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How to Respond To “The Silent Treatment”.

by Frederick Akinola
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The silent treatment is a refusal to communicate verbally with another person. People who use the silent treatment may even refuse to acknowledge the presence of the other person. In most cases, using silent treatment is not a productive way to deal with a disagreement. Some people use silence as a form of revenge, while others use it as a means to get what they want. For instance, if a husband makes a decision his wife doesn’t like, he then uses the silent treatment, shunning her in the hope that she will break down and concede to his wishes.

Of course, a temporary time-out can give people the opportunity to let emotions cool when an argument is getting out of hand. That type of silence can be beneficial. But when it is used as a means to retaliate or manipulate, the silent treatment not only prolongs conflict but also erodes the respect people have for each other. How can you prevent that from happening to you?

How To Respond To Silent Treatment

The first step to ending the silent treatment is to recognize it for what it is—a tactic that, at best, works only short-term. True, not talking may quench your thirst for retaliation or compel your spouse to give in to your wishes. But is that really how you want to treat someone whom you have vowed to love? There are better ways to resolve conflicts.

Apologize If You’re Wrong

If you did something wrong to offend your partner, apologize.  It won’t kill you. Since you are wrong, their feelings may be valid.

Do Not Over React

Try to be discerning, do not over react. Arguments tend to escalate as they continue. On the other hand, you can change the direction of a heated discussion. If you think of your friend or partner as your teammate rather than your opponent, you will be less likely to take offense, argue, and then refuse to talk to them.

Ignore It

The silent treatment is aimed at getting to you. go about your business as if it doesn’t bother you. This is easier said than done, but try to distract yourself. Deprive them of the reaction they seek. Show that the silent treatment is no way to get what they want from you.

Stand Up For Yourself

When things escalate to emotional abuse, you’re not in a healthy relationship. It’s time to put yourself first. If there’s no hope that the other person will change, consider leaving the relationship. Do not apologize just to put an end to it, even though you did nothing wrong. And do not threaten to leave the relationship when you’re not ready to do so.


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