Silent Treatment Appreciation – Part 2 (of 3-Pt Series)

Part 1 of this series on the narcissistic silent treatment explained how the narcissist or sociopath intentionally creates chaos so that we either become immune to it or co-dependent upon it.  We may not even pay much attention to it until the turmoil crosses a line or forces our hand (or both) but the fact is that the constant chaos is a narcissist’s very deliberate strategy to keep us off-balance so that the he can have his play time sight unseen.

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A narcissist typically initiates a silent treatment in a manner that catches us off-guard and this is deliberate. Think about how crucial those first few days must be for the N in his plan to ignore you. It is within these first days, while you’re home-bound, confused, and waiting for a call, that he quickly sets up shop with his new source of supply for this round. The last thing he needs is you running interference so he has ensured that you don’t by making you inconsolable. After a few days have passed and he’s fairly secure in his new digs, he’ll be much better prepared to deal with the fallout from the situation with you. Don’t forget, the N knows you and how you will react to his actions better than you do!

No matter how it happens, a silent treatment feels just plain awful. I would literally feel erased….as if I never meant a single thing to the asshole ever (which, of course, I surely didn’t). Sometimes a silent treatment would last up to six weeks and longer and I’d feel absolutely consumed with getting him to break it. This was, as I now know, a futile reaction that did nothing but waste precious time in my life during that long 12-year ordeal. Although I surely felt that it was, nothing that I ever did during those silences was the deciding factor as to when he reappeared. And this is true for your situation as well. Nothing you do will matter. A narcissist does as he pleases and, if and when he returns, it will be when he’s ready and not before.

What we need to learn to do is appreciate this awful silence and use the time to do some positive work on our own battered psyche.  At the very least, the N will return as he always does, right? So, why stress over it? At the very worst (or best!), he won’t return. So, work on making yourself the much better person in the meantime.

Like everything else in life, allowing yourself to wallow happily in silence appreciation after a discard from a narcissist begins with baby steps. Like most of us, when the silence begins, you:

  1. probably haven’t the slightest idea why you are being ignored
  2. feel extreme anxiety not knowing how long this one will last
  3. will feel compelled to love-bomb him out of the silence even though he certainly doesn’t deserve anything even close to “love”
  4. will feel compelled to apologize for the sole purpose of apologizing even though you know damn well you did nothing to deserve anything of this nature
  5. are feeling completely out of place in your own environment without the usual daily bombardment of texts, phone calls, voice and emails
  6. can’t stand having to be alone with your own horrible thoughts: What is he doing? Who is he with? How can he just blow you off like this….as if you meant nothing???

Just like a prisoner in solitary confinement who goes crazy after months of complete silence and no human contact, so can we go crazy in our own minds and hearts when the narcissist bastard that we love says – in unspoken words – that we are about as important as the shit on his shoe. Again, the narcissist’s tactic of creating noise and chaos right before he vanishes is intended to distract you…..to divert your attention away from the fact that he’s quickly trying to hunker down somewhere else. You’ll find this tactic on page 63 in the strategy guide for the narcissist’s pathological relationship agenda   (not really, but it sure sounds true, doesn’t it?).

So, how can we fix ourselves and begin to move forward? By learning to appreciate the silence. Once you do this, the rest takes care of itself, I promise. In When Love Is a Lie, I talk about the series of mental shifts that began to occur for me out of nowhere once I got a grip on the big picture and started letting go. I started to relish the silence.  In Part 3 of this article series,  I discuss these shifts and how they began to happen naturally when I took the time to fix me instead of worrying about him….easier said than done but entirely possible!

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Zari Ballard, EzineArticles Basic Author

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11 Comments

  • shatteredheart

    March 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm Reply

    I am considering calling and asking why he is doing this… I feel mixed emotions about it because I already know he will blame me and then on the other hand I may catch him off gaurd and he may actually talk to me. Any Advice?? Please help!!

    • Zari Ballard

      March 13, 2014 at 12:08 am Reply

      Hello….Oh, have I been where you’re at! I was subjected to so many silent treatments…sometimes days, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months…that it almost made me insane. I would pound on the door, leave sad notes, leave angry notes, leave him tearful voice mails, leave him angry voice mails…sometimes he change his phone number, sometimes he wouldn’t…it was awful and there is no feeling worse in the world I think. Silent treatments are a narcissist’s favorite form of passive-aggressive punishment.

