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Nkem Says: The Thing about Silent Treatment

Nkem Ndem

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In recent past, I have found myself playing the role of agony aunt to not just close friends, but also colleagues and even strangers. So, it was not a huge surprise when I got a call from Kosi (not real name) at about 11 pm last night asking for advice on how to deal with silent treatment from her boyfriend. While hanging out with her boyfriend and two of his best male friends, she joked about him not actually being as posh as he always projected, hinting that his was broke and living above his means. While she meant no harm, he had taken the joke a little too personally. And despite the fact that she had apologized to him, he shut her out and a put her on the receiving end of silent treatment.

Kosi, filled with guilt and understanding of his need to brood, gave him the space she thought he needed, hoping he would bounce back after a day or two. One whole week, however, passed before he made contact by sending her a meme on IG. Excited that he was finally ready to communicate, Kosi responded with some messages and even several phone calls only to have him disregarded them, resuming his silent treatment game.

Clearly, Kosi was perplexed by the mixed signals and apparent infantile behavior. She had always believed her boyfriend to be mature and loving, so it was a shock to her that he would want to hurt her that way, since he knew she had a bad case of anxiety and was easily prone to melancholy. She was also concerned that, there was a chance he was just taking a time out and she was being unbearably pushy by asking him to communicate when he was not ready. Seeing as it was a new relationship of barely two months old, I knew I had to be as blunt as possible.
First, I made Kosi understand the difference between taking a time out and giving a silent treatment. The first is a positive tactic because it benefits both partners seeing as silence is employed as a prelude to actual communication; while silent treatment, on the other hand, is a form of emotional abuse and a passive aggressive tactic used by one aggrieved partner to control, punish, avoid, or disempower the other partner either because they refused to acquiesce to their demands, or they said/did something that bothered them. Next, I presented Kosi with two possible moves: 1. Seeing as she had already called him out and left him a message asking him to call her when he was ready to talk, she could just ignore his antics, carry on with her life as normally as possible and work on herself while waiting out the silent treatment; or 2. She could just open up her eyes; admit the truth that her boyfriend may just be immature after all, and cut him off completely. I made sure I let her know that should she chose the option 1, there was the chance that the silent treatment would be the first of literally hundreds to come. And chances are, she would most times have to take the blame for his emotional state, rescue him out of his funk by making amends and begging him back into the relationship, without him having to take any responsibility for communicating or working towards a mutual solution each time every time he gave her the silent.
The silent treatment is one of the most prevalent patterns of conflict in relationships and marriages today, and it is extremely destructive. Not only does it lead to a decrease in the level of satisfaction both partners get in the relationship, it erases feelings of intimacy, and makes healthy, meaningful communication almost impossible. The first time I experienced it with an ex, it felt like a punishment worse than death. It left me broken and desperate, willing to try anything and everything to get a response. I remember the one question I wanted answered each time he froze me out was: “How long will this silent treatment last, biko?”
The thing though is that the kind of people who practice this silent treatment tactic usually have narcissistic tendencies; and as such, they could go for days, weeks, a month or even longer, keeping you in the dark about when it will end. Sometimes they don’t even tell you why they are doing it in the first place. They know that the longer it lasts, the worse the separation anxiety becomes and the more likely you are to feel depressed, jealous, confused, isolated, unworthy, and even desperate. For some, the silent treatment is also a way for them to buy free time for being with someone else. They go on about their business until they either feel their partner has been punished enough, or they get bored with or offended by the new person they engaged with during the period of silent treatment did. They return offering no explanation and expect to pick up right where they left off, as though they were never gone. In cases where the victimized partner calls them out during the silent treatment and presents an ultimatum or attempts resolution requiring compromise, they usually just quit and discard the relationship. They prefer to end the relationship and start over rather than be in a position of potential rejection. They convince themselves that the victimized partner is the one with an unbalanced mind.
Of course, there are exceptions where the partner initiating the silent treatment really is just trying to escape another abusive dynamic. This usually happens in the case where the affected partner is trying to force him/her to change or do things their own way; a valid reason for anyone to withdraw. However, under no circumstance should the silent treatment be regarded as an acceptable behavior. It is a form of emotional abuse that no one deserves nor should tolerate. Some articles will advise that you act contrite and apologize even when you have not done anything wrong, but then…how can you maintain a genuine, connected relationship by being false?
BOTTOM LINE: Avoid playing the game with anyone who gives you the silent treatment. Find ways to boost your self-worth and make yourself immune their control tactics. Realize that you are worthy of a healthy relationship with someone who can communicate in a mature, emotionally healthy manner. Be prepared to walk away, but make efforts to communicate when they make themselves available. If they keep up the silence and ignore you then it is clear that the friendship wasn’t worth it in the first place. No matter what you do, do not give anyone so much power that their absence leaves you questioning your worth.
Have you ever served or been served the silent treatment? How did you deal with it? Please share your stories in the comment box below.

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at www.blackinkm.com or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.

