The 17 Salvos of Silence
Silence is golden. Or rather, it is a golden weapon when deployed by our kind. The use of silent treatment against our victims is a major part of our portfolio of abusive manipulations. Easy to implement, very low in terms of energy expended but capable of reaping such considerable rewards in terms of fuel, control, the assertion of superiority and the administration of power, it is little wonder that we use it regularly. The application of silence can be used virtually at any time and in nearly every situation. This cold fury causes frustration, upset, fearfulness, concern, confusion and bewilderment. It is perfect at drawing fuel from our victims. It is astonishing just how it affects those it is used against, causing the emotional fuel to froth and spill from the perplexed and worried individual. It causes anxiety and has a most unsettling effect which ensures that those who are subjected to it are unable to understand why it is being used. By maintaining a heightened emotional state, we ensure that you never manage to grasp what is happening and why this passive aggressive tactic is being used. It plays to your desire to know what is happening and why, but you do not realise. You hover around us, asking what is wrong, why are you not speaking to me, what is the matter, please just talk to me. Every sentence you utter, ever plea you make and every beseeched demand just makes us continue it all the more. In those instances, where the silent treatment is administered and we remain proximate to you, we will maintain a glacial mask. An impassive fixed expression which may be punctuated by the occasional baleful glare, but underneath this mask we are smiling and laughing at you. Look at how upset she is, see the confusion in her eyes and wait for it, here comes another question, another plea, another request to be put out of her misery. How the fuel flows and we revel in what we see.
Even when the silent treatment is utilised against you from a distance and we are not physically with you, we are savouring just how you will be reacting. We can picture you frantically jabbing your ‘phone as you send text after text asking us to come home, to call you and just explain what the problem is. We listen to your tear-infused voicemails as you ask us to just let you know that we are okay. Your sobbing promises to work things out and “whatever I have done, I am sorry, but please, please don’t do this to me.” Of course your failure to understand what you have done is used against you in two ways so that you are damned either way. Your admission that you do not know what you have done (which of course is entirely correct, how could you know what has happened when we just walked out of the living room when everybody was say quietly watching television?) just serves to underline, in our minds, that we are right to take this course of action. Good Lord, why should we bother to contact you if you cannot even be bothered to work out what you have done wrong. All the more reason to keep this silence going for a while longer yet. Furthermore, because it is so effective at troubling you and keeping you guessing as to what the reason for this icy front is, we want to continue it.
The silent treatment is used for many reasons. First and foremost, as with all manipulations, it is used to draw fuel. It is to exert control over you. It is to keep you in an emotional place and thus paralysed, unable to see what is happening and unable to think clearly. It is to reinforce that we are powerful, superior and mighty, whilst you are useless and pathetic. You do not know how to please us, you do not know how to remedy matter and you cannot even work out what you have done. You are useless.
There is also a further reason why we use the silent treatment. This is our way of killing you. True enough there are those of our kind who actually do kill their victims. Those people are idiots. They lack control, function and competence and allow their knee-jerk response to override their need for fuel and the ability to do as we please. By committing such an act, by losing control and killing, those of our kind who do this (invariably the lesser of our kind) not only destroy their primary source of fuel (often with no true contingency in place) but they then hand themselves on a plate to the authorities, a prison sentence and the attendance diminution in fuel gathering opportunities that arise from incarceration. As I wrote, they are idiots.
Those of us who exert control over our responses, those of us who are of a higher function, who plot and plan and calculate, do not go down such a route. No, instead we slay with silence and here are seventeen salvos which bring about that quiet death.
- Remaining in the room and saying nothing and not even acknowledging you.
- Remaining silent but staring malevolently at you.
- Talking to others in a social gathering but blanking you.
- Ignoring your telephone calls.
- Answering your telephone calls but saying nothing as we listen to you beg and plea before ending the call.
- Ignoring your text messages.
- Allowing you to know we have read your messages but never responding.
- Responding to everybody else’s comments on a social media post but not yours.
- Inviting everybody in a social group to which you belong, to an event, but not inviting you.
- Agreeing to meet for a date and not turn up.
- Sleeping in the spare room or on the sofa, anywhere but in the bed with you.
- Walking out all of a sudden and completely disappearing.
- Not engaging with you directly but acknowledging your existence through a third party – “John, did you hear something then? I thought I heard something squeak/whine/moan” used when you speak.
- Extending the silent treatment so it is meted out by lieutenants and members of the coterie.
