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.

  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.

24 thoughts on “17 Salvos of Silence

  1. Stephanie says:

    I am currently on the receiving end of the narc’s silent treatment. A friend noticed that my name had been left off a group invitation and bought it to the narc’s attention, not knowing that the narc is employing the silent treatment against me. The narc wrote back freely admitting that that had been done on purpose. Can anyone explain what is happening in the narc’s psychology that would make her want to so brazenly reveal her tactics?

  2. Sweetest Perfection says:

    He gave me the silent treatment for a short while when I guess he started devaluation or something like the stranger zone who knows, I didn’t like it, I escaped. I was shelved I guess but I established NC because he tried many hoovers on social media and they were pathetic to say the least so I deactivated my account. After six months, TODAY, he tried to hoover me in person. He was waiting outside my work building, and I ran through the back door. I feel like the hero of an action movie, only that even if I escaped for the second time, I cried the whole time back home. I’m no hero. I’m a mess, because as somatic and ridiculous as he is with the long hair he is trying to grow despite his Gargamel receding lines just because I told him I love long hair in men, I SO WISH he was the friend I believed he was before I saw his true self. I miss my friend. My imaginary friend.

    1. Caroline R says:

      Sweet P
      I hear you.

  3. Leslie says:

    The silences indeed became golden because the name calling and berating and rudeness and fact twisting and gaslighting and and and…..all….stopped

    Now I’m silent

  4. Michelle says:

    #7 was the tactic of Narc Friend once I exposed him. I was completely confused by this — probably the intended effect — because I wondered why someone who didn’t want to hear from me wouldn’t just block me and be done with it. I knew from my previous go-around that contacting people who don’t want to be contacted is not a great plan, so I soon stopped. But I sent him a pathetic message about how hurt I was and other sad things just to see if he had enough empathy to respond. When he didn’t, I knew exactly what I was dealing with. The silent treatment is THE calling card of the narcissist, in my opinion. The first time I became entangled by a narcissist the silence was devastating. The second time it was only devastating because I knew that I was been fooled and that our friendship never really existed.

  5. flutterbymorpho says:

    Yep I’ve had this for many months now, even though living in the same house. In fact it’s almost been a year unless he decides to have a go.. But yes the expressionless or having a face like a slapped arse and no eye contact. I’ve got used to it and just talk to the dogs. In fact it’s less exhausting than his jibberish and has given me chance to get stronger. Hes actually done me a favour and I enjoy the peace & quiet from the tosser..

  6. Caroline says:

    Lessons the “Silent Treatment” Can Teach:

    -Nobody can take anything away from you that’s secured within; being subjected to any form of the silent treatment can make you reflect on deeper internal issues, which can lead you to soul-searching that brings more inner clarity (on beliefs/decisions) — strength (staying the course on convictions) — peace (acceptance of what “is” & what you have the ability to change) — and, finally, renewed joy (from growth). Security comes from within, so a narcissist’s silence tactics are just another way to see if they can shake your inner sanctum. They’ll help you see where you’re at with that! Aren’t they sweet? (lol)

    -Nobody can define you based on *their* lack of ability to cope; any form of the silent treatment is about what another person lacks — not what you do. You’re not “in it.” When you find yourself laughing off this “silence-meant-to-be-deadly” form of game-play, you’re well on your way to not needing to seek other’s approval; you can hear your own voice even more, on what you truly believe is important/right/worthwhile/good. If you’re continually looking to the left and right of you for answers/approval/credit, part of you is still lost – but wants to be found. While narcissists are notorious for doling out the “dishes of silence,” others can as well… so that which does not bother you (other’s lack of response/attention) will free you in a big way, daily.

    So maybe, just maybe, someone’s silence against you can turn out to be one of the best — most freeing — gifts they can give.

    Let’s hear it for the silent treatment.

    1. flutterbymorpho says:

      Yes! Spot on! It’s been a blessing in disguise. Soon I’m hoping for out of sight as well!

      1. Caroline says:

        Thank you for the sweet reply, “flutterbymorpho.” It’s nice to know when something you share resonates with someone, like maybe there was a reason you felt led to write it.

        Out of sight… then out of mind (except what they helped you learn)…

        May that come very soon for you!

