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.

122 Comments

  1. Tashley brizzle

    September 20, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Thanks so much for the best adbice on dealing with this kind of torture…mmy self confidence n dignity have been boosted thanks so much be blessed by YAHWEH for yoh good work

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you for sharing your positive comment. We always appreciate when members of our community share their thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Tashley!

  2. VEY

    September 8, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    I am glad there is a post about this online. Thank you so much. This has helped me with my dignity and self confidence. First off, my gf retreats as a stonewaller when she is upset with me. We don’t live with each other but she cuts off communication completely. I don’t hear from her in days and she ignores my texts and calls. We planned a tripped together to go out of state but when got upset with me, she canceled plans and bailed out. We have been together for almost a year now and I thought we both had a good and real connection with each other . With her neglecting me, I have realized she didn’t give a damn about me in the first place.

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 8, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you for sharing your positive and supportive comment. It sounds as though your partner is willing to neglect you. Determine what you want for your future at this time. Speak with your partner about your thoughts and feelings. Give her an opportunity to share herself with you as well. If she ignores you or treats you poorly, then you are aware of her feelings regarding this relationship. Have a great day, Vey!

  3. Jess

    August 18, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Good article, as it realates to my situation well.
    My boyfriend and I have been working on our relationship after a few arguments that have taken place in the past. Things are not perfect, but we are both trying to move past it and work on us. With that being said, recently I recieved an instagram message from my boyfriends ex (who he, his family and friends proclaim is crazy) saying that he has been trying to contact him. I was upset and spoke to his sister in law about the situation. Upon finding out I had spoken to his family and not just him about the situation, he got mad and is giving me the silent treatment. I asked him to see his phone or his phone statements to see if he was in contact with his ex, but he refuses to even answer that. Its been days with him not replying to me. It is his cousins wedding this week and I was suppossed to go as his plus one, but ended up not going because we arent even talking! Im left confused, hurt and angry. Not sure what I should do…

    • web admin

      web admin

      August 19, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      It sounds as though your partner has shown you that he is unwilling to respect you and your relationship. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to reach out to you, but ensure that you to determine what you believe is appropriate and acceptable for this relationship. Have a great day, Jess!

  4. Marie

    August 14, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I have been with my husband for 25 years plus. He was involved with a woman and broke it off. This woman is at his place of work. Recently she brought him something for his birthday which I feel was inappropriate. When confronted with the situation, he denied it when I know she did. When I ignored the gift and accepted the lie, he was fine. When I confronted him with the lie, he blew up and is now giving me the silent treatment. He has handled most of our marital problems this way. Won’t speak for up to 3 weeks until something gives- meaning me mostly. I truly feel my husband suffers from Narcissitic personality disorder. I have tried to make him aware of his behavior and have told him that the silent treatment is bad for the both of us. Reading the article has helped me understand more, but at this point I’m beginning to question if I can continue to remain in this marriage because of the lying and silent treatment. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to start new, but do i really continue to live this way. When things are good, he is a wonderful husband and father. When things go bad, his personality changes completely as if I don’t even recognize him. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • web admin

      web admin

      August 14, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Your husband has shown that he is unwilling to treat you with respect and love that you deserve. His abuse and neglect will continue as your relationship progresses. Strengthen your relationships with your family and friends. Determine what you want for your future without him. Decide what you feel is acceptable in your relationship. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Marie!

    • Jody

      August 23, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Gosh you and I could be married to the same man. I don’t know what I have done except find out about my husbands fling, and I’m the bad person! My mum has passed away two weeks ago, I am grieving and still getting the cold shoulder. I’ve decided to go about my life putting myself first, I’m sick of playing the game. It’s cruel and I’m done!

      • web admin

        web admin

        August 23, 2018 at 7:01 pm

        People have a habit of blaming their partners for an infidelity instead of taking responsibility for it. It sounds like you have realized that you deserve better and are making the right choice by moving on. Good luck, Jody!

  5. Charisma

    August 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    So my boyfriend is mad at me and giving me the silent treatment. If I was the last one who sent both a Snap and text wishing him a good nights sleep and he still hasn’t responded (it’s been almost 24 hours) should I wait for him to respond to me before reaching out again? Thanks

    • web admin

      web admin

      August 9, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      Your boyfriend has chosen to ignore you, which means that he is willing to lose you at this time. Determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. If he ignores your or treats without respect, then determine what is appropriate at this time. Have a great day, Charisma!

