Abusive Relationships/Silent Treatment
Mark Richard wrote at 2006-08-11 15:31:45
The silent treatment is definitely a form of emotional abuse. It's practice is widespread because it works. Narcissists are often abusive in their relationships. It is clear that your husband's behavior hurts you and you are not getting the emotional support you need from your husband. The bottom line is you need to take care of your self. This might involve getting support from friends and family, developing interests and activities outside of your home, and seeking professional counseling. Counseling might help you to learn more about yourself and your needs, learn more about how to express your needs and your emotions, and understand why you have tolerated this treatment from your husband for so long. Practically speaking, your husband sounds like he needs counseling for some serious issues but it will be harder to get him to go than it is for yourself to go. You can confront your husband about his behavior, tell him how you feel when he acts that way, and say you will not tolerate it. If he continues, you can set a consequence. A simple consequence is detaching from the situation and spending some time with people who make you feel good. The more extreme consequence is leaving the relationship. When faced with such a dire consequence he may consider couple's counseling.
Me wrote at 2007-03-20 00:48:05
I have been accused of using this "silent treatment tactic" before. I will be the first to admit doing so - but for protection, instead of things like "revenge" or simply "being mean." How can you confide on your spouse if your spouse twists every single of your words to better fit her version of "the story" and communicate that "story" with lots and lots of passion to her "friends" and "family"? There came a point I simply decided to stop being so stupid. I have to watch out whenever expressing an opinion because everything, as I said, gets twisted and I end *always* being portrayed as the "bad guy". Enough is enough. I say the person receiving the "silent treatment" may not always be right. It depends on each individual situation. Don't generalize.
veritas wrote at 2007-04-18 21:30:54
Well, at least you get 2 or 4 weeks of overly nice treatment....
I am lucky if my husband is nice to me once a week!
As to the "silent treatment", my husband is the best! He does not talk to me for days and blames me for all our marriage troubles.
Unfortunately, I can't leave him right now...I am from Europe and I left everything I valued behind just to marry my super-sadistic husband.
I am waiting until I receive my green-card (in a month or so) because otherwise I won't have the time for a divorce (because the USCIS might deport me).
I wish I had known about my husband's behaviour problems BEFORE I married him and came to the US.
I will gladly go home after my divorce. Home to Europe!
TriloByte wrote at 2007-08-30 17:21:50
Silent treatment = control = abuse. If your partner refuses to address the issues by for example marriage counceling, then your best bet is to distanciate yourself from your parnter (aka leave). Your sanity, health and happiness come first. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that's what it all boils down to.
sdn wrote at 2007-10-12 05:48:42
Silent Treatment is nothing but avoidance of pain..pain of being rejected at a level which cannot not be verbalised. I think it would be appropriate to find what exactly triggered the situation. Not the exact event, but the emotional atmosphere that existed at that moment. If possible put on his shoes for a moment. This way you will not only understand him but also see the truth that we all are same at the core. All of us only need unconditional acceptance and some love.Probably you will gain understanding about yourself as well.
recovered wrote at 2007-10-16 02:18:47
I don't understand why these "silent" people can't see that ultimately what they are doing is driving us away. Who would want to stay with a person who treats them this way? I endured the silent treatment for 17 years when I finally got out. Now I see him abusing our children in the same manner. Furthermore, the children have followed in their father's footsteps by using the silent treatment on me to get what they want. It never works for them but it's sad and it hurts.
Finally Awake wrote at 2007-12-25 22:21:19
"Me" is that you? The response from "Me" sounds exactly like the self-serving excuse my soon-to-be ex spouse uses to justify his silent behavior toward me when I step out of line. Let's be adults and truthful -just this once- about the silent treatment. It is a tool of control. By refusing to discuss your alleged grievance, you prove that you are not interested in a solution, only in obedience. By refusing to acknowledge another's presence, you show that they mean nothing to you unless they obey. And "Me", no amount of "word twisting" gives you the right to inflict this on another person you claim to care about.
I am so sorry that it's taken me so long to realize this. Today is Christmas Day. My husband is not speaking to me and has not for days. My crime? I refused to have sex with some man he chose for me from the Internet. (He likes to watch). I am ashamed to admit that I have acquiesced several times before - that is the only way he can get excited enough to make love to me. I told myself that he really does love me, and this isn't such a big deal... Reading George Simon's "in Sheep's Clothing" and Lundy Bancroft's "Why does he do that?" helped me to recognize what was going on... I am getting out of this marriage... I don't at this moment know when or how (he monitors my phone calls and contact with others, and limits the money I can spend - even though my larger income supports the household - including bail and attorneys fees for his dope peddling son)-- but I am getting out.
