Six Silent Soul Destroyers

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The use of and imposition of silence are two of the most powerful weapons in our abusive arsenal. Silence is easy to deploy and horrendously effective in securing our aims of compliance, control and fuel.

1. My silence is always meaningful

You may sit quietly because you have no need to say anything. You may remain silent because you are listening to somebody else or just enjoying the silence.  We do not allow silence to be used in such a passive and redundant fashion. Our silence is used to convey contempt. It is used to draw concern and cause anguish in you. When we fall silent that pregnant pause is an indicator of the fury which will be unleashed against you. The longer silence is the imposition of our cold fury as you are banished to a sustained silent treatment. When we sit in silence we are not savouring the lack of noise, we are thinking, planning and plotting, calculating our next step. Our silences are weapons, they are our operations headquarters, our defence against your critical wounding of us. We use silence to hurt you, warn you, scold you and indicate you have overstepped the mark. Every silence has a meaning, it would be remiss of us to use it any other way.

2. Absence makes the silence longer

The deployment of an absent silent treatment where we remove ourselves from you, invariably with no warning or indication is a confirmation to you that this silent treatment will not be short-lived. The need to absent ourselves sends you a clear signal that we will be gone for some time. It is designed to have you come after us, try to contact us and beg and plead so that you fuel us. When we impose a period of absence by vanishing we are reinforcing how easily we are able to consider you gone from our lives. You may not even be able to contact us but we gather fuel from our knowledge that this sudden disappearance will cause you considerable consternation and worry. The absent silent treatment is also a key indicator that we are engaged in the seduction of a new prospect and providing this person with our false love and attention, which we have removed from you.

3. The silent gesture

Our silences are not just occasioned by us not talking to you or absenting ourselves for a period of time. We deploy silence through gestures. We may not turn up when we have agreed to a date with you, in order to reinforce how you mean so little to us and that we have any number of more pressing engagements to attend to than dine with you in a restaurant. Leaving you alone in bed, our side of the bed now empty and cold is also a hammer blow to your confidence and self esteem as we choose the spare room, the sofa or the bed of another in preference to being with you during the night. The silent telephone call from a withheld number, used when we are hoovering you, is designed to put you on edge. Is it us calling you this late? It must be mustn’t it, but you cannot be sure? The failure to buy you a gift on your birthday,  creating a gap which ought to have been filled stands out considerably and allows us to apply maximum hurt through such a silent gesture.

4. The silent presence

By giving you the cold shoulder when everyone else is met warmly and enthusiastically, we cause you to feel completely alone even when you are surrounded by others. You try to carry on as if nothing has happened but you know that people will be wondering why we are not speaking to you. You feel the flush of embarrassment as once again you try to speak to us and you receive only a glare and then we sweep away. You want to challenge us but as ever it is you that will be criticised for creating a scene. You want to upbraid us for our childish sulking but you have learned that the consequences of doing so are not worth suffering. We of course know all this and we know how powerful our freezing you out in the company of others really is.

5. Suffer in silence

You are never to speak of what goes on between you and I to anyone else. Should you ever do so you are committing an act of heinous betrayal and your punishment for such a transgression will be malicious and fierce. You are not to betray me and speak of what you are subjected to. You are to endure it so that you become a better person, one who is compliant and obedient. Do you understand? I also know that you fear the repercussions of speaking out and this enforces my curfew. I also know that you feel compelled to remain loyal because of the golden period and how you feel duty bound to remain and try to resolve matters, work this difficult period through and fix what has become somehow broken. Your indefatigable spirit teeters on the brink of misplaced pride at not telling tales and instead knuckling down, irrespective of what is thrown at you, in order to bring about a resolution to our problems. You cannot succeed but you do not know that yet. For now you must suffer in silence.

6. I speak, you stay silent

Never interrupt me, never talk over me, never steal my thunder. When I speak everybody listens because what I have to say is brilliant, great and of tremendous import. You would do well to listen to improve yourself, please me and avoid angering me. You are my sounding board, Horatio to my Hamlet, a listener and in my presence you only speak when it is required to honour my achievements and laud my greatness. You are to be seen but only heard when I deem it necessary. Who wants to listen to what you have to say anyway? You only get invited to events because of me. They are only friends with you because they are friends of mine. Nobody is interested in you. Nobody. So stay quiet and listen.

