Silent treatment

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#1 July 29, 2011 - 5:00pm

Silent treatment

Is the silent treatment typical of all Narcs? Why do they do it? Is it to punish you? Or to train you to behave a certain way? To create a reaction out of you? Or is this the way they D&D you? I'm just wondering if I would ever talk to him again after the silent treatment if I hadn't graveled, apologized for things I dont know what I am apologizing for. I am just curious what others opinions and experiences are.

July 30, 2011 - 10:00am

The silent treatment carries a powerful, horrible message.

The silent treatment carries a powerful, horrible message.

When I said I love you in an email... that's when he started. The first two days I didn't know what the hell was going on. I was sure he was reflecting on what I had said to him and so I left it at that. I went to him and asked him if we could talk and he said about what? I said anything. He says how about that email? I said sure
He said I do not like mind games and this is why I didn't want to be in a relationship in the first place. His face was red and his eyes scared the shit out of me. After that the next 3 days were just horrible. I cried almost constantly.
At the end of the 5 days I emailed him. Asked him if he wanted me to come and get my stuff. No reply. Fine! I'm calling and I'm telling him I'm coming to get my stuff. When I was on his answering machine. He replied to the email (could have picked up the phone)....and dumped me. What a child. Couldn't do it 5 days ago? Had to torment me first?
Now I know he was probably sitting there the entire time imagining me squirming in deep emotional pain. That has to be it because he sure as shit wasn't sitting there wasting any time contemplating *us* with tears in his eyes. Any normal human being would have sent SOMETHING... I need time to think...etc

For the record - Yeah he didn't want to be in a relationship in the first place but after I had given up chasing him, he's the one that stepped over the friend line with me. What a yo yo. Some fucked up perception there...

In hindsight, YES it would have been better if he had to slapped me across the face. It would have hurt far less. I would have preferred that.

For my ex N I don't think the silent treatment was intended to train me at all. It was punishment. No doubts here.

July 30, 2011 - 9:33am
ruby01 (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

It does get old

and less effective over time. When you first experience someone ignoring you it is very unsettling.

You want to talk and understand what the problem is.

However, after a while you realize that when you do talk it always seems that you are to blame for them pulling away.

In truth you are not the real reason, but that's what they will say.

Eventually when they go silent you no longer look for an answer to why. You know from past experience what they will say and you really don't need to hear it again.

It is why they wind up sabotaging every relationship.
They don't have the resources to deal with true emotions.

It's easier for them to just hide from them and start anew.

July 30, 2011 - 4:05am

control and punishment

I used to find this the worst and most painful abuse he would give me. It literally used to break me down in to a crumbling mess. I didn't understand it and I always thought this time is it he will never speak to me again. Ill never hear from him again. The first few times he did it I used to call and text and beg him to see me, all of which he ignored and this further rejection hurt me more so in time I learnt to ignore his silent treatment and wait in hope that he would forgive me for my "wrong doing" or that I would just resign myself that when he spoke to me again I'd have to ignore his wrong doing and not be able to call him out on what hed done. In the end I too used to feel relieved at the silent treatment because it usually came at the end of a very tense period or angry outburst and with each one that initial panic and devastation left me quicker and I start to think ok now get over him. Once he started to realise though that the silent treatment wasn't punishing me anymore and that everytime he did it I was regaining control over myself he stopped doing it. He's terrified now that he thinks that that just makes it easy for me to just say fuck you and do what I want. Its a very sick form of control and one that I did manage to turn around on him unintentionally. Now I'm the one who just goes quiet. The silent treatment can't work so well because I've withdrawn I've made it clear that his silence is better than his rage and projection but if he ever had me back under his control and lulled into a false sense of security I know hed use that silent treatment again. It is all about control. I can see that now

July 30, 2011 - 8:57am (Reply to #29)

Silent treatment

The silent treatment is one of the MOST painful things a pathological person does. It is so abusive, as it is meant to let you know how UNIMPORTANT and NON EXISTENT you are if you do not do what the P/N wants you to do, say the wrong thing and oftentimes, I wouldn't even KNOW what I said or did wrong. The silent treatment can be employed at any time, for any amount of time for any reason. It is a STRONG element of control and creates FEAR in you that the abuser will LEAVE if you say/do something "wrong". I think this is a very common tactic. I think the abusers that employ this tactic 1. LOVE watching writhe, even if he can't see it and 2. want you to GROVEL back to him. It serves his purpose and is SADISTIC if you think about it. He knows what he's doing and why. I'm sorry you've been in pain about the silent treatment, it truly is very painful and healthy people DO NOT do this!