- Responding to any written communication from you by writing “I do not recognise the sender of this letter/message/e-mail”
- We talk to you but only about our day, what we want to discuss and do not allow you to speak. We talk over you, ignore what you have to say and behave as if we are talking to ourselves in the mirror.
- You hear from other parties that we have been talking in terms as if you do not exist – “Yes, I am going to the wedding next week, I am happy to do so on my own, I am not being controlled then.” Even though you had no idea that we have such a plan in mind. Your existence has been eradicated and deleted by us and relayed back to you by proxy.
Yes, the application of the silent treatment is powerful indeed. It is regarded as a “death blow” against you.
Murdering without feeling has never been so damn appealing.
61 thoughts on “The 17 Salvos of Silence”
Hi HG Tudor, I would like to know, why mine Narc forced marriage on me? He never wanted sex, or money etc. But kept talking about getting engaged from day one till the end. When i declined getting engaged to him , he said he lost interest in our relationship. He soon then discarded me.
To bind you to him. For the sake of a facade.
I feel like it really is starting to kill me. I try so hard to be strong and move on. I feel weak crazy and so unbelievably broken. I know its sick and that makes me crazier. I wish he would just hover already. I miss him so much. Yes its unpopular to even think this but is there no way we can get them to break silent treatment? Its making me sick.
This is an understandable reaction and one which you are designed to have Chanty. You feel like you miss him but what you must do is utilise your head and not your emotions. Your emotions have been infected by him and it will take considerable time to process that ought. You need to reside in your head and not in your emotions. If you accept his hoover it will start the process over again and make it ultimately worse. In terms of breaking the ST do you mean get him to talk to you? If so,yes you could approach him but that is what he wants and he will just extend the ST to make you more miserable because he can see what it is doing to you and this enables him to gain more fuel. It is hard but you need to push through this emotional state. Read my books to increase your understanding, especially No Contact, Fuel, Black Flag and Exorcism.
I have been where you are at right now! H.G. is right if you break the SL he will first prolong it for fuel and then do it to you again when you least expect it. Now is the time to find answers, knowledge and your freedom. The only thing that has worked for me are reading all about how a Narcissist thinks, acts, manipulates, how to break free, Books like Confessions of a narc, more confessions, further confessions, how to leave the narcissist, No contact, etc. . .-all books written by H.G. who more than anyone else can answer all aspects of your relationship and what will happen if you continue. I pass this on to you because I was in the cycle: golden period, devaluation, respite, more devaluation, discard and hoover then it started all over again-for 10+ years. I wish I had discovered H.G.’s books years ago and avoided what you are feeling right now. Read Chanty and then you will have the power-knowledge is power!
Disgusting thanks Tudor have a great night sleep well God bless you
Thank you for your response. I am in such a fast track to healing due to your answers and blogs.
I would like your thoughts to something. I am not looking for a right answer. I am asking a question from my own thoughts and your thoughts. I have been better able to understand the odd things I do when it comes threw reading from your eyes. I was told in my last therapy session that I am very close to my my own life being put back together. It’s only because I can learn from you.
I have been told I must move threw anger to reach forgiveness. I have learned from you this underlying itch that I have had all my life is actually the anger that I have worked so very hard to keep under control. I thought everyone walked around with this “itch” it’s the only word I can describe it.
My home life was yours. My mother did the beating my father watched. He was just like yours under her golden time thumb. I did not see this until I had my own quick encounter with a narc then met you.
I did not have the means to explode with anger as a child. If you did there was a huge price to pay behind that outburst. I learned to just close all doors or sections in my brain and to become a zombie.
I was not taught I was wonderful,beautiful, smart, the best. I was not taught boundaries because all mine were taken away so I could never see any that were set.
I am now in the process of recognizing my odd behavior and correcting it. This is no easy feat. However I recognize it from you.
My questions. Do you recognize that your diffrent because of what or how your home life was? Not because of your achievements. You must have had some knowledge because you did break the parenting chain in your very own permanent way. Do you forgive your father now that he has passed or do you see him as weak? If you saw your father as weak that must drive you to be very opposite. Does either of your sibling show any personality disorders? Mine do not but I was my mothers prime fuel source and I believe you were your mothers. We were the oldest. We took away there center stage.
The biggest question have you always walked around with anger underlying and will there ever be a time you won’t. A very personal question but I wonder if this itch will always be there or will I move threw it. If it’s always there then how can you forgive.