      Should you try to contact him? I would need to know a little more history but by the sound of your email, I can tell you already know what’s up and how he is. If you have “mixed” feelings, maybe you should ride it out and get on with your life. It all depends what you want to happen with this relationship. If you’d like it to be over, then block his number so he hoovering back to you (which I’m sure he will at some point) won’t be so easy. Or send him a note saying to leave you alone if this is the way he is going to treat you and that nothing you did warranted this kind of treatment and that IT IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you call him, as you know, it will all depend on his mood whether he speaks to you at all and, even if he does, you can count of 98% of his words being a lie.

      I hope you understand that if he follows the pattern of an N (get my book When Love Is a Lie via Amazon and you will see yourself in it!), this is a guy who is never going to change no matter what you do. Ever! He will always be subjecting you to silent treatments, blaming you for everything, cheating on you, and just devising ways to mess you up emotionally. You have to decide if you have the time and energy to put up with this nonsense indefinitely and if it’s even worth it to you. And I can tell you, from experience, IT IS NOT.

      Good luck to you! Write anytime…

      Regards,

      zari

      • Cheryl

        February 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm Reply

        I started reading your book last night. I am on page 78 and everything you have said about his behavior and my reactions has been completely 100% accurate.

        I have been dealing with this for almost 4 years. I am definitely messed up emotionally. He is obviously quite fond of silent treatments. The first one came about 4 months into the “relationship” and lasted about a month. The most recent has been just over 4 months. The longest ever.

        I finally stopped contacting him about 3 weeks ago. I am completely devastated. Won’t give the whole story. But about 3 weeks ago he made a post on facebook introducing the world to his wife of over 20 years. He had told me all along he was divorcing her. He moved to the other side of the country from her and his children over 2 years ago. But he is still married and now openly sourcing off her which is something I never saw in over 6 years of being friends before we became involved. Of course, I heard from a friend, as he blocked me on facebook.

        I told him several months ago that I couldn’t do it anymore. That he didn’t love me and I didn’t want to be alone forever. He disappeared and hasn’t said a word since. But mine is especially confusing as he usually flips a switch and disappears. There typically hasn’t been any fight or occurrence.

        And he never devalued me to my face. In fact, never said anything negative or bad about me. Always said I was the kindest person he ever knew. That I proved more than anyone ever how much I loved him. He didn’t openly blamed me for anything or say he didn’t want me. Only once a long time ago, he said he didn’t love me. But he was back the next day like it never happened.

        So, I’ve been in counseling for almost a year. And almost three weeks of no contact. It is hard. Very hard. I am still so shocked and don’t want to believe it. But I’m sure you know how I’m feeling. Like nothing I thought was true for the past 3 years was. I doubt myself I doubt my choices. I don’t trust myself. I am terrified of letting anyone get close to me.

        But it’s a start. Thank you for your book and the site. It is a small consolation at this point to hear that someone out there might understand….and not think I am crazy.

        • Zari Ballard

          March 7, 2015 at 2:18 am Reply

          Hi Cheryl,

          Thank you for sharing and for reading my book. It is but just a small consolation to find others that understand but it’s a first step toward recovery. And we both know that unless a person has experienced this type of weirdness in a relationship, they will never understand the depth of the betrayal.

          Look, it’s not abnormal to believe the words of someone you care about. As humans, we’re not supposed to assume that everything that comes out of somebody’s mouth is a lie. That being true, how were any of us supposed to really know? Sure, there are those who would have picked up on the first red flag but I assure you that that is NOT the norm. We are the norm….you and I…all of us here…WE are the norm. And the narcissist – he will NEVER be normal and that is why we have to stay away. Do not doubt yourself, girlfriend. Your intuition from this relationship forward will be sharp, I promise you.

