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, every 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 matters 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.
14 thoughts on “17 Salvos of Silence”
HG when a MR disengages from you through breaking up is it in their mind a silent treatment or are they really done with you (until the need to Hoover of course) ?
If it a disengagement then the Formal Relationship is at an end.
Dear Mr Tudor,
It can work both ways. If my friend thought he upset me and I didn’t respond for a while, he went into a tailspin! I got inundated with his text messages. Haha
Ps …. I was brought up with silent treatments.
You know, I’m still shocked everytime I read all the things you say, and coming to understand more and more about everything that was going on during the 28 years of my marriage. How he never listened to me, actually ignored me all of those years, forget my birthday, not answering me, not picking me up but just staring at me when I fell… and I could go on and on about all the things he did or did not. And all of this behaviour has a name.. narcissism. And now I’m trying to tell this to other people, they don’t get it, they don’t understand, I can’t make them understand, because they weren’t there when all of this happened. They don’t notice your slowly disappearing self esteem. They say: you were such a fun person when we met, you’ve changed. And I always thought it was me, searching the internet what disorder I could possibly have. I stopped driving, I developed a social fobia, gaint lots of weight. Now I want the whole world to know about narcissism and give them a link to your site, hoping at least one person might be ‘saved’ from their ordeal, sooner than I have.
My narcissist never started a ST without telling me the reason though. Or if he did I didn’t know it was a silent treatment, it would be a distant one then that only lasted a short while. But otherwise it would usually go like this: he started a fight by unfailingly accusing me of something horrible, infidelity most of the times. The context more than once was that he had had a few drinks. The accusations could be based on a wrong word I said, on a text message from a friend, on him suddenly thinking that I said something I never said. He came across as really paranoid. Of course I sensed then, and understood only fully later, that these were just reasons picked from thin air, it could be anything, the dynamics behind it being that for some reason he needed to assert his power over me. So he would accuse me, I learned quickly to dread these occasions because there was no other outcome than complete disaster. I would try to be sensible, discuss, explain, fearful and treading on glass; he wouldn’t even listen, he turned his back to me, stonewalled me, and then of course I started crying, acting like the child my mother taught me to be, begging for forgiveness, telling him I didn’t do anything. Then usually he would just leave, disappear, commence a distant ST that could last a week or more. Stupidly I would phone, text, to no avail at all. And then suddenly he would talk to me again, shifting focus from the infidelity that he had initially accused me of to instead telling me how he hated my dramas. I then apologised for creating a drama and things were “well” for awhile. Thinking about the hurt and the pain he put me through makes me sick.
Catherine…mine gave the same reasons for every ST. “Guilt, shame and depression make me withdraw from everyone…not just you”….
That’s all right.
He can enjoy the silence I’m giving him now,for good.😉
It kills him.
What comes around goes around I’m afraid.
1,2,4,7,11 is what my narcissist put me through. Well, my mother also managed to squeeze in the rest of them except the social media parts. I guess my ex could really learn some new techniques from here. Picking up the phone, listening to the pain of another human being silently must be the worst ever. He never managed that. ST’s are horrible. It’s removing all power from someone and I guess the only way to respond is by your own deafening silence. But that’s so difficult. But then the unaccountability of a narcissist can’t handle direct communication. Cowardly.
What makes a silent treatment end? I’ve noticed that my mid range silents me up to but no more than two weeks at a time. It is starting to become like clockwork. Since he does not know what he is…is this silence instinctive? As in he does it to feel better? And it’s not always because he’s wounded? It’s done to correct or control? From DLS perspective? Thank you!
It is an instinctive response and ends when it is not securing an outcome in terms of fuel, sufficient fuel has been garnered, another compelling reason arises which requires interaction or ad adjustment elsewhere in the fuel matrix brings about its end.
One thing I’ve never understood is I know the silent treatment is usually used when narc is in a fury but I know when I’m furious I want to yell and scream at the person and tell them how and what they did wrong and I’m not even a narc, how does a narc manage to restrain themselves enough to walk away and say nothing when they’re furious?
It is cold fury. Read the book ‘Fury’ to understand more.
My Moron in Munich did some of these to me. I just thought he was being a jerk and acting childish. More thoughtless than malicious. This idea of him metaphorically killing me is very disturbing. I am not affected as much by thoughtless selfishness – I’ve lived with that all my life. But the idea of a childish, obviously transparent man trying to punish and “kill” me with ham-handed manipulations is obnoxious – and quite frankly, laughable! Makes me want to hire a large man to beat him about the head and shoulders with a tobacco stick (humiliate and frighten but leave no lasting damage).
Is this what all the family midrangers were trying to accomplish when I thought they were just being petty and childish? I don’t know if it’s more laughable or sad. All this malicious manipulation they thought they were subjecting me to and I was either completely unaware or just thought they were pathetically childish! Or better yet, how many silent treatments did they “punish” me with and I never even really noticed they were gone or was just relieved to have a break from them? 😝😝😝😝😝
I LOL so hard every time I read “moron in Munich”…
The nicknames we use for these narcs are so funny.
Mr Piano recital at church. Hehehehe.