The Silent Treatment

Hampton Mental Health Associates Family Counseling, Individual Therapy, Marital Counseling Leave a comment   , , , , ,

Does your child, husband, wife use the silent treatment when upset about something? The silent treatment can be a very damaging relationship problem.

The silent treatment or “stonewalling” refers to someone who is letting you know that something is wrong without telling you what and why. If you ask if anything is wrong, you are met with silence. There is no explanation, no response of any kind, only stony silence.

Too many people, within the context of their loved ones (adult and children), seem to believe that those people can read their mind. In other words, there is an incorrect notion that you should know why he or she is upset. Most often, the recipient of the silence is left with feelings of confusion and exasperation as they try to resolve the problem. However, how can someone resolve a problem when they do not know what is wrong?

On a deeper level, there is really a power struggle going on for the partner who has lapsed into silence. The silent treatment is really the expression of lots of aggression. The ultimate goal of the strategy is to win. The silent partner is expressing rage in a way that is passive aggressive. This is designed to get attention and to provoke feelings of guilt. Winning means that the target person admits to having committed some type of offense for which they are now begging forgiveness.

Because the use of this passive aggressive weapon is so damaging to relationships it is important to address these issues before it damage relationships further.

“Silent Treatment” is a form of unhealthy communications that is often a reflection on lack of resources to overcome one’s deficiencies and inability to use a constructive approach to overcome frustrations. It can be addressed with various types of therapy, whether behavior, cognitive and insight.

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