You’re probably familiar with the silent treatment if you’ve been in a relationship for a while. It’s a form of communication where one person stops talking to the other, usually as a way of getting what they want. It can be frustrating, and often the person receiving the silent treatment doesn’t know how to respond. This article will discuss silent treatment and how to react when it’s occurring in your relationship.

First, it’s important to remember that silent treatment is not always bad. Sometimes, a person might be frustrated with their partner and choose to use this to get the frustration out so they can move on.

On the other hand, other times, a partner may receive the silent treatment to say “I don’t want you” or “I’m not playing anymore.” As long as partners can communicate effectively during this phase, there shouldn’t be any problem. However, if communication breaks down and one person starts withholding or manipulating information, again and again, things can get really messy quickly.

It’s often difficult to determine when one partner abuses the silent treatment.

How to know when silent treatment is abusive?

silent treatment is abusive

1. One partner is not giving their partner their attention, but instead using silent treatment as a way of avoiding conflict

2. You can feel that there is a lack of trust in the relationship when one person decides to stop talking to someone at will

Both partners need to know that it’s not over even when one stops talking to the other, and there is always a chance for communication. Partners should never feel pressured into speaking up or asked about things if they don’t want to share information or present an opinion. Ask your partner if they are okay with you asking them questions and offering your view before doing so.

Here are a few ways to respond to silent treatment:

1. Take a gentle approach: Make it about them

Take a gentle approach

If the other person doesn’t do this to you daily, a gentle approach can be an excellent way to start the dialogue. They might be in pain and trying to find a way out. Tell the individual calmly that you’ve observed they’re not responding and that you’d want to know why. Make it clear that you want to get to the bottom of things.
While it is not your fault if someone chooses to ignore you, you are responsible for apologizing if you have done anything wrong. If they don’t appear interested, explain that you realize they might need some alone time. However, say that you’d want to schedule a meeting to discuss the issue.

silent treatment is abusive2. Apologize: Know the right words

ApologizeAn apology isn’t about trying to justify your actions. Instead, it’s about letting the other person know that what you did was wrong and simply stating that you’d like to straighten things out. If you realize that your silence is being misconstrued as anger, it is important to point this out and explain how this isn’t how you intended the conversation to go.
The other person needs to know that you don’t want them to apologize for their actions if they don’t want to do so. If so, say so.

3. Ask for what you want

Ask for what you wantsilent treatment is abusiveThis is likely the best time to openly state your needs and thoughts if you’re the silent one. It can be awkward, but it’s important to let your partner know that you’d like to talk about something. If you always have a problem reaching out to them when they need something, this may be one of those times. If they’re unwilling to listen now, maybe they didn’t understand what was bothering you before or if other things are bothering them right now, this might not be the best time.

4. Consider what the other person wants

Consider what the other person wants
If you have no intention of breaking up or giving up on the relationship, make sure you’re aware of what they want and need. If they don’t want to talk, offer to do something else together. It might feel like a double standard, but it’s important that they are not being forced to talk when they don’t want to.
A relationship has two people who need to learn how to communicate with each other and how to effectively handle conflict resolution if there is any chance of success.

5. Ignore it until it blows over

Ignore it until it blows overIf you’ve tried everything else, but nothing seems to be working, the best thing to do is simply wait it out. While this can be difficult, at their heart, most people want to be liked and loved. If you know that the person cares about you and wants to work things out in the end, ignoring them for a time is a good way to nudge them in the right direction. This won’t do anything about trust issues or break-ups, though.
You may want to give them some space to feel like they have room to miss you or think that maybe things aren’t going as well as they could between you two.

6. Make your needs known

Make your needs knownIt’s important for partners to know their own needs and wants, but it’s equally as important for them to be aware that partners have needs too. If the silent treatment is coming from you, it may be a good time to let your partner know that you are missing them and want to make things right. If they’re not responding, they may not be open enough to hear what you want and need.

7. Offer solutions

Offer solutionsIf you’re the one who has been given the silent treatment, it’s important to understand that your partner is probably feeling frustrated with you. Hopefully, if you have been open with them in the past and expressed your fears and concerns that things aren’t going well between you two, this is a sign that they care.

They may be feeling like they aren’t being listened to, or they’re not seeing eye-to-eye on something. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to remind them of this fact, so they understand there isn’t some other reason for their silence. Understand that people are often reluctant to discuss problems and desire to avoid conflict by avoiding the problem altogether.

If you don’t feel like the silent treatment is appropriate, it’s important to let your partner know to understand that it’s not really what they’re doing. This might be a good time to share your feelings with them in a way where they may be more open to hearing what you have to say and not being disrespectful or dismissive of their feelings or needs.


Silent Treatment is a term used to describe the act of withdrawing all forms of communication with someone. It can be a passive or an aggressive act, but the result is the same – no dialogue or conversation. There are a few things that you can do when faced with this situation, and we outlined them in this blog. We hope that you will be better equipped to handle any Silent Treatment situations that come your way by reading it.
silent treatment is abusive