Knowing the Narcissist : 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.
13 thoughts on “Knowing the Narcissist : Saying Nothing To Tell You Everything”
Silent treatments are the worse manipulations to me. My mother would ignore me, when she was pissed at me. The silence was deafening and made me depressed, put my thoughts in a dark place, like I’m back in the dark closet…no sound and I just want it to end me
I agree Rebecca, STs can be painful if you let them. But once you get into the mindset that this person is an N and they are just using an ST on me, it counteracts the impact. I think okay, either they are punishing me for some transgression which I may or may not have been consciously aware of. And as for where they are and what they’re up to whilst ignoring us, they will be seeking/gaining fuel elsewhere. We don’t need to know any more than that. It matters not who the fuel source is, its just fuel. You wouldn’t care what I’m eating for breakfast so why care what fuel they’re chomping up? An N is an N is an N. Nothing more and nothing less. They will always be obtaining fuel, sometimes from people who look better, earn more, do this or have that, other times the complete opposite. Look for a magnet empath of any school, they’re a lot more fun anyway and without the bitter after taste. All empaths are, but as HG says when describing magnets, they initially appear to have similar qualities to Ns. Huge hugs.
Have you seen ‘Stranger things’, its not my cup of tea but I did see a few episodes, I just imagine an N really looks like one of those creatures when they’re snuffling away lol.
I hated it when my mother would use STs on me, as a little kid, when I got older I turned the tables on her and would ignore her too. I got good at seeming to see right through her and I learned to do it to the bullies at school. It’s funny, one thing I didn’t get, and maybe HG can explain it, was when I ignored the bullies, they ended up treating me nicely and wanting to be friends with me. In fact, I still have 2 0ut of 3 bullies still on my Facebook friends list. They still like my post. They went from taunting me, to complimenting me. If I guess right and reason it out, my conclusion is the taunting didn’t work to get a reaction from me, so they tried another form of manipulation, which was being nice. Am I correct, in my thinking??
Thanks for your advice, but I’m afraid silent treatments will always hurt me, when the person ignoring me matters to me. If they don’t matter to me, I could careless if they ignore me. I probably wouldn’t even notice. 😂 The people I care about and love have that power over me, no one else.
I have seen some episodes of Stranger Things, I didn’t care for it either. I found it seemed to be a rehashed show of Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? I pictured LMRSOMATIC as a prancing peacock. 😂 Flipping that silly hair of his 😂 What a tool 😂 What I ever saw in him, I don’t know. Xx
I have the same habit you have, when you’re done dealing with a jerk, they’re dead to you, I think you said, you call them just human, instead of by name. Me, I call them by their narc title such as, LMRSOMATIC, aka bonehead, dumbshit, shit for brains…I could go on….I really liked Shit for Brains…I wonder if it’d make a good HW video title? 😂 xx
Hi Rebecca, just saw this conversation. I was always happy when my mom didn’t speak, she didn’t do silent treatments. My dad’s were absolutely horrible, it was one of his favorite abuses of us, he could get the entire family at one time and you could feel the cold in the house.
Didn’t you say earlier that you mother was the same type of narc mine is? My mother liked using silent treatments on me, they hurt me more than hitting me did. I think she sensed I gave her more negative fuel from the emotional pain from the silent treatments , than any belt, switch, hand, whatever could get from me. Physical pain doesn’t bother me as much, I can more readily deal with physical pain. I have a high tolerance for it, but emotional pain, its the worse for me. The victim narcs are so draining, I can still picture her sulking on the sofa, waiting for my dad to walk in , so she can start the crying performance without the Oscar recognition. I’m so glad I don’t have to hear her fake cry again. I often wondered, growing up, why my dad never seemed to see through her bs?? He was an intelligent man. Was it his love that blinded him, as I thought many of times?? Av? HG? ANYBODY?
Your dad sounds like my mother, preferring the silent treatments, until dad got home. The anxiety was the worse, I knew when dad got home, the shit would hit the fan. I think she made him the punisher, most of the time, because she was trying to get me to hate him. I know my brother had a rocky relationship with dad , especially after I was 12 and the incident then between him and I. I think my dad held that over my brother’s head. I have a question for HG and I hope he replies….
