Silent treatment is psychological punishment by refusing verbal communication with another person in order to give a specific message.
People who use punishment silently may even refuse to acknowledge the other’s existence, treating them as invisible and non-existent.
Silent punishment is used in many relationships, including those of a mother or father with children, or between them in their marital relationship.
This type of behavior is emotional blackmail for the person being punished by silence and is usually a way for the person to control, manipulate and control the other.
Silence..between punishment and desire
Silent punishment, or refusal to engage in conversation with another person, is a moral tactic to establish control in the relationship and is unhealthy behavior in all its forms.
There is a big difference between ostracism and silence as punishment, and a person’s desire to stay silent and spend some time thinking about things to address problems, and then to communicate later after everyone has calmed down. .
The Very Well Mind website explains that there are times in relationships when silence is inevitable, healthy and even productive. For example, a couple, or one of them, can take a break after a heated debate, to calm down and gather ideas.
What distinguishes this silence from the model of tacit punishment is that this timeline is conscious and agreed upon, and there is a clear or implied assumption that both parties will reconsider the issue and discuss it again later.
There are also cases when the person being raped of any kind is silent as a way to protect himself, not to allow the harmful situation to escalate.
In these situations, the victim knows that saying anything – even if it is what the other party wants – will only aggravate the situation.
When, for example, a spouse during an acute dispute is subjected to verbal abuse, it is perfectly reasonable and healthy to set boundaries and avoid discussion altogether, in order to protect the person from abuse and harm.
Therefore, silence during an abusive situation is not an example of tacit punishment, rather silence can be very good here to protect oneself from abuse.
Why is punishment used by silence?
People use silent punishment for a variety of reasons, which – according to Medical News Today – include the following:
- Avoid confrontationIn some cases, people remain silent during a conversation because they do not know what to say, or want to avoid conflict altogether, so keep quiet.
- Inability to communicateSome may use silence as a protective shield if they do not know how to express their feelings but at the same time want to express their concern and anger.
- Desire to sentence: If a person uses silence as a means of punishing someone or trying to force someone, it is a form of blackmail and emotional abuse.
In addition to harmful behavior in general, it is especially dangerous if used in raising children, as it can bring profound psychological problems to the child because he does not know exactly why his existence is punished, deprived and denied. , and thus he may suffer crises in the assessment of his self-esteem and vision of himself and even His assessment of the degree of right and wrong.
Silent punishment is a harmful form of abuse and blackmail, as it can force the victim to reconcile with the abuser against her will, in an attempt to end the psychologically harmful behavior, even if the victim does not know the reason for seeking forgiveness. . First place.
In most cases, punishment with isolation or silence is not a productive and effective behavior for dealing with disputes and problems.
Research published in 2013 in the Communication magazine monograph found that both men and women use the penalty of silence in their marital relationships.
However, clear and direct communication is essential for understanding, communication and intimacy. This negative behavior prevents people from resolving their conflicts in a healthy and productive way.
Also, the desire of one spouse to talk about a certain problem at a time when the other party decides to withdraw and remain silent, can cause him negative feelings such as anger, anxiety and mistrust.
According to another 2012 study, published in the journal APA Psycnet, people who regularly and often feel neglected in their relationships also report lower levels of self-esteem, belonging, and a sense of meaning in their lives.
For this reason, the behavior of silent punishment can have negative effects on the health of the relationship, even if the silent person tries through this negative behavior only to avoid conflict, not to establish control or to punish the other party.
So the victim in that relationship is more likely to continue to repeat the same disagreements because he has never had the opportunity to discuss his grievances, clarify his wishes, and get a convincing answer.
What can be done about this behavior?
If you are repeatedly being punished by silence, the following steps can help you reduce your risk of this behavior, according to Psychology Today:
- Avoid isolation Maintaining relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers is an important step in overcoming the psychological blackmail your partner can inflict on you if he or she refuses or ignores your presence.
- Maintaining a rich life: Engaging in hobbies, reading, and art projects can help you stay strong and steady while facing tacit punishment.
- Remind yourself: One of the problems of being in an abusive and controlling partner is that it can be hard to remember who you are, so do not let your thoughts, desires and goals be erased.
- Seek professional advice: A therapist who understands controlling behaviors and abuse can help you understand what you are going through and prepare for future challenges.
- Select the red line: Realizing that silent punishment is simply a tactic of the dominant person, identify your red line. If you think the situation is harmful to you or your family, find ways to report domestic violence in your country and seek help to find a safe way out of the relationship.