88 Comments

  1. Amaka

    May 12, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Don’t hurt other people with your words. What if your boyfriend was so hurt that he is still trying to get over it. Saying you are broke and living beyond your means in front of your friends may no hurt you but some men are sensitive to money matters. You have only known each other for 2 months. Only God knows every human 100 percent. That is why people you have known for a long time can still shock you. Those words can make him withdraw or reconsider the relationship.

    • funmilola

      May 12, 2017 at 1:59 am

      Gbam!

    • Bleed Blue

      May 12, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Honestly, I’m perplexed.

      1. They’re in a two month old relationship
      2. She said some pretty hurtful things that are below the belt man! Jeez!
      3. She said them in front of his friends!

      I’m not keen on silent treatment but for this chic, I could consider making an exception jor. Haba!

    • Equality

      May 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Two cannot walk together except they agree, is he right to be hurt? Yes, Is he right to offer the silent treatment? Yes but is He right to continue with the silent treatment for a week? Never. Communication in relationship is key for both parties, He can let her know that He is hurt and it should take say a week to get over it but He is working on it. That’s far better than going silent on someone without any form explanation. If he is not interested in the relationship anyone then He should call it quits.

    • Zaza

      May 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

      If he is hurt or wants to quit the relationship he should communicate his feelings or decision to his partner .My dear there is no excuse for silent treatment, it is a form of emotional abuse.

  2. Tosin

    May 12, 2017 at 3:25 am

    everything complain lol. abeg silent treatment is better.

  3. Amarachi

    May 12, 2017 at 3:31 am

    Tanks fr dis write up,currently am actually in dis silent treatment with my boyfriend and funny enough ts a month now.wat actually led to dis wasn’t something serious.wat happened was dat d both of us were actually online and I guess they were playing football being d fan of football dat he s,so I decided to drop d message dat u are too busy to notice am online ryt.Anf and my response was dat ts Nothing am jus passing by,i was a bit angry bcos I called him dat nyt bfr checking him online,our call didn’t last long bcos he told me dat he had to something so I assumed t was his mum dat called him to do something fr her cos I had experience dat kind of scenario with him bfr so I felt he wud call back,t was already getting late and we don’t keep late calls dats wen I decided to check him online and dats where t all started oo,he called later dat I didn’t want to pick up d phone.shey d next day u are to give me a call,he didn’t so I was still waiting fr d call none came at least even f am angry dat nyt by tomorrow d anger Shud have subsided,soneone I was killing myself fr wen he was sick and dis happened d week he got better.he kept me quiet till I sent another message after a while and told him f dere s actually someone else taken my position in ur life let me know den he decided to call me and asked why I will be sending him dat kind of message so I responded by telling him dat am actually asking u so jus give d reply,he didn’t oo and kept d silent attitude i also sent him another msg wat will be his reply ‘am I tired of snubbing him shouldn’t b tired and kept dat laughing smiley ‘ After reading dis write up of urs early hours of dis mawin I decided I was going to send him a message dat am actually done with dis,he s actually making me lose my feelings fr him. But at d bottom line of ur write up I saw where u said we can drop our comment.so I decided to share mine.

    • esteelauder

      May 12, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Please, your comment is actually confusing. Try to type in English so we can better understand your situation.

    • Babe

      May 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Biko type in English next and also use paragraphs.

    • Cocolette

      May 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      @Amarachi… your boyfriend is clearly immature. What I would do if I were in your shoes: give him the silent treatment while I move on with my life. The day he finally comes back to act like a boyfriend, I will tell him “sorry sir, we haven’t been talking so I thought we broke up, I’m in a relationship with someone else now”. The end.

    • olanna&odenigbo

      May 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Girlll….maybe he can’t understand what you’re saying….cos I tried reading three lines here and just gave up……If you want to COMMUNICATE, not just speakout….you should probably spell it out well,. to him and then us.

    • Henry

      May 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

      How old are you and your boyfriend? Seems like children relationship wahala

  4. Amarachi

    May 12, 2017 at 3:33 am

    Sorry I forgot to ask wat should I do??

    • IQ

      May 12, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Amarachi darling, what you should do is learn to type your words in full, punctuate and then use paragraphs so people don’t get a sore head from trying to make sense of your comment.

    • Peter

      May 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      @Amarachi, sorry for the headache. Since we don’t know his own side neither can you comprehend him; I would advise you pray about this then visit him when he is not expecting you. Ensure you know he’ll be around and take a friend along . Also ensure you don’t discuss in an isolated place, be very frank and avoid emotion . Please avoid romance or sex during or after your talk. Help him to grow up and he’ll respect and keep you. Once you do this, advise yourself further.

  5. Teekay

    May 12, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Well said… silent treatment as never solve any problem.. for me if you hurt your significant other you could look for the appropriate timing and speak about it. Never give in to silent treatment it wont solve the problem some people do this amd when they are done they act like nothing happens.Problems dont solve themselves people do. If you keep avoiding conversation as a result of this suppose silent treatment you are heading towards destruction. Whatever it is always communicate there is no better way to express yourself that to speak out. Immaturity is expecting someone to understand your silence. Its a difficult and frustrating why not do the easy way by communicating your pains /feelings to the other person..

