What is the Narcissistic Silent Treatment?: How to Deal with it?

What is the Narcissistic Silent Treatment? As the name suggests, Silent treatment is a way to chastise the wrongdoer according to people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Such individuals can be categorized as narcissists, who are self-obsessed and often punish others for behaving in a certain way.

Defining Narcissism

NPD(Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or Narcissism is portraying some common toxic traits in an intensified state than others. In psychological terms, narcissists who suffer from NPD(Narcissistic Personality Disorder) portray these traits or emotions in a greater magnitude than others. These traits or emotions include a boosted sense of self-importance, inflated self-worth, and a constant need for admiration, adoration, and validation.

Narcissism can be of different types, and it is a little difficult to categorize narcissists just based on their characteristics, traits, and attributes as narcissism is beyond that and on a wider range. But more or less everyone is a little narcissistic as all of us do possess and display these traits at some point in our life. But what makes a narcissist different than us is, they continuously display these traits, as they lack empathy and understanding for others.

What is a Narcissist?

The common description of a narcissist would be described as someone who is self-absorbed, who loves and seeks constant attention, adoration, and validation, who loves their grandiose image, and who tries to impress others with their charismatic charm.

Narcissists are often characterized by their boosted sense of self-importance, self-pride, and self-needs. With a narcissist, everything is just about them. Narcissists thrive upon the attention, adoration, and validation that they receive from others, and what makes them distinguished from others is the way they think and the way they behave, which is totally selfish and mean.

Narcissists believe that the world revolves around them, and thus they should be prioritized, praised, and always be given prime importance. So when something does not go their way, they resort to punishing others that may consist of their partners, family members, friends, or anyone acquainted. These punishments can include rage, silent treatment, gaslighting, ignoring, blocking, or even a temporary breakup.

What is the Narcissistic Silent Treatment?

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

How to Deal with Narcissistic Silent Treatment?

Dealing with a silent treatment might seem tough, but have patience, and be strong and you would be able to pass this phase with the narcissist. Not talking with someone seems hard, when that person is closely related or involved with you, but be patient and find a way out.

The narcissist would automatically give up the silent treatment once they see how strong and firm you are and not talking to them does not affect you that deeply. All they want is a reaction from you, but when you remain unaffected instead, that might just create a storm in their heads. So let us know some ways to deal with Narcissistic Silent Treatment,

Do not take anything personally

When a narcissist may hurt you by giving you silent treatment, try not to get much affected. Try to remain calm and unaffected. It is better when done than said, but one must endure a little. Such situations seem tough, but there is always a way out when you remain calm and do not take anything personally.

Narcissists are just trying to manipulate you and it has nothing to do with you, as narcissists are experts at exaggerating the situation just to seek control and attention.

Consider your Boundaries

If the person giving you a silent treatment is closer to you, then do not just end things by cutting ties, instead make your boundaries clear to them. This way you do not need to be harsh on yourself and them too. Just respect your own boundaries and let them know what behavior is acceptable and what is not.

Knowing and maintaining your own boundaries is an important step to stopping being a part of the Narcissist’s Cycle of Abuse in the form of silent treatment. This means being clear about what you will and will not tolerate from the narcissist. Take your power back by setting boundaries.

Be honest with yourself

You might be trying to make excuses for their behavior and must be cheating yourself into believing that their manipulative behavior is normal. This might happen as you are used to such toxicity in your life.

But take a moment, breathe deeply, and clear your mind. Think fresh, and start thinking about why are you feeling like this. Think about what made them give you the silent treatment, and why you are upset with them in the first place. Try to be as honest as possible with yourself, then and then only you might be able to think clearly and clear up your mind.

Try to seek support from friends and family

When you feel that you have become an integral part of the Narcissistic Abuse or the silent treatment in this case, and are unable to find a way out then seeking help from others can you a lot. Being alone in such a phase can be confusing and not very useful and this may also not be good for your mental health, as you would be wishing and willing to get past the traumatic experiences and pave your way toward healing from all the trauma that the narcissist has/had put you through.

