How to deal with silent treatement from her?

cellscells Member Posts: 3
edited July 2012 in Married Life
What is the MMSL way of dealing with getting the silent treatment?

I usually have a good relationship with my wife, I became way too beta recently but have managed to get back on track. However for any difficulties that we're having, or if I say no to certain things, my wife will stop talking and is unwilling to communicate. When she does say something, it's usually insulting/angry/sarcastic etc. She's just not able to communicate like an adult at times. It's really frustrating and I don't know what the Alpha way of dealing with such behavior is.


  • Athol_KayAthol_Kay My Underground LairPosts: 8,039
    edited July 2012

    The silent treatment is simply an attempt to get you to change your behavior and give her what she wants. The silent treatment is essentially an unreasonable tone of voice.

    So figure out what she's trying to get from inflicited the silent treatment, and then tell her that the silent treatment is not going to get that for her. She needs to make reasonable requests in a reasonable tone of voice before you will comply with them.

    Then ignore her pouting and fuming and get on with your day. Don't give her tantrum your attention.

    When she comes back ready to talk. Don't mention the silent treatment, simply have the adult conversation.


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  • HHHHHH Member Posts: 135
    She's attempting a re-frame. Dont take her seriously. Acts like a child = treats like a child. Imagine you had a 6 year old kid sister that did this, how would you respond. You wouldn't care. At the most you'd respond with some variation of "Oh, that's cute, she's mad." amused mastery. Just take the usual alpha stance: relaxed, in control, outcome independent. It's no big deal, you have better things to worry about.
  • CaptVereCaptVere Silver Member Posts: 1,592
    I agree with these responses.  If you act like you don't care and actually appreciate some time by yourself to go do whatever you're passionate about, you are very alpha.  This also drives someone who is using the silent treatment crazy.  Yes, and it's also a strategy used by children so that says something. 

  • SirRickySirRicky North CarolinaSilver Member Posts: 46
    It took years, but I'm learning to just enjoy the peace and quiet. Like Athol said, I withdraw from her and ignore it. If I have to engage with her about something (like ask where something is now or something), I do so as though nothing had changed. I try to just maintain my relaxed composure and let the storm rage around me. She usually engages with me a short while later just as though nothing ever happened and neither of us says anything more about it.

    I think since women love to talk so much, it's really difficult for them to keep up the silent treatment for very long. Especially if it doesn't seem to bother you, and even more so if you seem to be enjoying the peace and quite. :-)
  • SaresterSarester Member Posts: 31
    I hate to admit it but I used to do that to my husband a lot. It was a quick way to ensure that I wasn't going to have to be the one to apologize, since he would have to before I would talk to him. Though in my defense, I was about 19 at the time. Anyway, one time we got into an argument and shut down and he said "If this is your idea of problem-solving in a relationship then either you need to evaluate your communication skills or I need to evaluate my choice of girlfriend." You don't have to threaten to leave or anything, he and I were only dating at the time, but call her on her shit. I'm not saying this is necessarily the MMSL way to do it, it's just what worked on me. It's hard to defend something that obviously doesn't progress the discussion in a positive manner.   
  • MrBurgundyMrBurgundy UKMember Posts: 225
    Anyway, one time we got into an argument and shut down and he said "If this is your idea of problem-solving in a relationship then either you need to evaluate your communication skills or I need to evaluate my choice of girlfriend."  
    This is brilliant. :-D

  • CaptVereCaptVere Silver Member Posts: 1,592
    Anyway, one time we got into an argument and shut down and he said "If this is your idea of problem-solving in a relationship then either you need to evaluate your communication skills or I need to evaluate my choice of girlfriend."  
    This is brilliant. :-D
    Agreed.  That is a great way to handle a more simple relationship.  When you're married you may want to take a different frame, but basically deliver the same message.

  • Joskin_NoddJoskin_Nodd AshwanSilver Member Posts: 4,045
    "When she comes back ready to talk. Don't mention the silent treatment, simply have the adult conversation."

    That's the way. Being naturally beta, I did more than enough beta stuff to sabotage my marriage, but I got this one right. I haven't had a silent treatment in years. I guess because she could wear me down with "talking" fitness tests, but I wouldn't respond to the silent treatment. Not having good active strategies, I just chose to ignore it. I pretended she wasn't doing it. 

    She eventually decided the silent treatment was never going to get her what she wanted, and, surprise, surprise, they stopped. 

    "There are no right biscuits." – Mandrill

  • HalfBetterHalfBetter Member Posts: 132
    When my wife gives me the silent treatment, I just fight back by doing the same... I can go for days without talking to her and that pisses her off so much that she finally has to give in and make the first move. She'll usually start off with "So are we going to talk to each other?" And my reply will be very nonchalantly "I'm ready whenever you are!" in a tone that indicates to her that her silence hasn't bothered me one bit.

    2 things this achieves for me... She gives in first, and I show no sign of her silence having any affect on me. I hold out long enough, she will cave and make the move. So her initial silence tactic basically proves to be a failure to achieve what she originally intends and therefore as a result she has used the silent treatment on me less and less over the years, because she knows it simply won't have any effect on me.
  • dkbrigdkbrig Member Posts: 8
    Rule number one..., never give into an emotional tantrum such as the silent treatment!  You must maintain your frame and remain calm and collected.  Knowing what I know now, I have learned that, my wife sometimes needs some time to simmer.....and think.  However, she does know that 1) it is very obvious to me and others that she is not talking and 2) I hate being ignored, which she is trying to play on.  So, my response has been to move on as if nothing weird is happening.  I talk to her in the same tone as I always do, and then maybe make a comment about how silly she is being by not acting like a mature women.  Usually, her silence goes away and she forgets why she was even upset.  I used to never understand this concept.  I would chase her around the house, demanding an explanation until she stopped what she was doing and spewed it all out.  This always put her in control and placed me in a position of having to apologize, be defensive on my stance, or at the very least...sooth her.  This tells her she is winning.  By waiting, she often can conclude on her own that she is being silly and this behavior does not affect me.  It's counter to what we as men want to do, but it really is the best thing to do.  Do not feed into her bad behavior.  If possible, leave the house and take a break.  Just say...I'll be back, not telling her when or where your going.  Usually by the time you return she is suddenly ready to talk....funny how that works! Thanks again shows that I have matured as a man.  Since I have done this, the silence treatment has basically all gone away.  It is behavior that no longer works so she has quit trying to use it as a tool to get to me! It's good to be the Captain!
  • TanookiTanooki NYSilver Member Posts: 503

    Gotta love the "silent treatment."  It's the same as a guy withholding sex.  Silent treatment only works on girls.  Just like withholding sex only works on guys.  They just think because it works on them, it will work on the opposite sex.

    So when the wife is doing the silent treatment thing - playing on her smartphone, never being in the same room, avoiding eye contact, pretend napping - you have fun doing something else.  I tend to focus on playing more with the kids, do some laundry while watching TV, or just leaving the house.  Ocassionally I will throw out a line to see if she wants to play along.  If she doesn't respond, I shrug and move on.

    Basically, I view her silent treatment as her need for quiet time.  The beauty of this is that if she really does need quiet time (too much kids, emails, house, etc.), you're giving her exactly what she needs and she will love you.  However, if she's really giving you the silent treatment, you're easily passing the shit test.

    NEVER do stuff like, "Honey, what's wrong?" "Talk to me." "Are you mad at me?"  She will simply grab your balls in a vice-like grip, raise them triumphantly above her head, and gleefully devour them.

    Or she will reply, "Nothing."  And we all know what THAT means.

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