The silent treatment is a well-known and highly effective manipulation that we deploy against our victims. Easy to do, low in energy expenditure, a passive aggressive measure which is the mainstay manipulation of the Mid-Range Narcissist although it will be used by all of our kind. It comes in two varieties; the Present Silent Treatment (we remain physical proximate but ignore you or stay silent and glare at you) or the Absent Silent Treatment where we vanish. The former is excellent at drawing fuel and asserting control whilst the latter achieves both those aims and allows us to take effectively a time out and use that time to court an alternative source, invariably unbeknown to you.
The primary purpose of a silent treatment, like most of our manipulations, is the drawing of fuel from you. You become concerned that we will not speak to you, upset that we are not responding, angry that we remain sat there ignoring you. You are worried that you have not heard from us, distraught at our absence, fuming at our disappearance and whether you are talking to us directly, sending messages, leaving voicemails or turning up at some place where you hope to find us, you are invariably frothing with Proximate Fuel which we lap up. We also benefit from doses of Thought Fuel too.
Whilst that is the instinctive aim of the silent treatment in its many forms from Icy Glare, Cold Shoulder, Incredible Sulk, Invisible Person through to The Ghost, what is actually going through our mind when it is deployed? What is behind the statement above that the use of the silent treatment is our way of killing you?
A silent treatment appears most often as an instinctive manifestation of cold fury as a consequence of you wounding our kind. It may also be used by the higher functioning of our kind as a stand alone measure when there is no wounding and is part of a calculated response designed to further our aims.
Thus the Lesser, whilst far more prone to applying heated fury, is wounded by a perceived criticism and sits silently, staring at the television as his ignited cold fury manifests and you keep providing fuel as you ask him what is wrong. Eventually, the provision of your fuel will heal the wound you have caused and the fury abates and he will just turn and talk to you acting as if nothing has happened. Whilst he is sat there ignoring you his Present Silent Treatment arises because he wishes you dead as a consequence of your traitorous behaviour in criticising him. However, if you are dead then you will not provide fuel and as a consequence this instinctive response is a further example of the contradictory behaviour we engage in, purely to fulfil our needs.
The Lesser wishes you dead. However he also needs your fuel. If you are dead, there is no fuel. Of course, there are occasions where the Lesser loses control and lashes out and actually will kill as a consequence. Where that does not happen, your figurative death is still desired but your fuel must also be gathered. Accordingly, a silent treatment satisfies both of these diametrically opposed consequences. You are treated as dead because you are being ignored but the fuel is still provided.
The Mid-Ranger has a similar instinctive response. He also wishes you dead for your disgraceful and disloyal criticism of him. Of course, he also needs your fuel and given his passive aggressive nature, he is far removed from actually doing something that would kill you. Thus, the silent treatment appeals to him especially. He is not bold enough to drive a knife into you to kill you, so instead he slinks away, coward that he is and slays you through an Absent Silent Treatment. In his mind he satisfies the need to punish you through this ‘death’ yet at the same time he garners fuel from your desperate voicemail messages asking him where he is.
Both the Lesser and especially the Mid-Ranger will use various forms of the Silent Treatment as a means to achieve this killing and it is an instinctive response. The Greater rarely uses the Silent Treatment in an instinctive way. Instead, the Greater recognises its effectiveness from the perspective of using it in a calculated method by which manipulation can be achieved. He will use a brief silent period for the purposes of testing someone, even though he is not wounded. He will decide that somebody needs to learn a lesson in terms of who is in control and whilst he is not wounded, he deems it appropriate to deploy the silent treatment so the victim is subjected to further control. The Greater’s response is not one of wanting you dead; that is the knee-jerk reaction of the Lesser and the Mid-Ranger, that hatred and fury rising as they rail at your audacity in wounding them, their disgust for your craven ways after all they do for you and such is the vitriol towards you that is pumping around their bodies, they wish you dead and the silent treatment is an instinctive way of achieving that whilst catering to the need to exert control and draw fuel. The Greater sees the silent treatment as a way of slaying those elements of your character which you hold dear.
You want to help people. If that person evades you, you cannot help.
You want the truth. If that person has vanished, you can gain no answers to establish why they have done what they have done.
You wish to give them love, but you cannot because they have ghosted you and left you feeling pain instead.
You want to listen and ascertain what the problem is, yet if we will not talk to you, how can you do that?
It is also extremely effective against empathic people. It absolutely gets under the skin of most empathic people. True, there will be some, who, after a time, realise what it is and in turn embrace the respite that comes with such a silence and do not react to it. However, most empathic individuals hate it. They cannot stand the response, the imposition of guilt that it generates, the confusion, the uncertainty caused by a failure to respond (is he just busy or is he ignoring me – a frequent dilemma that causes considerable consternation to the empathic individual ( see Should I Get in Touch )) Accordingly, the Greater knowing just how effective a manipulation this is, will use it as part of his or her ongoing campaign of control as opposed to an instinctive reaction. We Greaters see it as a way to kill your resistance to our control.
The Greater’s approach is one where your various good and empathic traits are denied, frustrated and in effected ‘killed’.
Killing somebody is the ultimate expression of power and control. Life has been taken away. Whilst it cannot be denied that our kind do kill, it is, in the scheme of our numbers, rare. It is also a counter-productive act because if we kill our primary source we lose an excellent provider of fuel and bring about a potential fuel crisis as we have to find a new primary source and usually this must occur quickly. Furthermore, there are of course the potential ramifications arising from the commission of murder, albeit, those considerations are often far from our minds when the act of murder occurs.
We want you dead for your treachery. We want you dead because it is the ultimate expression of power and control. Yet we need you very much alive. The silent treatment satisfies both desires and that is why it is our way of killing you.