The Silent Treatment

The silent treatment. It can be extremely harmful in a relationship. It is a form of emotional manipulation and can have severe consequences for both partners. When one partner uses silent treatment as a means of control, it creates a power imbalance in the relationship. It can lead to feelings of insecurity, confusion, and anger in the other partner. Over time, this can cause the relationship to deteriorate, leading to feelings of distrust and a communication breakdown.

In addition to the emotional toll it takes on the relationship, the silent treatment can also negatively affect the mental and physical soundness of the person on the receiving end. Studies have shown that social isolation and exclusion can lead to stress, anxiety, and despair and negatively impact physical health.

It’s essential to address the use of silent treatment in any relationship, whether at work or home, and to work towards fixing conflicts healthily and constructively. Communication and mutual respect are critical to a healthy and successful relationship.

To explain what ‘silent treatment’ is, it is a form of emotional abuse. In any form of relationship, personal or professional, it is abusive and toxic and in which one person intentionally ignores or refuses to communicate with another person. This can be done through physical silence or the absence of any verbal or nonverbal cues. Not even eye contact or gestures. How long does it last? The silent treatment can last a couple of hours or several days, hurting and damaging a relationship. It happens in both personal and professional settings. 

At work or home, or amoung friends, people often use the silent treatment to avenge, dodge conflict, express rage or hurt, protect themselves, or cope with stress or emotional overwhelm. Nevertheless, this form of communication is ineffective and can escalate conflicts and deepen emotional wounds. Consequently, it’s important to seek alternative and more constructive ways of resolving disputes and expressing emotions in relationships.

Why do People give silent treatment?

Remember that silent treatment is not a healthy or productive way to communicate, and it’s vital to seek healthy and effective ways of resolving conflicts in relationships.

  1. To punish
    The silent treatment can be used as punishment or control, especially in relationships where one person feels they have more power over the other.

  2. To avoid conflict
    Some people may use the silent treatment to avoid a confrontation or difficult conversation.

  3. To express anger or hurt
    The silent treatment can also express anger or hurt when someone feels wronged or frustrated.

  4. To protect themselves
    Sometimes, people may use the silent treatment to protect themselves from further emotional pain or regain control of the relationship.

  5. To cope with stress or emotional overwhelm
    The silent treatment can also be a way for people to retreat and deal with their stress, anxiety, or emotions.

Steps To Save relationship impacted by silent treatment

It can be challenging, but it is possible. Steps that you can take.

  1. Identify the cause of the silent treatment
    Understanding why your partner is using the silent treatment can help you address the underlying issues and find a solution.

  2. Practice active listening
    Try listening actively and without judgment when communicating with your partner. This helps create a safe and supportive environment for both partners.

  3. Take responsibility for your actions
    It’s essential to take responsibility for your actions and recognize how they may have contributed to the conflict.

  4. Practice forgiveness
    Forgiving your partner for using the silent treatment and for any past mistakes can help to rebuild trust and improve your relationship.

  5. Express your feelings
    Let your partner know how the silent treatment makes you feel, and encourage them to do the same. This helps create a space for open and honest communication.

  6. Seek help
    Consider seeking a therapist or counselor who can guide and support both partners as you work through the issue.

  7. Set boundaries
    If your partner continues to use the silent treatment, it’s essential to set boundaries and let them know that it’s not an acceptable form of communication.
Please get in touch with a crisis resources center near your area if you or anyone you know needs help and support. 
If at work, you believe you are being bullied or harassed, do reach out to your HR Department and seek support and assistance in dealing with the situation.  
If you believe you have an abusive relationship at home, reach out to your local help centers or authorities. 
Seeking help is human, and it is the first step to recovery.

steps you can take to cope

Silent treatment is emotional abuse that hurts and damages a relationship at work and home. If you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, here are steps you can take to cope with the situation.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings
    Feeling hurt, frustrated, or angry when someone gives you the silent treatment is natural. Acknowledge and validate your emotions.

  2. Identify the cause
    Try to understand why the person is giving you the silent treatment. Is it because of something you said or did, or is it due to an issue they are dealing with?

  3. Communicate your needs
    Let the person know how the silent treatment makes you feel and express your desire to resolve the issue together.

  4. Seek support
    Talk to a trusted friend or family member, or consider seeking professional help if you struggle to cope with the situation.

  5. Set boundaries
    It is crucial to protect yourself from emotional abuse. Consider setting boundaries with the person giving you the silent treatment and seek alternative ways to communicate and resolve conflicts.

Remember, it’s essential to be patient and work jointly to address the silent treatment and any other problems in your relationship. Doing so can build a stronger, healthier relationship based on trust, communication, and mutual respect.

While silent treatment may be a coping mechanism for some individuals, it is not a healthy way to deal with conflict or address relationship issues. Taking care of oneself, on the other hand, is a vital aspect of maintaining one’s overall health and well-being.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are experiencing silent treatment from someone, it is essential to prioritize your self-care and seek support from others if needed. It can help you preserve a sense of emotional resilience and cope with the effects of the silent treatment. Additionally, it may be most helpful to address the issue with the person and work towards finding a healthier way to communicate and resolve conflicts in the future. If everything fails, make a strong choice: to stay put or move on.


Chippy is a dreamer and optimist. She believes, we become what we hope, aspire, dream to be and knows how to make a dream or two happen. Seventeen years of experience, struggling, winning, failing, succeeding and failing again and making it, she knows what it takes to build a successful project, a business, and what it means by starting from the bottom up. It takes determination, dedication, and direction and that’s why her mission is to ‘step up & inspire.

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