Silent, Oh Silent.

SILENT, OH SILENT

The use of and imposition of silence are two of the most powerful weapons in our abusive arsenal. Silence is easy to deploy and horrendously effective in securing our aims of compliance, control and fuel.

1. My silence is always meaningful

You may sit quietly because you have no need to say anything. You may remain silent because you are listening to somebody else or just enjoying the silence.  We do not allow silence to be used in such a passive and redundant fashion. Our silence is used to convey contempt. It is used to draw concern and cause anguish in you. When we fall silent that pregnant pause is an indicator of the fury which will be unleashed against you. The longer silence is the imposition of our cold fury as you are banished to a sustained silent treatment. When we sit in silence we are not savouring the lack of noise, we are thinking, planning and plotting, calculating our next step. Our silences are weapons, they are our operations headquarters, our defence against your critical wounding of us. We use silence to hurt you, warn you, scold you and indicate you have overstepped the mark. Every silence has a meaning, it would be remiss of us to use it any other way.

2. Absence makes the silence longer

The deployment of an absent silent treatment where we remove ourselves from you, invariably with no warning or indication is a confirmation to you that this silent treatment will not be short-lived. The need to absent ourselves sends you a clear signal that we will be gone for some time. It is designed to have you come after us, try to contact us and beg and plead so that you fuel us. When we impose a period of absence by vanishing we are reinforcing how easily we are able to consider you gone from our lives. You may not even be able to contact us but we gather fuel from our knowledge that this sudden disappearance will cause you considerable consternation and worry. The absent silent treatment is also a key indicator that we are engaged in the seduction of a new prospect and providing this person with our false love and attention, which we have removed from you.

3. The silent gesture

Our silences are not just occasioned by us not talking to you or absenting ourselves for a period of time. We deploy silence through gestures. We may not turn up when we have agreed to a date with you, in order to reinforce how your mean so little to us and that we have any number of more pressing engagements to attend to than dine with you in a restaurant. Leaving you alone in bed, our side of the bed now empty and cold is also a hammer blow to your confidence and self esteem as we choose the spare room, the sofa or the bed of another in preference to being with you during the night. The silent telephone call from a withheld number, used when we are hoovering you, is designed to put you on edge. Is it us calling you this late? It must be mustn’t it, but you cannot be sure? The failure to buy you a gift on your birthday,  creating a gap which ought to have been filled stands out considerably and allows us to apply maximum hurt through such a silent gesture.

4. The silent presence

By giving you the cold shoulder when everyone else is met warmly and enthusiastically, we cause you to feel completely alone even when you are surrounded by others. You try to carry on as if nothing has happened but you know that people will be wondering why we are not speaking to you. You feel the flush of embarrassment as once again you try to speak to us and you receive only a glare and then we sweep away. You want to challenge us but as ever it is you that will be criticised for creating a scene. You want to upbraid us for our childish sulking but you have learned that the consequences of doing so are not worth suffering. We of course know all this and we know how powerful our freezing you out in the company of others really is.

5. Suffer in silence

You are never to speak of what goes on between you and I to anyone else. Should you ever do so you are committing an act of heinous betrayal and your punishment for such a transgression will be malicious and fierce. You are not to betray me and speak of what you are subjected to. You are to endure it so that you become a better person, one who is compliant and obedient. Do you understand? I also know that you fear the repercussions of speaking out and this enforces my curfew. I also know that you feel compelled to remain loyal because of the golden period and how you feel duty bound to remain and try to resolve matters, work this difficult period through and fix what has become somehow broken. Your indefatigable spirit teeters on the brink of misplaced pride at not telling tales and instead knuckling down, irrespective of what is thrown at you, in order to bring about a resolution to our problems. You cannot succeed but you do not know that yet. For now you must suffer in silence.

