resolving to do things to uplift themself, and it may also help to cut down on the messages and when you do messages take on more positive tone, as opposed to a pleading or desperate tone. You might want to end your message by saying you hope your wife is well and that you look forward to hearing from her when she feels the time is right and leave it at that for the time being. Don’t be surprised if you still don’t get a response. Just keep looking after yourself physically and emotionally and message her again maybe a couple of days later in the same more positive tone and go from there.
You owe it to yourself to uplift yourself. It’s sad if the person you love is putting you what seems an impossible position but you cannot make the other person change so the thing to do is to CHANGE YOURSELF so that you are no longer overwhelmed with unhappiness and anxiety. It’s a gradual process that takes persistence and resolve but if a person can begin to believe in themself they can indeed save themself and reap many benefits down the line whether the relationship works out or not.
Every relationship is different and I do hope things work out well for you for the long term but whether things work out with this relationship or not, it will serve you well to consciously take responsibility for your own emotional well being. Best regards, Ebonny
akarp on May 19, 2016:
I met my wife 5 months back. She gave silent treatments before marriage. She used to get angry on issues which can be considered small by most of the people.Before marriage,She told me she is moody and she gets silent at times.She actually got silent at me so many times , she used to be rude. But before marriage, whenever she used to meet me , she used to be fine in few hours. She has been open with me about her nature.She told me she is not a good person to live up with.
But somehow I fell for her. Love just happened. And I love her very very much. She even made it clear before marriage that her love towards me is at very initial stage. And I still decided to get married to her, I was too much in love with her. I don't know whether I thought it completely on how her silent treatments would affect me post marriage.
Now we are married and on the 16th day of our marriage. She got angry . And since then she has not been talking properly. She has gone to her parents on the 30th day of marriage. It's been 3 days now. She is not picking up my calls, She has been rude. She doesn't even reply to my messages. She has told me not to come to Mumbai to see her. She wants alone time. In fact she wants time away from me. I am not sure now she seeing me would change her mind or not.
I feel so alone inside. It pains me. I have cried a lot . Tears just keep coming out. Please suggest something.
Ebonny (author) from UK on October 21, 2015:
Feeling guilty for no reason is not a healthy habit so would be good if you take time out to reflect objectively each time you feel you might be going down the "automatic guilt" route and try to stop yourself short. Likewise if you reflect and find you do have something to apologise for then promptly do so, but again there's little to be gained from pleading guilty to a crime you didn't commit so to speak as in the long term this can breed huge resentment in a relationship.
I think when we have been used to reacting to a certain type of behaviour in a certain way for a long time, it feels strange and somewhat scary to change that response and then sustain it. For some people who try these strategies they feel more comfortable if they tell their partner something along the lines of "I see something may be bothering you and I'm here for you if or when you want to talk about anything" and then go about the day more contentedly having acknowledged their partner's stance.
Thank you for your comment and feedback on the articles. From what you say you are caring and conscientious not to go about the strategies in a flaunting way and I hope that as time goes by you will feel less and less "mean" as you are rightly taking care and responsibility for your own peace of mind and sanity. Wishing you increasing positivity and strength. Best regards, Ebonny
Sienna on October 16, 2015:
Thank you so much for these articles. I deal with recurring silent treatment and am currently in day 5 of one. It's awful. I often try to not let it bother me (or act like it doesn't) but I can rarely go a day without trying to talk to him about it eventually, because I feel guilty for whatever caused him to be mad at me. And I feel disrespectful and almost mean (although I don't do it in a flaunting way) to try to be happy and to try to not show that it bothers me. It's like I feel that if I'm happy (or pretending to be happy, because it's hard for me now to be happy), it is disrespecting him and his sadness. So throughout the whole silent treatment I'm usually very sad the first one or two days, and then I try to act "normal" for the next few days after that, but try to talk to him after the kids go to bed. Something inside me tells me not to engage and to not "beg" for his forgiveness or to try and get him to talk, but I feel so bad and it seems so unkind. But your articles are just what I needed and although it's especially hard for me, I need to not engage. I hope this current silent treatment ends soon and I hope that when the next one comes, I will have the strength to not sink into despair. Thank you for your articles, they have been so helpful.
