Community Built Knowledge Base => Library: Psychology questions and answers => Topic started by: m_in_pain on January 19, 2008, 09:05:53 PM

Title: BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: m_in_pain on January 19, 2008, 09:05:53 PM
Excellent article here: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=70004.0

It's a recognized form of emotional abuse, not limited to BPD.  

Is also employed in workplace bullying situations.  I had a boss who did this.  Sort of backfired b/c it was sweet relief when he'd go weeks without hovering or putting on his pathetic fake-tan N-show and digging out stories of his second-league sports career in days gone by.  Eventually he'd come out of his silences and berate me for not having gone to him for counsel, b/c he could have imparted so much wisdom upon me.  He was convinced he'd punished me, even though the project was completely outside of his competence and his best employees fed him diluted partial information.  Plus, the production people liked me and were bumping other work to get my stuff finished on schedule.  At some point, the office staff who had to suck up to the boss quit talking to me.  So I lost admin support, but by then I was on my way out.  I didn't like the side of me that "blossomed" in that job.

In private situations, silent treatment is just torture.  My NPD stbxH did this, with festering self-righteousness and accusatory woundedness.  At some point, I told him that if he hung up on me again, he'd have the nastiest divorce in all of history.  That's the only thing that kept him from doing it again.  A grown man who prided himself on manners but felt entitled to hang up if a conversation got uncomfortable.  What a jerk.  I'm not supposed to be at the anger stage yet but I just envisioned shoving his head down in a flushing toilet bowl.  

THAT SAID - in some cases, silence isn't always "silent treatment" - it can also be a defense.  In my early teens, I went over a year w/o talking to my mother.  I'd burnt out - everything I said, she'd use against me somehow.  Even my gestures drove her nuts.  She often got my father to punish me for my "bad attitude," when I'd been pretty sure I'd been just washing the dishes or whatever.  After 4 or 5 months, my father started trying to demand I speak to my mother and tried to conduct conversations for her, which they both twisted royally - so I quit talking to him.  Just out of despair, not as aggression.  Both of my parents still occasionally mention this time as evidence of how much I hurt them for no reason.  

As I wrote that, I wondered again - am I the crazy, vindictive one?


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: leo2000 on January 25, 2008, 12:33:48 PM
"Silent treatment" - that was the first scientific definition I learned from my T.

I wouldn't quilify it as an "internal rage". It is a clear punishment for you.

For where I'm coming from (Europe) - silent treatment is an excommunication mechanizm. Say, you are a scientist and steal some Nobel Prize idea from another researcher. You would be ostracized by your peers. They will not shake a hand with you, will not say hello, would cross on another side of the street when they meet you.

It is a punishment for some pretty immoral or unethical behaviour.

That is how your BPD partner is thinking - you commited an unthinkable crime towards them, so it is justified in their view to give you the "silent treatment". It is a demonstrative action.

At first, my BPD wife would do it a week in a row, then go back to normal without saying a word. After a few cicles of this - she will write me a multipage letter, leaving it on the table, explaining what I did "wrong" over the last year, with false accusations, delusions etc. She just couldn't talk about it because it was so illogical and an absolute nonsence - so that the delusuion would be easily broken when faced with the facts. And they can't handle the truth. The "show" must go on!

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Baby Blue on February 16, 2008, 04:37:53 PM
My BPD boyfriend does the silence thing. We live 300 miles apart so its worse as he turns off his mobile or won't answer it if its on so I do worry. We talked about this and he says the same things that Chili says.  He doesn't deal very well with negative emotions, feelings of anger, feeling hurt or being sad as in general he is a 'glass is half full' person, so he retreats into himself as a 'coping strategy' He builds a wall around himself until the feelings go away. Being a BPD he knows that these feelings wont be there forever and they often go as quick as they come. When he is like this he often just goes to bed to sleep his 'dark mood' off. Perhaps I am exceptional in the fact that I understand this and 99.9% of the time I don't blame myself for causing him to "start the silent act" and I know it is his way of coping.  I read one of the articles on this website that stated the following:

"One way of looking at borderline personality disorder is to look at them as being a two year old trapped in an adult body. The throwing of tantrums, oppositional defiance, black and white thinking and so forth that are normal in a two year old are in the arrested personality of many with borderline traits"

We all know children sulk when they are hurt or angry and the silent treatment is the same sort of thing in our BPD partners and relations.  I think we just have to get out of the mind set that it is our fault and either except it as one of their behaviours or, as I try to do when the dark mood is over, sit and talk to my parner and explain how I feel and that he has to try and trust me more (as trust is a difficult thing for them) and express his own feelings. Remember also BPDs don't learn from their mistakes or the error of their ways in the same way us non-BPDs do. It seems to be working as he is becoming more open with me and does try not to give me the silent treatment as much.

You make it sound like BPDs are just control freaks and this is not the case as they often don't know they are   reacting in the way we see it; it is a defence mechanism for them, not a deliberate act.             

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: owdrs on February 19, 2008, 02:45:46 PM
Excellent article. We need to understand what is happening and the consequences. When there's no rage and verbal assault (or it's subsided temporarily) you may think it's OK, yet inside you know something's wrong. This silence article let's you know that it (abuse) can continue in all forms. Often I found the silence preceeded the rage; nice... .silence... .rage then nice again but only for a moment. I think many of us get into these relationships never thinking that someone can really be this bad, and that it will pass. Even in silence there can be damage. Thanks for the article.


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: discohornet on February 28, 2008, 09:49:26 AM
Is silence acceptable when one is trying to leave a toxic BP relationship with a BP?

If your silence is indicating that you are no longer interested in being in that relationship and was precluded with a "I'm sorry this isn't working, take care".

There is nothing wrong with being silent after you have disengaged... .unless yo are doing it to make them change and see things your way.

There were several times where my ex ignored me for days and I was completely disheveled. But what fried me out more was when she would comeback after a certain amount of time. I was always discombobulated by that. I mean, I thought she must have moved on, it's been days now, perhaps she's just found someone else or has decided I am a bad person for her or something. THAT I COULD DEAL WITH. If her silence was ever an attempt and breaking contact with me for good because she realized it was not in the interest of our emotional health to engage anymore I would have respected that beyond imagination.

But when she would reengage at some later date and just start back up like two weeks hadn't passed since I last spoke to her it made me absolutely sick to my stomach.

That is the difference. Silence is not bad when it's the conclusion of a well addressed goodbye. Then it is simple the next natural step. But when there is every intention of reengaging later so that the silence served to keep their partner in circles then that is abusive.