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17 thoughts on “Six Silent Soul Destroyers”

  1. THIS was the worst part of our relationship. Looking back, he had to be trained in the same silent games. We had this same experience as children. He embraced the Jedi mind tricks. I sought to overcome it by pulling people in close. Please don’t punish me this way. Mother’s physical discipline ended quickly. The silent soul destroyers felt like death.

  2. Also I believe that narcs can’t just enjoy silence or stay quiet because they bore so easily. When they get bored their own thoughts make them uneasy. Since they are uneasy, they naturally turn their minds to things that make them feel better – one upping or dominating others. If they could be at ease with themselves, they’d be much less destructive.

  3. O Mighty HG, … une question.

    International long distance with a Cerebral Greater. Discarded (over a stupid dream), he hung up on me via skype on NY’s eve. Followed by 5 days of silent treatment (met by mine as well). Then he texted ‘he felt ‘nothing’ (ha!). I groveled for 1 day (and only 1) via texts. He wouldn’t skype. I couldn’t believe 2 yrs ended over this (I now know why the ‘dream’ hurt him and of course he had had his bimbo lined up).

    Question: why did he not discard via skype? Isn’t the fuel more potent seeing me “broken, crying”, live on camera than by texts? (He always travelled and could have skyped from any hotel in the world, as he had for 2 yrs). 

    I know your brilliance will solve this mystery for me. Thank you.

    1. At the point of disengagement he was not concerned with gaining fuel but rather his response was to halt the ongoing wounding which he perceived.

      1. Wow, that was worth the wait HG. Brilliant, indeed you are. That has just triggered follow up questions for Thursday’s consult.

  4. “You are not to betray me and speak of what you are subjected to. […] I also know that you fear the repercussions of speaking out and this enforces my curfew.”

    There comes a time when the pain caused by remaining silent is BIGGER than the fear of repercussions. That’s what narcs don’t get!! There is a LIMIT to what you can bear. And one fine day, you decide that today is Judgement Day.

    I just snapped. Complete exposure of narcs in my life, thoroughly stripped of their facades. Nowhere to hide, no way to distort the truth any longer. They did not see it coming, which still makes me smile. I have never felt so proud of myself. And I slept like a baby for the first time in a long while. No regrets.

  5. I have a question HG. One which has bothered me since I discarded him (after ten years) and began to educate myself last August. You talk of The Super-Empath and how they instinctively use their ingrained narcissistic traits against the narcissist before they ever know what they are dealing with. Well, regarding his Silent Treatments, when I first learned the term, I initially took the blame and thought I was the instigator in ST as, after a horrible insult or verbal attack from him, I would shut down , no supply, no words, no eye contact, no cooking, no speaking , complete self-sufficiency and he would then retaliate by punishing me and ignoring me for weeks to months , all while living under the same roof. It was torturous but I dug in, kept living as normal and never begged, cried (to his face) etc. Then magically, some emergency or tragedy or occasion would occur and everything would be presumed forgotten as I would have no choice but communicate with him due to the urgency of the situation. I would always instinctively shut down after an attack from him and one time he did say , as if it were a game “you can keep this up as long as you like, I’m far more able and far better at this than you are”. It was an important insight. What I’m wondering is, am I to blame for these Silent Treatments that went on for months ? Did I unwittingly unleash some empathic supernova on him, causing him to punish me harder to re-exert control? Or do you think he orchestrated the initial verbal onslaught to begin the cycle all over again, each time?

  6. H.G, what happens when the victim closures the relationship in the middle of a silent treatment?
    What happens if it is the victim who makes the ST to the narcissist and any hoovers seems to make no effect?
    How do react the narcissist?

  7. Hello HG. Are narcs consciously aware of their malicious intentions towards their victims as you describe it?

    1. It depends on the school of narcissist. Most do not see anything wrong with what they are doing, why? Because it is your fault, naturally.

      In broad rush terms the behaviour falls into either

      1. See nothing wrong with the behaviour at all. Oblivious to it being seen as wrong;
      2. Recognise others see it as wrong, however there is no ownership of the ‘wrong’ but rather it is a justified action born out of a reason which is entirely pertinent and applicable to the narcissist;
      3. Recognise it is seen as wrong, regard it as applicable and revel in the behaviour – that is the true malice.

      1. Thanks HG, I understand. Number 3 resonates more prominently than the others when it comes to N.

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