Ebonny (author) from UK on October 12, 2015:
Eight days is a long time and it is no wonder you feel distraught and concerned for the future of the relationship. Questioning your love and decisions is natural in these circumstances. Please see https://hubpages.com/relationships/Recurring-Silen... for a new article I have published in response to you and other readers who have the same concerns, and do let me know how things go for the future. Best regards, Ebonny
London7 on October 10, 2015:
It absolutely happens... As it is happening to me this very moment. It has now been 8 days since we have spoken. Our silence began after an argument about the only thing that we ever argue about, which is a story for another day. I also know that he is under a lot of pressure and stress at work. This is not the only time that this has happened. I used to always be the first one to give in. Always. Always saying sorry or making the first move to talk or sort things out. I still continue to cook for him, clean for him, etc and with two young children together, I do everything I can to protect them and play along with it all to save them hearing any type of argument that might occur or something irrational taking place.
i have reached a point this time though where I am starting to question if our relationship can survive, if we are even compatible and or if it is all worth it. My only fear is how this effects my children. I have seriously thought about just packing an overnight bag and leaving for just a night, going somewhere on my own to think - but I am not sure if this is the right thing to do?
Is it even normal that I should be questioning my love for him and double guessing if I have made the right choices in life and my marriage to him? I am struggling to get through each day without at least breaking into random tears a few times a day. The thought of leaving makes my body numb, but at the same time knowing I don't have to l live with it is incredibly temping.
Advice? Suggestions? Life line?
Ebonny (author) from UK on August 28, 2015:
Hi See - I am glad to have provided some food for thought about your situation and hope things work out well for you with or without him. Self reflection can work wonders. It has helped me to be more approachable and considerate of others and it helps me sort out in my own mind what is and is not acceptable behaviour from others and how I want to and do react. Many thanks for your comment.
See on August 26, 2015:
This has really helped to pick me up. I am far from perfect and it is in my nature to argue and defend myself no matter what. So when my partner stopped talking to me and refused to answer messages/calls or worse, act indifferently to my existence I felt tortured. This last time escalated quite badly and I received some real verbal abuse when I was the one who gave the silent treatment. I now feel I can cope being without him and actually work on me rather than simply react to him and his behaviour. One way or another things will work out and with or without him I will not be made to feel bad about myself again.
Ebonny (author) from UK on July 11, 2015:
Many thanks for your comment mmm - Interesting that she does this with you and your daughter but not your son. If you are able to rise above the silences and shine despite them, it will be a fantastic life lesson/example for your children in how not to let others manipulate and drag you down. - Ebonny
mmm on July 10, 2015:
Thanks for sharing this. It is my wife who exhibits this behavior rather than myself (her husband). This is very helpful to recognize that this is emotional abuse to gain power and control. She behaves the same way with our daughter but not our son. Totally agree on moving ahead letting go of the worry about the silence and avoidance. Wish me luck and stay strong all!
Ebonny (author) from UK on April 07, 2015:
You and your mother have had a lot to contend with as indeed your father’s behaviour is very trying and strange.
Separating after 50 years takes a lot of courage and I very much agree that there comes a time when a person has to save themselves. That said, I do hope someone might look in on your father from time to time after you and your mother move on, as it could be that there is some psychological illness accompanying and/or accounting for his silences and odd behaviour - but no doubt, as you have the whole picture, I’m sure you’ve got this covered if it's necessary.
Great that you seem to have such a positive attitude are engaging in uplifting activities all round rather than simply let your father drag you down. I really hope your mother shares your positivity and wish you both well for the future.
