When is Enough, Enough??

When does giving out the "Silent Treatment" end??


When does giving someone the silent treatment end?  Middle school?  High School?  Ever? I view giving someone the silent treatment as passive/aggressive behavior. What if the person who is getting the silent treatment doesn’t care?  What happens when the person getting the silent treatment does not react?  It seems to me that the person giving it out is only punishing him/herself. Why can’t people just come out with what is bothering them, instead of clamming up and turning infantile? Why can’t we, as intelligent human beings, just say what is on our minds, clear the air, and move on? What is the payoff for shutting up, internally stewing, and being miserable?


Currently, I am going through a 4 day “silent treatment.” Apparently, I have done something (but have no clue what) to piss someone off pretty badly.  When this 50-something person was confronted for an explanation, I got a cross-armed stance, pouting face, and an “I don’t want to talk about it.”  Fine. I guess the problem lies and stays with them until they choose to get it out in the open.  However, when they get it out, there is no more punishment. There is no more problem. Is that the REAL problem?


I guess it is difficult for me to understand the real purpose of the whole  “silent treatment’ thing.  The issue stays in the person’s head.  So, that would lead me to believe the problem stays with them only.  The receiver of the treatment has no link to the problem; so confusing...


I am a “just say it” kind of girl.  Then the issue is out there to be dealt with.  I may never know what I have done to make this person angry. I guess I will just have to wait it out. Until then, I must move on with my life and do what I have to do.

I would love to hear people’s thoughts and opinions on this subject. Please tell me your thoughts below.

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Garry Crystal September 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I used to do this from time to time when younger but as you get older you realise that it's a complete waste of time and doesn't accomplish anything. It's definitely passive/aggressive behavior though and can be more silent torture than treatment. It's conflict for people who don't like conflict. If it happens to me now, doesn't usually at this age, I usually say "what's the problem, i'm not a mind reader" and if that doesn't work then sod it, life's too short.
Derrick Ferguson September 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Put me down as one of those people who don't care. Considering that I'm not interested anyway in most of the babble that comes out of my friends and acquaintances mouths since most of their conversation is BMW'ing, when they give me The Silent Treatment I look on it as a reward.
Andrea Gallo DiLoreto September 16, 2012 at 03:13 PM
@ GARRY- It is a complete waste of time. It is only silent torture if you let it become that. if you just don't care, then what is it really? I agree with the "what's the problem?" line. I believe that two (or more) adults should be able to hold a conversation on what the issue is. However, if one doesn't want to speak, and chooses to stay silent, then what.... It's a shame because in this situation, the person I am discussing in this write up had been a great friend of mine for 24 years. I feel that the least that could have been done was to let me know what I have done to make her so angry.
Andrea Gallo DiLoreto September 16, 2012 at 03:15 PM
@ DERRICK- I like your style. My thought is that I ask you once what the issue is.....if you don't want to say or discuss, then the problem lies with you. And, I agree....if all I heard was constant BMW'ing, I don't think I would want them to speak to me ever again either... :)
Derrick Ferguson September 16, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Well, I'm a man and so being of that gender I'm hardwired differently. If another man doesn't want to talk to me I can shrug my shoulders, walk away and never give it another minute's consideration. Woman on the other hand... And yes, I know this makes me sound awfully sexist but I speak from experience. There are women I have known (my wife included) who will spend two or three days trying to decipher the arcane mysterious meaning behind the way somebody said "Good Morning" to them. And my wife is like that when one of her friends gives her The Silent Treatment. She can't even sleep right until she finds out what (if anything) she did to that person.
Andrea Gallo DiLoreto September 16, 2012 at 08:15 PM
@DERRICK- Just a tad sexist... ;) not all women react that way. In my case, I couldn't care less. I just think it's unfortunate that something like this could potentially destroy a 24 year friendship. Nothing I can do about it until it's out in the open. Until then, one must move on, and not be overly consumed about someone else's problem.
Garry Crystal September 17, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Andrea, the silent torture I meant was if you were living with the person and there's no escape. I hope you get this sorted out - you probably will I think (hope) as 24 years means there is a lot of good stuff in the past that will hopefully outweigh this.
Andrea Gallo DiLoreto September 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Well, I live 8 hours a day with this person, as we are the only 2 in our office . However, we have a turn of events as of this morning. I am now being spoken to as if there is nothing wrong. She still refuses to tell me what I did, and to be honest, at this point, I don't think I ever did anything "to" her. Very strange....
Garry Crystal September 17, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Oh office politics are hard. But strange indeed, hopefully it's over with now. Some people can just take weird moods..
Andrea Gallo DiLoreto September 17, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I guess so....I am still puzzled, but decided to let it go. I don't think it's worth all of the prodding to find out why this was. However, the good thing about it was that it inspired me to write the above.
Garry Crystal September 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Well least you got an article out of it...unless she reads this and then you'll look back on that bout of silent treatment as the golden age...


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