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Think About It... Whenever we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are unconsciously choosing to react as victim. This inevitably creates feelings of anger, fear, guilt or inadequacy and leaves us feeling betrayed, or taken advantage of by others.~ Lynne Forrest
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Author Topic: Correct response to the end of Silent Treatment  (Read 3293 times)
Aaargh
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« on: April 28, 2011, 05:36:49 AM »


I am currently being silently treated, complete with sleeping on separate beds. This has now gone on for close to 2 weeks, which is long even by the standards of my undiagnosed wife. I am quite hopeful that this will end soon. I have seen some positive signs, (e.g. responding to hello). Normally I would initiatie a conversation at this point whic would involve me apologising, but I am sure that just re-inforces the behaviour.

What do folks suggest is the correct behaviour at this point. My options are:

1 - Wait for w to initiate conversation. I might be waiting a few more weeks. Part of me thinks this would be giving into anger.

2 - Initiate conversation and hug her - validating her feelings etc. Worried that this doesn't link her behaviour to any consequences, and doesn't acknowledge the hurt that I have gone through over these weeks.

3 - talk to her about how I felt over the last couple of weeks. Get ready for anther two weeks of Silent treatment.


Thoughts and advice much appreciated ?

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I am new here and have just discovered BPD - posted an intro on http://BPDfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=144699.0
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Steph
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 07:24:55 AM »

 Welcome! I am glad you found your way here.

The best way we have found to deal with the Silent Treatment is none of the above.

What we suggest is to live your life..do what you enjoy, go to work, see friends, movies, work out, go to the dentist, etc...in other words, be good to yourself and dont engage in the silent treatment at all. Be polite to her, kind, etc, but let it be HER thing, not yours. If shes silent, then she is..it wont stop you from your life. Dont engage it.

  Be sure to start to read the lessons, to your right. This is a great place to get the groundwork in place and begin to understand BPD>

What is it that causes you to believe your wife has BPD?


Steph
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Annaleigh
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 07:36:41 AM »

My H didn't rage at me for the most part, silent treatment was his preferred method of punishment.  With rages, you walk away and refuse to engage.  Turns out that is the best response to the silent treatment.  Go about your business and refuse to engage.  Go to the gym, go for a drive, read a good book, go for a walk, watch a movie, meet up with friends, take care of yourself and leave them to their tantrum.  Doing the right thing

Oh, and Welcome!  Glad you found us and sorry you are dealing with this.  Empathy
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Aaargh
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 07:54:08 PM »


Maybe I didnt ask the question clearly, it was about what to do when you are getting clear signals that the silent treatment is ending.

I understand now that feeling sorry for yourself this whole period and allowing yourself to be punished is not a good idea. (Why I didn't figure this out over the 7 years now seems like such a waste)

But what to do when the silent treatment ends, e.g. wife joined me for breakfast this morning and started talking normally, as if nothing had happened over the past two weeks.

Do I also pretend that nothing happened? This seems counter intuitive. I also worry that when I try to set a boundary, there will be a denial that there ever was this silent treatment.

Or do I point out that what she was doing wasn't lost on me. This carries the risk that she will see that her punishment of was having an effect and may re-inforce the behaviour.

Which of the two evils is lesser ?
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Steph
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 08:23:26 PM »


Maybe I didnt ask the question clearly, it was about what to do when you are getting clear signals that the silent treatment is ending.

I understand now that feeling sorry for yourself this whole period and allowing yourself to be punished is not a good idea. (Why I didn't figure this out over the 7 years now seems like such a waste)

But what to do when the silent treatment ends, e.g. wife joined me for breakfast this morning and started talking normally, as if nothing had happened over the past two weeks.

Do I also pretend that nothing happened? This seems counter intuitive. I also worry that when I try to set a boundary, there will be a denial that there ever was this silent treatment.

Or do I point out that what she was doing wasn't lost on me. This carries the risk that she will see that her punishment of was having an effect and may re-inforce the behaviour.

Which of the two evils is lesser ?

 I would advise simply going about your life. The less it impacts you, the less interest she will have in using it again, against you. Have fun when shes quiet...at least there isnt rging,. ya? Live your life and let her have her " hold my breath until I turn blue" moment. Dont give it attention, before, during, or after..and get busy so that it wont impact you.

Keep in mind, what you have done in the past hasnt worked, has it? So..pretend shes 4 and pouting..and go on with your life.

Steph
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jardin
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 11:44:55 PM »


Maybe I didnt ask the question clearly, it was about what to do when you are getting clear signals that the silent treatment is ending.

I understand now that feeling sorry for yourself this whole period and allowing yourself to be punished is not a good idea. (Why I didn't figure this out over the 7 years now seems like such a waste)

But what to do when the silent treatment ends, e.g. wife joined me for breakfast this morning and started talking normally, as if nothing had happened over the past two weeks.

Do I also pretend that nothing happened? This seems counter intuitive. I also worry that when I try to set a boundary, there will be a denial that there ever was this silent treatment.

Or do I point out that what she was doing wasn't lost on me. This carries the risk that she will see that her punishment of was having an effect and may re-inforce the behaviour.

Which of the two evils is lesser ?

Can you find a middle ground between these two perspectives?  Right now, she is coming down, stabilizing.  By forcing a conversation or imposing your feelings on her, you weaken the foundation that she is slowly working to re-build.  If she's not ready for the conversation, almost anything you say will be invalidating and she very well may respond with more anger...or more silence. 

On the other hand, at some point, it very well may be appropriate to address this behavior.  After time, and when things get back to some level of calm, it may be completely ok to say to her...you know, I'd like to talk about something...I care about your feelings and I know sometimes you get very upset and need some time to yourself; when those times happen, I am ok, but I still need you to at least be responsive to conversations about (kids, home, work, etc). 

At the right time and place, she can be receptive to this.  It doesn't mean that she won't get upset at some level, but she will be better able to hear it.  As long as you stay calm and don't defend your need, things may generally remain ok.  In contrast, at this time, she may be very quick to defense, very on guard.  Hearing you may be very hard and what's the point in talking if the recipient isn't there to hear.  So, the question is, can you let this sit until the right time?  Until you regain some closeness and calm?  That is not walking on eggshells, it's being smart and it's accepting and respecting the constraints of the relationship. 
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Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have.  It is the very last inch of us.  And within that inch, we are free. - Valerie's Letter


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