The creation of anxiety and uncertainty are twin concerns which we engender in much of what we do. Both have the effect of stopping you from doing things, preventing you from analysing matters in an effective way and ultimately from helping yourself to escape our hold. One way of doing this is through the Prior Warning Silent Treatment. Now, it is our usual fashion, when applying a silent treatment not to tell you what we are doing. If it is a Present Silent Treatment, we remain in close proximity to you but we do not speak or respond to you. You soon realise that it is a silent treatment but you were not fore-warned. The Absent Silent Treatment is where we absent ourselves from your presence. We may just walk off, we may leave as expected but then stay away or we may just not turn up when expected and it often is a short while before you realise that you are being subjected to a silent treatment, you just think initially that you cannot contact us or we must be busy and it is only later that you realise we are giving you an Absent Silent Treatment,
The Prior Warning Silent Treatment relies on telling you that we do not want you to contact us but it is still not immediately obvious that it is a silent treatment that is being meted out towards you. Consider these phrases, for instance: –
“I will be in meetings all day so don’t contact me.”
“I will be sleeping so don’t call me. I will call you when I am ready.”
“There is a poor signal in the area so I will be incommunicado for most of the trip.”
“I need some space for myself, so please don’t get in touch. I will ring you.”
“I have a lot to do today so don’t call or message me.”
They all seem like legitimate reasons for not being in touch for a period of time but when uttered by us what we are really telling you is,
“Time for a silent treatment and I wonder how long you can cope with it?”
The timing of this Prior Warning Silent Treatment is the key to recognising it. First of all, it is less likely that we will say the things above during the seduction unless they are actually true, but there will be a Comforting Caveat attached to the statement. Accordingly,
“I will be in meetings all day so don’t contact me, but I will pop out and give you a call when I get a chance, because you know how much I miss you.”
“I will be sleeping so don’t call me. I will call you about 8 o’clock. If you haven’t heard from me by then, do ring me.”
“There is a poor signal in the area so I will be incommunicado for most of the trip, so I will find a landline on which you can reach me and will let you know what it is as soon as I can. I wish you were coming with me. I hate being apart from you.”
“I have a lot to do today so don’t call or message me, until 1pm please unless of course it is an emergency, but I will message you when I can because I miss you.”
Notice how there is no talk of needing space. This is because we do not want space from you during the seduction, far from it. Indeed, we will reluctantly accept an enforced absence from you during seduction and if possible try to re-arrange appointments and the like to ensure we spend time with you.
The Prior Warning Silent Treatment is doled out during devaluation and when there are specific circumstances. We do this when we know that you have concerns that we are interested romantically in someone else, that we are spending time with someone else and our motives (and theirs) are unclear. In essence, when we are triangulating you (although you probably will not realise this is what is happening) we will issue the PWST. We do this because it enables us to wield power over you by telling you and controlling you in terms of whether are permitted to engage with us. It also means that you are told there will be a silence (although you won’t necessarily know that it is a silent treatment) from the beginning. We know this will cause you to wonder whether the silence is real and thus your anxiety will begin. You will feel uncertain about whether we really are non-contactable and whether we are doing something else. The problem is, we know you only have a suspicion and nothing concrete.
Accordingly, when you know we are apparently uncontactable you wonder who we are with and what we are doing. This makes you anxious. This provides us with fuel even though we do not witness it because we know how you will be feeling. We know that: –
You will be toying with messaging us to see if it is received
You will be toying with messaging us to see if it is read
You want to ring our mobile to see if it actually rings
You want to ring from a withheld number to see if we answer and if you can discern any background noises
You check our social media profile to see if there have been any updates there when we are supposedly unable to contact anyone.
You are torn between wanting to get rid of the anxiety and find out what is really going on and the risk of getting it wrong and upsetting us. You fear that we have an interest in someone else and we are actually spending time with them. If you do not do something, this time is unchallenged. This other person may not know about you but if you get in touch with us and make yourself known, then you are laying down a marker to the other person and possibly warning them away from us. You will also find evidence of us having lied which you will want to use against us. At this stage you have no desire to be rid of us. On the contrary the devaluation is such that you want things to work out and return to the golden period again, but you cannot stand this uncertainty. You wish you could make a decision but what if we have told the truth and you interrupt us in a meeting? Not only will we furious with you, we may well hold it against you in the future (you are damn right we will). But then again, if we are with someone else and perhaps we know that you suspect and you do nothing about it, we might think you do not care and do not want to fight to keep us? It is quite remarkable the effect uncertainty and anxiety can have on someone who is being made to feel steadily more and more insecure.
All the while we are drawing fuel from this. If we have told the truth, we gain fuel knowing you will be anxious. More likely it is a lie and we are either with someone else or just wanting to be away from you. In either instance more fuel is gathered and we exert our control over you by this Prior Warning Silent Treatment. You have the dilemma of whether you should contact us. What would you do?