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Why The Silent Treatment Feels So Freaking Good

You know it's petty, but you just can't help it.
PHOTO: Nick Onken

Everybody deals with fights or conflicts differently. Some people need time and space to calm down and evaluate the situation, while others want to settle the matter right away. But then there are a special few who immediately go for the silent treatment just because it feels so damn good. 

I'm not going to deny it; I've given the silent treatment on several occasions—even when I knew the other person probably didn't mean to hurt me. The problem is, in the moment, you don't think rationally. You just need a swift move that'll give you the upper hand. 

Relationship expert Jane Greer confirms, "You feel in control and empowered, and you feel that you're punishing them. [It's] a way to retaliate against whatever they said or did that hurt you."

This communication style, however, isn't always bad. People who aren't comfortable with confrontations need time to reflect because they're "afraid that they'll start yelling if they try talking about it. They may also be too angry to even start talking or hearing what the other person might have to say."

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What you should be careful of is letting the silence last too long. Dr. Greer warns, "It will just become a situation where no one speaks and there's a complete disconnect between you." So as soon as you can form complete, logical thoughts, open up the conversation again. The silent treatment may be a good way for you to avoid a shouting match, but remember that it isn't a productive communication style (no matter how good it feels). 

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Source: Refinery 29

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