  6. OJ

    May 12, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Even though this is about a guy’s silent treatment, truth is most times this silent treatment is done by ladies. Often used consciously or unconsciously as a tool to emotionally subject the guy to meeting her demands or expectations. I have also noticed the use of the word immaturity by dem ladies over this issue, when they are actually the immature one
    Ladies will give you silent treatment eventhough they are at the wrong and when they guy does same, he’s called immature….hahahahaha, typical and infact they would even go the extra mile to tell the guy ”i forgive you”….GOSHHHH

    • Fisayo

      May 12, 2017 at 8:40 am

      OJ, how can we get rid of your misogynistic a$$?

    • Blueberry

      May 12, 2017 at 10:55 am

      I don´t think ladies give you the silent treatment for long. After a while, they come around and talk about the issue. On the other hand, when a guy gives you silent treatment, MOST of the time, it is til infinity. For them, the perfect excuse to bail out of the relationship and get another catch.
      Fact is, the ego in men always has them coming back even years later like nothing happened to continue from where you both stopped. Totally stupid, if you ask me.

    • Cocolette

      May 12, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Both ladies and men do it, but I think men do it more, in fact I learnt how to give silent treatment from men.
      I used to be the one who would want to talk about every disagreement and get it out of the way but I realized that ‘e no favor me’. Men will term you a nag and everything you say will be used against you. So these days, I will just lock up and be looking at you till you realize your folly. I feel more powerful now **evil laugh** ? .
      I try not to do it too much or let it go on for too long though because it creates a space between you and the other person and the devil uses such space to work magic.

    • Huh

      May 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      @Fisayo, what exactly is misogynistic in OJ’s comment now?

    • Fisayo

      May 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      @Huh, it’s this point of view and every other point of view this OJ person has left here in the comments section.
      I beg you, if you have power, just try and go to any of the women/men articles in the last 2 weeks, you will find OJ always ready to stir up gender bias and then blame the female for EVERYTHING, regardless of the situation.

      It’s tiring and suggestive of misogyny!

  7. AceOfSpades

    May 12, 2017 at 7:39 am

    The feeling women get when they are slut-shamed is the same feeling men get when they are finance-shamed.

    It’s worse than ‘2 min man’, ‘you are not big enough’ and all that.

    And for you to be saying that just 2 months into a relationship says something about you.

  8. Tutu

    May 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Thank you for this post. My husband does it all the time. I think guys do it more. Women are wired to talk about stuff to feel better. It’s really annoying. Whenever he does it, I just ignore him until he’s ready to come back.

    • Lacey

      May 12, 2017 at 8:42 am

      @ Tutu you are so right!!! My fiancé right now in a very long relationship is doing this to me right now! Thank you for this write up @ Nkem, I don’t normally come to BN this early, and I normally scroll past write ups like this !he makes me feel desperate all the time and yesterday after everyone told me to humble myself, I still tried to reach out to him and he told me , he is not upset, but I should stop calling his phone!!! I had to look ? in the mirror and ask myself so many questions and I made up my mind that I am done!!! My dear I felt all the love ebbing away as I read his email ,because he blocked me from WhatsApp and hid phone, so I was contacting him via emails! My dear no time!!! I just pray I am with someone else by the time his silent treatment is over , because it was like I lost focus in life, it’s the worst form of mental torture, I could not just focus on anything and I guess I have to do same now going forward! I am going to use it as a tool as well on men!!! Tit for tat!!!

    • Hian

      May 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      @Lacey. You need to calm down. Sometimes you need good advice and not cuddling. You are not a child. You are an adult in a real world. Saying all those mean things about Nkem does not say well about you. Grow up.

  9. Anonymous

    May 12, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Silent treatment is something no one should experience, it breaks you emotionally and even physically. You cannot think straight and you would have this anxiety to hear from the person, I understand that this guy was probably crushed by what the girl said, but I believe that if you love someone, you should be able to sort things out in love and solve the issue, it’s better for you to yell, scream, vent your spleen, but silent treatment is never the way.. I have been through it, and it broke me so much that I am now defensive to it.. My advice to everybody going through this is: 1. Never make anybody a yardstick to your happiness, I know it’s hard because if you love someone and you do not hear from the person, you can never be happy, but try as much as you can to make yourself happy, 2. Give yourself a time limit, if you do not hear from the person, then it’s time to move on, one thing we ladies don’t understand is that a man that gives u the silent treatment in courtship, would do worse in marriage, and you don’t want to be there. Finally if you’re one that indulges in silent treatment, try to change that behaviour, it would lead you nowhere, and you would even be hurting yourself more.
    Sorry for the long write up, I was just so excited when I saw the article and nkem did a very good work, she just picked the words from my mouth and heart.. Kudos girl..
    FYI: Guys do this more, some even pride themselves in the ability to break a girl with silent treatment….

  10. MO

    May 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Silent treatment is a serious case that we didn’t pay attention to,we believe it normal, silent treatment can cause depression,frustration,mental illness because you will be confused and u will not be able t think straight. My ex use silent treatment on my for 2 months,i was destabilize,frustrated,depressed, he now come back without any explanation and what to continue.

