Why Do Narcissists Sulk? The Passive-Aggressive Covert Narcissist.

Why do some narcissists sulk?

Some people can be negative. Life gets hard at times. Some people can sulk. Most people don’t like not getting what they want. We just learn to grow and handle the things life throws our way.

A narcissist, however, has lots of passive-aggressive behaviours. Overt and covert narcissists can use this method of manipulating others. Passive-aggressive is when the narcissist is being indirectly aggressive with manipulative techniques such as acting stubborn, silent treatments, sulking, neglect, forgetfulness, and procrastination. Genuine people can do these things. With genuine people, it’s often because they are hurting or self-doubting. With a narcissist, it’s to punish someone, to take someone down, to gain control back over situations, to get their own way.

I’m all for second chances, but when people keep showing you their ugly side, that second chance must be their last chance.

The narcissist personality disorder is on a spectrum. I’ll add the video for the traits of the disorder at the end. Not all narcissists will sulk, not all use physical violence, not all use verbal abuse, not all use the silent treatment, and not all plot your downfall with some. It’s just instinctively programmed within them. Some will do that, Stare, some pitty play, some use all of the above. There are those narcissists that love to play the incredibly sulk. Most may do it from time to time. Some do it a lot.

The sulk is usually a silent treatment. The present silent treatment is the one where they stick around to do it. Some narcissists often take flight for the silent treatment. Often with a new partner, you don’t know about, returning when the new isn’t filling that empty hole the narcissist needs filling. They’ll disappear to get you lost in your own thoughts. So you give chase, bombarding them with messages trying to reach out to them.

Then there is the silent treatment, where they stick around just to watch you squirm. They give you the cold shoulder and stick around. In fact, the narcissist I once knew could sulk with everybody at the same time, fall out with their sons, their parents, their friends, work colleagues and myself, waiting for us to step up one by one and apologise for our actions.

When they are sulking they are often full of self-pity, resentment towards those around them, as they believe all others are responsible for how they feel and see no wrongdoing within their own actions, why they wait for those around them to make it up to them, they will often stare blankly out of the window or at the floor, if you try to reach out to them, they will just shrug their shoulders if they bother to do that, sulking can last days, even though they’re not responding to you, they want you to keep trying, trying to help, trying to fix, asking what’s wrong and what we can do to help them, some will use this to explode at us, then blame us for trying to cheer them up, it’s difficult as most people don’t want to see others hurting, but we do have to respect the wishes of those around us, with a narcissist this can be quite the task if we pamper when they sulk, they may rage, yet if we leave them be, they will blame it on the fact we didn’t pamper to their demands, there is no pleasing a narcissist long term, there’s no getting it right, there’s no winning, only pain, they just leave those around them walking on eggshells, full of self-doubts and In pain, there’s only walking away and no longer playing there games.

They can involve everyone in the incredibly sulk, as they want everyone to panda to them and make them feel better, to gain as much attention as possible, so if one person gets fed up of them, they have plenty more people to gain attention from.

As part of the disorder is an entitlement. They believe that those around them and even the world owes them something, and when they resort to the incredibly sulk, this is because those needs are not been met. All those around them are failing at keeping the narcissist happy. It seems like a narcissist can not even keep themselves happy.

They may stop going to activities. They may be unable to eat. All pity plays to get others to feel sorry for them. As they have the cognitive empathy to see how they make others feel, as part of their disorder, they require attention. They will go to extreme lengths to get the attention they believe they are entitled to. They will use our empathy against us to make us feel guilty and exploit us into doing what they want with their many manipulative mind games.

They will lay for hours on the bed, staring into space or the tv, and sit for hrs in front of the tv. If you invite family or friends around, they will continue to do so, often, so you don’t invite people over, so we then, without even knowing it, slowly isolate ourselves from those around us that do love and care for us, when we do invite people over the narcissist sits looking and acting rude, or will suddenly act like all is ok, to leave us questioning ourselves.

They may miss work for a few days or a week.

The narcissist that sulks while others are present usually feels like they’ve been criticised in some way. They will also do this if they’re not the centre of attention as part of the disorder is they feel jealous and envious of those around them. They believe they are special and superior to others, so when they feel envious of those around them, they might go into the incredible sulk to pull the data back on them.

No one sulks grander than a narcissist not getting their own way.

If we’ve criticised the narcissist in some way, often without meaning to, and never fully know what we did, sometimes we’ve not done anything. It’s the trait of the narcissism envy coming out to play if we’re doing something they want to do. If we have some form of success, have got a new job or pay rise, get a new car, they don’t want to see others do well, they want to see others fail, to make themselves feel better, so to get the limelight back on them, steal the show, make us feel bad, they’ll go all out to sulk and ruin any good news of ours.

