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Imagine you have upset your loved one for some reason and they are angry with you. You expect them to shout at you, convey how you have let them down or even fight with you, but instead they stop talking to you or looking at you. They give you the silent treatment. That has got to hurt you. You would prefer that they convey their emotions and discuss things with you instead of going mute on you.
Silent treatment is the withdrawal from any kind of communication with the other person, who wants to talk, as a form of inflicting punishment for their wrong doings. The person who is punishing refuses to indulge in any kind of verbal, non-verbal or electronic communication. They won’t even make eye contact with you, sucks right?
If you have been subjected to silent treatment or even ghosting, you know how lonely it can make you feel. And if you have inflicted it on someone, you have felt that sense of power over the other person. Neither is a healthy situation or feeling. People believe that when they get angry with someone, instead of abusing them verbally or physically, they are taking the high-road by giving them the silent treatment, but that can’t be further away from the truth. Silent treatment is as abusive as throwing cuss words at someone or slapping them in the face, some believe that it is even worse.
Dr. Jenn Anders, a psychologist, in her recent Instagram post, explained how this is an abusive practice and the person practicing it is most likely unable to properly express their emotions and can’t deal with situations where they have to talk and resolve the issue in a mature manner. Anders also goes on to state reasons why silent treatment hurts so much:
Studies have shown that being ignored activates the same brain regions as physical pain and can bring up intense emotions of being hurt. It is a well thought out way of inflicting pain and that hurts more than something that slips out, unintentionally, in anger.
Humans are not meant to stay alone. It is the deepest-primal human need to form relationships and connect with others. But when a loved one stops communicating with you, it stirs up intense feelings of abandonment leading you to be in a constant state of despair and anxiety.
Wanting to take a break from the person who has hurt you is normal but inflicting silent treatment is not about asking for space to think. It is a deliberate infliction of pain. It is like waving a piece of bone in front of a dog but not letting him have it. Silent treatment is meant to play with the emotions of the other person and it is no way a noble act.
The takeaway from this shouldn’t be that it is okay to curse at someone instead of giving them silent treatment. Instead, we should always try to resolve conflicts by having mature conversations and expressing our emotions.
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