  11. Alterego

    May 12, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Lacey, honey, you don’t need to be with anybody anybody to prove anything to him when his silent treatment is over. That might be you on the rebound. If truly you are done with this one, don’t be in hurry to jump into another one. Don’t hurt yourself. Just do your thing and be your own baddie self.
    Find self validation from deep inside and if the silent torture goes on, move on! Call it defence mechanism, but for me, I don’t allow a relationship get to that level where I lose my mind and focus. Protect yourself. Protect your heart. If I offend and I apologize and try to make amends and the S. T is still continuing, mentally, I flick the switch and do me. Does he want me to kill myself? Life is too short and too sweet and too precious to be an emotional wreck biko.

    • Lacey

      May 12, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Thanks @ Alterego @Chu! Yea I am done with him!!!! I am obviously not going to rush into anything right now, because I have a lot on my plate, as per work!!! So I am focusing on myself!!! Thanks guys!!!

  12. Chu

    May 12, 2017 at 9:10 am

    @Lacey, my dear please move on, he is just showing what he would do in future and it will be worse then. I know it will be hard but move on with the mindset that there is a better man out there for you. I know cos I was in your shoes, with anyhow men but I always told myself not to settle for less. Now I’m in a fabulous marriage, even when I’m at fault we know how we settle it.. Please don’t give yourself hbp over any man. Sending hugs your way.

  13. Nkem Ndem

    Nkem Ndem

    May 12, 2017 at 9:15 am

    @Lacey you cannot rush into another relationship just so that you are strong to resist your fiancé when he is done with the silent treatment. While I do not condone his behavior, I would suggest that you try and evaluate the situation again. Consider why he felt the need to withdraw in the first place, did you play any role? Do you think, perharp, he is withdar from some manipulative stunt you pulled? Also,you must ask yourself why you feel so desperate to reach him that you are even willing to cut him off for not giving you what you want : his attention. Do you think that maybe you need to find ways to boost your self-worth? I would say: take the time this time he is away to sort out your thoughts, work on yourself and when he is ready, communicate with him and set let him know how his actions made you feel and how you will react going forward should he pull the stunt again. If you love him for real and you want to work on what you have, you will make the effort. Finally, saying you want to inflict the same kind of mental tortured that you are having now on others in future is just petty and not the right attitude. Be better.

    • Bleed Blue

      May 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

      @Nkem, the tone of your response to Lacey get as e be. I felt verbally beaten up on Lacey’s behalf.

      Tough love is good but there’s a time and place and it’s clear that right now, Lacey is still hurting – I mean she still referred to yesterday’s events in her comment.

      @Lacey, I want to believe you’re not really planning to unleash the monster of silent treatment upon the men folk and you’re just speaking from a place of pain. I do agree with Nkem’s points on self-search and potential self improvement, so if this brother-man finally reaches out, please find out exactly what led to the silent treatment, and then if there’s something you can work on, the rest is up to you dear.

      Life is too short, I repeat, life is tooooooooo short to live in misery. All the best!

    • Lacey

      May 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      @Blue Eyed! Nkem Edem must be a very shallow person !!! You just gave her an excellent reply on my behalf!!! I could not even comprehend her reply to me!!! Who likes to treat others in a nasty manner,no one!!! I would rather stay on my own than hurt anyone!!! I am hurt and not even interested in Men right now!!! So her reply shows she lacks emotional intelligence, even after writing beautifully on a very crucial problem!!!Nkem Edem, I did not ask for your advice! BNers even did a better job with their comments!!!

    • Asa

      May 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Girl I think you should be smarter and a bit more diplomatic in responding to someone who has taken time to read your post and has responded by talking about her own problem. Matters of the heart require delicacy and you can never provide sound advice to problems you know only a few lines of via an online comment. So if the advice cannot be sound for obvious reason, it should not hurt either for obvious reasons. Nwayo!

    • Henry

      May 14, 2017 at 2:02 am

      @lacey, why so bitter? Haba?
      Norm said nothing wrong nau, she’s just advising you to be objective. Your man is doing something wrong but there might also be another side. Nkem said you should search for that side and perhaps improve yourself, not for anyone’s sake, but yours.
      One thing that is all too common to human beings is to approach problems with bias, especially when it deals with our emotions. Nkem merely advises a wholesome view. She has done nothing wrong.
      Perhaps you might need to check if you have an answer problem or something – I’m not sure. I didn’t expect your insulting comment – twas too spiteful.

  14. Pink

    May 12, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Lol. This article is so true. My last (pseudo) relationship ended as a result of this. After i refused to pick bobo’s calls one evening cos i was mad at him for something he did. The very next day he stopped reaching out and the silent treatment started – fast forward 2 weeks + and i had had enough of the rubbish,me the offended was now the one reaching out to him and having him steadily ignore me. I sent him an ultimatum via txt. Only for him to set a meeting and then proceed to tell me he feels we are moving too fast and can we go back to being just friends? To say i was blindsided is an understatement but best believe i told him i didn’t need any new friends and i would prefer to refer to him as an acquaintance. Also, i politely asked him to never refer to me as an ex bcos i had just erased that 3 months long period with him from my life. Lmao. Niccur never hesperred it. He was stunned and kept blowing up my phone. I had to block him to maintain my sanity biko. Good riddance to childish nonsense.