There was a time, when I refused to take my iron pill and I said no, to my mother. My mother told my dad to force me to take them and I took off for my upstairs room and my locked door. I didn’t make it, he caught me on the stairs and started whipping my legs with the belt. My brother heard the noises and came out of his room, next door to mine . He stopped at the top of the stairs and yelled at dad. He said, “Hey! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?! ” And then he punched a hole in the wall by the stairs. Dad was shocked and stopped hitting me. I got up and ran into my room and locked my door. There was no sound from the hallway and I don’t know what happened. I imagined my brother and dad staring each other down and just backing off. I was a teenager , when this happened and my brother had not too long graduated high school. 17, or 18 and I would have been 14, or 15…he was 3 yrs older than me. And he had just stood up to dad for the first time. Dad would only hit me one other time after this and it was a slap to the face my Junior year in high school. My question is, what made my brother do that?? I often still wonder what made him defend me??
I had mixed feelings about him, I loved him, was partially afraid of him at times, confused me at other times and I felt revulted by him at times….that day he was my hero and I felt grateful he was there for me, because dad snapped that day. He was very angry, something else must have upset him earlier, than just me. It wasn’t like him to overdue the hitting. My mother even yelled at him to stop. I don’t know what happened here either. HG, Could you explain both their behaviors here?? Xx Please and thank you xx
Hi Rebecca, I’ll really to both your comments in this one.
Yes, my mom is the same type as yours. She possibly leans more towards the lesser side since she used violence much more with us kids. Though with other people she does keep up a facade, no one would’ve believed what she was doing to us. I learned to deal with physical pain, the was a dissociative quality to my reactions as a child. I feel grateful that I didn’t stay there at any point. Now, as I am an adult, she is so draining, so irritating. One of her games which I have just realized in the last day or two is to make people guess what she needs, what she’s thinking etc. I don’t play it, I don’t do anything unless she asks, then I will do whatever I am reasonably able to do for her. At some point that will mean getting her some help, and maybe sooner than later. I realized this game because as she gets less able to do things, she has played it more with me. It isn’t a game really but a manipulation, but it feels like a sick game. Then today it hit me that she did this to my dad, and he to her also, for 60 years. Neither of them were happy in their marriage, who could be with that going on.
My mother was jealous too, she couldn’t seem to stand the idea we might have a relationship with our dad apart from her, or with her even since the two of them didn’t have a relationship either. So she put the fear of our dad into us, even though he himself wasn’t violent, as she was. She never had him discipline us, she took all that fuel for herself, probably knowing he wouldn’t have done much, if anything. I look at it like she hated us, he just didn’t love us. But when he was doling out yet another silent treatment, we felt he hated us beyond words, like he wished we were dead. She actually did wish us dead on a few occasions, but stopped herself before completing the job, probably due to facade management and fear of going to prison.
If your dad was not a narc, not sure if I’ve seen that on here anywhere, my best guess as to the attraction to your mother was his addiction, of her was an empath. If he was a normal, no idea.
I am very glad for you that your brother stepped in there.
I apologize for the autocorrects. They literally happen after I press send sometimes.
