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.

29 thoughts on “Saying Nothing To Tell You Everything

  1. Lynn Pelavas says:

    My husband gave me the silent treatment for the best part of 17 years. It really doesn’t bode well for a healthy marriage. By the end we were strangers. He likes to tell people we grew apart, but of course that is rather distorted thinking. I am much happier now that I do not have to see him at all, ever.

  2. Kate says:

    Hi SMH,

    Thank you and I get what you mean – being held at arm’s length on a skewer! The two different Narcissists that I spoke of above were like that sometimes. Really, the party that I wrote about could have been fun! I think that sulking should be done in private. And disappearing is disrespectful. I don’t know about you, but I can think of better ways to get my attention!!

    My ex-husband could get very dark and he would do his silent treatment by getting a murderous glare, directed at the world at large. I dealt with that by silently waiting for it to pass. . . .

  3. DoForLuv says:

    I wish I had such a strong reaction as you all mentioned above . That is strenght and selflove . This article really describes me I apologize call text untill an response . a real emotional rollercoaster . Constantly absence silent treatments . Lately I just donโ€™t even text anyone first at all . Isolation .

    Helpfull article thank you H.G.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome DFL.

  4. WhoCares says:


    What is happening in these instances where, like Ugotit’s example (I was the same; could care less about silent treatments, only too happy to have time for myself), the narcissist receives no reaction on the part of other person and the silent still goes on, or repeats? Especially, considering their ability to push our buttons – in this situation is the narcissist likely putting in time seeking IPSS? (Whether in person, or on the internet?)

  5. Lori says:


    Im curious how does it effect you when it’s done back to you?

  6. Kate says:

    I think these silent treatments are dumb. They don’t work on me at all. I just ignore him back. At a party? I find someone better to talk to. Disappear? I pack my bags. Sulk? I wear my earbuds and dance around. Don’t want to talk to me? That is your loss. What a waste of our time! We could have been doing something so much cooler..

    1. SMH says:

      Great attitude, Kate. Mine only did it big time once – last month, when he ignored an email from me – but there were tons of little mini silent treatments in between. It felt like I was being slapped all the time. I thought maybe he had a disability? Ha. This time I apologized because I had teased him and it was clearly a silent treatment. But I suddenly realized how fragile his ego is. Wow. Reaction completely out of proportion to the offense. After my apology I twisted the dagger into his cold little heart. Ha. But of course it is all meaningless. It is like he is holding me at arm’s length on a skewer and I am flapping around in the wind!

    2. Michelle says:

      I want to feel this freedom so badly. My ex stole my parenting, sabotaged every ounce of my mothering. He took our 2 sons and saturated them in this spew until he shaped them into his own image. How now do you move on? They both wrote this letter to me. I hear it, see it, live it but I cant let them go. They hate me. I did this. I married my mother. I thought he was better BC he would at least say he was sorry, after the abusive behavior, weather it be emotional, physical, sexual, financial and all the rest. I thought if I could just take my sons and break away from this vicious circle it would spare my sons and they would have a chance at living in a family with healthy tools and that did not happen.
      I took my 2 sons and paid for it, I will until the day I die. I dont enjoy much anymore. Im stuck, im not free. I will never be.

  7. Melinda says:

    HG, quick ?? My ex would apply for a new passport every year . . . I found all of them and compared the pics and his face was drastically different in all, like unrecognizable as the same person. As if he were playing a different role . . . schizoid like, if schizoid is the proper term. His permanent address of his mother stayed the same. What does that indicate do you think? If anything . . . Do you reinvent yourself often?

    1. Melinda says:

      Additionally, is that what mirroring is? Pardon my ignorance. I’m taking your crash/cram course. I may be approaching overload. But I have a compulsion to figure out my role in that relationship so I can clean my side of the street. F*** his side, correct? It’s really not about him anymore.
      With all due respect to the others, I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks, what seems to be more people wanting to understand how to stay in their narc relationship. Or how to maintain a narc relationship . . . am I alone in noticing this?

      1. Melinda says:

        Additionally are narcs “defined” by their partner?? I admit I haven’t touched in how thed narc mirrors yet . . . HG, you have provided a barrage of material, the likes of which I have not seen for a while on any topic.
        Someone told me once that your problem may just be your purpose in life. I think that of you. Ur unique.

  8. Tammi says:

    Yes this was done to me often. However I did not send a slew of messages or call. I may have in the beginning.. but when he would start the silent treatment I would say or text one thing … when you are done being an asshole let me know. He would continue to be silent for however long he felt the need. Then he would break it by acting like everything was fine. He would send a message saying wanna go get wings tonight ?
    I would say there is something wrong with you! And we would go back and forth all day until he would wear me down to the point that I just wanted it to stop.
    3 months free right now. I bet he would love to argue with me about something. Too bad ! Never again.

    1. Empress1 says:

      Wings???You let him get away with ‘wings’=== not seafood- or steak or something decent??? Wings?? Wrap it up girl!!!

  9. Bubbles ๐Ÿพ says:

    Dear Mr Tudor,
    Arhhhhh yes, the silent treatment … I know it well! Such childish behaviour coming from an adult!
    My mum and step dad were masters at it … 21 years straight ! All my attempts to contact failed… so I stopped in the end (after beating myself up of what I thought I did wrong). Now I look after my mum, go figure !!!

    With the weasel, there were many times I couldnt contact him and he went silent on me. I thought I was dealing with a PTSD sufferer not a narcissist! I didn’t even know what a narcissist was!
    It’s so good of you to explain this to us because now we know it’s not us … it’s the narc!

