The silent treatment is one of the most manipulative and emotionally abusive things narcissists can do. It’s also, one of the most common forms of abuse and can make you feel confused, desperate, and isolated. It’s also one of the hardest to get over because it doesn’t give you any real information about what you did wrong or how to fix things.
Here are 10 things that narcissists do during their silent treatment.
Number 1: Narcissists will refuse to answer your texts and calls.
This is the most obvious sign that you’re getting the silent treatment. If narcissists are not responding to your texts and calls, you’re probably not responding to any other form of communication. The silent treatment is a way for them to assert their power over you and remind you that they are in control.
They might even make a point of ignoring you for days on end. They will not answer your texts or calls, but we’ll read them and see who called them. They will pretend they don’t know what happened between you, but they do.
And they are just waiting for you to come crawling back on your knees. Begging them to take you back because they know it will eventually happen.
Number 2: They will be called and distant.
Narcissists who ignore you as if you’re not there as if you were invisible, will not look you in the eyes and might even completely ignore your presence. You will feel like they are just looking through your body without seeing or hearing anything.
They will shut down and ignore you. You may have to initiate all conversations, but even then, they won’t respond to you. They won’t offer any information about themselves share any thoughts or feelings or engage in meaningful conversation with you at all.
And they will withdraw from you emotionally and physically, they will ignore your attempts to communicate with them, even if it’s urgent or essential.
Number 3: Narcissists will refuse to talk about what’s bothering them.
They are emotionally immature and unable to handle conflict in healthy ways. Because of this, they often respond to criticism by shutting down and refusing to talk about the issue at hand. They usually avoid the conversation- changing the subject or simply walking away altogether. Narcissists will repeat the same behavior if you try to bring it up again later.
It’s not that they can’t talk about it, they just don’t want to because it would make them feel vulnerable. They may also refuse to talk about anything because they don’t want you asking questions or making demands of them, they want you to go along with whatever they say and do without question.
Narcissists don’t like being told what to do or how to act, so if you ask them why they did something, they will shut down and refuse to acknowledge your request for an explanation.
Number 4: Narcissists will avoid confrontation.
This is one of their most excellent coping mechanisms, so if they’re upset with you and want to avoid the drama that might come from addressing it, they’ll just stop talking to you. They don’t want to hear about their flaws. Indeed, they don’t want to hear that they’re wrong, even if their actions were inappropriate.
Narcissists do not want to deal with the consequences of their actions or decisions, they are more than happy to let their partner take care of everything. And they will avoid any type of argument or disagreement because it is too much work for them. They know that discussing what happened will make them look bad, so they just avoid it together.
Number 5: Narcissists will act like everything is normal.
They will deny any wrongdoing even if they’ve been caught red-handed doing something awful, they’ll act like everything is normal. Narcissists pretend to be unaffected by your rejection or hurt feelings in the silent treatment. They’ll act like nothing is wrong and know how to make you believe things are fine when they’re not.
When they do silent treatment, they could suddenly stop responding to what you’re saying, even if you’re sitting and having a normal conversation with them. If you try to mention that, they’re ignoring you they’ll say things like “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said”. Or “I’m sorry if I seem distracted”. Then narcissists change the subject as quickly as possible.
Number 6: They will pretend as if nothing has changed.
Narcissists will pretend as if nothing has changed during a silent treatment. They will often refuse to acknowledge that you’ve been upset or hurt and may even act like everything is normal. They may not apologize for their behavior, and might even blame you for causing the problem.
Narcissists don’t care much about how you feel; they are only concerned with their own needs. They often act as if nothing has changed after their abuse tactics and have failed to get them what they want. They will pretend as if nothing has changed because they know that this is what keeps you coming back.
Number 7: Narcissists will control your behavior.
The silent treatment is a way for narcissists to control you; they will use it to make you dependent on their approval. A narcissist will silence you when he or she has done something wrong and doesn’t want to admit it or own up to their mistake.
This can be anything from cheating on you with another person or making an irresponsible decision that affects both of your lives. Narcissists control their victims by making them believe they cannot do what they tell them to do.
They will use your fear of the silent treatment to manipulate you into behaving the way they want. If you want to avoid the silence and get them back into communication with you, you must do what they want even if it goes against their ethics or values.
Number 8: They will play mind games with you.
Narcissists will use emotional manipulation tactics like making up stories or lying about things that happen to get what they want. They will play mind games with you, which is a way of controlling your emotions during a silent treatment. They will create drama and then withdraw from you so that they can see how you react.
