Dealing with the silent treatment

Women have a lot of weapons in their emotional arsenal. One of the biggies is so common that we coined a term for it: The Silent Treatment. This is what women use in relationships to manipulate or punish. In this article, I will be discussing that silence and make some suggestions on what you can do about it.

Of course, I can’t even start this article without suggesting that you sit down and ask yourself what you are doing with this kind of woman to begin with. We deal in some pretty harsh reality around here and the reality is that the silent treatment is a weapon of the personality disordered, in this case, most commonly with narcissists. If you find that hard to believe, please consult Google with a query on the silent treatment. You will find that some of what you’re about to read isn’t particularly new, even if my suggestions on how to handle it are.

If you have watched An Ear for Men YouTube channel for any length of time you know I don’t make recommendations to do anything else with personality disorders other than to put them in your rear view mirror. Kick them to the curb. Say hasta la vista, baby. Show yourself that you have some standards and 86 her silent ass so she can go manipulate someone else. After all, if you don’t have standards, you have no right to expectations. If you lay down like a doormat then it’s unseemly to complain about a woman wiping her shoes on you.

That being said, we are not done talking about the silent treatment. What I have to say here is not about curing her of that kind of behavior, but I do acknowledge that a lot of men are from Missouri on everything to do with women. For those of you who don’t know, Missouri is the Show Me State. And where it concerns women, many men have to be shown, sometimes a few dozen times.

If you follow my suggestions here, what you will be shown is that a woman who chronically uses the silent treatment is an emotional pathogen, willing to go out of her way to show you that you don’t exist, to punish you by erasing you till she hears what she wants to hear, or gets you to do what she wants you to do. In the realm of moral poverty, she is sleeping under a bridge. But I am also going to point out that women who weaponize their silence aren’t really deviating from the norm that much in the long run.

If you are familiar with my work, you know I talk frequently about how women control men by doling out attention and approval in sparing amounts. I mentioned in one how the word tantalizing is taken from the story of Tantalus, who was sentenced by the gods to unbearable thirst and hunger with fruit and water ever just out of reach. And that is how women train men, by tantalizing them, with sex, with approval, even with communication. And they do it because it works.

Even if this is the first article of mine you have read, you already know about this. You’ve seen it in women’s code of conduct with men that put males in the role of pursuer. It’s why women expect you to be the one to call, the one to take initiative for dates, the one to pay, the one to work hardest and the one to take the physical and emotional risks. And they don’t just expect to be serviced, they expect to be impressed. For your efforts, you are either rewarded with her presence and attention — or rejected. That makes women sound pretty shitty till you consider how easily, even eagerly, most men are trained using those very techniques.

Blaming women and pointing fingers at them for the way they control men, whether it is with the silent treatment or something else, is like blaming a hawk for swooping down and snatching up a careless, inattentive field mouse. The silent treatment is just exaggerated femininity. The only difference between it and everything else she does to control is that the punishment aspect is more intense and overt. And it is a more direct betrayal of whatever loyalty she pretends to have to a relationship.

Like I said at the start, you have a number of ways that you can choose to deal with this, all of which should include her passing through the door marked exit, but for the sake of staying true to the intent of this article, I will pick three ways of coping that fulfill your need to see proof.

The first is what I call the Shives Shuffle. Figure out what she is pissed about and start apologizing. Remember, at her level of operation, groveling is good. You do, however, want to figure out what she is really mad about. If you gush apologetic about how your music collection doesn’t have enough female artists, but she’s really pissed about how you used a questionable pronoun at a party in front of her friends, then you will just be giving her another reminder of how little she thinks of you. A little more grist for the mill.

However, if you are unclear about the reason for her silent tantrum du jour, the best policy is to roll the dice on your best guess. Remember, she is giving you the silent treatment, so you can’t ask. Since you are willing to try to solve problems with someone treating you like dirt, then just bear with it. But please make sure you are positioned physically lower than her, your knees are handy for that. Station yourself so that it makes it easy for her to look down her nose at you. Then start your begging with something extra servile like, “I’m just a man. I screw up so much that I have a hard time knowing when my faults have hurt you. Just know I am deeply sorry for however I offended and I apologize for being too stupid and clueless to even know what I did.” After all, if you have no self-respect, no point in holding back, right?

If you need further tips on this, I suggest subbing to Steve Shives’ channel and start emulating what you see. The proof you will get from doing the shuffle is that you will see her gloat over how successful she is in making you crawl and whine like a puppy for her forgiveness, whether you did anything wrong or not. If that is not proof that you are with the wrong person, then you need a lot more than this article.

The second possibility for how to handle this may be with what I call the Tat-for-Tits. This one is simple, even if it is a little stupid. Just cross your arms, stick your lower lip out a little and turn your head away from her with your nose slightly in the air. Feel the room fill with dead silence. Now, know this. While you are mirroring her narcissistic game playing, two things are happening. One, you are desperately hoping that your silence will have the same negative effect on her that her silence is having on you. And two, you are desperately hoping for that in vain.

Remember, we live in a world where women can get attention and approval without so much as lifting a finger. Men have to work for it. Those who don’t know any better, work too hard. She knows, perhaps much better than you ever will, that your attempt to out-silence her is just another pathetic try at getting her to pay attention to you. It is a game she had the skills to outplay you at before she was five. She knows you are not ignoring her. In fact, she knows fully well that you are obsessing on her much more than you were before she went silent. The Tat-for-Tits puts her just as large and in charge as the Shives Shuffle.

