Best way to handle the silent treatment?
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Best way to handle the silent treatment?

My H became upset last night after realizing how much he spent on new clothes, shoes, and at the casino over the weekend (Note, I did not spend anything). He was upset with me for not working full time and it became my fault that he had spent so much.

So today, he did not talk to me all day via text or phone. I text a few times, but quickly learned I was getting the silent treatment.

What is the best way to deal with the silent treatment. H is 30 years old, so a bit too old to act this childish imo.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

This has been one of the biggest struggles for me in my marriage. My H gives me the silent treatment and it kills me. Ive done many things from freaking out, to printing off a article about the affects of giving someone the silent treatment, to actually having a counselor tell him its abusive. He still gives me the silent treatment though. Just last weekend he did it. I dont do anything to get his attention anymore. I leave him alone. Its not a power struggle on my part, its not vengeful. I dont start feeling resentful and hating him- anymore. Its really sad for me, actually. it breaks my heart. I think after you've completely communicated how his silent treatment makes you feel, all you can do is accept your own pain and try to console yourself any way that works. but accepting that its going to hurt, without blaming him, will help. If you harbor resentment you just feel worse.

I also let my H experience the consequences of treating me that way. I dont feel a lot of love in the relationship and so i dont do certain things anymore. its not that i plan to get revenge by getting even, i just dont feel like doing certain things after being treated that way. its that simple.

Now that i dont freak and and dont push him, he comes around on his own terms. it usually takes him a day or so. but he'll apologize later. even in apologizing, though, he's not absolved of the consequences of his behavior. there are still many things i dont, and wont feel like doing until he changes.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

to the OP, taking your post for face value he is being a putz and not accepting responsibility for his own poor decisions. how can you know your not spending too much money while your spending it?

concerning the silent treatment, i do this sometimes to my wife. it usually occurs during long stretches without sex with her not acting interested. i am not engaging her in all the blabbing and drama and emotional garbage with no reciprocation of any kind. i've done it in the past and it doesnt change anything. its my way of letting her know to back off.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

The silent treatment is a form of emotional abandonment and is thereby classified as abuse. It's ridiculous how common that is when it's a soul crushing response to not getting your own way in the relationship. It leaves feelings of insecurity and could destroy any bonds of love that exist between two people.

Of course, pointing that out to him would probably be a waste of time. Hunt Brown had some excellent suggestions. I would also suggest counseling to get to the bottom of that sort of response and try to put an end to it once and for all.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

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Originally Posted by HappyHer View Post
The silent treatment is a form of emotional abandonment and is thereby classified as abuse. It's ridiculous how common that is when it's a soul crushing response to not getting your own way in the relationship. It leaves feelings of insecurity and could destroy any bonds of love that exist between two people.

Of course, pointing that out to him would probably be a waste of time. Hunt Brown had some excellent suggestions. I would also suggest counseling to get to the bottom of that sort of response and try to put an end to it once and for all.

i think thats a bit over the top, the silent treatment can just be a result of not wanting to continue a futile discussion with someone who just doesnt get it. its no different than withholding intimacy which seems to be acceptable in some peoples minds (not yours necessarily). is withholding sex considered abuse too?
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

I would say that if an individual does not want to continue the conversation, or discuss something further, they can be a grown up and use their words. They can choose to say something to the effect of: "I'm choosing to not respond to you right now, because I need some space".

Someone once said: Spiteful words can hurt your feelings, but silence breaks your heart.

Withholding in any form from our partners without explanation is an immature and passive aggressive form of abuse.

It is also very effective tool for hurting people and not owning the consequences of hurting them. If one uses this tactic, they can hold their hands up and say: "I didn't do anything!" and feel absolved from the guilt of hurting someone. Ignoring and shutting out someone who cares about us is a very emotionally abusive and cruel thing to do.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

There are more loving ways to discontinue a non-productive discussion than just clamming up and refusing to talk. "Honey, I really need a break from this topic, but I promise I will talk to you about anything else that you have going on" - OR - "I really need a time out. Let's get together and talk more at 7 pm tomorrow" or whatever time is good.

Yes, withholding sex is abusive as well. You wouldn't withhold food from your partner, so why would you withhold sex when it can reduce risks of heart disease, particular cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, etc....