          Stay strong and write anytime! And I’d love it if you’d leave a review for the book. It’s a great way to get the message out to others who are searching around for support:)

          Zari xo

    • Jackie

      April 30, 2015 at 8:43 am Reply

      I met a guy on online dating, we hit it off and had a great connection. I shortly found out he has a dui, on probation but still drinks heavily. When I mentioned concern, he shut me out, did the silent treatment on me. I reacted poorly, texted and called him nonstop for days. My last relationship ended without warning so it took me back there, I panicked and desperately tried to get him to talk to me. After a week, we talked for 2 hours and worked it out. We went out, had a great time and a few days later I was put on ignore again. I once again panicked and texted/called to resolve it, I kept apologizing in an attempt to get him to respond. One night when I called a female answered. She said she was his gf, told me to leave him alone. She’s a stripper half his and my age, I was shocked that he allowed her to scold me the way she did and she proceeded to make threats. He had mentioned her before as being a young friend using him for his money. I’m devastated and embarrassed. I liked him and tried hard to rectify things, I lost my dignity and self respect. I don’t know how to move past this and was tempted to text him a final apology, my excessive attempts isn’t me but I wonder if my past relationship brought on this behavior and maybe if I explained it, he would understand. I’m confused and emotionally drained.

  • Elisabeth

    January 29, 2014 at 10:04 am Reply

    Your comments about silent treatment so use full, yes use the silent treatment and strengthen yourself, read others’ experiences and apply the successful ones upon your own life,by the time he/she appears on the scene you are much stronger and wiser for the next blow or equipped for the good riddance tactic.

    • Zari

      January 31, 2014 at 1:30 am Reply

      Hi Elisabeth,

      It took me many years to figure out how to use the silent treatment to my advantage but, once I did, it strengthened me to no end. Eventually, I’d hear his knock at the door and I’d think “Oh no! Already?” I swear to God, it’s true…lol…..

      • pregnant and piss off

        October 22, 2014 at 11:01 am Reply

        Hi zari. My ex up and change his number and I’m pregnant with his daughter. We fight over stuff that is not even worth it. He will talk to me with so much disrespect. He says because I piss him off by not coming to his aid when he wants. And that’s because I been sick with this baby. He even accused me saying my dad is my secret boyfriend! In which my dad lives with me. So I just stay away due to the fighting and verbal abuse. But why change your number if u know I’m pregnant? Mind u. He doesn’t ask about the pregnancy anyway. Its always he needs attention now!

        • Zari Ballard

          October 28, 2014 at 6:05 am Reply

          Dear Pregnant and pissed off,

          Thank you for writing and I’m so sorry for the delay in responding. My ex would change his number all the time when he disappeared and it is the most painful blow-off. Normal people – even most assholes – simply DO NOT act that way. Narcissists KNOW that this is the ultimate rejection – to cut you off completely from communicating with him. And the fact that you are pregnant and he behaves this way is unacceptable under any and all circumstances and I know that you can do this on your own (as difficult as it may be). So many women who write here in the comments to the articles are in the same predicament that you are. Please keep reading the articles and the comments that follow and you will find their stories.

          As you already know, he will never stop the abuse unless you put a stop to it. Decide right now that you are going NO CONTACT. It matters not that he went silent first. You can stand your ground and refuse contact with him just by not being there if and when he returns. He will never change and more of your life will continue to be wasted. You deserve to be happy…please take this silence as your time to get your head together, decide how you want to move forward, and then stick to the plan. Make boundaries and keep them. You can do this and you are in good company, sister.

          Stay strong and write anytime!!

          Zari xxoo

          • pregnant and piss off

            October 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

            Thank your for responding back. So true he up and call demanding me to come see him and to move in with me. So miracously he lost his phone and got a new one the next day. Yes right. How so when he has the same number and phone. Nothing different about this new phone. Only different when I first found out he change his number, a female played along and said she purchase the phone. I’m not going to deal with him at all. I block all my calls and prayed to god to give me guidance.

          • Zari Ballard

            October 31, 2014 at 3:59 am

            Hey Sister,

            Ahh…the Cell Phone Game. I hated it and I remember it well. Look, please, if you can, get (download) my books from Amazon and read them. Start with When Love Is a Lie because it will EMPOWER YOU, I guarantee it. It’s a cheap and easy read and it will give you the strength that you need to come out of the fog. It will give you the strength to NOT fall for his antics and Lies. You and I both know that nothing will ever change him – not even a baby. He is only calling to ensure that you never move on from the pain he has caused you and for nothing else.

            You can do this! Stay strong and stay in touch….

            Zari xxoo

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