"The silent treatment is a particularly insidious form of abuse because it might force the victim to reconcile with the perpetrator in an effort to end the behavior, even if the victim doesn’t know why they’re apologizing. “It’s especially controlling because it deprives both sides from weighing in,” Williams said. “One person does it to the other person, and that person can’t do anything about it.”
Social ostracism has been a common punishment for millennia. But freezing someone out harms both the victim and the perpetrator.