How is NC different from "silent treatment"

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VeryUncertain

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How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« on: May 12, 2017, 01:17:57 PM »
Lots of internet discussion and articles indicate that the "silent treatment" is a form of abusive control.

How is going No-Contact with someone different from giving them the silent treatment?  Why is this acceptable?

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notrightinthehead

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 01:30:21 PM »
Good point. When my NPDh gives me the silent treatment, he is very much present. He moves around me and pretends I am air. He does not reply when I say something to him and does not initiate any conversation. Strangely he still eats my food and expect me to wash his dishes. He does it to punish me for a transgression.
No contact means, I am not present. I am physically absent, I do not contact him, I don't expect anything from him. I have simply removed myself from his life. This might hurt him but is not abusive.
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kazzak

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 01:54:24 PM »
Good example. I'd encourage you to read the resources on these here

Silent Treatment
http://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/the-silent-treatment

No Contact
http://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/no-contact

One of the quotes from the NC page is

Quote
There is a fundamental difference between No contact (NC) and Silent treatment (ST), and it's a big one:

The purpose of NC is to disengage from the toxic person or situation. That means your intention is to disengage emotionally, mentally and physically. When you go NC, you take your focus off the toxic person and refocus onto yourself: your own life and your family of choice.

Of course, since going NC is a radical step, we usually don't do it perfectly at first. We may feel guilty, or think of the toxic person with anger. But our intention is to pull away from the dysfunctional system that we were trapped in, the relationship with the toxic person or the toxic Family of Origin. In other words, NC is a step toward mental health. It's a step toward reclaiming our own lives and our psychological integrity.

By contrast, when someone does the Silent Treatment (ST), they are acting from within their dysfunction. ST is a toxic act, and it is meant to be toxic. Someone doing ST is very much engaged emotionally and mentally with the person who's the object of their ST. The purpose of ST is to "get to" the other person, to get a rise out of them, and generally to reinforce their connection with the person doing ST, albeit in a negative, creepy way.

For myself it is about the dysfunction. No contact is about healthy boundaries, protecting myself. ST has a different (dysfunctional) motive to abuse the other person.

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Afterthefox

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 01:59:40 PM »
ST is abuse - an offensive strategy used to manipulate people, usually in collaboration with a proxy.
NC is a defensive measure - a strategy employed to protect oneself from abuse.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 02:17:08 PM by Afterthefox »
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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VeryUncertain

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2017, 02:00:38 PM »
How about an adult child?  If NPDm refuses to respond to me because she's decided that what I have to say is too hurtful, is that NC or Silent Treatment?  I want to discuss what I want or need, and she refuses to continue the conversation.  She wishes to continue the relationship as it was, and I want a change.

Trying to break into NPDm's shell of perpetual entitlement, wanting her to recognize that I have feelings and needs, IS HURTFUL to NPDm.  But NOT doing so is hurtful to me.  I had been putting my needs aside until now, and the change in me is intolerable to NPDm.  So she won't speak to me.  Is this the silent treatment, or her going NC with me? 

I have a hard time seeing the difference, because her "NC" is hurtful to me.  It implies that my presence and desire to discuss my feelings is so hurtful to her that I am no longer welcome in her life.


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Afterthefox

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2017, 02:15:44 PM »
She has chosen to ignore perfectly reasonable communication, so it is silent treatment. A passive aggressive abandonment strategy to avoid acknowledging your needs, and to draw the focus to her and her 'weighty' silence.

Going NC for a while, and stepping away from a relationship that is not reciprocal usually brings some clarity. In my own experience, I went NC with my BPDf while he was giving me ST because I felt he had given me ST one time too many. I finally resolved that it was unacceptable behaviour and I accepted that there was no possible way to address our issues if he was not willing to communicate reasonably. I turned the focus onto myself, my needs, my principles, and the values I require in my relationships. What I tolerate and what I do not.

It turns out that much of his behaviour is not compatible with what I now tolerate. But I had to create the distance first to truly discover that and, most significantly, to accept it. Perhaps you should be asking why you tolerate her ST, and why you still seek change in her when you know that she is unwilling, and perhaps, incapable.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 02:38:03 PM by Afterthefox »
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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kazzak

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 02:18:42 PM »

I have a hard time seeing the difference,

You have to look at your own behavior. Is it your abusive communication causing her to not communicate? If you are swearing and calling her names, then that would be no contact and you being abusive. If you want to have healthy communication about your relationship, and she just wants to ignore your needs and insists the relationship should be the same ... that is silent treatment.

