The Expanded Narcissistic Truths – No. 4
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.
8 thoughts on “The Expanded Narcissistic Truths – No. 4”
The silent treatment is incredibly destructive. I listened to the differences between narcisstic and narcissism and while I could readily identify the narcisstic boss my narcissist who was my former boss was far more subtle.
I have been subjected to smearing and the present silent treatment bordering on ostracism by a co worker. I criticized her and she found out about it via a third party. Because I am continually bombarded by her presence it has made the silent treatments hellish. I went on the offensive and had a mediated chat. I apologized ONLY for my one action. Not only did she not apologise (surprise) she played the victim card the entire time.
I made an error at work, partially because of this. I feel terrible and actually submitted a resignation. My boss more or less talked me out of it but I am making changes because of this.
I am finding my own way of fighting back.
They no longer bother me. In fact, when he started his hoover after a 2 week silent treatment- i just give him back the silent treatment. I ignore all attempts of him contacting me. I haven’t blocked him on my phone because i want him to know i see his attempts, but I’m not responding. He then pops up at my house or job. If at home, i make sure he sees me look out the door and see him, but i don’t acknowledge him in any way.
Yes, I now recall the first silent treatment I ever received from him.
We were on our first big trip together, 10 days. We had been into the trip for about three days and flew to an island. Once landed, we went to the rental car counter. I didn’t like the way he flirted with the car rental woman. I essentially told him so after we walked away from the counter and he turned his head back to smile and say, “Bye-bye!”
There was silence on our drive to the hotel. It may have been my silent anger at his flirting. Once at the hotel, I got a slight bit of a reprimand. I talked back. He then blamed me for ruining what he thought to be a lovely, special arrival in a fantasy place. I ruined the fantasy, according to him..That was a no-no. Then he went silent.
I got ready for bed and he got ready for the chair. Yes, he slept sitting up in a chair that night, at first staring at me with his arms crossed and then somehow falling asleep.
We continued with our plans the next day, driving around the island, in silence, and up into the mountains. We got out up top, in our silence, to look at the view. I am sure he would have loved to have knocked me off that cliff when we got to its edge!
I don’t remember how or exactly when, but later that day we got back on track and had a wonderful remainder to the trip.
But he NEVER let me forget how I ruined the fantasy.
And I NEVER bought his story that he was NOT flirting with that rental counter girl, especially after discovering this here site.
Dearest HG: One of the reasons it is so difficult for so many of us to explain to an uninformed person on Narcissism about our dilemma, is because the terminology often sounds so innocuous. Light. For example: Silent Treatment. Silence does not usually have negative connotations. In fact, many say that silence is golden, as a proverb. Also, treatment does not usually have harmful connotations and is mostly described as medical care given to a patient for an illness or injury. Care. So a Silent Treatment does not sound so bad, initially, and perhaps sounds like a discreet treatment or discreet care, initially, in English, anyway. Hoover. Sounds like to hover. To fuss over. It does not sound like someone attempting to lure someone back into a cycle that the person is desperately trying to escape from. And the word Narcissism itself comes from a fairy tale. And only sounds like a person who loves themselves. And, what is wrong with that, especially in a world that more and more people complain that they feel less than. Thus the noun Narcissist has practically a positive connotation in everyday modern usage . Or, at worse, someone that takes a lot of selfies. I did not even attempt to speak to anyone about my pain for 3 years. I knew better. I could not find the words that could convey my circumstances that did not sound weak and whiny and delusional, and I knew it. I like thinking about words and their meanings, so I knew that I could not find the words to explain and describe what was happening in my life, in a substantive and beneficial way for myself. I am afraid that so many people are not going to find their way out of their maze in time, HG. I am glad I have found my way to here. It really was touch and go, for a while though. I am better now.
Good for you and you are welcome.
This worked very well in the first couple years. But once we lived together, I caught on really quick that I was being punished. He did not like it when I called him out on putting me in the “penalty box.” I simply told him that I understood he needed time to work through his emotions (his excuse for the silence), but I wasn’t going to hang around while he scowled at me and ignored me. I was going to go out and do my thing but I’d be back later and available when he was ready to talk about it. Funny how quickly he would snap out of the silence when he realized I wouldn’t submit to sitting in his penalty box. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t find a way to punish me some other way.
HG. If you are SIPSS how do you know if it is a silent treatment or you are just on the shelf?
You will be blocked.