    • yinka

      May 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

      This is exactly what nkem is talking about.You started the whole thing by not picking his calls,whoknows if he wanted to apologise .And about been the offended that goes both ways.The 2 week gap in btw did you try to contact him?.That the problem with issues like this when he was ready to talk,you weren’t and when you were ready,he wasn’t .

    • Pink

      May 12, 2017 at 11:31 am

      @Yinka did you read the part where i said i tried to reach out and he steadily ignored me??? Please read with comprehension.
      I mean, i even got a friend to call him cos at a point i believed something might be terribly wrong only for him to pick her call and tell her he is perfectly fine. Smh. Good riddance!

    • Dr. N

      May 12, 2017 at 11:31 am

      I like

    • Brain

      May 12, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      @Pink don’t excuse your bad behavior and exaggerate another’s. You guys were both power hungry and it ended without a resolution. Learn from that episode and move on. The lesson should be not to give the silent treatment, discard pride and how to handle conflict effectively.

    • Easy n Gentle

      May 12, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      He wanted to talk, you weren’t available to listen. You wanted to talk, he wasn’t available to listen and now you take offence because he bested you at your own game!?. Like I’m not understanding, He has to want to talk at your own terms?! I’m seriously pleased for the brother man right now

    • Henry

      May 14, 2017 at 2:05 am

      @Pink if he told you he wanted the both of you to be friends I don’t think he wanted you anymore, he was just trying to be nice.
      Believe me.
      He did the rest make e no be like say he no try. Or perhaps he was trying to take the role of victim. It’s a classic move.

    • Oba

      August 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Wow?

  15. Amy

    May 12, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Yeah! Silent treatment was my way of dealing with issues until i met someone who beat me to it! Well to be fair to him that was never his way of dealing with our misunderstandings. He would try through every means to resolve them but i would block every and any reconciliation because quite frankly i felt in control. After the reconciliation he would tell me “Baby please stop doing this, if there’s a problem let’s discuss it. You make me feel worthless whenever you ignore me and treat me like i don’t exist, I don’t want to go a day without speaking to you”. He would even try to reach every member of my family . Oh how those words gladdened my heart and yes of course i continued the act as the relationship progressed then he now picked up that trait and oh boy did he perfect it! I was now the one feeling so ignored, I even goggled the definition of silent treatment and how to deal with it. Well love they say conquers all, eventually when it started sinking the relationship we had to talk about the silent treatment tactic and decided it wasn’t the best way in ANY relationship and we made a decision to eradicate it and actually communicate when there’s an issue and life so far has been drama, ego and stress free filled with respect,vulnerability, communication and love . This article is actually spot on about this silent treatment thing it never solves anything! well that been said moral of the story when mature minds are in a relationship they always communicate to resolve conflicts not going cold turkey on their partner.
    P.S I don learn say silent treatment no be way oh…. YOU WILL LOSE ALOT!

    • Kass

      May 12, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      May God bless you for this.

  16. OJ

    May 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Dem don come with their fake victim stories to deflect their guilty ways again oooo!!!!!! must you always lie???? Jesus!!!!

    • Yeye

      May 12, 2017 at 11:57 am

      You know you’re starting to sound like an insane person right?

      You just walked into the room, heard everybody and started shouting that their stories are lies. Focus on one person or shut up!

    • Vee

      May 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Your sense dey your anus. Go shit joor..

  17. hush

    May 12, 2017 at 10:10 am

    not everyone of us can make profitable relationship decisions fast like others..nice article here Nkem
    Again it all depends on why we are in a relationship, a sound mind(how & what we feel about ourselves),what we stand to gain,our level in life ,these will go a long way to determine how fast we can leave certain relationships….My sincere advice to men & women is to be free without any form of baggage when entering a relationship so as u don’t get too dependent on ur partner & then decide to leave whenever it isn’t favourable to your wellbeing .

  18. i must talk

    May 12, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Thanks Edem, for sharing your thought. This article is deep. We have in one way or the other treated people (colleague & sibling inclusive), silently. No one deserve to be left to surfer psychological torture or emotional imbalance!. Our treas-hold are not the same. Silent treatment may lead to suicide. I’ll pick up my phone now to talk to my mum…i think i have treated silently. To forgive is golden!

  19. djamali

    May 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I usually skip over these “agony aunt” write ups but the topic got me reading as I am married to one who enjoys the emotional torture of silent treatment. I was in a long distance relationship with him before we got married so I never saw that red flag. I remember the first time he did it some years ago, gosh I was beside myself : what did I do? what dis I say ? is he happy? have I hurt him in anyway ? I was depressed … it took me I would say about three years before I noticed the pattern and the hurt it gave me was always the same reassuring him that he was in the right relationship, I love him etc….

