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Author Topic: FAQ: Difference between no contact and silent treatment?  (Read 6879 times)
Hebrews12

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« on: May 26, 2016, 05:30:52 AM »

What is the difference between silent treatment and no contact? 

I have had to withdraw from my BPDD after prolonged rages and meltdowns directed at me.  My withdrawal is complete, no contact.  I have done this after making clear to her that I am going to go away now because I need my space while I figure things out.

She sees this as abandonment and abuse and calls it passive aggressive behavior on my part. She hates it, but that is not why I do it.

I call it self-protection. I would be willing to own it as "avoidant" behavior, but not passive aggressive.  Not when I have attempted to communicate my feelings, think I am stating them clearly, and not only does she ignore them, she claims she doesn't understand what I am saying (she has a master's degree but she can't understand the sentences coming out of my mouth- ) and then throws more accusations at me while I am explaining that I am bleeding here and how it happened. 

So, to me, the no contact/silent treatment is emotional recovery time.  And it takes as long as it takes.  Am I wrong?
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ForeverDad
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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2016, 07:59:18 AM »

What you have done is therapeutic, not manipulation, retaliation, glowering or angry stomping of feet.  Although unhealthy passive aggressive may appear similar on the surface, your reasons for pulling back are entirely different and healthy.

Oh, and this is probably also distorted/biased perceptions and Blaming or Blame Shifting.
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rendezvous04

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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 05:56:58 PM »

     I so agree that the silent treatment hurts more then the abusive rages I have experienced. I know that he is acting out because of past failed relationships. We talked at length about his last ex and now he has said I've taken her place and am so much worse. Not at all true. It definitely is a coping mechanism. It has been 2 weeks since he texted me and still holds resentment toward me for being a cheater.( All in his mind) I know things will get better. Just need to tell myself it's OK to feel down once in awhile. The anger is a different thing! The saying " What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" applies here.
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daisydragonfly

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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2016, 08:35:11 PM »

Ok.  What do you do about a BPD hubby who habitually employs the silent treatment defence?  I want to keep my marriage intact, we have children.  I want my husband to know this is unacceptable (I have told him numerous times and tried to speak about it's effect on me and ask him his reasons for doing it) and I want to model a different way for my children to communicate.  Anyone know how to do this without throwing an ultimatum at him? 
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Naughty Nibbler
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2016, 09:02:50 PM »

daisydragonfly:

Did you go through all 13 pages?  Just mentioning it, because I've missed the extra pages on an article before.  There is some more info. at the link below:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=70004.0

Growing up, my Dad used to practice the "silent treatment".  One problem is that children can think that this is normal behavior and later subject their SO to it.

I don't think there is a standard approach to get your husband to stop.  I read recently where someone just went on talking to their spouse, went about their business, asked the spouse to join them in going somewhere, etc.  They went on with business as usual until the SO/spouse stopped the behavior.


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daisydragonfly

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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2016, 09:30:08 PM »

Thank you Naughty Nibbler, No I didn't read the rest of the post till just now.  Still new... .  Lots of helpful things  - some I've tried with various degrees of success.  It's hard to ignore something that hurts so much.  I find myself the last couple of weeks just giving him the silent treatment.  Not because I'm necessarily angry about anything - just because I have no energy left to try and tiptoe around to figure out what kind of day it's going to be.  There are more silent days than not so I'm just defaulting to that.  Sad.
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Torched
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 09:18:00 PM »

I'm curious.  My exBPDw used this tactic constantly and extremely effectively.  It made me feel so humiliated, low, and cowed.  It usually preceded and followed a dysregulation, but her emotional dysregulations were fairly rare.  Its almost like this behavior was the constant.  It made me feel so stressed out, she knew it, but she would lay it on even thicker.  It was the hallmark of my toxic relationship with her for 18 years.  It destroyed me as a person.

Is this a hallmark of BPD or is it a tool used knowingly by really bad people?  Or both?  My ex was never diagnosed with BPD but showed all the signs.  In some ways I feel she would appear to be a better person if she actually had an uncontrollable personality disorder instead of just being an absolute witch.
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pallavirajsinghani
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 09:38:17 PM »

I have slightly different perspective on the issue of "cold shouldering" and "silent treatment".  This perspective is based on personal experiences which I am projecting on to the BPD sufferer.

My husband and I battled with infertility issues for 5 years.   Repeated miscarriages with and without IVF treatments left me on the verge of a full fledged clinical breakdown.  There were a few times when I felt that I almost had psychotic breaks from reality.  I would see the walls bulging at odd places and thought water was getting into them and the roof was going to fall on our heads.  Since my husband was suffering in his own way, rightly or wrongly... .perhaps out of guilt I kept all the miscarriages and the resulting effect on my mind to myself.

During certain periods, I would not talk to him, not even look at him despite his continual attempts at engagement.  My grief and isolation was so extreme that I felt like a hot live wire that should not be touched.  I am sure he felt insulted, invalidated and that I was being hostile.

Truth is that the "silent treatment" and "cold shouldering" was my way of putting the pieces of my mind back together again.  It was an internal process.  It was NOT hostility to him at all, nor neglect of him.  It was as though my mind needed this space to mend itself.

From this personal experience, I believe "silent treatments" to be actually an internally healing period.  I think that the BPD sufferer should be given loving space to let him/her bring mind back together to a better place.

As a post script:  We have two lovely adopted children... .and we could really not have better children. They are healthy, beautiful, loving... .our cup of happiness runneth over... .

