The silent treatment, also known as the infamous frostbite (when someone refuses to talk to another out of pride, revenge, or simply to get away from an issue), can leave anyone feeling helpless and powerless. Deal with this immature and manipulative tactic like an adult, understanding what is happening and confronting the situation. Take the initiative and start the dialogue with a calm attitude, asking the person to speak how they feel and really listening to what they have to say. Finally, don't let your emotions get the better of you - take good care of yourself: do fun things, focus on your relaxation, or put an end to an unhealthy relationship.
Part 1 of 4: Dealing with Emotional Abuse
Step 1. Deal with abuse
If the other person stops talking to you often, you need to recognize that this relationship is abusive. Emotional abuse may be less obvious than physical abuse, but it is just as harmful and can affect our self-esteem, self-image, and self-esteem. If you feel isolated or humiliated by someone's ice, keep in mind that that person's behavior may be a form of abuse.
- Be firm when talking about silence, saying, "This situation is abusive and I will not tolerate such behavior."
- We cannot change another person. If the other person has already promised to change but hasn't made any progress yet, it's time to deal with the abuse on your own terms. Enlist the help of others and leave the relationship if necessary.
Step 2. Set limits
This person has probably never set healthy boundaries in the relationship, so it's up to you to change that. Start by identifying your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual boundaries. Think about what makes you upset or stressed, and everything you find unacceptable in a relationship, and let the other person know these boundaries. Also, when one of your limits is being disrespected, make a point of making this very clear.
- Be assertive when setting limits. Say, "I refuse to accept your silent treatment. Either you change the way you handle problems or I'm not going to be a part of this relationship anymore."
- You could also say, "You might want to use the silent treatment, but I don't. We need to talk about this."
Step 3. Put an end to the relationship
In the end, no one is able to change another person, no matter how hard they try to make things better. Therefore, if the relationship is abusive and harmful, consider the possibility of leaving it. Tell that friend or partner that you need to move on - your well-being is much more important than spending time with an individual who doesn't think twice about emotionally abusing you.
- Do not accept any kind of emotional abuse - you deserve to relate to people who are able to dialogue and are willing to communicate in a mature and healthy way.
- It is likely that individuals who have a long history of this type of behavior will not be "fixed" by friendship or relationship with someone. In the end, you will be happier and have more time and space in your life to welcome people who are ready for your love and friendship.
Step 4. Reflect on the causes of the silent treatment
"Giving a chill" on someone is a passive-aggressive approach to communication and a way to get attention, demonstrate power, and control another person. Some individuals may use this immature tactic to avoid conflict or evade responsibility, and sometimes they may also do so to punish someone. Basically, people who engage in such behavior do not know how to communicate their feelings properly.
For example, maybe someone wants to blame you instead of taking responsibility for their own mistakes, or maybe someone wants to make your faults look worse than they are, instead of acknowledging his faults. Regardless of the reason, the silent treatment makes you feel bad or guilty (in the other person's shoes)
Part 2 of 4: Opening Communication Channels
Step 1. Stay calm
Our first reaction in these cases may be frustration, anger, or irritation - however, while such feelings are completely valid, reacting aggressively will only make things worse. Above all, don't act the same way as the other person, as nothing will ever be resolved if the two of you just start ignoring each other!
- Keeping calm means staying in control of the situation.
- Focus on your breathing if you feel yourself getting nervous or irritable - take long, deep breaths until you feel your body and mind calming down.
Step 2. Start the conversation
Take the initiative to talk about what's going on, that is, be a mature person and confront the problem. Bring up the subject at a time when you both have time and aren't in a hurry for some commitment. Say, "Do you have time to talk now? I wanted to talk to understand some things."
- Maybe he's not ready to talk yet. If he doesn't seem ready, say, "I can see you're not ready to talk about this. We'll get back to it in three days."
- Prepare in advance and make an appointment for the conversation. For example, say, "We need to talk about some issues. Do you have time to talk on Tuesday?"
Step 3. Ask what's going on
You don't have a crystal ball, nor do you have to try to guess what the problem is - expressing your own feelings and thoughts is the other person's responsibility. So if you're not sure what the problem is, ask. Say, "I noticed you are far away. What happened?"
- For example: "I wanted to understand why you walk so silently. Can you tell me what's going on?" If the person refuses to respond, say, "We can't work things out if you're not willing to talk. I need to know what's going on and I need your cooperation."