  6. Chad

    July 31, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    I lied to my girlfriend today on the phone and was immediately caught out, she said she didn’t want to talk to me and hung up. I messaged and apologised and she responded in anger and said she will talk to me later, I messaged again saying I was sorry and completely in the wrong and that I love her. She is now giving me the silent treatment. Any advise?

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 31, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      You lied. She caught you in your life. She asked for time to herself. You ignored her request and decided to message you. You continued to not listen to her, so she is giving you the silent treatment. Do not reach out to her at this time. Give her an opportunity to determine what she wants for the future of this relationship. If she reaches out to you in the future, then ensure that you share your kindness and compassion with her. Have a great day, Chad!

  7. Anonomys

    July 25, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Good article, im suprised theres no guys on here makin comments. So with that being said I am currently the recipient of the silent treatment. My gf has done this a couple times before after we get in a argument and last time it lasted about a week. The first time it was a few days. This time its been afew days again. Its obviously a lack of respect towards me and i know it. Maybe its because i tell her to have a good day, have a good night, that i love her and tell her i hope shes having a good day (too much undeserved attention) She reciprocates but shes doesnt initiate it as much as me. And maybe its my fault but I love her and want her to know it. So i know i have to suffer the consequences of lack for respect. I know better to keep my distance and not respond to silence since I want her behavior of this silent treatment to stop once and for all. i refuse to give into it and i know it will pay off. If it gets worse i regretibly will have to move on. I am getting better at valuing myself and being secure in who i am. I just feel that shes isnt good at discussing issues and resolving them. She’d rather fight than ignore me and make me pay for expressing my feelings.. which is just immature. Anyways.. i hope this helps other dudes in my position.

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 25, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      He has chosen to ignore and neglect you. Determine what you believe is appropriate for your relationship. Give her an opportunity to reach out to you. If you want to continue to nourish this relationship, then spend additional time with her. Please share your insights and experiences in the future. Have a great day, Anon!

  8. Sage

    July 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    My boyfriend has a tendency to block me and give me a silent treatment to which eventually he comes around. however this time round he blew up over something trivial but on going theme. He said he is seriously leaving this time and that he isn’t coming back. I’ve tried to communicate with him but he blocked me on whatsapp so I text him and It’s delivered but he is still keeping up the pretence it’s been almost 5 days. I need a way to break the Cold War.

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 21, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Your boyfriend has chosen to repeatedly neglect you and treat you without respect. You should not continue to attempt to nourish this relationship. Allow thoughts of him to fade. He will only continue to neglect and abuse you if you choose to reach out to him. Determine what you want for your future without him. Have a great day, Sage!

  9. Laura

    July 6, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Great article! I’m currently on the receiving end of the silent treatment. This isn’t the first time, however my husband has taken it to a higher level this time. I appreciate your tips on how to handle it. Blessings!

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 6, 2018 at 11:30 pm

      Thank you for sharing your positive and supportive comment. We always appreciate when members of our community share their thoughts and feelings. Please share your insights and experiences in the future. Have a great day, Laura!

  10. unknown

    July 6, 2018 at 8:21 am

    I wish the advice in this article was given to me ten years ago. I did everything advised not to do for years. Until I decided enough was enough. Silent treatment stopped because I simply waiting for him to end the silent game. The new pattern then he adopted was to sleep in separate beds. Me being myself allowed it to affect me to a point where I would go to him and beg him to return to my bed. I then decided I will not let this emotionally wound me. He could sleep in separate beds if that’s what he likes. So after I stopped begging for him to return to our bedroom, the first time it lasted 1 week. 2nd time 2 weeks and this is the 3rd time. Not sure how long it will last but perhaps 3 weeks? There are times when he gets really really mad and starts doing things to break me for example buying games etc or rearranging the room to make me think he’s never returning even stop eating. I do come very close to giving up but then some how I don’t. This time he changed his passwords etc. One thing I noticed it’s getting easier and easier on me. I am finally learning not to depend on him and have my own life. But part of him is afraid of him. I think I’m going to start counselling soon to keep myself strong and not be trapped into his manipulated games.

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 6, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      He has chosen to neglect you. He may want to end the relationship, but he is unable to speak with you about his thoughts and feelings. He may be confused or uncertain about the reflection. It is possible that he is waiting for you to end this relationship. Determine what you want for your future. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. If he ignores or abuses you, then you are aware of this feelings toward you. Have a great day, Unknown!

