Saying Nothing To Tell You Everything


The Silent Treatment. One of our most potent methods of manipulation. Whether it is a present silent treatment where we talk to everyone else around you but not you or whether it is an absent silent treatment where we disappear and cannot be found or contacted, we know that this is highly effective. It does not matter if the silence lasts for ten minutes or ten days the impact on you is considerable and your reaction is always the same. That is, of course, the main reason that we do it. You will repeatedly ask us what is wrong as you fail to understand what it is that we are doing. You will hang around us, if that is possible, asking the same questions over and over again.

“What is wrong, please tell me?”

“What is the matter, I wish you would tell me?”

“What is it? Why aren’t you speaking to me?”

Your concern mutates into frustration and anxiety and even occasionally anger. All of these states suit us as we drink the fuel you are providing to us. If we absented ourselves then we will face a slew of text messages, e-mails and voicemail messages as you keep ringing every five minutes trying to establish contact with us. After a time the nature of the questioning changes as you shift from asking us what is wrong to hauling yourself over the coals. It is all so predictable. You ask yourself what is it that you could have done which has caused us such offence that we are no longer speaking to you. You analyse everything you have said and done over the last hour, the last five hours, the last day. Did you insult us in some way and not realise? Surely it was not that comment about our tie, that was a joke. Was that the catalyst for this silence? Did you fail to kiss us on our arrival home? You cannot remember but these days you often find that is the case since the days all seem to merge into one as you pad around trying not to tread on those eggshells. If only the tiredness would lift. You might be able to think straight then and be able to ascertain what is going on. You keep providing us with different suggestions and scenarios as to what has happened. You grope around, utterly unsure as to what it was that proved to be the trigger. You issue apologies and it gets to the point that you do not even know what you are apologising for but that does not matter does it? All you want is for this horrible silence, the aching absence to end. It has happened before and then it ended as arbitrarily as it arrived. You cling on to the hope that it will end as it did last time but then there is that gnawing doubt which keeps manifesting in your mind. What if it won’t end? What if this is it and we have gone for good? Surely not and for what reason? The doubt is horrible and you feel a rising sense of panic which causes you to redouble your efforts to find us and offer yourself up in sacrifice in order to get us to come back. Time after time we do this to our victims but they do not realise what our silence really means. They are trapped by fear, paralysed by indecision and this is naturally how we like it. This confusion and inability to really see what is going on serves our purpose.

What is our silence really telling you? It is telling you how we enjoy to play fast and loose with your feelings. It is telling you that we do not care about you. You mean nothing to us other than the fuel you provide. We are reminding you of how inferior you are to us. You are nothing more than an appliance which we can switch on and off, pick up and put down at our convenience. We are trumpeting our lack of respect for you and your identity. We are heralding our flagrant disregard for your well-being. We are telegraphing our disdain for our supposed responsibilities. We are reinforcing that you do not matter. Instead, you seek to eradicate the silence, you plan and arrange to do anything which you hope will dispel the absence of communication. Too caught up in trying to remove the unpleasant sensations that wrap around you, you fail to see the clear message that we convey to you each time we behave in this manner. We are behaving as we did when we were told we could not have another biscuit and we sat sulking until our worn-down parent gave in. Most people grow out of such conduct but not us. We saw the power it would wield over certain people (others of course would never countenance it and we knew never to show it to them or suffer the consequences) but everyone else would flock around us, flapping and attending to us and we realised just how we could wrap people around our little fingers so they gave us what we wanted. It was not the extra lollipop or permission to play out for an extra hour. It was attention and attention laced with emotion. Fuel. We may not have realised it then but we took this childish response and turned it into a weapon which causes you fear and frustration every time we unleash it. If only you could understand what we are really doing, then you would understand just how much we are truly telling you by saying absolutely nothing.

17 thoughts on “Saying Nothing To Tell You Everything

  1. gabbanzobean says:

    Coming back to this article as I had a observation regarding how the mid range and how he gives a silent treatment. Specifically the polite and charming mid ranger who is never full of fury or nastiness. He would ghost….ignore me pretty much and then after a week I would get some “canned” text message, devoid of personalization, the salutation would say “good morning” if it was the afternoon or “good evening” if it was the morning (almost like it was copied and pasted from some other conversation at another time to another person or many people interchangeably…) and then it would have “I am doing well, hope you are too, thank you for checking in with me…” And then silence again.

    Is this a typical narc thing? I figured silence was silence but throw in an intermittent yet canned “polite response” back? Does anyone else’s polite mid ranger do this crap too?

    I followed Jenna’s advice and I told him neutrally how I felt about it. “It hurts my feeling when you do not reply to me, I feel like you are a ghost”. After about 7 hours he replied. He said “I am a ghost. I am not trying to hurt your feelings on purpose. I am sorry.” Then silence again.

    “I am not trying to hurt your feelings…”… idea what to make of that. Is that like “I am not trying….on purpose”? As in….it just kind of happens because that is what is engrained in the narc brain?

    Am I making sense here? Can anyone else relate?