Both the Shives Shuffle and Tat-for-Tits are humiliating options, but if you start with Tat-for-Tits you may end up having to resort to the Shives Shuffle when you figure out it isn’t working. Wham! Double humiliation! On the bright side, that double dose of rubbing your own nose into the pile of poop on the carpet will give any Missouri resident all they need to say, “OK, you showed me.” And if you need more proof than a woman who drinks your personal humiliation like fine wine….

Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And so, as you expect, there is a third option. It is the most difficult and least likely of options for men in relationships because of the internal forces that lead so many men to the Shives Shuffle and Tat-for-Tits. In fact, to explain why option three makes sense I have to go back to something I have said over and over again in my videos and articles. If you want to coexist with a woman in a way that does not result in making you miserable or crazy, you have to either (A) Find a unicorn (best of luck to you) or (B) Be prepared to choose your self-respect over her childishness any day of the week. In fact, you need to be prepared to choose your self-respect over your respect for her, which should be easy if she is shutting you out to get her way. At any rate, I call this third and final option by a simple name: The values-based approach.

Now, let me ask you something. What do your values say about your being in a relationship with someone that is not in a relationship with you? What do your values say about loyalty and work and communication that resides on a one-way street? Now, I am not asking what you would like to believe your values are. I am asking you what they really are, in practice. Because I have news for you. If you have a history of the Shives Shuffle, Tat-for-Tits or all the variables in-between, then your self-respect isn’t any more of a real value to you than the level of respect she shows you when she refuses to even acknowledge you exist.

To be clear, I am not saying that you have to exit the relationship to have or hold on to your values. But I am saying that stepping up and taking care of what you can do for yourself is probably going to send her packing.

Don’t worry, you’ll thank me later.

The point here is that the moment a woman goes into silent mode, she is telling you that she has effectively checked out of the relationship. There is no communication and no willingness. So, there is, at least for the moment, no real relationship. In my mind, that means any obligations you have to her are off the table. All of them. She has cast aside her obligations to you, and you are not morally bound to keep up your end of the deal. In fact, if self-respect is a guiding value in your life, you are morally obligated to focus all of your attention on yourself and to drop the dead weight in your life. Obviously, if you have children, you still have obligations to them, but you don’t owe anything to anyone who has just exited your relationship. You don’t owe it to them to tell them where you are going, or even that you are going somewhere. In short, you don’t own them shit.

This, of course, is where it gets tricky. Just blowing out in a huff can be just a really elaborate expression of the Tat-for-Tits maneuver. You could find yourself at your favorite fishing hole or other select recreational spot, feeling completely miserable. You can do that in your own living room. The trick here is in understanding the sometimes very fine line between asserting your values and just playing tit for tat in the abandonment game. But it is an incredibly important distinction to make.

Generally speaking, the abandonment game is one you can’t win. On the flip side of that is the reality that the values game is one you can’t lose unless you shoot yourself in the foot by forsaking your values. It all comes down to the same basic crossroads that I will have to address every time I get a request for a video in how to handle this problem or that problem that Crazy Bitches bring to relationships with men. Your only hope is in your willingness to open the door and say, “Stop that nonsense or get out.” Which is to say the answers should be in your hands, not hers.

Sorry, I don’t have easy answers and don’t believe they exist, which is why I stress in almost every video I make that values-based living requires your willingness to let her go. If you are like most men, you will experience pangs of distress and a desire, sometimes overwhelming, to take the initiative to restore balance to your relationship.

Hear this. Anything you do has the opposite effect of bringing balance. You can Shives or Tat your way into the illusion of balance, but that is all it is, an illusion. And underneath it is the reality that you have once again tossed your self-respect under the bus and caved into her manipulation. So take my advice and take the pain.

You see, the silent treatment’s only purpose is to inflict sufficient emotional harm on you in order to bring compliance. Matter of fact, I think I will say that again. The silent treatment’s only purpose is to inflict sufficient emotional harm on you to bring compliance. Everything else is bullshit. If she tells you she was too upset to talk, it’s bullshit. If she says she was too afraid to talk, and she will almost certainly pull something like that, it’s bullshit.

Everyone understands the need here and there to take a few minutes to compose yourself or to settle down before trying to resolve a dispute. That can be a healthy part of addressing problems in a relationship. But when it stretches past the point a person reasonably needs to regroup, then it ain’t nothing but a ploy. Don’t make the mistake of treating it like anything else.

Now, provided she does not pack her bags, you will be presented an opportunity to put your actions into words, with her listening. She will be the one to create that opportunity right about the time that she figures out that the silent treatment is resulting in recreation for you rather than remorse. And I want you to note the importance of this crossroad for her. This is where she may, and I say may very carefully, be showing you that she wants to resolve the problem or she shows you that she won’t live with anything less than a lapdog. In the case of the latter, she is doing you a favor. If she opts for the former, you may have an opportunity.

Here’s what you say when she opens the door to conversation again. “When you go silent, you are checking out. That is when I will check out, too. Every obligation I have to you is off the table. This isn’t negotiable.” Then shut up. I mean seriously, shut up. Don’t explain it further. Don’t defend it and don’t argue with her when she lies and says you don’t understand. Or when she says that she was too angry, afraid or whatever other bullshit excuse she has for not talking to you. No matter where she tries to stray the conversation and take you off balance, and she will try valiantly to do just that, just quietly stand on what you have already said.

If she leaves, you win. If she stays and starts owning her shit, you win that round. If she stays and manages to put you back into a corner, it is only because you threw your values under the bus, and is, in that case, your own fault.

Hopefully, you get the picture here. Winning conflicts with a manipulative loser of a woman isn’t about developing a strategy and then seeing if it works. It’s just about you not being a doormat. If you are not a doormat, then you won before she ever opened her mouth, or before she went silent as the case may be.

Cover image is from Wikimedia Commons.

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