Hello SII, I am different because of my abilities and achievements. I am learning that some of these differences arose from what happened when I was a child, they have shaped elements of what I am. I do regard my father as weak in one respect and strong in another. He was weak because he did not help me when he could have and should have, he was strong because he endured her and also helped my siblings as best he could. Other than him explaining to me that he viewed me as capable of looking after myself, I do not know why he didn’t help me the way he did with my siblings. I am learning that this forms a considerable resentment on my part and is a barrier to behaving in ways he did because I see them as weak but also I resent them as I was denied them. My sister is a co-dependent, if you haven’t already done so, read Chained and you will see plenty in there that I suspect you will recognise. I have always had the fury. You describe it as anger for you, is it anger or is it fury (have a look at Fury for the differences). You may move through it as you are not what I am. It is always there because I need it to be there to protect me.
I’m sure this was not easy to write. Thank you for sharing. That inner fury numbs the pain and enables things to get done.
Do you find that with on-going treatment and increased awareness, it has elevated your resentment towards your father? Is it a possibility that your mother may have “smeared” you in a way to him which kept him at arm’s length from you and trying to intervene in her tactics towards you? Narcs do that best right? She may have played a bigger role in that without you knowing which kept you isolated just for her.
It is a shame, because your achievements and successes are yours and yours alone. Those are valid and wonderful. However your means to achieve them were done in a way channeling the essence of “Abigail” in hurting people because of her imprint on you during your most impressionable and formable years. That’s what I meant yesterday when I said she gets to continually abuse by way of your victims in a domino affect. Of course you are responsible and accountable for your actions. You just now have so much more awareness now in your journey. That which you detest and loathe about her, you can decide if that’s the H.G. that goes forward remaining unchanged or being open to diffusing abusive means to an end.
I think that that is a fair comment yes. I am unsure how she would have smeared me in his eyes, if anything it seemed to be the opposite whereby she elevated me further so he felt no need to intervene but I take your point. There is little doubt she used divide and conquer tactics with us all, I will be detailing more of that in due course.
I used “smear” loosely. I didn’t mean it in that she made you look bad. More in the way hyping you up as not needing your dad intervening on your behalf. Then she would not be accountable to him or you. She definitely maneuvered to keep you isolated all for herself.
The ST hurts alot. Even if its glaring for a short time..very assertive when you call it a tool of control.
So would making arrangements for a date and then not confirming them constitute a form of silent treatment?
The last narc used to do this a lot or cancel at the last minute always using his bipolar illness as his excuse.
Yes. At least you got an explanation, usually we just don’t show up.
My N has this thing right now where he makes a point of telling me that he hasn’t asked me anything about myself asking if I have noticed?? Speaking to him is like the yes and no game, everything is might be, maybe etc. He will call me and attempt to flirt, which I won’t respond and when i try to raise conversation/ be normal, ask him anything about himself he won’t say either (I actually suspect this is to control me via other means) I told him politely and calmly yesterday that I was bored with our conversation and had friends who were fun to talk to and was putting the phone down! No raised voice, no anger, just criticism … I hope I used the right tool?
The method he is using is to control you and cause you to believe that you are worthless. Your response was on point. Well played.
I was with (one of) my Narc(s) for four (4) years. We went through all of the stages several times and, since I had gone through the stages before with my other Narcs I was exhausted. I could see the discard stage on the horizon and waited, gleefully, for it. I could not, would not, end the relationship because of the rage I had experienced with the Narc and previous narcs (I now have out of control anxiety … I understand that, now, to be a goal). Finally, the moment had arrived, I had become boring (because I assumed the role of “grey rock”) and was not in regular contact with the narc. The rage happened, anyway, then the discard. But then, a hoover … then another rage. While reading this blog has been helpful, I find myself confused. How should it be I am still a target/considered a source of fuel?
You are always a target for fuel, even if you become “boring” as you put it, you may be left alone and then returned to because the lure of hoover fuel is so great. Add to the equation if you are dealing with a Greater and the malicious persecution of yourself will be a desired outcome as well.
Malicious persecution of myself as goal – can you explain further?
Taking you to the brink of destruction as punishment for your transgressions against the Greater.
That was my mom. She was great at delivering it when I needed her the most. That has been one tool tho I could very easily use and I never did on my kids or in my long marriage. I just could never hurt someone with silence. Yet if it is applied to me now it’s a blessing.
My mother is a master of the silent treatment and she taught me well.