    Long story short, I am still married to him, however what has changed is when he gets into the silent treatment mode , I tell myself he is having his period and it may last between 5-14 days depending on whatever perceived wrong I have done this time, I no longer worry myself and find ways of keeping me happy during those days, I find it perplexing when he touches me for intimacy at night (you are not talking to me yet you want to be intimate…..how does that work)? I am a Christian so I spend time in prayer, but truth be told if I had seen that sign prior to my marriage maybe just maybe I would have had a rethink.

    Emotional abuse is akin to physical abuse ..with the later the scars are there for the world to sometimes see, but when its emotions you only know the hurt you deal with. you go to bed with a chatty fun husband, and in the morning you become a plague ….its as if he cant stand being in the same room with you..you cook he doesn’t eat, you go into the living room….he leaves for the bedroom , you got to the bedroom …he leaves for the sitting room. I think what hurts the most is ….the target is YOU no one else as he is the same fun , carefree individual when he is talking to his friends.

    I am certainly no perfect individual and there have been times after he gets over the mood, I realize it is because of something I did to which he drew his own conclusions….with no ill intent on my part.

    if feels good to type these long words and I am actually tearing up as I write this but it is one day at a time. I remember a post a while back on relationships and one response was “everyman has a but….no one is perfect” so maybe that is his but God it is difficult when it happens.

    • K

      May 12, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      You should send him this article and your reply. Maybe then he’ll understand just how damaging his behaviour is.

    • Tee

      May 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      I’ve been married for a little under 2 years and I relate 100% with your comment. Mine even goes further to add hurtful, insulting and demeaning words to the mix, shouts at and berates me in front of the help, our toddler and any unfortunate bystander. He’s a master at composing the most hurtful text messages you can imagine and “punishing” me with the silent treatment for 2 weeks or more is almost second nature.
      At this point I’m exhausted and in a perfect world I’d just walk out of the marriage, but its not that easy.. I’m currently trying to work on regaining my self confidence and happiness. I’m tired of being anxious all the time and walking on eggshells in my own home! . its so good to know that I’m not alone or just unnecessarily emotional.

    • Halle

      August 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Silent Treatment is deadly! Damn! Messes up with ones mind… Chai

  20. Blueberry

    May 12, 2017 at 10:32 am

    This article is soooo ON POINT!!!!! Giiiiiirl you just helped a sister :-*.

  21. yinka

    May 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

    This is exactly what nkem is talking about.You started the whole thing by not picking his calls,whoknows if he wanted to apologise .And about been the offended that goes both ways.The 2 week gap in btw did you try to contact him?.That the problem with issues like this when he was ready to talk,you weren’t and when you were ready to talk,he wasn’t.

  22. Papermoon

    May 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    No matter what the offence was, no matter the magnitude, the mature thing to do is to talk about it and be clear about how you feel. If you want to walk away, by all means please do but DON’T GIVE A PARTNER THE SILENT TREATMENT. it is one of the disrespectful things a partner can do to you. We give children silent treatment not adult partners.
    You MAY get away with the first and second silent treatments cos I take it we are now learning each other’s boundaries. The third one, and we are done. Don’t border to call me when you are done sulking.

    • I fell in love with...

      May 12, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      Don’t give children the silent treatment either…..it is torture for them as well. They are capable of feeling emotions sometimes to a greater capacity than adults and the silent treatment will sometimes break them.

  23. emerald

    May 12, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Nkem thanks for this….please people in the house advise me on this.
    I dnt know if I should call him my boyfriend although we have been friends for 9yrs dated in 2011 broke up in 2012 (he bang d phone on me telling me im distribing him)..he came back in 2014…since then till now we had only 6 dates (i paid for 4 him 2)I dnt know any of his family nor his home(he lives with his.mum n 2 elder sinlings).he’s serving now n i have finished my Msc this jan.
    Late last month he had problem so I called him that morning to asked what was wrong he said notin,I called an hr later d same answer…During chat in d evening I asked cos I knew somtin was wrong….he said notin n that he does not want any form of argument (which he does…cos i sells smoked catfish I didn’t tell him )…..he told me I should not argue with him that,he want it that way.
    The most painful statement he made was’he will bring to return all the finiacial assistance I have rendered to him,he will pay me back all I have spend on him…..
    So I let him but i dnt call him but when he call or text I reply…he’s now begingme he’s sorry he can’t repay me back (time love trust) but I’m not even moved….

    Your advise pls

    Note:my dad dnt know him(when my dad invited him….he didn’t come)…my mum has seen him twice

    He’s 33 I’m 28.
    BN post this pls…I need this….it’s killing me slowly (i don’t even know how to tag myself….single or in a relationship )
    I’ll check back for your advise…thanks.

    • Meestyk

      May 13, 2017 at 4:56 am

      @emerald. Please just let him go. Let go of evrything and ask GOd to be your solace. He will restore all the years the canker works have eaten. You will be fine.

    • memebaby

      May 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      you deserve better… theres a reason you broke up with him in the first place… just leave him.. heal and MOVE ON.. life is beautiful.. there are good men out there…free yourself and find beautiful love.