Narcissists like to see how long it takes for you to back down or give up, or even just go crazy. They’ll do this by ignoring you, taking a trip without telling you, or disappearing in coming back as if nothing happened. This is about them getting their way, and it’s not something you should ever put up with in any relationship.
Number 9: They will make you feel bad about yourself.
During a silent treatment, a narcissist will do everything in their power to make sure they feel like the worst person in the world. This includes making fun of your appearance- telling you that you are inferior to them, or even telling you that no one else could ever love you. They might call you names like stupid, ugly, or fat.
This makes them feel powerful, but it’s just a way to control you. Narcissists are great at making you feel bad about yourself and they do this, by using productive identification; they project their insecurities into others so that they can feel better about themselves. They cannot take responsibility for their feelings and emotions, so they’ll protect them from others instead.
Number 10: They will make you feel guilty.
Narcissists will use the silent treatment to control your behavior and make you feel guilty for something that isn’t your fault. If you don’t do what they want right away, they’ll refuse to speak to you until you do. Narcissists are very good at playing the victim when things don’t go their way; they’re also very good at manipulating other people’s emotions.
They’ll make you feel like you’ve done something wrong to get what; they want even if you haven’t. Narcissists make you feel guilty when they’re not talking to you. That’s because they want to control you, and guilt is the perfect way to do that. The silent treatment can be damaging, especially if it continues for an extended period. When a narcissist believes you have done something wrong, they will often use this tactic.
Even though it is commonly used to punish you, it is not about punishing you. Instead, it is about avoiding responsibility for whatever happened or making things right again. It’s important to remember that when someone is giving you the silent treatment, it’s not because there is anything wrong with you. It’s because there is something wrongwith them.
Read More: 10 Things Super Empaths Do That Makes Narcissists Lose Their Minds
Sharing Is Caring!
What do narcissists do during silent treatment? ›
The silent treatment can be defined as the following: a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval, and contempt is exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence.What a narcissist thinks during silent treatment? ›
The narcissist's goal with the silent treatment is to get you to think you are in the wrong, apologize, and then all blame is on you. They have effectively created a scenario where you have taken the blame while they sit back and wait for you to come to them.How do you respond to the silent treatment from covert narcissist? ›
Tell the person how the silent treatment hurts and leaves you feeling frustrated and alone. That's not what you want or need in a relationship. Explain that you can't resolve issues this way, then be specific about those issues. If this sort of behavior is a relationship deal-breaker for you, state it plainly.What kind of games do narcissists play? ›
- blame shifting.
- love bombing.
- playing the victim.
- Name the situation. ...
- Use 'I' statements. ...
- Acknowledge the other person's feelings. ...
- Apologize for words or actions. ...
- Cool off and arrange a time to resolve the issue. ...
- Avoid unhelpful responses.
They will get fearful and nervous as soon as you begin ignoring them. This is what happens when you ignore a narcissist. They may start to obsess around you even more by sending text messages like “I sincerely apologize” or “May we talk?” Don't mind them, and witness the effects of ignoring a narcissist.When a narcissist cuts you off? ›
Daramus lists some reasons why a person with narcissistic tendencies might discard you: You were too difficult for them to control. You were easily manipulated by them, causing them to look down upon you. You no longer fuel their ego, so they've moved on to someone else who can supply what they need.Does ignoring a narcissist bother them? ›
If you ignore a narcissist and deny them their source, they may become enraged and try even harder for your attention – especially in ways that can be toxic or abusive. Ignoring a narcissist will enrage them because of their fragile egos. They'll feel humiliated and lash out against you to protect themselves.How can the silent treatment backfire? ›
Depending on the method used, it can make the person on the receiving end feel powerless, invisible, intimidated, insignificant, “dissed”, looked down on, disapproved of, guilty, frustrated, and even angry.How does a covert narcissist apologize? ›
In narcissists' efforts to avoid blame, they often combine several fake apologies at once, such as, “I am sorry if I said anything to offend you, but I have strong opinions. Maybe you're too sensitive,” or, “I guess I should tell you I am sorry. But you know I would never deliberately hurt you.
