Dealing with silent treatment/malice from people you care about
People express emotions in a variety of different ways. Often, some of those ways can have very negative and debilitating effects on us. It is important that we remember that just because people experience emotions differently, it does not always mean that the way they do experience them are healthy. Some emotions, even though they are that of the person experiencing them, can be harmful to others and it is important that you recognise these emotions and know how to properly deal with them.
Silent and malicious treatment from people we love and care about are emotions that are often expressed with no positive connotations. Silent treatment can be troublesome and angst inducing to the receiver and places a lot of additional stress on relationships. To aid you in better managing this type of situation, below we discuss ways in which dealing with silent treatment or malice from people you care about can be made easier.
Determine the cause
As you may well know, silent treatment is a form of passive aggressive behaviour and this can be very draining to deal with. The first step is to try to determine why the person you care about is exhibiting this type of behaviour towards you. Generally speaking, people become passive aggressive because they do not know how to or do not care to express how they feel. Their actions become disconnected from their feelings and emotions, leading to them acting out in passive aggressive manners.
However, in this case, you need to determine the specific cause why the person you care about is using silent treatment to deal with the situation. Knowing the reason can help you to understand the psychological and personal reasons behind this treatment and will help distinguish ways in which you can better deal with it. To determine the cause of the silent treatment or malicious behaviour you are experiencing, determine the pattern behind this treatment. Does it happen when the person is overly emotional, or when a certain topic is spoken about or perhaps only after an argument? Once you establish the pattern, you should be able to clearly see the root cause. Knowing the cause of this behaviour gives you the opportunity to start to devise ways to work towards dealing with this behaviour.
Become assertive in your response
The next step is to talk to this person and explain to them how you are experiencing their behaviour and how you would like to go about changing the situation. It is crucial that you do not attack the person at this stage but rather address the situation that is created by such treatment, do not get personal and express in a calm and collected manner how the behaviour affects you. Remember, this is about suggesting solutions and not wallowing in the negative behaviour.
The solution that you suggest should not be ‘me’-driven, instead, it should focus on a controlled, positive manner in which both parties can work towards lessening the malicious behaviour. The ultimate goal is to start speaking and not avoiding certain situations and conversations. If the silent treatment is mainly caused due to arguments, the goals is to achieve a balance where both you and the person you care about can express what you are feeling without becoming personal or insulting to each other.
Give a ‘non-ultimatum’ ultimatum
Okay, so now we may be contradicting ourselves a bit, but this really is complex behaviour and therefore, the answers in dealing with silent treatment and malice cannot be so simple. While you care for the person and would want to be as kind and accommodating as possible, simultaneously, this type of behaviour can leave you with emotional scars and feeling drained. Because of this, it is important that you state to the person what your limits are and what type of behaviour you will not tolerate at all. For instance, silent treatment for a few hours may be something you are willing to endure, but silent treatment for a few days is a no-go zone.
You will need to determine these limits before you speak to the person involved and again, when you do communicate these limits, it has to be done in a calm and collected manner. Try making a list with bullet points of why you set each limit and how you would want the person to respect the limits you set.
You need to remember that these methods are best used in combination and it is crucial that you are strict with yourself and your loved one when doing this. You cannot change your method or opinion every other day and need to stick with what you decided on. You must determine the cause, assertively tell them how their behaviour affects you and then set clear limits for what you will and will not allow.
The more consistent you are, the better the chances are of the other person recognising your needs and seeing the error in their ways. Consistency may lead to reduced silent treatment and malice from the people you care about and overall healthier relationships.