Baby Blue, I really appreciate your malignant optimism. We need someone like you on this board to continually present a radically different frame of mind. Thank you for your contributions. With that out of the way let me say that rarely do abusive people do it for any other reason than a defense mechanism. That does not make it any less abusive for the person who is being ignored. But as you clearly point out it is our own interpretation and reaction to that abuse that determines so much. If we choose to see it as abusive then that's what it will be but we can also see it differently and that can allow us to be there in a way that no one else has for this partner and that's a special thing.

I personally choose to see it as abusive. I don't care what the underlying motive is, if my partner cannot communicate with me in healthy manner or cannot at least own their reaction when they do act out in an unhealthy way then I will take steps to move on because my own emotional integrity is at stake. I was able, as you have been, to see past it, to reframe it in my mind, quite a few different times. She was amazed at my ability to continue loving her in spite of her abuse. But at some point she just walked off like I didn't matter one single bit and that's when I realized all this "optimism" on my part was delusion.

But that's just my experience, thank you for sharing yours.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: izzo on March 03, 2008, 10:34:59 AM
Excellent article,very powerful.I wish I could get my soon to be exWBPD to read it AND comprehend it.Won't happen I know,this article hits me right between the eyes as this has been her main method of torture.The whole mechanism is just crazy=she wouldn't talk about anything=problems,kids,money,hopes,dreams,plans and especially feelings!After a good week or two I would get sick of it and of course an argument would ensue(though not really an argument if only one person is arguing while the other sits there with a total blank expression)After sayin things in anger I was told I had an anger problem and I was the abusive one.I actualy went along with it,like everything else ,no more .Thanks again for even more clarity and peace of mind.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: united for now on March 06, 2008, 11:23:54 AM
I suppose it depends on what led up to the silence.

*If they have recently painted you black because you didn't fulfill their wishes/desires, then I agree that the silent treatment is punitive and definately a form of abuse. They are upset/angry with you, so they want to punish you by not speaking with you. To really rub the salt in, sometimes they will continue to maintain pleasant interactions with others to show you what you are missing.

*It could also be seen as a way to get sympathy, in a "feel sorry for me", kind of way. They won't tell you what is wrong, they will just act like a poor victim and expect you to jump and serve them. They enjoy the attention and will play the "poor me" card for all it's worth. It's manipulative and childish, because they aren't asking directly for support by explaining themselves, they are expecting us to be mind readers and magicians.

*Other times, it  could be depression rearing it's ugly head and they really don't feel the need to talk to anyone, much less you.

I had a cat that got his paw slammed in my car door. He limped around and I felt guilty, so I fed him extra treats. After a few days, I noticed that he would be running and playing until I brought food out, then he would limp up to me and hold his paw up, looking for sympathy and the extra food. I stopped feeding him treats and he quickly stopped playing the game with me. I know people aren't as easy as animals, but it is really knowing the reasons and the person that will help us deal with it in the proper fashion. Each one requires a different response from us.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: methinkso on March 10, 2008, 11:04:53 PM
Nothing says 'you don't exist' like the silent treatment. It is of the most destructive.

When I was 6 to 12 both my parents ignored me for months on end. In between those months, I would be belittled momentarily every blue moon except when momster would rage about me for hours often. The most common visual I have of my mother was with her back turned to me when I entered the house going to and arriving from school. Being sent away weekends without a word of explanation for years, etc.

I have read that being ignored is worse than any other abuse because it says you don't matter and "I don't care". Even verbal bashings are more validating that you ARE than being ignored.

This thread also reminds me of a post from long ago about the three types of mothers. One ~ I love you and show you I love you. Two ~ I hate you and admit I hate you. Three ~ I hate you but I pretend I love you. The third, three, being the most destructive because of the mixed messages.

And I, Mts, have known same age children who's mothers told them to their face they hated them and consistantly showed it. Those mother's didn't vacilate. Those children were more balanced then than I. I had a hateful, but denying mother. It screwed me up and I have struggled with the fallout for most of my adult life.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: noahetal on March 10, 2008, 11:16:38 PM
Joanne- I'm confused. My BPD is not silent... she's never silent! .I've been silent and withholding because when I tell her how I feel,what I need,etc... I'm met with the echo/interpution ( my w simply goes on about what she needs/how she feels) I thought,after reading eggshells, that I should only convey the necesary info to keep the family going and not "engage" in topics that wil start a fight( all topics start a fight) .

So... is it the BPDs that are silent or are we supposed to clam up when trying to de -emesh ? I'm confused... .NOah 

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: methinkso on March 10, 2008, 11:49:23 PM

Some BPD's will be silent for days on end. My mother would lie on the sofa for 3 days and some would think she was dead, but on other ocassions she would rage for days on end. When she did either, it was directed to the whole family. Her ignoring me, was only directed at me.

Of course when she raged, she was met with withdrawal from Dad and us children.

There is one intricacy here in your variation, that Dad or us children were not allowed to express needs, she had torn that assunder by the behavior you describe, which was ME ME ME, ad nauseam on her part, because nobody would ever have their needs known, let alone, met!

IMO, you were simply in another variation of the 'concrete' BPD behavior, which was quite a natural response on your part (to withdraw).

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: letitgo on March 11, 2008, 03:29:46 PM
MeThinkSo: Thanks for bringing up the 3 kind of mothers subject; never knew their was such a classification.  This morning I was telling my psychotherapist about what my mother said to me when I was 10yrs old.  My mother looked at me and said, " I hate you, but I love you because you're my daughter".  That moment, even though it was 37 yrs ago, is so so so vivid in my mind! She was so calm and collected, but the hate was seething through her pores.  My therapist couldn't believe it.  And, I'm wondering how her (my mother) angry, hatefulness and other behaviors have affected me now.

I suffer from an exceedingly low self-esteem.  My pattern, whenever anything is going great, I sabbatoge it all.  I know that this means I subconsciensly (sp?) don't think I'm worth good things.  So, how do I change this?  Any ideas, or experiences people can share that helped them with low self-esteem issues?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: agirl on April 02, 2008, 08:03:08 PM
I had read this article and bookmarked it. A year ago my ex walked out after 2 years of living together on me all the while spewing verbal abuse, and once he was gone, I have only gotten silence. He gave me no real reason before leaving and it was unexpected and sudden. I have even asked for more closure. I am starting to realize he was controlling and emotionally and verbally abusive the entire relationship. It is hard to break free of him mentally because I don't have a logical reason on what happened between us and I really loved him. It's cruel, and holds my heart hostage, and I'm trying so hard to break free of it.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: methinkso on July 06, 2008, 01:40:13 PM

Sorry I didn't see your post until now.

