The Silent Treatment

A closeup of a strong, confident woman looking at the camera.

research indicates that children would rather be yelled at than ignored.

When prisoners are being punished, they are put in isolation, because being isolated is one of the harshest punishments there is – other than physical abuse.

The silent treatment is a form of punishment, a way to attempt to control children and partners into doing what you want them to do. It is a withdrawal of approval, and can cause much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

You are giving people the silent treatment when you shut down to them, closing your heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. You act as if they are invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response. Your hope in treating them this way is that they will get the message that they have displeased you. They have done something wrong in your eyes and deserve to be punished, deserve to have your “love” taken away.

Of course, what you are taking away is not love at all, since love is unconditional. What you are taking away is your approval, and for children and approval-dependent adults, it is a powerful form of control.

The Consequences

While it may seem to you to work for the moment, there are huge negative consequences following the silent treatment. Children feel unloved and unlovable, developing deep beliefs about their inadequacy. While they may comply to avoid your withdrawal of approval, inwardly they are likely to feel lonely and heartbroken – feelings that they can’t handle – so they become angry and resistant to manage the feelings. Their anger and resistance may show up in others areas that cause problems for them and for you.

While your partner may scurry around to try to please you and get you to reconnect with him or her, the fact that you have so deeply disconnected creates feelings of heartache in your partner that may eventually lead to the end of the relationship. What seems to work for the moment may lead to exactly what you don’t want in the long run.

When Your Partner is Punishing you With the Silent Treatment

What goes on inside you when your partner shuts down to you?

  • Do you tell yourself you must have done something wrong?
  • Do you feel a sense of loneliness and heartache that feels unbearable?
  • Do you feel alone and abandoned inside?
  • Do you feel anxious and scared?

If you feel any of these, it is really because you are abandoning yourself and making your partner responsible for you. It is you doing this that is allowing the silent treatment to work to control you.

If you were taking loving care of yourself and taking 100% responsibility for your own feelings, here is what would be going on inside:

  • You would be telling yourself: “My partner is choosing to punish me rather than take responsibility for his or her feelings. Whatever I may or may not have done that he or she doesn’t like, I am not responsible for how he or she is dealing with it, and I have no control over him or her.
  • You would be bringing love inside, letting yourself know that you are a good person and deserving of love.
  • You would get out of range of your partner’s energy – taking a walk, reading a book, calling a friend, or doing something else to make yourself happy.
  • You would keep your own heart open, not going into anger or judgment toward your partner, so that when your partner decides to open again, there is no residue for you. You would not punish your partner for trying to punish you. You would just make sure that their punishment doesn’t work for them.
  • You would embrace your loneliness and heartache with deep compassion for yourself, sitting with these feelings for a few minutes and then releasing them to Spirit.

Eventually, when you are truly taking loving care of yourself, others will stop using the silent treatment, since it will no longer work for them.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Are you are ready to discover real love and intimacy? Learn Inner Bonding now! Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *