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Silent treatment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Silent treatment (often referred to as the silent treatment) is a refusal to communicate verbally with someone who desires the communication. It may range from just sulking to malevolent abusive controlling behaviour. It may be a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval and contempt is exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence.[1] Clinical psychologist Harriet Braiker identifies it as a form of manipulative punishment.[2]

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  • ✪ Why Do Abusers Give the Silent Treatment | Narcissist Tactics!
  • ✪ What to Do When Someone Gives You the Silent Treatment | Effective Communication Skills Training
  • ✪ How Do You Deal With a Partner That Gives You The Silent Treatment?
  • ✪ Why the Silent Treatment is a Problem
  • ✪ Why Narcissist Give Silent Treatment


Hey guys, welcome back thanks for joining me for another video. So this week's video I wanted to talk about the silent treatment and the reason why I wanted to make this video was because if you have been in Emotionally abusive relationship a narcissistically abusive relationship. If you have struggled with codependency being a people pleaser The silent treatment is going to eat away at you So in this week's video I wanted to go over why people choose the silent treatment as a form of emotional abuse and Really, how can you? Handle yourself and kind of overcome the silent treatment because we can't control what other people do but we can control ourselves So, how do we deal with? Whatever's going on inside when someone does give us the silent treatment so one of the first reasons why someone will give you the silent treatment is because Perhaps in your conversation or in your argument, whatever it was you hit a nerve you had a nerve in them So you hit one of their internal wounds and because they don't know how to process what they're feeling They don't know how to deal with what they're feeling. They're just gonna completely shut down. So and we we've all been there So we don't need to necessarily give the silent treatment. Sometimes we get defensive Sometimes we project sometimes we use manipulation. So there's all these different types of tactics that we can use when someone Essentially hits that nerve hits that wound with within us So someone is giving you the silent treatment possibly because you had a nerve in them in themselves And they don't know how to deal with it And the only way they know how to deal with it is to completely shut down. The next reason is quite frankly They just have poor communication skills so a lot of the times people will give you the silent treatment because number one you Had a nerve or a nerves been hit within themselves and they don't even know That that is a nerve that that is an internal wound And so they'll completely shut down or sometimes they'll just react and even if they do even if they didn't know what the wound was and where you kind of hurt them maybe or What you kind of said that maybe stung for them? Um, they don't know how to process what they're feeling and so they can't communicate with you what they're feeling so a lot of the times I'm gonna go right into number three is They'll project their own stuff onto you so when they shut down they're shutting down because They oftentimes don't know what they're feeling. They don't know how to communicate what they're feeling in a healthy way and Because they're starting to like shut down They might actually start projecting some of their stuff on to you before they actually really give you the silent treatment So that's when they're gonna flip it on you. It's gonna be all about you You did this wrong. You did that wrong because they don't want to take accountability for their actions. They just want to blame blame blame and again They just want to after they blame they want to shut down because then that makes down the victim So they just love to kind of flip things on you And again, the reason why they like to flip things the reason why they're shutting down is because number one They don't know what they're feeling. They don't know where their wounds are and they're just reacting So someone else can be responsible for what they're feeling and where their wounds are and that person is gonna be you so someone that you've had an argument with or a discussion with and now they're starting to shut down and they're or they'd like to give You the silent treatment? That's just their drink of choice They do that because they know it bugs you So like I said in a lot of my videos we teach people how we want to be treated and so if someone shuts down and When they shut down we just hover over them and we just you know Like really need to talk about everything and why are you giving me the silent treatment? And you're just begging and begging for someone to give you attention Then that person knows that they got to you But if you were self loving to say, okay, you're acting like a child and you're beginning to shut down and that's not acceptable So it's fine to take a break. If a conversation is becoming overwhelming that's totally fine because a lot of us are Highly sensitive we can get very overwhelmed in conversations and I get this question a lot from people that say well I tend to shut down and when I always ask them is well how do you feel towards the person that you shut down with is this person manipulative is this person egotistical is are they Condescending because I've been in really I know personally I've been in relationships where there were few people in my life but I always shut down right away and it's because they were manipulative and condescending and they were very witty and they were Narcissistic and if you're toe-to-toe with a narcissist, you're probably gonna get overwhelmed because they can cut you at your knees so in those situations if you're getting overwhelmed in an argument or a discussion with someone It's totally fine to take a step back and say I don't want to talk about this right now I need a break that's not giving the silent treatment Because you know that while you need a break that this Conversation needs to happen at another point in time after you've calmed down and relaxed So you're not avoiding the topic the silent treatment is really when someone wants to avoid Like I said not take accountability not take responsibility for their part in the argument or discussion the next reason why someone might give you the silent treatment is because this is your Punishment so it kind of goes along with because they know what bugs you inside. This is their way of Punishing you for holding them accountable for trying to make them You know accountable for their actions or what they said or what they did and when people don't want to be held accountable They're going to use a lot of abusive tactics in order to like I said either Punish you or flip the script on you and really by punishing you that's what makes them feel powerful That's what makes them the victim so they become the victim they begin to have power in the discussion or argument they've now flipped it