I'm really desperate for some advice on how to handle the silent treatment, please help!
DH & I don't fight much, but when we do they are doozies and we can go for days without speaking. During the 'silent treatment' time he sleeps in another room and completely ignores me as though I don't exist. Not a single hello, goodbye, SMS, email or phone call.
After a fight, I'm always the one who has to wave the white flag and make peace. If I was in the wrong, I acknowledge it and apologise as soon as we've both simmered down. I much prefer to clear the air ASAP and get back to normal.
If he's the one in the wrong, he never makes any effort to patch things up. Generally I'll leave him be for a few days, then I get to the point where I just give up waiting for an apology and break the silence anyway. One time I dug my heels in and played his game, it took 11 days for him to start talking to me.
He knows how much I hate getting the silent treatment and after we make up, he says he won't do it 'next time'... but he always does. I'm all for giving each other space and time to think, but anything beyond 24-48hrs is unreasonable to me and quite frankly, I'm over it. Its like being married to an immature 4yr old.
This particular instance we are up to day 5 and I don't see it ending anytime soon. The fight began over something minor, but once he started yelling, he took it WAY too far. Usually by now I'd be fretting and missing him and just want us back to normal, but this time its different. It feels like something died inside me and I can't get those cruel words out of my head . Thank goodness we don't have kids who could've overhead that.
I was googling this afternoon out of curiosity and to my horror I see that this is considered a form of emotional abuse! Its a way for the abuser to have control, create isolation and get their partner to come begging and crawling to them. Apparantly the best way to deal with it is by reciprocating, ie/ give the silent treatment back, and go about your day as though nothing's bothering you.
Does anyone have any better suggestions? I'm a believer of 'two wrongs don't make a right' and I feel so childish playing his game. But then again, why should it always be me who has to put a stop to it? Why is he so incapable of saying he's sorry and trying to make amends??
Sorry for the long depressing post. I wouldn't normally write something like this on an open forum, but I feel like BH is my 2nd home and there's so many lovely hubbers with wonderful words of wisdom to share. I hope you don't mind sending some of your great advice my way.
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21-08-2011 18:05 #1
How do you deal with 'The Silent Treatment?
21-08-2011 18:55 #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
I dont have any advice
But my golly gosh! How childish of him! I don't think I could go that long I would have too many things to tell him lol! But I agree it is a form of abuse
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21-08-2011 19:07 #3
Yeap it is a form of emotional abuse and it can be cruel!! Don't discount it.
I would print out the page which states "silent treatment" for what it is and say "After you read this we should talk". You are calling his bluff then!
I feel similar to you when me and my partner fight that it is always me who tries to patch things up, even if he has said he was in the wrong and said sorry.
I guess it also depends on whether you want it to get back to normal or not! But you should call it for what it is!
Last edited by PomPoms; 21-08-2011 at 19:10.
21-08-2011 19:09 #4
I think you should hold your ground. Do you have somewhere you can stay overnight, just to show him you've had enough and not willing to put up with his nastiness anymore. If so, I would go and stay there without telling him.
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21-08-2011 19:14 #5
What a disgusting game he's playing and I wholeheartedly think it sounds like abuse.
Myself I'm not good at waiting. I know when DF has walked out after a fight I call like - Errmmm - 20 times until he answers his phone.
(like if he's been gone for hours and I don't know where he is)
I dont *do* being ignored and the one time DF did cold shoulder me for about a week (not TOTALLY ignore and mostly we still slept in the same bed, but he was 'cool' with me for a week) I nearly bloody left out of skittishness. I'm a 'let's hammer it out NOW' person. DF needs more time to simmer, so we've had to learn how to have disputes and maintain respect.
I think 'time outs' are great. Like going 'this isn't going anywhere let's drop it, have dinner, watch tv etc and pick it up tomorrow when we are both cool' because it's a way of keeping the ISSUE and RELATIONSHIP separate. Which is just so important IMO. (unless it's a deal breaker)
To me. Personally. Silent treatment as a clearly premeditated approach to handle a dispute in a relationship - to me - would be a total deal breaker.
I'd be telling him to cut the cr@p and grow up, or get out.
But that's just me. As someone who would rather be yelled at than ignored. I think being ignored would be utterly soul destroying. I would simply not cope. Id rather be single (I'd rather be a single parent) than ignored as a human being by the person I love.
It sounds like abuse to me. It would be abuse to me.
21-08-2011 19:17 #6Senior Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
Pack his bags and leave them on the door step. Tell him he is welcome back when he is ready to talk.
21-08-2011 19:22 #7
My mum and dad fight that way. After listening to it for 27 years I would rather the yelling than the silent treatment. It is worse because it eats away at you and invades your whole day. I think the hardest part for me was learning that it isn't normal to fight this way and not doing it in my own relationships.
Dh and I have an agreement that we won't go to bed angry. It's very difficult at times but 80% of the time it works. The other 20% we wake up and everything is ok.
I don't know how you break the silence. I don't know how you deal with your partner. It is unfair if you are the one that has to crawl back time after time. Xoxo
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21-08-2011 19:27 #8
And if you can get a hold of 'why does he do that?' - it might help you piece together what may be emotional abuse here.
Last edited by Boobycino; 21-08-2011 at 19:33.
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21-08-2011 19:28 #9
I admit, I give the silent treatment to DH. Partly because I don't know how to fight, and also because sometimes he hurts me so badly that I either don't know what to say, or know if I said what I wanted it wouldn't be helpful. So I often retreat for a while until I can sort it out in my head and talk to him about it calmly.
Sometimes it takes me a day, but I will still kiss him good bye or answer questions. To not talk to you at all for 11 days is ridiculous!
I suggest counseling too. And also the going away for a night or packing
his bags. It might shock him enough to realise that he is being pretty mean with his behavior and controlling if you always have to tale the first step.
hope you an sort it out so you are happy.
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21-08-2011 20:22 #10
Oh you guys, thanks for replying and making me feel a little less lonely . OMG to the people who didn't talk for a year... I'd hit the road long before then.
I think the fact that I'm suffering any form of abuse is more shocking to me than the whole argument thing... but I intend to confront him about it being abuse and seek counselling for it. This has been a wake up call that I never expected!
BigRedV- I agree I should hold my ground. In the past I have taken off to my Mum's, but I've learned its not a good idea to air your dirty laundry to family/friends, they don't always forgive & forget as easily as we do. If anywhere, I'd go to a hotel. Week days its easy to avoid each other, I get home 8pm most nights and can come straight upstairs to *my* room (he's taken over the downstairs bedroom). If this is still going on come next Friday night, then I will stay elsewhere next weekend .
Boobycino- Yes I'd much rather yell, get it out of our systems and then make nice. But he just turns to stone and doesn't respond to anything. That book sounds like it could be helpful, thank you for taking the time to find the link.
Quin- I'm much too soft to do that. He runs his business from home, so I can't really kick him out.
Jadee- oh you're so right about it eating away and invading the whole day (or days in my case). If you're sticking to your rule 80% of the time, I think thats a fantastic effort. I suspect MIL or FIL (or both) does the silent treatment too, DH had to have learned it from somewhere...
Californication- your version of silent treatment seems like normal 'time out to cool off' to me . But my perception may be warped given what I've been putting up with!
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