Responding To Silent Treatment From A Narcissist
Have you ever found yourself being ignored by someone and you have no idea why? A narcissist willfully ignores their target in order to harm them and often encourage others to do the same (ostracism). How do you react to the silence punishment of a narcissist? How can you turn the game around and play it better?
What did you, the goal, do to deserve to be ignored?
More than likely nothing of importance. A narcissist will respond to any perceived insult, real or imagined, with a punishment they think fits your crime, with silence being a favorite in their arsenal.
We all have an innate need to belong. To be excluded, especially by those we love, is crippling even for the strongest of people. When we are ignored or marginalized, we feel worthless and our self-esteem is at an all time low.
The narcissist will express his disapproval by closing down, withdrawing any love or affection, refusing to communicate, and refusing to explain his target. Why?
Avoidance, control, disempowerment and/or punishment, punishment for any perceived offence of which the target person is completely unaware. They know how they’re making the other person feel, but in their sick and twisted mind, they believe that somehow they deserve it. Your emotional maturity is typical of a five-year-old who pouts and storms until they get what they want.
(Do not confuse the silent treatment with the no-contact, which is a process that is undertaken to protect ourselves, to give us time to heal and recover, not to punish or hurt anyone).
How does a narcissist expect you to react?
A narcissist wants the target of their abuse, even if their silence is abuse, to reach out, plead, and beg for their existence to be recognized. Responding in this way will give the narcissist his much-needed narcissistic supply. The narcissist will read all of your texts and emails and get tremendous satisfaction from them.
Oh how it makes you feel important! It is completely normal for the target of this type of abuse to try to resolve the situation.
Your calls will likely land on your voicemail, your text messages or emails will be ignored. All of your communication attempts will be met with a deafening silence.
This passive-aggressive behaviour is usually a repetitive form of emotional abuse that the narcissist practices over and over, with each episode of silence often lasting a little longer than the previous one.
This is an intense manipulation that conditions the target for future mind control.
What these people don’t expect is your knowledge of their twisted mind games.
They don’t expect you to know how to play these mind games any better than they can.
Instead of crawling back to them, let them crawl back into the hole they created for themselves and give them a taste of their own medicine.
How do you play a narcissist and play better?
Don’t give them their desired outcome. Do not beg or beg to be recognized. Let their silence teach you something.
Let this deadly silence teach you that you can go on without it. Use this period of silence as a time to reassess your position. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what you did wrong. I know you want answers, but don’t chase them to get some.
They know if you don’t get an answer from them, you will likely start blaming yourself. You will apologize when you have no idea what you are apologizing for and try to get it right this time, see you next time. Don’t play into their hands.
When a narcissist sees that he is not getting his desired answer, that special period of silence is likely to end.
Keep in mind, however, that if the narcissist believes that this particular form of manipulation is ineffective with you, he can move on to another manipulative tactic.
Respect yourself enough to know that someone who loves you would never treat you in such a contemptuous way. People who love you don’t hold back love, they give it. People who love you have your back free. They don’t stab you in the back.
If someone punishes you with silence, return the favour, walk away, close the door, and lock it behind you.