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NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

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NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby WHATISGOINGON » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:10 pm

I have read articles that suggest that narcissists use the silent treatment as a way of punishment.

My wife and I are not speaking to each other. I feel uncomfortable with the situation and would prefer to be on speaking terms.

Now I am confused as to who is giving who the silent treatment. Last week we got into an heated argument. The next day she phoned me up from work and said she wanted a divorce.

She talked about spending time apart her and her kids and me and my kids. This past weekend, we had made plans with friends, she took her boys and went out with them and told them I was busy.

This morning, I wanted to leave the house as the tension is palatable. We are carrying on as separate households. Her and her boys, me by myself. I suggested we speak to the children to let them know what is going on. She said let's wait until the plans are more certain. That sounds reasonable, unless this whole divorce and silent treatment is to punish me. Her parents called yesterday while she was out. I didn't answer the phone. I didn't want to say everything is fine, only for her to say I was lying or vice versa tell them what is happening and have her say that is not your place to tell them.

I feel like I am on pins and needles. I would like to engage in a conversation but not an argument. I would like to engage her sons like normal. She has told me that she would like to slowly create distance between her kids and mine over a period of time. I don't want to engage in some kind of bizarre game playing involving the kids.

If anyone out there has been given the silent treatment how did you handle it. It takes two to be silent so I wonder if it is me giving her the silent treatment. She did tell me that she would like to do her own thing for a bit and then talk. If I start talking now am I being disrespectful? I think she would say I am giving her the silent treatment rather than being respectful.
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Re: NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby Chucky » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:35 pm

Heya,

The bottom line is: something has to change. I do'nt think that you should be asking me or anyone else whether or not you should "start talking". In my view, it's obvious that talking is needed, but in a controlled manner. Silence creates ignorance - By being silent, the other person has to guess and second-guess what you are thinking. If the situation is a fight, then what is usually guessed is negative.

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Re: NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby blue_zebra » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:26 am

How to deal with the Silent Treatment - Act as if it's the best thing that's happened to your relationship.; that you prefer the person better when they are silent, encouraging you to ignore THEM. This of course will undermine the narcissist's purpose, put you on top, and play into a primary weakness of the narcissist - their need for NS. Remember, you can always say anything you want to anyone as long as you laugh like hell at the end of it, present in a light humorous tone. However this is war and be prepared to accept it.

When you are in a relationship with a narcissist it's like getting into a car and realizing the driver is a serial killer. You either play along with them, show no fear or awareness of what they truly are and completely buy in as an accomplice, or you GTFO of the car as smoothly as you can, also by showing no fear or awareness of what they truly are and never looking back. There is no in-between ground. You play along or you leave ASAP.
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Re: NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby TwistedTree » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:29 am

I think Blue_Zebra's advice is correct, unless you'd like to curiously explore a narc's defense mechanisms, but isn't this rude? You could easily poke a narc around if you were aware, but being civil would be the cooler thing to do. We can't help it.

It's easier for you to see us, than for us to see you or ourselves, maybe. That is, easier for you to wake up to the fact of narcissism since nons seek solutions for distress from others. Narcs are really searching inward it for it. We use people in seeking it, but we are really seeking inside. We don't believe people can help us. It doesn't "compute".

There's a third option here. There are "self-aware" narcs here that give advice. Maybe this is all the understanding required for an okay connection between essentially alien minds.

For me the silent treatment feels the same now as it did when I was a child. I don't know how much of a "narc mind" I had as a kid. I don't know if my childhood mind experienced a different "subjective reality" than other kids'. All I know is that the silent treatment seems to feel the same now as it did then. The "desire to hurt" is a childish, shallow one.

You think that we're rejecting your pain. We're not. We promise. We simply can't feel it. We literally don't have the emotional response you nons do. This is a matter of brain function. There's nothing sinister about it. No "malice lurking".

We have emotions, we just can't use the empathetic response to get to them. At least this is what it feels like to me. This isn't hard neurological fact yet. I feel all the emotions as far as I can tell. I just can't use YOUR experience to get to them. Nons CAN.