Haha, very good. Have you thought about being a comedian HG?
Who is to say I am not one already dear Leilani?
Good one, it gets better and better haha. I’d be in front seat. At least I know it would be an exchange of fuel my Dear HG.
How’s that ?
You didn’t last long Alexis.
What can I say, you’re just irresistible HG
Smashing isn’t it?
I’m not saying anything ?
Silent treatment…ugh! Very painful!
Why do narcissists seek out relationships if it’s only to destroy? Why inflict hell on a person that just wanted love?
The silent treatment, is the devils spawn, the albatross, the white whale…beasts “we” attempt to tackle and gain power over and fail…until we master ourselves and then your silence falls upon deaf ears.
Sometimes too much of a good thing( deemed by you) doled out by you can be counter productive to your goals, when you overuse the silent treatment. Using it is an expenditure of less energy can be counter productive. He used it too often and unwisely. It was the silent treatments that tipped me off to what he is. Silent treatments do not jibe with professes of love….
Thank you, HG for this list, I recognized much from it. It was quite unquieting.
What would you do if someone didn’t seem to notice your silence? If they carried on about their business and day and never asked about it and did not reach out to you in the meantime, especially while living with you but curious either way.
It would ignite my fury and I would change to a different form of manipulation. To be ignored is to die.
I’m curious to what different manipulation you would use if the silent treatment wasn’t working out for you. I didn’t feel ignored often, I think I secretly wished to be ignored in the end….I would have taken a silent treatment rather than the arguments or “discussions” that went on for hours, days, weeks, over and over again…sigh… perhaps in texts or phone calls, however I wouldn’t press it, unless there was an emergency. I do remember though getting in trouble if I did not answer a question, or if I attempted to sleep on the couch, that was NEVER allowed and I was forced into submission verbally or threat of a wave of a fist, though a hand was never laid upon me.
Oh there are so many to choose from, just have a look in Manipulated and the Devil’s Toolkit and you will find an array of different methods that could be used if the recipient is not responding to silent treatment as desired. Imagine it is like trying to throw a spanner in the engine so it breaks down, it is a case of trying each separate technique until one works. At least one always does.
Well after a 57 email / texting exchange on Monday with JN doing a mild Hoover (I had forgotten how he can spend a whole day blowing up with messages as an all day past time) he got huffy and told me I killed all the momentum. I told him that seemed rather fake after his long emailed apology 3 weeks ago, but I guess it’s good I didn’t give him my number again. I told him I always appreciated his intelligence and conversation, but I now have to set boundaries. He’s now silent again.
This was an exercise for me in combatting a Hoover and to try to not get emotional or elevated, which I maintained. As much as someone Irish / Italian/ emotional can be. Haha
I guess I can expect another Ground Hog Day with the same sad Hoover attempt at some point? The silence is really just the pause button hit because I’m figuring out this maneuver and he got stuck?
You played a straight bat Clarece and seized the power in that exchange. I should tell you off for embracing his hoover but I sense you regarded it as a litmus test for your new-found powers. You did right to keep that number although he will come sniffing for it again so defences must be maintained. He will be encouraged by the exchange so a further hoover will follow, but he will need to up his game and I doubt he has the resources to do so. He has gone silent as he is drawing fuel from an easier source than you, but he will return, you are too tantalising for him you see, you rascal.
Stop everything! Could you ever really tell me off? No way. Say it isn’t so!
I did seize the power? Really? Why don’t I feel like it then?
I’ll admit, I was friendly and flirty but maintaining being just out of reach and definitely shutting down anything beyond talking. That’s when he got huffy. His birthday is next weekend. More to come possibly? I just want to train myself to be immune to his attempts and to not be phased by them. I did feel improvement with that on Mon.
Thank you H.G
I could tell you off but I know you would like it too much so I won’t on this occasion.
It doesn’t feel like it because you are still fighting the Head V Heart Battle, Clarece.
Birthday boy will expect a present – perhaps you know of a particular confectionery company that has something entirely apt for him? Just a thought.
You are welcome.
Duly noted! Much to ponder in your response!! Btw, who’d like who in getting told off? Uh-huh
Ahh I see, I guess then this is why silent treatment towards me was his least favorite tool. He knew I would take the silence as peace and a break from him, he knew I could stand long periods without his attention so to speak. Instead he wouldn’t leave me the hell alone, yes he gained much more fuel by nagging me constantly being needy of me, hardly giving me a break unless he was at work, even then he’d try to get me to do things for him, he loved to be “on me” like a damn fly. I am concerned for I have had friends and family notice my children do this to me as well, they will literally physically hoover me follow me around at functions or other’s homes. They are 12 and 16, well beyond the age needing mommy to hold their hand.
