Toxic Silence: Why Narcissists Go Silent and How to Cope

Toxic Silence Why Narcissists Go Silent

How to Disarm the Narcissist Who is Using Silent Treatment

Picture this. You’re getting the silent treatment again, a lovely part of the discard phase that everyone who’s ever been in a narcissist’s path can recall. Maybe you’ve been accused of being selfish or of ignoring the narcissist’s emotional or physical needs, of being dishonest, arrogant, lazy, or any number of other insulting descriptives.

(But, for the record, what’s really happening most of the time is projection—narcissists project their own inadequacies onto their victims. So as usual, it’s all about the narcissist, not about you.)

Assuming you’re going to play the game, this is what you do to cope with the silent treatment.

The next time you’re confronted with the icy, hateful silent treatment for yet another perceived infraction, I want you to come back here and read this article again. And I want you to remember that this is a game of control – the narcissist believes he can control you with his lack of communication and concern.

Related: Responding To A Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

The only way to take back the power here is to refuse to respond. You just go on about your life as though he isn’t there, or you do whatever you’d normally do and you blatantly ignore his behavior, no matter how pissed off he gets.

That means:

  • Do not send him texts trying to reason with him.
  • Do not post whiney crap on your Facebook page for all to see.
  • Do not allow him to know that he is affecting you in any way at all.
  • Do not give him what he wants when he behaves this way.

When he realizes he’s not breaking your heart, he’ll try something new. And while this will not solve your narcissist problem, it will stop him from enacting the silent treatment for long. More information on narcissists and the silent treatment in this video.

Toxic Silence

When the Silent Treatment Ends: Beware the Hoover

One last tip: when the narcissist decides the silent treatment is over and they need your narcissistic supply again, they will do anything in their power to “suck you back in,” a move we call “the hoover maneuver.”

Don’t fall for it – it’s not really going to get better, and they’re not really planning to change. In fact, the moment you relent and allow the narcissist back into your heart and life – they’ll go right back to the same old behavior.

Have you ever had to deal with the narcissist’s silent treatment? What did you do to cope? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. Let’s discuss.

Written By Angela Atkinson
Printed With Permission
Originally Published On

Narcissists love using the Silent Treatment, or toxic silence as a cruel punishment and the drastic effect of this method of passive-aggressive control is absolute torture.

This kind of a toxic silence conveys contempt, disapproval, and displeasure. Narcissists frequently use this tactic when you ask them for clarification about something, especially when they have done wrong. Toxic silence helps them to transfer the blame game to you and allows them to avoid taking any responsibility for their wrong actions, thereby refuting your feelings.

toxic silence
How to survive the narcissist’s silent treatment
Toxic Silence Why Narcissists Go Silent Pin

4 thoughts on “Toxic Silence: Why Narcissists Go Silent and How to Cope”

  1. Avatar of Leigh

    I am glad yo have found this site! I had been told my ex-husband was a narcissist but had no idea what that was. Before we got married, my self-esteem was climbing and I was ready to tackle the world, healing after my 1st husband passed. After marrying my 2nd husband and being blamed for everything, my self-esteem tanked. I felt like it was my responsibility to fix whatever was wrong and continue to live the life we’d talked about but I got the Toxic Silence and close to ‘your dead to me. ‘ Our Pastor even told me to leave because he was afraid that physical abuse was coming soon. My ex even begged me to leave, which I finally left after he promised we would go to counseling once we separated and woukd talk regularly, which of course Never happened! It’s been over a year since the divorce was finalized and he’s attentive, responsive and has kept with the plans we made as a couple, I’ve been left with bills and a losses. I used to want us to get back together but know it probably won’t happen and knows he needs to work on healing, but won’t because he doesn’t see anything wrong and he has always been the victim. I see his family in the family tree and see it manifested in his children (probably not on purpose, but that’s all he and their mom knew.) I pray for his and his children’s healing because it has to stop somewhere.
    I am still in counseling and am making strides, grateful for sites like this to enlighten me! Thank you!

  2. Avatar of Thelma

    I’m going through the silent treatment right now. I’ve been with this man for 8 years we also have a son together. Finally after all the physical,mental abuse & infidelity. I got the strength to finally leave and get a protection order. I toattally cut all communications with hi blocked him on all social media. He kept trying g and trying to get to me through friends nd family and one friend gave in and called me and said he really wants to talk to you its important he went to the hospital and the doctor told him he has cancer. My heart sank I emediatly called him an he got me back. And now he’s colder and more distant than ever except when he wants something. I. Trying not to lose my mind d or go crazy but I feel so stupid for coming back. And now all over I feel stuck and worthless.

    1. Avatar of ahawow

      Thelma – It looks like you have a good heart and want to do the right thing. Your story has struck at my heart and wanted to provide a reply to you so you know you are not alone.

      Here are some things to think about – What are you doing for yourself and your heart? The actions you have taken, how will your son see them for future reference? How much more energy are you going to put into something that isn’t a partnership of what a marriage should be?

      I am not trained in counseling, however I went through a marriage that he gave me the silent treatment for months. I went to see a therapist to see how to communicate to someone who wasn’t communicating back. I learned some things about boundaries and that I had more strength than I thought I had. I became more aware of the different types of situations that could compromise those boundaries.

      Give yourself some credit as you are discovering more about yourself and what and where your strengths lie. Staying with him because he has cancer is nice for him but what about you? Is there other family members that can help him? There are certainly support groups and services that can help him. It is true what they say – if you can’t take care of yourself then how will you be able to take care of anyone else and you have your son to think about. Can you find the strength you had once before when you left the first time to do it again? My life opened up to so many new opportunities after we divorced finally. I do not regret any of it. Sometimes I wished I had done it sooner, but found that everything presents itself when you need it.

      I am sure you know all of this with your own experiences.

      Be kind to yourself and think of where you would want to be and the life you want to live – plan and then start with small actions and build on them. Not for sure if this will help, but know you are not alone and there is help out there if you ask. I wish you all of the best and lots of strength and courage as you pursue your best life.

    2. Avatar of Mehak

      It will all be just fine. Don’t worry.
      “Don’t cling to a mistake just because it took too much time to make it”
      You still have a choice of leaving him again if he doesn’t love you. Live your life, you deserve to be happy ❤️

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