He or she may not realize they are hurting you. How could they anyway? Since they have built a fortress around themselves that they can’t see out of? They have enough issues going on inside their mind, so to come out of his or her world to see how he or she might be affecting you, may be a bit of a chore. It’s too much work for them to solve their own problems, let alone examine yours. So where did this silent treatment behavior come from? Like so many self-help books preach, childhood. His or her parents were emotionally abusive to them in many ways, so they took what they learned from mom and dad and applied it to their intimate relationships. Your partner may have a long list of broken hearted girlfriends, boyfriends, or spouses as a result of his or her behavior.
The emotionally abused child an adult had been was often ignored by their parents and when he or she reached out to an adult, they were told to “Go over there and sit down and play! Stay in a child’s place! You know I don’t play games.” They experienced rejection when they needed an adult most, “Don’t you see I am trying to watch TV? What are you crying for now? No I don’t want to hug. You know not to kiss me.” Isolated when the child wanted to socialize with other family members or peers, “No you aren’t going to your cousin’s house so quit asking. You’re not going to anyone’s house! I don’t want you going to church with them. No your friend can’t stay over our house.” The child is also exploited or corrupted by adults such as encouraging them to steal, lie, perform sexual acts, etc. “Hide this for me. Don’t tell anyone. Say I’m not here. Do it and I will give you some candy.” The parent verbally assaults them by name-calling, belittling, shaming ridiculing, or threatening the child, “You are so stupid, no wonder the kids in school don’t like you. Look at that big nose, you definitely got that from your mother’s side of the family. You didn’t get that dark skin from us. You have such big bumps on your face, do us a favor don’t take any ugly school pictures, okay?” The parent may terrorize the child by bullying that may include putting them in a dangerous or chaotic situation or placing rigid or unrealistic expectations on a child such as telling them, “I expect you to get straight As or else! Don’t bring another bad grade in this house or I will beat you!” Some parents will neglect proper medical treatment for a child by saying, “My child is just acting like most children who lost a parent, he doesn’t need any mental therapy. That doesn’t hurt that bad…I’m not taking you to the hospital I have enough bills!”
First ask yourself, what are your goals and needs? Join a network of people who may be able to assist you with your aspirations or take up a hobby. This allows you some time to focus more on you and less on your partner.
Second, have a faith! You will need one when you are dealing with someone else’s childhood baggage. They may have never had anyone pray for the things they are battling with on the inside.
Third, reconnect with family and friends who may have accused you of not having time for them, because you have been so stressed with your mate.
Fourth, establish new friendships when you feel you are no longer able to benefit from the old ones. New relationships help you revaluate your wants and desires in life and offer a fresh perspective.
Fifth, if you have decided to end your relationship, avoid starting any new ones until you have assessed how much this person has negatively impacted you. The last thing you want to do is bring your old baggage into a new relationship. Also, this is a valuable time for you to create the kind of life for yourself you always wanted.
Sixth, if you don’t have any children with this person, keep it that way! Protect yourself from any unwanted pregnancy, chances are he or she may know that they are just not equipped mentally to handle the demands of childrearing. Don’t pressure them either to have children or to become pregnant again after losing one (if you have a faith you know this is God’s way of telling you, “No, not now.”)
Seventh, learn as much as you can about your mate and question what you do not understand. Sometimes people have habits or make statements that hurt others and they continue to do it, because people don’t bother to hold them accountable.
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t be his or her counselor unless you are prepared to deal with a future break-up. Just as therapist and patient relationships end, yours will too if you change your role of partner to psychologist. Don’t put yourself in that position; instead, let he or she get their own help while you get yours.
In the meantime, you can educate yourself on why he or she acts the way they do. You can call their attention to actions they may be doing that hurt you or the children. Talk to family members and friends about childhood stories (as they come up) by sharing a few of your own, so that you can get further understanding about your partner (mainly if you have children.) Read books about people who behave similar to he or she. Most of all, prepare to make a decision on whether you will be able to accept them just the way they are or will you have to move on in life without them?