Jean wrote at 2008-09-16 12:49:31
I wouldn't say he's an "abuser". All people use techniques of emotional manipulation, probably on a daily basis. Only you can decide if he goes to such a extreme that it outweighs the positives of the relationship. I'm sure you've tried everything when he gives you the silent treatment, but maybe you could try and help him break it not by trying to win the game, or playing the victim, but by being sweet to him, making light of the situation and trying to make him laugh and realise how absurd the whole thing is. The most improtant thing is to not let him brush you off! But make sure that when you pursue him, that you are not doing it in a controlling way that makes it seem like you are trying to win the upper hand, because that will only reinforce the behaviour.
Non-myopic Mike wrote at 2008-12-29 15:28:16
There's no question here that the person withholding affection and communication is an abuser. I would like to point out that there is no gender boundary for this type of abuse, ladies. You will see more on the web and hear more in public about abusive men than you will hear about abusive women. The reason is simple. Men in general choose to suffer in silence, are less likely to communicate the pain that they feel (social stigma) and are far less likely to report abuse to authorities. I'll give you another bend on this issue for you all to think about. The abusive behavior is most likely learned, the abuser wasn't born with it. I'd bet that the abuser was abused as a child in a similar fashion and that the source was....you guessed it....Mom or Dad. Something to ponder, huh? I wish I had a quick easy answer for the author of the original message. My only advice would be to indicate in no uncertain terms that this beahior will not be tolerated. Then seek therapy for the two of you. I want to stress though that Men are often the victims of mental and emotional abuse. Men are not always the abuser.
Two Is The Loneliest Number wrote at 2009-01-01 07:51:03
I feel you are definitely being abused. And I think the silent treatment, once used, can easily become a bad habit. A way of life, in fact. In my marriage, it has been going on for so many, many years. I think my husband enjoys disliking me for days on end, for some reason it gives him a sense of control. I have no extended family and feel quite emotionally dependent on my husband. It used to completely devastate me, this hostile silence. Now, it is just a dull, continual ache of loneliness. When he is ready to speak again, he comes up to me all smiles and hugs and kisses as if the last 4 days of moody silence never existed! If I try to shorten the silence by talking about it or approaching him, it will only make him angrier and prolong his childish snit. This is our endless cycle. At least 50% of our married life (including almost every single weekend) is spent with him being angry at me and either not speaking to me at all or being curt and rude to me. I can even tell when he just wants to be mad at me for something so he can justify to himself the ignoring of me. It's like he's spoiling for a fight. It doesn't take much to set him off and most of the time I don't even know what he is angry about. I think he's angry at life in general and I am the easiest target. For the first time in many years, I am seriously considering getting my ducks in order and leaving him. I have always valued my vows and wanted my children to have an intact home because we have no extended family, but I am concerned about my health, living like this all the time. My self-esteem is fragile and I know I am constantly battling depression. I do not have a support group---I never discuss my marital problems with my friends, and I think most outsiders would be shocked to know what my charming husband is really like behind closed doors. I am just so unhappy. I don't know what to do. I know this: I will never, ever get married again because I would rather live alone than risk being with someone who is not who they pretend to be and who gets more enjoyment from being p'd off than from having fun together.
Rags wrote at 2009-03-14 02:47:17
The expression "Silence Kills" says it all! At the core these excessive silent treatment types are killers. "Civilized killer" to be sure, but killers nonetheless. They kill life that naturally want to debate and work-through an issue to resolution and return the relationship to love and life and living. They rather send you internal to ruminate on your undiscussed, unresolved grievance with them until you are exhausted, depressed, dead.
To be sure, they will accuse you of being stuck in the past since you want to discuss through matters. The truth is they are stuck in the past and want to keep the past alive and unresolved.
In short, these types are unacceptable, anti-life, "soul murderers." Killers!
Do not let them play victim. They are victimizers!