That doesn't mean to have sex every time if you are ill, overly tired, or upset, but it does mean that sexual relations with your partner should be a top priority, along with maintaining a close emotional connection.

What that looks like is working through problems as quickly as possible and keeping the love and intimacy as the most important focus between each other. Whether it be through communicating with your partner, seeing a therapist or doctor. It's important to do whatever it takes to keep your relationship on a healthy level. Life is just too short not to make those efforts at what is supposed to be the love of your life.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

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Originally Posted by Hunt Brown View Post
abuse is behavior that is intended to hurt or control.

if you "do not want to continue a futile discussion" the better course of action is to learn the skills necessary to turn a futile conversation into a productive one.

Hunt Brown
and employing that skill depends on the one you are having the discussion with. the person you are having the discussion with has to play along or it wont work. as stated by others following your post, sometimes its best to let things simmer down and then revisit later.

in the case of the original posters situation, her husband is being ridiculously insensitive with his silent treatment as he appears to be the cause of the irritation to begin with.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

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Originally Posted by okeydokie View Post
to the OP, taking your post for face value he is being a putz and not accepting responsibility for his own poor decisions. how can you know your not spending too much money while your spending it?

concerning the silent treatment, i do this sometimes to my wife. it usually occurs during long stretches without sex with her not acting interested. i am not engaging her in all the blabbing and drama and emotional garbage with no reciprocation of any kind. i've done it in the past and it doesnt change anything. its my way of letting her know to back off.
He went shopping and did not remember what bills had been paid. He did not look at he check register or account prior to going shopping or to the casino. That is how he did not know how he was spending too much.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

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Originally Posted by okeydokie View Post
i think thats a bit over the top, the silent treatment can just be a result of not wanting to continue a futile discussion with someone who just doesnt get it. its no different than withholding intimacy which seems to be acceptable in some peoples minds (not yours necessarily). is withholding sex considered abuse too?

There was no futile discussion who me at all. And I do get it, so not sure where that applies. He just decided to stop talking to me yesterday morning and I figured out I was getting the silent treatment about 3 hours later.

Withholding sex is a form of emotional abuse imo.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

So there was not argument. He yelled and got upset with me. I then got the silent treatment. No discussion or arguing at all.

Still lookin for suggestions on how to handle it.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

Wow my husband too gives me the silent treatment and it used to drive me crazy. He would turn off his phone or not answer it for days. Sometimes because we argued and other times because we were about to argue and he would hang up on me and turn off his cell. Very frustrating.

What I started doing was I stopped calling him or trying to make any contact and waited for him to contact me. Now when I miss his calls or messages by accident mostly and sometimes on purpose he goes into a rage. I guess he got a taste of his own poison.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

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Originally Posted by Hunt Brown View Post
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.

Quote:
...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.

Quote:
...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.
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best way to handle the silent treatment?

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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.



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

Yes, I think he does it so can avoid the responsbility and also so that he can blame me.
Kind of get the idea? So in this step, figure out what benefit he has by being silent and shutting others out.



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

I do none of the above. I typically let him simmer in his own funk. I don't try to get him in a better mood, nor do I really engage in conversation with him. I refuse to cover his consequences and I won't apologize for something I did not do.

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). Oh Yes!

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.
This is what I have done for the last two days. In fact, yesterday he left and told my daughter (5) he was going to cabelas. Did not tell me. I did not get upset, but did text him stating that he needed to be home by 2 for me to get to work. He was of course late, so I stayed late at work to get my stuff done. He then had to put the kids to bed. I am avoiding engaging in any conversation with him right now, but I don't see this getting any better. I recognize the reasons and I am not playing this game with him anymore. I see this as a form of abuse and I am ready to pack his items up and set them in the garage while he is gone this weekend.
I appreciate your time here ac and everything you are saying makes sense to me. It is true that he wants a reaction, but I am not giving one and he is continuing with the behavior. Where to go from here?
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I have not given him the desired response apparently. He has taken it up a notch now and has been texting me. He began calling me names such as leach, bum, telling me he is going to divorce me. He told me that my son would not want to live with me because H has more money and likes he more and that he is old enough to decide (not true in our state). He took to making attacks on my family and telling me I can't support the children.

How do I handle this?
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