I wish I could site the book I read with the 'three' parents use/behavior of hatered. But I find it SO true. One friend of mine since high school (over 30 yrs) has a crass mother. Her mother hurts her at times but they speak their minds openly to each other. If the mother does not want the D's presence, mother will state "I won't go if YOU go", yet they are close. Her mother has always been there for her and D feel appropriate loyalty (not fog). In my own case, my mother was the type that feigned love, induced great guilt and expectations while hatred has always simmered underneath ~ threatening to surface at any moment. It's bullying at it's finest.

If I had a fantasy of us duking it out, I'd challenge her before our duel and say "Hate me, bhit. Get it out of your system so I can get on. Lay it out on the table so we can BOTH get some peace". But she'd never be woman enough to be real.

Sorry, I needed that right now. <smile>

I wish I had some really sound advice as to how to help with self esteem. I am not overly loaded with it, but even in school I had some good caring school mentors as teachers. I always felt my brothers had helped with that too. And I had a sophisticated neighbor woman next door (divorcee and independent). She was a very good mentor. LOL I could stop in her home at 16 yrs old and she'd offer me a highball. I know she KNEW my mother was abusive. And some of my peers mothers, and a few girl scout leaders too.

In high school, there was a local teen hang-out operated by an older couple. I became their pet and employed part time by them at times, would spend the night at their home, etc.

I think when we subject ourselves to healthy (or healthier) people, we just naturally gain in self confidance. And don't rule out plain ageing and experience. It helps ALL, those lacking in self esteem or not! And I think that chosing a variety of friends helps that also. As in don't just surround yourself with one type of person ~ seek out and enjoy all types possible.

I also think getting a little selfish with ourselve tells us we are worth it. Buy something you would not normally buy, get a makeover. Travel a route you don't usually travel. Get out in public and walk, and flirt, if you are not committed. And remember you are encountering like people at all times. There are MANY women (people) who suffer too right there among us. Just like here on this board. Were you made to feel 'alone' at times? You never really are.

It's so sad that people should even have had their egos damaged by another.    

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: letitgo on July 06, 2008, 11:27:30 PM
MeThinkSo: Thank you for responding! You're a very good writer, and you crack me up.

It's been a while since responding to this thread on Silence.  I read your latest comments, and I realize how far I've come!  I have done everything you've mentiioned! I've reunited with people in AA, and reach out to new AA'ers.  I have friends that aren't AAer's too.  I mix it up, and I'm really having a good time.  Also, since May 3rd began increase in running--endurance/long distance running, and keep a journal.  This all has built my self-esteem.

As for the silence which to me is a mixture of shame, self-loathing, anger, and fear, I do not miss that miserable negativity from my secretive exN/BPD or mother.  The fear I felt when I was around the silence literally made me nauseated because I was so scared.  It's difficult to see now why I lived that way with my ex for so long!  I go back and forth with missing/feeling sorry for her, and then, I can't stand her.


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: JoannaK on July 07, 2008, 06:07:52 PM
My BPD is not silent... she's never silent! .I've been silent and withholding because when I tell her how I feel,what I need,etc... I'm met with the echo/interpution

Some people withhold because they are depressed.  A person who is quiet because he/she is depressed is quiet towards everyone.  It's not aimed at a significant other, a specific child, whomever.  That's not silent treatment/silent raging/silent abuse.   Some people withhold because, as in Noah above, they are concerned that they won't be heard, they will be trashed, something like that.  So they say nothing.  That is usually not the silent treatment.  That is more akin to self-protection.

When my exh was silent raging, it was as if I did not exist to him.  He ignored me, even though he might have been friendly to everybody else.  If I asked him something he would mumble and I'd have to ask him again.  If he started complaining, ranting, and raging, it would feel better to me, because at least he was acknowledging that I existed. 

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: faux on July 08, 2008, 11:57:26 PM
IMO, you were simply in another variation of the 'concrete' BPD behavior, which was quite a natural response on your part (to withdraw).

Can we really have it both ways.  When a person with BPD does it , it's abusive - when we do it, we are not?

Some people withhold because they are depressed.  A person who is quiet because he/she is depressed is quiet towards everyone.  It's not aimed at a significant other, a specific child, whomever.  That's not silent treatment/silent raging/silent abuse.   Some people withhold because, as in Noah above, they are concerned that they won't be heard, they will be trashed, something like that.  So they say nothing. That is usually not the silent treatment.  That is more akin to self-protection.

People with BPD can be in this situation too, right?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: JoannaK on July 09, 2008, 01:11:29 PM
Check out our blog entry on this:


You may be familiar with that twisting, turning, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when your partner is again falling into "silent" mode. You may not know what you did that is causing her to ignore you... .Or perhaps you thought you just had a minor disagreement.

Now perhaps she is just angry, and you will be able to discuss the situation in an hour or two. But perhaps, in your relationship, he ignores you for days, weeks, or months... .all of the time barely looking at you, barely speaking to you. If you ask him what is wrong, he ignores you or tells you curtly that everything is "fine". But he is jolly, pleasant, even kind to others... to a waitress, to a coworker, to a child. Yes, he may be playing with your child, talking sweetly to him, while you, Mom, stand nearby and he barely looks at you. If you ask him something, his face is locked into a cold stare. His eyes are cold. There is no love, no affection anywhere in his face.

... .

You aren't alone with this form of abuse. Others have experienced it also. And they may be able to help you deal with it.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: mason on July 11, 2008, 02:42:07 PM
I have never seen my girlfriend rage.  She only "shuts down" and says nothing.  Sometimes this last for days then she calls me and acts likely nothing happened or was said.  She acts as if there were nothing to talk about.  One day she says she does not love me anymore, then calls my three days later and talks about biking.  How strange is that?

Is this typical borderline behavior?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: elphaba on July 11, 2008, 02:49:19 PM
Yes, it's very typical... .they shut down and it makes us be the ones who reach out to save them... .even if they were the ones who had done something wrong in the first place... .it is very controlling and manipulative.

And the pedulum swing of coming back like nothing ever happened is typical as well... .read around, you'll see the EXACT same stories repeated over and over... .only the names change.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: HeartOfaBuddha on May 17, 2009, 11:14:56 AM
What is the difference between "silent treatment (silent raging)" and someone just being quiet?

