My response was usually to shut down and not engage back in the argument, especially since everything I said would be used against me later, twisted in meaning, or dismissed entirely.
His verbal attacks would, of course, be denied entirely when referred to at a later date.
With this act of manipulation, several things are happening to the victim: Self-doubt: the victim begins to question the situation and wonder if he or she did something wrong or actually is the one at fault (even though instinctively, we know this is not true).
Feeling abandoned: if the victim has prior abandonment issues, this isolation can feel very much the same as being physically and emotionally abandoned Loneliness, shame, guilt, and all the emotions that come from being ”˜punished’ or scolded by another person.
Well, of course it would seem as though I started the fight, since he wasn’t speaking to me, but that discounts the fact that his non-communication was instigating an argument.
And let’s not underestimate the effect of non-verbal communication- another of my ex-husband’s favorite forms of communication.
When a partner isn’t speaking to you, it is a clear sign that he or she is angry or upset, even if no words are said to that effect.
I think this is a key element to why my ex preferred this form of punishment.
We had been arguing without much resolution, and I knew my counselor would not hold back in telling him the truth about what she thought.
A sociopath won’t risk losing the relationship, so it was a complicated game he played to keep me off-balance, but not to the point of walking away.
Like every other game, this was all about control, and there were several situations in which my ex-husband felt as though he was not in control.
He pushed for immediate answers in a confrontational and invasive way, accusing that I must be lying if I am not able to answer immediately.
Since most of his statements and questions were meant to be confrontation and accusatory, there really was no way to answer, and he knew that.