'Silent Treatment' is a Form of Abuse...
by Tigress Luv
Silent Treatment - A Form of Abuse
by Tigress Luv
(parts of this article have been gathered from message boards and forum
I believe the silent treatment (feigned
apathy; cold-shoulder; silence; distance, and ignoring you) is the
worst form of emotional abuse. It is a punishment used by abusers to
make you feel unimportant, not valued, not cared about and completely
absent from the abuser's thoughts. It is used as a form of non-physical
punishment and control because the abuser mistakenly thinks that if
they don't physically harm you then they are not abusers. The truth is,
they are far worse at doling out abuse than the physical abuser.
Silent treatment is a form of banishing someone from the abuser's
existence without the benefit of closure or a good bye or a chance at
reconciliation. In a word..it's meant to torture someone you profess to
I had been the victim of 'silence' in my last relationship, and should
I meet someone again who uses this tactic just once he will not get
another chance! Why? Because the silent treatment is something that the
abuser repeats over and over again. The silent treatment is CONTROL,
and a safe means for them to avoid any 'uncomfortable' topics, issues
in the relationship, or issues within himself (or herself).
The silent treatment is a method the abuser uses to 'kill' you for
something you have done. In a sense, you have been psychologically
'murdered' by them, but your physical life goes on.
In my last relationship I had spent more days getting the 'silent
treatment' than not. Yes - I believe it is the 'worst' of the emotional
abuse tactics - and this was where I had been most harmed and damaged,
and where I needed most of my healing from. At my age I definitely
didn't need that! Relationships aren't supposed to be about pain and
hurt. Why in goodness name I had allowed myself to suffer through all
his forms of power, control, and abuse for years will be a forever
question mark in my mind.
I used to love him, even when I was angry with him, or hurt by him. My
love stopped during the last episode of abuse - or maybe the one
before. I really can't remember when my heart shut off the love valve.
Maybe it was a gradual thing. However, the love was gone, truly
gone - and all his continued abusive 'episodes' just made me
commit to not going back into the relationship ever.
Truth be told, at that time in my life I was so fed up with the abuse
that had I walked in on him and found he had died from a heart attack
or something, I think I would have just felt relief, and not had
experienced any grief or sadness at all. I know that sounds inhuman and
evil, but what abused partner hasn't wished for the abuser to just stop
abusing, even if it's by death?
As with most abusers, the 'silent abuser' is in denial over their own
abuse. They may use the excuses:
* I needed to have some space
* I thought you needed some space
* I was feeling depressed and didn't want to drag you down with me
* I thought we both need a cooling off period
* I felt threatened/insulted/hurt and reacted with fear and isolation
* I just needed some time alone to think
* I didn't want to fight
* You told me to leave you alone
* Problems from my past came up and I needed to sort them out
Of course these excuses are just one more way for the abusers to blame
somebody or something else for his or her abuse.
Some victims of the Silent Treatment have
"He uses it to punish me on a regular basis"
"I've had times where my husband used this tactic on me so bad, that I
ended up wishing that he would just hit me and get it over with-why?
Because at least then I would know I existed, and that I wasn't a ghost
"I've learned to love the silent treatment. For years, it devastated me
and I felt that it was the worst of the abuse...but it's not...at least
not for me....and yes, I felt that it was a punishment. It made me feel
not important, subhuman...like I didn't even exist."
"That's all it took & he wouldn't speak for days sometimes.
Then he would start talking like nothing was ever wrong. Ignore your
problems & keep up a front. I couldn't live like that anymore."
"There was no rhyme or reason, it could happen at any time, go on for
days and usually erupted into an outburst of rage. Trying to figure it
out, was mind boggling and yes, punishment!"
The reality is (in most cases) that the more someone ignores you the
more you actually want to resolve the problem. It's almost an
involuntary need on the part of the person being ignored. And that's
the whole point to the ignorer. It puts them in control AND it gets
them attention. However, that's in most cases - in my case the more he
pulled the silent treatment, the more I saw him as a very
emotionally-sick and an immature, abusive person and the LESS I wanted
to resolve our problems.
I would just pray for him to leave, or sometimes I would fantasize that
I was in another healthy, loving relationship, and that he and I didn't
even exist as a couple, or I would pack up some clothes and try to
leave myself. Of course, part of his 'control' was in knowing the fact
that I couldn't leave my children or my job...which I would have had to
do to leave my home. This gave him all the authority and power over me
as he so chose.
But that 'authority' and 'control' truly isn't love - that controlling
power and abuse is an insecure person's way of trying to not be
abandoned - by abandoning you, and probably when you needed
them the most. This way they feel that they had a
psychological and emotional hold on you. That you can't abandon them.
The problem is, are they too stupid to realize that being abandoned is
exactly the result that they will eventually get? To be abandoned by
their victim? Maybe not always physically abandoned, as abused people
can take abuse for years and years. But they abandon their abusers
mentally and emotionally, closing their hearts and souls to them, and
killing any love at all they may have once felt for the abuser.
Isn't that leaving? I should think so!
Abuse is abuse. And abuse is never ok. In one
way though, the silent treatment is far worse than other forms of
abuse, because it indirectly says to you that you are not a person, you
are an object, you are invisible because they choose to make you so
because you are not worthy of their time. THAT is one of the most
hurtful and abusive things to do in my book. It is a horrible feeling,
being ignored and denied affection.
For me personally the silent treatment was dished out when I did
something he didn't like, when I was wrong, or when I showed him he was
wrong. The link was as clear as flipping a switch and seeing the light
go out. POW, KABOOM! I got punished and he wouldn't speak with me for
days on end, including choosing to not even be in the same physical
area with me. He would hide away or disappear for hours, and even sleep
sitting upright in a desk chair every night for up to a week (or more)
just to avoid being in the same room with me. He was almost childlike
in his behavior. I finally said, "screw this". I couldn't live like
NOTE: In my case, my ex was THE
definition of a 'narcissist', and The Silent Treatment is an abuse
tactic often used by narcissists. To read up about narcissist and the
silent treatment - plus their other 'subtle' abuse tactics, please
visit Breaking Up With Your Narcissist at http://breakingupwithyournarcissist.com
For more please read my other article, "Ostracizing and the Ex", at http://tigressluv.com/ostracize_the_ex.html
Today's Inspiration, Poem
silent treatment is a method people use to 'murder' someone without
leaving a visible corpse behind." ~Tigress Luv, The Breakup
Prayer or Thought:
I'll start 'seeing' by inner reflection. Today I will fully see all my
bad habits and negative attitudes, and search hard within myself for a
way to understand and 'fix' what I don't like. I will acknowledge that
my negativities are merely signs of unseen difficulties inside me. By
changing myself, I change those around me.
Today I will see that the only true time I can change another is when I
have created change within myself. " ~Tigress Luv
R.I.P. Rue McClanahan -
you will be sadly missed soooo much. Your beauty, grace and charm were
truly blessings to the thousands of lives you have touched, and will
continue to be for many years to come. Go be a Golden Angel.
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Have a great week everyone!
published by Tigress Luv & Glass Slipper Publishing, the Breakup Gurus. For more
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