What Happens When You Ignore Narcissist’s Silent Treatment? (Should You Do That?)

What happens when you ignore Narcissist’s Silent Treatment? What if you have taken the dare of ignoring a narcissist or their treatments and have decided not to give a hoot about them anymore? Well if you are worried about the consequences or the after-effects of ignoring a narcissist or their silent treatment then this is the correct place for you to know, “What Happens When You Ignore Narcissist’s Silent Treatment?”.

Also, we will know rather do this with a narcissist or not. Will it cost you anything if you decide not to care anymore about the toxic treatment that a narcissist provides? Let us know the shortcomings of ignoring narcissists and the silent treatment that they provide.

What is the Narcissists’ Silent treatment?

Defining silent treatment is interrelated with understanding people with dark personalities. Dark personality traits include sadism, narcissism, psychopathy, greed, spite, and social overtness. The well-known or most aware “Dark Triad” of personality traits include Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Thus people with dark personalities possess many such dark traits and toxic behavioral patterns which include all the above-mentioned traits and many more. One such toxic technique used by dark personalities, especially narcissists is the silent treatment.

Silent treatment is a passive-aggressive abusive and toxic trait possessed by dark personality people, especially narcissists where they exhibit their disapproval, dislike, disapprobation, disagreements, or criticism without using words but rather with their nonverbal actions. It can be defined as a control mechanism. Their gestures do not contain words but such disapproving actions where they know you exist but just ignore your mere existence. They would display how spiteful they are of your actions without uttering a single word.

The silent treatment tends to represent some sort of anger but with actions and no words. It is usually used to convey sort of negative emotions to the victim of the silent treatment in the form of ignorance or non-verbal communication or action.

If you have been with a narcissist then you might be familiar with the silent treatment, the no-answers zone, or the ignoring phase when there are any issues or inconveniences and misunderstandings in the relationship. Being with a narcissist is as is tough and it needs a lot of perseverance to keep the relationship going with them.

Examples of Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

An example of the Narcissist’s silent treatment can be, when there is a misunderstanding or any sort of despair between two partners or two people supposedly husband and wife, then rather than discussing it, the partner who feels hurt(the narcissist) just tends to display something is not right between them, or something displeasing has taken place for one partner but yet they would not speak about it frankly to the other partner.

When something bothers a narcissist, they would treat their partners differently and when their partner tries to sort things out by asking, “Is everything okay? It does not seem okay?” the other partner who has been upset (the narcissist) just keeps on answering with just a nod or a short “Yes” or just would not answer the question completely leaving the other partner completely baffled, clueless and upset about the whole situation, this can be one more example of the narcissist’s silent treatment.

Children always end up being a victim of manipulation in the case of NPD(Narcissistic Personality Disorder) parents. A narcissistic mother would often compare their children with others, would push buttons that would damage them emotionally when they disobey, or give them silent treatment rather than explain their fault. The narcissistic parent or especially the mother would be so pissed that she would just ignore the child for doing something improper or inappropriate rather than explaining their fault or what they did wrong. This can be another example of the narcissist’s silent treatment.

What would trigger a narcissist and how would that make them give you the silent treatment?

A narcissist is someone who needs attention, praise, boost, and appreciation all the time. They want to be the center of attraction or the elephant in the room. They just want you to listen to them without putting in your opinion, views, or any criticism most of the time. They just want to dominate the relationship and so when that does not happen, a narcissist feels underappreciated, undervalued, and also unnoticed. This would surely make them furious beyond the range of words. They would treat you like you have done some sin arguing or counter-questioning them.

And thus when something upsets them beyond the reach of words or fury, they would not use their usual technique of lashing out their narcissistic rage but instead just ignore you and let you just be figuring out what went wrong until you go crazy thinking the possible reasons. They would ignore you to the extent that you just cannot leave the matter either nor they would tell you what is wrong. It is like one of their manipulation tactics for you to make efforts for them, convincing and begging them to give you their attention. They would treat you like you no longer matter to them and you just keep attempting vague attempts to know what is wrong.

Narcissists have quite a long list of things that might upset them,

  • Throwing facts or factual data straight at their face
  • Dismissing what they have to say
  • Making them wait
  • Setting firm boundaries
  • Staying put and not reacting
  • Hurting their Pride and Ego
  • Talking to other people and making new friends
  • Denying or saying no
  • Make them lose their control
  • Gaslighting them
  • Make small talk or disregard them
  • Intimidate them with threats like a breakup, cutting off relations, or even leaving them indeed
  • Keep yourself busy in self-care
  • Criticizing them
  • Including competitiveness in your conduct
  • Glorify their failures
  • Dismissing their opinions
  • Piss them off
  • Acknowledge yourself how their behavior is wrong and you are victimized
  • Ignoring their toxic behavior
  • Praising someone else in their presence
  • Devaluing them

The Purpose of the Narcissist’s silent treatment

The main purpose of the narcissist’s silent treatment is to make their victim feel guilty, confused, and deficient in some way when they have done something to displease the narcissist. Other reasons can possibly be,

  • When they are done with you
  • When they have found a new source of supply
  • When they perceive you as someone who is not up to their mark
  • When you share a concern with one of their flying monkeys
  • When you have done something to upset them and they wish to punish you
  • When they wish to devalue your worth
  • To feel wanted and boost their ego
  • When you have exposed them or figured them out
  • When you set a boundary

What happens when you Ignore Narcissist’s Silent Treatment?

Narcissists tend to teach you a lesson with the help of the silent treatment when something you have done upsets them or displeases them like losing control, losing some argument, or anything which makes them feel defeated or ignored. The silent treatment is given to you o teach you a lesson to not repeat the mistake again or just to gain some attention from you when the narcissist craves it.

