In a relationship, arguments are inevitable. At some or other point, there will be some misunderstanding and quarrels’. That is fine. Its normal.
As long as people are talking and fighting, it is fine. But, when one person talks and fights and when the other person completely shuts him or her out by keeping quiet or not responding to anything… Then it is trouble.
The people who stay quiet, employ some techniques called Silent treatment and stonewalling. It is very common in India. I see this between couples, friends, and other family members.
I have also done it in the past. I have to admit. But, I stopped when I saw someone I cared getting upset and angry because of my silent treatment.
I felt so bad about myself after seeing her pain that day. It happened 15-16 years ago. Since then, if I get an email or an SMS, I will immediately reply; even if it’s from a person who have betrayed me or I had a fight with. Dosen’t matter because they took some effort to mail or SMS.It could be abuse or insults from their side. That is fine. I will reply immediately to let them know that I have received their mail or SMS.
So I can understand it and smell it from a mile away – silent treatment and stonewalling. I understand it because I have done it. It is a kind of abuse. I will never do it again. It is bad.
If you try to explain this, no one would listen. And the worst part is, we all have a justification for that…’It is not my fault. I did not do anything. I’ll just keep quiet. Let she/he say whatever they want?’
Recently, one of my friends told me about things happening at her home and how she use stonewalling. That inspired me to google how come people staying quiet becomes automatically correct everywhere.
I was curious, are they doing the right thing?
The answer I got was, NO.
The silent treatment is a punishment meant to inflict pain. Some people enjoy punishing others like this. They really don’t want to talk about the issue because it is a kind of confrontation, which they want to avoid at any cost.
The silent treatment is their way of expressing contempt.
In India, we have this saying for everything… “People are different. So, people react differently”. I don’t want to get into that topic in this post because it’s a long story.
Anyway, in general, scientists have categorized it as a form of emotional abuse. For them, it is not possible to study each and every individual on the planet just because some people have this theory – ‘Look at your finger’s, are all of them of the same length? People are like that. All of them are different’.
Whatever I have given below are not my words and I don’t have the ownership to any of that. All copyright protected and the full versions, you can read on the respective websites.
Silent treatment (often referred to as the silent treatment) is 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. Clinical psychologist Harriet Braiker identifies it as a form of manipulative punishment.
In a relationship, the silent treatment can be a difficult pattern to break because if it is ingrained, relationships may then ultimately fail.
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. 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.
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. The consequences of this behavior on the person isolated by silence are feelings of incompetence and worthlessness. – From Wikipedia
The silent treatment, even if it’s brief, activates the anterior cingulate cortex – the part of the brain that detects physical pain. The initial pain is the same, regardless of whether the exclusion is by strangers, close friends or enemies.
The silent treatment happens when one partner pressures the other with requests, criticism or complaints and the other responds with silence and emotional distance.
Generally, it’s called on as the weapon of choice because it’s powerful and it’s easy to get away with. There is nothing subtle about a physical or verbal lashing, but an accusation of the silent treatment, ‘Are you ignoring me?’ can easily be denied.
‘It’s the most common pattern of conflict in marriage or any committed, established romantic relationship,’ says Schrodt. ‘And it does tremendous damage.’
It’s an incredibly hard pattern to break because both partners lay the blame at the feet of the other.
‘Partners get locked in this pattern, largely because they each see the other as the cause,’ explains Schrodt. ‘Both partners see the other as the problem.’ One partner will typically complain that the other is emotionally unavailable. The other will accuse his or her partner of being too demanding or critical. – From www.heysigmund.com
The difference between stonewalling and silent treatment…
This part is an advice to daughters, from a very experienced father. (One mother told after hearing about me… “yeh
bahut ghume hua lagtha hai” 🙂 )
Silent treatment and stonewalling are toxic and consider it as red flags. It is toxic. If the person who does this do not understand the damage they are causing, You decide whether to stay in that relationship or not.
And it is not a great thing to say that ‘I don’t care. She/he can say or do whatever they want… I am not going to say anything.’
Talk face to face and have the courage to say what you feel. Don’t be a stonewaller who hopes, if they ignore the issue, then that issue will go away and they can escape confrontation.
If you don’t like a person, tell them clearly. if you have grown apart, have the courage to tell them clearly and honestly.
If you had the courage to meet and stay with a person for years, in the final days of a relationship also, have the courage to meet that person and explain it clearly. Don’t just send an SMS, or an email, if you have spent a considerable amount of time with that person. Don’t just hide somewhere and escape. Cowards do that.
I have experienced it personally and seen many doing this to others. It is one of the causes of people getting depressed. Don’t leave anything to get sorted by itself out automatically.
Take Care 🙂