Narcissist Abuse & the Deafening Sound of Silence

narcissist-silent-treatmentNarcissists and the silent treatment go together like…well, like maybe bees and honey or peas and carrots or (better yet!) thunder and lightening or like any two things that can’t be one without the other. Seriously, a silent treatment can’t occur without a narcissist (or sociopath) to implement it and a narcissist couldn’t be a narcissist without having the silent treatment in his arsenal of emotional weapons used to inflict cruel and not-so-unusual passive-aggressive punishments. Without fail, every dysfunctional story ever told – including my own – that describes a relationship involving a narcissistic partner includes numerous silent treatments. There’s simply no way around it.

The silent treatment is not only the most hurtful narcissistic behavior, it’s also typically the one single behavior that finally forces a victim partner to start googling the bullshit which, in turn, inevitably leads to the “a-ha” moment that changes (and also explains) everything! To find meaningful article topics for this blog, I always turn to Google analytics to provide me the search terms that visitors use to find my articles. In other words, I really try to write about topics related to narcissism that weigh the heaviest on the minds of readers. Time after time, I find that the “silent treatment” is invariably the most popular term searched on the web by anyone looking for this type of information.

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For example, when I pulled the search terms used to reach my site for the period of a few months, the following is just a very small portion of the list that came back to me from Google:

silent treatment victim
silent treatment sucks
silent treatment of the narcissist
silent treatment in relationship
silent treatment hurts the most
silent treatment  from narcissist
silent treatment for over a week
silent treatment after no contact
silent treatment after he dumped me and blamed me for dumping him
silent treatment after he cheated
why does narcissist go silent again after he comes back
what does silent treatment really mean
what does it mean when boyfriend shuts off his phone
will narcissist boyfriend come back after 6 mos silence
why did ex come back and then leave again for no reason

And this list goes on and on and on in various forms and questions and shows me, day in and day out, that narcissism is out there in epidemic proportions.

After suffering through literally 100’s of deliberately calculated silent treatments over almost 13 years with a narcissist, I still carry the emotional collateral damage of the experiences. Only a complete creep uses the punishment of silence to hurt the people that care for him/her. And make no mistake about it, a SILENT TREATMENT IS NOTHING BUT A BREAK-UP IN DISGUISE. By not telling his partner anything and basically vanishing from sight, the narcissist, in effect, keeps the wheel of hope/codependency in motion so that the recipient of the punishment, never being quite sure whether the relationship is really over or not, anxiously waits for his return. The narcissist, however, will, throughout the silence, consider the relationship completely over and, thus, will (continue to) cheat to his heart’s content until he’s ready to return to the original victim (whereby making a new victim out of his newest target). If there IS one thing you can be sure of when the narcissist returns, it’s that somewhere out there some other girl or guy is getting the silent treatment from this same asshole.  As the girl he happens to return to, you can choose to believe whatever you want or whatever he tells you BUT THAT IS THE FACT AND IT NEVER CHANGES. Your relationship with your particular narcissist is no different than anyone else’s relationship with a narcissist. When it comes to the silent treatment, narcissists are nothing if not predictable.

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When a victim is getting the silent treatment from his/her narcissistic lover or partner, I get all kinds of questions asked of me that I know for a fact are asked only as a way to bargain with the truth and it makes me sad.  I understand that no one really wants to believe that every single time a narcissist goes silent he is fucking someone else – but he is. This is why he shuts his cell phone off (to begin the cell phone game) or lets the phone go endlessly to voice mail without ever reacting to your distress or why he doesn’t answer his door (even though you KNOW he’s inside) or why he stays away from home (where he knows you’ll eventually show up). A narcissist appears to literally fall off the grid in the blink of an eye because, yes, it was all part of a calculated plan…a plan to erase you as if you meant nothing to him EVER (or at least “nothing” until he needs or wants to come back). AGAIN, A SILENT TREATMENT IS NOTHING MORE THAN A BREAK-UP IN DISGUISE.