      Not sure if I can explain.  In the silent treatment she refuses to acknowledge my presence.  Keeps her back to me.  Does not speak - though she will reply to direct conversation.  But, she won't look at me.  So, I guess in quiet mode the speaks little but does look at me when she's talking to me. Every day if I come downstairs after she's working on the computer - she will not turn around and she will not say anything to me first.  However, when DD comes down - she does turn and speak.  She even turns and speaks to the dog if she runs in there.  She will almost never speak to me first - when I come home from work, when I come downstairs in the morning.

Why is the silent treatment abusive?  How did it make you feel?

It makes me feel off-balance.  I get tired of always being the one who has to initiate conversation.  So, now I often don't bother.  I don't speak to her.  But I don't know if that's right.  It make me feel like I am not welcome in my own home.  What's worse is DD has adopted this behavior becuase she spends so much time with uBPDp.They both act like I'm an unwelcome intrusion.  So, I usually go upstairs.  Sometimes I will go talk to DD when BPDp is not around.  Conversations with DD are never a problem unless BPD is nearby.

What is the best way to deal with the silent treatment?

That depends on what is meant by best.  What keeps me safest is to ignore right back and go about my business.  But, that doesn't make for a partnership or even a pleasant living arrangement.

Peace & Meta

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: onAmission on May 18, 2009, 09:55:54 AM
Great article - very informative. I never realized that the "silent treatment" was a form of verbal abuse, but it sure does make sense. The bullet points are right on the mark.

I see how my BPDh often uses this on me and now I understand that it is a form od abuse and control. It DOES make me feel horrible. I always say that when he is doing this, you can cut the tension in the air with a knife. It often makes me feel physically ill inside - knots in stomach. It is VERY stressful to deal with.

I know that I have been guilty of doing this before - usually in response to his initial "silent treatment" and done in anger. Since I have learned of his BPD and since I have learned tools to help me to "stop making it worse and start making it better", I now respond to his "silent treatments" (I call it pouting and sulking too) differently.

I now try to not take it personally by reminding myself that it is the illness that causes this to be a usual response in him. I also try to detatch from it and remain in a social mood and continue to interact with him and stay on a somewhat intimate level myself. This seems to make his silent treatment end sooner.

This article will help me to deal with the emotions I face when H does this. Thank you for posting it.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Auspicious on May 18, 2009, 12:52:01 PM
My personal experience with the silent treatment:

I used to receive it often throughout our marriage.  My BPDw would get angry about something I said or did, or didn't say or do, and would suddenly "need to lay down". She would stay in bed for hours ... .sometimes into the next day.

Before I knew anything about the illness, I would run after her (maybe after waiting as long as I could stand, which was like five minutes  ) and try to get her to talk. Though enough grovelling might bring her out of it - rarely - usually it just involved me abasing myself for nothing.

After learning about the illness, I decided to respond with "OK" or "OK, I'll talk to you later then" and just go about my business. As soon as I started doing that, this behavior extinguished pretty quickly. I can't remember the last time I received it; it's been months.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: elphaba on October 14, 2009, 08:50:13 AM
Adding this article to this important thread.

The Silent Treatment

By Dr. Margaret Paul

October 12, 2009


Do you use the silent treatment to control? Are you at the other end of someone who punishes you with the silent treatment?



Research indicates that children would rather be yelled at than ignored.

When prisoners are being punished, they are put in isolation, because being isolated is one of the harshest punishments there is - other than physical abuse.

The silent treatment is a form of punishment, a way to attempt to control children and partners into doing what you want them to do. It is a withdrawal of approval, and can cause much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

You are giving people the silent treatment when you shut down to them, closing your heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. You act as if they are invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response. Your hope in treating them this way is that they will get the message that they have displeased you. They have done something wrong in your eyes and deserve to be punished, deserve to have your "love" taken away.

Of course, what you are taking away is not love at all, since love is unconditional. What you are taking away is your approval, and for children and approval-dependent adults, it is a powerful form of control.

The Consequences

While it may seem to you to work for the moment, there are huge negative consequences following the silent treatment. Children feel unloved and unlovable, developing deep beliefs about their inadequacy. While they may comply to avoid your withdrawal of approval, inwardly they are likely to feel lonely and heartbroken - feelings that they can't handle - so they become angry and resistant to manage the feelings. Their anger and resistance may show up in others areas that cause problems for them and for you.

While your partner may scurry around to try to please you and get you to reconnect with him or her, the fact that you have so deeply disconnected creates feelings of heartache in your partner that may eventually lead to the end of the relationship. What seems to work for the moment may lead to exactly what you don’t want in the long run.

When Your Partner is Punishing you With the Silent Treatment

What goes on inside you when your partner shuts down to you?

•Do you tell yourself you must have done something wrong?

•Do you feel a sense of loneliness and heartache that feels unbearable?

•Do you feel alone and abandoned inside?

•Do you feel anxious and scared?

If you feel any of these, it is really because you are abandoning yourself and making your partner responsible for you. It is you doing this that is allowing the silent treatment to work to control you.

If you were taking loving care of yourself and taking 100% responsibility for your own feelings, here is what would be going on inside:

•You would be telling yourself: "My partner is choosing to punish me rather than take responsibility for his or her feelings. Whatever I may or may not have done that he or she doesn't like, I am not responsible for how he or she is dealing with it, and I have no control over him or her.

•You would be bringing love inside, letting yourself know that you are a good person and deserving of love.

•You would get out of range of your partner's energy - taking a walk, reading a book, calling a friend, or doing something else to make yourself happy.

•You would keep your own heart open, not going into anger or judgment toward your partner, so that when your partner decides to open again, there is no residue for you. You would not punish your partner for trying to punish you. You would just make sure that their punishment doesn't work for them.

•You would embrace your loneliness and heartache with deep compassion for yourself, sitting with these feelings for a few minutes and then releasing them to Spirit.

Eventually, when you are truly taking loving care of yourself, others will stop using the silent treatment, since it will no longer work for them

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: HeartOfaBuddha on October 28, 2009, 03:10:22 PM
That's a good article and helpful advice.  My particular situation now is that she just doen't talk to me or interact in any significant way.  She will make dinner - but make sure she and daughter eat before I get home.  She will stay in another room on her PC until I go upstairs - then she will move into the TV room where DD is. I can hear them talking.  But, if I come in the room she will start playing an electronic game and DD will chat on her laptop.

I am distinctly unwelcome unless we are having a day where she wants something from me.  That's the only time things are tolerable.  DD follows uBPDp's lead at all times. 

Unfortunately she does cyberschool and is home with uBPDp all the time. 