July 29, 2011 - 10:39pm
destiny (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

i agree with the others it is

i agree with the others it is control.... he wants you to know what it is like not to have him in your life...

he is controling when you will talk to him...

it gets lame and stupid after awhile... tiring even.

then when he decides you will talk again...he hopes you will have learned a lesson and just do whatever he wishes.

normal people dont do this.... think about your they behave in this manner?

that is what clued me in after someone on this board said that to me... friends dont treat people like this...

July 29, 2011 - 11:08pm (Reply to #27)

Teaching you a lesson

yes yes yes, how many times this happened I lost count. It worked. Then you get strong enough to speak up again and it happens ALL OVER AGAIN.

July 29, 2011 - 10:23pm



July 29, 2011 - 10:12pm

Control Hunter



July 29, 2011 - 10:34pm (Reply to #21)

I just can't seem to wrap my

I just can't seem to wrap my head around how giving me the silent treatment is control. He isnt controlling me when he has no contact with me. When I think of control I would think he would tell me what i want to hear and that would make me want to do what he wants me to do. Does that make sense? He never tells me what I want to hear and constantly pushes me away. How is that control and manipulation?

July 30, 2011 - 12:10am (Reply to #24)

It is covert emotional

It is covert emotional control. It is about leaving the victim to wonder what he's doing and why he's doing it. It happens often after having been accused of some 'wrong doing', then he inadvertently monopolizes our energy and thoughts as we try to figure out we did or said to have caused him to want to to shut us out so completely - or when we'll hear from them again or if they'll answer our calls or emails.

When this occurs enough, it creates an uneven playing ground, we stop wanting to express our own needs for fear of his withdrawal of affection, quiet anger, walking away - his silence.

I got the silent treatment while he lay in our bed and in the house we shared. I was told I should just leave him alone when he wanted to ignore me, that he had nothing to say to me and if I kept talking or questioning why or what was wrong, he'd just get angrier. There was always an unspoken threat of abandonment if I didn't back down which he did follow through on a couple of times (just so I'd know it was a real threat).

This is emotional control because a person weakens with the growing self doubt and emotional instability in the relationship. This allows the abuser to succeed in their devaluing, diminishing the spirit, self esteem and confidence of the victim as they try to 'keep the peace' or even apologize for imagined wrongs in order to get things back to normal and 'happy' again.

Journey on...

Journey on...

July 29, 2011 - 10:43pm (Reply to #22)


I think the fact you're on this blog is indication that he has mind control. By ignoring, they make us wonder and wonder. Before you know it, you appologize for something you didn't do.

Intermittent kindness between ongoing abuse is a form of mind control. I posted this link earlier...maybe it will help.

July 29, 2011 - 11:03pm (Reply to #23)

Im not 100 sure he is an N,

Im not 100 sure he is an N, but I love the article and could relate to all of it. I am thankful I found this site.

July 29, 2011 - 8:34pm

To answer all five of your

To answer all five of your questions regarding the silent treatment...

Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

They do it to punish, to devalue, to diminish, to gain/keep power and to gain/keep control.

Journey on...

July 29, 2011 - 8:02pm

Dazed silent treatment

Dazed silent treatment unfortunately is one of the most common tactics of all abusers, not just narcs. It has hurt me so badly as well, starting with my father, the original silent man. It is the ultimate punishment for nothing hurts so much as to be ignored by one that you love - nothing. And they know it. In terms of them using it as a D&D yes I am afraid that I have experienced silence as a means of getting rid of me, not only for punishing me. It sucks so bad. But you have to remember that you really were always leaving him and you were always going to leave because of his behavior - don't let him turn it around and make you feel as if he is the one who left because he became silent. For him it's just a matter of one-upmanship, to get the last word so to speak, only his last word is no word at all. I think this one aspect of my D&D made me actually suicidal - no joke. That's how badly I felt the rejection - even though I officially ended it.

July 29, 2011 - 6:14pm

The longest I have gone with

The longest I have gone with NC is 2 days sadly. I am weak and freak out if I havent talked to him. I live in another state so I am in constant wonder as to what it is he is doing.

July 29, 2011 - 5:57pm

I just had a thought

Think of it this way- If you are or have been in NC and he's attempted to contact you- do you remember how good it felt to have HIM be the one contacting you over and over and you finally being able to slam the door shut in his face? I admit, in the instances where I'm ignoring his contact, it is a bit of a boost for me.

The difference between them and us though, is we're not Narcs. I think that the feeling of gratification we get from ignoring their contact comes from finally feeling some vindication after being beaten down and defeated for so long, whereas the Narc feels gratification for ignoring just because he's an asshole Narc who needs to have power over something/somebody. But I think those feelings that we get from shutting down our Narcs and ignoring them is similar to what they feel when they give us silent treatment.