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VeryUncertain

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2017, 02:35:16 PM »
She has chosen to ignore perfectly reasonable communication, so it is silent treatment. A passive aggressive, abandonment strategy to avoid acknowledging your needs, and to draw the focus to her and her 'weighty' silence.

In my experience, the PDs I know are always tossing people aside.  Whenever someone catches on to them, they decide that person is evil and intolerable and cut the person out of their life, so they're constantly "going NC" with lots of people who they (the PDs) find hurtful.

So isn't NC = ST ? Isn't the mature response to continue distasteful conversations with people you value? NC is a focus on yourself and your own needs. 

The problem is that the PDs seem to have no boundaries in trying to defend their perspective, and therefore they lie and employ illogical and false rhetoric and extreme histrionic behaviors.  They are completely unwilling or unable to be convinced by reason.

Perhaps you should be asking yourself why you seek change in her, when you know that she is unwilling, and perhaps, incapable.

I want the change because it is reasonable and just and fair.  I'm even willing to discuss it reasonably and possibly be convinced otherwise.  Maybe that's the difference?

If you are swearing and calling her names...

I wouldn't say name calling is a prerequisite. Though I did get worked up sometimes, I have not used swears or name calling, and I set up a joint therapy session with a highly qualified therapist. NPDm quit, declaring the sessions intolerable.  The therapist had a final private session with each of us and told me she is "blocked" and needs to work on herself, and that I'm "not wrong or bad" for wanting affirmation.

However, I don't think that settles the NC=ST issue.  I'm sure she claims to be NC with me now.

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kazzak

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2017, 02:54:58 PM »
I wouldn't say it is a prerequisite either. I was just giving you a general example of what would be abusive behavior.

It seems clear it is ST. It doesn't matter what the PD calls it. It's like trying to get a PD to admit they are wrong. Not going to happen, but doesn't change the reality of the abusive behavior.

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Fightsong

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2017, 02:59:29 PM »
Sounds like You asked her reasonably to consider your feelings and your needs. She is unwilling to do so.  thats not a healthy way of responding is it? That's the difference. You can reasonably choose to have no contact with someone who consistently declines to consider your needs and feelings. If she was a neighbour or colleague this might seem more obvious. So it is allowed. It is allowed to expect (and require) people you share your life with to consider your needs. Remember that 'normal' people generally get this / and the whole reciprocal needs thing, spontaneously and intuitively. You sound like you are really hurt and angry by her consistent inability to 'see' you. It sucks that does. Really sucks.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 03:01:24 PM by Fightsong »

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VeryUncertain

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2017, 03:08:11 PM »
Ok, I think I'm hearing that it's NC if you'd be willing to continue the conversation on a mutually reasonable basis, but it's ST if you're refusing dialog in order to control the relationship without consideration of the other person.

Which would be ST in my case.

I guess I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the "I can't change it" part of the 3 Cs.  I want to fix things.  :(

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all4peace

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2017, 03:39:18 PM »
Here's how I see it:

ST: Trying to punish someone else. I see it as a wordless temper tantrum.
NC: Trying to protect yourself. You genuinely don't want contact, and aren't trying to be NC to force contact. It's a place of quiet and healing.

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kazzak

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 03:53:04 PM »
I guess I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the "I can't change it" part of the 3 Cs.  I want to fix things.  :(

I can't change it is a tough one. But I found a necessary hurdle I had to get over.

Ok, I think I'm hearing that it's NC if you'd be willing to continue the conversation on a mutually reasonable basis, but it's ST if you're refusing dialog in order to control the relationship without consideration of the other person.

imo, no contact is a boundary and we each have to figure out our own boundaries. In my case, I gave up hope long ago that there was any chance for a "mutually reasonable" conversation. I went no contact because I don't believe it is possible, nor healthy for myself to continue pursuing. I don't think I'd be willing to have that conversation any longer. The time has past, the abuse has been done. No contact, to me, means I'm done with the relationship. I see a little different, but you do have the general idea.

