The Silent Treatment – Any Time is a Good Time

silent-treatmentFrom  the first silent treatment, the narcissist gets the amazing results he had hoped for – the immense suffering of his partner at his own still voice. To the narcissist, this result is out-of-this-world amazing. The N gets to maintain total control by saying and doing absolutely nothing. This emotional abandonment is the perfect way for the narcissist to manage down our expectations of what we’ll accept to eventually take him back. And what a perfect narcissistic tactic is is! Think about it – the N doesn’t have to do a thing…I mean, literally, he does and says nothing and he has us running around in circles trying to make it all better.

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Now, the effects on us, his or her partner, is, as we know, devastating. When my ex-narcissist pulled a silent treatment the first time, I was dumbfounded. It lasted six weeks and I was simply beside myself. I banged on the door, left letters and notes, voicemails – you name it – but he wouldn’t give. It was horrible. I had never experienced anything like it ever from anybody and I had never even thought about doing it to someone myself. The anxiety and the absolute sadness that I felt at the discard was incredible and not one that anyone at any time should ever have to experience – especially after doing nothing wrong which is par for the course when one partner is a narcissist.

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Yes, to a narcissist, anytime is a good time for a silent treatment. As the narcissist’s partner, this fact becomes all too clear so we are always anxious waiting for the axe to fall. This, too, is part of the pathological relationship agenda of the narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath. The silence could come at any time. in my case, from that first one forward, whenever the N did decide he needed to go silent to assert control, the silence would last exactly six weeks or just slightly longer. Then, he would come hoovering back as if nothing happened. And, of course, his appearance was such a relief to me that I basically let it go. Thirteen years later, however, when it was becoming increasingly clear that, upon his return, I was less and less forgiving, he decided that the game just wasn’t fun any more and never returned. But it took thirteen years. Up until that point, he was just having the time of his life watching me suffer from behind his iron curtain.

As I work on this website, I study the analytics that tell me what search terms visitors use most often to find my information. Without fail, every day, the most searched term or phrases include the words “silent treatment” (hence, my reason for writing another post on the topic). My findings sadden me greatly because it tells me just how rampant narcissistic abuse is running right now. While it would be easy for me give the “well, why don’t you just leave” advice, I know how it is. In my book, When Love Is a Lie, I share a little process for changing that I really feel can help. It’s not a magic solution by any means but it will give you the push you need to look at your situation without the same overwhelming anxiety.

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The bottom line is that the silent treatment sends an awful message to the recipient. It sends a message that we are pieces of garbage…that we aren’t worth the narcissist’s time of day no matter how much we love him or her. The Narcissist Puppeteer, with his silence, is creating your reality. You have to, at some point, ask yourself why anyone who would do that to you…who would enjoy knowing the very fact that you are suffering…is ever worth your time of day in this lifetime.

