Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Silent Treatment: The Hidden Abuse

A Guest Post by Life Riddles

If you are in a relationship of any kind, at one point or another you are going to encounter it!
It is not: Time Out, Giving some space, lay off, Cooling off or any other fancy description, It is a form of abuse called: The Silent Treatment,

Do not let the name fools you though; this is one serious relationship breaker that keeps bugging you or your partner until one of you cannot take it anymore and call it quits. It is a form of social rejection that affects couples everywhere and everyday, at its worst; it is Continual Silent Treatment, where the person gives a partner utter silence for days or weeks on end, and some will make the effort to avoid being in the same room!

The causes
Every relationship is composed of Passive and Aggressive partners with a variation in the degree of aggression. Which in turn reflects in the way each of them uses the silent treatment:
  • The passive partner uses silent treatment as a form of defense: Ignoring the problem will make it go away, or as a reaction to a hurtful situation which demands some space to think things over.
  • On the other hand; the aggressive partner uses silent treatment as a measure of control, or as a punishment for something his or her partner did. Now we are talking about Abuse

The effects:

  • Physical: Silent treatment triggers what is called “Social pain” in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex of your brain, the very same location of actual physical pain.
  • Emotional: Since it is a form of social rejection; it affects the caudate nucleus of your brain provoking a mix of negative emotions including: Frustration, intense anger, and eventually, resignation and despair.
  • Psychological: You will suffer from low self esteem, a sense of loss and not belonging, increased stress and loss of control.
  • Behavioral: The constant fear of receiving the silent treatment casts a shadow of uncertainty in your life, you begin to watch closely for every word and action on your part and you second-guess yourself: Am I doing the right thing? Am I saying the right words? In other words: You try hard to avoid it, which changes you onto a person that is no longer YOU.

How to deal with it:

Keep your anger in check:
Reacting to silent treatment in anger reinforces the abuser sense of control over you” Hey, it works! I’ll use it again” and the episodes keep on coming.

Apologize first, ask WHY later:
You cannot read minds so might as well start a conversation anyway; apologizing for something you did (or did not) is the softer approach in any conflict. And then ask why, you have the right to know if that person is giving you the cold shoulder for a reason. If your apology or question falls on deaf ears; do not blame yourself and start looking for a way out of that relationship.

Express your feelings:
Admitting to your partner your pain as a result from him/her giving you the silent treatment is not giving up control, it is simply putting the issue up front and center, it shows your intent on keeping that relationship going.

Have an open mind:
To what your partner has to say about his/her reasons that ended up with the silent treatment. Make sure you do not ridicule them no matter how trivial they sound; after all, we all have different personalities.

Do not fight silence with silence:
That would make things even worse, it leads to a complete breakup in communication, besides, one of you has to be the grownup!
And finally,

Explore the alternative:
Ending an unhealthy relation is far better than staying in it and ”biting the bullet”, life is too short to spend in hate, anger and daily turmoil.

Copyright © 2011 - Present Life Riddles
Photo Courtesy: Anonymous

About The Author: 

We are a husband and wife who love to blog about everyday’s life; we take turns being logical and emotional; though she is stronger on the emotional side by nature, we share the good times as well as the bad times and look forward to the challenges of a new day.
You could only imagine what would:  She Said and He Said as our pen names bring to the conversation,
Life is a big riddle; we all live it!!


  1. Great article LR. I believe that any relationship is worth and thus getting out of the picture should be the last resort. I also agree with exploring the alternative option and feel the same as you do- “ending an unhealthy relation is far better than staying in it and ”biting the bullet”, life is too short to spend in hate, anger and daily turmoil.”

    I feel that one cannot please everyone. Moreover, if you are being ‘hated in return for love’ than there is no point in further debate or brushing shoulders.

    Thanks for sharing some practical tips.

  2. great post...yes, silence can be deadlier than kills relationships...points well brought out...

  3. Yes Sub, this is a great article written by my friend at Life Riddles. His suggestions in this post can be useful. Thanks for the comment though.

  4. Barkha,
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I love how you've put a lot of examples and thoughts into this post. Social issues are serious in our society and we shouldn't allow ourselves to be in a relationship that has silent treatment way longer than anyone is ready to admit.

  5. Stumbled on it from indiblogger, Loved it. I have had relationship where I used to give Silent treatment. Being the aggressive partner, I hated it as much as my partner, never got myself to free away from the clutches of that behavorial sickness. :(

    Well, no solution from the person who is giving is provided. I wil fight my battle with myself alone. Thanks for the perspective and its effects.

  6. Hi Barkha, this is indeed very useful..never knew that it was such a huge problem among couples...all couples should read it. The way you folks have analyzed the issue is simply brilliant...

  7. Hey Fragile prints,
    Thanks for the visit and for sharing your heart. I am glad that you like this post. It is written by Life Riddles who is our guest blogger. He sure has shared certian practical tips here that could help change our perspectives.

  8. @ India's no.1 blog,
    Hi. Thanks for your comment though it is a post written by our guest blogger from Life Riddles. It is a team of husband and wife who have shared some pracical relationship tips here. I am glad that you have liked thier post.

  9. Informative piece of writing.

  10. Barkha,
    Love this guest post about relationship in general. I don't like giving or receiving silent treatment. It never works. In fact, it just makes matter works. Communication is always the KEY to problem solving.

  11. This is a really good article, thanks for sharing. looking forward to reading more and will check out your guest blogger as well.

  12. I agree Kiran, silence can make matters worst in a relationship though communication can be tricky where partners are not receptive to each other. My friend at Life Riddles certainly has done a great job here.
    Thanks for your comment.

  13. Thanks Amanda for your kind words of appreciation. I am glad that you like my blog.

  14. Thanks, I will bookmark this page and use it... really very help full blog.

    Bishop jordan


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