Peace & Metta

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: JoannaK on October 28, 2009, 03:16:16 PM
This is more than the silent treatment, Heart...    This is parental alienation.  She is alienating your child.  Why is she homeschooling your child?  Are there any decent educational alternatives in your area?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: HeartOfaBuddha on October 28, 2009, 03:32:05 PM
I know she is.  I don't know what to do about it.  She is also a legal parent.  As our couples counselor said - "of course you put the house in both your names, of course you agreed to a 2nd parent adoption.  You are the kind of person who takes the moral high road and does the right thing." 

Yes, I am (or I was).  At the time I agreed to all those things I didn't know any better.  And now - I have no idea what to do.  I see no way out.  Or - I see no way to get her out - which would be my preference.  I gain nothing by my leaving and I will lose what little I have.  Quite honestly I would be able to cope with the BPD issues now that I understand them. 

But, she doesn't have to relate to me - she has our daughter and her non-drinking, untreated alchoholic sister for convenient, controllable companionship.  All she needs from me is money.


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: briefcase on November 03, 2009, 05:05:51 PM
What goes on inside you when your partner shuts down to you?

•Do you tell yourself you must have done something wrong?

•Do you feel a sense of loneliness and heartache that feels unbearable?

•Do you feel alone and abandoned inside?

•Do you feel anxious and scared?

If you feel any of these, it is really because you are abandoning yourself and making your partner responsible for you. It is you doing this that is allowing the silent treatment to work to control you.

I thought this was the central point of the excellent article posted by elphaba. 

I think it's the emotional enmeshment between a non and a BPD that gives the silent treatment its frightening power.  We should be able to tolerate our partners feeling strong "negative" emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, etc.  When they act out abusively on those emotions by silently raging (or loudly raging, for that matter) we need to take steps to protect ourselves.

So what should we do when the silence actually starts? Here are a few choices, listed in order of least helpful to most helpful:

Response 1.0: Beg for It.  Here we enter an immediate "must fix it" mode.  Something's wrong and we can't wait for them to just let us have it already.   ?   If they would just talk to us, at least we can talk about something and find a way to restore peace ASAP.  We've probably all tried this once or a hundred times (at least I have). We follow them around as they continue to ignore us or make mono-syllabic responses.  Its hard to keep your self respect this way and it actually rewards their bad behavior.  Not recommended.

Response 1.1: Suck Up, Buttercup.  Still trying to fix things right away here.  Now we can find ourselves apologizing for "whatever I did." We want to give hugs and kisses and profess our love. We make promises to change, or promises to buy/do things, in an effort to bargain our way to peace.  "Hey babe, that second baby you've been wanting, well I've been thinking and guess what . . . ."  .  Again, we are rewarding their silent treatment through these behaviors.  Not recommended.

Response 2.0: The Cold (Shoulder) War.  We've been around the block and been burned enough times with our 1.0 responses to know better.  Now, we're frightened AND angry so two can play this game.  You want to ignore me and chat up the dog, well take this: "Here Fido!  That's a boy! Who do I love? Who do I love?  You! That's who! I LOVE you, Fido!"     It's hard to be sure, but I don't think Fido even buys this.  We're now playing games on their level and still trying to control them.  my-issues  Not recommended.

Response 2.1: F Bombs Away.  Hmmm, begging to talk, sucking up, a trying your hand at a little emotional blackmail didn't help?  Now, we're good and angry!  This is B.S. and has to stop so we let it rip.  We let them know how we really feel and boy did that feel GREAT, for a few minutes anyway.  We've given up the high road and become abusive ourselves.     Its not a pretty mess to clean up, enough said.  Not recommended.

Response 3.0: Suffer in Silence.  OK, we finally get it, we can't control them.  So no more begging, empty promises, manipulation, or power plays.  They want to be silent, that's fine by me.  Really, it's fine.  No, I mean it, I'm cool with being ignored.  See, I'm even reading a book.  No problemo.   :'(   Oh okay, this really hurts.  Here, we try to ignore their abusive silence, but it's killing us inside.  We're just outwardly pretending here but still absorbing the impact of the silent treatment because we haven't yet separated our emotional well-being from their feelings and emotions.  They're hurting and, therefore, so are we--as surely as 1 plus 1 equals 2.  We are just controlling our outward behavior better and not trying to control them.  Think purgatory, nobody wants to visit this place too long.

Response 4.0: No Trespassing.  Here we start communicating and enforcing boundaries.  Sure, what they are doing still hurts deeply, but we aren't passive or engaging in counterproductive actions anymore.  We verbally acknowledge what they are doing, let them know we don't find it acceptable, let them know how we feel, and then get distance (physical, temporal or emotional) to protect ourselves.  We go about our business as best we can and let them know we want to talk when they are ready. We're still enmeshed emotionally here, but taking some measure of control over ourselves and our actions.  We don't "enjoy" the silence here, but we can cope.   

Response 5.0:  Blessed Silence.  No matter what anyone says, I doubt anyone really every "enjoys" the silence of a silent rage, it is abusive behavior after all.  But, I think we can lovingly disengage enough that our day isn't completely ruined by it either.  After a while, with conscious effort and practice and good boundaries, we can unhitch the wagon of our feelings from the horse of their moods.   *)  Would you lose sleep tonight if I announced, without explanation, that I was no longer going to post on any of your threads anymore.  No?  Why not?  Because your emotions are not enmeshed with mine.   It may not make your day, but you clearly understand that I have issues, not you.  Believe it or not, you can actually get to a place similar to that with your partner, and still love them.  You accept that you can't control them, and you are separate enough to not be controlled by them. You can accept that they feel angry, sad, whatever, and not feel responsible.  We are detached emotionally, and enforcing our boundaries.  I think this is as good as it gets, short of them getting treatment and ending the emotional abuse altogether.   

I am sure there are other "versions" of each response, these are the ones that occurred to me, please feel free to add.


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: peter chu on November 04, 2009, 06:50:01 AM

Silent rage : per Schema Therapy, is called "detached protector mode (DPM)" that a BP is usually in pain & not to fight anymore as she / he may end up with a depression if the verbal fights/conflicts continue.

After a few days, a BP may come back talking again. Going into DPM is no fun at all as it is going to numb a BP, resulting a further deepening of emptiness.

So, just play it cool & wait. Don't ever feel annoyed or uncomfortable.

My wife can never pull this trick to me as I read the book - Schema Therapy.


