I’ve noticed a theme recently in my marriage counseling sessions… Silent treatment! Silent treatment is how some people communicate (without verbally communicating) when they are angry, hurt, disappointed, rejected, lonely, and basically IN NEED. The problem is:
- It doesn’t allow your partner to know what is really going on inside your head and heart, therefore it doesn’t allow them the opportunity to make the changes you need for them to make
- Because it’s such an unsafe behavior, it usually creates a situation where those around you move further away from you, when you are really needing them to move closer
- It creates an extreme amount of frustration for those around you, because they begin “mind reading”, which is impossible for anyone to do… so it ends up lose/lose (you lose the genuine care and concern you are needing, and they lose the opportunity to have intimacy with you)
- It feels like (and is) a form of manipulative “punishment” to those around you, when you are blessed with the ability to have a voice!
We are all capable of having a voice in verbally naming what we are feeling, when we are hurt by others, and when we are needing something from those we are in relationships with! If we want to have intimate, close and connected relationships with others, it’s SO important that we use our voice and our words, and not react like a child emotionally, when we are adults. If you are having trouble being able to identify and communicate your feelings and needs, make it a priority to focus on this and to get healthy…. for yourself and for those around you. If you are the one who chases your loved one around trying to figure out what is wrong with them when they are giving you the silent treatment, learn how to detatch from their issue, and set better boundaries with who owns the concern. You will all be much happier, and have better relationships to boot!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.