The Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

The Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a common punishment in many relationships. It is manifested by one partner who completely ignores the other: going through their typical day as if the other person were invisible or absent, even if they are standing right in front of them or talking to them. Some have argued that the silent treatment is more abusive than physical harm as it can be more appropriately thought of as a form of torture. This is especially true the longer it goes on. It is usually used to express contempt or disapproval. The term was first coined in 1947; the silent treatment is very common and used by a lot of people.

Narcissistic Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is frequently utilized as a lever to gain control in the power struggles of many relationships. Never is this more evident than in the conflicts of a narcissistic relationship. When a narcissist uses the silent treatment with someone, they take it to the extreme. A narcissist may refuse to speak to or even acknowledge someone for great lengths of time- and then demand an apology that is out of proportion to the perceived offense. By demanding this apology, it supports the narcissist’s inflated view of himself or herself. The silent treatment is a common form of abuse used by people who cannot tolerate being on the receiving end of someone else’s self-assertiveness.

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