Best Ways to Respond to the Silent Treatment

By on February 21, 2017

There is truly nothing more devastating than getting the silent treatment from someone you love. In all honesty, you would probably rather be yelling at each other for hours instead of being left alone without a single response to all of your efforts. It is one of the most treacherous things that someone can do to another person, but there are ways to get through it- and our helpful tips and responses will ensure you still have your pride and confidence, even when you are going through something as horrible as this.

Is silent treatment abuse?

You might be thinking that calling the silent treatment abuse is somewhat harsh. After all, there is a vast majority of individuals who only consider bodily harm as abuse. And this is somewhat true- bodily harm and injury is a form of abuse known as physical abuse, but there are two other types of abuse that are just as horrible, if not worse: physical and emotional abuse. And the silent treatment just so happens to be both.

Think about how you feel when you’re getting the silent treatment from someone you love and cherish. You sit there feeling alone and sad, thinking that you do not deserve even a small response from them. You think you are completely deserving of being left in the corner lonely and miserable, because everything is your fault anyways. And aside from feeling like a worthless piece of dirt, you spend hours going through mental torture, wondering what the other person is thinking or doing during their time of absence and silence. This is why the silent treatment is considered a form of abuse.

Gain Some Confidence

We all know just how important having self confidence is, whether we are going through the silent treatment or not. But working on your self confidence will ensure you stay feeling secure, worthy, and happy, even when you’re going through tough ordeals such as the silent treatment.

You see, the silent treatment is designed to make you feel like you are undeserving or everything, even something as little as a response from the one who claims to love you. It is designed to make you feel so small and belittled, that when you come back, you are under their thumb. It is a form of manipulation, control, and of course abuse. But to a happy and confident individual, the silent treatment will have absolutely no effect.

One more thing to keep in mind is to continue to boost your confidence while the silent treatment is happening; this will help the time pass by more quickly and help you to focus on other things other than feeling upset or going crazy trying to figure out what is on their mind. Go out with your friends, hit the gym, get a massage- do whatever you need to do to keep yourself calm, happy, and most importantly, confident.

Do Not Beg for a Response

One of the most important and biggest pieces of advice anyone could ever give you is to NEVER beg for a response from someone giving you the silent treatment.

Of course you want to talk to them. It is driving you absolutely crazy that they don’t respond. You’re becoming so desperate that you’re belittling yourself to begging them for an answer. Do you know how this makes you look? It makes you look like a complete fool. It makes you look like you NEED them in your life, like you cannot live without them. They are your entire world and you can’t take another second without them. This is something you want to completely avoid in every sense. Even though it is probably killing you inside that your beloved is not answering you, do NOT beg. Ever.

Aside from looking like a weak worm begging for a response, another reason to completely avoid begging is because the narcissistic individual giving the silent treatment actually likes it. Yes, it’s sick to think about, but when you beg to a narcissistic person, it makes them feel even better about themselves and may actually prolong the length of time in which they give you the silent treatment. They know at this point they have you wrapped around their finger and they want to enjoy it even more, with the smuggest and most vile smile on their face.

Never Let Them Know it Is Effecting You

Another big piece of advice is to never let them know that their silent treatment is effecting you in any way. You see, to a narcissistic person, they feel good knowing they are getting to you. It is their main goal, and if you let them know it’s bothering you, they feel like they have won. In their controlling and manipulative head, they are the bigger and better person and they can mess with you any way they please. Letting them know that their tactics are working will only make them want to continue the silent treatment for a longer period of time, and they will want to use this treatment more often because they know it will work each and every time.

This is obviously another reason why the silent treatment is abuse: they want you to hurt, and they want you to show it to them. This, in turn, makes them feel happy. It makes them feel like they’re the most important person in the world and they ‘own’ you and your mind.

Whatever you do, do not show them that their silent treatment is effecting you. Even if it is, keep it to yourself and try to find something else to occupy you.

Do Not Try to Argue With Them

Someone who is giving you the silent treatment is probably someone who is incredibly angry with you to begin with. Whether it was something small or large, whether it was one sided or you both played a role, the fact of the matter is they are angry and the only way they know how to deal with it is to completely cut you off. That being said, trying to argue with them even further is not going to help the situation whatsoever. Sure, you may get a couple responses here and there, but they won’t be happy responses and they certainly won’t be responses that are leaning towards the two of you actually getting together and working everything out.

Although you may also be upset about whatever has gone on, it’s best to not try and argue with someone when they are giving you the silent treatment. The best thing is to stay quiet and let things cool off a bit.

Do Not Apologize for No Reason

Sometimes people argue because they disagree about something, and if that is the case in your situation, do not apology if you truly meant what you said. Apologizing when you have absolutely no reason to, just to get this person to talk to you, is a very cowardly way to fix the situation. It also lets them know that they were ‘right’ and you were ‘wrong’; so whatever you were arguing about, forget about your argument. Apologizing completely rules out anything that you have said and they will believe they were right from here on out. Just because you miss them and want them to respond, does not mean you have to let down your own thoughts and opinions. Be confident and secure in yourself.

On the other hand, there are certain times where you probably should apologize. For instance: if you cheated on your partner and they found out about it and they don’t want to talk to you for awhile, then you probably should send them a short text message to let them know that you are sorry for what you have done. But just simply state your apology and move on. Do not continuously message them with apologies. One sincere apology is enough.

Do Not Keep Bugging Them

Sending message after message is not going to get them to talk to you. If anything, all they are going to do is be completely annoyed with you and not want to respond. Instead, find some other ways to communicate with someone who is giving you the silent treatment:

-Let them know that you want to try and communicate through the problem in a different manner. For instance: maybe you demanded them to do something, and they didn’t like feeling like you were treating them as if they were a slave. Let them know you acknowledge that you approached the situation wrong and you would like to try again in a different way.