Natalie wrote at 2009-05-29 17:13:51
Leaving is a possibility, but I think there are other solutions to be tried first. First, is to read Boundaries in Marriage. Secondly, decide what you will and won't tolerate. Thirdly, create a "crisis" for him or her. Mine is not to tolerate silent treatment for days/weeks on end. I decide I'm going to be happy with or without him. He's not going to drag me down with his babyish moods and ignoring me for long periods of time. I make my plan and create the crisis for him: I secure a place he doesn't know about, I leave and take my bag with me and leave him a note, basically telling him I will not tolerate this continued treatment and that he must grow up or else. I make it so he can't even try controlling me via the phone while I'm away. I'm calling the shots now and I'm not bluffing. He has to change or else. And I will follow through with the crisis promises or challenges I've given him. A woman has incredible leverage with a man if she's worth fighting for. We can even insist he get treatment within a certain amount of time. We stand our ground and not extend that time frame. We can even point him in the direction to go, such as Celebrate Recovery or any of the Minireth-Myer recovery classes for abusive men. We establish the mile markers he has to past within certain periods of time: In other words: "This is what a want to see in 1 month" etc. He probably won't change without you creating a crisis for him. If he wants you bad enough, he will follow through. If he doesn't want to fight for you, then he's not worth your time. End of story.
amer wrote at 2009-06-01 18:51:18
hey i'm just 20 years old but i think i can help you due to my experience of watching mom and dad silent treatment each other ... well ma'am it seems to me that ur husband is a control freak he's only happy when he's in charge he doesn't let you to express how u feel what u want need...and that's a character u know...i don't know if u r financially independent from him but u need to so u can move to the next big D if u feel he's not going to change because u don't deserve to be treated that way.
At a lost wrote at 2009-06-11 17:02:14
This is a follow-on to Natalie's note. What if since I have a young child together with him, I can't just leave without my child. And if I take my child with me, my husband has already threatened me that I am doing it against the law and I "will pay for it". My situation is same as "Two Is The Loneliest Number" above. It has been 8 years. The silent cycle will stop every two weeks b/c that is the time when he needed sex. I have tried to find alternative solution, I even went to counseling on my own b/c he refused to go. My counselor after the 5th session asked what will it take for me to leave this man. I said that I was raised in a Catholic environment, I don't believe in divorce. But then again, I am now 31, I have wasted 8 years of my twenties dealing with this, and I can't deal with it anymore, I can see my behavior is changing for the worst also. My only choice at this point is to seek for an attorney.
Crystal wrote at 2009-09-13 14:42:05
What sort of answer is this!!! You did not ONLY ask the troubled soul to ABANDON her 6 years old marriage but also told her to START keeping a BLACK BOOK to remind her of her troubles and start breeding hatred and all manner of evil that leads to broken homes.
I doubt if this "so-called expert" has a home of his/her own! I'd rather say you advice this person differently. They can both seek help from a marriage counselor which the wife can raise in his moment of "elation" when he brings those wonderful flowers!
Please know that good husbands or wives are difficult to find and if you've got one, better keep him or her with all you've got!
My little piece.
Good_Grace wrote at 2009-10-20 17:20:51
I'm afraid me and my boyfriend of 11+ years are already in "silent treatment" mode. He's an alcoholic and we (the kids, my mom and I) never know which R. will walk through the door. One night over a week ago, he came home late, everybody had already eaten dinner (and had gone to bed)and he started complaining to me about he needed something to eat, blah, blah, blah. Because he was so loud and woke up the baby, I was in the nursery bottle-feeding our 4 1/2 mo. old daughter at the time and I told him to go re-heat something out of the fridge. Long story short, he went ape-s**t and started yelling about how nobody respects him and then he went into the living room and started tearing off the wooden casing from around the living room window. Now, he just gets up in the morning, barely says hello to our son (who's 9) greets our daughter in her crib and then he's off to work. When he gets home, he locks himself in the bedroom all night. He doesn't acknowledge anybody unless he has to and he doesn't eat any food that I fix, preferring to buy his own. I have attempted to speak to him, but his retorts and bad attitude make me not want to speak to him at all. He just seems incapable of being nice to anybody. From my point of view, he did this to himself. I am not such a terrible person to live with, he makes situations difficult all by himself. Last night, he tried to get all touchy-feely with me and I wasn't having any of that. He can't speak to me like a human being but I should put out because he's in "the mood"? Oh, I don't think so. Until he learns to treat me and talk to me with respect, he can take care of business all by his little lonesome. Am I worried about the effect this will have on my children? Sure I do. But I think more importantly, by being the stronger person - it let's them see that it is not right to be treated that way. I will not be a victim or a target for such treatment. We live together, but who knows - if he can't grow up - that too, may change. All he has to do is act like a normal, decent person and it seems like he doesn't know how.
