The Cold Shoulder

The silent treatment is the purposeful exclusion of one party from social interactions. In other words...when a person gives you the silent treatment they act is if you aren't even there. The silent treatment is so named because the person will not talk to you but, in reality, the person may avoid all interaction whatsoever.

The silent treatment in a relationship and/or friendship is simply a person's way of exacting control over another person. The person giving the cold shoulder has all the power and creates a situation wherein all the attention is focused on him (or her), and what he perceives as being wrong. The silent treatment is often given as a form of punishment in a relationship and psychologists consider the silent treatment as a form of abuse.

It is passive-aggressive behavior intended to hurt the other person. It shows a lack of caring....respect....and value. It can hurt the other person more than anything else you do. It can contribute to depression...anxiety...and low self-esteem. For many people, the silent treatment is the worst form of emotional abuse there is.

My own experience with it has altered who I am both emotionally & mentally. It leaves you in a state of constant confusion never really knowing what it was you did that was so wrong to deserve such cruel treatment. For me, those are questions that I'll never have answers to. And it makes close bonds with others nearly impossible due to fear of it happening again. You'll do anything you can to avoid another situation like that. It can be truly traumatizing.
hadyourchance hadyourchance
36-40, F
4 Responses Jan 17, 2013

You are very right. I've been dealing with a boyfriend with narcissistic personality disorder (don't accuse him of having it though) for 11 years now and he subjects me to the extremes of silent treatment - any time I do something that upsets him, or express my feelings when he does something that upsets me (99.9% of the time it's the latter) he will ensure he gives me the cold shoulder until I get upset and get angry about it. As soon as I get angry he dumps me. Cuts off all communication and this time he has threatened to get a restraining order because I've been calling and texting to talk to him. I've made no threats just asked him to stop abusing me (oops that's a red rag to a bull). He's affecting my health so I have to walk away with no contact now - wish me luck :) x

Thank you for sharing this....it *is* a form of emotional abuse...I have experienced this more than I would like to even mention...and you are correct...it makes all relationships after very hard...your ability to trust that this will not happen again is gone..regardless of the reassurances given...and causes the othe rparty to become frustrated at having to give reassurance...

You are exactly right. I found that I tend to avoid close bonds all together. Not knowing if it was something that I had done to deserve the silent treatment or if it had nothing to do with me at all....leaves me doubting my abilities to be a good friend and/or partner. Those insecurities leave me in an isolated state. I wonder sometimes if its me...did I deserve it...maybe I did something unknowingly...makes me question who I thought I was....kills my confidence. Not knowing the real reasons makes you question everyone & their intentions. It's almost a natural defense. It surely messes with ones mind.

You have hit the nail on the head in so many ways...I am sorry that you have had this experience!

My heart goes out to you as well.

A child can handle being loved. A child can also handle being screamed at. A child CANNOT handle being ignored.
It's no different with us adults. Being ignored is the hardest punishment to handle.

And sometimes being loved.

Very true

Thanks for point that out to me< i always thought it was just some one I know being a *** so I feel better.

It is a bit relieving.