- If she's still unwilling to talk, tell her you'll come back to the subject later.
Step 4. Invite her to share how she feels
Give them space to say what they're thinking and feeling - maybe they'll talk, maybe not, but the important thing is to listen carefully and give the person a chance to say what's going on. Don't assume you already know everything - ask lots of open-ended questions to try to understand the problem clearly.
- Say something like "I'd like to know why you're upset, and I'm willing to listen if you're willing to talk."
- Encourage healthy dialogue and exhibit appropriate behavior by asking questions and letting the person talk without interrupting.
Step 5. Explain how it feels to be ignored
Tell how the other person's silence affects you, how their behavior does not allow you to deal with problems, and how this will end up damaging the relationship. However, be careful not to blame anyone (saying things like “You put everything on my back” or “You expect me to solve the problems for you”). Instead, opt for first person singular phrases – “I” (saying things like “I feel you want me to be responsible for your feelings”).
Stick to the facts and explain how lack of communication in the relationship causes problems to go unresolved
Part 3 of 4: Moving Forward
Step 1. Take this time
Quiet treatment often causes two people to spend time apart. Instead of being resentful or upset with the other's actions, value this space and use your free time to get in touch with yourself. Focus on yourself and not the other, asking yourself, "What am I feeling?"
Recognize and meet your needs
Step 2. Show you care
Although silence is irritating, try to see things from the other's point of view - perhaps a partner or friend does not know how to express their own feelings and silence is the way, however ineffective, they have found to deal with a problem. Show that you know he's upset and that you care about his feelings.
Say something like, "I can see you're upset, even if you don't want to talk about it."
Step 3. Apologize for your mistakes
If you've done or said something to hurt someone, admit your mistake. Silent treatment can be a way to express hurt without the use of words, so take action and say something if you know you did wrong. This will be a chance to get in touch with your feelings and show that you know how much you hurt the other person. Just feeling heard they can soften their wall.
- For example, if you have said something that hurt the other person, say, "I'm sorry, I didn't realize how much I hurt you when I said that."
- However, don't apologize for the sole purpose of taking the weight off your back, nor take responsibility for something for the sole purpose of solving the problem and getting rid of the ice. Admit all your mistakes, but don't apologize just to put an end to the silent treatment.
Step 4. Get in therapy
Both can benefit from therapy, particularly if they are family members or loving partners. Silence is a way of blocking the other person, and it does not encourage the cultivation of feelings such as intimacy, trust and happiness in the relationship. See a therapist to help the two of you improve the way you express yourself and communicate.
See a family or couples therapist. Call your health care provider or a mental health clinic, or ask a friend, doctor, or family member for a recommendation
Part 4 of 4: Taking care of yourself
Step 1. Get support from others
Talk to a friend or family member about what is going on. Talking to someone and listening to a loved one's point of view can help if you're confused or unsure what to do. Even if conversation doesn't solve the problem, just talking about it can be useful to clear your mind and organize your thoughts.
- Look for a trusted and caring loved one.
- You can also talk to a therapist if you want to get professional help and learn coping strategies.
Step 2. Practice pleasurable activities
Don't torture yourself by constantly thinking about the pain caused by the other person's silence, instead focus on doing things that make you happier. Make time for activities that are enjoyable and important to you - this is a great way to show love for yourself and not let the other person's attitudes affect you negatively.
For example, ride a bike, listen to music, paint or play with the dog - do whatever makes him happier
Step 3. Relax
Dealing with someone's ice can be stressful, so manage your stress levels regularly. Remember to make time for yourself and relax - try to do a relaxing activity daily for 30 minutes or more.
Listen to music, meditate or practice some yoga
- Don't play a manipulative person's game - their goal is to control you, so don't let that happen. Simply say, "Let me know when you're ready to talk!", and leave the person alone until they show a willingness to talk.
- Say you will be there for her if the person needs it, especially if she is experiencing a crisis.
- Keep in mind that you can give a manipulative person ammunition if you tell them how you feel, which is why it's very important to be assertive rather than making emotional pleas. Bring up the facts and tell how the other person's behavior affects you, but avoid crying or making emotional drama - an emotionally abusive individual will use this against you.
- If you are in a relationship for a short time and your partner has already shown a tendency towards this type of behavior, nip it in the bud and say that you will not accept such a situation, or put an end to the relationship - he needs to understand that you will not accept that attitude.