How can you not reward silent treatment? how can you get that behaviour to stop? by going silent yourself?
From what I read on a forum once, silent treatment is a message itself. It means: leave me alone. "I never want to see you again!" also means: "Please give me some space, even though I can't communicate this to you now."
My DBPDbf wants to temporarily leave the earth when he's feeling overwhelmed and angry. It's like a bucket of emotion filling up, feels it's getting fuller and doesn't want good people to be around when it's flooded. He hates it about himself which adds to the negative vortex. He needs space to experience the emotion and make it disappear.
Think of it as if it were yourself: when someone has just hurt you, for the next hour / day or so you don't want to hear from them. Anything they will say will keep you angry, regardless of the content of your message. This same process happens to a pwBPD, it just takes longer. Instead of a few hours/day, they might need a few days / week.
My therapist tells me to always send two signals in these moments:
1) it's okay to feel this way, I will give you space, take your time
2) you are always safe and welcome with me
If the pwBPD is really giving a silent treatment in the way that they are not picking up phone calls or allowing you to see them, just send a text message that states the above two points. In that way they are validated in their feelings, but also know they can return to you once the guilt, shame and fear of abandonment becomes more important than their initial anger.
Last week I had a combination of two: at first I got a complete silent treatment that usually just lasts for a day. I ignored that by sending voice messages (will NEVER do that again), which resulted in "I never want to see you again! Apparently it's the only way to make things clear to you: I N E V E R want to see you again!". I left him alone for 24hours and sent a text the next day. That I feel bad he's feeling this way, he can take the space he needs, I'd call him on Thursday (4 days later) if I didn't hear from him, but that he was always welcome to contact me earlier than that.
> He didn't expect that response. Not from me (given past behaviour), not from what he was used to (with his ex). I learnt this by talking to one of his best friends ho has known him for over 6 years.
+2 days I received a text saying he really didn't want to continue our relationship. Obviously the silent treatment is a cry for rest, but there is a limit to it. The fact he texted me and opened up communication was a sign for me he was ready to communicate again. The content did not matter.
> The content was the extinction burst. I reacted calmly saying that I was a bit shocked by his message, because it contradicted earlier statements from him, but that I would accept it if he would say it to my eyes. "Why are you not mad?" he even asked, which clearly stated his expectation that I did not meet.
+2 hours I ended up going to his place, still validating his need to end the relationship. Once I got there, he hugged me to death and started crying. "It really hurts so much", "please never leave me".
Does this help at all to understand the silent treatment? It's a combination of giving yourself some space (nobody want to argue with an angry BPD), giving the pwBPD some space, but also always sending out a message of validation and trust.
Can I ask why somebody would want to put up with this kind of behavior? Especially if you had to depend on this person for some kind of family situation? Its hard for me not to see the silent treatment as some kind of luxury or bad behavior.