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: survivorof2 on March 30, 2010, 06:59:39 PM
Eventually, when you are truly taking loving care of yourself, others will stop using the silent treatment, since it will no longer work for them

Okay. I don't agree with this statement. I liked the rest of the post and agreed with most of it, but my FOO and even my daughter REGULARLY practice the silent treatment towards me. My uBDPparents and enmeshed  my-issuesbitten sisters have used the silent treatment on me for 6 years now. My daughter uses it off and on. She called me for the first time in months recently and then towards the end of the phone call, she hung up on me and I am still puzzled as to why  Now I am once again getting the silent treatment. I go back and forth between just letting her completely alone and not trying to contact her and continuing to contact when I feel I can handle it. There is no "working through things" or her telling me why she is not speaking to me or responding to me. Soo frustrating. But this forum really really helps me... .reading about others experiencing similiar things.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: healinghome on March 31, 2010, 03:55:10 AM
Eventually, when you are truly taking loving care of yourself, others will stop using the silent treatment, since it will no longer work for them

sounds like a false hope to me,  if we change our behaviour... .they will change theirs.  it doesn't work like that from my experience.  all we control is ourselves.  just because we change, their is no guarentee that they will.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: united for now on April 29, 2010, 07:25:40 PM
The silent treatment works for them, since they "feel" justified in ignoring you and they believe it bothers you. When you take that control out of their hands and refuse to allow their behavior to spoil your happiness/plans/holidays/whatever, then you are regaining the ability to control your own emotions. They can see that you are living a happy life, continuing on with your normal activities, no longer chasing after them begging them to talk to you, cajoling them to join you in activities... .and THAT is what causes them to rethink their strategy of punishing you. As long as they believe their punishment is working, they will continue to punish you... .

Does that clear it up?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: ifsogirl26 on April 29, 2010, 07:51:57 PM
Years ago my husband gave me the silent treatment for one week. It was horrible and long before I learned about BPD. What I did once it was over was tell him that if he EVER used that tactic again I was leaving him.

It worked for me. My husband has shown that with firm boundaries he can change his behavior. He does what he can get away with. For some reason that silent treatment was something I would not accept again and made it clear that I would rather leave than him punish me with that. Later when I started to create more boundaries he accepted them too. I guess I always had more control over what is around me than I knew at the time.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Confused2011 on March 13, 2011, 11:24:45 PM
He always says "whats wrong with my being quiet, I'm not bothering anyone"!  It used to drive me crazy.  I spent days wondering what I did wrong.  Now I just enjoy my silent times but truth is, I'm the lonley one because it really doesn't matter to him. It will be my fault IF I could ever get him to talk about it. I try, but it isn't changing.  Silence is really deadly... .

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Vallejosis on April 07, 2011, 02:10:59 PM
I use withdrawl/evasive and to a certain extent the silent treatment with my BPDd I know we should communicate but when she has exteme rages I would rather walk away & not give her the satisfaction of knowing I am listening to the garbage coming out of her mouth. I am primary caregiver of her 3 small children so I cannot totally exert the silent treatment. I must converse with her about the children & the everyday care of them but other than that I only talk about those things & try not to socialize to the extreme I generally do when she is not in a rage. Am I wrong to do this? Is there a better way to not get entangled in her web? I think I am doing this to maintain some of my sanity. Any & all ideas will be appreciated. TY

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: magwitch on June 10, 2011, 03:36:27 PM
I am new here to the boards and have a question on the subject of Silent Treatment. After the last argument my possibly BPD wife had we didn't talk for 4 days. When I tried to talk to her that 4th night she went off on me again so we haven't talked again since. It has been almost 2 weeks since the first of the 2 arguments.

After reading the about the silent treatment, I am sensing that there is a thin line between the silent treatment and what I would describe as protecting myself. Since the 2nd argument, I have not gone out of my way to talk to my wife. When I saw my counselor on Tuesday I told him that my feeling right now reminds me of the old saying "How many times are you going to beat your head against that wall before you stop and say, That Hurt!" I am at that point, where I have beat my head against the wall, and get yelled at, cussed at, etc... and I really am very hesitant to even approach that wall again at the moment.

So I guess my question is, am I guilty of withholding at this point in an abusive manner? I have thought about it and I do not think I am. But if my current thinking is wrong, I would like to know so I can at least change myself.

Anyway, thanks for listening!

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: hard2bhopeful on June 20, 2011, 12:40:33 PM
The silent treatment makes me feel totally invalidated as a human and it affects all aspects of my life.  To be treated like this by the child that I love to no end is the most hurtful thing I have ever experienced.

It needs to be recognized as abuse... .it took me a long time to do that!


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: spiralthorns on August 19, 2011, 10:15:05 PM
What is the difference between "silent treatment (silent raging)" and someone just being quiet?

There's a huge difference.  Being quiet usually means that the person has a healthy reason why conversation is not desirable at the moment.  If you interrupt them or ask for something, they will politely (and calmly) let you know that they are busy.  Most of the time, they'll also let you know when they will become available again.  When someone is giving you the silent treatment, you can tell they are angry and upset.  You are on edge, but when you try to talk to them in order to rectify the situation, they become angry and even more withdrawn.  All you know is that they are upset, but you have no idea why or when it might stop.

Why is the silent treatment abusive?  How did it make you feel?

Silent treatment is abusive because it forces you to live your life on that person's schedule.  When they aren't telling you what's wrong, it's almost worse than dealing with a nonstop flood of criticism.  I remember one night, my girlfriend hadn't slept in bed with me for two nights in a row.  I asked her what was wrong, and she condescended me and snapped at me before continuing her silence.  The tone of her voice made it sound like I was obviously on thin ice, obviously a worthless piece of filth, and I should be so grateful that she was bothering to stay with me that I shouldn't even dare offend her with a question.  It made me feel like less than dirt, like I didn't deserve basic human respect.  It wasn't that I didn't want to give her a choice about where she slept, but if she was going out of her way to avoid sleeping in my bed, I wanted to know why and if I could do anything about it.  Not knowing made me feel powerless and honestly quite resentful.  I didn't know what to do and it felt like my needs, feelings, and concerns didn't matter at all.  I hated having to worry about hers when mine didn't matter, and then that made me feel guilty and uncaring.  It was a never ending cycle.   

What is the best way to deal with the silent treatment?

Honestly, the only way to deal with bullying behavior (to me) seems to be refusing to engage with it.  Don't play into it.  Don't let it work.  If you are stable enough to set boundaries and not accept the behavior, that can work.  If you are not, you probably should not be in a relationship with someone who engages in such behaviors.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: mitti on October 25, 2011, 12:43:46 PM
Trying to understand what motivates and perpetuates silent treatment. What is the reward they are getting from doing it? What reaction are they expecting/hoping for from us?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: jdtm on October 25, 2011, 02:32:22 PM
What is the reward they are getting from doing it?