    • Henry

      May 14, 2017 at 2:12 am

      You need to tell yourself you’re worth more. Truth be told, you’re not in a relationship. It will continue this way. Leave now.

    • Peace

      May 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Girl, you deserve better..wow some men don’t know the value of someone until they loose you.Please leave him and start a new chapter, he is playing mind games with you.That man is too childish.May God give you the man who will treat you like a princess.I once dated such a guy who really abused me emotionally and would sulk for the universe i cut him off and i’m now seeing a mature guy with NO DRAMA..Life is too short to go through hell in the name of LOVE.

  24. emerald

    May 12, 2017 at 11:42 am

    BN Pls post my comment

  25. Angie

    May 12, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I used to give people the silent treatment a lot. Mostly because I hate confrontation, So if you did me wrong, I would just crawl into a shell.
    Then I decided to change. Now I tell you immediately if you have offended me.

    As a receiver of silent treatment, I see it as a no. If you give me silent treatement, I assume you want nothing to do with me and I will move on. I do that very easily, because I do not like hearing no.

    • Me too Angie!

      May 13, 2017 at 10:42 am

      You defined me to a T!! I hate when I try to explain what you did wrong and you have this your hurt isn’t validated expression on your face or you don’t apologise and go Into an offensive mode.
      Silent treatment is okay for a day so as not to say hurtful words or do mean things to the other party.
      Maximum should be 2 days. Pride and ego is the main reason for carrying this treatment for too long. Some beautiful relationships get marred by this immature behavior.
      I’m learning not to be too immatured more than 2 days. With some people it’s easy to recover and continue the friendship or relationship.

  26. Peter

    May 12, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    @Amarachi, sorry for the headache. Since we don’t know his own side neither can you comprehend him; I would advise you pray about this then visit him when he is not expecting you. Ensure you know he’ll be around and take a friend along . Also ensure you don’t discuss in an isolated place, be very frank and avoid emotion . Please avoid romance or sex during or after your talk. Help him to grow up and he’ll respect and keep you. Once you do this, advise yourself further.

  27. Hian

    May 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    @Lacey you need to calm down. What you need in your current situation now is real advice not cuddling. You are not a child. Insulting Nkem does not say well about you ma.

    • Ready

      May 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      @Hian, what are you on about?

  28. anon11

    May 12, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    This is exactly what I have been experiencing with my boyfriend. We are even currently in another episode. This behaviour makes me feel so down and desperate because I find myself doing everything possible to establish contact or get a response. It makes me loose my mind. At first when we started dating I would reciprocate his treatment by helping him elongate the silence when he was ready to come out and talk but this did not help and I realised I didn’t want to be that person. Now what I do is try to explain to him how emotionally draining his behavior is but still no change. Sometimes this man wouldn’t even communicate exactly what I have done even when he comes out of his episode. Nothing. I’m really drained but I don’t know what to do because I love him so much. I don’t know how to leave.

  29. Asa

    May 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Ex bobo could ignore me in my presence. Na that one dey pain me pass. I would be looking at him and he would not respond to me. I would be asking questions trying to get answers to no avail, he would just sit or lie there and ignore me. We could never resolve any issue because he would not even talk about it with me. The best that would happen was that time would pass and we would shaaaa sweep the issue under the carpet and continue.

    I am a talker. If I was upset about anything I would call to talk about it and guy would say “later” and later would never ever come. There were times I would call his phone back to back and he would not pick. One time sef, he picked the call and didn’t say anything to me. I dey there for phone dey shout “hello, hello, hello”! Whether I was the upset one or he was the upset one, he ignored me always. he would then maybe come back after some time had passed and pick up like we never ever had an issue.

    Anyway that relationship is over. He called me and said that he couldn’t continue and mehn I understood and agreed with him. I felt battered by that relationship. Don’t know why I wasn’t the one that walked away and said to hell with him first.

  30. Fancy Fancy

    May 12, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    I don’t know who does the silent treatment thing more…but it is definately a sign of emotional maturity.Sure sometimes you want to steer clear of the offending party and you need space,but when it becomes a tool to hurt and punish…My ex was pretty fond of this….at first I figured we were just trying to adjust to different temperaments and all..but it became a consistent pattern up to the extent that after a quarell,I would get the silent treatment for days and then the relationship would be called of,yes it was that bad.After a couple of months of hastily ending the relationship we would be back together again.After our final break up the next time we spoke and he was telling me about his new girl,my first advice was be careful how you treat her during conflict,don’t kick her to the curb just because you’re mad.Hopefully he’ll be able to change that part of him.