The silent treatment may even be used to gain their narcissistic supply where in you may be all worried that why the narcissist is displeased with you and you do not want to upset them so you do everything in your power to please them or break the silent treatment and talk to you instead. But they would not leave the sadistic pleasure that they get from the silent treatment rather they would just make you plead more.

Pissing off a narcissist is inevitable as they can get annoyed by the littlest things which you would not even imagine. Narcissists always think that they have the power to control you, but when they lose that control they have a nasty attitude and ignore you. They think you would never counter their actions and so they always expect you to be under their control. But when you act the opposite and make them lose their control, they can either get pissed, get angry, or just gives you the silent treatment when the situation really gets out of their control.

But when the silent treatment just goes off track as you are done with the way the narcissist treats you and you start to just ignore them instead. This is when their silent treatment backfires.

What happens when the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment backfires on your ignorance?

Ignoring the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment may cost you as it would cause,

Narcissistic Rage

The first and foremost reaction of a narcissist to any inconvenience caused by others is anger, rage, or wrath. If you have been with a narcissist you might be aware of their anger issues. They feel more agitated than usual when you ask them to reflect upon something. They would be harsh with their words. They would try to hurt you emotionally.

Narcissistic Animosity

Narcissists cannot let go of insults that easily. Ignoring them would be considered an insult to them. Do not expect a maturely handled situation when you ignore a narcissist. They may create a scene and play the victim here. They might also plan something bad that can even smear your reputation. They may resent you for a long time.

Narcissists take the hate word literally and usually have a long hate list. People make it to this list when they have not done something as per a narcissist’s wish. You may end up on their list because you ignored them continuously, and they may never approach you the same way unless they are genuinely in need of something from you.

Them taking desperate measures like,

  • Trying to gain your attention by doing things your way

They may do whatever you like, keeping the toilet seat down, doing chores, reaching out for help temporarily till you change your mind and stop ignoring them.

  • Love Bombing you

There are many ways to love bomb that they can resort to, they might lure you by making you vulnerable for physical intimacy, or they would send you presents like flowers, chocolates, or anything dear to you to remind you that they still care for you or they would wait for their chance until your anger melts and you give up ignoring them.

  • Trying to please you by taking you on trips

They may try to compensate by taking you on trips or whatever you may be willing to do with them to enhance the relationship and gain control back.

  • Trying to get through to you by reaching out to your relatives and family

By implying all means here we are referring to any way in which they might contact you. They would even not hesitate to reach out to your family members, friends, or anyone that you know to get the slightest hint about you. They can be creative at this point and just be ready to be surprised by unexpected ways through which they might try to get in touch with you once you start ignoring them.

  • Doing things that may make you angry

When things do not work out with love, they resort to anger. They would do all things to make you angry so that at least by that means you talk with them even though pissed.

  • Pretending to be cheating on you

They would pretend that they are giving their attention to someone else when you are bust ignoring them. They might pretend to be cheating on you to get back your attention and their control over you.

They may launch a smear campaign

The Narcissist’s Smear Campaign is when the narcissist presents someone as bad and lies to others about what that someone has been doing to them. Narcissists can lie bluntly to save themselves and their image and destroy someone else’s image just to save their own image. Narcissists smear your image when they can no longer control you or have you, or when they want to teach you some sort of lesson just because you did not act according to the way they want.

A narcissist would not hesitate even once to spread rumors about you and would tell all sorts of stories and lies to turn people around you against you. They would wish all people just cut ties with you and then you have to rely on them. They would not allow people to know your side of the story.

They might get on your nerves by doing things that you do not like and thus force you indirectly to get your attention and thus induce you to start a conversation with them

They might ignore you more just to get on your nerves. They would,

  1. Be unpredictable
  2. Be boring and inattentive toward you
  3. Learn to say “No” and start using denial to everything and anything
  4. Walk away while you are coming their way
  5. Cut off complete communication with you
  6. Steal the spotlight from you
  7. Being your biggest competitor
  8. Communicating when needed but without the involvement of many reactions

They might push all your buttons

When you become difficult to handle and when you start ignoring the narcissist’s silent treatment, they may choose some ways to mess with you psychologically and would push your buttons to piss you off. They feel that you also need a taste of your tea for all the harassment and inconvenience that you have caused them.

Should You Ignore the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment? – And at what cost?

Though pissing them, messing with them, ignoring them or just ignoring their silent treatment may elevate your mental peace and can even bring a little joy for defeating them at their own game but this may result in some changes that are not favorable to you. But this can also be your fantasy to see the narcissist a changed individual. But to visualize some changes in them can be just a futile effort. Narcissists do not change. So mess with them by ignoring them and the silent treatment at your own risk. Do not get carried away with just messing around that you have to face unwanted and unexpected scenarios and be the victim of a narcissist’s rage and revenge.

Does it affect a narcissist when you ignore them?

Yes! a narcissist fears loneliness and hates ignorance. They feel the same as everyone; sad, fearful, and hateful when someone leaves and ignores their mere presence. But the only difference is their reaction. It does trigger them but they would not express it loudly. They would not demonstrate any loud reaction as this would make them seem benevolent.


Ignoring a narcissist and their toxic treatments like the silent treatment may ensure your peace of mind for sure at least for a while or even for a long time.

Do not even make the ignoring game look like a revenge scheme. Because once a narcissist activates the revenge mode, there will be no sparing. They might give you a hard time, and you might even be reciprocating for the choices you made. So just remember to be sure that this is not a revenge thing, all you want is your little freedom and a break from the toxic cycle which is seldom while dealing with a narcissist.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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