    1. Sophia says:


      I’ve been where you are with my ex-mid-ranger. I’ve read Decipher and Manipulated (HG’s books) trying to “decode” our interactions. This taught me how to recognize manipulation in general. Fuel helped me understand his behavior, such as the texting you mentioned.

      I tried applying what I learned after reading Disarming the Narcissist (not HG’s book) Holy perpetuating the insanity. Please, don’t do that. Communication skills didn’t lead me to receive genuine apologies or lasting changes.

      It seems like you know it feels bad and you want to put a label on it, to confirm whether or not you were right to feel hurt? Nobody has the right tell you when you shouldn’t or should feel anything.

      My unsolicited advice? Keep reading this blog and his books until you can point out a red flag and name it. Otherwise, you might end up like myself and many others that kept hoping for the guy they thought they had to reappear.

      🤗 Take care! 😃

  2. Loulou says:

    Is it still considered silent treatment if the whole time there has been silent hovering during the silent treatment , such as, hung up phone calls, viewing your LinkedIn profiles , trying to get a reaction by doing things that you can see etc….

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is, those are hoovers mixed in with the silent treatment.

  3. blackunicorn123 says:

    It’s true…there is no such thing as a mixed message. It is one very clear message.

    1. blackunicorn123 says:

      Mine is “I just can’t get enough”, btw! 😳

  4. Salome says:

    Since to days you say nothing (no comments posted by you).
    What you want to tell us?

  5. K says:

    You’re clearly overthinking this.
    I never asked what is wrong,why isn’t he talking to me and I never thought for a second that I could have caused this behaviour.
    I just thought he’s being a d*ckhead and it did annoy me.
    But guess who wants to talk now?
    Now that I got rid of the rubbish.
    Guess who’s getting the silent treatment that never ends?
    He tries every trick in the book to get some sort of reaction out of me,but I give him nothing.😋
    His own medicine doesn’t taste so good does it?
    Well my friend,keep taking it,cos that’s all you’re ever gonna get from me and I like it like that.

  6. Jenna says:

    When he would withdraw frm contacting me for a few days, i would not contact him either because i didn’t want to seem needy. Then i thought, this is just all games. It is not mature.

    I therefore texted him one day, told him i miss him if we don’t text every few days, so we set a schedule. He told me he prefers to text after 10pm. I said this is a good time slot for me too. The matter was settled.

  7. echo says:

    One full month no contact. He’s been completely silent too and before that would have killed me, but now I find myself not caring if it’s a silent treatment, disengagement, being put on the shelf, or whatever the f&%k else it might be. That magical hold of addictive chemicals and ever presence has finally been released and faded to near non-existence. He can sit and sulk all he likes. He didn’t just cast aside an appliance in favor of a a shinier one. He lost his toy, and it’s not coming back.

  8. PhoenixRising says:

    “It is telling you how we enjoy to play fast and loose with your feelings. It is telling you that we do not care about you…You are nothing more than an appliance which we can switch on and off, pick up and put down at our convenience.”

    Spot on once again, HG! Thanks to you, I wised up and haven’t responded to this silent treatment. He went too far this last time and consequently lost an extremely reliable and loyal fuel source.

  9. gabbanzobean says:

    Yep!!!! I remember when his state was affected by a hurricane and he ignored my calls for days prior. Then right before the storm hit, he sent a blanket text of “I’m prepping for the storm!”…after that was a week of silence. No reason whatsoever. Texts unanswered, calls ignored. I even left voicemail and email. A week later I got another blanket text. No personalization almost like it was a canned recycled text. “Hey. Good Morning! 🙂 I recieved your message. It’s been a busy week. I am doing well thank you for checking in”.

    I knew it was canned because it had no personalization to it. And it was late in the afternoon when it was sent. And it said good morning! Clearly a copy and paste. (And he’s long distance but still in the same time zone).

    And after that? Silence again for who knows how many weeks.

    So I wonder, all the fuel from this silence it gets your kind off right? Equivalent to some kind of drug induced euphoria or sexual climax? You get off on making us worry and chase you around because we love and care for you. So utterly cruel. Utterly used for emphasis.

    1. Rachael Clarke says:

      I had a boyfriend like that it used to make him feel good to hurt me and he did hurt me for a long time. Ian older and wiser now and I realize that he was a very damaged individual and the only way he could be happy was to make others sad very tragic. He wound up murdering some body. Ithank the good lord above that told me to get away from him. Thank you lord god

  10. Kim Michaud says:

    he can take his silent treatment and shove it up his arsehole

  11. Nett says:

    I used to get the “silent treatment” every once and a while. Sometimes it would be a couple of hours to a week. During that time, I would worry and wonder what I did wrong to upset him. My main question to myself was “is he breaking up with me?”. Then he would come back as if nothing had happened. I don’t miss those days of anxiety. HG, during the “silent treatment” is the narcissist obtaining fuel from another source as we sit and wait with anxiety?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      During an Absent Silent treatment, absolutely yes.

    2. Rachael Clarke says:

      Tis like a vampire sucking blood for fuel

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