Silent Treatment and Anger Management

The silent treatment is a way of punishing someone by refusing to speak to them or acknowledge them. It’s a way of making them feel invisible and unimportant. It can be used as a form of control, to manipulate someone into doing what you want them to do. It can also be used as a weapon in an argument, to hurt and punish the other person. The silent treatment is a powerful tool, and it can be very effective in getting what you want from someone.   Anger Management can help individuals react properly to this passive aggressive form of punishment.

Silent treatment is a passive aggressive tactic. Please also review AIHCP’s Anger Management Consulting Certification


Learning to identify why someone is using this type of aggression upon oneself and how to react without becoming angry is critical.  Anger Management teaches one not only how to react to such treatment but also how to see how it is a poor way to cope as a person.   The article, “Why the Silent Treatment Is Such a Destructive Form of Passive-Aggression” by Bernard Golden looks closer at how silent treatment is used to control others.   He also discusses how use of the silent treatment can be a form of emotional abuse and how to properly deal with it.  He states,

“Being the target of silent treatment is a challenge for anyone, but it is especially difficult for individuals who already have low self-esteem as well as individuals who have anxious attachment. A part of this pattern includes fear regarding the stability and dependability of relationships—anxiety that is only provoked by silent treatment. Subsequently, more than others, they may be quick to feel intense rejection and fear of loss. Such silence is experienced as betrayal and abandonment. As reflected in one study, targets who could not attribute the ostracism to a specific cause were more likely to experience a threat to their belongingness and self-esteem than those who could identify a specific cause”

Why the Silent Treatment Is Such a Destructive Form of Passive-Aggression. Bernard Golden, Ph.D. Psychology Today. September 11th, 2022

To read the entire article, please click here


It is important to not use this type of abuse nor react to it with more anger.  It is important to treat each other with respect and work with each other and not seek to punish each other via other passive ways of anger and control.  In reactions, Anger Management can be helpful against passive aggression.  Anger management is a process whereby an individual learns to recognize and control their own anger. It can be helpful in situations where someone’s anger is causing problems in their life, or when it feels out of control. The aim of anger management is not to eliminate all anger, but rather to teach people how to express it in a healthy way. There are a number of different techniques that can be used in anger management, including relaxation techniques, cognitive restructuring, and problem-solving.  All of these strategies can help an individual better react to passive emotional abuse such as the silent treatment.  It can also help de-escalate the situation and force the other individual to face the issue at hand and communicate the problem in hopefully healthy way.

Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse in which the abuser intentionally withholds communication from the victim, refusing to speak to them or engage with them in any way. The purpose of this behavior is to control the victim by inflicting psychological pain, making them feel isolated and helpless. This tactic is often used as a means of punishment, to make the victim feel guilty for whatever wrong they have supposedly committed.

The silent treatment is a form of psychological warfare that is often used in relationships. It is a way to control the other person by withholding communication and refusing to engage in dialogue. The goal is to make the other person feel powerless and helpless. The silent treatment can be used as a form of punishment or revenge. It can also be used to manipulate the other person into doing what you want them to do.

The silent treatment is a response to conflict that involves one person withdrawing from the interaction. This can be done verbally, by physically leaving the area, or by simply ignoring the other person. The goal of the silent treatment is to punish the other person or to make them feel uncomfortable.
There are a few ways to respond to the silent treatment. One way is to ignore it and not let it affect you. While this may be difficult, by applying anger management strategies and understanding the intent and purpose of the passive aggression, one can better react and respond to the treatment in a non violent and angry way.


In conclusion, the silent treatment is not an effective way to deal with anger. It can actually make the situation worse. If you’re angry with someone, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly. This will help you resolve the issue and maintain a healthy relationship.  Equally, it is important to be able to respond effectively when someone uses the silent treatment against you.  Primarily by not reinforcing the behavior via acknowledgement.  Sometimes though it may take restraint not to fall into the trap.  Anger Management plays a key role in helping individuals maintain a peaceful reaction.


Please also review AIHCP’s Anger Management Consulting Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Anger Management Training.  By completing the required courses,  behavioral health professionals can earn the four year certification.


Additional Resources

“Is the silent treatment a form of abuse?”. Jayne Leonard.  Medical News Today.  June 8th, 2020.  Access here

“11 Anger Management Strategies to Help You Calm Down”, Amy Morin, LCSW. Verywellmind. August 24th, 2022. Access here

“Anger Management”. Elizabeth Dougherty. Harvard Medicine. Spring 2022.  Access here

“How to Recognize the Signs of Emotional Abuse”. Ann Pietrangelo and Crystal Raypole. Healthline. January 28th, 2022. Access here