The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse where one person deliberately goes silent on the other person. For sure, it can happen in different relationships including between friends, co-workers, and lovers. Specifically, people use the silent treatment as a tool for exerting power over someone or creating emotional distance. Indeed, if you are on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, you might feel completely disliked. As such, below, we have highlighted some of the ways you can respond when someone gives you the silent treatment.
Make it about them
The silent treatment is not good at all; but, if you take a gentle approach. It might be a good way to get the conversation started. Therefore, you should peacefully tell the person that you have noticed they are giving you the silent treatment and you want to understand why. However, if they are not receptive, tell them you understand they may need some time alone but you would like to plan some time to get together and resolve the problem. This is a very important way to respond to silent treatment.
Ignore it until it is Over
The silent treatment is sometimes a passive-aggressive approach to keep you under control. For instance, the person giving you the silent treatment may want you to feel bad and to take the first approach to talk to them. Indeed, they may be buying time so that you can give in to their demand. Instead, get absorbed into your business as if it does not bother you.
Stand up for Yourself
When silent treatment becomes more of a norm than a one-time behavior, set firm boundaries about what acceptable behavior is. Therefore, you should clearly explain the consequence once the other party breaches the set boundaries.
Additionally, suggest a meeting that will create better communication in the future. For instance, you can make a plan on you will talk to each other when things get heated and how you will avoid the silent treatment moving forward. For sure, you should take turns and listen clearly to what the other person says.
Factors to Avoid
There are few things you will have to avoid when responding to the silent treatment. Some of the things you should not do are:
- Apologizing just to end the silent treatment. – You should not apologize for the silent treatment because it is not your problem in the first place.
- Do not respond in anger. – It will only escalate things.
- Pleading. – This encourages the behavior.
- Continue reasoning with the person after you have tried to.
- Threaten to end the relationship.
- Taking it personally. – Do not take silent treatment personally because it is not your problem.