Being Ignored by Someone You Love

Feeling ignored in a relationship

Being ignored by someone you love can be a painful experience. While it may cause anger and frustration, getting the silent treatment can also shake your confidence and alter your self-image.  If you experience negative psychological effects from being ignored, you are not alone.

Being hurt or angry when someone you love ignores you is natural, but it can also serve as a call to action. If you have difficulty maintaining your emotional health while being ignored, consider the benefits of a relationship coach. Relationship coaching can help you work through the negative effects of being ignored by someone you love and start the journey to a healthier, happier you.

Read through our tips on what to do if you find yourself being ignored by someone you love.

Table of Contents

Why Being Ignored by Someone You Love Hurts

It’s Not In Your Head: How to Tell When Someone Is Ignoring You

What to Do When Someone Ignores You

It’s Not Your Fault

Why It Hurts So Much When Someone You Love Ignores You 

How Does Being Ignored Affect the Brain and Body?

What Does It Mean When a Partner Ignores You?

Is it Abuse When Someone Ignores You?

Why Being Ignored by Someone You Love Hurts

When someone ignores you, you may start feeling unworthy, unimportant, or unlovable, especially if you are blatantly ignored by someone you care about. Whether it’s your partner, parent, or boss, it is entirely natural to feel hurt when you don’t get the response you expect from them.

Although you are bound to feel hurt after being rejected or ignored, keep in mind that it’s not necessarily your fault. Remember that people have their own emotional struggles which may cause them to act in certain ways towards you. You can only control what is going on with you and how being ignored is making you feel – you may not know the whole story behind why a person ignores you.

For instance, they may have been a victim of emotional neglect in their childhood or may have experienced some other emotional trauma. They might simply be overwhelmed by other matters in their life. 

Regardless of the reason why, your worthiness should never depend on other people’s attention and opinions of you. Stop ruminating on why they are ignoring you and focus on yourself to start healing.

It’s Not In Your Head: How to Tell When Someone Is Ignoring You

You may be staring at your phone, waiting for a call. You may wonder if it is all in your head – are they just busy or are you really being ignored? You may feel gaslit by their hot and cold behavior.

Being ignored may mean different things to different people. For some, it may mean no contact at all, while for others, it may mean feeling dismissed or invalidated. For others, being made to feel unimportant leaves them feeling like their core value is not recognized and their true self is being ignored.

Being ignored by someone you love may look like:

  • A person talking about liking/loving you, but acting cold and distant shortly after
  • Someone avoiding physical connection, eye contact, or intimacy
  • Someone you were intimate with in private ignoring you in public
  • A person refusing to have two-way communication with you
  • A partner ignoring or dismissing subjects that are important to you
  • A person distancing themselves whenever serious emotions happen
  • Feeling like your beliefs or point of view aren’t worth being heard
  • Conversations end when it is your turn to talk
  • Experiencing a connection, then being told the person wants space without explanation
  • A person making you feel that a normal amount of healthy connection is wrong
  • Having to deal with challenges alone, even after asking for support

What to Do When Someone Ignores You

When a person is being ignored by someone that they care about, they might ruminate on how to win back the attention, or desperately try to figure out what they are doing wrong. They can find themselves flooded by self-doubt, low self-esteem, and a feeling that they must undo the silent treatment that they are experiencing.

This puts people in a difficult situation—vacillating between trying to do the “dance” of winning back the other person’s attention and trying to avoid appearing clingy, needy, or desperate. They deeply want to talk to the other person and help them realize the pain that being ignored is causing but are afraid to be so expressive that it pushes their partner even further away.

You may find yourself “ignoring them back” to teach them a lesson. But, this dynamic leaves people in a stand-off of mutual hostility. Or, conversely, you might find yourself talking excessively with the person, desperately trying to communicate. If you can only find out what you did wrong, you can make sure it won’t happen again. You may think that a change in your behavior will affect the amount of attention they give you.

A person being ignored may find themselves doubling down on being a people-pleaser or flooding the person who is ignoring them with messages and phone calls. They often believe that winning back the person’s favor will ease the pain they are feeling.

The difficult emotions are directed at the particular person who is ignoring them, but it may be that the person being ignored is being triggered by older feelings rooted in early experiences of abandonment or neglect.

If you are being ignored by someone you love, you are probably looking for a way to deal with all the negative emotions that the silent treatment brings about. Here are some tips:

The Best Ways to Handle Being Ignored by Someone You Love

Take a step backYour partner may simply need some space to collect their thoughts and deal with their own emotions. Give them time and work on yourself in the meantime.
Distract yourselfFind things to do in order to keep yourself from obsessing over the person who is ignoring you.
Check if they are actually ignoring youThe whole deal may simply be a misunderstanding or the person may be dealing with other personal issues.
Try not to overreactYes, being ignored hurts, but remember that the individual ignoring you may be trying to achieve exactly that. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
CommunicateYour partner may have some concerns about the relationship that they are afraid to bring up. Try speaking with them without anger or bitterness.

It’s Not Your Fault

When you are being ignored by someone you love, you often start blaming yourself. Did you cross somebody’s boundaries? Did you unintentionally hold someone at a distance? Did you have unrealistic expectations of a person? Did you flood them with needs, or front-load them with too much self-disclosure?

If the answer to any of these is “yes”, it can be quite an empowering revelation. Now you can self-examine and course-correct so that the circumstances you created that resulted in being ignored by someone don’t have to become a life-long pattern. The power is in your hands!

