Have been hearing a lot about this kind of thing lately. Horrifically, this is a behavior found among those who from one side of their mouths profess Christ, while from the other show the truth of their ever abiding wickedness through their refusal to communicate as godly men and women, choosing instead to try to control those who call them to any semblance of normalcy or godliness with their silent disdain and rebellion against ever having to live rightly. As evil grows daily, it seems this one does as well. So, for everyone who has to or has had to deal with these emotional fetuses….And in these last days it seems there are many who have had to and still do….please know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it is that you are dealing with. And for those who use this tactic to control their environment, their “loved” ones, and those closest to them, make no mistake, this is not how any Christian, twice born behaves….
One of the more frustrating passive-aggressive tactics to those on the receiving end is “the silent treatment”.
The silent treatment is an abusive method of control, punishment, avoidance, or disempowerment (sometimes these four types overlap, sometimes not) that is a favorite tactic of narcissists, and especially those who have a hard time with impulse control, that is, those with more infantile tendencies.
The silent treatment can be used as an abusive tactic that is the adult narcissist’s version of a child’s “holding my breath until you give in and give me what I want.”
It is one of the most frustrating tactics and can provoke even the most patient person. Depending on the method used, it can make the person on the receiving end feel powerless, invisible, intimidated, insignificant, “dissed”, looked down on, disapproved of, guilty, frustrated, and even angry.
Let’s start with some four common examples of silent treatment (there are more):
1.When the abuser (and make no mistake–the silent treatment is a form of abuse) gives you the cold-shoulder and refuses to speak to you for a period of time because you refuse to acquiesce to his or her demands. This is manipulating you with silence.
An example might be your mom wants you to come for the holidays and you can’t this year, so she either refuses to take your phone calls or she speaks to you in curt, clipped sentences. Or you confront your spouse on an issue that needs to be addressed, and they suddenly go silent on you, act like you are not even speaking and then find a reason to escape the situation, and upon return they either act like you have said nothing to them, or continue giving you the silent treatment.
2. When the abuser gives you the cold-shoulder and refuses to speak to you because you’ve said/done something that bothers them and will not accept any reasonably sincere apology. This is punishing you with silence.
An example might be if you were late to meet a friend at the theater and you missed the event because of your tardiness. Even if you have a legitimate reason, you are generally on time, and you apologize profusely your silent-treatment might include the cold-shoulder from your friend or answering you in curt, clipped sentences while refusing or barely acknowledging your apology.
3.When the abuser gives you the cold-shoulder and refuses to speak to you because you’ve said/done something that bothers them and will not even tell you what it is that you’ve said or done, leaving you powerless to make an apology. This is punishing and disempowering you with silence.
Your spouse refuses to speak to you or stomps around answering you in curt, clipped one-word answers. When you ask what’s bothering them, they say: If you cared about me/loved me, you’d know what’s bothering me. If you cared you’d apologize for what you did. Or they say nothing at all.
4. When the abuser completely ignores what you’ve said, changing the subject or just staying silent to a question or statement that generally requires a response.This is disempowering you and “one-upping” you with silence.
It’s a favorite tactic of particularly infantile narcissists.
The silent treatment is often a sign of an immature or otherwise dysfunctional emotional life. A life never regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is completely contrary to how God says we are to work out our problems. It is completely the opposite of love. It is as much an act of hatred as lying is. It is the hallmark of a person who pretends to want to resolve issues, problems or conflicts, but who, by the very fact that their response guarantees no resolution, demonstrates a complete self centeredness and hatred for the one they use this infantile tactic on. This is the action of a raging controller. This is the action of a reprobate. These people will talk with everyone except the one person they should be engaging and communicating with…you.
For those in or getting out of a romantic relationship with a self-absorbed individual, the silent treatment can feel like a punishment worse than death.
The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse typically employed by people with narcissistic tendencies. It is designed to (1) place the abuser in a position of control; (2) silence the target’s attempts at assertion; (3) avoid conflict resolution/personal responsibility/compromise; or (4) punish the target for a perceived ego slight. Often, the result of the silent treatment is exactly what the person with narcissism wishes to create: a reaction from the target and a sense of control.
The target, who may possess high emotional intelligence, empathy, conflict-resolution skills, and the ability to compromise, may work diligently to respond to the deafening silence. He or she may frequently reach out to the narcissistic person in person, via email, phone, or text to resolve greatly inflated misunderstandings, and is typically met with continued disdain, contempt, and silence. Essentially, the narcissistic person’s message is one of extreme disapproval to the degree that the silence renders the target so insignificant that he or she is ignored and becomes more or less nonexistent in the eyes of the narcissistic person.
The emotional maturity of a typical narcissistic person is akin to a 5-year-old child who pouts and refuses to play with a friend in the sandbox because the friend wants to share the pail and shovel. The 5-year-old refuses to talk with the friend and angrily storms off to play on the jungle gym with someone else. The bewildered child with the pail and shovel may feel confused, rejected, and may not understand why they can’t share. He or she just wanted to build a sand castle together.
