Overcoming narcissist Abuse, by Elizabeth Shaw.
Narcissists and the silent treatments.
Another manipulation tool the narcissist loves to use.
In their minds they believe they’ve said enough and they are actually wishing you’d just shut up, that’s why they find it so easy.
A simple thing to the narcissist when they come home from work, ignore you even though you’re only asking how their days been, ignoring the children who are excited to see them and the narcissist just wants to sit and watch telly.
You keep asking them, wondering if they’ve had a bad day if you can help them in some way, normal human behaviour. They on the other had believed you don’t respect their right to ignore you all and watch tv. They then believe that you don’t think they are important. As they are not truly listening to what you’re asking. They just believe they are more important than you. That you are not been respectful to their needs, they don’t care about your needs. To them your actions are selfish, they believe you’ve criticised their authority in the house.
You know because you’ve got empathy and care you are doing it to find out what’s wrong.
They just get annoyed by this and will go all out to teach you a lesson. That’s if they’re going for the silent treatment.
Plenty of reasons why they do this, that’s just one example.
So because they believe you’re criticised them and are being disrespectful towards them, they start the silent treatment game, no nod of the head no grunt no nothing, the narcissist has shut off, yet now they suddenly want to listen they are sat happily waiting for you to ask. “ are you listening to me” they love that one simply so their little game can begin and they can watch all your emotions flood out as you ask again if they’re listening to you.
They are waiting for you to try your best to gain their attention. They know you are there. Yet now they’re not actually interested in watching the tv. Although they shall stay focused on it. Now they are sat smugly waiting for your reactions. You don’t give them nasty reactions, not like they do when they throw things at you. Then when you try to ask them to answer, did you ever see them give a sly smirk? just a glimpse, as they do not want you to see it. They are just loving the fact that you are getting frustrated, they enjoy it when you move your hands to your hips and ask them “ what’s the matter “ because us who can love, can not see what we did so wrong, we only asked how their day had gone. To use the silent treatment actually started the moment they walked through the door, we’ve no idea what the problem is, we’d like to help chat and sort it out.
Our voice gets higher as we are feeling frustrated and our anxiety is starting to kick in. Meanwhile, the narcissist knows this and this will keep the stone-faced no response expression on the narcissists face.
They might be starting at the tv, but they are fully focused on you now, waiting for you to keep going and going, until you eventually stop out of the room in frustration, hoping they’ll come after you. Yet they will not. So you go back a short while later to apologise, even though you’ve no idea what you’re apologising for. The narcissist knows that you’re going through the endless story’s in your head trying to work out what you did wrong. “ did I forget to say goodbye this morning?“ did I not pack the lunch right?” “ did they want something else for tea? “did I say something last night?”
So then you actually start asking them what you did wrong, you start giving them ideas of what you did wrong, you start pleading with them to talk to you. “ I hate falling out, what have I done? “ or “ please tell me what I did” all the pain and concern in your voice, they do not care how you feel, they are just feeling powerful. They no longer feel criticised like the felt before, as they feel the power and control have moved back onto them. You Daren’t. Stand in front of them, or switch the tv off, because you remember what happened last time, but you still want to know what you did. You just keep trying to find out what wrong, keep blaming yourself, sending yourself in circles, whilst the narcissist laps it up. You hope you’ll stumble on what it is you did, but you fail, you might even try “ I’ll cook you something special “ trying to make amends for something you don’t even know you’ve done.
Being on the receiving end of the silent treatment is very damaging to our mental health. With the narcissist it’s devastating. The silent treatment can go on for hours, days, weeks and even months.
A lot of normal people can engage in the silent treatment. Within a relationship, because they are genuinely so hurt, and just need space and time, to calm down, they will then talk to the partner about how they felt. A narcissist will do it regularly to anyone and everyone to hurt them, throw them off balance.
It’s difficult to let go of the pain and frustration when the narcissist serves silent treatment.
People with empathy, normal emotions believe that your in a partnership to drive, survive and grow together. The silent treatment causes pain within our brains. It hurts our Brain just as much physical pain. We start to naturally blame ourselves. It makes us angry and aggressive. Emotional pain is actually stronger than physical pain. If you break your arm 6 months down the line you know it hurts but you don’t remember how much. Emotional pain stays with us a lot longer.
The narcissist uses a silent treatment like a game of chicken to which they win.
They are playing an emotional game of chicken with your mind, knowing you’re going to reach out to them. When you do in their minds. They win. They do not feel emotions like we do, so they can keep cool for far longer.
You will never win these games with a narcissist as they have no emotional intelligence.
If your children still have contact with the narcissist and receive silent treatment from the narcissist parent, help them by connecting them to as many positive people as possible including you. Ask them how they feel and validate their feels so they know what they feel is normal and it’s nothing they did wrong, just how the other parent is. Reassure them how many people love and care about them.
Keep them away from the narcissist until the narcissist decides that they will stop the silent treatment.
The silent treatment is abuse when done manipulatively.
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Video for more information on the narcissist’s silent treatment.