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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I feel as Im having an emotional breakdown. Please help me!

Customer Question

I feel as I'm having an emotional breakdown. Please help me! I am 57 years old and the man I've been in a relationship for the past 5 years has a habit of giving me the silent treatment for days at a time if I say or do something he doesn't like. He gave me a beautiful infiniti necklace for Christmas and then on New years's Eve he was teasng me relentlessly and I tried to set a boundary by asking him to stop because it was to the point of being hurtful. I said I would have to go home if it didn't stop and it continued so I went home, no yelling or raising voices at all. He has not talked to me since and this is not the first time this has happened. What is going on? He keeps me so off balance and will not answer phone calls as if I don't exist? I am not functioning very well and takes every ounce of energy to get through the day and am having to take alprazolm just to function. Please advise. Nancy
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your problem.


It sounds as if your partner is using the silent treatment as a way to control you. It is also a way for him to express his anger, which he may have a lot of. It takes a lot of self control and anger to express yourself by ignoring someone important to you, especially for days at a time.


He is also acting out his anger directly towards you with the veiled comments when he gave you the gift. It was good you told him that you would leave if he didn't stop, then you following through. It gives him less control, which is probably why he didn't speak with you for days afterwords.


You have a choice here. You can speak with him about the behavior, telling him you are interested in resolving it with him. Request he attend therapy with you and work on this issue.


You can also leave the relationship. This might be wise especially if he refuses therapy. He has an issue here and if he doesn't resolve it, you will have to live with it for as long as you chose to stay with him.


You can also stay. But as I said before, you will have to deal with his behavior. Only you can decide if you want to do this. You can continue to lay down rules such as leaving as soon as he becomes mean, but you will also have to put up with him ignoring you afterwords. It would become a cycle of behavior.


Either way you decide, it has to be a decision that is good for you and your mental health.


I hope this has helped you,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This makes total sense! There is one part of your answer I would like you to clarify what you mean. This sentence: He is also acting out his anger directly towards you with the veiled comments when he gave you the gift. Thanks!
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I believe that he has two different ways of expressing his anger towards you. One is the way he makes mean comments to you as he does something nice, like give you a gift. This is a more direct way of expressing his feelings since he does it to your face. The other is by ignoring you when you act in a way he doesn't like. Keeping you guessing as to what displeases him is part of the game. It is about control and anger for him.


Please let me know if you have any more questions.



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