17 Salvos of Silence

 

17

 

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.

  1. Remaining in the room and saying nothing and not even acknowledging you.
  2. Remaining silent but staring malevolently at you.
  3. Talking to others in a social gathering but blanking you.
  4. Ignoring your telephone calls.
  5. Answering your telephone calls but saying nothing as we listen to you beg and plea before ending the call.
  6. Ignoring your text messages.
  7. Allowing you to know we have read your messages but never responding.
  8. Responding to everybody else’s comments on a social media post but not yours.
  9. Inviting everybody in a social group to which you belong, to an event, but not inviting you.
  10. Agreeing to meet for a date and not turn up.
  11. Sleeping in the spare room or on the sofa, anywhere but in the bed with you.
  12. Walking out all of a sudden and completely disappearing.
  13. 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.
  14. Extending the silent treatment so it is meted out by lieutenants and members of the coterie.
  15. Responding to any written communication from you by writing “I do not recognise the sender of this letter/message/e-mail”
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

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22 thoughts on “17 Salvos of Silence”

  1. I have been battling OCD since 2008 since being discarded by my ex narc. I know these 17 steps all too well and it happened in that exact order.
    I was discarded on my birthday after I found out about his secret life.
    At one point I was the “psycho ex” because the cognitive dissonance of the discard really screwed me up.
    Not getting closure triggered something and really changed everything about me, how I act in all social situations, and how I even reflect some traits from my nemesis that I never had prior to meeting him.

    I pitifully still feel like there was “something”.
    I was deeply in love with him but I was always afraid to confess it. He would always tell me that I was in love with him and he knows it.
    It’s like he was in my head. The things he’d tell me I was thinking about were so accurate it was scary.
    No one can be so passionate, have such a warm heart, and make love to you like no one ever has (or ever will) and not mean it right?

    Pathetic I know.
    I know the only problem I had was not trusting my gut and being blinded by a man with the face of an angel and the physique that made men jealous.

    I know whatever he has gone through in life is his own issue and that his choices were HIS choices, regardless of how perfect I tried to be for him.
    I used to think I wasn’t good enough for him but what I’ve learned is no woman is because he can never be satisfied and that is not my issue to stress over.

    Ex Narc is currently on trial for a cold case homicide from 2000 (not enough evidence which is why he was set free back then) but this was something I just found out a few months ago.
    When the DA called me for a character reference, I freaked out!
    I know he knows I was called.
    The trial is near and I’m interested to see how this turns out.

  2. What does it mean when most of what you “say” in text and email is ignored. Some things are responded to, but only selected parts. Too much energy required? Better to leave it to you to give yourself an answer? Not worthy of a response? Avoidance of the subject? Corrective devaluation for saying such a thing? Yes, I’ve gotten good at trying to come up with answers when they aren’t given. Haha
    Last one for today HG…pinky promise 🙂

    1. It is done to achieve what we require. Thus it will include exhibiting entitlement, rejecting accountability, provoking the recipient, signalling their view is unimportant and more.

  3. I didn’t know what my ex was doing when he did this to me, but it just made me realize how much better my life was when he wasn’t around! I didn’t care where he was. Didn’t call and text. I packed. He did not ultimately learn after coming home to suitcases, so I left soon after.

  4. Wow. These are cruel and manipulative. Mine were more benign. And irritating because I didn’t know ~why~ It was like trying to put together a puzzle with several pieces missing. As the relationship progressed, or rather regressed, I began to welcome the silence. But this sounds malicious. HG, have you done these?

  5. Silence is torture when used in this way. It could be compared to isolation in prisons; it’s that effective and punishing.

    1. @Catherine,
      It literally is a form of torture. When we receive the ST, a part of our brain signals to us that we are in physical pain. It heightens our feelings of despair and panic. Most likely because at one point during our evolution, being ignored/rejected by “our people” could lead to danger, and ultimately, our death.
      Lots of material out there on the subject. As HG says, a simple yet effective manipulation tool. Even children know how to use it: “just ignore him/her, we don’t want to play with him/her”…..

      1. Hurt&Confused, exactly, I think I could state easily that among all those Machiavellian techniques used to abuse this one is the single worst for me; I’ve been conditioned to it since childhood and I even have some difficulty reading these articles about it without anxiety. Ugh!

    2. I agree. Silence is like torture, and the longer the period of silence, the more damaging it is if you don’t know why it’s being done.

