What Couples Should Know About the Silent Treatment

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If you're like most people, you've probably heard the old adage, "silence is golden." But when it comes to relationships, is that really the case? Most psychologists indicate that it depends on the situation.

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Silence vs. Silent Treatment

There are also instances when a victim of abuse is silent as a way to stay safe and keep an already abusive situation from escalating

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Staying silent during an abusive situation is not an example of the silent treatment. It may very well be self-preservation.

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Identifying Silent Treatment

People use the silent treatment to control the situation or conversation. They also use it as a tool to avoid taking responsibility or to admit wrongdoing.

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When Silence Is Abusive

If you have ever found yourself in a situation where someone is giving you the silent treatment, it can be a little unnerving. They may refuse to talk to you or even acknowledge your presence.

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Sometimes though, silence evolves into the silent treatment and becomes a pattern of destructive behavior. When this happens, it becomes a control tactic that is emotionally abusive.

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Research

Silence is used as a weapon to cut off meaningful conversations, stop the flow of information, and ultimately hurt the other person.

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How to Respond

To resolve the issue, both partners need to take responsibility for their behavior and try to empathize with their partner.

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If the silent treatment is part of a larger emotional abuse issue, then it is important for the victimized person to recognize what is taking place and get help.

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