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  • Morgan

    October 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm Reply

    So, when the Narc goes silent….what did you discover he was doing? Mine would go dark for a day or two and I’d cry out in pain, ask WHY, tell him that communication is essential to our relationship and sit with massive anxiety wondering and waiting. It happened month after month—and after having heart to heart talks and sharing my hurt and frustration in him not communicating it would happen all over again. It was bewildering. After a weekend spent together, looking in each others eyes and hearing him speak of LOYALTY (that was THE word he used the most in the year we were together) and how we need to protect our relationship….he went dark the VERY NEXT DAY. He was golfing with friends, as posted on FB…and having an 8am tee time, I called around 7pm and he didn’t answer. I called again at 8pm, and no answer. Got a text saying “Still out. Love you.” and little texts here or there to appease me. The next day I ate dinner with him and my gut was feeling weird so we had a conversation about me feeling things were “temporary”—and he reassured me that our relationship was “forever”. Usually had dinner with him on Wednesday nights….but, he said he “didn’t feel well and was tired”. I gave him space, like a good girlfriend. I was always, always, always forgiving and understanding when he’d disappear. The next day, not a single phone call, only texts. He once again said he “wasn’t feeling well”. Gave the bare minimum texts and I sent several saying my guy was really feeling weird. I went to his home that night after work and he wasn’t there—after telling me he didn’t feel well. The dogs were left locked up in a room so he was out and never came home, lights were out and he was nowhere to be found. Didn’t answer any of my calls and I went to bed with such a heavy heart. Got a text at 11pm saying “Night night baby”. No good morning text the next day….just a text around 10:30 saying he’s “been tied up and still not feeling well”. I sent texts all day and all went unanswered. I called multiple times and knowing his phone is sewn into his hand at all times he intentionally ignored every single cry for help in understanding why he wasn’t answering. My head was spinning at this time. After a massive amount of love and time together all I got was ignored. Around 11pm that night I went to his house. His son’s car was in the driveway. Walked in and saw his bedroom door shut and his dogs were outside the door–which was strange. Went to the garage and both of his cars were in it. Walked up the stairs and his 23 year old son came out of the hallway bathroom and his eyes were LARGE when he saw me. It makes me wonder if he knew and was shocked I showed up. We spent a lot of time with each others parents and our kids, showing massive amounts of love and affection in front of them. All of our friends knew we were together. I asked his son if he was home and he shrugged his shoulders. I walked to his bedroom door and knocked. Nothing. I called him name. Nothing. I tried to open the door and it was locked. I banged on the door harder and yelled out his name. This time I knew…my gut was spot on. I looked over the railing and saw a pair of black pumps next to his gym shoes and yelled to his son who made his way down the stairs “WHO’S SHOES ARE THOSE???” and he said he didn’t know…he grabbed things from the laundry room and left when he heard me screaming, crying and writhing in pain calling his father a COWARD. I saw her purse on the counter right where MY purse always was and her phone was in it and I looked at it to see who the hell she was—-I opened up the text messaging and was completely devastated to see their texts went back to August….and were very sexual. The first text was “Thanks for last night AND this morning”…..and I had NO idea he was cheating on me, none. I saw pictures of her in her underwear. I saw that he said the SAME EXACT THINGS to her that he did to me…”Morning sunshine”…”It’s gonna be a bright sunshiny day” and if it was raining and she or I pointed that out, he’d reply “the sun shines wherever you are”. I was sick to my stomach, screaming for him to come out, calling him a coward. I went back up the stairs and tried to bust the door down and I know he was standing on the other side holding it with his fucking balls all shriveled up and heart pounding. Neither one of them said a word. There were love notes I wrote him around his house. Pictures of us on his nightstand that I’m sure he conveniently tucked inside the drawer. Cards with heartfelt written notes inside on the counter RIGHT NEXT TO HER PURSE with a gift I had just given him days before. I left and he never called me. He actually called the police trying to nab me for “burglary”—found out his new victim is a states attorney. A cop called me and he lied to the police saying I was the “crazy ex-girlfriend” and we had been broken up for months. I had to send the cop screenshots of the “I love you’s” I got day before and the invite to dinner at his house. Cop called to let me know he confessed that he didn’t want to say we were still together in front of his new girlfriend/fuck buddy. Days later he sent a text saying he “apologized for how things ended”—I never had a voice in the ending at all. Everything just came to a screeching halt and I was left in complete SHOCK. Then I heard the LAMEST excuse ever…saying his friend, his friends wife and this girl “dropped by” and when the couple left he felt that since his son came home and he didn’t want to have to explain things to him they hid in his bedroom. Lying piece of shit. I didn’t buy it and I told him he was a manipulative liar. Days later he sends a text asking how I’m doing and if I want to sit and talk. Then he spun EVERYTHING around on me and blamed me for it all. Then after pouring my heart out for NOTHING because after reading about Narcs, he had NO empathy. NEVER apologized, never admitted he did a thing wrong and I’m left sick to my stomach and in a world of pain…wondering how long it was going on, if they used protection, if there was anyone else. He doesn’t like that people know. Anyone that asked me I told them I caught him cheating. He had taken a picture of me without my knowledge and sent it to me….it was a naughty pic of me going down on him and he said “pretend like this is in your mouth so you keep quiet”. Cruel and sick and still ignoring anything I send. Pour my grief out and ask WHY and get NOTHING. How in the world can they be THAT detached from feeling a thing??? HOW can everything be a lie?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Zari Ballard

      October 4, 2016 at 2:23 am Reply

      Hi Morgan,

      OMG…I read your post with a big fat anxious knot in my stomach as if I was THERE in that house pounding on that door myself!! Girl, you could have been me. My ex pulled the same bullshit. He would “go dark” for days, then weeks, then every October through Jan 3rd, just enough to miss all the holidays. I was crazed but somehow always took him back because I never caught him red-handed UNTIL one time when he happened to answer the phone with the speaker on and a woman was screaming hysterically that he had just walked out and why?? He had been gone two weeks and reappeared without an excuse, saying he’d been at his dads, blah blah. It’s all the same girl. I would find his car at strange places or his car would be at his home but he wouldn’t answer…it went on and on for 13-years. He always had an illogical excuse…a ridiculous story that made no sense at all but he just had to throw it out there. THESE GUYS ARE PIECES OF SHIT. All of this…all of his stringing you along…is just to be sure that you are always in his queue. Everything, every day, is all about what they can get away with. He will keep this woman in the queue as well. It gives these creatures a thrill to cause chaos and pain and suffering. At the same time that they say they hate the drama, they CREATE IT AND LOVE IT.

      I am going to send you a copy of my book When Love Is a Lie in PDF…I know that you will see yourself on every page. It will help you understand what is happening and why this douchebag does what he does and how he can never ever be fixed (nor does he care to be). Look for it in your email and I will send to the email that you used to post here.

      I’m here to support you! Wow…what a story.

      Zari xo

  • Wattson

    June 26, 2016 at 3:11 am Reply

    Hi Zari, and thank you for the encouraging words. I understand that I have issues, and I truly hope that I can find out what triggers this type of behavior in me. What I have so far determined is that I have trauma from childhood buried deep inside and when I am confronted with certain stressors, my first reaction is ‘flight’. Through help gotten from conversations with the person who placed the original post and with a very good counselor I can now look back at this and other past events and recognize where I have done this and hurt others as a result. What I need help with now is recognizing these stressors (and my poor, damaging reactions) as they are happening and then cooling off -maybe something as simple as taking a deep breath or counting to ten – and then reacting as a mature, responsible, considerate adult should react. I am sorry that I have hurt this person and I would like to work on myself so that I do not hurt anyone else in any of my current or future relationships, whether it’s my children or other family members, coworkers or anyone else.

    • Zari Ballard

      June 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm Reply

      Hi Wattson,

      I’m very grateful for your willingness to change and I have much hope for you. Be careful not to label yourself or to allow others to label you. As I said, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here based on what you’ve shared. While I don’t necessarily believe you’re a full-blown narc (for the simple reason that you feel so bad about what you’ve done), I do think that there are obvious issues. We simply can’t go around hurting the people that love us. All you can do is try to the the core of the problem and try harder to do better next time.

      Thanks for checking back…Good luck to you…


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