The Surprising Way Your Man Hurts You ... Without Saying A Word

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Your Man's Silent Treatment Can Damage Your Relationship

His 'silence' speaks volumes!

Do you often feel like you're walking on egg shells with your man? His irritable mood may not even be about you or your relationship, he could just be brooding in silence about frustrations at the office. But it feels like it's about you. 

When he's upset with you, it's not that he flips out on you. Instead, he gives you the silent treatment. He may not say a word, but you can you can feel his anger, resentment, disapproval, agitation dominating the room ... and he's aiming it at you. It's like his love for you has vanished in an instant, and has been replaced with passive-aggressive scary stuff.

Or perhaps, even worse, is when you can’t feel him at all. It’s like a wall goes up, and you feel nothing from him. Nothing. And this leaves you wondering what he's truly thinking and feeling. And that uncertainty feels terrible.

Know you are not alone, and NOT being overly sensitive. Many women (and men) that I work with complain about how hurtful or scary it feels in these kinds of situations.

So, what's going on? Why does your man’s silence feel so devastating? 
Emotion is an energy, a palpable one. It’s that simple. Be it frustration, anxiety, anger, sadness, or even love, each emotion is an energy of a very specific vibration that your man gives off, even when he isn’t aware of it.

Think about it: His 'sadness energy' feels thick and heavy to you, it feels stuck … like a river dammed upstream. Frustration, on the other hand, at least moves, though a bit chaotically and with more of an edge to it. Anger is sharper still, usually pointed and lunging at you like a sword. (FYI: If you’re an empath, you’ll feel other people's emotional energy way more intensely in your body than your friends will.)

Now, love, as an energy, feels warm, comforting, swirling ... like the heat rising from your morning cup of coffee. His love connects and embraces you. It pulls you in like an invisible magnet, even when he doesn't say a word. Love is a real energy, a very magnetic kind of energy. And, it hurts when that warm connected feeling disappears and is replaced by a cold, cutting, or frightening one.

He may even think that keeping his feeling to himself (just staying quiet) is protecting you. 

But actually, not expressing emotional energy can be as hurtful (or even more so) than letting it all rush out. 

If your guy is uncomfortable feeling his emotions, and tries to ignore them, he actually walls them off, sealing them shut in some small attic space in his body. When he does this, you won’t feel him. You’ll feel nothing at all radiating from him to you … things between you will just feel cold, empty and hollow. And, the more your man lives in his head, instead of his heart, the more he'll feel like this to you.

If he is a feeler, but not strong at communicating with you about his feelings, this is when his emotions will build up like a pressure cooker in his body because they have nowhere else to go. It is in these situations that you feel his emotions from across the room. You may become overwhelmed with negativity, and could even start freaking out about whether your relationship is doomed.

So, when your man gives you the silent treatment, here's what to do to protect yourself (and your relationship): 

1. Don’t assume his mood is about you. 
Quit making up stories in your head about what's going on. Simply ask him. Making up stories only works you up and creates more drama between you and your guy. Just ask if there is anything he's upset about that relates to you. That way you’ll know, one way or the other. Regardless, let him know that you're open to talking about it when he's ready.  

2. Give him space to feel his feelings before pressing him to talk about it. 
Men and women really do communicate differently. For instance, notable relationship expert John Gottman PhD tells us that men typically stonewall more, and women tend to criticize more. Stonewalling includes the icy silence men give us (the very thing we're talking about now). So, the last thing we women should do is to jump to criticism.

Granted, both behaviors are considered among the four worse things (along with contempt and defensiveness) we can do in our relationships. Meeting fire with fire leaves everyone burned. So, give him space and time to feel his emotions and to process them. Then, let him know you're sincerely open to listening when he's ready to talk.  

3. Agree on the time and place to have a conversation.
Set the conversation up for success by agreeing to a timeframe, as well as a suitable location, to talk about difficult topics. Pushing for a conversation that exact moment or 15 minutes before one of you heads out the door to work is not the best idea. Nor is initiating a conversation in a busy coffee shop if the topic is private. Ask for a set time and place. He may even be able to tell you, “Give me an hour, and we can talk then.”  

4. Establish better energetic boundaries yourself.
If you regularly let his energy infect your mood, it will literally tear away at your own health as much as your own stress does. Of course, setting better energetic boundaries is easier said than done. Here are a few helpful strategies for taking care of yourself when his energy turns cold, or withdraws entirely during his silence: 

  • Practice more constructive self-talk. “Wow, I’m taking on his emotions, and I need to attend to my own emotional needs right now.”
  • Change activities to shift your energy. Take a walk, listen to music, or do something else to physically move the energy through your body, so that it doesn’t sit there festering.
  • Imagine yourself in a soothing setting. Imagery works almost as well as the real thing (the brain responds similarly on a fMRI), so imagine being at the ocean, or in the mountains, or wherever you feel tranquil. Use all of your senses in your imagery, not just visualization. Feel the warm sand, hear the call of seagulls, smell the scent of eucalyptus, taste the salt on your lips. Furthermore, directly imagine what you want your personal energy field to look like. For example, in Qigong, it is common to envision a violet egg of energy rimmed in sparkling gold, soothing and protecting your field.

Each of these tools improves your own energy field, using a slightly different pathway to achieve it.

The next time your man hurts you with his silence, remember there are real reasons you feel so badly, especially if this has become a usual thing you feel in him. Of course you want to communicate with him in a way that will help the situation and not make it worse. But, just as important, take care of yourself and do what you can to consciously shift your own emotional field of energy, because no one else can (or should) do that for you.

Valerie Varan, MS, LPC, NCC is a licensed professional counselor practicing holistically in the Denver area of Colorado. She is also the author of Living in a Quantum Reality: Using Quantum Physics and Psychology to Embrace Your Higher Consciousness. For more information, check out her website at ValerieVaran.com and follow her on Facebook.