We’ve all been ignored by someone at some point in our lives. It hurts whether it was a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or someone you barely know. What exactly is the psychology behind ignoring someone?
Because you are left with no explanation, being ignored can be worse than getting into a fight. Why do we ignore others when it feels like a pointless punishment?
What is the intent of ignoring someone?
Ignoring someone is essentially giving them the silent treatment. And what exactly does that accomplish? It is a passive-aggressive approach to dealing with something rather than confronting it directly.
The psychology of ignoring someone
When you ignore someone, you may believe you are saying something by saying nothing, but you are actually causing more problems by approaching a problem in an unhealthy manner.
Freezing someone out is harmful not only to them but also to you. When you use silence as a punishment, it also cuts you off.
So, what does ignoring someone tell you about yourself? And how can you improve your ability to deal with problems in a healthy manner? By researching the psychology of ignoring someone, you can begin to understand why you do it.
Why you believe you ignore someone versus why you actually ignore them
Ignoring someone requires a lot of energy, sometimes even more than talking about what’s bothering you. You must actively remind yourself not to respond to text messages, contact them, or tag them in a funny meme.
Why go through all of that if you can simply talk about it? There are a number of reasons, or rather, excuses. However, once you discover the true reasons you ignore someone rather than the ones you convince yourself of, you will be able to stop doing so.
1. You believe they should understand why you are upset.
Many people in relationships expect their partner to know how they feel without ever saying it. And if you ignore them in the hope that it will just come to them, you will be waiting a long time.
You may believe you are ignoring them in order to solve the problem. In reality, you have difficulty expressing your emotions. Everything here is based on the psychology of ignoring someone. People who struggle with being vulnerable may resort to unhealthy solutions to problems that push them further away.
It is not their fault if you expect your partner or anyone else to understand why you are upset without telling them. It is an unrealistic, if not unhealthy, expectation to have of another person.
How to Repair It
Let’s talk about it. It can be frightening to admit your anger and have an adult conversation about it. However, not talking solves nothing. The fact that your partner is unaware of what is bothering you does not imply that they are unconcerned. It simply means that they are human. So fill in the blanks. You’ll both feel a lot better much faster.
My boyfriend recently said something that irritated me. I was sure he was aware of how it affected me, so I just moped until he brought it up. When I was finally able to speak with him about it, I realised he had no idea what he said had offended me or why. It wasn’t just that talking about it made us both feel better. It will also be beneficial in the future.
2. They completely ignored you.
Getting someone back or giving them a taste of their own medicine may appear to be a good way to show them how you feel at first, but what will it accomplish? Why create a pattern of being ignored if you despise it? This will just go back and forth indefinitely.
Although you may believe you are demonstrating to them what they have done to you, this is extremely unhealthy behavior. It’s the equivalent of cheating on someone because they cheated on you. It neither evens things out nor shows them. What it does is create a void in which you do not speak.
How to Heal It
Someone who ignores you may not even realise they are being ignored, and if they do, they will have no idea why. Talk to your partner instead of giving them a taste of their own medicine. Instead of expecting them to feel the same way you do, ask them why they ignore you and tell them how it makes you feel. They might not have realised they were ignoring you. Some people simply do not feel the need to converse all of the time. This means you have the opportunity to discuss your love language and what you require to feel valued in your relationship.
Or perhaps you were unaware that they were not permitted to use their phone at work. It could be as simple as that. The only way to solve a problem is to talk about it.
3. You should take some time to relax.
Many people, particularly those who are hot-headed, ignore someone who is attempting to cool off and calm down. Or, at the very least, that is what you may believe you are doing. I believe in allowing yourself to calm down before discussing something that has upset you, but going straight into ignore mode is counterproductive.
They are concerned if you do not notify them that you require some space. This only exacerbates the situation.
How to Heal it
If you really need some time to relax before speaking, let your partner know. Tell them you’re angry but don’t want to start a fight, so you’d like to cool off before bringing it up. This way, they’ll understand why you went silent.
Furthermore, sometimes cooling off is simply an excuse to postpone an inevitable argument. You may be getting more worked up during the time you claim to be calming down. You have the opportunity to overthink, overanalyze, and become even more upset. You can decide on a fight without even consulting your partner. Consider whether you truly require time to calm down before speaking or if you are simply procrastinating. And, if you do require that time, notify them before shutting down.