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Ostracism is not new. Ancient Greeks expelled threats to democracy for ten years. Religions push individuals aside: Catholics call it ex-communication, Judaism calls it herem, the Amish practice Meidung.
Ostracism can also show up in lesser ways: someone walking out of the room in the middle of a conversation, a friend looking the other way when you wave, a person addressing comments from everyone in a message thread except you.
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People use silent treatment because they get away with it without looking abusive to others. It is very effective in making a specific person feel bad. It is controlling and prevents both sides from weighing in.
Say out loud the exact amount of time you'll be taking a break from the conflict, with a timeline for when you'll pick the conversation back up.
Silent treatment comes in many forms: social isolation, stonewalling, ghosting. Research suggests two in three individuals have used the silent treatment against someone else.
Humans are wired to reciprocate social cues. Ignoring someone goes against our nature, and the perpetrator feels forced to justify their actions to keep on doing it. They end up in a continual state of anger and negativity.
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The silent treatment is a way to inflict pain without visible bruising – literally.
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