Thanks for sharing your situation.
w on April 05, 2015:
i have grown up with type of treatment, i refused at times except this is how my father is, but for me its worse. I slowly began to do research of my own including this web site, and thought long and hard and made lists to see if this was happening to me. My mum and dad are separating after 50 years of marriage. My father always runs away, when you try to talk to him. Well its non existent, he always goes silent if you try to talk to him as a father, but to us its normal to talk, he seems to not want to engage in talking some how, he gets very angry, but i feel the anger is a vail to cover up something else, ie it's a cover to escape the room to run away up stairs. the worst ever time i have gone through as there son, was a period of 6 months of not one word i do mean not one word, he can be very very cruel. My mum has decided to call it a day and seperte and im moving away to start over. In our case i think my dad is not as you would say normal, he seems to not understand what we are talking about, you name it we have tried all forms of words and different approaches to see what is gooing on with him, nothing works. I have a lot of respect to you all for this subject. To make you aware also, i heard some people who act in this manner come to these sites to get information for there own selfish ways, please be aware of that point, be on your guard, but also be happy and positive. My dad hides in the bedroom, we hear him going to the toilet across the landing and walking back to the bedroom and there he will stay all day and all night. He only comes down stairs to walk the dogs and nothing more, he some times comes in with a small bag of food of which he takes up stairs with him to eat, when this all happens he never once cooks for himself, i think that is another tactic of his ways. he walks past me and mother every day, no contact, no words, no interaction whatsoever $6, he puts on his shoes, puts on the dogs leads and goes out the door quietly shutting the door like he does,nt want us hear it going on. Its so weird to observe and live with, but we know now our father/husband to my mother he has this problem seated deeply and real bad case. Its been going on for years, the thing is. When he decides to come out of this so called mood swing if i can use that term loosely on this abuse, he goes and does it again in a few weeks time, but this has been going on for years. He stays on the bed all day and he does nothing but watch tv but with no sound on at all, i find his behaviour very upsetting. But i think he actual enjoys doing this to us, as we know a way to punish us. But what happens is, if for say two people disagree on some thing that is say small potatoes ie not worth that kind of attention and just move on, oh no not for him, he takes like a deep deep deep insult and he gets up set and runs away like deep rooted tamtrum, its horrible when he starts. I know and have excepted he is deep troubled narcissitst sorry if i spelt that wrong, but you get the point. Every thing i read about on this topic, i have said yes done that and done this and yes he def does that but more extreme. Its so bad he walks around shutting and closing doors silently ie taking a lot longer to shut the door and turn the handle its terribly weird to see. And now i / we have decided we will never get through to him and we have decided to separate, its never gonna end if you don,t take action, its dred and torture each day. Everyone deserves happiness, but you have to want it first and feel it in your self to get there, i took the pro,s advice and stopped feeding there habit of a wanting attention for nasty actions, i know now what is going on, i stopped reacting to his stilly ways and when he did try to talk i ignored him ie turned the tables, but only to him i might add. I engage with nice people let him see it, but not in a stubborn manner, just everyday friednly people chit chat and mixing, ie what humans normally do, its opened up my eyes that my father has deep seated problems and i can see he is relentless in his ways and mind set. But for me he is one of these people who will not stop doing it, he keeps doing it and doing it. We can,t even talk to him anymore, he outright refuses to talk or mix, he just walks by and stays in his bedroom all day and all night, this is why we have decided to call it a day, its no way of living with some one who refuses to engage with others, with a sulky deep rooted action emotional abuse living, its silly way to live each and every day. I think its good we tell each other how we live with this abuse and that way we can help each other on how to cope and how deal with it. I just carry on with my day, yes it hurts in some ways, but being a little distant from a person who constantly does this, is far better than being around it. Join some kind activity or go to the gym a few times a week, engage with others out in the world, join some type of club, find a hobby, reading, walking, go to nighbours, go to town take a refreshing walk, go swimming, bike ride, to the park, some type of event or venue, a car venue, bike show ect you get the idea, gardening, mow the lawn, have a sweep up, stay positive get the idea, don,t engage in there wanting ways, that is excactly excactly what there aims are, so you have to cut the snakes head off to stop it biting, i hope that helps you guys in some way. We are so much happier knowing we are moving and leaving, we can see its not going to work and you have to make a decision but once you make it, you will feel much better and make sure you see it through stop using your self as a punch bag for them, that is what they thrive on, does that make sense people, that is the abuse right there. So that is what you must deal with ie stop doing it, and start living happy for you health and well being just do it folks. Remember you do not have to take it nor do you ask to live like this at all, pick your self up and dust off and move on, invite happiness into you life and leave it behind, some people you just cannot help believe me i know i have had years of it.