I'm really guessing on this one.  I'm wondering if it could be one of two things - either they hope for a major apology from us and we acknowledge that it was/is our fault and we are "so sorry and it won't happen again" proving our love and loyalty; or they know they have been very wrong and hurtful and by not seeing, speaking or acknowledging us, they can "pretend" their actions/words did not occur (this lets the BPD off the hook).

Of course we're talking about abandonment - the thing a BPD fears the most and yet often instigates.  Makes no sense but then again I say "you can't reason with someone who cannot reason".  Any other ideas out there?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: GreenMango on June 03, 2012, 01:41:51 AM
Unfortunately the silent treatment isn't a behavior reserved to people with BPD only.  It can be exhibited in a variety of mental illnesses from severe to run of the mill poor coping/communication skills.

The silent treatment, if it isn't a situation where a person needs a break to get their emotions under control and to think, can be very destructive to relationships.  It's punitive and hurtful.

It's a form of ostracism, bullying, and a social injury.  Psychological studies ostracizing can cause cognition deficits and emotional regulation problems.  So basically, when someone gives us the cold shoulder it messes with our thinking and emotions.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: zacc on June 11, 2012, 09:59:43 AM
I am still confused about this... .

During initial period of marriage, we used to have fights over trivial issues and I used to become crazy while explaining my exBPDw that I am not hurting her. After initial fights I became short tempered and started getting annoyed over minor issues. To make her realize my point of view I became silent and she used come to me to say sorry or try to seduce me... .was that a silent treatment from me or just a reaction?

But when she used to stop talking to me ... .she never showed others that she is really angry because she used to talk to every other person very happily to make me more angry.

Then we had long distance relationship and generally she used to call me after finishing her work. We had huge fight over not giving enough time to me but she never bothered to listened to my feelings by saying that you are very needy. So whenever she did not call me I generally did not try to call her assuming that she does not want to talk me. But, After some days she used to accuse me that I was giving her silent treatment (If she did not call me then I should have called her... .her argument)

   After our deciding fight, she again started the silent treatment by not talking to me or giving me monosyllabic answers to show me that she does not care about me and she does not need me. Once I understood her traits (she had other traits also... .lying, accusing, projecting etc), I started keeping no contact... but hoping she will understand that she has hurt me... .Is no contact is silent treatment?

Who was really giving silent treatment?  I am just getting out of the relationship with my BPD wife (hinted by psychiatrist) , sometimes I feel that I have BPD and not her... .so was I giving her silent treatment to hurt her... .or is this other way round?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: ForeverDad on June 11, 2012, 12:54:29 PM
Consider the 'why'... .why it is done.  If the silent treatment was done to punish, retaliate, control, hurt, or create continuing chaos to keep the other off balance and sabotage the other's reasonable boundaries, then whoever did that went too far.  On the other hand, sometimes the silent treatment is to withdraw, shut down, not the best coping solution.

Generally it isn't 100% vs 0%, it's somewhere in between.  Likely, yours was more of the withdrawing rather than punishing sort, often the acting-out disordered persons are more the punishing or controlling sort.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: warhar on July 05, 2012, 06:09:24 PM
whoa, now I'm confused because I've been using the silent treatment to disengage when my BPD goes off the rails. Shouting at her doesn't help - it only leads to more shouting, reasoning doesn't work because its just too logical, explanations seem like apologies.

As for not sharing ideas, hopes and ambitions - I learned long ago that if I share an ambition, dream or whatever I'm giving her the go-ahead to start a campaign to carefully hinder and dismantle that project - and I've given up on some really good (business) ideas due to being convinced that they would never work (and now see same ideas being successfully implemented at half my capacity).

I always thought that silence was an effective tool for restoring the peace on a win-win basis - now I'm told that its manipulative?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: GreenMango on July 05, 2012, 07:12:13 PM
I'm noticing a lot of misunderstandings about the Silent Treatment and the difference between a boundary of not communicating when someone is being abusive or taking a time out and the Silent Treatment.

If you are concerned about the difference it may be a good idea to look at your motivations in this instance.

If you value open respectful communication and the boundary to this is that you will take yourself out of a situation where the communication has broken down to the point of conflict or abuse this is a value/boundary not the silent treatment.  Communicating that you are happy to have the conversation when it is respectful of each other and open to revisiting it then is "good communication" and mature interpersonal relationship skills.

My experience was the silent treatment was a passive aggressive, or "covertly aggressive", way to punish another, to communicate dissatisfaction, or to leverage getting your way by not communicating (essentially deprivation) thus thrusting the dynamic into a non-verbal power struggle over of who caves first, or a win-lose.  This is really dysfunctional for any relationship and very immature.  

This isn't to say we as partners or ex-partners have not engaged or stooped to this level in dysfunctional dance to lash out or to express our hurt.  Who would we be if we didn't look at our own behavior too?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: GreenMango on July 07, 2012, 11:27:45 PM
It sounds like Warhar that you are using silence as a disengaging tool across the board to reduce conflict.  This isn't a judgment, when our partners are heavily triggered and we are regularly in a conflict cycle it can feel like walking on eggshells all the time.  It seems important, from your post, that you've become accustomed to keeping yourself quiet in order to not rock the boat in everyday situations thus silencing yourself unduly.

Learning the tools of SET and validation to communicate can definitely help you to express your needs and when silence (as acute conflict reduction aka taking a time out) is best.

This would be a great topic to explore on the staying board.

Hope you are doing better,


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: honeybadger on September 12, 2013, 10:52:31 AM
What do you think the best response is to the silent treatment, doled out as punishment/control tactic?

I'm getting the silent treatment now-well, not exactly silent but greatly reduced contact -- I think as a form pf "punishment" bc I actually stood up for myself in a recent arguments. My uBPD bf knows I like some form of daily contact esp a phone call.

This makes me chuckle. I'm trying to get my power back so maybe I need to change the way I look at it. It's not going to work as "punishment" if I see it for what it really is – acting out. Thoughts?

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: CPWUSAF33 on January 22, 2014, 07:08:58 PM
Please help me to understand... . I am new to this forum and the first response in this section reads as follows:

"Verbal abuse, in general, is a means of maintaining control and Power Over. Verbal abuse is a violation, not a conflict. In describing verbal abuse it is a boundary violation, it is an intrusion upon another, or disregard of another in a relentless pursuit of Power Over, superiority and dominance by covert or overt means.

