What happens when someone tries to resolve a conflict by giving silent treatment?

A netizen recently asked, “Am I a jerk for asking my husband not to come to my prenatal appointment?”. We need your verdict on the matter!


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Before the Original Poster’s (OP’s) fourth prenatal appointment, she and her husband fought.  

“The fight occurred while I was describing a situation at work and got frustrated and emotional while explaining myself,” says OP. 


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Her (OP’s) husband was questioning and challenging OP’s interpretation of the situation, and she felt he was being argumentative. 

OP said, “You wouldn’t understand. You don’t have to work with gossip and judgemental people (he works from home and has limited in-person interaction with other people for his job). I started crying out of frustration, and he got angry and said I was blowing up over nothing,” says OP. 


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OP’s husband then went silent and didn’t speak to her the rest of the day. His conflict management style is the silent treatment, often for days, sometimes for 1-2 weeks.  


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Anticipating this, OP told him that if they were not on speaking terms at the time of her prenatal appointment, she would not feel comfortable with him coming and that she would get ultrasound images and provide a summary of the meeting for him.

“I told him in words and by text,” says OP. 


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Her (OP’s) husband showed up to her prenatal appointment and forced himself in. OP was too humiliated to make a scene but quietly said, “What the hell are you doing here?”.  

Afterward, he said, “It’s our baby, so it’s our appointment.” 

OP replied, “Actually, I am the patient, and it’s my appointment, and you are there as a visitor.” OP told him she felt violated and betrayed. 


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OP feels bullied by his behavior and expects an apology. 

“I wanted him to be there, and he has come to most of my other appointments, but I didn’t feel comfortable with him being there if he was engaging in the silent treatment and aggression. 

He maintains that he has every right to be at my doctor’s appointments whether I am okay with it or not,” says OP. 

Is OP the jerk?


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“You’re in an abusive relationship. Crying and being upset about your partner dismissing and invalidating you during a vent session on your work is perfectly normal. 

As a pregnant woman who had an emotional reaction because her hamburgers tasted terrible, I think folks saying you blew up are out of line.

The silent treatment, stomping your communicated boundary around a medical visit, and being aggressively adamant he did nothing wrong all scream abuse, not just immaturity.”


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“Not the jerk. Know your rights. Prenatal appointments are your appointments, so yes, you can technically exclude him. You are the one pregnant, and you are the one doing 1 million tests and restrictions. You are the one who will deliver. So it is up to you. 

But you may feel guilty (as you stated, you were, in the end, happy to have him there) to exclude him from a specific part of your pregnancy. 

A husband also benefits from a good dose of prenatal visits to understand at least a little about the stress! 

But he shouldn’t give you the silent treatment before this appointment. It may be you and your husband’s baby, but it’s in your body right now.” 


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“The silent treatment is abuse. How will he treat your child when they act up/cause conflict? Does this sound like a suitable environment for them? Not the jerk, but get some help and get out.”


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“Not the jerk. Your husband is not entitled to be at your doctor’s appointment. You are the patient. He could not call the doctor’s office and ask questions. It’s your private medical information. 

If you are not speaking at the next appointment, tell the clinic beforehand that no visitors are allowed at the meeting, including him. 

Book some couples counseling to learn to communicate more effectively. The silent treatment for weeks at a time? He needs to learn how to speak; giving the silent treatment is not conveying.” 


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“This is called ‘stonewalling,’ and it’s a form of emotional abuse. Google what you should do when you are being stonewalled, taking time for yourself, etc. Don’t discount how awful it feels to be stonewalled. It activates the same areas of the brain that physical pain does!” 


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“I think you need to evaluate if this situation is safe and whether you want your child to be raised by someone who won’t speak to them for days because of his inability to resolve a conflict and deal with his feelings. The silent treatment is abusive, coercive and can be accompanied by violence the longer it is allowed to increase.” 

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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