Passive aggressive silent treatment is a type of behavior common to passive aggressive people. It is used to avoid confrontation when issues arise. Instead of giving vent to their anger, the passive aggressive person shuts down and ignores you. Refusing to talk things through and resolve the problem is both childish and infuriating. It is also highly destructive in any type of relationship because resentments on both sides will continue to simmer away like toxic waste.
What form does the “silent treatment” take?
Passive aggressive silent treatment can last for a few hours, a few weeks, or even a great deal longer. It is characterized by a nonverbal pattern of behavior whereby the passive aggressive person refuses to express their anger by talking about what is upsetting them.
What can I do if my partner is giving me the silent treatment?
Ignoring you and refusing to engage in any kind of verbal discussion is very much a control mechanism and is sometimes known as “stonewalling”. Your partner is treating you with contempt instead of trying to resolve the issue, but the more you attempt to talk to them, the more they ignore you. In a sense, they are punishing you. By blatantly ignoring you, even to the point of talking to everyone else BUT you, this person wants to make you suffer. The silent treatment is a passive aggressive form of emotional abuse and is commonly used as a weapon by divorcing couples.
The best way to deal with a partner who is giving you the silent treatment is to not accept any blame for what is happening. Walk away and understand that it is their choice not to communicate. Leave them alone and wait until they decide to open the lines of communication again: in most cases the silent treatment will only be a temporary state of affairs.
How does a passive aggressive person use the silent treatment in the workplace?
The silent treatment is used as a mechanism in all types of environments, but is a very common attribute of passive aggressive personalities in the workplace. When it occurs in the workplace, a passive aggressive person will appear to respond to instructions in a favorable manner, but will express their resentment and anger by completing the task in a substandard way and by complaining to their colleagues in the vicinity.
Why does a passive aggressive person use the silent treatment?
Psychologists believe that a passive aggressive person acquires this behavioral technique though negative childhood experiences. Children who are not raised in a nurturing environment will very often use the silent treatment as a way of gaining parental attention. It is an outlet for their unresolved anger and a coping mechanism that can continue into adulthood.
What damaging effects can the silent treatment have?
A person who refuses to express their anger and frustration in a healthy manner inevitably ends up bottling their negative feelings up. In the long term, this can lead to all kinds of negative side effects including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.