Hope this helps.
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Torched
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 11:05:36 PM »

It doesn't sound like your cold shouldering was done with intent or malice.  What I experienced involved intention and extreme malice as well as very obvious body language and facial expressions of contempt.
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valet
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2017, 02:10:01 AM »

It's been a while since I thought about this, but here's my take.

The cold-shouldering and silent treatment that I got from my ex was the main source of my anxiety within the relationship, and also the thing that caused the most lasting damage to me (I still deal with it today, and sometimes cope by shutting down or over-appeasing when confronted with conflict). To frame the first half of my relationship for you, there was constant communication. My ex and I were open and saw each other all of the time. We basically lived together for the first year, then actually did for another, and even went so far as to move to a foreign country with each other.

When things started to mysteriously go wrong... .it really made me question myself. Thus began the internal cycle of wondering if I was good enough, if I was doing enough, or what I could have been doing wrong. Eventually in my own confusion I internalized this so much that there wasn't much of a light at the end of the tunnel. I wasn't even thinking about myself, only about the relationship and what I needed to do to save it, through appeasement and self-sacrifice.

Like pallavirajsinghani, I did a metric ton of projecting then. But it was more due to my inability to see possibilities for my life outside of the relationship. The relationship was it for me. That said, I'm a lot different right now, and I'm glad that I had the support necessary to learn from such experiences.

The skinny is this: your ex got anxious and didn't see a solution to ease their feelings, so they shut down—it was just an unproductive coping style. In reality it probably had very little to do with you and more to do with their inability to manage internal conflict and communicate their feelings while being open to productive solutions. It is not about personality disorders per se, just understanding that the behavior was driven by circumstances beyond your control.

Hope that helps.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2017, 08:35:37 PM »

Toward the end of my marriage my then-spouse would refuse to talk and snubbed me while stalking around the house fuming in rage.  So I tend to agree that while some "silent treatment" can be recuperative and a way to process some bad times, it can also be used negatively to extend a 'mad' as a type of blaming and punishment.  So I'd agree with Torched that a close look can determine whether it is with — or without — malicious intent.

It doesn't sound like your cold shouldering was done with intent or malice.  What I experienced involved intention and extreme malice as well as very obvious body language and facial expressions of contempt.
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beady

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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 01:29:53 PM »

I believe, like many behaviors, silent treatment needs to be seen in context of the situation. It can be both a defense mechanism and emotional abuse.
I tend to retreat into silent mechanism mode when it feels as though anything I say will be taken the wrong way, twisted and used against me, by my uDD. She is the master at taking sentences out of context and re-interpreting them to suit her own view of a situation. And then it becomes 'there, you said this and it proves my point, therefore it must be so'. And e-mailing is the only mode of communication she will use, so it becomes very difficult.
On the other hand, she goes silent to deprive me of any type of relationship with her. She only e-mails me when she wants to goad me into responding to her, and thus the cycle continues. You'd think I'd have learned by now, but hope runs eternal.
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oinoxn
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 11:10:15 AM »

As a non BPD I am the one that has become silent because anything I say results in being yelled at, called an A hole, F head, idiot, etc.  There are also things said about my deceased father and my daughter. During this episode I have found that when I don't respond or communicate there is a lot more peace and quiet.  I feel I am not communicating as punishment or control but for self survival.
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Flippy
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2018, 12:00:34 AM »

When the person with BPD rages at you and will not stop texting and harassing, there isa time when you cannot reply.  My therapist advises me to not respond when the BPD does this because when I respond, there is another onslaught of messages after that.
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Drs204

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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2018, 09:57:58 PM »

My xgfBPD would do that. What was normal was 150-200 texts per day. Then suddenly like flipping a  switch it would be 15-20 the next day. Pretty much silence. This could go on for a couple weeks; and I would not see her. (she has two kids and I would go over to her place most of the time when she said to come over). I was thinking we were through or something. Then suddenly the next day would be normal again with no explanation. Then she would gaslight me and aske "Not talking?".

Towards the end of our relationship she did this too. Would not initiate convos or anything. Finally one day more or less out of the blue after ignoring my good morning how are you text said "we should go our separate ways. With the new job and kids I don't have time for a relationship. We have drifted apart". Well ya, we have drifted apart because someone stopped talking!

She said we could still talk, and I tried but she would rarely reply.

A month or so after that she blocks me on FB and I find out via a friend that she has a new BF! Despite me asking her if she was talking with anyone else, to  which she said no.

Her final text to me was along the lines of "I met him two weeks ago!" At this point she was in a relationship with him a week... .

So we are now NC. She may try to contact me when the relationship fails as I am sure it will. Not sure what I will do at that point but I have time to think about it.
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AskingWhy
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2019, 09:38:21 PM »

With my uBPD/uNPD H, the silent treatment is a form of punishment and a form of withholding of affection.

The silence is meant to communicate my H's hatred for me when he splits.

His making me "invisible" to him is the worst punishment he can think of for me as he, in essence, is making me a nobody.
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Barnabus

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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2019, 02:18:13 PM »

My soon to be ex-wife used the silent treatment our entire married life - 30+ years. The only way it stopped was for me to apologize for "whatever" I did wrong. I would apologize for something I didn't even do just to make peace. Believe me, peace at any cost is not worth it in the long run. I did it since we started early having kids and ended up with 4 kids and I would have done anything to keep peace in my house. Once the kids started leaving, (and I wonder id menopause didn't contribute) all her BPD symptoms were on steroids - WAY WORSE until it was killing me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.
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