The Deafening Effect Of Silent Treatment
We have all experienced it! The excruciating “talk to the hand” behavior that our partner dishes out to us after a major argument. I’m not making the assumption that you, the one reading this article, hasn’t also dished out what I like to call the “frozen moves” to their spouse. Some of us do this so well that Elsa would be proud. (Come on you know who she is!:))
I am also guilty!
After an argument (especially one where I felt my point of view was sorely disregarded), I just want to zone out my husband and pretend that all I have in this life of sin is “me, myself and I”. The truth is, if I am honest with myself, my bruised ego just needs some time to lick its wounds.
We’ve all had those moments!
We’ve argued, exchanged a few unpleasant words, yelled at the top of our lungs and then shut down from feeling misunderstood. We withdraw! These moments are normal and an absolute part of life! It is what the feuding couple does afterwards that determines what outcome the fight will have on the relationship.
The silence might actually be a blessing in disguise.
When you argue, you become emotionally imbalanced and lose your ability to be rational. This happens predominantly with men because they get to their boiling point much sooner than women do. Physiologically, men shut down quicker than women and that’s why most times they are able to stay throughout an argument and say nothing. They have pretty much shut down and would rather read the paper or watch sports than respond to any accusations from their wives.
You both need time to decompress after such an uproar!
It would be absolutely counterproductive to force your spouse who has shut down to have a discussion with you. Emotionally, it would be too tasking for them and frankly, you might also need some time to calm down. Give yourselves a few hours, and then reach out to your spouse.
You both need a clear head!
At this point, using all the right communication and conflict resolution skills (see them here), you can then request that the both of you give yourselves another chance to air your grievances in the appropriate manner.
You have to show each other some empathy.
For whatever issues you have experienced to get fixed, you have to show your spouse that you can see things from their point of view. You can’t expect them to turn off and on their switch just because you say so, you have to show them you respect their views in order to receive the same respect from them.
Then jointly come back to the table!
So, you have to remember that you can’t force them back to have a chat with you when they have shut down. You can see this ‘silent treatment” period as a time for the both of you to clear your heads and respectfully have the discussion again in a saner way, at a future time.
Do not use this time to stew or plot evil.
Where most people miss it is when they use this period of silence to plot harm (or further quarrels) with their spouse. It’s a time to get yourselves back together again and shouldn’t be stretched longer than a couple of hours, maximum, a day. If it is drawn out too long because you find that you don’t care enough to resolve the issues you are both facing, then you have both totally missed the plot.
Silent treatment shouldn’t last forever!
While I can tell you it might be easier to try and talk again after a few hours, your spouse might not be ready. Give them a few more hours, but let them know that you are interested in working on whatever issues you both argued about. If you find it is taking them days to get back to normalcy, it is your duty to bring that to their attention…lovingly. If you find that you are more willing to let them keep stewing but are also extremely mad at them for this, you are letting your ego get the best of you.
Tell it to go to hell and work together to restore the peace in your home!
Read here for more techniques to handle silent treatment.
ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.
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