Anonymous girl wrote at 2009-12-04 21:59:19
Hi, after regular silent treatment, my abuser graduated to beatingand rape. It took me 10 years to gather courage to get out.
I am not even fully divorced yet, but am so happy and feel so positive about life. When I was with him, I felt I wouldn't be able to make it in life alone without him. Now I know better!
Lose the loser girl, you deserve better!
coming up for air wrote at 2010-01-09 01:34:23
Sometimes I come up for air. Sometimes I can actually look around me and see in color, feel the breeze, taste the coffee. If I spent as much time going back to school, working out, eating healthy, and not isolating from my friends every time my husband and I had a silent spell, I would not be sitting here now, hoping that I have not faded too much to get myself back.
coming up for air wrote at 2010-01-09 01:38:25
save a piece of yourself. no matter how passionate, how safe you feel with him. make your own money, save it, and if you do lose yourself along the way, don't wait too long to come up for air because you will have forgotten which way is up.
hurting spouse wrote at 2010-02-23 09:17:14
I've been in relationships before but never have I been treated with silence. It hurts. I swear he is not being honest with me. He locks up his life in his car or storage unit - not in the home, stays locked up in his room on the computer or watching tv. We only talk about the dogs, food and almost nothing else. If I do talk to him about anything else, he is hostile and terminating the conversation quickly. It makes me want to either get a divorce or have an affair. As a Christian, this puts me in a pickle of a position. I have no way to express my feelings. When I'm sick, he has ZERO empathy. I think he actually HOPES I die. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why he married me. I think he is mad at his ex-wives. He can't punish them, so he punishes me. YUK! I feel stuck and used.
Petal wrote at 2010-06-02 04:47:50
I agree with what the last person wrote. Yes your husband is an abuser but he is a malignant narcissist. I have recently come out of a marriage of 12 years from mine. He was covert with his abuse. His rejection of me was sudden and absolute. He turned his back on our marriage and family and didn't allow me to seek closure. The silent treatment was harsh and relentless. I was put on a plane back to my home country and that was it. He then moved onto a new life with the woman he was having an affair with. I was expected to accept this as if after 12 years it was a natural progression. He discarded all moral and financial obligation. I now live with family as I was left with nothing. I should probably be grateful at least for child maintenance. My worth in our marriage was deemed unsubstantial both to my ex and his family. He had/has full control of finances. He ran us into major debt and then sold all of our property and assets to pay it back. He lives comfortably now in his own apartment, with his new car and double income.
Oh, and did I happen to mention whilst all of this was happening, he was given stress leave from his work. He sent a letter around to all of his directors telling them he was heartbroken with his marriage breakdown. He was unable to cope with a depressed and crazy wife. Whilst he was taking stress leave and being paid for it, him and his family were telling me to go and look for work, be a fulltime mother, study and catch public transport. They wanted me living down the hill from them so they could control and influence my son, take all of the spoilings as grandparents but be free of any support. I was meant to stand up on my own two feet, be super mum while they told me how to run my life whilst the son was made unaccountable.
Best thing i did was get the hell away from them.
That's my best advice to you... Run.
jaded wife wrote at 2010-10-22 11:10:34
I totally agree with the response given. This man you are married to does not have your interests in mind. He is only concerned about anything directly affecting him and trying to prove to you that you are beneath him by not acknowledging you. It doesn't mention whether or not you have kids but regardless, just get away as quickly as you can. This man will not change (there is no reason for him to change and it actually sounds like he enjoys treating you like a child) and your self esteem will be destroyed. You don't want to live the rest of your life this way. You should live your life to the fullest, laugh, love freely and feel no fear. Your mate should complement you, make you feel secure, love you unconditionally. This man isn't worthy of much more of your time. Love yourself and leave that loser.
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Barbora Mátyás wrote at 2013-11-15 12:40:59
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k wrote at 2014-08-10 13:13:56
I'm really starting to not like men. I know that's bad. My husband punishes me by not talking to me. He denies me sex, but will look at porn and get off on it sometimes right in front of me. He once told me I looked like sh*t, had no self esteem and my face was all broken out. I have skin issues with hives. He yelled at me because I walked in the room when he was looking at porn, and said to me are you happy now?! Now I can't get off! Unreal. I've never had luck with men. They make me feel like an object and I'm so doubtful there are any "decent" ones out there.