You may think that realizing you pushed someone away might feel like a crushing blow to your self-esteem, but often the opposite is true. For many, these realizations mean that any future relationship you choose may quite possibly have different outcomes.

Sometimes, however, being ignored by someone you love has nothing to do with how you showed up and everything to do with another person’s limitations and challenges. When that happens, we can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out what we did wrong in the relationship. The impact can be very painful.

If being ignored by someone has repeatedly happened to you, self-reflection may be extra helpful. And, working with a relationship coach might help you delve deeper into this realization and come up with some solutions to solve it for the future.

Why It Hurts So Much When Someone You Love Ignores You

Being ignored by someone can create psychological stress, and can have a significant mental health impact. Psychological effects may look like depression, anxiety, an inability to spend time alone, losing a sense of self when their partner ignores them, or being flooded with feelings of anger.

You may even find that your thoughts turn to obsessing over the person ignoring you, wondering what they’re thinking and doing, and trying again and again to figure out what happened.

Suppose the person ignoring you is somebody you’re in a romantic relationship with or a family member. In that case, you may feel even more frustrated and angry because you believe a close relationship like that one should follow certain “rules.” There should be open communication, and you should spend time together, right?

This challenging dynamic could create conflicted emotions about the person and may even impact a person’s ability to feel safe and secure in other relationships. If you are in this situation, contact a relationship coach to begin processing and healing.

How Does Being Ignored Affect the Brain and Body?

In addition to the negative psychological effects you might experience after being ignored, it has been shown that the silent treatment can actually have physical effects on your brain and body. 

According to research, feeling ignored and excluded can cause real changes in your brain, particularly in the anterior cingulate cortex, a zone in the brain responsible for detecting pain. This area of the brain also does not distinguish between physical pain and emotional distress. When this zone is activated, you may experience several different physical symptoms. These may include:

  • Headaches 
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia and fatigue 
  • Increased blood pressure 
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune activation

These physical effects are caused by the high-stress levels that you may experience after being ignored in a relationship. They may be exacerbated if you are subjected to silent treatment for prolonged periods of time or if the person who is ignoring you is a particularly important figure in your life, such as your parent, adult child,  partner, or boss.

Additionally, extended periods where you have feelings of exclusion or neglect can lead to a heightened stress response and increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronically high cortisol levels can interfere with several bodily functions, leading to complications like increased blood pressure.

You may hear people who care about you say things like, “You need to move past this” or “You need to get over it.” Those sentiments can seem invalidating and dismissive when your body and mind are responding to stress.

What Does It Mean When Your Partner Ignores You?

There are a million reasons someone you love might ignore you, and most of them aren’t personal. A relationship coach can help you understand your relationship better and decipher what their silence means. 

Here are a few common reasons why a partner might ignore you.

Why Your Partner Might Ignore You

They don’t like communicating via phoneThis simple explanation is actually more common than you may think. Many individuals don’t like or don’t know how to express themselves over the phone.
They are overwhelmed with other matters in their lifeAlthough you probably want to be the focus of your significant other’s life, it may be the case that they have other problems in their life that have to be dealt with before speaking with you
They need some time aloneAlthough you probably feel extremely hurt because your partner is ignoring you, you should consider the fact that you might be smothering them. Give them some space and see what happens.
They feel like you want something from themIf you tend to be demanding towards your partner, they may feel like you only contact them when you need something that they are not able to give.
They are poorly equipped to manage emotional intimacyIf a person is creating unexpected distance, especially if it’s during a phase when you are getting closer, consider that they may be challenged by emotional intimacy. The experience of emotional closeness may create anxiety in them, which causes them to push away.
There may be cultural considerationsSometimes a person’s culture may have different standards about time spent together than our own. What may be culturally appropriate for someone may feel like ignoring to someone else.
They may be intentionally non-committalAs a relationship develops, it’s important to understand if you have different goals around commitment. A clarifying conversation may be necessary.
They may be considering a breakupThere’s no point denying that it is a possibility that your partner may be losing interest, or may not want to be in a relationship with you any longer. Try talking to them openly and see if there are any issues that you two should work on.

Is It Abuse When Someone Ignores You?

While there are many logical reasons why someone might ignore you, some individuals may use the silent treatment as a manipulation tactic

The person who is ignoring you probably knows exactly what they are doing to your emotional state, and they might use this to their advantage, causing you to think about them more and be more vulnerable to the rest of their manipulation tactics. The silent treatment is often used as part of narcissistic abuse, hand in hand with gaslighting, deflection, stonewalling, and other abusive behavior.

In some cases, the person being ignored may be experiencing overt emotional abuse. This kind of hostile silence, withholding of affection, and manipulative avoidance can have profound psychological effects on a person. The person in this kind of situation may find themselves in a place of decimated self-esteem, or they may find their mental health suffers. If you are in this situation, reach out to a relationship coach to begin navigating your way out of the relationship and into a healthier mindset.

Transform Your Relationships With a PIVOT Relationship Coach

Being ignored by someone you love

Being ignored by someone you love is painful, and you may need specialized support to get past it. You never know exactly why people are treating you the way they do, and it’s not your responsibility to waste energy trying to figure it out. Instead, focus on your own well-being and health.

PIVOT can help if feeling ignored is bringing you down. Whether you want to speak with a relationship coaching professional online or attend an intensive relational freedom workshop, don’t hesitate to call us. We offer individual and couples relationship coaching as well as personalized retreats in Northern California. 

If you feel hurt or frustrated from being ignored by someone you love, we can help. Contact PIVOT at 1-855-452-0707 to start your journey to a healthier, happier life.

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