Hax: The silent treatment needs some therapy

The Washington PostJuly 30, 2013 

Carolyn: I’m on Day 4 of the silent treatment from my husband of 20 years. While this doesn’t happen often and is usually short-lived (a day or less), over those years he has kept this up for days and even weeks on a few occasions, and I’m seeing signs that this will be another long haul.

Complicating things is our 14-year-old daughter, who is certainly old enough to see what’s going on. She is rapidly losing respect for him, and for me, too, for putting up with him.

While counseling is probably the answer once he’s speaking to me again, how the heck do I get him to that point?

FREEZE

You are running out of chances to show this 14-year-old how important it is to advocate for yourself, and to seek help when something is beyond your ability to solve. An appointment with a reputable therapist is the answer now, without him, to guide you through both this current silent stage and those that follow. The eggshell-walk is a learned behavior you’re overdue to unlearn; good therapy will also help you understand why you’ve been “putting up with him,” and how to talk to your daughter in a way that unites vs. divides.

Carolyn: My sister was just diagnosed with emphysema at age 43, after nearly 25 years of smoking and insisting we were overly worried. How do I get past this frustration and this monstrous urge to tell her I told her so?

ANONYMOUS

You don’t need any I-told-you-sos; the diagnosis said it for you. Channel your anger as harmlessly as you can on your own time, then bring your best to your sister.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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