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


The narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath creates so much turmoil and chaos in our day to day lives that we become codependent upon the dim….the drone of the white narcissistic noise. Never are we more aware of this dependency than when all that noise is deliberately snuffed out by a silent treatment subjected upon us by a lover or partner.  As someone who suffered silent treatment upon silent treatment – almost from day one – by a narcissist boyfriend, I can tell you first hand and from years of experience, each silent event is more traumatic than the one before and the silence is always deafening.

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In this three-part series on the Silent Treatment, my intention is to dig deeper into the heart of the matter….. really getting to the truth about what hurts us the most about the silent treatment (or cold shoulder) and why. More importantly, we’re going to talk about what we can do about it because, after all, there is something we can do…and it’s called silent treatment appreciation. That’s right – call me nuts or whatever – but we’ve got to give up the pity party and start taking advantage of the fucking silence. God knows it doesn’t take long before the narcissist hoovers his way back in to bombard us once again with the noise and – poof – we’ve wasted, yet again, another free chunk of unsolicited healing time handed down to us from a compassionate Universe.

No thank you, Universe, I’ll have to pass again. With all of the gut-wrenching, anxiety-creating, ear-splitting, mind-fucking noise pollution my narcissist gives me right before he completely ignores me, I just don’t have time to be happy. Thanks anyway though!

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After studying, almost daily, the most popular current search terms related to narcissism, I’ve come to the conclusion that now, more than ever before (that I remember), narcissists are using the silent treatment as the main way to control, manipulate, and destroy the sanity of the people who care about them. Sadly, it appears that this particular passive-aggressive form of narcissistic punishment is fairly epidemic and I think we need to do something about that! I think it’s time to turn the tables on the silence that hurts us and psyche ourselves up for a little silence appreciation!

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Next week, in Part II of this article, I’ll talk more about exactly why we need to learn to use a silent treatment to our best advantage. First, though, we need to figure out where the pain comes from and why it cripples us. Don’t forget that every bit of noise created by a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath is meant to distract and confuse and nothing more. Narcissists are like Puppeteers that use a slight of hand or smoke and mirrors to divert your attention to one thing while they betray and deceive you with the other. Again, it’s all in the strategy guide for the pathological relationship agenda and the narcissist follows it to a tee. He makes your world so noisy, so focused on jumping through hoops to be available for him that it deliberately becomes nearly impossible to catch every suspicious behavior as it happens. The narcissist, on the other hand, pays very careful attention to what you might or might not be aware of and acts accordingly. The closer you get to a secret, the harder he works to ramp up the chaos.

I always knew when a silent treatment was coming because the daily turmoil – which he created over nothing – had begun to escalate at an excruciating pace. I simply knew what was next up his sleeve. He would deny and deny but history had shown me over and over what was to come and it never failed. It was impossible for him to break his deviant pattern. He was stuck in a groove – and he was perfectly happy there.

The silent treatment hurts because it is the very passive-aggressive nature of the “punishment” itself that is abusive. Literally, to be ignored completely feels as though you are being erased and that everything and anything you ever thought existed in the relationship is being discarded (and it is!). Yes, it is heartbreaking.

In Part II, we’ll talk about 1) what it feels like when you are in it…when days, weeks have gone by without a word, and 2) what happens and what will happen when he returns…..In Part III, we’ll learn to appreciate the silence – I promise!

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Zari Ballard, EzineArticles Basic Author

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  • Jenny

    July 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm Reply

    My ex husband would give me the silent treatment whenever I protested his awful treatment of me. I knew the minute I told him that something he had done or said “hurt” my feelings, that I could expect the silent treatment as a consequence. It was his way of trying to control me and keep me from complaining about the abuse. The only way the silence would end is if I apologized for getting upset and getting on his case. My realization that I was just “insecure” and that nothing he had done should hurt my feelings, seemed to appease him. He had done nothing wrong…. In the early years of our marriage, I craved his attention because when it was good between us it was AWESOME between us. But the longer this torture went on the, the more resentful I became. I have a healthy self esteem and don’t tolerate crap readily. So I’d always “forget” my training and complain again, lol. Which meant another week or two of silence or the cold shoulder. He said I was a really bad listener and wondered if I’d ever learn. That every time I did this, it hurt him and made him wonder if I loved him and that it caused him to not want to be around me – thus the silent treatment. Because if I really loved him, I wouldn’t keep repeating the same mistake over and over again (yuck). This went on a long time. For many complicated reasons, included his health issues, we were married 16 years. The silent treatment wasn’t always the worst thing that could happen. It was often a blessed relief not to have to talk to him the last 5-6 years of our marriage.