What is a narcissistic collapse? ›
Narcissistic collapse is an intense emotional reaction experienced by a narcissistic person when they sense a setback. It can lead to withdrawal or vindictive behaviors. The signs of narcissistic collapse may vary from person to person.How does a narcissist act in an argument? ›
Narcissistic rage ranges from direct confrontation with name-calling and hurtful slurs, to calculated, closed down reactions like giving their partner the silent treatment for hours at a time. "They give you the cold shoulder, or they walk out and they find another woman," Greenberg said.What is a conversation with a narcissist like? ›
A narcissist communicator allows little or no space for others. They dominate and hoard conversation time by focusing primarily on what they want to talk about (holding court), while paying little or no interest to other people's thoughts, feelings, and priorities.How does a narcissist react when they can't control you? ›
Narcissists also gaslight or practice master manipulation, weakening and destabilizing their victims; finally, they utilize positive and negative emotions or moments to trick others. When a narcissist can't control you, they'll likely feel threatened, react with anger, and they might even start threatening you.What does the silent treatment do to the victim? ›
Findings from his in-depth analysis revealed that the silent treatment is 'tremendously' damaging to a relationship. It decreases relationship satisfaction for both partners, diminishes feelings of intimacy, and reduces the capacity to communicate in a way that's healthy and meaningful.How is silent treatment manipulative? ›
The silent treatment, or stonewalling, is a passive-aggressive form of manipulation and can be considered emotional abuse. It is a way to control another person by withholding communication, refusing to talk, or ignoring the person.What type of person gives the silent treatment? ›
The silent treatment might be employed by passive personality types to avoid conflict and confrontation, while strong personality types use it to punish or control. Some people may not even consciously choose it at all.Is silent treatment a red flag? ›
Red flag. The silent treatment might seem like a convenient way to opt out of a conversation that is bothering you but it's also super unhealthy. What most people don't know, is that the cold shoulder is a subtle form of manipulation.What happens when an empath leaves a narcissist? ›
Eventually a narcissist will start to move on from their relationship with an empath. They will likely find someone else to spend their time with or boss around and let their previous partner go. This can be a good thing for the empath, since they won't have to be concerned about this mate any longer.How do you know you are being discarded by a narcissist? ›
The clearest sign of a discard is when they leave. Narcissists stop contacting you, and there is no explanation. Narcissistic ghosting is a push-pull game, where they push you away, hoping you'll pull back. Ghosting also occurs because narcissists have usually found a new supply or are busy hunting for one.
When a narcissist ignores your texts? ›
One of the main reasons why a narcissist ignores you is that they want to control you. More likely, they want to regain control of you. A narcissist uses ignoring people as a way to punish them. Especially if they feel like you are pulling away.What are the traits of a narcissist male? ›
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements. Make achievements and talents seem bigger than they are. Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate. Believe they are superior to others and can only spend time with or be understood by equally special people.When a narcissist texts you? ›
So, narcissist texting habits revolve around them as the central topic. Narcissists need your love and attention to make them feel important. Without this, they either get angry or charming to bring you back. So, relationship texts from a narcissist may often flip between being overtly amorous to nonexistent.How do you get a narcissist to break the silent treatment? ›
If you have the energy, acknowledge the narcissist's feelings and let them know what they're feeling has significance. Encourage them to talk about how they're feeling and work toward having a conversation about how the silent treatment affects you and better ways to get your feelings across than the silent treatment.Why silent treatment is the best revenge? ›
Silence speaks volumes
Believe it, the silence and zero reaction really bothers your ex, and they consider it as the best served revenge. Nothing creates more curiosity than silence. Your ex would expect a vent or an angry rant from you, but don't give in. If you do, you are meeting their expectations.
Things covert narcissists say
If someone did all of that for me, I would be making millions of dollars.” “I am too smart for this place. I can't believe I have to be slumming like this.” “Being in a relationship just leaves you open to manipulation.
Here are some narcissism red flags to look out for: Lacking empathy. They seem unable or unwilling to have empathy for others, and they appear to have no desire for emotional intimacy. Unrealistic sense of entitlement.What are fake apologies used by narcissist? ›
Understanding The Narcissist's Fake Apologies. Narcissists often use apologies to move you along from your emotions. They don't want you upset or angry at them. They want to maintain their usual homeostasis where they feel ogled and appreciated.What trauma do narcissists have? ›
Narcissistic personalities tend to be formed by emotional injury as a result of overwhelming shame, loss or deprivation during childhood. The irony is that despite showing an outwardly strong personality, deep down these individuals suffer from profound alienation, emptiness and lack of meaning.What is narcissist hibernation? ›
These are demanding tasks. They are often very tiring. Exhaustion plays a major role in the mini-cycles. His energy depleted, his creativity at its end, his resources stretched to the maximum, the narcissist reposes, "plays dead", withdraws from life. This is the phase of "narcissistic hibernation".
