The Silent Treatment- One Of The Narcissist’s Favorite Weapons

Narcissists have a large variety of weapons in their arsenal, but possibly the most favorite weapon is the silent treatment.

The silent treatment usually plays out in a similar scenario:  You say or do something that offends the narcissist.  Chances are, you’re unaware of it, but she certainly isn’t.  She suddenly refuses to speak to you.  You ask what’s wrong, & she ignores you, sends one of her flying monkeys to “talk some sense into you” in an effort to make you feel guilty, or she says some ridiculous comments to you such as, “you know what you did!”  or (my personal favorite- my mother used this one in my teen years) “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you,”  You are tormented wondering what you did that was so wrong.  You are baffled.   Then eventually, she graciously allows you to apologize.  And, you may never know what your crime was.

I went through this many times with my narcissistic mother when I was growing up.  It used to upset me terribly.  It’s very unsettling. I’m a sensitive person & not knowing what I did that was so bad, it made my mother stop speaking to me was very hard.  it was confusing, & made me feel like a bad person.

As time went on, though, I began to see that this silent treatment was less about what I did, & more about my mother trying to manipulate me into doing what she wanted.  This knowledge was very freeing to me.  Once I realized this, I stopped worrying when my mother would give me the silent treatment & stopped trying to fix it.  I knew that in time, if I left her alone, she would start speaking to me again, & act like nothing ever happened.  This has become her routine.  In fact, I’m getting the silent treatment as I write this.  My mother’s barely spoken to me in months.  Why?  I have no idea.  The last I heard from my father, she was mad because I don’t come to her house to visit.  Interestingly, I haven’t been invited to come over since my father had problems last December & January, so I really don’t understand the logic.

If you deal with a narcissistic mother who gives you the silent treatment, I encourage you to do as I have done.  Stop asking her what is wrong when she gives you the silent treatment!  Let her pout & act like a spoiled child since that is what she wants to do. Instead of asking her what is wrong, ignore her & go on about your life.  Enjoy the break from the drama.

If your narcissistic mother’s flying monkeys come to talk to you (triangulation is another weapon of narcissists), refuse to discuss the topic with them.  Nothing good can come of it, so simply refuse to discuss that topic.  Tell them you won’t discuss this topic & change the subject.  Repeatedly if need be, but stick to your guns.

Your life can be much more peaceful if you do these two things when you’re given the silent treatment.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

14 responses to “The Silent Treatment- One Of The Narcissist’s Favorite Weapons

  1. Cindy Cindy

    I kwym,these things are absurd,aren’t they?! My dad was terrible about that when I was growing up.He would do things like slap ‘for sale’ signs all over my car when he was mad at me,and I had no clue why.I just ignored them.It was just a game to try and get my goat.I knew he had no intention of selling it.If he was upset with me,he could have talked to me about it.What kind of parenting is that? Game playing for adults is childish.
    He also sneaked into my room one night when I was asleep,and took my phone out.I never knew why;he wouldn’t talk.What kind of lackadaisical parenting is that? (I can’t think of another word right now).Also there seems something not quite right about going into someone’s room when they are asleep,unless it’s a small child or your spouse,but esp. not to do something sneaky.He could have done that when I wasn’t there.Just an extra way of saying “I got one on you”,I guess. Sigh


    • Goodness. Your father has some serious issues! How manipulative & hateful of him to do such things!

      I agree, btw.. there’s definitely something not quite right about going into someone’s room when they’re sleeping to do something like that. Seems to me like a way of saying “You can’t stop me from doing anything I want to do!”


      • Cindy Cindy

        He does.I don’t know why.There is nothing in his past that would cause him to behave that way,as far as I can tell..His dad died when he was 16,and my gma was quite ocd,but no abuse.My gdad was a very nice man,from all accounts.
        He didn’t treat my sister that way.She got whatever she wanted,no questions asked.I do think my dad took it out on me when she got divorced,which was around that time,so that might have been some of it.idk.No excuse though,imo


        • I don’t get it. Very strange. I do believe something made him that way though- I don’t buy that it’s hereditary. You may never know why he’s that way.

          Sounds like your sister is the golden child, you the scapegoat. Lovely.. @@


          • Cindy Cindy

            It is odd.I don’t think he inherited it, either.
            Yes,my sister has always been the GC.It’s like they had an ‘heir’ and one to spare.I can’t help but wonder if I would have been treated differently if I’d been an only child.Perhaps no better,idk


            • It’s hard to say for sure, but I’m guessing you’d still be the “bad seed.” I’m an only child & a scapegoat. I know in my heart if there was a sibling, I’d still be the scapegoat.


              • Cindy Cindy

                Likely so,and things can only be worse when there is a sibling that is the GC.Glad you are an only,as much as it still hurts,I’m sure.
                Do you have any idea why your mom thought to use the silent treatment on you? I’m not making excuses for her,just wondering if it was done to her growing up,so she knew how painful it was,and thought to use it as a control tactic.
                The older I get,the less I understand these parents.As a mom,I know I would never do these things to my own kids,or their spouses,or treat or talk poorly about their pets.It just makes no sense.


                • I can imagine! It’s bad enough when there isn’t anyone there to compare me to. Having someone in the house who’s always better, smarter, prettier, whatever must be horrible.

                  Good question. I don’t know why my mother uses the silent treatment. I would imagine her mother used it. She did on me & I would assume that means she used it on others, including my mother who was the scapegoat in her family.

                  I kwym. I feel the same way. I learn about why they do certain things & even having things spelled out, it still makes no sense.


                  • Cindy Cindy

                    Yes,she was always better at everything.Then when I came along,I feel like my parents felt they’d already been thru the teen thing and child raising once,and didn’t care to do it again. (They didn’t plan to have me).
                    You would think these parents would learn something from how they were raised,and not repeat the cycle? Some get it and some don’t


  2. Cindy Cindy

    Sorry you did,too.These situations are anything but good parenting


    • Thank you. You’re right there. I was talking with hubby about it this morning. There were times when my mother wasn’t blatantly abusive, but neglectful or simply a terrible parent. Once, I was hungry- she gave me a still frozen pancake to eat, then got mad I complained. Really? People like this shouldn’t have had children.


  3. Pingback: Codependency Triangle: The Narcissist, the Savior and the 'Evil' One - QueenBeeingQueenBeeing

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