Do you know what’s worse than outward narcissistic abuse? The narcissist’s silent treatment can cause loads more damage, hands down.
Although there are many levels of narcissism, one thing is common in all forms. The narcissist’s silent treatment is present no matter how severe the narcissistic characteristics. For many of us, we find ways to resolve conflict or share things, but as for the narcissist’s silent treatment, it’s created to retain power, pure and simple.
Recognizing the narcissist’s silent treatment
Although the narcissist’s silent treatment can be subtle, there are ways to figure out what’s happening. When the narcissist feels like they are losing power, they will use the silent treatment to gain it back. So, these signs will show when and how the narcissist is utilizing this toxic treatment.
Well, the obvious indicator of the narcissist’s silent treatment is silence. A sudden silence from the one you love, especially if they already exhibit other narcissistic traits, is a sure sign that they are giving you the silent treatment. And how do you cope with this?
Well, in order to successfully cope with this type of behavior, you have to understand what they are doing and not let it get under your skin. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but when you learn to do it on the first occasion of the silent treatment, it will greatly reduce the number of times they use it in the future. While this isn’t a sure thing, it has helped me in the past.
2. Short statements
Right before the narcissist uses the silent treatment, they will usually resort to only short statements as answers to your questions. If you press harder, they will hold fast to this tactic.
This is only the beginning of the lengthy silent treatment, which can even go on for days at a time. When this happens, it’s better to stop asking questions, stop prodding them to talk, and just let them go through the motions of their actions.
3. Used to get their way
You will know the narcissist’s silent treatment for what it is if they use it every time you tell them “no”. A narcissist never likes to be denied anything that they want and will give you the silent treatment to send a clear message of dissatisfaction.
If you give in, they will start talking again, but it will tell them that their tactics worked. This is never a good thing because they will use the silent treatment, even more, to get their way in the future.
Although it’s hard to walk away when a narcissist is giving you the silent treatment, it can be the best thing to do in certain circumstances. When ignoring their ploys, you also send a clear message. You’re telling them that their actions will not work and they still will not get what they want.
4. Sudden isolation
The narcissist’s silent treatment will be noticeable by their desire to be left in isolation. The reason why isolation or seclusion is a big indicator of this type of treatment is that the noted person will usually be talkative and social at other times. A sudden desire to stay away from people will let you know that this person is practicing the silent treatment.
A way to combat this is to make sure you include them in social activities with others. Most of the time, the narcissist will not continue the silent treatment around others because they don’t wish for others to know the depth of their actions.
Unfortunately, some of this will continue after others have left. The good thing is, forced sociability at this time will lessen the intensity of their silent treatment and allow you to get through to them.
5. Lies and defamation
While the narcissist gives you the silent treatment, they will sprinkle lies. You will know what they are doing when you hear about lies being told to others about you. As the narcissist refuses to speak with you, they will be speaking plenty with your other friends and family. No, the narcissist is not just being quiet, they are scheming and planning your downfall, so beware.
When you start to hear lies from friends, or things start to happen that are targeted at hurting you, you can make sure to tell your family and friends that these are definitely lies and someone wishes to shed a negative light on you.
Other than that, you will have to let the lies fade away and hold firm. Eventually, the narcissist will see that their plans failed and they are losing more control. Yes, it will anger them, but you will know for yourself that you dealt with them in the right manner.
Damages and ways to deal with the silent treatment
Unfortunately, enduring people who consistently give you the silent treatment can cause damage to your mental and physical health. It’s true, the narcissist’s silent treatment does cause problems that cannot be easily fixed in the long run.
That’s why it’s so important if you wish to stay in contact with the narcissist, that you learn how to effectively deal with the problem or ignore it completely.
I was married to a narcissist, and for years I endure the silent treatment. I also endured outright abuse as well. Either way, my mental health plummeted over the years causing me to attempt suicide on two different occasions. The good thing is, I grew older, and with this age came a bit of endurance and wisdom. Eventually, there was enough wisdom to leave him, and I did.
Damages from the narcissist’s silent treatment can really be so bad that they leave horrible scars on you, both inside and out. It’s important to understand your worth and grow stronger. The only way you will see the truth is by being educated and knowing the signs. I hope this has helped.
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- How It Feels to Be the Black Sheep of the Family & How to Cope - April 4, 2021
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