Who of us isn’t guilty of giving someone a powerful dose of the silent treatment? Feelings bruised from words spoken or actions taken, we retreat into our silent world, all of the while hoping our actions make our mate pay for the harm they’ve done to us.
Withdrawing just isn’t something latest. Watch your four-year-old pout and also you’ll recognize the early signs of ‘the silent treatment.’ They refuse to speak because they’re mad. Truth be known, they’re really deeply hurt and make the choice to harm back—and it really works!
Many couples coming to work with us at The Marriage Recovery Center are disconnected, often by one or each partners selecting to make use of this immature behavior. Many have used this way of communication for years, with the patterns of interacting becoming ingrained.
Why do people use the Silent Treatment?
Why will we proceed to make use of ‘the silent treatment’ whether it is so destructive? It gets back to basics—‘hurting people hurt people’—and research shows that ‘the silent treatment’ is especially effective in causing damage. No one desires to be on the receiving end of this way of treatment, and all of us realize it.
While not proud to confess it, I’ve used ‘the silent treatment’ in my marriage. I’ve rationalized it by telling myself I used to be just taking time to myself to think. While partially true, I knew my actions were also hurtful and didn’t quickly stop it. Perhaps you possibly can relate.
To be fair, there are occasions after we must cool off, and this could actually be a healthy motion to take. When feeling overwhelmed, it is vital and even responsible to drag back, reflect and select your actions fastidiously. If you let your mate know you take a while to think about how one can effectively respond, they may likely be understanding and even appreciative.
Scripture speaks clearly on this issue. The Apostle James instructs us: “My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to this: Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to talk and slow to turn into offended” (James 1:19). The Apostle James knew full well the lethal power of the tongue, but in addition appeared to know that there’s a place for quiet spaces in a relationship.
The words of James are very apropos to relationships. We must be slow to talk and slow to turn into offended. We must learn to be quick to listen. These are skills which might be easier said than done and may never be confused with using silence to harm.
Here are Five Steps to resolve “The Silent Treatment”
1. Confront the behavior.
Just as we’d confront the four-year-old who refuses to speak, we do the identical for the adult in our lives. We must do that fastidiously, nonetheless as we don’t want to provide the pouter extra clout. We should simply acknowledge that they’ve withdrawn and we would like to provide them a chance to speak it out effectively. Offer them the chance to speak, OR to take an agreed-upon timeout.
2. Hold them accountable for withdrawing.
We must make it clear that we notice the behavior, and now invite them to talk on to you about whatever is bothering them. Additionally, you note to them that their behavior is hurtful. While you can’t make them talk, you possibly can allow them to know you notice what they’re doing.
3. Share your feelings with them.
As you invite them to speak directly with you, allow them to know the impact their withdrawal has on you. You might say something like this: “I’ve noticed that something appears to be bothering you. You appear to have withdrawn. I need to ask you to speak on to me about whatever is troubling you. I also need to let you already know that I find your prolonged silence to be very hurtful.”
4. If your mate chooses to speak, proceed to have a healthy dialogue concerning the issue.
If they decide to check with you, share your appreciation with them. Thank them for sharing, reinforcing positive behavior. This will likely be a fast fix to a potentially troubling situation. If they proceed to provide you ‘the silent treatment,’ you’ve gotten no selection then to provide them the space they’re creating.
5. Be ready for connection after they decide to reconnect.
At this juncture, nonetheless, they may must take responsibility for withdrawing in an unhealthy way and for creating more hurt in the connection. Hold them accountable for withdrawing and share that you just are able to reconnect when they acknowledge the damage they’ve done by supplying you with ‘the silent treatment.’
In summary, silence is a very painful weapon and has no place in a healthy relationship. Taking a trip, agreed upon by each people, will be an efficient option to get space to reflect, pray and consider a healthy response. You should allow for ‘time outs’ and must agree that ‘the silent treatment’ won’t ever be tolerated.
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