It’s not what you say; it’s what you don’t say. When bullies wish to harm someone, the silent treatment can the most effective way of doing so. It is a cruel and sneaky way of control.
Remember that bullies are cowards, and they will find the most effective and least noticeable ways to dig at you
Here are the reasons bullies use this tactic:
1. It’s least noticeable by others. It leaves no bruises, cuts or scratches, so there’s no physical evidence. This type of bullying is also hard to prove because it’s not easily seen. Therefore, it isn’t wise to report this type of bullying. Because people may see the target as overly sensitive, paranoid, or mentally unbalanced.
2. It’s the most effective. Understand that the silent treatment is emotional manipulation. So, you must see it as just that. When you’re able to see it for what it is, the least likely you are to be affected by it. Bullies know that it’s the most covert way to assert control over their targets and make them doubt themselves.
3. For control, dominance, and intimidation– Again, bullies use this dirty trick to control how you feel and to dominate you. People also use the silent treatment to intimidate.
4. To manipulate you into doing what they want you to do– Everyone has a desire for approval. However, if being accepted means they force you to do something you don’t want to do, then you’re more than likely spinning your wheels for nothing. Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries and wishes will never accept you anyway because a person who truly approves of you would respect your rights and freedom to choose.
5. To make you feel guilty– Again. Because you didn’t do or give the bullies what they want, they intend to make you feel as if you did something wrong. You didn’t!
You must realize that if you let it get to you, it will only encourage the bullies to keep doing it anytime you don’t cave in and do their bidding or give them what they want.
So, how can you respond to this type of bullying?
1. See the silent treatment for what it is: emotional manipulation When you finally recognize it as it is, the least you’ll be bothered by it.
2. Mirror the bullies by returning the silent treatment. When you give it right back to them, you’re not allowing them to control and intimidate you. You’re preserving some sense of power over your life by not allowing the bullies to phase you.
3. Cut those childish buffoons out of your life. Do it either entirely or have as little to do with them as humanly possible. You don’t need to be around these confidence thieves. Realize that you don’t have to put up with that.
4. Stay calm. Don’t get emotional. Exhibit self-control and don’t get sucked into the bullies’ mind games.
5. Call them out. Tell them, “Look. What you’re doing is called the silent treatment, and that’s not okay. You can’t possibly keep up this childish behavior forever, and it’s not going to work.
6. Enjoy the peace and quiet. There’s a bright side to this. At least the bullies aren’t in your face for the time being. You get a reprieve from hearing them bitch and pitch their hissy fits! Woohoo! Who doesn’t love that!
Word of warning though. Make sure you don’t give your bullies clues that you’re enjoying the peace a little too much. Otherwise, they’ll be back on your tail before you can say, “oops.”
Do all the above, and the bullies might leave you alone and move on to an easier target.
You’ll feel much better about yourself knowing you stood up to them and asserted your rights not to be manipulated.