197: How to Handle the Silent Treatment with Dignity (Full Transcription)

Welcome to the Empowered Wife podcast, where it’s all about fixing your relationship without your man’s conscious effort so that you feel taken care of, desired and special, even if your relationship feels completely hopeless right now. I’m Laura Doyle, and today we’re talking about how to handle the silent treatment with dignity. My guest Deanna’s marriage was hurting from betrayal on her side and emotional betrayal on his side. when she stumbled on the Surrendered Wife book and this podcast. And she started applying the intimacy skills right away and was amazed at what happened after only a few days. Today, she feels loving and loved. She’s gonna tell us how she did it so you can do it too. That’s coming up, but first, let’s discuss how to handle silent treatment with dignity because the silent treatment can make you feel really bad and make you desperate to end the tension. It’s one of the scariest things because it takes up a lot of energy wondering like, how long is this going to last? I mean, is it still on? Is there something you should be doing differently to fix it? It feels horribly rejecting when someone you love won’t speak to you or answer you or look at you. It’s like a punishment with no end to the sentence. So what can you do when you’re being shut out to keep your dignity? Well, here are three experiments to try if what you’re doing doesn’t feel so dignified. Number one, make yourself happy. Of course, you’re stressed out and things feel tense. So it might seem impossible to make yourself happy right now. I mean, who giggles at a comedy show when their husband has shut them out, right? Who? dances down the hallway when the air in your house is frosty. Who shares funny memes when your husband won’t even look at you? Well, if you do, a couple of things could happen, like you could stop suffering. So that’s worthwhile right there. However long the cold war lasts, you’re having a good time. And even though it’s still painful that he’s blocking you out, that’s not the only thing that’s going on in your life. There’s also some fun happening. You can decouple your happiness from your circumstances. That’s a superpower that you can develop. You can also stop feeling afraid, at least while you’re watching the funny show. And that’s significant because humans don’t laugh when we’re scared. You know, when I’m scared, I just kind of hold my breath or I take really shallow breaths and there’s no playfulness I’m reacting to a perceived threat. And threats are serious. So if you felt good and giggled during a cold war, you would also be demonstrating that you’re not afraid, which could even have the effect of ending the cold war sooner. I’ll explain about that in a moment. But first, here’s another experiment you could do. You could go on a smile campaign. So if you’re feeling good, not suffering so much and therefore happy enough to smile, that is gonna change your whole energy and therefore the energy in your home, between you. So if you were sulking around before and feeling terrified that your husband isn’t speaking to you, that’s completely understandable, but also not necessary. If you’re so happy, you start smiling and even smiling at him, even though he might be scowling at you. First of all, you’re gonna feel empowered. And as a fringe benefit, can you even imagine how hard it would be to keep up a cold war with someone who is smiling at you because she is genuinely happy? Especially if her happiness is your highest priority? Plus, this is an opportunity to make his head explode, which is one of my favorite things about practicing the six intimacy skills. It’s like, surprise, I flipped the script, I changed the dance, I’m blowing your mind right now. That is so much fun to see the looks on their face when you do that, right? Let’s, watching them pick their jaws up off the floor when you surprise them. I just enjoy that part. So you could do that. Number three. Finally, you could stop walking on eggshells. If you were walking on eggshells so he wouldn’t get upset to begin with, then you might want to take a break from that. I know it seems like you’re being considerate and just trying to keep the peace, but you are also projecting a negative spouse fulfilling prophecy, which is, I’m afraid you’re going to get upset. You’re going to get upset. That is your spouse fulfilling prophecy. That’s what you’re affirming. And the more careful you are. to make sure he doesn’t get upset, the louder that message comes across, the unwitting message. It’s also so exhausting for you, right? You’re trying to control something that you have no control over. So consider just getting back onto your paper and asking yourself what you wanna do instead of thinking about how to appease him so much, which never works anyway. That will