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. KJ says:

    Jesus Christ how borrriingg

  2. M Rivera says:

    Also, “I’m humiliated.” When I brought up the narc’s impotence: he vanished. He was like a vampire that had been exposed to daylight. Too much truth; not enough fantasy.

  3. Caroline says:

    Silence speaks.

    How can you know if a narcissist is lying? You can’t… but if he’s talking, he might be lying. You’ll not know, for sure.

    But what if a narcissist gives you the silent treatment?

    He’s making a statement of truth.

    What’s the statement? Lots of possibilities:

    I’m trying to control you.
    I want to get my way.
    I’d like to weaken you.
    I’m threatened by you.
    I’m dismissing you.
    I’m experimenting with you.
    I envy you.
    I’m playing you.
    I’m furious with you.
    I’m denying you.

    Silence is the closest thing to truth, when it comes to a narcissist. I think you can often have a gut-level intuition that’s accurate, on what they’re saying.

    But knowing, overall, that this is the passive-aggressive way they handle life — and treat you — tells you all you truly need to know.


  4. Spiritual Warrior says:

    Do things to irritate them….Like call their cell phone and go 1 2 3 til there cell phone is full. Then they have to delete all you calls. I was a real pain in the ass to him. I figured it would keep other victims from leaving messages. I kept telling him to block me. He finally did. He had a old phone, so he had to pay a fee monthly to block me. He then shut his sex phone off. Others women left him messages playing the song on his cell phone, “Who let the dog out”. For all the fucking things he did with me, I had to do something back, to even the score. BUT sadly enough, it never even out and wasted time and energy of taking away from our healing. The only way they are done, is when they die or bedridden of some bad illness. WE ALL NEED TO HEAL AND LIVE A GOOD LIFE….WHEN KNOWN BETTER WE DO BETTER….HONOR OURSELVES Peace and Kindness S. W.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, do not do that.

      1. It is engagement and you are increasing your emotional thinking.
      2. It is breaching no contact and may well provoke hoovers of a malign nature.
      3. It could be viewed as harassment with certain consequences which the narcissist will gladly use against you.
      4. You will be providing fuel and therefore giving the narcissist what he wants.

      You are correct though that this wasting time which is better spent on your own defences.

    2. Lisa says:

      So true! Trying to get back at the narc is a waste of time. Living your best life is the best revenge!

    3. kelleygurl116 says:

      Value ourselves. Love ourselves enough to not dishonor ourselves with this steaming pile of shit masquerading as ambrosia.

      Your silence has vastly more value than any technique you could apply in the name of vengeance. Don’t dirty your hands – just get on with your new life.

  5. MIn says:

    ok, I’m going to be honest, in a year and a half I’ve never “respond” my narcissist in a silent treatment. He has even applied it for 2 months, he always comes back. Why? I am an IPSS

  6. Saving Grace says:

    Over 25 years married to whom I believe was a Malignant, Covert, Greater. I had no idea what narcissm was until after I divorced him.
    I had been devalued for so many years that I was just a depressed, empty shell of my former self.
    It was the few evenings in a row after work, where he gave me a chilling all-star performance of the great “Silent Treatment” that I knew the gig was up.
    He kept showing more signs of what I now know was “The Discard” towards the end. The Silent Treatment spoke the truth, oh so simply and clearly!
    Loved, learned, healed and moved on.

  7. NarcLife says:


    In the silent treatment scenario above the victim doesn’t know (or is unsure) what they have done to deserve the silent treatment. In the above scenario, some victims (especially the younger set who text constantly) may erroneously come to the conclusion that they have been ‘ghosted’ if the absent silent treatment lasts a week or more.

    Questions….Wouldn’t it be more efficient and/or more effective to blatantly state that the punishment is being meted out? Does this type of pre-announced absent silent treatment (of unknown (to the victim at least) duration) following ‘treachery’ have a name/definition in your terminology? Is it still just called an ‘absent silent treatment’ whether it is pre-announced or not following ‘treachery’?

    Scenario would be:

    a) Victim does something ‘treacherous’.
    b) Narc texts ‘I don’t think we should talk for a while’ or texts ‘I’m not saying we should never talk again because I like you as a person but I don’t think we should talk for a while…maybe months’. (not really months but the victim doesn’t know this or have a clue how long).
    c) Victim text replies ‘I don’t want to do that’.
    d) Silent treatment begins.
    e) Each successive silent treatment slightly longer than the last one.

    The above scenario (a through e) seems more efficient and just as effective, even pre-announced. The trade-off being that you don’t get fuel from the repeated texts begging you to explain what happened, etc. but on the flip side they are still in limbo not knowing how long the silent treatment will last while also knowing for sure they haven’t been ‘ghosted’ because you’ve meted out the punishment via the last text message.

    – the victim will still replay the originating ‘treachourous’ event over and over in their mind reflecting on what they did and come to the conclusion it was their fault and eventually agree that they deserved the punishment.
    – the victim will still be falling over themselves to reply to the first text message the narc sends (on the narc’s schedule not the victims) that breaks the silent treatment even if the victim knows it’s a pre-announced silent treatment and not a potential ‘ghosting’.
    – the victim will still behave themselves and not repeat the same ‘treachery’ that lead to the silent treatment ever again or they know that they run the risk of another (even longer) repeat silent treatment.

    It just seems to me that the narc need not disappear and sulk when the narc can simply state the punishment is happening which still causes the same trauma to the victim without the victim entertaining the thought that they may have been ‘ghosted’ (narc doesn’t want their fuel source to entertain ideas that lead them down any paths that allow them to ultimately move on). Left completely hanging (thinking they’d been ‘ghosted’), they (the victim) may start doing web searches on narc terms and find a website like this one, right?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, if the narcissist tells the victim they are being punished this removes some of the confusion (granted the victim may not understand why they are being punished but they at least know the behaviour is punishment). The more we can keep you confused, the better it is as this shifting sands means more fuel and more and easier control.

      1. Mary says:

        Funny because we (my narc and me) used to use the term “punishment” both for having sex and narc-abusive-punishments.

      2. Ann says:

        Seriously, what is the point of playing malignant narcissist games? Wouldn’t you be better off avoiding inferior people and bettering your lives? If I think someone isn’t worthy of me, then duh, I want them nowhere near my ass. Maybe I’m a benevolent narcissist? But then why would I attract so many malignant ones? Magnets don’t attract the same pole….

  8. Ccherneau says:

    Does anyone have us any secrets/tricks for making the person giving us the silent treatment break their silence?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Why would you want to break it?


  9. pascaleshealingjourney says:

    Well I know now! Out of all the tricks he pulled I think the silent treatment was the most hurtful because it left me completely powerless.

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