Heated arguments often make people feel they should ignore the other person for some time, even loved ones.
Between arguing and being ignored, the latter hurts more, as found in a study by Williams (2009). It means that ignoring someone you love can hurt them deeper than verbal insults.
In a heated argument, both parties can communicate their demands or side on the matter at hand. Although it is often done less constructively, heated arguments seem like a better outcome than being ignored.
Being ignored leads to feeling left out by the person you love, which may lead a person to question his or her worth as a person. It may also cause the relationship to spiral down whenever it goes through a rough patch.
But what exactly is the psychology of ignoring someone you love?
Why does being ignored tend to hurt more than being in a heated argument? Is there a more appropriate way to approach the situation than being indifferent to the person you love? Let's find out!
There are several reasons why ignoring someone seems like the better option at times, especially while still in the heat of an argument.
Ignoring someone may be a person's way of communicating how upset they are with the other person. Others may use the silent treatment to show the other person they do not deserve their attention.
Below are the major reasons why people choose to ignore the ones they love to give you the whys and the hows of being served with the silent treatment.
People ignore someone to make them know they are mad at them
Some people think that the best way to let the other person know that they are angry at them is by being indifferent to them.
However, you may just be setting yourself up for more frustration by choosing this path because the other person may not know that you are ignoring them because you are mad.
Ignoring someone instead of telling them directly how you feel is not helpful in the long run as it trains you to evade the problem by being indifferent instead of maturely communicating what you want to tell to the other person.
This is surely an unhealthy way of dealing with arguments. As much as possible, relationship concerns must be openly communicated so they can be addressed.
Being ignored forces a person to self-reflect, which often is done in a pessimistic way
Sometimes, you may ignore a person to give them a chance to figure out what they did wrong that upset you. If this is your response every time you argue, your relationship may end up in ruin.
Leaving the other person to get drowned in negative self-reflection must be avoided because no one deserves to be treated in such a manner.
Instead of making them feel bad by ignoring them, which may cause them to question their value as a person, talk your way through the problem together.
Ignoring someone because they have ignored you first
Being indifferent to another person's presence is often done to get even because they have ignored you first. If ignoring the other person is how you typically respond when there is a disagreement, the relationship will cease to grow and move forward.
Reacting this poorly to any disagreement in the relationship creates an unhealthy pattern of giving each other the taste of their own medicine, and it only makes things worse, not even.
Unless you want this to be a part of your relationship, you must learn to choose which is the healthier thing to do for the relationship.
Related: True love is when he ignores you
Ignoring someone is a way to take breathing space and process the situation
Whenever faced with a heated argument, it is never wrong to take a breathing space as it can help both parties to cool off and see the argument from a more objective perspective.
However, if taking a breathing space is done almost as if you are purposely evading the existence of the other person, then cooling your head off may just be your petty excuse.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with taking your time to process the situation, you must first let the other person know that you need more time than going straight to ignoring them.
Do not leave them worrying about why you have not gotten back to them after you argued.
Ignoring someone as an excuse to break up with them
Breaking up with the other person takes a lot of courage. Some people fear that by directly telling the other person that they want to end the relationship, they end up hurting the other person more. Thinking it is the less painful option, they choose to ignore someone.
They fail to realize that being ignored causes more suffering than ending things up front. Undoubtedly, the person deserves to know if the other person wants a breakup rather than consistently wondering why she is being ignored for days.
If you are planning to break up with the person, you must muster up the courage to tell them what you want to show them that you respect the person.
Being ignored makes it more difficult to re-engage in a conversation than when in a heated argument
Choosing to ignore the other person makes resolving the situation more difficult because instead of having the conversation to address the problem, the argument ends up in silent treatment, robbing each other of the opportunity to talk their way through the problem like real adults.
The best way out of an argument is through it. Ignoring each other delays the solution to the problem.
If you truly desire to build a long-lasting relationship with your partner, constructively talking to each other despite the stress of the argument is something you need to learn to get better at.
Ignoring someone gives a false sense of control over the situation
Another reason why people choose to ignore the ones they love is because the act gives them a sense of control over the situation. By not talking to the other person, they feel as if they have the upper hand and the other person is waiting for their response.
If this is how you think ignoring that person will transpire, you may end up disappointed because you may be the only one who thinks of the situation in that way.
You will realize that you have more control over the situation if you tell the person upfront that you are upset with them than simply giving them the silent treatment.
Ignoring someone makes a person assume that it will change the person
If you think being ignored by someone will change a person, and how they act, you may end up disappointed. Believe it or not, people can't change their ways if they are ignored by the ones they love.
Instead, you may end up with opposite results, as blatantly ignoring them can encourage them more to continue with the way they act. The only thing that will help that person change is by letting them know that their behavior needs changing.
Make sure that you tell this to them as constructively as you can.
Related: How to restart a relationship
Being ignored makes a person feel like they are undeserving of any time and attention
When a person upsets you, you end up ignoring that person thinking that they do not deserve any response from you at all.
Instead of returning to them, you may spend your entire day getting busy with work and personal stuff.
If this is how you react whenever the other person upsets you, this behavior says a lot more about you than it will say about them. The other person may also fail to take the hint that you want to make them feel undeserving of your attention, and this will make you even more upset.
What must be your goal every time you reach an argument in the relationship is to get better at handling it together. Never make a person feel undeserving of your time and attention because it will negatively affect their self-esteem and self-worth.
In the long run, this destructive response whenever the other person upsets you is sure to scathe the relationship.
When in a heated argument, the two of you can always take a step back and cool off all the heightened emotions along with it. However, both of you must eventually resume the conversation to resolve.
Avoid making the other person feel worthless by giving the silent treatment.
Whether you think the person deserves it or not, never ignore someone who holds a special place in your heart.
Anger and disappointment are temporary emotions, and the two of you can communicate your way through your argument.
Nicole Graham is a relationship expert at Womenio.com. She is helping women grow into their best selves so they can be confident and bring more love, passion, and purpose to their lives. Nicole enjoys studying the psychology of love and is passionate about writing on them. She offers helpful tips and advice to help overcome any relationship issue, whether you’re single or already in a relationship.