    • Zari Ballard

      August 23, 2017 at 11:28 pm Reply

      Hi Jenny,

      So sorry for the delay in responding. I suffered through silent treatments just like you and it nearly killed me. There is nothing more demoralizing than to endure a partner treating us as if we are no more important (and just as disgusting) as a piece of shit on his shoe. I, too, hung in there because the good times were pretty great and the sex was even greater. A lot good that did me, right? We live and learn, my sister. Now, what you didn’t share was how you managed to escape that 16-years of hell. I would love to hear about it as it would truly be an inspiration to everyone here!!

      Zari xo

  • Vek Lewis

    August 24, 2016 at 4:18 am Reply

    Good God, Zari. I do so completely relate to this. I’ve lived it umpteen times before and I’m (regrettably) living it again. This guy happens to be overseas and he uses textual silences (whatsapp) like nobody’s business (hello, if you have me there, why the silences? that’s what blocking is for). We are not officially together but I need to find the guts to enjoy the silence, too.

    • Zari Ballard

      August 26, 2016 at 1:23 am Reply

      Hi Vek,

      Oh I’ve heard about the “Whatsapp” narcs and, yes, they are all overseas. They do have it down to a science…..!!!


  • Rose

    May 29, 2015 at 11:45 am Reply

    I am really enjoying the way you write about narcissists. Unfortunately, I’m enjoying it b/c I can relate to it. But also thankful, I can relate to someone.

  • Katy

    April 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm Reply

    I have been reading your site for months. First off, God bless each and everyone of you, having gone through this. I dated a N for 4 years, he’s a truck driver. He never was around, it was like he was trying to keep his distance from m. me, I might get to know him and who he really is. He never could spend a lot of time with me. This guy is a gambler, he lost a home, he lived in a tent for 3 months. (Homeless) he got fired from job, had no car, I helped him get a car. He rode a bike for a year. He’s 51 yrs old. He has had 32 jobs, not sure what time frame. He only called me when he needed something. He did drugs years ago, not sure if he started back on them. The new girl is on all kinds of drugs. I’m sure he is hooked back up on them. I called him the other day, just to see how he’s doing, he was so nice, also cutting his girl down, then he blocked me after that. I’m so mad, that I let this creep be my life and almost took me down. I still hurt. One day I hate him, then I think I can fix him the next it’s an emotional roller coaster. I just got use to him being gone. It’s been 8 months. Hearing him talk for 4 yrs. And at this point I don’t believe one thing he said. He blamed me for him being homeless. He ran for the hills when I told him I was tired of him using me. I told him his mask fell off and I knew he was now. He uses religion to try and get you hooked. Each day gets a little better. I need additional help. Thank you for this site. God help us all.

    • Zari Ballard

      May 2, 2015 at 6:33 pm Reply

      Hi Katy,

      Thank you for sharing and I’m sorry that you are still struggling with this nonsense. Please, if you can, read my book When Love Is a Lie because you will recognize every single part of my 13-year relationship. My ex (narcissist) was a cab driver which, like a trucker, means that they can disappear or literally vanish. My ex, too, had 32 jobs, a drug and gambling problem, and, miraculously, found “God” as soon as we broke up (a.k.a he left and never came back – ever). They are all the same. My books will empower you, I promise, because you will really really see that we all live the same life and the same experience.

      Above all else, you must know and realize that YOU are not and never have been the problem. To understand this is so important, sister. If you need to talk one-on-one, I do offer consultations and would be happy to help. It’s hard to wrap our heads around the level of deception but blaming ourselves or thinking that somehow we were wrong in wanting to believe that the person we loved was telling us the truth…none of that is doing ourselves any bit of good. The bottom line is that you deserve to be happy and it’s time to make that happen.

      Stay strong and I’m here if you need me….

      Zari xo

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