free up some more energy for you to make yourself ridiculously happy, is vital because it turns out that only happy people have happy relationships. Usually I just drop the mic right there. Only happy people have happy relationships and being on the receiving end of the silent treatment and making yourself happy is not only going to make you feel more dignified, it might even shorten or stop the silent treatments from happening at your house, which will in turn make your marriage stronger. make your family stronger, which is an incredible accomplishment. So kudos to you for changing the dance and keeping your dignity no matter what your husband is doing. If you’re wondering how to get started with fixing your relationship and making it shiny again, then you need a roadmap. Get six simple steps to follow that will set your relationship up for success. Discover three common mistakes wives make trying to fix their relationship to just make things worse. When you download my free adored wife roadmap, you can do that at GetCherished.com. Go to GetCherished.com now to get your roadmap in minutes. My guest Deanna’s marriage was hurting from betrayal on her side and emotional betrayal on his side. When she stumbled on the Surrendered Wife book and this podcast, she started applying intimacy skills right away and was amazed at what happened after only a few days. Today, she feels loved and loving toward her husband. She’s going to tell us how she did it so you can do it too. Deanna, welcome to the Empowered Wife podcast. I’m so excited to have you here. I’m so glad to be here, Lauren. What was happening in the bad old days in your marriage? You know, we got married young, which a lot of us do. And, you know, he was my Prince Charming and I was his princess. And, you know, right out of the gates, We moved away from family and friends to start our life together. And a year into marriage, we did lose our first baby. He died of crib death. So that was really hard, especially when you have all those expectations. And so that was very traumatizing. So we moved back home. I wish we wouldn’t have, you know, but we did. And when you’re young puppies, you just don’t know what to do. And I was pregnant with my second baby and didn’t know it. So that was a blessing in disguise that I was already, think I knew that I wanted to be a mom. And so we proceeded to have another baby. But, you know, each marriage brings into baggage. And sometimes we have, you know, a lot of suitcases that we didn’t unpack until second, third, fourth year of marriage. And… So some emotional betrayal on my husband’s part. He brought in a lot of just sexual baggage and some things that were hard to take in. And I started packing resent and bitterness early on in the marriage. So, and a lot of suitcases with resentment and bitterness. So. Well, it sounds like you, I mean, that’s a huge heartbreak to lose, to lose your first baby. And, and I hear, I hear there was, I mean, everyone has baggage, every, every couple does and, and resentment was really building with you. What kinds of things were you feeling resentful about? I was feeling resentful that I was like holding down the fort, making decisions, like where we would go to church at, how to guide our family. And, you know, he was a good man. He’s a hard worker, always has been a very hard worker, always was, you know, a good provider, but I just felt alone, kind of like a one-way street. And then just packing that resentment and not knowing what to do. Of course, we went through different counselors and, you know, and when we were young, but I wasn’t ready. I remember one of your guests saying that she wasn’t ready to hear all this stuff. And unfortunately, sometimes we’re just not ready to hear and have the tools and the toolbox, you know, or like, no, I can do it myself. And so I just thought, you know, I’ll just keep doing it myself. And just a lot of resentment towards him. Just felt. betrayed and emotionally betrayed. And he, you know, he had a plus sizes, you know, on all this amazing stuff he was doing, a hard worker and, you know, and that, you know, he let me aspire to my dream. So there’s a like another pocket that he did wonderful in, but I chose to pick up all this resentment and bitterness and I just kept building the biggest resentment snowman ever. You know what? That is beautifully accountable the way you tell it. You make it sound like it’s so easy to just be accountable and own that you’re the one that built that resentment snowman, which is super cute. It’s so appealing, you know, really attractive. But I also hear that part of you really didn’t know any other way. It didn’t feel like an option that you were choosing. You weren’t like checking box, saying, yes, resentment, please. this is just kind of how it was. And I love that you say, you know, you weren’t open. I’ve, I