How To Disarm Silent Treatment in Love
Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire in a relationship burning. In the absence of proper communication, our relationships will turn cold. However, at times, to avoid conflict, many couples resort to the silent treatment.
The silent treatment is the refusal of one partner to communicate with the other. It is the most common way of fighting in a relationship. After an altercation, one of the partners prefers to give the cold shoulder to the other rather than sorting out the differences by communicating.
Silent treatment seems to be the perfect way to deal with an argument as it reduces the risk of hurting the significant other. But, in reality, when silent treatments become a habit in a relationship, it inflicts more harm.
Silence observed for a long period is not golden; it becomes a form of emotional abuse. When one partner starts using the silent treatment regularly, it becomes extremely hurtful and frustrating for the other one. If you’re a victim of the silent treatment, you need to take quick steps to break this pattern.
1. Find the reasons behind the silent treatment
People resort to the silent treatment for a variety of reasons. Finding out the exact reason as to why your partner uses it can make or break your relationship. Some people are not comfortable in openly expressing their feelings, especially the negative ones like anger and pain.
They prefer to keep their feelings bottled up and not let their partners know about it. At times, they may even fear your reactions and therefore decide to stay shut. For others, silence can be a weapon of power. Such people who use silence as a weapon to manipulate their partners have a toxic mentality. To deal effectively with the silent treatment, you need to find out the source of the silence.
2. Do not reciprocate back with a silent treatment
The worst approach in dealing with the silent treatment is reciprocating back with another. If you react in the same way your partner does and choose to ignore them too, it would indicate that both of you are engaging yourselves in abusive dynamics. Such behavior will ultimately poison the entire relationship.
Someone has to take the initiative to communicate and confront. Keep your calm and approach your partner gently. Try and understand why your partner uses the silent treatment. You can directly ask your partner about it too. Let your partner know how you feel when they clam up.
The way your partner responds will help you understand the best way out. If your partner shows a lack of empathy and chooses to ignore you again, it is a clear sign that he/she is a toxic personality and is not what you deserve.
3. Don’t be a doormat
Silent treatments are used to evoke a particular reaction out of you. Your partner can use it as a weapon for manipulating and playing with your mind. It is quite similar to emotional blackmailing. You need to be careful not to let the silent treatment get the better of you. Even though it hurts you, try to act cool.
Don’t give in to the wishes of your partner and let yourself be used as a puppet. For example, if your partner does not make a call to you for days on end, don’t get hysterical and start calling him/her continuously. If you keep showing that the treatment is having a deep impact on you, your partner may feel more empowered and continue behaving in the same way in future as well.
Have clear conversations with your partner and show them your boundaries. Let them know that such kind of behavior is not tolerable, and if they use it as a weapon against you, you’ll walk out of the relationship. If your partner requests you for another chance, give it to him/her. But, if they go back to their old ways, you better put an end to the relationship as soon as possible. If someone insists on treating you like a doormat, make sure you pull yourself out from underneath them.
4. Accept the Silent Treatment Occasionally
Though this seems contradictory, depending on the situations, sometimes it is better to accept your partner’s unwillingness to talk. Is your partner not habituated to giving you the silent treatment but prefers to stay quiet only when it becomes an absolute necessity? At such times, you should be the wiser one and give them their breathing space.
Let them relax and regain their composure. Once their anger quells down, they will surely return to you and sort out the differences. Don’t keep bothering them all the time. Sometimes you need to respect the decisions of your partner even if it means accepting the silent treatment occasionally.
5. Practice Self-Care
Continuous and extended silent treatment can take a toll on you too. Initially, you may be baffled when your partner snubs you. But if such behavior continues for a prolonged period, it may lead to building up of other emotions inside you like anger, frustration, depression, and loss of self-confidence.
You may think that you must understand what your partner wants and why he/she is behaving in a particular way. You may even reprimand yourself for not being able to decipher the thoughts of your partner. But, you are not a mind reader! You need to stop blaming yourself for your partner’s faults. Both of you are grown up individuals who can take care of themselves.
You need to realize that you are not responsible for other people’s actions. All you can do is offer help to your partner and resolve the differences amicably. But, if the other person is not interested, it is better to let them be on their own. Don’t harm yourself by being in a toxic relationship. Surround yourself with positive people and take good care of yourself. Know your worth and make it a point to walk away from anything that doesn’t treat you right.
If you observe that you are being met with the silent treatment more frequently even after taking the necessary steps to break the pattern, it is time you must reevaluate your relationship. Words may sting, but silence breaks the heart. Most of the times the silent treatment solves no problems; it only makes more. Hence, to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship, it is essential to silence the silent treatment.