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Silent Treatment.

(34 Posts)
LauraMarling Mon 06-Feb-17 21:21:26

I have been thinking back on my childhood a lot recently and my parents were always very strict and I resented them for it. But actually I've realised they were really cruel.

Aibu to think thy giving a child the silent treatment for days is abuse?
(See I'm not really sure if this is normal or not?) I was a 90's baby.
I have kids myself and would never treat them like that it made me feel so lonely.

ClaireLumia Mon 06-Feb-17 21:25:46

I had this OP. 60s baby myself. I believe it's abuse and, like you, would never do it to my boys.

PastysPrincess Mon 06-Feb-17 21:27:17

I think that would come under emotional abuse and is very cruel. How old were you when it started?

LauraMarling Mon 06-Feb-17 21:41:37

I think I was as young as 3!
Many other things I've come to realise weren't right..
sometimes it's hard to know if I'm being dramatic or not (was frequently told by parents I was very dramatic.

PastysPrincess Mon 06-Feb-17 21:55:10

Well I can't think of any reason that would justify ignoring a small child for any length of time.

MrsPolkaDotLady Mon 06-Feb-17 22:04:25

My parents often gave me the silent treatment too, usually for an imagined misendevour, or for something I'd done that wasn't naughty but was just me being a child. They were abusive in other ways too. I was born in the late 70s.

LauraMarling Tue 07-Feb-17 06:40:48

Would you say that it affected your life later on?

ShowMePotatoSalad Tue 07-Feb-17 06:45:38

My mum never "forgave" me for anything. If I ever misbehaved she would bring it up for years afterwards. According to her I was a horrible child. I feel a lot of shame about it and I do wonder whether her behaviour was abusive.

The worst thing she did was use a very horrible thing that happened to me as a child, against me. She blamed me for what happened and acted like it was something I had brought on myself in order to cause her problems. Awful.

She was a raging alcoholic (literally raging) which didn't help.

ShowMePotatoSalad Tue 07-Feb-17 06:47:55

It's affected my self confidence, self esteem, made me feel ashamed, but ultimately I know it was wrong of her, and now I don't feel angry. I don't feel anything towards her, except maybe pity. But otherwise I just feel neutral, like she's an acquaintance rather than my own mum.

I keep in contact with her for the sake of my dad.

MissHemsworth Tue 07-Feb-17 07:01:07

Hi OP I had this also, it would continue for days, weeks sometimes & the ignoring wouldn't stop until I stood in front of my parents (mum) like some sort of criminal on the stand & explain how sorry I was, what I'd done, why I'd done it etc.

It has effected me a lot in later life. I have absolutely no self worth, I feel like I am pathetic, I have low self esteem & a constant fear of upsetting people (causing them to 'not speak' to me).

There was other stuff as well. But I just remember the times of being ignored as feeling absolutely bereft.

It is 100% EA. I was a 1980s child.

LauraMarling Tue 07-Feb-17 08:04:09

I always assumed your parents "fucked you uo"
But I live my life constantly trying not to fuck my children up!!
It's only now that I'm a parent myself and have spoken to more parents/adults about raising children I realised how badly my parents treated me.
It was all behind closed doors, I can from a well off, respectable family.
"Why are you so unhappy when you live in a big house"
"Your parents go to church they can't be that mean"
They're tracks were always covered.
My dad passed away 2 years ago and my relationship with my mum had always been difficult. We can get on really well (when she doesn't act like my mum) others times I am filled up with hate for her!
It's hard to know when your parents weren't obviously abusive!

Thank you to all for replying! flowers

7SunshineSeven7 Tue 07-Feb-17 08:16:04

Not even just the silent treatment but them not forgiving you or letting it go. I would do something 4 months later and it would be ''well remember 4 months ago when...''.

imthelastsplash Tue 07-Feb-17 08:33:23

My mum gave me the silent treatment for nearly a year (when I was 13). She only spoke to me if there were others present. She never forgave my smallest misdemeanours (think getting clothes dirty, not finishing my meal). She opted out of any care just out of my 14th birthday

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 07-Feb-17 08:37:03

Definitely emotional abuse. My GM did this to my DM (once didn't speak to her for a month for forgetting mothers' day). DM tried to kill herself at the age of 10. It's definitely affected her although not too badly all things considered - she's been a great mum (although now has dementia so new chapter) but not always very emotionally healthy.

contrary13 Tue 07-Feb-17 08:46:54

My mother still does this to me now (I'm a '70s baby). Not so much since I pointed out that I'm the only one of her three children still talking to her (both my brothers went NC years ago, and she has a grandson she's never met/is about to have a great grandchild she'll never meet from the grandson she's not had any contact with since he was a pre-teen), but it happens. Usually when I disagree with how she's spoken to my (severely mentally ill) daughter.

It is emotional abuse.

My daughter also employs it. But she has a diagnosis of severe mental health issues. And is abusive towards me, generally. My theory, though, is that she learned at her grandmother's knee... and perhaps my older brothers were right all along!

Sunshine - I get "remember when you were 3 and you refused to X/Y/Z?!". I'm 40. And whilst I remember a lot from when I was a toddler, the main thing I remember? Was how unhappy I was, and how I felt completely on my own (my brothers are a lot older than I am, my father worked away from home a lot, and my mother... well, she's the Queen of Isolation).

Larkin was right. All we can do is try to break the cycle of abuse with our own children (I talk too much to my children, apparently... but communication, as my psychologist tells me, is key to survival!)