-Ask them only once if there is anything that you can do to help with the situation, or if there is any way you can help them to feel more open to communicating with you. Extending a hand can be very useful, especially if someone is used to completely shutting down after an argument.

-If all else fails, you can use a more combative move to end the silent treatment. If they refuse to say anything to you at all, then simply telling them that ‘you were right since they can’t respond’ will almost always rev up a response. However, you DO need to expect the narcissistic person to become incredibly angry when you say something like that. They will come at you in a combative way, but this will open up the line of communication. When things start to become heated, you can tone it down and try and get the conversation back to a more subtle tone so it can truly be worked out.

Find Better Ways to Communicate

If your partner is the type to give the silent treatment often, you need to find better ways to communicate. Most of the time, simply working on finding better ways to communicate at home is enough and you can almost always find a good way to communicate to replace the silent treatment. However, some people are over-the-top when it comes to their narcissistic behavior and will need more professional treatment. This can be very useful, especially if trying to find better ways to communicate does not seem to work out on your own. Also note that there are some people out there who absolutely do not want to change, and if this individual cannot stop abusing you with the silent treatment, it would probably be best to leave them completely.

Find Out the Deeper Issues

Sometimes there is a deeper issue to the silent treatment. Think about it: what triggers the silent treatment most often? Sometimes it is something as simple as the way that YOU are communicating with someone. Perhaps you’re approaching situations much more rudely than you should, and taking a different approach could avoid the situation altogether. Perhaps the two of you do not know how to work and solve an issue together, immediately going into a rage the second something even small happens. Take a good look at what  before the silent treatment begins, especially if the silent treatment is something that happens rather often. Working with the one you love can be a huge help when battling the treacherous silent treatment!

At the end of the day, the silent treatment just plain sucks. It’s mentally torturing and just an awful way to deal with any problem. The most important things to remember is that you need to maintain your confidence and dignity during the silent treatment. Do not bug them to respond, do not beg them for a reply, and absolutely do not try and argue with them. The best options are to be calm and in control, sending them a loving and caring message that intrigues them to calm down and talk it out. If nothing else works, wait it out and try and find better ways of communicating with this person.

Have you ever been the victim of the silent treatment? How did you handle it? Have you ever given someone the silent treatment? Why? Share all your stories.


  1. HappyEnding

    December 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    I have a friend (ex-friend to her) that is giving me the silent treatment. I tried to apologize and tell her that I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I learned my lesson. Even after that, she still gives me the silent treatment and I hate how it is affecting me. She literally said she accepted my apology but the way she talks socially reflect that acceptance. What is the best thing I can do?

    • web admin

      web admin

      December 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      She has informed you that she has accepted your apology. Of course, that does not change that fact that she feels as though she was harmed by your actions. She will treat you differently, as your relationship has changed. Your only option to salvage this relationship is to treat her with kindness and compassion. Have a great day, Happy!

  2. Jayne

    November 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    My husband spends days ignoring me and the kids after an argument. He just state in the bedroom whereas I have to continue with daily life. He refuses to take any responsibility and states that it’s all my fault and that I have issues! I can easily admit when I’m wrong but on this occasion I wasn’t. He can ignore me for days on end which ends up making me ill as I am constantly worried about what he would do next

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 4, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      He has chosen to act immaturely when he does not get his way or you explain his mistake. This behavior is neglectful to you, and it is harmful to your children. Determine what you believe is appropriate. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. Strengthen your relationship with your family and friends. Ensure that he takes his role as father seriously, and decide what kind of relationship you want to nourish with him. Best of luck, Jayne!

    • jessicanht784

      November 10, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Your husband is an ass who is neglecting both you and your children. Please divorce him and let him know that giving his children the silent treatment is a form of narcissistic abuse.

      • web admin

        web admin

        November 12, 2018 at 8:53 pm

        Thank you for sharing your insights. It is certain that your supportive comment will be beneficial for members of our community. Please share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Jessica!

  3. Dvora

    November 2, 2018 at 8:46 am

    I’m an actor which at times usually requires late night rehearsals, classes, trips to LA. My boyfriend does his best to be what he calls “supportive”, but I cant help but feel that he is trying to sabotage my efforts to be successful in my career. I have been performing all month for agents, managers and casting directors, which has been exhausting, but beneficial. Last night, my acting class had a closing party to mark the end of our performances. I spoke with my boyfriend that I would be home late. He tells me to hurry home as soon as it’s all over and asks what time I expect to be home. I said I didn’t know, maybe 11 pm. Wrap parties tend to go late. Things ended up running late as they tend to do in the entertainment world and I knew I wasnt going to be home by 11 pm and I had terrible reception in my location. I texted him, but it wasnt going through. Then, he called me asking if I was coming home. I said no and that we were just starting the party, things were running late and that I was only staying for a little bit to socialize with classmates. I told him I would be home soon. He then basically told me that all I care about is acting and proceeded to give me the silent treatment. I gave him space and slept on the couch. Now I have no idea where this is going to go, because he has never done this before. His usual default is to get angry and hurl insults at me about how the things I choose to do are a waste of time unless it has to do with him. I’m not sure if hes withholding his anger because he knows I have a meeting with an agent today and doesnt want to upset me or what. I could use some support today, but I’m left with silence. Today I’m choosing to focus on performing for the agent well and not let in the negative energy from him. This isnt the first time he has tried to get me upset before performances either.

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 2, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      He is not attempting to harm your career. He is attempting to spend time with you and nourish a relationship. However, his behaviors are indications of his harmful behaviors. Determine what you want for your future. You may find that your acting career and a relationship with your current partner is not viable. Speak with your partner about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Dvora!

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