6. I speak, you stay silent

Never interrupt me, never talk over me, never steal my thunder. When I speak everybody listens because what I have to say is brilliant, great and of tremendous import. You would do well to listen to improve yourself, please me and avoid angering me. You are my sounding board, Horatio to my Hamlet, a listener and in my presence you only speak when it is required to honour my achievements and laud my greatness. You are to be seen but only heard when I deem it necessary. Who wants to listen to what you have to say anyway? You only get invited to events because of me. They are only friends with you because they are friends of mine. Nobody is interested in you. Nobody. So stay quiet and listen.

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29 Comments

  1. Yep. Now I see, completely. You said just keep reading HG, I have. The last day and a half, a change in my emotionalizing I noticed, I acknowledged the change, encouragement given to logic rationalized. Today even more matter of fact that this current silent treatment, considering the last three conversations, is intentional. I read this “lesson” and my jaw dropped twice at least. ha. Silent gestures paragraph, wow. I remember the first time he slept all night on the sofa, I woke up, yes, to that cold side of the bed burning me like dry ice. I got up, there he was sound asleep on the love seat all crunched up, I called his name really loud ha wtf are you doing on the love seat n why didn’t you come to bed? I paid for that outburst. Plus he knew it was an insult to me so he took it further and further to deciding that we sleep at different times and he would manipulate the time depending on what he had in mind to do that evening – night. He worked it around over a few weeks that I got the bed about midnight. And while I snoozed he would leave out, do his thing with whomever. Silent presence was an eye opener. A friend came over, under his breath he said that I should sit over there, I said no, I’m not going to sit there and stare at the back of xyz’s head. He sat beside me like I didn’t exist, exactly the way you described it. One day, together all day, sat together, ate together. I asked him how is it possible that I’m not six inches from you all day and I have this feeling of completely missing you as if you are not here? How can I feel lonesome right beside you? He chuckled. The next two paragraphs suffer in silence and I speak you stay silent is as if you were transcribing a recording of what I was told over and over. Especially don’t talk while I talk. OMG all I said was pass the doobie and it was as if I had changed the subject loudly and didn’t let him speak. He was enraged. Just crazy. The four nights he had caused my sleep time to be midnight or later, I mentioned earlier, started on a Thursday night again Friday and Saturday nights. Each night he slipped out, he came back each morning about five a.m. He had coffees and other items from the deli to share. Then Sunday night same thing only he didn’t come home. I put on swim attire and went to the river out back and considered could I tolerate this any longer or did I need to leave, go home to sort it out. I went back in mid-afternoon. He was home and spoke first, said clear and strong or like lets get this argument going. Ha. I said hello back and began packing folded clothes into suitcases. His attempt to trigger a large reaction as I packed didn’t happen. I said that it doesn’t matter like broken record, took bags and me to motel, made airline reservations. Two days later I was home. We kept up messaging not like the golden period but he kept tabs on me, directing me to do this or that. Then I would do some word wrong and he would ghost me for a couple of days which I knew felt like silent treatment and I stupidly gave the related fuel. I see no evidence of the new Primary other than change in speech content, frequency of messages etc. He had been silent for two days and I asked why the ghosting me, he said why are you going bonkers again. haha. I said oh because I keep thinking you will get honest and speak some truth. That’s been several days ago. With logic rising and your essay here I’m not going to hold him in my mind or heart as my Significant Other any longer. I want to move on. I am surprised I am so calmly saying this. Has taken three and a half months to get here square with being logical. I recognize I could have intermittent episode of emotional intrusions – they won’t last long. THank you, Sir.

  2. Thank you for this blog HG. It has been very helpful. I am not running after my ex-Narc. He has been in absent silent treatment mode for the past five months. Your blog has also led me to realise that I was engaged in the sunk cost fallacy. After having invested much time and emotion in my ex-Narc it was difficult to walk away. Thanks to your wise words, which reinforced the sunk cost fallacy, I have been able to move forward. Any further engaging with this individual would just be futile, and lead to more lost resources (in my case, not financial loss, but emotional and time investment).