    Just an add on ….I’ve noticed the “narcissist ” word being referred to more and more on tv, regarding our society lacking manners and respect and with our self absorption and entitlement.

    Congratulations Mr Tudor and thank you

    1. Ugotit says:

      Are u British by any chance ? I think.its adorable when people call their mother mum, where I come from we just say ma but pronounce it maah

      1. Melinda says:

        LOL Tx for the humor . . . I get it. Ma and Pa (Sometimes Daddy). I’m from Midwest USA you betcha ya. I luv English accent, too. Peace.

      2. MB says:

        We say mama and daddy here yโ€™all!

      3. Bubbles ๐Ÿพ says:

        Dear Ugotit,
        How sweet of you! No, I’m not British, but do have British heritage. I do adore “The Queens English”.
        I also call her “mummy dearest” sometimes ๐Ÿ˜‚
        Ma, maah is lovely and endearing. I just don’t like it when kids these days call their parents by their christian names.
        Ps … Mr Tudor (alias James Bond) would know where we are all from, I’m sure ๐Ÿ˜‚

    2. Lynn Pelavas says:

      Perhaps narcissism is weaponized PTSD. Either way, hurt people hurt people and narcs know how to hurt like a power drill on flesh.

  10. /iroll says:


  11. Jess says:

    Creepy. Effective and creepy.

  12. Inna says:

    HG you’ve perfectly described my behavior each time he gave me the silent treatment. As I began to see this “odd” pattern, I started to analize his actions more closely (despite the fact that we were in a LDR). After a while I decided to correspond to his silent treatment with my own dose of silent treatment which would go on for days and even weeks. I was actually enjoying it because I knew that eventually, he would be the first to contact me, as he was no longer getting the reaction from me that he was hoping for. Then, he would go back to being nice and act “needy” (which I despised); but I knew that there would come another dose of silent treatment eventually. I started to realize that this was a very flawed individual, a flat person, a truly sad human being. I felt some level of compassion towards him but no longer any attraction. I had come to understand that he was a pathetic, insecure, envious man who was incapable of ever achieving much in his life. He lived an inconsequential life, void of direction, goals, excitement, joy and deep human contact (he had no friends and was not close to his family of origin or procreation — he despised and envied them). During our time together, he had used triangulation on several occasions which ended in break up on my part (each time i would end it his response would be a smear campaign). Oddly enough, his smear campaigns never quite affected me; in fact I found them to be rather amusing because the things he would come up with. The incredible accusations he would invent were so outrageous that one had no choice but to laugh! After a few weeks, we’d always get back together because I will admit it, I wanted the fuel he was providing to me too. Nevertheless, I am a “feeling” human or a “TRUE HUMAN” rather and I grew tired of his games, so I ended the relationship for good. Just like that I did it. He never saw it coming. I broke up with him for good. I discarded him first. This went on for three months of no contact at all from me. He would hoover by text but he received no answer from me at all, in fact I even blocked him. Then one day right before New Year’s I unblocked him to test him. Indeed, he was quick to contact me. I had the intuition that he had already started to procure a new source (a Christian woman who had been cheated on and abused by her former husband — poor soul, she has no idea with whom she’s getting involved), and his triangulation started straight away. I made sure he knew it no longer affected me, as he was nothing to me and I was involved with someone else. I blockled him again. Sure enough, the very next day the smear campaign against me began but I did not react. Last week, he shared three love songs he had dedicated to me in the past on a mutual friend’s FB page. Yes, I’ve seen them but my silence speaks louder than any words ever could. C’est la vie!!! P.S: HG TUDOR (I deduce you’ve named yourself for Henry Tudor (King Henry VIII who was in all probability a Malignant Narcissist), but what about the “G”? You’re brilliant HG. JUST BRILLIANT!

  13. /iroll says:

    I am sooooo familiar.

    It’s also funny that in this “age of entitlement” we’re giving names to behaviours like ghosting, haunting and zombieing.

  14. Ugotit says:

    All those times he gave me the silent treatment I never chased after him not because I was avoiding giving him fuel I didn’t even know he was a narcissist back then yes I was anxious as hell but I gave it right back because I honestly thought it meant he wanted nothing more to do with me and I’ve never been the one to force myself on someone who doesn’t want me around. I wish I knew he was a narcissist while the relationship still existed not that I would have given him fuel but I would have done a lot of things differently I’m amazed in retrospect I was kept around at all because I was a lousy provider of both negative and positive fuel except in the very beginning of the golden period. It would be so interesting to go back in time knowing g he was a narc and redoing our relationship with this knowledge but what’s done is done

    1. Lori says:

      And how did he respond when you didn’t react ?

      1. Ugotit says:

        He just continued ignoring me until he felt like contacting me again then he would act like nothing happened looking back on it I remember there was a distinct pattern , the first 2 times it lasted exactly ten days the second two times it lasted exactly 28 days and the two discards lasted three months I wonder if he ever realized they always lasted the same amount of time lol

      2. Lori says:

        Yep. HG is exactly right on this. They do the silent treatment ignore em right back.

        I’m not gonna ignoring anymore. I just don’t want to talk him. Why would he’s a Narc. Who has told me he’s involved with someone else. Screw that I don’t take scraps.

        He can passively try to get my attention but it will do him no good. I have no longer desire the disordered

  15. Insatiable Learner says:

    Fortunately, the narc I was entangled with did not give me a silent treatment, but if he had, I would have responded like you HG described in this article. Not any more. Now, I would just ignore him right back. This is so clearly childish, immature, abusive, disrespectful, and uncaring. I am becoming disgustingly healthy these days.

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