Not sure if that makes any sense, it did in my head at least!

July 29, 2011 - 6:11pm (Reply to #14)

It Makes Total Sense

The problem for me was that, on several occasions I did just that...totally ignored his hoovering. A few months later, I would feel guilty and lonely and contacted him and I paid dearly. N's store up the memories of thier narcissistic injuries for future abuse and payback. They plan the payback for when you least expect it.

What mine did was to be really nice for a week or two and then, down with the ax...absolutely horrible. It was pre-meditated and well thought out.

July 29, 2011 - 10:54pm (Reply to #15)
birdie (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

N's injuries

I got to read my N's list of my wrongs in his journal. It's amazing how twisted he was. He could take me saying hello to someone as a total act of abuse toward him. Whenever I stood up to him, he'd start talking about some horrible thing I did (all not real) way back when. In detail. It's kind of sad how unhappy he is, but I can't take his crap anymore and have any sort of life. So I'm out!

July 29, 2011 - 11:09pm (Reply to #16)


Here's an example of how they use the ammunition.

Years ago, he told me he didn't want a girlfriend and was unwilling to give me more time. In my mind, it was over and I was hurt. I acted like a child and posted on a dating site to repair my wounded ego. A few weeks later, I told him I was dating (1 lunch date, LOL) and all of a sudden, he acted interested again. A few weeks after that came the D & D...he was getting married!!

Fast forward, eight years later, another D & D and he brings the incident up again, this time eluding to the fact he apparently saw my posting on the dating site, eight years ago...his big secret.

A total psycho...a liar, cheater and user.

July 29, 2011 - 5:45pm

silent treatment

Yeah,mine used to do that to his mom whenever she said something that he didnt like. It made her want to watch her words,so i guess that worked for him.
He used to give me the silent treatment when he was out on messed with my head.
Seems like they show alot of bad treatment when they know your hooked on them. I DO think its meant to be a punishment,and it probably makes him feel superior.

July 29, 2011 - 5:44pm

Got it from my mother...

BOTH of my mother's parents were Ns.

I once had a crush on a guy in high school. I came home, running up the driveway, my mother greets me with a glare. She turns her back on me, I ask, "What's the matter?" Her answer is a cold "YOU know what the matter is."

When I told my mother my freshman year that I was smitten with the ex-Psych prof, again, the same glare of disapproval, and her literally turning her back on me. So I never mentioned him again. By the final D&D (senior year), I hadn't told her anything. Even DURING the final D&D. My friends knew more about the disaster than she did. I was afraid that if I told her, I'd provoke rage. Or the silent treatment.

Of course, the ex-P was a master of the silent treatment. He claimed to like Wittgenstein. I'd bring up Wittgenstein, he'd go silent or change the subject.

July 29, 2011 - 5:37pm

Control, Punishment and Abuse

It is a severe form of punishment and abuse.

A good explanation of it can be found at: The below is just a portion of it.

Abuse 101

The Silent Treatment - A Form of Abuse

I believe the silent treatment (feigned apathy; cold-shoulder; silence; distance, and ignoring you) is the worst form of emotional abuse. It is a punishment used by abusers to make you feel unimportant, not valued, not cared about and completely absent from the abuser's thoughts. It is used as a form of non-physical punishment and control because the abuser mistakenly thinks that if they don't physically harm you then they are not abusers. The truth is, they are far worse at doling out abuse than the physical abuser.

Silent treatment is a form of banishing someone from the abuser's existence without the benefit of closure or a good bye or a chance at reconciliation. In a's meant to torture someone you profess to love. Should I meet someone again who uses this tactic just once he will not get another chance. Because the silent treatment is something that the abuser repeats over and over again. The silent treatment is CONTROL, and a safe means for them to avoid any 'uncomfortable' topics, issues in the relationship, or issues within himself (or herself).

The silent treatment is a method the abuser uses to 'kill' you for something you have done. In a sense, you have been psychologically 'murdered' by them, but your physical life goes on.

To read full article go to the above url. Its a nice piece.

July 29, 2011 - 7:58pm (Reply to #9)

Welcome to Narcland

This did make me cry because it really hit home. Thank you for posting this. It didn't take long for me to also figure out that if I ignored (though I want to be clear I never did this to intentionally hurt but only to make an attempt to reconnect) at times that this would eventually elicit a response. So go figure, contacting them brings about their ignoring and ignoring them brings about contact. Welcome to Narcland...where up is down and down is up.

July 30, 2011 - 8:06am (Reply to #10)

contacting them brings about their ignoring and ignoring them

"contacting them brings about their ignoring and ignoring them brings about contact."

I think you just said something very significant. Who knows? Maybe that's why I attempt to contact my narc around once a month or so. It just seems to make him even more determined to ignore me and re-establish his control and dominance, as well as mete out punishment.