What triggers narcissistic rage? ›
8 Triggers of a Narcissist's Rage
They feel that they've been criticized, even if the critique is constructive or said kindly. They're not the center of attention. They're caught breaking rules or not respecting boundaries. They're held accountable for their actions.
"You're a bad person." "Nobody else will ever love you." "I'm the best you'll ever have." "Have fun being alone for the rest of your life."What are the 5 main habits of a narcissist? ›
- Inflated Ego.
- Lack of Empathy.
- Need for Attention.
- Repressed Insecurities.
- Few Boundaries.
“What makes you so different from anyone else?” It was referring to how infallible and superior narcissists see themselves. They cannot answer why they are so wonderful and perfect; they are special, and that's all you need to know about them.What words not to say to a narcissist? ›
- Don't say, "It's not about you." ...
- Don't say, "You're not listening." ...
- Don't say, "Ina Garten did not get her lasagna recipe from you." ...
- Don't say, "Do you think it might be your fault?" ...
- Don't say, "You're being a bully." ...
- Don't say, "Stop playing the victim."
They never take responsibility, and it's always someone elses fault. Besides ascribing their undesirable character traits to others, they will attribute the good characteristics of others to themselves. For example, if they see someone being nice, they will say, No, no, this person is not niceI am nice!How do narcissists respond to anger? ›
According to researcher Arlin Cuncic, some of the signs of narcissistic rage can include the following: Powerful or explosive angry outbursts. Verbal or physical aggression. Episodes of rage when not given the praise or attention the narcissist thinks they deserve.What tone of voice does a narcissist use? ›
Narcissists use the volume and tone of their voice to subconsciously establish dominance. They do this through two extremes. One way is to increase the volume by yelling, screaming, and raging. The second is equally effective through complete silence, ignoring, and refusing to respond.How do narcissists speak? ›
There are plenty of narcissist traits, but monopolizing a conversation is one of the most obvious. Narcissists talk over or interrupt other people during conversations to express their views or talk about themselves. This behavior can border on a compulsion, cowing others into total silence for minutes at a time.How do narcissists communicate clearly? ›
- Stay calm and respectful. ...
- Use 'I' statements. ...
- Advocate for yourself. ...
- Enforce boundaries. ...
- Avoid certain phrases. ...
- Remember you're not at fault. ...
- Know that you can't change them. ...
- Rely on a support system.
How long does the narcissist silent treatment last? ›
A narcissist's silent treatment can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Our survey among 500 people who have experienced narcissistic abuse revealed that on average, a narcissist's silent treatment lasts four-and-a-half days and usually ends when the narcissist needs more narcissistic supply.How long can a narcissist go without talking to you? ›
A narcissist will ignore you for as long as it serves them. There are a few things you need to understand. A narcissist is driven, consciously or subconsciously, by the need for narcissistic supply. The narcissist is inherently lazy and will seek maximal supply for minimal effort.How do you respond wisely when a narcissist discards you? ›
- 1 Give yourself time to heal.
- 2 Challenge negative beliefs about yourself.
- 3 Shift the blame to the narcissist.
- 4 Spend time with friends and family.
- 5 Practice self-care.
- 6 Rebuild your confidence.
- 7 Update your boundaries.
- 8 Learn from this experience.
- The narcissist no longer hides their true colors. ...
- You feel the change. ...
- The narcissist will no longer give you love bombs. ...
- They are constantly irritated with you. ...
- The narcissist ignores everything you say. ...
- They criticize you. ...
- They are always distant. ...
- A narcissist will gaslight you.
MD. At the end of a relationship, a narcissist will often spiral down a long-winded gauntlet of manipulation tactics. They may blame you for causing the relationship to fail, work hard to keep you to stay with them, make lofty promises to change their behavior, or badmouth you to everyone around them.Do narcissists deliberately ignore you? ›
One of the main reasons why a narcissist ignores you is that they want to control you. More likely, they want to regain control of you. A narcissist uses ignoring people as a way to punish them. Especially if they feel like you are pulling away.What is it called when a narcissist ignores you? ›
Devaluation occurs when the narcissist no longer believes you provide any value to their image or sense of worth. They devalue you to make you feel powerless, so they can feel powerful. The reason that led to the ignoring from the narcissist isn't important because the reason often doesn't make sense to the outsider.Why do narcissists ignore texts? ›
Lack of remorse
Another reason a narcissist ignores your texts is because they lack remorse. They do not believe they need to apologize or feel guilty for anything they do. They will ignore you, bully you, and talk down to you, but never will admit they did anything wrong.