Silence a.k.a. Withholding is the most damaging and hurtful form of verbal abuse. One might think that in order for the behavior to be considered verbal abusive words need to be spoken. This misunderstanding of verbal abuse adds to the recipient’s confusion within the relationship. The recipient of silence/withholding may believe the relationship is functional because the abuser may communicate functional information, but refuses—through silence/ withholding (non-responsive)—to communicate on an intimate level.

There needs to be more than an exchange of information. Healthy relationships require intimacy. Intimacy requires empathy. To hear and be heard and to understand another’s feelings and experiences is empathetic comprehension.

Simply stated, silence/withholding is a choice to keep virtually all one’s thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams to oneself and to remain silent and aloof toward another, to reveal as little as possible, and to maintain an attitude of cool indifference, control and Power Over.

The consequences of any form of verbal abuse may vary in intensity, depth and breadth. However the outcome of any form of verbal abuse impacts the receiver’s self-perception, emotional well-being and spiritual vitality. Verbal abuse takes the joy and vitality out of life through the distortions of reality, because the abuser’s response does not coincide with the sender’s communication."

Okay, I totally understand that; HOWEVER, please help me.  My wife is suffering from BPD!  As a result, she goes into fits of anger that is far beyond most people's wildest imagination.  I, in-turn, do not know how to respond.  I do not intentionally give her the "silent treatment"; however, I have learned that ANYTHING I say, no matter how calm and respectful, makes matters worse.  In effect, even though I am not the one suffering from BPD, I have verbally abused my wife by saying NOTHING!  Wow!  Now I'm really confused... .   When I try to share my most intimate faults with my BPD wife, she most often goes into one of her fits of rage.  As a result, I keep my most intimate thoughts to myself.  NOT EVERYTHING; but, most... .   So, how do I reconcile verbally abusing my BPD wife by shying away from intimate communication... .   I have tried to share my most personal thoughts with my BPD spouse; but, it usually sets her off into verbally abusing me.  It seems to me that I am in a "Catch-22" situation.

I would value your response... . Believe me I AM LISTENING--I desire help.  I am at the end of my rope and no longer wish to live like I am with a BPD wife.  I promised her and God that I would stay with her for better or worse and in sickness an in health; but, I will tell you, I would rather be dead right now, than to continue living like this.  I would truly value your advice.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: bb12 on January 22, 2014, 07:26:51 PM
Big difference between passive aggressive silent treatment and the self-preservation that is behind LC / NC (limited contact / no contact)

Don't beat yourself up. You are not the abuser.

Withdrawal to regroup or recover is completely ok - indeed mandatory if committed to staying.


Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: plumlee on August 31, 2014, 06:50:48 PM
My wife told me that her disengagement and silence was for my own protection. They were preceeded by rage so perhaps it was true.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Louise7777 on August 31, 2014, 09:48:43 PM
Unbeliavable to see how many people have been subjected to silent treatment!

I was too, for years, until I realized what it was and called his bluff. Hes not BPD, though (uPAPD). When he decided to resume contact (after punishing me for months) I simply laughed and told him I knew what it was about: control. He denied, of course. But I stated that if he tried that again, he should never contact me again. It has worked, so far. But my communication level changed, I dont contact him in any way. Old habits die hard so I established boundaries to avoid being hurt. Im aware that given the opportunity, he will find ways to withold whatever he sees I want/ need and give me the ST again.

What worked for me was to put the focus on me (when given ST, I used to apologize) and stay away. He felt he was not so important, I really didnt care so he stopped it, it wasnt paying off anymore.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Pingo on December 15, 2014, 11:52:46 PM
Good article.  I suffered the ST from my mother growing up.  One time when I was a teenager she gave me the ST for months because I quit band practise!  I spent a lot of my teenage years very alone and very angry.  I've spent the last 4 yrs with a man who would give me days-long ST for various reasons, none of which I could predict.  I'd say the wrong thing, cook the wrong thing, talk to the wrong person, drive the wrong way... .It's been 6 mths since our BU and 5 yrs since I've seen/spoken to my mother.  Seems to be the ultimate solution to dealing with this kind of abuse.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: AnnaK on January 08, 2015, 06:39:34 AM
Yes, it's hard. But this seems to be not so much silent treatment as it is avoidant behaviour.

I saw my uBPDbf disappear when he did not have a winning case.

This magic disappearing could happen under any excuse - busy, sick, drunk, sleeping odd hours, just "You hurt my best feelings, I can't talk to you!" etc. etc.

It took me some time to figure out that all he is doing is avoiding conflict, embarrassment or giving explanations for his past behaviour

It's completely childish and can be brought to extremes where it is harmful for him. It's almost like "if I hide under the table, they will forget about me and I won't have to take a shower!"

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: Linda Maria on January 08, 2015, 11:46:07 AM
Hi AnnaK - you make a good point.  Yes - I think it is clearly avoidant behaviour, avoiding facing up to things, even when not responding causes problems for her as well as others, causes increased costs etc.   She avoids dealing with anything important, but wastes loads of peoples' time with complete trivialities, making unnecessary work for people etc.  It's really tiring!    Difficult to know if she thinks she's being clever, is just malicious, or really doesn't understand the impact of what she'd doing, particularly when it just delays things, and puts things at risk and creates more cost for everyone.  I will never understand how she doesn't feel embarrassed when she says and does some of the things - so much of it is clearly spiteful, weird and nasty, but just sounds so mad, and is completely irrelevant to whatever it was she was asked to do in the first place!  Oh well - onwards and upwards!

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: CookieMom on March 11, 2015, 10:37:45 AM
There are times when I am silent and uncommunicative with my 18D with BPD. I only choose this route if she is calling me terrible names, trying to argue, insulting me, or engaging in some other type of aggressive communication. I either stop talking or say something like, "I really don't feel much like talking anymore", or "You know, I don't like the way this conversation is going, so I'm going to be quiet now". There are 2 reasons for this. First, if I am in an environment where I cannot remove myself (ex. the car), it helps me restore my calm so that I don't say anything I will regret later and/or cause things to escalate between us. Secondly, it helps me stay true to my inner values…I will not participate in a conversation where I am being attacked, nor will I allow myself to become so upset that I begin to retaliate against her. Sometimes, silence is my best option. It gives me time to think and allows both of us time to cool off. So, for better or for worse, I guess that makes me the one who gives the silent treatment.

Title: BPD BEHAVIORS: Silent treatment
Post by: jazzelle on May 22, 2016, 07:56:12 PM
my mum did this often when I was a child. I could feel her rage. I never knew why.