      When I first moved out of home years ago, I would call my mum every few days to say hello and catch up on what was happening. Looking back, the conversations often went along these lines:

      – we would start off having a normal conversation talking about various things
      – the conversation would become more tense due to a small matter we disagreed on
      – my mum kept trying to make me agree with her, while I kept trying to state my point of view
      – my mum wouldn’t let it go and kept twisting the facts and asking rhetorical half-truth questions intended to provoke
      – we would start arguing and my mum kept using circular word salads and twisting of facts
      – I kept trying to make my own points heard and understood
      – the conversation became more and more heated
      – I lost my temper because I couldn’t get my point across without the conversation turning into a fight
      – I would start shouting in frustration while my mum stayed cool
      – my mum said she could not speak to me while I was so ‘abusive’ and disrespectful to her
      – the call ended

      Then there would be a lengthy silent treatment of about a week or more. I thought of it as a punishment and felt terrible because I was alone and kept replaying things in my mind. I missed my family. I had called her because I wanted to connect and I cared about what they were doing. I was the one who became furious and now my good intentions were turned completely inside out.

      Feeling guilty about shouting at my mum and knowing she would not be the one to end the silence, I called her again and apologised for losing my temper.

      …and the merry-go-round continued.

      Looking back, I really wish I had known then what I know now. I was both isolated and getting silent treatments, and the ridiculous thing is that I kept going back to the narcissist for more as though I was to blame.

      1. @Catherine,
        I can understand why it would be difficult to read about it if you have been subjected to it often. But the fact you are able to discuss it now shows that you are willing to deal with your feelings of anxiety. I think that’s a very healthy approach.

        @JenniferJ,
        I can relate to what you have described. This is something that often occurs in my family. In fact, growing up, I thought giving/receiving the silent treatment was a normal way of showing your displeasure with someone. My father’s side of the family all have strong narcissistic traits. And my father is very good at word salad and never being accountable. Most of the time I can remain level-headed, but there are moments when I completely lose my temper. I hate that feeling. That I allowed it to get to me. But, I am only human and we all have our moments of vulnerability.
        The person I was recently entangled with would use the ST as a way of showing his displeasure with me, and as a way of punishing me. Also, to avoid accountability and to “correct” my behaviour. If I confronted him about the lies,he would give me the silent treatment. The duration would increase every time. It was hurtful. The last time he gave me the ST, I told him to look it up and see what it does to people. He replied “ people do those things to themselves.”
        A nice bit of blame shifting.

  6. Here is a fun and interesting fact I discovered today while organising my email account. Very appropriate for this article indeed. I discovered 2 unsigned emails from someone (not 100% certain who it was). The email address was: “xyzisthisasilenttreatment@zyxxyz.com”. I replaced my name with xyz and replaced the email interface with zyxxyz. I was stunned by what I had found. These strange forgotten emails made me laugh. Both emails said something to the effect of ‘..you deleted me off of Skype. I cannot see your name in my contacts any longer. Why did you do this? Am I am sorry for what I have done. It is my fault for what I have done…’ And a few other bits I don’t care to share.

    I vaguely remember receiving them. Very amusing.

  7. I have changed my name here– as I think ‘someone’ not him– may have caught on to me– one of his minions (I had no idea I rated that high for his minions to follow me) however HG– yes I will call you in one month for advice and I am sure you know who I am—- Does my not answering his many calls – my silent treatment to him— really make him go insane—?Never mind my SuperNova I am doing on him? I am NOW Empress1!!!

  8. “If you have foolishly exalted yourself,
    Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth.”

    (And, remain completely silent!)

  9. I never got the silent treatment as you describe…mine was a bit more sneaky. He would not pick up his phone after 8PM. It would enrage me. Now I understand it was intentional, and he was garnering fuel from that anger. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

  10. “Against”… what a pity living “against”. It’s a waist of time and life itself. This is how an empath feels. I think narcissists know that people think they are very limited. Narcs hate empaths because they know that empaths can see through them, and they don’t want it to happen. Narcs cannot avoid it anyway.

    1. Except you do not see through us because that is how you become ensnared. The detection comes later and it is necessary to detect and pay heed to the detection.

      1. Our initial mistake is genuinely believing all people think and feel like us, that’s being innocent/naive; it is why most narcs are attracted to fresh “pray”, not provocative targets.

        Only Greaters relish in provocative ones because it is like upgrading both the game and the prize.

        We all know more at 40 than at 20 y.o…

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