Ebonny (author) from UK on November 07, 2014:
Thank you for your feedback. People don't generally share much on the subject of silent treatment but I do hope you can turn things around in your relationship for the better as when we feel alone and at fault, we can become vulnerable and static. Best wishes - Ebonny
Anonymous on November 05, 2014:
I cannot believe how well this article described what I'm going through! I am so happy I found this! I'm on day 3 of getting the silent treatment over something minimal. It's never over a major issue- our finances are on track, there's no infidelity or drug/alcohol abuse... It's always over me being "mean" or complaining about something. I feel like I'm being punished like a child. I'm only married for a year and when this happens, I feel alone. Thank you for this article.
Ebonny (author) from UK on July 17, 2014:
Hello “Love Him or Leave Him”
In some cases knowing where the problem comes from is a help as you know not to take things too personally as it isn’t your fault. However, as you say, it still feels awful to be dealt the silent treatment for regular and extended periods. It’s intolerable and unjust and I applaud for for giving counselling a go and am sorry it didn't work out for you.
Now I can only suggest you give the strategies suggested in these articles a try if you have not already done so. Give it your best shot for an extended period of time and then reconsider your options.
Regarding the relationship you mention with a male friend, and which I assume is platonic, if your husband doesn’t realise you prefer the friend’s company to the extent that you do, then perhaps telling him would jolt him into reconsidering the damaging effect his silences are having on you. In cases where things get to a stage where infidelity is on the cards then it may well be time to call it a day because quite simply two wrongs do not make a right IMO.
As ever, there are no easy answers but hopefully you have some food for thought and will consider giving the strategies a try to help you move out of limbo. Regards, Ebonny
Love hime or Leave him on July 15, 2014:
Found your site and have been reading the comments posted. I to, have a husband who refuses to talk when upset/discouraged/angry or frustrated. He's not physically or verbally abusive; but since non verbal communication is 80% of how we communicate with others, I definitely feel like I'm being non-verbally abused (If there is such a thing), although I'm sure he would be highly offended if I was to say that to him. Based on his child rearing, I feel he just doesn't know how to communicate. He grew up in a single mom household and his mother was busy working two jobs to pay for her education, his education as well as the basic necessities. Therefore, he shows his love by being a provider. I have a beautiful home, nice cars, clothes, and other luxuries that many would probably think from the outside, wow, she has a GREAT life! Not that I necessarily think my life is bad, but those things mean nothing to me in comparison to how badly I want my husband to be a better communicator. He doesn't even have to be GREAT at it; just better than what he is now.
I have had an ongoing relationship with a male friend of mine for years now to compensate for my husband's lack of communication. My friend and I are so not compatible in other areas of our lives, so given the opportunity we wouldn't work; but we communicate so well. Even when we argue about something, we talk through it. I hate that I don't have the same relationship with my husband, and know I only keep my friend around because I feel I would go crazy not having him to communicate with when my husband retreats to silence.