don’t think that I would have been open to The Surrendered Wife before, you know, earlier. If someone would have handed me my own book, I would have said like, no, I’m not going to read that. Right. So, so I really get that you weren’t, you didn’t, it wasn’t time. So, and, and even though there was a lot of good things about your husband, you were kind of focused on the things that you in your marriage and I just relate to you so much in that. So what did you do? I think I actually poured myself into my kids. I poured myself into ministry, into youth, just anything. I just looked for any pocket just to put all my energy into because I thought if I put my energy into this, I can just put a pause on the marriage thing. And we, you know, we would go out and we’d celebrate the anniversaries. We would go on the vacations and you know, you put on that smile and that happy, like, yeah, things are going well. But inside I just was being more than I torn than myself. And I just kept, you know, putting all this bitterness and resentment. And when you don’t know what to do with it and you don’t have the tools yet, you’re like, I’ll just keep building this. And. eventually the seams are going to break. And so there was a breaking point that happened about almost three years ago was our breaking point. What happened? I invited them out to a restaurant that we go to a lot and usually it has good memories. And I was very, very ugly with my words. A lot of Which I don’t swear, but a lot of swearing and just vulgar and just not me. Not who, I mean, I don’t even know who that girl was. Um, like watching a movie now, but, um, and I asked him to leave the house and I asked him for a divorce. So, I mean, he left the house, but, um, no, obviously no divorce or papers or anything like that, but he did leave the house for a week and it was. the saddest week of our life, more so for him. And that’s when I chose to cross the lines and annihilate the bells in our beautiful marriage. Oh, Piana, that’s so heartbreaking. It sounds like such a painful time. And you were doing the best you could and you just didn’t know, you didn’t have the skills. No one had taught you the skills. And it sounds, I guess what I hear in that is that you were starving, probably felt like water in the desert to be seen and to be admired and feel desired because that had been missing in your marriage. Right. Yeah. We did go through marriage counseling and we actually graduated just a couple of weeks ago. But we did separate counseling, which was very good for us. So for two years and seven months, we did separate, worked on ourself, worked on what was going on inside and about every six weeks we would come together and do together. And he practiced on him and I practiced on me. But during my job, I stumbled on your podcast. I was listening to a married couple and It was funny because they were talking about fighting fair. And I thought, I don’t want to fight anymore. I don’t want to fight with this man anymore. I mean, you know, I’m 52 and you know, the clock’s ticking and I don’t want my years to be fighting. I want them to be lovemaking and sweetness and rides in the car and talking about nothing and talking about everything, you know? And so. I came across the podcast and after that one, yours came on and I just got hooked. Just got hooked. And I thought, this is hard, but the women on your shows, it was hard for them too. And I thought if they can do it, I mean, what else do I have to lose? I just thought, what else do I have to lose? And the answer was nothing. I have nothing to lose. So it was a softball game at our church and he plays softball and he was just really having a hard time even though we were going to counseling and everything and we went in to get a bite to eat before softball and he came up to the car and he said, you just don’t get me, you don’t hear me. And I thought, okay that’s one of the tools, I hear you. I said okay, I will be quiet. I will hear you.” And he shared how sad he was and how he still battles, you know, what I did, but he loves me so much. And I just kept saying, I hear you, honey. I hear you. And I just let him talk and talk and talk. Then we went to the softball game and it was like a miracle happened. It was like… We were 18 all over again and it was like I saw him out in the softball field and he was so hot looking in his softball commuter. He just was gorgeous and he looked over at me and like he fell in love with me all over again. It was just like a miracle and I thought oh my goodness the stuff might work. So That was the beginning of what I say, the beginning of the beginning instead of the beginning of the end. It was the beginning of the beginning. And so I start using all of them. I know someone when they do one or two, I’m just like, I’m going all in. I’m going to use all of them, make myself