What You Need to Know About the Silent Treatment

The silent treatment also known as ghosting, stonewalling or even ostracism can be an emotionally painful experience. It has been used since the beginning of time. If a person did not act how society wanted, this person would be sent off to live in isolation and die. Yes, it was and still is this cruel. Exclusion creates mental health distress and symptoms, which can linger for years.

People use the silent treatment when they are angry with someone. It is a passive aggressive way to control the situation. Those with narcissistic personality disorder use the silent treatment to have power over others in relationships.

The silent treatment is a manipulation tactic to blame the other person and create a feeling that he or she is 100% at fault. This person often wants an apology from you, yet he or she does not clearly communicate this. Instead of taking responsibility for their own feelings and initiating a talk, people who act like this withdraw and withhold all communication. The silent treatment is an act of emotional abuse, in which one person feels superior and in control, while the other feels guilty and confused.

When you are the giver of silence

Those who give the silent treatment, often have received the silent treatment. It is not unusual, if you have learned this technique from your family. Dysfunctional patterns of communication can repeat over multiple generations, until you decide to stop the behavior and heal. If you are the person giving the silent treatment, it is important for you to learn how to communicate better and seek a resolution. Be aware that the person you have hurt may not want to continue a relationship with you because of this behavior.

It is important to heal from a silent treatment because you do not want to continue this or attract this type of energy into your life again. Psychotherapy is one way of uncovering, these patterns. If you do not want to have a relationship with someone, communicate this honestly and then walk away. The only time this would not be wise is in cases of extreme abuse. In this instance, just leave. You do not need to communicate or explain.

I got overwhelmed

I understand people feel overwhelmed but it cannot be used as an excuse to hurt others. Sometimes I hear, “I got overwhelmed this is why I cut someone off.” Since overwhelm is a temporary state; did you express your overwhelm in the moment or shortly after that? Did you ask for a break to connect with your feelings and tell the person when you would contact them again? When the overwhelm lessened; did you re-engage and apologize?

Silence that lasts for weeks, months and even years, has gone beyond a case of overwhelm. If this is you, I suggest talking to a professional who can help you look deeper into yourself.

A cut off harms both parties

A cut off harms not only the person being given the silent treatment but also the abuser. As humans, we are social beings and have been hard wired to connect with others, when we are not connecting as biology intends, it causes damage within. This affects all of your relationships, the ones you are talking with and those you are not. 

Whether you have been given the silent treatment or you are the giver, know this is an unhealthy way to communicate and creates toxic relationships. I know how painful the silent treatment can be because I have had various family members do it to me. I also know how happy you can be once you process the experience and let it go for good. You do not need to make someone talk to you to heal yourself and move forward in life.

What can you do when someone gives you the cold shoulder?

  1. You can attempt one more round of communication.
  2. Recognize it is not your fault and you do not deserve this treatment from anyone.
  3. Remember this is about them; their lack of communication skills and their emotional immaturity.
  4. Don’t chase them or try to make them talk to you.
  5. Move on.
  6. Find healthy relationships.

You may also like to read: How to Recognize Emotional Abuse & Rise Above It

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

How to Recognize Manipulation & Protect Your Energy

We have all been fooled at one time or another by manipulative behaviors. Sometimes it is so subtle, you can’t see it coming until it is too late. When you feel its influence in your life, know you are not failing at your inner work. Remember when another tries to control you in order to suit their needs, it is a reflection of their lower energy and not your own.

Manipulative behavior is found in chaotic situations and is often used to divert attention away from the real issue. There will be times when you feel frustrated because you see what is going on yet no one else gets it. Just because no one else sees it, does not mean it isn’t happening. Trust your instincts.

Do you know the signs of manipulative behaviors?

Power– Where there is power, look for manipulations. You are being influenced every single day. No, not me, you say! How many times have you bought a product that you saw online or on TV that was hyped and it frankly sucked? News and advertisements are two outlets that work to manipulate your emotions. The most popular emotion is fear; how many products are on the market because of our fear of aging or death?

That is too good to be true! The song, Little lies from Fleetwood Mack plays in my head as I write this,”Tell me lies Tell me sweet little lies.” When you are feeling vulnerable, you are more susceptible to this. It is understandable that when you are in pain that you want to hear the good. Sometimes in this state, you ignore your better judgment knowing in the end, whatever is promised is not going to be delivered upon. Watch for this one in the upcoming months as there will be an increase with these lies during the political season.

Guilt trips Woe is me! When someone acts like a victim, it is a manipulative invitation to help or rescue them. Do not do for others what they can do for themselves. Read more about that here. How to Best Serve Your Client’s Internal Growth. Other guilt trips can be uncomfortable sojourns in which the person goes radio silent and there is no communication at all. Some will threaten themselves with harm or others, in these instances contact the police and your local mental health crisis center.

Oh, you sweet talker! This person tries to make a connection with you before it has authentically developed. For example; calling you a friend upon first meeting you, telling you what they think you want to hear; you are so smart, so beautiful etc. The best one I have heard recently was, I am not trying to sell to you and 10 minutes later she was trying to sell me something! To answer your question, no, I did not buy from her.

 4 Ways to Protect Your Energy from Getting Depleted:

  1. Remember and have awareness of a person’s history and their behavioral tactics.
  2. Trust your instincts. If you only focus on what a person says, you will be an easy target for manipulation. It is through your intuition that you will know these lies. When something feels off, trust in that, no matter who that person is.
  3. Decide whether you will speak up or detach.
  4. Consult a professional counselor. As an intuitive psychotherapist, I can feel in my body when a client tells me her story and someone else is attempting to manipulate her. There are many times, especially in instances of family and romantic relationships, in which you are too close to see what is going on, yet you know it doesn’t feel good. I can assist you with what to say, how to respond and how to protect your energies in these types of instances.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC, intuitive psychotherapist, works for empaths who want to recharge their depleted energy in order to serve with their unique gifts of sensitivity. Want 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from your Life NOW! Get it here FREE http://www.lisahutchison.net