I told him on Thursday morning my feelings were hurt because he was a little cold towards when he picked me up from the airport the day before. I came home from being gone 5 days and I missed him, excited to see him. When he picked me up from the airport, he made me feel like it bothered him to pick me up because the airport was 45 min away from our home and he was tired. Once I stated my feelings, not angrily mind you; know what I got... yep, the ole silent treatment. He wasn't mad, I wasn't mad, just wanted him to know how he made me feel, but he just didn't know what to say or appeared to even care. He lacks the ability to connect emotionally, and therefore doesn't know how to engage others when emotion is involved. I believe that is his issue rather than malicious silence. He doesn't know how to...It doesn't make me feel any better that I know where it stems from, but I want to recognize why he does this to better deal with my response. However, after years of this behavior, I just can't do it anymore. I've suggested counseling, even went for a while, but the counselor didn't get much out of him and she agreed with me about his lack of communication. I just don't know what else to do, any suggestions for this Ebony. I welcome any and all suggestions.
Ebonny (author) from UK on June 21, 2014:
Morning2Glory - I must add that if the "throwing" is out of control or escalating, you should seek professional advice. Please take all good care. Ebonny
Ebonny (author) from UK on June 20, 2014:
My - what a lot you have been contending with, and worse of all your daughter is being affected too. I sincerely hope you can continue to develop your self awareness and rise above the scenarios you describe. Some people find that if they cannot do certain things for their own good, they can do it for the sake of someone else. For example you might want to show/teach your daughter by example that no one else can completely control us unless we let them, and as adults we certainly don't have to let them.
In particular I hope your daughter is not witnessing the verbal and emotional abuse on a regular basis but if she is, in your shoes I would be thinking about how to make certain she knows that this is not an acceptable norm. Easier said than done though! Thank you for sharing and best regards.
Morning2glory on June 18, 2014:
I just found this web site. Thank you Ebony, for all your hard work. I have been married 24 years, and he has been sleeping in his own room for the past 12 years. Usually, the silent treatment starts with an argument of some kind, usually trivial. Lately, it has become the norm. We are in the silent treatment phase more than normal phase. He is verbally abusive and sometimes throws things, like my golf clubs out on the driveway. It is usually broken by his desire for sex, which I find very difficult after not being spoken to for a solid week (he did that on his last business trip and refused to apologize). I got so depressed I finally realized I needed to go back on antidepressants. Holidays are the worst, because he is such a downer to be around. He'll say he has to work, and then just lay around all day. Then he'll say he's not hungry while I'm trying to prepare a nice meal. our daughter gets confused and wonders what he's in a bad mood about, and why he doesn't want to spend any time with her. After reading these articles and comments, I realized that if he is not giving the silent treatment he is being verbally abusive, and I have even talked to him about that. He thinks he is doing a good job by not talking, because hens not expressing his anger. When he is in the kitchen preparing a meal, if I even come into the room, he stands back and stops what he is doing as though I am a major imposition to him. So in order not to get treated like that, I find something else to do so he can have the room to himself. Then he leaves his dishes in the sink. so I have my choose: the silent treatment or verbal abuse. I guess I should consider myself fortunate when he is ignoring me. Haha!
Ebonny (author) from UK on February 04, 2014:
I think yes you are experiencing silent treatment. It can be baffling how the silent one will not come to you to talk but when you initiate talking they have so much to say or complain about. It's like they really want to talk but are too stubbor or controlling to be the one to break the silence they started! Very frustrating. But please do not allow it to overwhelm you. It can only defeat us if we let it. I hope you will seriously consider undertaking the suggestions above and than it will help you climb out of being overwhelved by this treatment and that you find a place of some peace. Thank you for sharing and best of luck.
Lucy on February 01, 2014:
I can't determine if I am truly experiencing the silent treatment. After each fight, my husband will retreat and stop speaking to me. Usually, when I come to him, he is open to communication and calm. However, he will never come to me after an argument and will ignore me until I break. If he does speak to me, it's curt or he is angry with some behavior or another. I walk on eggshells! Even though he will talk, I still feel that it is a power struggle as he won't budge until I start a conversation. I am hurt, angry, and starting to resent him.