available, make myself loving, make it just whatever it took. And gosh, Laura, our marriage is just so… Amazing. Like. Sometimes he would rush out the door, but now he has to give me like four or five kisses before he even goes to work. Because he doesn’t wanna be away from me. Um, just amazing. I am blown away. I’m so impressed with you. This is, you are so open. You’re so willing to just experiment and you make it sound easy, but it really takes a lot of humility. It takes a lot of courage to be willing to just listen to your husband, especially when he’s starting out with such ouchy words, right? You don’t get me, you don’t listen. And you’re like, okay, I’m gonna listen. I’m going to just be open. And then this created this amazing electricity between you, like you were 18 again. Yes. That’s just love. And who doesn’t want that? I mean, this is what we all dream about as little girls, right? Like your husband would have to kiss you four or five times. Yeah. Or he gets out the door. And so it’s just beautiful. And I give you all the credit, Deanna, for creating this. Well done. So. So what other skills did you or what other things did you try in your marriage? Gratitude was a big one. Just being thankful, seeing him. I think we all struggle with wanting to be seen in marriage, both parties. And, you know, we go around with like the horse with the blinders on and it’s like, no, take those off, really see what’s around you, grab hold of it, whether it’s big, small, little, medium. And so I started doing gratitude. and thinking about all the things he did, even when he was making bad decisions in our marriage, he still was making amazing good decisions too, you know? And I start seeing how much he loved me and how much he let my dreams come true. And he put his dreams on hold, you know? And even after the fact, even after, you know, the wrong that I did in the marriage, I mean, he just went full force. He took me to Florida for two weeks, just so we could reconnect in our marriage. And we just had this, you know, wonderful, amazing time together. And so I just started doing gratitude. I start doing, I hear you. And I start shutting up, carrying my little duct tape around, like the invisible duct tape. And I, something I’ve learned through this is I will never. ever exchange being right for intimacy ever. It’s not that important to me to always be right or to get my point across. I will never exchange that for intimacy with my husband ever. And he loves that. I bet he does. But what about when you know you’re right, when there’s, when he’s got a different point of view, like how do you deal with that? Like when it comes up, when you wanna. Tell them. You know, I just, for so many years, I didn’t let him be the father to our children, I didn’t let him be the husband, I didn’t let him make the decisions. I was always making the decisions. And I just thought, you know what? It’s time to see what happens when he does make the decisions, right or wrong. And you know, he’s not always right when he makes his decisions, but he’s pretty spot on. So, and… You know, he’s an incredible businessman, you know, and he handles his company. And I’m thinking if he can handle his company, surely he can handle, you know, life. And so I just kind of step back and if he asked me for my opinion or I’ll say, what do you think? Um, I give it to him, but I do it in such a loving way and not like, well, you know, your decision was little. So even how I respond to him in that is just. I want to be his. biggest cheerleader that he’s ever had. Absolutely. I love that. Wow. And so what is your marriage like today? Uh, it’s just amazing. It’s, it’s so much. This weekend, we were supposed to go away to a cabin for three days, and then she overbooked it. So she canceled our reservation. And we looked at each other and we thought, I said, you know what, sweetheart? I said, usually we go away to the cabins and long weekends so that we can find that romance and that spark. And, um, good news is we don’t need a cabin or long weekend anymore. We have enough romance in this house, but we don’t need a cabin. So we’ll still go on those trips, but. You know, just to get away, but we’re not going there to find romance. We have the romance. We have it like. And it’s just a miracle. It really is. It truly is a life looking miracle. So if that makes sense. It does. It does. It’s romance is right there in your house. You guys don’t have to go anywhere to get it. You’re not seeking it. It’s you’re just living it. You’re just yes. Yes. Wow. And and you have kids. Your kids are grown or? Yeah, they’re all adults. Okay. All out of the house. Has this, has any of this impacted them in any way you think that you’ve done on this? Yeah, they were really hurt. They were really hurt by mom’s decision, bad decision, but they are just amazed. You know, I had