I kind of like that - it actually gives me some control by forcing him to ignore me. The contacts I make are usually full of insults, mockery and ridicule (narcissist injury!).

In a way, I'm forcing him to remain silent and accept his punishment from me without recourse! - he's struggling for control, and I'm not having it! I'm not accepting his garbage! There is no begging, pleading or anything else on my part! I just periodically administer a kick to his butt (metaphorically speaking).

He can't respond back or he's the one who loses control! He loses and I win either way and he hates it! hahaha. I love it!

July 29, 2011 - 7:34pm (Reply to #8)

Can relate

The silent treatment was his communication of choice! It became unbearable and he would tell me he was treating me with silence because he had nothing to say. He would do it for a week. So abusive. This guy went from calling me constantly to nothing and I would ask him why and he would respond "I don't like talking on the phone." He was such an ah. Had an asnwer for everything. He is a psychopath. I am lucky to be away from him. He scares me now. He is currently facing sexual assault charges. They have not made a decision yet. He better not get off. He's a rapist and deserves to face the consequences. I wish I had never met the disorderfed, disturbed man. He is sick and I regret being exposed to him. I wish I never touched his skin and my lips never met his. He deserves to be locked up. He is happiest when inflicting pain on others. It will never end for him unless he is put behind bars for rape. I can only hope.

July 29, 2011 - 6:17pm (Reply to #7)

Yes, yes, he did this to me!!!

SoaperGirl thank you for posting this.....further validation to those of us who experienced this. My husband used this tactic BIG TIME on me the six months prior to me kicking him out....I almost cried reading was one of the most painful things I have ever been is SO damaging to our inner core to be outright ignored and blatently discarded right in our OWN HOME! Just so terrible..........He even ADMITTED he was "punishing" me! I have to admit, no contact is a BREEZE for me.....all I have to do is remember the "silent treatment"......

July 29, 2011 - 5:59pm (Reply to #6)

Oh, I definitely agree, the

Oh, I definitely agree, the FIRST scent of silent treatment games, and I'm out! No goodbye, nothing! OUT.

July 29, 2011 - 5:40pm

Yes, silent treatment seems

Yes, silent treatment seems to be one of the hallmarks of Narcissism. It's a form of punishment. My x-N is a self-admitted and diagnosed Psychopath/N and he said so himself, he goes silent on people he's mad at because he knows silence can cut deeper than words.

I've often wondered (and asked him) the same thing myself- would we have ever even gotten back together all the times that we did if I hadn't reached out? I think some of us are so busy contacting THEM when they've gone silent on us, that they don't even have to worry about their supply source being there. We're making it obvious that it is when we keep trying to get a response out of them. Since I've stopped freaking out over his silent treatment and started responding with silence of my own, I notice he breaks his own silence sooner/more frequently. Not because he misses me, but because he hasn't heard from me and wants to make sure I'm still "there" and gnashing my teeth over him.

July 29, 2011 - 5:44pm (Reply to #4)


You're right...the silent treatment serves as a means for them to control us. They figure out that we'll be the ones making contact and they love it. Good thing you figured out not to give in...when the push/pull is not going their way, they'll eventually make contact; that is unless they have new supplies.

The whole thing is so sick and disgusting. Nothing good comes out of it. I became addicted to the push/pull and wasted so many years. It's just anothe sadistic N behavior.

July 29, 2011 - 5:35pm

Ah hell I don't know. My ex N

Ah hell I don't know.
My ex N never gave me the silent treatment ever. He was too much of a chatterbox. Bitching on and on about everyone that pissed him off.
The one and only silent treatment I got started the day I said I love you and lasted 5 days. Then he broke it off with me. So many different reasons why he dumped me. Not one reason that he stuck to..
Now he's back to wanting to be my work buddy. Or at least he was last week... who knows what he'll want when he gets back from vacation. I give up trying to figure these assholes out.

These guys are just freaks of nature... they follow no rules or guidelines. They'll destroy a relationship on a whim. Have a fit over some delusion... fly off the handle because they don't like apple pie today but they did for the last year.

It's all just one big mindfuck.

July 29, 2011 - 5:32pm

Silent Treatment is Abuse

Narcs cannot communicate at any deep meaningful level so they resort to the silent treatment and ignoring. Communicating authentically would mean they would have to acknowledge some of their shortcomings and they're not about to do that. They are cowards and spineless. Yes, it's part of who they are. Just another behavior that indicates they don't give a fk...if it's not about them, they don't care.

Ignoring is another form of abuse; the message being, "what you have to say is not are insignificant."

Here's a good article about silent treatment and how it is deadly to relationships:

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