you are not going to solve this today, but you can begin to solve it right now....
and becoming non-reactive to his silent treatment, not letting it get to you, not responding in kind or escalating, is an essential step.
To kind of continue where HuntBrown left off, right now his silent treatment is one way that he gets a certain reaction from you--something that he wants. This is one method he has discovered of getting what he wants, and if you continue to react like you have in the past, he will likely continue the silent treatment. Thus one way to "solve" this issue is to bec conscious of what's going on and discover 1) what he gets from it, and 2) how to react differently.
...one step on the way to doing that is to find out what he "gets" from the silent treatment, what his payback is, and then stop providing it.
May I give you a few examples of some typical things that he may "get" out of it? In this instance, he did something for which he feels guilty which in his own head he assigns as 'wrong' OP didn't yell at him that he was wrong to spend that money, but he hears that voice inside his own head. So he does the silent treatment so...
- he can blame someone else for what he did
- he can avoid the feelings of guilt
- he can deflect responsibility
- he can elude the consequences of what he did
Kind of get the idea? So in this step, figure out what benefit he has by being silent and shutting others out.
...another step is to be concious of when you become reactive, when you want to retaliate, and then not doing it.
In this step, figure out how you typically react when he's silent. Somewhere in your reaction is probably the payoff he likes! For some ideas:
- you beg him to talk to you--so he is reassured that someone wants him
- you follow him around--so he can then claim he feels smothered and storm off
- you pick fights to get him to talk--so he can say you started the fight
- you escalate to rage--so he can respond in unhealthy, abusive ways but claim that you are the one with the problem
- you apologize first--so he knows you still want to be close to him
- you do sweet things to try to entice him back--so he gets some romantic things
- you get exasperated and cover his consequences for him
Soooooooo.... As as example,
if you did both steps you would know that he does this to elude the consequences of his choice, because you get exasperated and cover his consequences for him if he gives you the silent treatment...
Or you would know that he does this to deflect responsibility for choosing to respond to you in unhealthy, abusive ways but claim YOU are the one with the issue (not him).
It's like he takes a step, and you respond with a step that he is expecting, so then he can take the step he wants! What you have to do is change that dance. He will take his step and you do something completely different! Then he won't be able to get to the step he wants! In the example, it would look like this:
he might do the silent treatment so he can elude the consequences of his overspending, But YOU don't get exasperated and you don't cover for him! So he still has to face the consequences of his choice to overspend and being silent didn't get him what he expected.