Paul Schrodt, Ph D, Professor of Communication Studies reviewed 74 relationship studies which involved more than 14,000 participants.Findings from his in-depth analysis revealed that the silent treatment is ‘tremendously’ damaging to a relationship.
The silent treatment is a way to inflict pain without visible bruising – literally.
It is a very hostile maneuver, and a classic in the relationship dynamic I call underwatering/overwatering . Notice just how much you feel hooked into trying to work out this puzzle. It is not your job to fix something for someone who isn’t using their words. Take the focus off of your partner’s puzzle, and bring attention to your own feelings.
If you are being given the silent treatment, you are being punished for something, but you are not actually being told what that something is and how you can make up for it. Next, you can let your partner know that you care, and can see that something has upset them.
When couples become locked in this ‘demand-withdraw’ pattern, the damage can be both emotional and physiological include anxiety and aggression as well as erectile dysfunction and urinary and bowel problems.
It doesn’t matter which partner demands or which one withdraws, the damage to the relationship is the same.