  31. Fancy Fancy

    May 12, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    oops emotional immaturity i meant to say*

  32. Peaches77

    May 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Silent treatment is about power. Naaa never going to allow any one hold that kinda power over me. Me I call it malice and it’s too funny coming from a man.
    It’s akin to a man refusing his wife’s meal because they quarreled. Tell you what, the day the woman stops panicking, he either sits up or he begins to imagine you are busy elsewhere.
    So never allow anyone hold that Kinda power over you from day 1

  33. Easy n Gentle

    May 12, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    My exes swear i give them the silent treatment. I grew up in a home where your feelings didn’t count, if you’re upset or displeased by something, it is your business. Whatever my parents wanted fly. So over time, I just learnt to bottle it up and adjust around whatever I didn’t like. If I can’t adjust, I steer clear off it totally. In my relationships and friendships, if you displease me, I go quiet. My male friends have a way of getting past that, perhaps do something funny and it’s all over. The women however start to withdraw, as if you’ve rejected them and it’s downward spiral from there. Only if any of them had asked me what was wrong, I’d gladly have told them. Like I said, baggage from childhood, I won’t whine and complain especially when not asked. Just adjust or avoid. So sometimes ladies, just ask. Not everyone is giving you the classic “silent treatment”

  34. Tracy

    May 12, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Silent treatment is all about power. Whatever you do, resist that power/control and the person will likely stop. They derive their validity from you being hurt. Even if you are hurt, don’t show it too much. If you were wrong, apologize and keep it moving. But don’t let the person have an orgasm on your sorrows.

  35. ogeAdiro

    May 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I don’t mind the silent treatment as much, as long as I don’t feel like the other person is being manipulative. Different people deal with hurt differently. I’d rather that than verbal insults or violence. But if they’re being manipulative or they have mental issues that you can’t handle, just free them.

  36. OJ

    May 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    [email protected]…so you’ve been following me upandown, why nah??? cant i make my comments on a social platform again nii? i’m just saying it as it is in real world baby, pls dont take it personal, Jesus loves you!!!

    • Dee

      May 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      See this one. Mumu OJ. You’re lucky fisayo is even answering you. The rest of us just prefer to ignore your antics.

      I really don’t like silent treatment. My mother is the queen of it and I wish she would just stop! Better to talk it out

  37. I fell in love with...

    May 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    The silent treatment is an unfortunate thing. I grew up in a household where the silent treatment was a preferred form of punishment and boy did it work. It brings you under the person’s control and it is a form of psychological torture. The silent treatment is a deliberate and willful act intended to inflict some serious pain to someone. It’s also very immature and shows a lower level of emotional intelligence. As adults, the best thing to do is to discuss the issue and possible resolution with the person (adult or child).

  38. Tosin

    May 13, 2017 at 8:59 am

    The Kosi girl’s guy is strong. I’m still speechless on his behalf.

    Now add the woman logic in some of these comments, more reason to just be silent. The whole thing tire person.

  39. marvel

    May 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

    oh boy!!! how I suffered this same shit in a previous ‘relationship’. it came at a very terrible time when I had just finished youth service and there was no job. imagine been home all day, idle and all I could feel was the pain and hurt. the worst part was, I didn’t even know I was a victim of this cos I was sincerely worried, thinking something terrible had happened to him. thank God I eventually got a job that was super indulging. boy, was I glad!!! he calls sometimes to say he’s working things out for both of us, and I was even shocked when he tried to blame me for the silence without any explanation. anyways, am glad am passed that. it definitely cos I threw myself at him.

  40. memebaby

    May 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I am talker….if I am mad.. I let whoever know asap. if I need space I let them know.. a lover ? I will let him know I’m mad and we try to resolve it.. I do not have time for all these games.. if I need space .. I let him know and dass it!.. its all about communication for me..
    now I am talking to this tall glass of dark chocolate.. he told me whenever he’s mad he just goes mute… aka silent treatment.. he felt proud speaking about it.. I told him flat out that its immature and if that’s the way he deals with issues then I cannot drink this chocolate lol..
    sha we are still talking.. like if someone has told you this about themselves , do you still spend time with this type of man ? hmmm

  41. BC

    May 14, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    My mother is giving me the silent treatment now and its her preferred way of dealing with any emotionally complicated issue. Its been going on 2 weeks now. Early this year, I came across a book “Adult Children Of Emotionally Immature Parents” and it describes my mother to a tee. I am finally begining to understand how her immature behavior has impacted me adversely all my life. Today is Mothers Day and I will not be calling her. I never felt safe with her as a child. I told her frankly one time that she was not a good mother. It hurt her pretty bad but that was the truth. So many things have validated that opinion I have of her. She is a 50 something year old child. I actually feel sorry for her. But the silent treatment she is doling this time around might just be the nail in the coffin that severs our relationship for good. I think maybe I need that. God knows I have tried to be a good daughter.

    • Mayowa

      May 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Hello BC, you can always be the emotional mature child. Ask God for the grace to keep being a good daughter, He will help you.
      Keep being amazing.

  42. Papacy

    May 14, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Silent treatment is the same as malice to me o. It’s just like assuming you have the sole ability to ignore your partner. Which is untrue. Silence only breeds distance then ego abi pride follows. How on earth is that effective or healthy?

  43. Tessa Doghor

    May 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Drama, drama, drama
    The most important thing is to be on the same page
    I come from a large family and when you throw tantrums you lose out
    No tantrums, just communicate clearly

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