Because no further communication can ensue unless and until the narcissistic person decides to give the target another chance, a false sense of control is nurtured. Often, the narcissistic person will demand that the target apologize for whatever inflated transgression the target may have committed (the target may have set a limit, required a form of accountability, or asserted a boundary against emotional abuse, for example). Sometimes, a person with narcissistic qualities will decide to abandon and discard the relationship when his or her partner presents an ultimatum or attempts resolution requiring compromise. The person with narcissism may prefer to end the relationship and start over rather than be in a position of potential abandonment. The 5-year-old storms off and plays with a new, innocent target on the swing set. It is too much work to share the pail and shovel. Instead of communicating with the one they should be talking to, such as the husband, the wife, a friend…they will talk to someone else (triangulation is a favorite tactic, as is “divide and conquer”), playing the part of the one wounded, while they are the ones who wound. Some even stooping to misrepresenting the situation all together, presenting themselves as victims, misunderstood, “abused” by your “ultimatums” because they are fundamentally incapable of accepting responsibility, boundaries, or any such parts of normal life, thinking they are somehow “above” that or the exclusion to the norm. These other behaviors are part and parcel with the “silent treatment” abuse of a person who is a narcissist. It is not, however, any behavior that is part and parcel of one who is truly regenerated in Christ.
If they say they love you, and yet this is how they treat you…their actions obviously belie their proclamation. The silent treatment is to control, manipulate, and belittle you. It is used to escape having to handle life as an normal adult. They employ it so as to never have to put their money where their mouth is so to (not) speak. It is how children try to get away from being held responsible for their own actions and sin (let’s punish mommy and daddy and make them feel bad and they will stop making me do anything I don’t want to do). It is the relationship choice of a full grown brat, and a narcissistic one at that. It goes against every instruction in the word of God regarding how to grow in godliness and in godly communication. It is utterly rebellious and hateful. It is a most demonic form of abuse as it’s cowardice knows no rival, and it’s destructiveness is an A bomb to any relationship. And who does God say seeks to destroy? Right. Exactly.
Do not accept emotional abuse. Know that you are worthy of a healthy relationship with someone who can communicate in a mature, emotionally healthy manner. Play with someone who has the ability to share the shovel and pail. You deserve no less. And in a professing Christian home there is no excuse for this kind of behavior, it is wicked, sinful and more akin to Satan than having any representation of Christ, whatsoever.
If you or someone you know uses this demonic tactic to control the ones they say they love, be assured there is no rebirth present there. However, God has provided a way of salvation, a way of deliverance from the satanic bonds that bind you in this. Living in this way is sinful. And I John tells us that no one who is in Christ lives in habitual sin. No one. How about you stop giving the silent treatment to the gift of REAL regeneration? You can be free, a new creation with a new Father. This Father offers you life everlasting. The father you have now only promises you your emotional payoff du jour, but in reality offers you death and everlasting Hell. You are living as an arm of the devil when you do this behavior. As you destroy anything good in your relationships. And if married and behaving this way, it is even more heinous and rebellious against how God commands you to live in the relationship He created, HE gave to you to represent Him in. So go home and talk WITH your spouse. Get off the phone, shut down the emails, stop talking to everyone you should not be talking to and talk with the one you should be communicating with, the one who you have treated in this manner. Your spouse, your friend, and always the Lord. For as you treat them, you treat Him. Repent. Do it now, while God still graciously gives you one more breath. He may give you more. Use them to build godly communication with those you proclaim love to. Before it is too late. Or do you not realize that you have been overplaying your card and one day you, yourself will render it ineffective to the one you are attempting to control with your abusive silence and stonewalling?
And then there is God who will not let your wickedness go unpunished. While you may have no genuine care for those you profess to love, God does!
Jesus cares for and protects and defends His own, His Bride, fiercely. God will not let the wicked go unpunished. And anyone who abuses God’s child shall indeed reap what they have sown. Reprobates all, they are ravenous wolves who do not sleep until they have accomplished their evil deeds, hurting those in their paths who have shown them their own sin and responsibility in that sin. God will have just vengeance for the abuse of His dear children….and no silent treatment toward Him shall ever control that outcome. No pretending innocence will ever deceive a high and holy God who will not tolerate the sinner forever, but will rightly throw them into the Lake of Fire for eternity. Abusers be warned.
Luke 17:1-3…He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.…
Mark 9:42…”If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.
I John 1:5-10..This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
John 3:21…But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
1 John 2:4…Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
1 John 4:20…Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Proverbs 15:12…A scorner loves not one that reproves him: neither will he go to the wise.
Psalm 18:27…You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
Proverbs 21:4…Haughty eyes and a proud heart– the unplowed field of the wicked–produce sin.
Proverbs 6:-19…There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
John 8:44….You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.