How to Use the Silent Treatment Effectively
You're doing it all wrong!
The Silent Treatment; we’re all familiar with this term and I’m sure most of us have been on both the giving and receiving end of this ploy. When executed appropriately, this device can be very effective and really get one’s point across. When handled carelessly or without the proper experience or training, one will find their efforts thwarted. Too many times, I have been witness and perhaps victim to ineffectively delivering the silent treatment and it is my duty to help those understand how to do it properly.
Ladies… Who are you trying to punish?
First of all, ladies you must understand that men generally appreciate simplicity and silence. I think it is a pretty well-known fact that most women have the “gift of gab”. Gift? I am not sure who determined that the ability to talk endlessly to anyone about nothing is a gift, but nonetheless the term is appropriate for the point I am attempting to convey. Bla, bla, bla, that is about as deep of a meaning as men get out of 85% of our conversations. While we are talking about the yogurt being on sale at Walmart and the blouse that Gladys wore to bingo our man is thinking about what time he should get up to go fishing tomorrow. Furthermore, most of us women are over analytical and overdramatic. We analyze behavior, emotions and feelings; we want to know why he would say this or do that. Overdramatic is not meant to be offensive but while we may think that it is tragically devastating that someone broke up with a Kardashian and maybe even shed a tear over it, our men typically don’t give a crap, he cares that she looks hot in a bikini.
Have you ever noticed that glazed look your man gets on his face when you’re mid deep in some deep conversation; that’s because he’s not listening! So chances are if you are giving him the silent treatment out of punishment, he probably won’t feel as though he’s being punished.
Betcha he doesn’t even notice…
Considering that men only listen to and absorb about 15% of what we have to say, chances are he doesn’t even know you’ve stopped talking. What is the point of giving someone the silent treatment if they don’t realize you’re being silent? Even worse is that it kills us and tests every nerve for us to be silent. You know what I’m talking about; you’re mad for whatever reason and you want him to know it, but you can’t help that you just had a thought or something that you want to bring to his attention, but you have to refrain from doing so or you risk compromising your silent treatment, which hasn’t worked its magic yet.
Every time we go in for a silent treatment attack, we run the risk of it being ineffective. So if it is worth initiating then it is worth doing it correctly. Now if you’re plan is to give someone the silent treatment to hurt their feelings and create an awareness that you are upset and they are in some way responsible then the first step is; Be Silent! The second step is; Stay that way! Now ladies, I know that this step is particularly hard for us, but he’ll surely never catch on to our efforts if we don’t talk to him for a while, pop in with something to stay and then return to the silent mode. That’s like calling a timeout in Tag as your about to be caught and then running away before you declare “Time In”. Thirdly, silence doesn’t only pertain to words; this means anything that you would normally do to show some form of affection must be paused. If you fetch him food or give him a kiss before going to bed, don’t do it during the Silent Treatment mode. Then he will perceive you as everything being okay, you just happen to be a little quitter, as a matter of fact, it will probably have an adverse effect and he will wonder what he has done to make you guys get along so good lately, because you will be still meeting his needs and gabbing/griping less. You never want that to happen, now you have to work twice as hard for him to see that not only are things not okay, but they are bad. So, continue in silence; in words and actions. Next step; Be patient! It will be harder for you to remain quiet than it will be for him to realize that he is being given the silent treatment or even care. Yes, at first this may seem like a treat for him once he realizes that you are giving him the silent treatment, but then there will be a point when he will want your silence broken. This leads to one of the most important steps; Express the problem! He will ask; “What’s your problem?” You will not enter this conversation defensive, aggressive or pathetically. You will simply state what it was that he said or did that upset you and briefly, very briefly explain to him why that bothered you. Now remember, men don’t generally see the drama in the situation that we do so don’t expect him to fall to his knees with an apology. If he even acknowledges your concern and shows any signs of remorse, regret or sorrow, then take it! Accept his response and move on. Once the Silence Treatment has been executed and accomplished you cannot renege. You cannot decide later that you aren’t actually over the issue or that his response to the silent treatment is no longer acceptable. That is not fair to him or you. You will confuse him into thinking that he has done something else and he will not know how to correct the situation because he will feel he already did. You also run the risk of him getting frustrated or not caring about the original issue because you are revisiting it. You will also more than likely stress yourself out having to repeat the entire process all over again.
Now that the war has been officially declared over, make up. It may be hard to get into a super mushy mood so soon, but making up is often the best part. If you had to exert energy, test your strengths and hold back emotions you should be rewarded with some extra positive behaviors. Not to mention the silence treatment paid off and you won the victory; your partner deserves to be rewarded as well. When the battle is all said and done, don’t just go about your daily business. You also don’t want to hover of the issue any longer. Consider yourself grateful; you got somewhere. If you continue to revert back to the conversation you will just turn the offender off. Celebrate the victory! Take out some time, go on a spontaneous date or stay in a pop some corn, watch a movie and cuddle up. Or you can just get straight to the point and make up the fun way.