The Silent Treatment

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There’s

The Silent Treatment

and there’s

THE SILENT TREATMENT

and there is

the silent treatment

Each one has a different meaning and a different outcome. Which one do you use?

 

The Silent Treatment

 

Our first fight was one in which after trying to make a point and not feeling heard, I walked to the foyer, put my shoes on and prepared to take a walk. My then boyfriend looked at me and said incredulously,

“You’re actually leaving? You’re walking out?”

I replied, “If I stay, I will say something stupid. Yes, I’m coming back, but I need time to think and cool down.”

He responded, “Okay, anything can be fixed if we can discuss it.”

In that moment, I wanted to say, “Duh Einstein”, but I didn’t. I held my tongue and went for a walk to put together what I wanted to say and not what was swirling around in my mind to say. Once you say something, it can’t ever be taken back and it can cut so deeply. Better to take a moment.

This is considered a healthy time out and it’s not a punishment to the other person although I have to be honest and tell you that when it’s happening to you it feels like punishment because you have things to say and the person needs a time out. This silent treatment has a time limit. You aren’t talking days, you’re talking a few hours most often, and you’re not sending off all of these mad vibes, you’re just trying to come up with a solution. You aren’t unkind or completely silent, you explain. The person is assured you are coming back to the situation and that you are not dismissing the conversation, only that it’s become toxic to speak, it’s about the relationship and not about having your way.

THE SILENT TREATMENT

This is the one that is just emotionally abusive. I’ve done it, it didn’t work in my relationship.  My husband didn’t notice I wasn’t talking, or he chose to ignore my attempt at manipulation, which is closer to the truth. In our home we discuss we don’t shut out. The silent treatment when used as punishment is nothing more than an attempt to control another person. It’s bullying at its best. The person who is being shut out becomes desperate to talk to the person giving the silent treatment and that person is punishing them determining when if ever the fight is over. The terms are strictly in their hand and they have power. This sort of behavior never works positively except for the bully who learns to get their way.

Then there’s

the silent treatment

This is the disconnect. This is when all attempts to have a mature discussion have failed. This is when another dinner to discuss the issues isn’t worth it. It’s the goodbye. You aren’t rude. You’re not mean. You just choose your life to be less dramatic. You don’t hate and in all honestly you don’t feel anything. You wish the person well, but you’re just not willing to play their games anymore. The cons outweigh the pros to this relationship. This is a sad place to be but sometimes it is what it is. You are polite, but you are no longer engaging. The person has become too much.

 

 

Published in: on September 23, 2014 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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