Narcissism is characterized by a grandiose sense of self, a lack of empathy, and tumultuous interpersonal relationships. For those who enter a relationship with a narcissist, the behavior of the narcissist can seem downright abusive.
And for good reason, because it is. Narcissists use many control methods- but silent treatment is their preferred weapon. In a relationship with the narcissist, you are their partner aren’t considered as a person with your own will and needs- you are an extension of the narcissist. Due to this, it’s their way or the highway, and they will do whatever it takes to get what they want.
The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse that serves many purposes for the narcissist, and here are the 7 major reasons they use it as their preferred weapon against the people they love most.
1. To make you feel like you aren’t good enough.
Narcissists want you to feel as though you aren’t worthy of them. They want you to chase them, and if they have to ignore you to make you see that- they most definitely will.
2. They want to make you look crazy.
An emotionally stable person will want to resolve conflict and understand what they have done wrong. Because of that, when you are given the silent treatment, it’s only natural that you will reach out “Are you okay? What can I do to make this better?” After no response, you may message again and again. By the fifth response, you may start to feel crazy- and this is exactly what they want.
3. To manipulate you.
When you don’t give the narcissist what they want- they will resort to manipulation. In their mind, the longer you have without them, the easier it will be for you to give up and give them their way.
4. It gives them a false sense of control.
Narcissists love being in control. They want to have the upper hand- and what better way to achieve this than to cut off all communication and make you beg for their acknowledgment.
5. To break you down.
As I said above- silent treatment is emotional abuse. The major end goal is to break you down. During the time in between contact, you may start to feel angry, lost, desperate, crazy, and sad, and in turn- you may lose sight of why you tried to set boundaries in the first place. This eventually could break you down and cause you to give up on your own needs.
6. It changes the power dynamic.
When a narcissist feels like they have no power- or as though they have the upper hand, they are likely to resort to the silent treatment. This turns the power dynamic upside down, and in their mind gives them the upper hand.
Stonewalling is a tool narcissists use to shut down the lines of communication. If they don’t like what you are saying to them- they will completely shut down and refuse to speak to you. Not only is this frustrating and hurtful- but it can also harm you and the relationship.