zari-ballard-consultTo further amp up our anxiety over an unexpected and uncalled for silence, the narcissist reappears as quickly as he left, typically with a completely ridiculous story that he knows you’ll believe because he knows you WANT to believe it. Yes, narcissists don’t put a whole lot of thought into the stories that accompany the home-coming because he/she knows that you’re ready to believe anything by the time he gets there. As part of his pathological relationship agenda, the narcissist understands the concept of creating plausible denial, believe me. My ex could concoct the most ludicrous story at the drop of a hat if he felt that I was starting to relax at any moment during the silence. You know what I’m talking about because we’ve all been there. Just when we start to think “Hey, I can do whatever I want now just like him! Why have been I been crying like a baby for a month? I’m starting to feel good!”, here comes the familiar knock at the door or the benign little hoovering text message sucking us back into the abyss. In my mind, the narcissist’s connection to us is not only psychic, it’s demonic!!!!

All I can say about the silent treatment and the narcissist who subjects you to it is that IT ALL MUST STOP OR ELSE IT NEVER WILL. How many times has the narcissist in your life disappeared into the horrible silence for no reason at all and then reappeared only to leave just days/weeks later to do it all over again? To the narcissist, this horribly abusive behavioral pattern is what I call the sport of “seduce and discard” and it’s all part of the fun of being a narcissist. And, believe me, when he’s not doing it to you, he’s definitely doing it to someone else. Victims are puppets and the narcissist is a Puppeteer!

Look, no one – and I mean NO ONE – deserves to be erased as if they never existed after nary a fight or even a disagreement. Narcissists do not need a single reason on earth to vanish…to bring you to your knees…to make you feel like nothing more than a piece of shit on his/her shoe. As a passive-aggressive means of controlling and manipulating a victim’s reality, the silent treatment is a cruel (but unfortunately not unusual) punishment that must not be allowed. How easily we are manipulated into forgetting that normal people just don’t act that way.

At any moment during a silent treatment, you have the power (and the right!) to say to no one but yourself “This is no longer a silent treatment. This is No Contact and I’m in control.” Believe me, if he is silent, you two are BROKEN UP. Don’t be fooled by the narcissist’s twisted control/validate manipulation. You can turn his bullshit around any fucking time you want and make it stick. You can choose to never allow him to reappear. You can make this vanishing act his last.

It’s always been within your power to END THE INSANITY. I know it’s hard to believe that when you’re in the thick of it but it is true, my friends. Learn from my mistakes and from the mistakes others. Any partner, lover or friend who pulls a silent treatment on you EVEN ONCE should be immediately discarded…kicked to the curb. It is up to you to end it or it will never ever end.

Go No Contact and get your power back!



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  • Elizabeth Fleming

    November 5, 2017 at 3:36 am Reply

    Help I’m confused my husband is a bit of a condradiction, yes he does have a lot of the spectrum but he does not flirt and is to lazy to chase other women.. so where does that leave me with the silent treatment?

    • Zari Ballard

      November 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm Reply

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Not that every narcissist fits the EXACT pattern because they don’t. I’d have to know more but perhaps he isn’t a narcissist. Maybe he is just a jerk, know what I mean? If you want to let me know more so I can reply accordingly, please do…


  • K.T

    July 2, 2017 at 9:36 am Reply

    8 months of no contact I get a call from terminx that my phone number somehow was associated to his house ( lived with him for 4 years never once got it). Didn’t say anything to him. Then two weeks after that I get a text that was meant for his sister. So I waited a day and then said sorry wrong number. No response from him.. I don’t know if he is done with this or if this is just the beginning..

    • Zari Ballard

      July 10, 2017 at 2:36 am Reply

      Hi K.T.,

      Yes, he is hoovering you. You should have blocked his number 8 months ago…do it now so he can’t text you AT ALL. Ignore this bullshit. A narcissist only returns again and again to ensure that you never move on from the pain he has caused you. And that is the ONLY reason…

      Zari xo

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