    1. Hi HG! Haha I find myself imagining what you look like sometimes or if I’ve maybe run into you somewhere on the busy streets of London without knowing. Lol. This entire website is hilarious (in a good way) but I appreciate all the useful information.

      I gained so much more from my narcissist than he took from me so I don’t feel so emotionally attached to the memories. Sometimes I feel I may have supercharged narcissistic tendencies myself (more Machiavellian when I think about it actually super selfish but still a little empathetic lol).
      Anyway he hoovered recently after he blocked me for a couple months, he ran into my friend, went on a rant about my awful behaviour during the relationship, he unblocked me and then walked up to me at a bar when he ran into me recently. He went for a hug and asked a bunch of questions about where I’ve been and my new job. He seemed to have been with a new supply though. I didn’t take notice of her. He tried to flaunt her according to my friend’s observation but I wasn’t bothered. I never blocked him, never felt the need to. I just ignored him, rarely think about him until now that he has hoovered. I probably gave him no fuel at all. I didn’t engage him in conversation I only responded politely to his questions. Very shocking actually the fact that his snide comments didn’t incite any emotional reaction from me.

      That being said I guess my question – is what do narcissists do when they get no fuel from you after the “benign follow up hoover”?

      I haven’t seen much information here about that. I hope you respond to me even though this is a really long message.

      1. Hello Bianca, you gave him fuel in the interaction. To think you did not, is incorrect and a product of misunderstanding and emotional thinking. You also exhibit emotional thinking with regard to the absence of a no contact regime. If you want to understand what is going on with regard to your personal situation, why the narcissist actually got what he want and how it adversely affected you, do organise a consultation with me.

  3. It’s funny that while the silent treatment is happening, the narc sits back thinking it’s an all-powerful weapon. And I agree…until the narc’s victim learns how to live and be happy with no contact.
    Silence eventually teaches the victim how to live without the narc. Thank the Lord for that! So lay it on heavy Mr. Narc…it only pushes us to our freedom that much faster.

  4. *I didn’t say you could speak, Bitch, I’m talking, and you are a guest in my house, so when I’m talking to you, look me in the eye and listen!!

    * I’ll deal with you when I’m good and well ready! You don’t have a say in it!!

    * Maybe if you’d treated me a little sweeter, then I would be willing to listen to your crazy making bullshit!

    * You know, you’re generally a pretty sweet woman, and you have some amazing qualities that I’m looking for in a wife, but I can’t stand you right now, so I’ll get back to you when I’m good and ready!! Leave me alone! I’ll decide when I’m ready and not a minute sooner!!

    How am I doing, HG? Sounding all Narcy and silent?

    I seriously don’t miss the silent treatment Narc bullshit……

    Mai

  5. “You are my sounding board, Horatio to my Hamlet.”

    Hamlet’s a waffling fool. I should think you’d want to be Richard III. He gets things DONE, even if they’re the wrong things. He doesn’t sit around dithering and philosophizing about everything.

    I suspect Iago is a low-level narc. He won’t explain at the end because he CAN’T–he really doesn’t know. The closest he comes to self-awareness is his comment about Cassio: “He hath a daily beauty in his life/That makes me ugly.”

  6. …….”When we impose a period of absence by vanishing we are reinforcing how easily we are able to consider you gone from our lives”.

    Oops! The narcs most painful weapon against us, is also our biggest gift from yourselves!

    A double edged sword that ultimately works in our favour! Leave us and we finally know our instincts were correct all along! All those red flags become certainties! It wasn’t real love! Real love cannot be paused, cannot be muted and can never be withheld! It is almighty! It can’t be fought!

    It gives us time to really think about what life would be like, if we had stayed on as your puppet. No thanks! I was happier before you came along!

    The silent treatment I have received has turned my blind love and instant adoration into my shame of loving a man who wasn’t worthy of my love.

    My narc is a disgrace. I am ashamed of him.

    Sometimes I think of being in his arms and I can almost feel it. Heaven. I remember making love and my body reacts internally and for just a moment, I can actually feel it…. Oh heaven!!!

