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Author Topic: how to handle silent treatment and isolation  (Read 223 times)
Boundless364

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Living together
Posts: 5


« on: February 28, 2021, 09:41:37 PM »

hey all, this is my second time posting, I've been looking through tools and also getting support from my therapist but it's really hard to be mindful of my reactions, enabling and other bad habits. I'm going to keep trying. I'm curious what advice I can get about handling my partner wBPD's need for silence and isolation when angry (this is a precursor to rage for him). He clearly needs to have this time to calm but...sometimes to stretches out for hours or days if I don't go to him to resolve (which sometimes feels like enabling?). The silence and lack of resolution are really hard on me, it hurts and I feel ignored. Should I be giving him space and letting him come back to me always? Are there times when attempting to resolve after some sort of cool down period would be better? If there are links to other threads that discuss this I would also appreciate those resources. Thanks fam
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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 10:20:07 AM »

Silent treatment falls in the category of verbal abuse. It feels bad to be the recipient of this behavior.

The problem with you attempting to “resolve” it, is that you are training him that you will come to his rescue to try and fix things, and he doesn’t learn needed self soothing skills, but relies upon you to repair damaged communication.

If you put “silent treatment” in the search box under the green banner, next to bing, where it says “Search BPDFamily Site” you will find previous discussions.
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“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2021, 10:21:12 PM »

Speaking of self-soothing skills... pwBPD will often rage, yell terrible things, maybe some minor violence... And then lay down, stay quiet for a while, and say "hold me".

My thinking here is that she has learned/decided (likely through abuse) that the only way to get attention is through rage - when in reality, she could skip the rage and just say "hold me" and we would both be better off. And then it's hard to not reinforce this behavior when I do want to hold her.

Hang in there - it's not easy.
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Boundless364

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Living together
Posts: 5


« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 07:07:16 PM »

Thanks I will use search bar and look through advice. Id like to explain in detail what a specific situation looks like so I can get advice. The current silent treatment I am receiving is because I came home from getting body work done (deep tissue, cupping and scraping massage) with cupping marks on my face from getting my jaw worked on. They are circular bruises. I warned him after the last massage I would be getting this done but forgot to bring it up again. I also planned to wear my neck gaiter in public so my bruises were covered and told him it was ok to not go out with me if it made him uncomfortable (people stare).

I came home and went to say hi and he was on the phone with his mom. Apparently the conversation was upsetting but I had no idea. His reaction was shock and horror followed by anger and avoidance in quick succession. He said someone along the line of why would you do that? Followed by, its gross, while still on the phone. So, I said hey that's kinda unnecessary to say and went to shower. After, I knocked on his door and asked if we could hang out or what was going on. He was still really upset and clearly not communicating what was really bothering him. Telling me it looks disgusting, I cant look at you etc. All of which are starting to make me feel real PLEASE READty about myself. I think he's upset with his mom and projecting onto me. He said something about listening to her conspiracy theories (she's hardcore right wing) and her saying she doesnt care if theres no evidence for the things she believes in. Theres not a whole bunch of scientific evidence of the benefits of the bodywork I get (I find it incredibly helpful for managing pain and he knows that) so he basically told me he equated the conversation with his mom to my bodywork. Which, seems like a stretch to compare lack of evidence cupping helps to far fetched conspiracy theories. Am I wrong?

So I'm currently being ignored after trying to explain the way he's treating me isnt meeting my emotional needs and that his reaction to the bruising on my face from body work is unnecessarily strong. I'm angry, hurt and frustrated... we had plans and he blew our whole day over this. The whole resolution thing isnt for him, its for me cuz it hurts to be ignored/abused like this. It appears he's self soothing just fine, as long as I mutually ignore him. What do I do?
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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 08:57:25 PM »

One of the things that makes it easier to live with a partner who has BPD is to develop a thick skin and not be affected by their moods, insults, attitudes, or disrespect.

Easier said than done. I know how much bodywork has helped me and you have your own knowledge and experience about how it’s been beneficial to you, so why does his opinion matter?
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“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Boundless364

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Living together
Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2021, 10:34:49 AM »

Yea, I'm not sure about being thick skinned, I try. His opinion isn't important. If he had said that looks gross and then had a little reaction and moved on I wouldn't have cared. One of my friends said I looked like I had a precision beating and I laughed.
What upsets me is the extended time period with of being ignored and dealing with outbursts. Yea I did my best to just not engage, but I'm also not sure it's super healthy for me to be ok with being ignored. We still haven't talked about any of this yet. 
How do I bring this up in a nonconfrontational way?
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