Indeed they have latched on to one of your vulnerabilities. You are comfortable with silence (few people truly are) so instead the occupation of your time, attention, energy and emotions becomes the method of attack.
I do enjoy my space and time, I was an only child, so I can handle silence pretty damn well. I have an active mind and imagination to keep me plenty occupied!
Now those dear kids of mine, are they showing traits of narcissism or are they just conditioned to behave this way towards me because they watched their father do it their whole life?
Their demands on you will be instinctive but also as a consequence of the conditioning that has arisen. Are you seen as the household panacea? With regards to narcissistic traits, I would need to know more about their behaviour.
I could see my children seeing me as the household Panacea, I have been the stable constant consistent in their life, I stayed home up to the last 2 years to raise them. I do feel that they feel safe next to me, they seem to be on guard, I think is a natural reflex due to being through the tactic’s of their father. I think my ex strategically picked the golden child and the scapegoat and both unfortunately play these roles rather well. My scapegoat gets the most criticism from others, naturally. She openly expresses her hate or unhappiness in all occasions no matter who you are, she seems to be rather selfish however I see her without having any control or awareness of her training to distract all and any issues that arise back onto herself, its almost she sacrifices herself at her expense and acts like a little monster so that the real issues are never tended to, I know, I know that is by definition of a scapegoat. I also know the golden child is usually the most prone to become the Narcissist however he is very humble and does NOT like any attention on him. He can be social and fun and that “golden” boy, but only by very close intimates does he come out of his shell. If he sees anyone treat me wrongly he stands up for me, and he always tells me he loves me, he listens, he reminds me of me in a lot of ways as he is super observant and quiet. Then again HG, it’s me, so I could be fooled!
Hi HG , so when we don’t Hoover you when we are dumped and the silent treatment goes on and on . So we are then ignoring you , even though we’ve been discarded , and your otherwise occupied . But silence from us ? Does it bother them ?
Silence from us in what situation Lisa?
HG when we aren’t bothered by your silence and discard and ate just getting on with our lives and moving on , so we are not trying to contact you ?
If we hoover and you do not respond then that infuriates us. If we discard and are occupied with the new primary source we pay no attention to what you are doing, it is in effect a silent treatment because we are not bothering with you, but we are not considering you at such a juncture.
I am 12 weeks out no contact and I set up this exit and executed my decision well. I have found peace in silence but that’s another story.
My moms main tool was the silent treatment, after a beating. I have always said I would take a million beatings but as a child the silent treatment cut my soul to the core and I developed true issues from her treatment.
I am curious if this sort of treatment was used against you as a child. If it was do you remember any anxiety of your own when the silent treatment was used against you. As a child I felt very abandon and unloved. I am curious about your father. Was he like your mom or co dependent and unable to stand up to her bullying you? That was my case. I had a very weak father who made good money and a narc mom that stayed home to do her damage.
Hello SII, I faced all manner of manipulations as a child (at least now I recognise and understand many of them better and indeed I have learned to use them for my own advancement). Silence, cold and icy silence reigned in the house whereby not only did she bristle with silence we were then expecting to remain silent until at some unseen and unknown signal we were allowed to make a noise again. Eventually I learned when it was coming and adapted to ensure it was no longer directed at me, so I could observe its effects on the others.
My father was in some kind of paralysed awe with my mother. He did the good shepherd part with my siblings but never with me, he always seemed to think that I was able to deal with it in my own way and he was right.
I find this crushing to read for you and your siblings. By you having to learn her icy ways to survive in your environment, her abuse tactics have spread like dominos to all of your past intimate partners. Years that woman wasted with her precious babies that could have been filled with loving memories while still shaping you to be the successful man you are today.
Indeed Clarece, still onwards and upwards eh? I only delve into the memories for the purposes of my writing – the work on Little Boy Lost, The Creature and Little ACONS is testament to that, otherwise that vault stays shut. Most days.
I get that. I’m so sorry the innocence of your childhood was robbed. And what’s locked in the vault causes you to keep running from person to person to escape it.
Speaking of silent treatments… I haven’t heard from you in a while H G…
Indeed but I have not forgotten.