    But then….then I picture him as a lonely old man, aging away as a forgettable senior citizen, wearing nappies and sitting all alone. It’s not far away for him. I hope he remembers my name. I hope he begs for me. I hope he screams for me. I hope he cries in self pity.

    Because I will never hear him again.

    Poor old narc. I would have done anything for him! But what I won’t do for him is accept being unloved.

    Not me! Not again! NEVER again! I hope he never comes back! It will be utterly embarrassing and degrading for both of us.

    DUST.

  7. I am trying this and my N husband is the other room ignoring me everyday! I am uginrint him right back I am tierd of asking him what’s wrong? Enough with that crap. He never even takes me anywhere ! He is becoming boring.
    HG do Narcs become boring after awhile! Or perhaps it’s me he is bored with.

    1. Hiya Pati 🤗

      If I’m honest, although I ignored it at the time, mine did start to bore me when he got too distant.

      I want to be able to worship! To adore! To be impressed. I want to hang on to every word as if I’m hearing a harmony! The less mine gave, the less magnificence I saw in him.

      When they become unremarkable, they really are unremarkable.

      The may tire of us, but I have to say, unless they are REALLY good at what they do, they become boring too.

      1. I totally agree Sparkling ! Plus withdrawing sex too I don’t understand how he doesn’t want it ! He is still young . Unless he is getting elsewhere?
        I don’t know since he is giving me present silent treatment not absent silent treatments.

        1. I wonder about that too Pati! The sex!

          I suppose what is glorious to us, is just another weapon to pull out of their armory.

          Anything that we like “can and will be used against us!”.

          Just remember it’s them! Not us! It seems as though they would rather topple a house of cards, rather than to maintain it.

          They enjoy the torment that they inflict on us.

          1. I am so glad I have found people on this blog that understands me and are going through a similar situation! Thank you stbs!

          2. You’re so welcome Pati.

            My heart goes out to every one of us.

            We are not alone luv xoxo

      2. Thank God or whomever you believe in for it. My film student ex may not have been full narc despite his narc qualities, but by the time he did a casual “oh it’s your birthday? I didn’t realize” phone call after months of silence, the Ophelia phase was over and I could deal with him.

      3. I have to agree with this my narcissist ignores me often I am so used to it I just go do my own thing because I’m bored with it , it very lonely when you are being ignored and isolated from everyone else I am also sick of waiting for him to change he sees nothing wrong with the way he treats me and I am sick of telling him that I matter he loses it over the smallest things and I am done I don’t know what I am going to do yet because we only just broke up but I need to get my own place again and start over I was completely independent before we got together and now I have to rebuild my life the way I want it I don’t need a man to be happy

  8. Absent silent treatment was used by my dad.

    And the silent presence was used very often by my whole “family”.

  9. HG what if the silent treatment doesn’t have the affect you want? What If the empath sees the silent treatment as a discard and just lets go thinking it is over?

    1. Then the narcissist will shift to a different form of manipulation or shift to a different appliance. It depends on what type of appliance you are, fuel needs and the constitution of the fuel matrix. You probably recognise yourself thought that very victims would accept that this was a disengagement, the emotional thinking would not allow that. Instead the victim would keep trying to contact the narcissist to ask why are you not talking to me, why are you not responding, can we sort this out, why are you treating like this?

      1. That is how I used to react chasing after him giving him excuses I just don’t want to feel that way anymore Every time I started to get to a good point he turns into an asshole but I want it to stop and he is never going to change so I ended it today and this time I am not going back we have kids so I am expecting issues but he spat his dummy over a lettuce and not even I can find a decent enough excuse for that so I am done with him I hope he is using the silent treatment because I don’t want him back

        1. I agree with you Veronique I wish you luck in leaving him ! I want to leave my husband too. I have kids with him. I know the concept of leaving him and I have no feelings to do it .its just that he has the financial power over me and I work for him ,so in that aspect it would be very hard . Good luck and all the best to you !

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