two boys and a daughter and they’re all amazed that mom put on her gloves and she fought back for her marriage and And yeah, they just they forgave me right away, but to watch me grow and watch mom and dad love each other just brought healing so much so that we’re all taking a family vacation together for the first time in 10 years. Yeah, so and with my two grand babies. So, so it’s gonna be just a nice time to just be unified as a family and just that life being beautiful. So you must feel so proud to have a such a close knit family. Everybody wants to go on vacation together. It’s kind of a big deal, right? Not, not every family can say that. Yeah. I mean, you know, we’re still working through some things, you know, and, but the closeness is growing, you know, or we’re not where we want to be. And I actually, I think that’s good because that means there’s progress to be made. So. What is it? The room for self-improvement, it’s always the biggest room in the house, right? Yes. Yeah, room for improvement. It’s always the biggest room in the house. Yeah, so, well, I just love this story, Deanna. It’s super inspiring, everything you’re sharing about how you did it with listening and with gratitude. What’s your tip for somebody who is where you were, where you just were so, you had a huge… resentment snowman built and you were wanting him to, you’re wanting to shake things up so much that it felt like asking him to leave was the solution. That’s how hurt and lonely you were feeling. But she, but somebody who wants what you have now, where, you know, he just looks so hot in his softball uniform and he has to kiss you four or five times before he leaves the house and he’s taking you on. Romantic weekends that don’t happen and doesn’t matter because there’s so much romance at home anyway What’s your tip for somebody? Who wants what you have? To just start somewhere Start somewhere read the book pick out one thing You know, i’m a go-getter. Um, I just did it all I just wanted to see what happened. Um But just start somewhere I think gratitude is a very big thing because to me, if you start with gratitude, those blinders can come off and then maybe it’ll be easier to pick up some other tools, you know. So that’s what I would suggest. Start with gratitude. See what you can get out of that. And then maybe another tool won’t be so hard to pick up. I love that. You are a go-getter. It definitely is clear from your story that you put a lot into fixing your marriage, fixing your marriage and making it beautiful. What do you think you would say to Deanna if you could go back in time and tell her what you know now? Be aware of the resentment suitcase. Be aware. And maybe. Not packet. Maybe not packet. That’s what I would tell her. You know what this is. I get chills just hearing that right? Because you don’t sound resentful at all anymore. So that resentment, it left the building somehow. Left the suitcases. No man melted. How do you think you did that? Well, you know, I know that God is a big part of our marriage. So I know that he helped us and he wanted to see the miracles as much as we did. Um, stumbling on the podcast, amazing counselors, uh, that she took us for a ride for almost three years separately. And she did amazing picking up the tools, uh, in the surrendering wife. which is just amazing. And I just walk along with that toolbox with me. And anytime I need it, I use it for my husband, I use it for everybody. I’m like, what tool do I need for this situation? And that’s how I did it. I just, I’m gonna carry these tools for the rest of my life, rest of my life. Well, I love it. You just your vulnerability is just so beautiful, Deanna, and it’s such a gift to get to hear your story and have you share so authentically, so genuinely with us. This has been a great contribution to ending world divorce and I just want to give you also my wife a word. No. Congratulations on fixing your family and making your marriage. The kind of marriage. every woman would love to have. Thank you. Great job, thank you. Thank you, bye bye. If you’d like to be my guest on the Empowered Wife podcast and share about how you fixed a struggling relationship using the six intimacy skills, I would love to interview you. Just go to lauradoil.org slash podcast dash guest to let me know that you are willing to make a big contribution to ending world divorce by telling your relationship story. I look forward to meeting you. That’s lauradoil.org slash podcast. podcast-guest Listen and subscribe to the empowered wife podcast on next week’s podcast We’re gonna talk about what to do when you’re struggling with a lack of intimacy in marriage In the meantime, I hope you’re having lots of fun Today’s fun fact is that one of my favorite things to say is I made that up, but I’m sure it’s true

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