  11. Avi

    July 1, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Hello,

    This article is so informative – thank you.
    I upset my boyfriend on a work night out, we kept our relationship private and he has since got a new job. I’ve not told anyone at my place of work about it to stop gossip spreading as I don’t like it.
    He came out on a night out with my colleagues and his old colleagues I guess. I didn’t kiss him goodbye when he told me to twice to arouse any attention.
    He messaged me to say he’s told certain people and I was slightly dismayed as I will now face scrunity at work.
    He believes I am ashamed of him (I can understand his view but it is not the case for me) and sent a lot of nasty and attacking messages to me. I apologised many times to try and diffuse the situation however he is being very cold and there is a lot of animosity now as I have tried calling and messaging. He hasn’t spoken to me all day and is giving me the silent treatment. I stopped messaging this morning after he refused a phone call. I’m really unsure what to do because I feel very weak and stressed. I’m constantly checking when he’s online on social media and it’s mentally so draining.

    I have no idea what to do.

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 1, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing your positive comment. He has chosen to abuse you by attacking you through messages. He then chose to neglect you, and he is now no longer speaking with you. He has chosen to not nourish this relationship with you. You should decide if you believe whether or not this relationship is healthy. If you determine that it is not good for you to maintain this relationship, then focus your emotional energy elsewhere and allow thoughts of him to fade. Have a great day, Avi!

  12. Natalie

    June 28, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Hi
    My boyfriend lied to me and really broke my trust and my heart . When I confronted him he got so upset at me and now is giving me the silent treatment. Its been 2 days and it’s hurts cause we speak everyday. I don’t know what to do but I was not wrong and I won’t send an apology just so he can be the one to say that his right .

    • web admin

      web admin

      June 29, 2018 at 1:37 am

      Your boyfriend has betrayed your trust. He has shown you that he is willing to disrespect you. He has given you the silent treatment because you told him about your thoughts and feelings. This relationship may no longer be viable. Determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Either speak with him or allow him to fade from your thoughts. Have a great day, Natalie!

  13. Veronica

    June 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I’m blown away reading all this! That there are so many people who experience this on a regular basis just blows my mind. This is my first and I really am not even sure if that’s what’s happening or he’s just decided to end the relationship. Looking back on past experiences with others, this behavior with someone I was dating was just them exiting the relationship. I have no indication that what I am now experiencing isn’t the same. The only difference is that we stated that we committed to each other and decided we’d give this thing between us a go. It’s been just over a year.. and it’s a long distance relationship. There have been bumps..disagreements but nothing abnormal. He’s mentioned to me once or twice he doesn’t like when I raise my voice to him however how does one avoid that if you get into a heated discussion? He’s told me he’s an introvert.. in fact I think we both are functioning introverts. Him, wicked smart, to hear him say it he’s a bit on the spectrum. So this last disagreement was huge.. I admit it.. and I thought it was over something that needn’t had escalated the way it did.. He wanted a yes, no, I don’t know answer and I wasn’t in a position to give that to him but knew how to get him the answer he needed, in the form of a screenshot that I had and he had too. (I assumed at the time he couldn’t get to it for whatever the reason) and I being at work, in the middle of meetings etc. thought this the quickest way to get him his answer. He blew up and was adamant that all I needed to do was to answer him with a yes, no, I don’t know and that sending him the screenshot was rude. A day passed and we didn’t really communicate. A day later I attempted to speak to him and to show him things from my perspective and he remained adamant and that discussion went over the top and I did scream at him at one point. It was shortly thereafter, the connection dropped and when I called him back he didn’t pick up. We picked up the convo briefly in a text where at one point I said ‘there you go again’.. and his response was ‘yes, you’re right..here I go”. And it’s been 2 weeks since. The first few days after that I texted and asked for us to talk. He ignored all my texts. We used to communicate from 5 am until bedtime every day.. for a year and to be reduced to no communication at all is just beyond me! And not only does he not communicate but he also doesn’t respond when I attempt to communicate. First few days I’d wish him good morning like we used to but now I’ve stopped all together. He’s not responding at all. The only response I’ve gotten in 2 weeks was app. 4 or 5 days in when he said he was being silent because he didn’t know where to begin. My answer was that it was a start. And that’s been it. As you all know it’s a horrible place to be on the receiving end and it’s foremost in my mind interfering with everything I do. For self-preservation I want to just rip the bandage off and end it. I can’t go through this again. Curious to hear your thoughts.

    • web admin

      web admin

      June 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      The two of you have had one conversation in the last two weeks. Determine what you want for your future. Attempt to speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. If he continues to ignore you, then allow thoughts of him to fade. You should not feel neglected in your relationships. Determine what you want for your future without him. Have a great day, Veronica!

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