I visited a younger friend some weeks ago and noticed a tensed relationship between her and her husband. At the end of the day, I couldn’t help asking what was wrong because the emotional distance between them was glaring despite how much they pretended.
“Aunty, the truth is that we’ve not been talking to each other for some days now. We had a misunderstanding and I apologized later, but he still gave me the silent treatment so I decided to do same,” she opened up. When I asked how long the silence will last, she said: “I don’t know, but we have our way of making up when we both get tired.”
According to Wikipedia, the silent treatment is a refusal to communicate verbally with someone who desires communication. It may range from just sulking to malevolent abusive controlling behaviour.
Do you, your husband, wife or intimate partner use the silent treatment when upset about something? Womanhood talked to a few people.
Richard Okoh, a primary school teacher, says “I’ve been married for just two years and initially, I used the silent treatment when upset with my wife because I believed that she could read my mind. In other words, she should know why I’m upset. But I later discovered that it left her confused, angry and heartbroken. By the time I would be ready to move on, she would start another round of fights because she insists that I can’t just switch off and on at will, and expect her to welcome me with open arms when I’m ready to break my silence.
“So now, I reject food instead when I’m upset, or I talk to her harshly.”
Uzor Harrison, creative director at a fashion house in Abuja, thinks the silent treatment is archaic. “We are in the 21st Century and being silent when there’s a problem in a relationship is so old-fashioned. I don’t care if you’re my husband, sibling, friend, colleague, etc. Once I see that something is wrong, I trash it out immediately and move on.
“Communication is key in every relationship. When you don’t voice out your fears, worries, frustration and how you feel about an issue, there are bound to be misinformation or misinterpretations. I don’t have time to brood or be silent over an issue; maybe it has to do with my temperament.”
When asked if the other party is not ready to reciprocate her gesture, she said “That’s their business. I still treat them as if nothing is wrong and pretend I don’t notice their cold attitude. That’s my secret to winning them over, and trust me, it works. As long as I’ve talked things over with the person, I see it as a closed case.”
Uri Eshua, a civil servant, believes that silent treatment makes things worse. “When one person in a relationship ignores the other person, refusing to acknowledge them verbally or through any other method, it escalates an already existing problem. The issues will remain unresolved, bitterness and anger will build up, and sometimes, the breakdown in communication leads to the death of the relationship.”
“Most of the time, the person being snubbed is not even aware of what he/she has done wrong. So, for me, matured adults in a relationship should be open to constant communication for their relationship or marriage to work.”
According to an article on www.brides.com ‘Why Silence Is Great for Your Relationship’, “The silent treatment is often associated with having a fight in a relationship, but the truth is, silence should never be used as a form of punishment. Fights and disagreements require communication – you should be talking through them, rather than shutting down to prove a point. You should learn how to associate silence with being an easy way to spend time together – and realize you need to respond to tension with communication. It will do wonders for your relationship. Never let an argument turn into a stalemate.
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