No worries about the autocorrect, my whole comment disappeared, went into the fourth dimension only HG could retrieve it now. 🤣 I understood your comment even with the autocorrect messing with it. Xx Yeah, my mother attacked me about four times, that I remember…the time she gave me a concussion, she ended up in the psych ward for a time and the bipolar diagnosis that day. She didn’t use physical violence every day, it was more threat and emotional abuse by telling us dad was coming to punish us. I really believe she tried to get me to hate my dad, she was jealous of my relationship with my dad. She tried to break our bond. She didn’t succeed and I hope it bothered her until her last breathe in that hospital bed. My resentment towards her is strong, I almost hate her. I still love her, I know this because, despite everything, I’d still protect her physically, if she was capable of being harmed by someone. I still had a bond with her, despite how she treated me. I can’t explain how I still love those who hurt me so much. It’s so hard for me to let even the hurtful people go. The best I can do is distance myself slowly and walk away, but I still feel love for them. How do you let go of that?? My narc husband doesn’t get why I can’t let her rest, let her go, forgive her, drop the bone…I tell him, you can’t understand because you don’t bond to anyone, you don’t get how deep those chains are for me, they wrap around my heart, my soul, the core of who I am… there’s no just letting that go, not for me…maybe HG can help with that. HG, can you do a video of letting go?? Xx ❤️ ❤️
I don’t know if I love my mom Rebecca. That may sound sad but I really don’t. I don’t think I do but if there is a little there it is probably more from pity than anything. I view her and her life as pitiful. Destructive also. Maybe if she dies before me I will feel something toward her. Right now I feel mostly nothing. Annoyed sometimes, but that’s about it. I am sorry that I can’t help you with not loving them anymore, my love died many many years ago, as a child, naturally. It has never come back. Maybe HG can help, if you really feel a need to let go of the love for her. A good idea if it helps you stay out of the 5 arenas of interaction with her, even though she’s gone. My ex husband’s birthday was recent, very difficult this year for some reason, he’s been gone for 13 years this summer. Working to stay out of the thought arena, even to think hateful thoughts towards him, not worth my peace.
Nice about your dad, I had missed that I think. Interesting that he stayed with her long at all, as a normal. I guess they can love narcissists though. I did see some things you wrote about your brother, very sorry for that, his psychopathy and some things that happened. So glad he came to your rescue that time though. I wonder about that also, why he did it.
My dad was a narc and I loved him. I don’t even want to not love him. I am actually thankful for him. He was a lousy father in many ways but he was kinder than my mom and I did learn a lot from him.
The emotional pain is horrible, so horrible I just shut down. I am sorry you experienced that from your dad. I could feel your pain when I read it.
My dad came back Normal for the Narc Detector. My brother came back Psychopath. I thought my dad seemed like an empath too. I know some people don’t understand my love for him, because he did punish me, when my mother wanted me to be punished. He did it. I didn’t hold it against him. His punishments hurt my feelings more than it ever hurt my body. Physical pain is nothing compared to emotional pain. The last time he slapped me, I cried. I cried, not because of the pain from my face, but from my heart. It sounds cheesy, I know, but my chest literally ached when he hurt my feelings with one slap. The pain went from my chest, down into my stomach, where it felt like it moved through me and gave me chills. I shook from the pain and the tears came without sound. I just gapped at him in disbelief, as my vision blurred.
Rebecca, yes. When everything goes too far, it’s too much, I stop respecting or loving someone, I’m annoyed by him/her, instead of calling someone by name, I say to them: “Human!”
I say it clearly, in my loud voice, and the word contains an accumulation of condensed irritation 🙂
E.g. “Human! Can’t you see this is totally stupid?!” or “Human! Get the fuck off me and mind your own business.”
It’s a sure sign, that I don’t care about someone anymore – or I’m very discouraged/annoyed at the moment.
As for your brother – why he defended you and punched a hole in the wall – maybe it reminded him of being beaten, when he was younger? Because I assume it was.
Thanks for replying to my comment. It takes a lot for me to reach that point, the point where I pulled back from someone 💯 % and decide not to engage with them anymore, or to at least lessen my attachment to them. I did that with my mother(verified narc with HG) my brother (verified Psychopath with HG) my ex (who was a Borderline PD diagnosed by DR) and a friend recently, who I suspect is a narc. I’ve also reduced my attachment to my current narc husband, verified by HG….I don’t do that often, as you can tell from my short list. I don’t like to do it because, even with the evidence of them being toxic and abusive to me, I feel bad for causing them pain and I feel guilt. I still go through with it, but I got the two nags in my ears, guilt and self blame. I just have to ignore them and hold to my resolve. I often have to picture a dragon guarding his treasure, to represent my resolve not moving. My imagination again 😆
As to your thoughts on my brother….I’m not sure what his thoughts were behind coming to my rescue like he did. I was hoping HG would answer that, being that my brother came back Psychopath on the ND by HG…But, I appreciate your input on my question…I think what you’re suggesting, JOA, is my brother showing cognitive empathy for me because he was reminded of his own beatings…possibility that was it….HG?? Please share your thoughts here?? Xx