The Silent Treatment Hurts More Than Words

Closed lipsDid you know that the silent treatment literally hurts?

It happens when your partner decides that he doesn't want to continue the heated discussion or argument that the two of you are having. And he just cuts it off by not talking to you for an extended period of time. Sometimes even days.

And during that time, you feel isolated and rejected as well as physically sick.

Well, studies have shown that the section of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) not only detects and reacts to physical pain, but also to social pain, which includes being ostracized, bullied, and given the silent treatment.

So your body's physical reactions to this mental anguish are real. Headaches, stomachaches, and a general punched in the gut feeling.


If you've never experienced this, lucky you. And if you have, I feel for you. I've been there.

My husband and I used to fight like this. Or not fight would be more accurate. And we've both been guilty of giving the other the silent treatment. Honestly, we could last a few days with just enough nods and grunts in front of the kids so that they wouldn't know.

And during that time period, I would lose my appetite and not sleep well. And always be surprised at how big of a physical effect the experience had on me.

And now I know why. I have evolution and my brain to thank for that.

The silent treatment is punishing, controlling, passive aggressive, and abusive. And can permanently hurt your relationship. To have the person who's supposed to be your go-to, your biggest fan, and supporter not speak to you? Awful.

Thankfully, both my husband and I have changed our ways. We realized this type of conflict non-resolution was just way too damaging to our marriage.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of the silent treatment?


Image via liaw/Flickr

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