So do not hesitate to reach out to friends and family for emotional support or join some communities or therapy groups that help in healing and dealing with trauma.

Manage your emotions

Narcissists would not be of any support, and you might be full of emotions at such a vulnerable point in your relationship with them. The best way to manage your emotions at this point would either be journaling, discussing it with friends or family, or discussing it with your therapist. But journaling therapy works best according to me, as every time and everywhere you would not have to rely on people, and you can be closer to yourself by maintaining a journal full of your real emotions.

Do not ignore what you feel or what they make you feel, be real with yourself and your emotions. Also do not go begging the narcissist to talk to you, as it would just fuel their toxic behavior and also provide them a sadistic pleasure.

Consider seeing a Therapist

Seeking help from therapists, taking part in healing sessions, consulting, and discussing the issues with experts can help out a lot in such matters. Sometimes when you have been constantly a part of the narcissist’s abuse, then you are unable to see what is good and bad for you any longer, as every abuse starts seeming normal and thus you get habituated to it without weighing the impacts that may be caused by such toxicity on you.

Be strong

You are the only person who can support your own life. So do not rely on others they have the power to hurt you with their toxicity. Try to be strong and face this challenge on your own and do not beg them to talk to you. Do not even apologize if it is not your fault.

How to protect yourself from the narcissist who abuses you with silent treatment?

Become your own supporter or advocate when the narcissist gives you a silent treatment. Meaning, decide what is good and healthy behavior for you, regulating your emotions, and speaking up for yourself. Do not let them violate your boundaries and make you feel degraded or small somehow. Here are a few more tips, to protect yourself from the narcissist who abuses you with silent treatment.

Maintaining Distance

Maintaining a healthy distance in the relationship can help you stay as much unaffected as possible. Prioritize your well-being, happiness, self-worth, self-respect, and good. Do not get so indulgent that you get hurt badly due to the narcissist’s manipulative tactics.

Keep your self-worth in mind

A narcissist directly targets you to degrade you and make you feel low and bad. They always try to victimize the innocent by blameshifting and creating a make-believe situation where even you can be tricked by their manipulative tactics. Even though you are not at fault, they make you believe so and you might also start doubting your sanity here. But just remember here, you are much more worthy than their false accusations and do not let the narcissist brainwash you otherwise. Do not get affected by their silent treatment.

Understand that you are being abused by the abuser

Understanding that you are being abused by the abuser; needs some time as you would realize it sooner or later depending on the abuser’s treatment. Realize that they are a narcissist and they would be treating you the same way and even their treatment might even get worst with time as they are narcissists.

Narcissists do not change and their core personality and traits would remain the same, and also the changes can be only surface level. Most narcissists are deliberate abusers. It does not just happen once, it is a repetitive abusive cycle of multiple events for which you are a victim. So understand that you are being abused and disconnect yourself from them as soon as possible.

Do not argue or try to negotiate

Narcissists wish to have a heated fight as soon as you ask them about the silent treatment. They are wishing to have a conflict here, and they would always like to blame you for every action and chaos that they have created. They would make a mess and pin it on you. So here what you can do is not get involved in any sort of argument with them.

If there is a minutest chance that causes a scene then a narcissist would definitely grab it and cause a ruckus by throwing a tantrum or a fight. So not arguing or throwing a rebuttal is the best way to save yourself from further getting accused of something or taking the blame for something.

Take time to work on yourself

Emotional, Mental, and physical healing becomes very important when you are involved with a narcissist. A narcissistic relationship tends to deteriorate your mental, physical, and emotional health along with decreasing your confidence, willpower to live, and the simple joys of life. So work on yourself when the narcissist is busy ignoring you by providing a silent treatment, make yourself better and stronger so that you stay as much unaffected as possible. Know your own worth.

Final Thoughts

If you give a tough fight against the narcissist’s silent treatment, by staying as unaffected as you can then watch the narcissist give in. They would no longer be able to bear the fact that their manipulation is not affecting you anymore. they might also fear you as they are afraid that they might lose you. So stay strong and support your mental health by not involving yourself with a narcissist’s manipulation, abuse, and toxicity.

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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