Iamastonished Tue 07-Feb-17 08:50:34

This thread is so sad. I am always telling DD that I love her unconditionally, even if she has misbehaved and I have had to tell her off.

contrary13 Tue 07-Feb-17 11:04:11

Iam - Both of my children know that I love them unconditionally, and without hesitation or doubt (on my part). My daughter (whom I've asked for advice regarding on here before, last year) uses me as an emotional punching bag because she knows that I love her and won't just cast her aside whilst she's ill (and she really is, and I wish she would do something constructive about getting better, rather than continue to blame everything that goes wrong in her life on me and her younger brother). Her coldness is a choice, though, because it's only me she employs it against at the moment (I am dreading if she ever has children of her own, though, I have to confess). My mother also knows that I love her unconditionally - and that I won't take sides in her "fallings out" with my brothers. She equally hates and loves that I still talk to them both (one, only very recently, have I stopped being NC with, because I finally got an acknowledgment/apology for his having tried to kill me when I was 5 and he was 15...), and the silent treatment now is because I won't tell her anything about them other than "yeah, they're okay". They don't want me to. And I am not going to put the relationship that I and my son have with them at risk. It's as simple as that (my daughter is also NC with them, her choice but also theirs given that she is very like my mother). My father misses them both desperately (they're not biologically his, but he was around from the time DB2 was 4 years old), but won't go against my mother and have a relationship with anyone he's related to - except me and my children. Because I'm seen as "the passive/submissive child". I'm actually not. I just... don't see the point in engaging with most of the abuse, to be honest. My concern is raising my son and getting my daughter the help that she needs. My parents? Have made their choices and, one day, they will reap what they have sown. Just as I will. Just as my children will.

I don't remember my mother ever telling me that she loved me when I was growing up. She didn't even hug me - and if I tried to hug her, she'd awkwardly stand there with her arms at her side and make uncomfortable noises until I gave up. So I've made sure that my children (and my friends) know that they are loved. But I was one of the lucky ones who had an older brother, a father and grandparents (and older generations) who told me that they loved me frequently. It drove my mother mad, and she went out of her way to isolate me from all of them... but I knew I was loved. Just not by my mother.

Sorry OP for briefly hijacking - but you're not alone. It is a method of abuse, and one which I'm told is employed by those who had it used against them whilst they were growing up. It's their last line of defence. My mother, for example, has a mother (who I am NC with for various reasons) who still can't tell any of her children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren that she loves them... yet her parents were (and I know this from personal experience of them) warm, open people who told all of us how much they appreciated/loved us. Some people are just... cold. Emotionally detached. No empathy, no comprehension of how to treat others. Essentially? It's their problem, their choice, their responsibility.

Not ours!


Cantbeatatryer Tue 07-Feb-17 11:40:54

I had this. One Christmas was very memorable as it was so quiet. Like contrary said she was cold and emotionally detached. I have only just realised this the last few years though as I think I blocked it out. It has caused a lot of damage though. If you grow up thinking your own mum doesn't like you, you kind of find it hard to like yourself.

LauraMarling Tue 07-Feb-17 14:13:45

My mother doesn't believe she is cold or detached or that her own mother did wrongly by her.
She thinks my perception of her is totally false.
She often says "I don't know why I had to have a child like this"
I knew from the moment I was born what a "terrible baby" I was.
Worst part of all this is my mums occupation is a counsellor blush
I really need to go to one myself!

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Tue 07-Feb-17 14:21:14

I think it's abusive.

I can remember times when I had upset my mum (genuinely!) and she would take herself away and ignore me for a bit. It was always so she didn't lose her temper. But that was when I had been behaving badly, and was never for a sustained amount of time.

Mrsemcgregor Tue 07-Feb-17 14:24:10

I don't really know what you mean by silent treatment? As in she wouldn't communicate with you at all? That's awful.

My mother didn't parent in the same way I choose to. She rarely got down on the floor and played with me for example. She was more likely to set something up for me to play with and then read a book or knit while I played. But I think that was pretty commonplace in the 80s. She gave me siblings to play with!

toptoe Tue 07-Feb-17 14:24:42

Wonder if counselling gives her a way of controlling others?

I would say you were scapegoated massively. I never had the silent treatment but think it's particularly cruel. Alongside the 'terrible baby' talk. You wouldn't have had a clue what was wrong yet taken all the blame for it because you wouldn't have thought your parents were wrong until much later on - after teens maybe. How horrible for you.

Areasonablegal Tue 07-Feb-17 14:25:05

Awful. I feel for you. You wont ever be like them and as awful as it was for you, take comfort that they taught you how NOT to be as a parent. You will be a much better parent inspite of them x

Gottagetmoving Tue 07-Feb-17 14:31:51

Giving anyone the 'silent treatment' is pathetic and childish.
It is bad enough when adults do it to adults but to do that to a child is downright cruel.
However, whatever you do differently so you don't fuck up your own kids, will probably be doing something else you are unaware of that in later life,...they will consider was terrible.
Your mother will know deep down what she did wrong but I suspect pride and guilt will prevent her from acknowledging how you felt or admitting she was wrong.
How she can be a counsellor is baffling.

Glitteryunicorn Tue 07-Feb-17 14:41:03

My mother did this and still does this to me now, we have just gone NC (from our side) because she refused to speak to me for almost 3 years following my wedding.

My grandmother does it to her, she'd tell me how upset she was because she didn't know what she'd done and then do the exact same thing to me?!

I started councilling last year and that's helped me see it's actually emotional abuse I also read "Will I ever be good enough" by Karyl Mcbride which was recommended by my councillor and that's also helped me pick out some destructive learned behaviours that I have.

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