on you and They've now won and you're sitting there hurt upset begging to talk about this begging for attention When they're just sitting back and feeling have basically sucked you dry Essentially and this is why sometimes a narcissist this is their drink of choice is the silent treatment or one of them is because they feel powerful at the end because they have they have switched the gears and now They're the victim and you're the person that actually hurt them. So how do we handle this person? How do we handle a family member or co-worker or a friend or a spouse? whoever sister brother that likes to give the silent treatment one of the biggest things that you have to really really Understand is you cannot take what they're doing personally. It has nothing to do with you so if you're struggling with codependency all of a sudden that you know in our wound is gonna start that bells gonna go off of Okay, look, I'm not lovable You know, I'm not even worthy of a conversation like they must not care and this is all done in your subconscious This isn't something that you might be consciously thinking but you're gonna have that wound of abandonment of look. I'm not worthy enough They don't want to talk about it. Why don't they want to talk about it? How could they do this to me? And all of these things? Keep going on and on your mind? You have to accept that what they're doing the behavior that they're doing or that they're displaying has Nothing at all to do with you it has to do with them This is a behavior that they learned in order to cope With those wounds in order to cope with things that they don't know how to feel they don't know how to express so in order to deal with these uncomfortable feelings that they're having Instead of you know, impossibly suppressing them. This is just a coping mechanism so one of the first things that you can do if you have to deal this type of person is you have to learn How to process your own hurt feelings. So the reality is is that even though we know this has nothing to do with us It's hurtful. It's a friend. It's a spouse. It's a family member. It's whatever It's someone that we care about and for them to just shut down and mean in the middle of an important conversation That's hurtful because we wouldn't do that to them but like I said when you start to really repeat that this has nothing to do with you that this is about them it Kind of helps to take the hurt feelings out of it because it's really not about you It's about themselves and while of course it still would bother us or hurt us that someone can't maybe own it or take responsibility Excuse me, take responsibility for their own actions or want to have these conversations Because this is just what? healthy normal people do is they communicate their thoughts and their feelings to each other and even if we don't agree with each other we can agree to disagree and Or we can accept the way someone feels even if it makes us uncomfortable or even if we disagree with it We can do that as well and that's just normal healthy communication between anyone Whether it's a family member spouse or friend and the fact that someone else can't give you the courtesy to do that You have to like like I said throughout this whole video understand that it has nothing to do with you that they don't always Know how to do those things doesn't excuse their behavior But it kind of takes the sting out of it That way you can remove yourself from the situation and not take it So personally the next thing is you have to communicate with this person how you feel So if they give the silent treatment and then they just kind of brush it under the rug at some point in time You're gonna have to bring up that that conversation you know that they gave you the silent treatment number one that the Conversation got swept up under the rug and that that that's not how you operate in life and you have to express to them How it made you feel? Does that mean that they're gonna come back and say oh my god? I'm so sorry for giving you the silent treatment for a day or a week or a month or whatever No, probably not but it's good for you it's good for you to stand up and tell this person what you think and how their behavior made you feel the next thing which is the most Important thing that you can do for yourself is you have to set a boundary So if this this is about not alone we communicating to this person, you know how their behavior made us feel but also we're communicating to this person what we expect in a Relationship whether that's a marriage a romantic relationship a friendship It doesn't really matter any relationship This is the bare minimum for me to have a relationship with you is I don't operate that way and if you choose to shut down because you're getting Overwhelmed that's perfectly fine, but we have to have as conversation at some point in time And again, we can't force people to want to do those things But we can set a boundary and enforce our boundary, which is maybe we don't talk so much Maybe we don't talk about a specific topic that really got us both kind of riled up and that kind of started this conversation Or started this, you know That led us into this place that we're in right now. Maybe we don't talk about those things So it's whatever kind of works for you. Maybe we just weed if this happens all the time with everything that we're talking about We're you know, maybe we're in a romantic relationship or we're in a marriage and anytime. We have a conversation about anything You just shut down That's not the basis of a healthy relationship or a healthy marriage so maybe we have to end friendship er and that relationship with someone and People oftentimes don't like to hear that and they asked me well, what is a consequence for a boundary? I mean really there's only two things that you can kind of do you can limit your three things You can limit your contact with someone you can deal with their abusive behavior, or you can leave the relationship That's really the only options that you have So, I hope that this has kind of helped you guys understand why people tend to give the silent treatment and really what you can Do to not only kind of arm yourself and protect yourself But also how to really deal with someone when they are giving you the silent treatment how to handle this person So that is it for this week's video. Thank you guys so much for all of your comments all of your love and support I'm so blessed to do this every single day I absolutely love what I do If you are interested in private coaching, I will link that information down below if you are interested in following me on social media I will list that as well. Don't forget to give this video a thumbs up and I will see you next week


Origin of term

The term originated from "treatment" through silence, which was fashionable in prisons in the 19th century. In use since the prison reforms of 1835, the silent treatment was used in prisons as an alternative to physical punishment, as it was believed that forbidding prisoners from speaking, calling them by a number rather than their name, and making them cover their faces so they couldn’t see each other would encourage reflection on their crimes.[3]