They can be sulking as they believe that life and those around them are being treated better than they are, that everyone gets a break in life except them, they don’t see that others put time and effort in to achieve. They just find a way of how society has let them down. They have that sense of self-entitlement and believe they deserve whatever they want without putting any time or effort into achieving it. They are always looking for the quick win and to exploit those around them. Through manipulation to get their own needs met.

The only way to stop a narcissist pulling the incredible sulk is to ignore them entirely about the sulking, treat them like normal and get everyone around you to do the same. With a narcissist, the incredible sulk isn’t because they’re depressed. With someone who’s depressed, you often have some idea of why they are struggling. With a narcissist, we look to work out why they are sulking. Within a narcissist, it’s to get soul attention from those around them.

If you are worried about someone that hurts you, call their friends and family to help.

The incredible sulk is used for attention-seeking. Don’t bother asking what is wrong. They don’t want to tell you, and they’ll only make something up. Leave them to sulk until they slowly emerge back out of it.

Or use this opportunity to get out safely. Remember, it’s on a spectrum. Some are dangerous. Always stay safe.

How do you get a narcissist to leave you alone?

1. No contact.

The narcissist personality disorder is on a spectrum, so with some, the only way is to go no contact, move miles away from them, change phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, be extremely careful what friends and family you tell, as some may be the narcissists enables.

2. No reaction.

Some narcissists are less extreme and extremely lazy, so after one or two attempts to get at you, with them getting nothing back from you, they will leave you alone.

3. No Reaction.

Some you can stay put and go no contact, Others you must get away from, blocking them and all their friends and family from social media, and your phone, email address. Even your eBay and YouTube as some have been known to try and contact through these platforms, and some have been known to transfer small amounts of cash into bank accounts along with some random message.

4. Level up / Grey Rock.

If you have children, grey rock and level up. Or if it would mean cutting off genuine family members, again, still block them and their flying monkeys on everything. And only leave online communication open, set up a separate email address, or have a cheap second phone with a new sim / new number that is only used for communication between the two of you, so you only look when needed and prepared and also so you can keep everything in writing for further evidence.

With grey rock, it’s.

Limited communication.

Business like responses.

Need to know communication only.

No reactions. Retreat, rethink and only respond if you need to do so.

Be boring.

Don’t ask about them, don’t tell them about you.

One word answers.

Straight face.

No emotion.

Practice until you get it.

Feel free to let any emotions out when they are not around.

With level up,

Limited contact.

Compliment them when they are being helpful.

Don’t say no just because they were awkward the week before. Only say no, if saying yes doesn’t work for you.

Stick to your boundaries.

Know who you are so well, and know about their disorder, so their toxic words no longer impact you.

Observe don’t absorb.

Be friendly ( not over helpful.) more be respectful when they are respectful of you.

With some, not all, you can kill them with kindness, so long as you’re not triggered when you do so.

Use the term we or us in communication.

Don’t point out their mistakes, and those are for them.

When they do not compromise, let them know. “That’s for you, and you can keep your way. However, mine is for me, so I’m keeping mine. We can either compromise or agree to disagree.”

When they start twisting things back to grey Rock.

Going no contact or grey rock, unfortunately for the other people, often leads the narcissist to get attention elsewhere. Remember, they like positive attention, but negative attention will do.

Some narcissists can be extremely persistent when they choose to be and can harm your anxiety healing and recovery no end by turning up somewhere unexpected. If they do this, getting restraining orders, non-molestation orders, and protection orders may help. Still, some feel above these, reward their efforts of trying to get to you, by staying calm, not noticing them, no reaction and no emotion if they appear to chat to you, and your in public carry on doing whatever your doing, as soon as it’s safe to do so, call the police.

Eight characteristics of a covert narcissist.


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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


The nine traits of NPD


Mind Games.

The silent treatment.

Walking on eggshells.

One thought on “Why Do Narcissists Sulk? The Passive-Aggressive Covert Narcissist.

  1. Yes, sulking and the silent treatment are forms of abuse. It’s extremely painful and confusing to be on the receiving end of treatment like that. In addition it can be so frustrating it can drive a person to tears. If the person doing this has no empathy or concern over how they’ve made you feel that’s a red flag. I agree with you, it’s not depression, it’s a horrible tactic that PA’s and narcissist use to get their way, gain attention, and to control you. And yes, they will do it in front of others to garner even more attention and make you look like the bad guy for making them so miserable in the first place. If you live with someone like this it’s very isolating. You can’t have one person in a relationship seeking honest open dialogue and companionship while the other person is seeking nothing more than narcissistic supply.

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