Our expert says:
Well, I'll try not to respond with the Silent Treatment !
To try and change someone's unwelcome behaviour, you need to try to understand their motivations -- what do they get out of it ?
He's using a very immature, childish way of sulking, which he hopes will make you feel bad and push you into apologising ( even though you were not at fault ) and then trying to make him feel good. If you look distressed and alarmed, he feels good, he feels he has won, he's likely to continue being silent this time, and much more likely to use it next time.
If one does not appeared bothered, he's less sure of what to do. Its harder for him to choose a response that feels good for him. He may need to find a face-saving way to resume communication. Yes, the sil;ence is ridiculous, the aim can be to reveal its ridiculousness in a way that gives him little excuse to feel justified in getting angry,
One can encourage this by, for instance, cooing and sympathizing with the Poor Dear for having a sire throat and having apparently lost his voice. Make him a lemon and honey hot drink, speak soothingly, saying you don't expect him to reply, with such a sore throat. Ask if you should call his office and tell them he can't come in tomorrow, as he's temporarily speechless.
Give him a notepad so he can jot down replies without needing to talk.
Play his music for him, but ask him every minute if it's loud enough for him "You only need to nod or shake your head, dear! " and keep fiddling with it, to try to
make sure its precisely how he wants it. Maybe he'd rather watch something on TV. While he is, say you're sure that just like the other night, he'd rather listen to his nice music, and switch on the music for him.
Do everything Very sincerely and emphasize how hard you're working to try to make him happy, which of course isn't easy while he's not able to tell you what he wants.
Make a fuss of the dogs, and comment pleasantly how loving they are, even though they can't speak.
Maybe "forget" to make any supper for him ( have a snack before you get home ) and when he indicates he's hungry, be Hugely apologetic, saying how you wish he had only reminded you !
See what you're doing as a kins mom patiently teaching a child how to behave. Caring about this in the sense of letting it hurt you is not wise ; but becoming strategically immune to the intention to bother you, is useful.
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