    2. windstorm says:

      I like this way of looking at it. You’re absolutely right. When I was very small, my mother’s silent treatments tore me up. I can remember getting very worried and upset when she would refuse to speak to me. But that was because I was a little girl. By the time I was 10 or so, I looked forward to the silences and dreaded attention. It’s our neediness that makes silent treatments rough. Once we get ourselves straightened out, silence really is a blessing.

      1. Caroline says:

        Thank you, WS…by the way, “WS” always makes me think “wisdom,” so the abbreviation for your name is oh-so-perfect.;-)

        I wrote somewhere on this site (quite a ways back) about my roommate in college giving me the “present silent treatment” and how unglued that made me — I’d never experienced anything like that, and I still recall what that felt like… it breaks my heart that you would be subjected to that as a child. The narcissist I was with was as well. When you can’t understand that silence (heck, I couldn’t even make sense of it when in college!), it really is like someone trying to deny you your very existence. Cruel. But the big reveal comes when you dare to continue to be you anyway!

        It’s a credit to you, how you’ve sorted through the trash (of narcissistic treatment) to find jewels that you generously share with others today. Thanks for always being willing to really hear what another is saying and — with no pretense — give back like you do.

        1. windstorm says:

          Thank you so much! That is very sweet. That is another lesson I learned from my MIL who was my AlAnon sponsor. When you get yourself into a sane place, you pay it forward to others who are still struggling. I’m too introverted to have stayed going to AlAnon meetings, but this forum fits me very well. I’m always grateful that HG let’s us talk and help one another. As all empaths know, giving can be even better than receiving!

    3. BurntKrispyKeen says:

      I hear ya, sista.
      True words, Caroline.

      1. Caroline says:

        Thanks, sista! 🙂 And there it is again: the urge to eat a “Krispy Kreme” donut…lol

        Great to “see” ya.

    4. Caroline R says:

      Well said!
      You’ve given that such a lot of thought. Thank you for the pep-talk.
      It sparked a memory for me of ex-N pulling his first in-person silent treatment with me.
      He really looked so disturbed.
      I immediately thought ‘what a disturbed individual you are’.
      Of.course I tried to soothe him and placate him.
      Duck to water.
      That’s what he was with me for.

      However I was pleased afterwards to reflect that at no point did I think ‘What did I do?’
      That’s a huge step in personal growth.

      I have spent years now reprogramming my internal monologue, the legacy of Ns. The deep-worn grooves in that overplayed record. The reflexive self-recrimination. The taking responsibility for things that are not mine to be responsible for.
      It will be an achievement for us to automatically think “what’s your problem?” when yet another ST is meted out to us, and to never again think “what did I do?”.

      1. Caroline says:


        That’s what’s still left for me to work on… not letting the game-players know I see them — that I didn’t miss a thing — just in case they think it was lost on me…I’ll have to keep working on that. My ability to discern through BS should be enough.

        “What’s *your* problem?”

        ^Excellent, “Caroline R.”^

      2. Caroline R says:

        Thanks hon.
        It’s so refreshing to have personal growth running partners (so to speak), all inspiring each other to achieve personal bests.
        It’s refreshing to be with others who totally get it.
        I hope you’re well today.

    5. lisk says:

      Very inspiring, Caroline. Three cheers for the silent treatment!

  7. Kathy Mor says:

    Silence IS a recovery. That’s called “no contact”. You simply tag along with the silent treatment…. and keep it going… solid and robust. non stop, FOREVER. It goes with the G.O.S.O (get out, stay out).

  8. Eva says:

    Except when silence is implemented by people of ‘our kind’ and people of your kind do not desire it. If people of you kind were left without their harem, you will not stand silence. No choir, no admiration. That’s your vacuum. Beside that, your silence sometime is better than your words. To stay with a narcissist is to be alone all the time. Silence can be even a recovery.

  9. Christopher Jackson says:

    Funny you should say that hg with the knowledge that I have from you I am going thru that with “so called friends” that I have now didnt realize how many people do shit like this but none the less no fuel will be given they are acting like I dont exist but little do they know they dont exist thanks again keep the knowledge coming….until next time hg

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

      1. Christopher Jackson says:

        If I do happen to run into one of these so called friends what would be a good answer to them if i do run into them like if they say ” damn i haven’t seen you in a while where they hell have you been..cant pick up the phone nobody no more?”..what would be a good non fuel response hg?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Do not answer – goso.

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