silent treatment

Stonewalling can be a cruel
and passively-aggressive act.
People who purposely try to
derail a conversation by not
responding or by changing
the subject are disregarding
the feelings and needs
of another person.

It is better to say directly
that you do not want to continue
the conversation, at least at
this time.

Open communication that is
respectful opens opportunities
to exchange and know another
better. It is a loving way to be.
The “Silent Treatment” is
never silent. It is emotional
abuse at its lowest form.


  1. shamefully, the only people I stonewall are my children. To anyone else I am happy to say that I do not want to talk about it right now, or to talk further about this subject is likely to cause an argument – but to my children, sometimes when I don’t want to say ‘yes’ to the hundredth request for the day, but can’t bear the tantrum I will get if I say ‘no’, I just say nothing. And hope that they will forget – which they never do! sigh.


  2. I guess the tricky part here is if the person is really trying to have a “conversation”. I think our first reaction to divert is when we know it’s not really going to be a discussion and we automatically become defensive. When my dad brings up politics, if I don’t quickly change the subject I become a victim to his lecture. If he were to actually hear me, I would say, ‘now is not a good time.’ However, if he were capable of hearing me, I would be open for the conversation and wouldn’t need to retreat in the first place…


    • Yes, there are certain redundant monologues that I am unwilling to submit to, as well. We do not need to tolerate boring or abusive one-sided “conversation” (Unless we feel like being especially tolerant that day). But when there is an opportunity to truly communicate and work toward some resolution, the “silent treatment,” is unkind at its best, abusive at its extreme. Do you know the history of the term “soapbox?” It is interesting. A good sense of humor is also helpful during these time. hugs, pat


      • I understand what you are saying now. I am definitely guilty of the silent treatment. Thanks for sharing an alternative way of handling the situation. I think sometimes this reaction comes with the female territory.


  3. I sometimes flee a dialogue that leaves me without emotional strength to continue. What do you want me to do in that situation. I cannot say anything at that moment, and it would be cruel to ask me to say: ‘i will continue this conversation some other time’. The alternative is to show anger. I don’t want to become a victim or a bully in a dialogue. Then there is only one way out … Open communication only works if it is embraced from both sides. Otherwise it is just a beautiful theory. Or are we talking about a different kind of conversation here?


    • I agree that we should not allow verbal abuse. I try to set the stage for further discussion later when we both are calm. Rather than fleeing in angry silence, I try to acknowledge what the other person is saying: “I understand you point and I want to give it some thought. Let’s stop for now and talk about this later.” Then I make time later to discuss it again so that the person knows I was not just trying to avoid the conversation. Sometimes we must just agree to disagree. It helps when I remember that I am not obligated to change someone else’s mind, nor they mine. Other times, I just forget all of this and jump in the battle, usually saying things that were best left unsaid. We are all just human covered spirits doing the best we can. Verbal abuse is NEVER acceptable. hugs, pat


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