So I think you should try to develop the "childish" perspective (since that's all I know in my own head, but others will hopefully chime in). I think this perspective would help a lot of nons tolerate narc behavior. If they saw it has stubborn. Because it is - infinitely stubborn. And it's childish.

If you're worried, "But you're an adult! There must be something more in there, something as big as what's in me, but ... scary because it hurts me." I'm guessing that you must imagine something like that. But the rather boring and and simple answer is that we're doing something we developed as kids, and it's never changed much (as far as I can tell in my personal experience).

We give you the silent treatment and you're really hurting, but we can't feel it because our psychologies are fundamentally different. The silent treatment probably used to work for us as children (or as a survival strategy it tends to), but we're bad at giving it up. Maybe that'd be a way to attain narc-awareness. Talk about the silent treatment. Who knows?
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Re: NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby catchmeifucan » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:45 am

I used to gïve the N the silent treatment if he did it to me. It worked cuz he got cut off from my supply. I dont remember if I've given silent treatment as an adult since that one time. I did grow up giving and recieving though. But we were all family, so and my parents were aware if I didnt like something they said/did. So it would just turn into antagonizing me for a reaction. Since my ex N, I havent allowed myself to get close to anyone worthy enough of silent treatment and all the effort of push me pull me relationships. I just cut you out of my life forever.
Become what you are.
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Re: NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby margharris » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:00 am

Hi Whatsgoing on,
Just to break the icy frost of a silent treatment, you could say, " I am willing to talk as soon as you are ready." Followed by, " I promise I will listen."
With these statements you have placed the ball in her court for a reconciliation. You have taken the power from the equation. Talking to you is now done on the terms you have set. Then it is no skin off your nose how long she takes. If she tries to win back the upper hand by making any sarcastic comment. You don't respond. She gets no attention for being unpleasant. If you want to be a bit infuriating, the delivery of that I am willing to talk statement could be condescending. If you want resolution the delivery must be honest and connect to truth.

If this woman is important to you and you don't want to lose her, then learning some skills to actively listen and try to see her point of view back at the first argument is where your problem lies. The silent treatment is just a symptom of unresolved issues that can't be squashed down into that bottle of resentment. So what was her problem. Often arguments spring from nothing but are signals of deeper issues that represent concerns not fully expressed.

The usual concerns are finances, chores, lack of time together, jobs, acquisitions, or some addiction etc. Most of us have a pet achilles that could be problematic given fertile circumstances.

Most of us defend when we feel attacked for not doing enough, caring enough, or whatever the grievance. Very few of us have the good sense to say, I want you to tell me all of your concerns because I want to understand how you feel being you. I will try and work on these problems but I am likely to need some help with making the changes.

Follow up is essential on this road to the better man. You keep asking, for how you are doing? This is the road to sainthood but doable I am told.

If either of you are narcissist's it will not work. Really we haven't ascertained that you are, so I have made the assumption that you aren't. Lots of people use the silent treatment for different reasons. If that is all she does, then I doubt she is narcissistic.

However, if in fact you are criticized mercilessly no matter what you do and she is the victim in all her retells. You hooked up with her while she was still married to the last guy and she has a history of messed up relationships in most areas of her life. Then your home here. Your relationship will be dominated by criticism, isolation and engulfing control. Her silent treatment is part of your devaluation. You have been dismissed and it's curtains on the act she was playing with you as her ideal.

Hoping you get the resolution you seek. Marg
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Re: NARCISSISM AND THE SILENT TREATMENT

Postby TwistedTree » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:36 pm

Just to break the icy frost of a silent treatment, you could say, " I am willing to talk as soon as you are ready." Followed by, " I promise I will listen."


In my silent treatments, I would be irritated because the intended recipient of my behavior wasn't figuring out or acknowledging my problem (but I think she has ASPD, so that's a bit of a confounding variable).

See if you get any, "But I tried talking", "It doesn't matter, nothing ever changes", etc. I'm curious as to people's experiences trying to break through to a narc during this phase. I only know my own experience.
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