Whew, the toxicity- it stinks! The tension is thicker than the humidity during a San Francisco summer! You can hear the bickering a mile away! Yet… there’s silence.
There’s so much to be said, and even more to be heard when someone gives you the silent treatment, especially, when that someone is a romantic partner.
When you’re in a romantic relationship, communication is of utmost importance. Really, in any relationship, communication is key, so when someone you love uses the silent treatment against you, what are they really saying?
Are they saying that they need some time to mentally unpack the conflict between the two of you? If they are, after a reasonable amount of time and they’ve collected their thoughts, they should come back and communicate with you about what they’re feeling. They should not shut down every time the two of you have an argument, and then pop back up as if nothing ever happened, without addressing why they stopped talking to you.
Are they using the silent treatment as a means to “teach you a lesson” which is manipulation by the way). This is a serious red flag, because it means they’re trying to use the silent treatment as a means to control you.
Do they lack communication skills? Some people don’t know how to communicate effectively. They may not even understand how they feel so it’s even harder to put into words. Then again, they may know exactly what they need from their partner, but they don’t know how to communicate it to them properly. Their trouble communicating could steam from a previous trauma, or they may have never learned how to properly communicate in a relationship. Your understanding is needed in this situation.
If you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you must communicate how this behavior makes you feel and work with your partner to find better solutions than shutting you out, or shutting you up for that matter. Communicate in an understanding and gentle manner. This will create a safe space where your partner feels at ease letting their emotions and thoughts flow.
The bottom line is, it’s up to the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment to speak up. If your partner is committed to the relationship, then they will begin to communicate with you, even if it’s small steps at first. I mean, you must start somewhere, and receiver, if they are trying, you must be patient.
Now, if someone is constantly giving you the silent treatment, despite your efforts to talk it out, or despite how many times you’ve told them how hurtful this behavior makes you feel, or despite you giving them a safe space to voice their feelings, then they just don’t care. You may as well end things now, or later, the emotional abuse from them constantly shutting you out, will begin to take a mental toll on you. You will even begin to question yourself, and think that maybe you’re the one who’s tripping, not realizing that this person is gaslighting you by silent treatment.
Some people give their spouse the silent treatment because they are seeking attention from their spouse, but they don’t know how to, once again, properly communicate it.
It’s a lot to unpack whether you’re on either end of the silent treatment, and if there’s no resolve, the situation will create more harm than good.
It hurts when someone you love, shuts you out, but it’s important to talk it out first, before jumping to assumptions and conclusions. If they’re serious about you, they will communicate better. If they are not serious about you, and have ulterior motives, they won’t.
*** Single ladies! If you’ve enjoyed this post, get your copy of my new affirmation book, Take Care: Daily Affirmations for the single woman. Click the link below.***