In personal relationships

In a relationship, the silent treatment can be a difficult pattern to break because if it is ingrained, relationships may then ultimately fail.[4]

The silent treatment is sometimes used as a control mechanism. The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive action where a person feels bad but is unable to express themselves. Their being 'silent' still communicates a message. It can generate what the sulker wants, such as attention and the knowledge others are hurt, plus a feeling of power from creating uncertainty over how long the ‘silence’ will last.[5] Sometimes the goal of the silent treatment is simply to communicate displeasure and once the message has been received and understood the silent treatment ends.[citation needed]

Abusers punish their victims by refusing to speak to them or even acknowledge their presence. Through silence, the abusers loudly communicate their displeasure, anger and frustration.[6] The consequences of this behavior on the person isolated by silence are feelings of incompetence and worthlessness.[7]

In the workplace

Research by the Workplace Bullying Institute suggests that "using the silent treatment to ice out & separate from others" is the fourth most common of all workplace bullying tactics experienced, and is reported in 64 percent of cases of workplace bullying.[8] The silent treatment is a recognized form of abusive supervision. Other forms include: reminding the victim of past failures, failing to give proper credit, wrongfully assigning blame or blowing up in fits of temper.[9]

Tactical ignoring

Tactical ignoring is a strategy where a person gives no outward sign of recognizing a behavior, such as no eye contact, no verbal response, or electronic response, and no physical response. However, the person remains aware of the behavior and monitors the individual to ensure their safety and the safety of others. It is similar to, although not identical to, the silent treatment, in that tactical ignoring is a behavioral management technique that, when correctly applied, can result in the reduction of undesirable behaviors.

One of the principles of tactical ignoring is to analyse the behavior to see the message that is being communicated by the individual. This message, the need for attention or to gain a reaction, requires a response. The aim is to provide the person with positive and quality attention for displaying appropriate behaviors, or for not displaying the undesired behavior. When the person displays the undesired behavior in order to gain attention, the planned ignoring strategy is to ignore the behavior. This strategy uses the same foundation as that underlying positive behavior support and applied behavior analysis in that positive behavior is encouraged with positive reinforcement, and unwanted behaviors are discouraged with ignoring or negative reinforcement. The use of tactical ignoring is taught in parent management training, but is suitable for changing unwanted adult behavior or unwanted child behavior.

Tactical ignoring can be one element of a behavior management plan when there are a variety of challenging behaviors being addressed. Because it is a method that involves not responding to an undesirable behavior, it should be complemented by differential reinforcement for an alternative behavior, as seen in functional communication training, a procedure to teach a more appropriate attention-seeking behavior.[10]

In the media

  • Shirley Ann Millard Mr Toad Gets the Silent Treatment (1999)
  • J. Demetrio Nicolo The Silent Treatment (2004)

See also


  1. ^ "The Silent Treatment". Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  2. ^ Braiker, Harriet B. (2004). Who's Pulling Your Strings ? How to Break The Cycle of Manipulation. ISBN 0-07-144672-9.
  3. ^ London, The Kolberg Partnership. "London's Most Notorious Prisons – Page – Life In London Magazine – All In London". Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  4. ^ USA Today (August 3, 2014) Silent treatment speaks volumes about a relationship
  5. ^ Petra Boynton The Telegraph (26 Apr 2013 Silent treatment: how to snap him out of it
  6. ^ Gregory L. (2009) Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse
  7. ^ Femenia, Nora (21 August 2012). Warner, Neil (ed.). "The Silent Marriage:: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness, 2nd Edition". Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. – via Amazon.
  8. ^ "Top 25 workplace bullying tactics". Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  9. ^ James Larsen Abusive Supervision Article No. 309 Business Practice Findings
  10. ^ Carr, Edward G.; Durand, V. Mark (Summer 1985). "Reducing behavior problems through functional communication training". Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 18 (2): 111–126. doi:10.1901/jaba.1985.18-111. PMC 1307999. PMID 2410400.

Further reading

  • The “silent treatment”. Its incidence and impact. Paper presented at the sixty-ninth Annual Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL. Ferguson, M., and .. 1997
  • Kipling D. Williams Wendelyn J. Shore Jon E. Grahe. The silent treatment: Perceptions of its behaviors and associated feelings – Group Processes Intergroup Relations October 1998 vol. 1 no. 2 117–141
  • Zadro, L., Richardson, R., & Williams, K. D. (2006, January). The antecedents of interpersonal ostracism: Do individual differences predict propensity to be a target or source of the silent treatment? Presented at the 7th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Palm Springs, CA.
  • Grahe, J. E., Shore, W. J., & Williams, K. D. (1997, May). Perceptions of the behaviors and feelings associated with the “silent treatment.”Presented at the 69th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
  • Faulkner, S, Williams, K., Sherman, B., & Williams, E. (1997, May). The “silent treatment:” Its incidence and impact. Presented at the 69 th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.[Summarized in New Scientist, 1998, April, p. 18]

External links

This page was last edited on 10 November 2019, at 12:02
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