Ebonny (author) from UK on December 13, 2013:
Hello Lindsey - Day after day of silent treatment is so very hard to endure and I feel for you. I thank you for sharing your situation and I do hope you might find that some of the suggestions in this and the other articles help you at this difficult time.
It is so very wrong when people use emotional abuse against others and again I hope you can be good to yourself and move yourself away from allowing anyone else to bring you down. As regards being positive, I would say fake it until you make it and most importantly believe you can make it.
With best regards, Ebonny
Lindsey on December 11, 2013:
I have been married to my husband for 3 years which he has always given me the silent treatment when I say or do something he doesn't like. The first time it happened I was devastated and had to take time off work, now I have learned to live with it and carry on life as normal. I don't try to speak to him as he ignores me anyway. When he isn't giving me the ST he is a kind, caring man, hard worker, as well as an animal lover. However, I am receiving the ST at the minute 5th day. Don't know how much more I can put up with this, I'm 55 and have never known anyone who behaves like this (apparently he was like this in his previous marriage) Just thought I would share my story too.
Ebonny (author) from UK on November 01, 2013:
Hi Alesia -
So your partner hasn't responded to your text! I guess he assumes you will not follow through and is calling your bluff!
Like you, I would often ponder about all the wasted/lost time in the relationship - time you can never get back, plus I would also worry about how would it be if, heaven forbid, one or the other of us were to have a fatal accident during a bout of silent treatment. The thought of our last days/weeks together being wasted in silence made me even more depressed. In part, such thought would drive me to want to appease my partner even more, apologise and see it as my duty to try and persuade him to talk to me again and get back on track. But it got me nowhere - So glad I wised up!
Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you and your family well. Ebonny
Alesia on October 31, 2013:
Hey there! I thought I had the best guy in the world, until we had our first fight. I tried for so long to be a councilor so we could "fight fair". Now he's at the stage where he's giving me the "silent treatment" and we are on day 5 so far! I hope one day he will see how bad he has treated me and lost time with the kids. He goes to work, then comes home and sits on the couch. I will not "cave", I am stronger than his crap. I do my own thing...work, make dinner for us (his dinner is the leftovers in the fridge), take care of the kids then off to bed! The only message I gave him was a text yesterday saying ....how we do not have a healthy relationship and it's not good for the kids, so leave and go find your happiness! He never said n e thing, like it never happened. His ex probably went thru the something, but during their relationship met a guy and left him. So people out there that hear about wives leaving their husband for someone else....it's was probably DAY 12 of years of silent treatment! Ha!
Ebonny (author) from UK on September 12, 2013:
Hi JCFSM7 -Far easier to break the silence habit at the start of a relationship, than to break it in a relationship where it has become a staple for many years or decades even.
Yes indeed, now it the time to nip this type of behaviour in the bud and to let it be known what the dealbreakers are for you in the relationship, and to seek clarification from him what his dealbreakers are.
JCFSM7 on September 04, 2013:
My fiancé engages in this silent treatment quite frequently in our relationship. Since we currently do not live together it is even easier for him to do. It can be a challenge to maintain consistent communication with him even every few days. I get every excuse in the book thrown at me for the behavior regardless of whether we have disagreed about something. I have known him only for a year and a half and am worn down. I am heavily questioning the relationship as this doesn't feel like a foundation for a healthy future with him.
Ebonny (author) from UK on August 28, 2013:
Dear Mia – firstly my sincere apology for this long delay in response – I’m afraid your post has only just come to my attention.
You cannot make anyone else change their behaviour, but using these methods may well change you. Even if the silent one refused to change one iota, it is possible to change the severity of the effect of the silent treatment on you. And if you can get to a place where you are not as negatively affected, it could help you with making long term life changing decisions.
I am not professionally qualified in the field but, for what it’s worth, faced with your situation I would be asking myself if I would have more regrets if I tried something new and failed, or if I didn’t try. The answer to this question will differ from person to person. One cap doesn’t necessarily fit all.