"you'd be willing to continue the conversation on a mutually reasonable basis" ... means to me that it is being done to get the other person to change. I can't change it. Your communication still has a hint of wanting to change someone, imo. NC is about self. ST is about trying to change the other person to accept poor behavior. If you completely accept her ways the ST will stop. That's not healthy.


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notrightinthehead

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2017, 04:12:19 PM »
Jup, it sounds like you want to change your mum. That might be a reasonable request, but people are very reluctant to change. And there is a high probability that they won't.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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VeryUncertain

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2017, 04:14:32 PM »
imo, no contact is a boundary and we each have to figure out our own boundaries. In my case, I gave up hope long ago that there was any chance for a "mutually reasonable" conversation. I went no contact because I don't believe it is possible, nor healthy for myself to continue pursuing. I don't think I'd be willing to have that conversation any longer. The time has past, the abuse has been done. No contact, to me, means I'm done with the relationship. I see a little different, but you do have the general idea.

Yes, I guess I haven't given up hope yet.  While I've been treated badly and taken advantage of, I feel strong and able to withstand verbal abuse.  Not sure I'll ever become unwilling to try another conversation, even with NPDbro with whom I'm NC for over a year.

"you'd be willing to continue the conversation on a mutually reasonable basis" ... means to me that it is being done to get the other person to change. I can't change it. Your communication still has a hint of wanting to change someone, imo. NC is about self. ST is about trying to change the other person to accept poor behavior. If you completely accept her ways the ST will stop. That's not healthy.

Yes, but she'd say that what I require is complete capitulation too.

My boundary is visits from her.  My fear is that she would decide to hurt herself in order to get me to take care of her. 

I don't feel there's anything she can SAY from which I need to protect myself. It's not like I haven't heard it all before and seen it all before.  I'm willing to continue the conversation, though if it reaches extremes of tears, rage, suicide threats, etc., I'd disengage for a day or a week, but still be willing to resume.

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VeryUncertain

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2017, 04:37:40 PM »
I'm trapped by NPDm's circular thought loops, and I want to fix it, but I can't. I know I've been trained to keep trying to fix it through years of indoctrination.  I KNOW that what I'm getting is ST and not NC.  I'm having a hard time internalizing. :(

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bohemian butterfly

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2017, 04:47:40 PM »
Thank you for posting this question because I am confused as well.  I am low contact, but I feel like now I'm being the abusive one.

ex.  My uBPDm sent me a text last Friday asking me if I was free to talk.  I replied back with "No, super busy weekend, will call next week"   Well once again we are back to Friday and I haven't called her back.  It's just that on Monday, I was super anxious to call her back.  Tuesday, I was super anxious to call her back, Wednesday.......  etc, etc.  I just don't want to call her back.  I feel so mean because I didn't follow-through.  I'm totally avoiding her.  I was thinking about calling her this afternoon, but my stomach turns just thinking about it. 

At this point I feel like if she accuses me of being abusive or mean to her, she would be right.  I mean, how can I argue with that, I have been avoiding her.

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bohemian butterfly

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2017, 04:50:07 PM »
but then again, from what I understand from everyone is that the silent treatment is abusive because it is intended to hurt another.  My intention is not to hurt her or to teach her a lesson or anything like that.  I just flat out don't want to talk to her anymore.  And that scares me because then I worry that I am being borderline (black and white thinking/I love you, I hate you, etc)

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VeryUncertain

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2017, 05:59:58 PM »
In my case it's Nm who cut communications, so I'm not guilty from that perspective, though I'm sure she's already blaming me, at least in her mind, and that will just get worse after Mother's day.

I know any communication with her would involve her trying to guilt me, and that does cause me some apprehension.  So I can understand your situation completely.

You could try calling and when the guilt starts find a reason you have to go.  "Oh, someone's at the door, gotta go, I'll call you tomorrow/next week/etc."  Then call again a few days later.  Don't blame or criticize or respond directly for her trying to guilt you, I know for sure that doesn't work.  Just always leave if she starts with the blame or guilt.  After a while she may get the message, though she'll likely return to her ways and you'll need to start with the "gotta go" again.

In my case I've found that anything stated as a hard boundary or outright requirement results in rebellion and attack, escalating the tension.

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bopper

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Re: How is NC different from "silent treatment"
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2017, 06:43:00 PM »
No Contact is protecting yourself.

Silent Treatment is punishing someone else.

NC is a boundary, ST is abuse.
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