Also, whereas you cannot compel your partner to go to counselling you can elect to go by yourself and help yourself to explore these and other routes to positively impacting your silent treatment turmoil and importantly save your sanity. Get as much support as you can whatever your decision.
I wish I had definitive answers to all your concerns but hopefully the above will give you some helpful food for thought. My best wishes (and again I am sorry for the delay in responding). Take good care. Ebonny.
Mia on July 20, 2013:
Hi, after 15 years of on going episodes in varying degrees of the silent treatment I stumble across your articles and finally feel like I'm not alone in this. I could have written your article word for word- that's how much it hit home. Whilst I greatly appreciate your strategies to cope I guess my question is, is there hope of change for my husband (who has displayed this behavior since he was a child). He is a very good man and father and during good times he's wonderful. But the episodes are becoming more frequent and far more hurtful - to mostly myself and his mom. He will not see a councilor- do you think sending him information such as your articles would have an effect? Is this learned behavior or something more clinical? Divorce would leave me and my children high and dry- but the thought of being emotionally bruised and battered time and again fills me with fear for my own sanity. Do I fight for my marriage (again) in the hopes that these strategies will change his behavior- or do I cut my losses and endure the heartache and misery of leaving him? Mia
Ebonny (author) from UK on July 10, 2013:
Hi Michelle Thank you for sharing your situation. It's very typical to feel heartbroken when this sort of thing happens again and again and I can understand your hurt.
In my experience trying to appease had little or no effect and so I do hope you will be able to gather strength, get some support (perhaps from a counsellor) and choose a different way to respond to his silent treatment.
michelle on July 08, 2013:
I'm going through it nowagain. its usually followed with an apology or he just leaves me and dissappears for days at a time .we have a baby together and its almost like he don't care how i respond negatively or positively. its heartbreaking to feel like this. i feel like i don't matter to him and his baby don't matter to him. i feel like I'm not good enough for him. he breaks me to pieces every time and i do my best to try to mak whatever wrong i did right and it always fails or makes things worse.
Ebonny (author) from UK on May 07, 2013:
I appreciate and thank you for your comment. I'm so moved you feel stronger.
And you are spot on about not feeling sure what's right. I would constantly question myself and no comfortable answer could I find - sigh!
My best wishes - Ebonny
Talie on May 05, 2013:
Wanted to tell you thanks for writing this. Helps to hear what I can do when it's been feeling like there's nothing I can do right. Sometimes after being treated wrong for so long we forget what's right. It helped to hear what a very small frequently unheard voice says inside of me, that it's not me. Keep it up. Thank u for giving me the strength to realize that I can handle this, regardless of my so called mate.
Ebonny (author) from UK on January 07, 2013:
Hi Colleen - it's all the more pathetic if the silent one drags the children into the arena. Great that you got back on your feet so to speak after a slight slip up. Stay strong and keep looking after your emotional well being - you deserve it.
Colleen on January 06, 2013:
Thanks for having this on here! Going through the silent treatment as we speak the second day of it. So it seems that I made some good choices yesterday dealing with it, however; I did apologize blindly (not knowing what for) but left it at that and went about my business as he buried himself in blankets ignoring me and my children :/
Ebonny (author) from UK on July 26, 2012:
Pamela-anne - Many thanks for taking the time to comment and so pleased you found this of interest. Hopefully it will be some food for thought for those who are unsure of what they can do to make a difference.
SylviaSky - I welcome your comments and indeed agree that silent treatment is abuse. I plan to add more hubs on this subject very soon and these will include what victims might do if their partner will not change their ways.
Sylvia Sky from USA on July 26, 2012:
It's a good article and excellent advice if the silent person is a son or daughter. However, the "silent treatment" from a spouse or significant other, in my mind, qualifies as "abuse." Consider separation from such a childish, vindictive, passive-aggressive partner. What you have here is not love. Encourage them to leave and follow their bliss.
Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on July 26, 2012:
Some great advice for those of us who are in an abusive relationship; well written and the drawings are a nice touch thanks for sharing.