Ignoring The Narcissist: How Will The Narcissist React To Being Ignored?

Is ignoring the narcissist a good idea, and how will the narcissist respond? How does a narcissist tolerate ignoring i.e. treating them like they were invisible? Theoretically, a true narcissist can’t tolerate being ignored….by anyone. Usually, they will act out or do anything to focus on that person’s attention back to themselves.

A classic narcissist needs attention and praise… but not by everyone per se. There is a difference in how they respond depending on whether you are a random person providing-or not providing- narcissistic supply, or a valued love interest.

Why Should You Ignore the Narcissist?

Before we go to the ‘how to ignore the narcissist’ we have to think about the why. Why do you want to ignore the narcissist? Are you in a love relationship with a Narc, is your ex a narcissist or maybe someone you work with? Each scenario will have different advice and outcome

Do you want to hurt them?

Do you want to show the Narcissist you “don’t care”? Is your intention to hurt him? If you want to hurt the narcissist back you are probably in a long relationship with him. One with lots of abuse, manipulation. He probably lied to you many times, gaslighted you many times and because he hurt you so much you will start to ignore him.

You want to ignore him to take revenge, but who will win this fight? It probably won’t surprise you that the Narcissist has proven to be the “stronger” person in the relationship when it comes to hurting the other person. Ignoring them because of this motive might not be the solution to your problems.

Why should you ignore the narcissist?
What are your reasons to ignore the narcissist?

Do you want attention and love?

This is closely related to hurting them. You are a human being and we all want praise and some love. You might think that ignoring him will make him feel he is wrong. Maybe he will come back to you and apologize for his wrong being. Sadly Narcissists are not very good at apologizing and even if they do, they often don’t mean it and just use it to get you back.

Is Ignoring the narcissist who ignores you a good idea?

Is the Narcissist ignoring you because he said you did something wrong? It hurts to be ignored by someone as you don’t feel respected. You start getting doubts about yourself and your ego. Especially if this happened a dozen times before.

So will it help you to ignore him/her back? Probably not and probably for the same reason as mentioned above. The Narcissist has more tricks in his sleeve to hurt you. He is probably more experienced in giving you the silent treatment. Where all you want is some attention and him saying that he loves you and apologizing.

Do you want to leave or Did you break up?

If you broke up with the Narcissist Ignoring should become No Contact. If you ignore them with the intention that he will change his behavior, you still have hope the relationship can be saved. If there is hope, there is supply, and the Narcissist loves to use you as his supply to get his fix.

Ignoring the narcissist. How will the narcissist respond when you ignore them?
How will the Narcissist respond when you ignore them?

3 Ways How To Ignore the Narcissist

How to ignore a narcissist is essentially the same thing as ignoring any person. But with the narcissist, it is different. They often won’t accept you ignoring him. You have to ask yourself these questions:

Do you want to ignore the narcissist to take revenge on him or do you want to ignore the narcissist completely and break contact?

Ignoring the Narcissist out of revenge will hardly ever work. Because even if you ignoring him will work and give you what you want, how will that change the abusive relationship you are in?

How to effectively ignore the narcissist?
How do you effectively ignore the narcissist?

1. Ignoring the Narcissist Using the Grey Rock Method

The Grey Rock method is based on the assumption that if you stop giving the Narcissist his supply, he will probably leave you alone. This might probably work if you are friends or family not living together, but if you do live together this method probably won’t work.

What is the Grey Rock Method

The Grey Rock method tells you to act like a rock. Give no emotions, no rewards to the behavior of the Narcissist, and act as boring as you can be. If you are not interesting to the narcissist he will surely leave you alone.

Why It Probably Won’t Work Ignoring The Narcissist

If you are living together with someone who is a Narcissist you probably endured a period of abusive behavior. You might have been lied to, manipulated, and maybe even cheated. You might have been yelled to a few times too many. He knows exactly what to say to you to make you feel hurt.

If you are applying the Grey Rock Method to the Narcissist, you have to show no emotions. That alone is almost impossible. He might also become violent to you because you are ignoring him. All that extra stress is not worth it to imply these methods.

2. No Contact

Ignoring the Narcissist for a short while is simply not effective. The only way to get rid of the narcissist is to go No Contact.

No Contact means exactly what is says, No Contact. Meaning no texts, no Facebook checking, no phone calls no nothing. It is much harder then it sounds and it only works when you break up with the narcissist and stop living together. This method won’t work if you don’t want to break up with your narcissist.

I wrote an article about going No Contact with the Narcissist if you broke up and want him or her to stop contacting you. it will also talk about the reaction of the Narcissist on No Contact.

3. Ignoring The Narcissist When Leaving Is Not An Option

Instead of ignoring the Narcissist to hurt him or take revenge, the more sensible way is to ignore the things they say to you that normally triggers you. Don’t let them make you angry and escalate this to a fight you will never win. Set boundaries and develop your negotiation skills and I strongly suggest reading more about Narcissism so you will understand them better.

I wrote an article: 9 Rules to survive living with a Narcissist which talks more about this topic.

Is Ignoring a Narcissist The Best Revenge?

The narcissist will devalue and demean those who don’t agree with him or those who point out his flaws. When being ignored, he generally will do one of two things:

  • 1.) Label the person who ignored him as ‘inferior’ and thus give himself a reason to no longer think about the rejection.
  • 2.) If the ignoring person is highly valued and cannot be considered inferior, then the narcissist will then do his best to take revenge. It’s very common for a narcissist to treat someone badly just to “prove” to them that they are not important to him.
is ignoring the narcissist the best revenge?
Is ignoring the narcissist your best revenge?

You might think that you can beat them at their own game and start ignoring them to take revenge. However, narcissists think differently than we do. For a narcissist, attention comes in cycles. They will do their best to get your attention or love or praise, and when they have it you become less interesting to them.

If you start ignoring them because you want to take revenge you will surely get their attention if you are interesting enough for them. They will use their tricks so you will stop ignoring them and if you are in a relationship with a Narcissist that will often be the outcome.

If the supply they got from you was not that important to them, they might just simply ignore you. And them ignoring you might not be the revenge you were after?

So, in the end, you will be hurt both ways. Either you give in and the abusive relationship continues, or, you are not important enough to the Narcissist and he will not try to get your attention

The Narcissist’s Reaction To Being Ignored

On the outside, a narcissist appears superior and invincible… but what about how they feel inside? Some might think that a narcissist wouldn’t care about being ignored by one person because of the hefty number of people who seem to worship him or her, but that’s not necessarily true.

the narcissist his reaction to being ignored
What will the reaction of the narcissist be when you start ignoring him?

Effects of Ignoring the Narcissist

What happens when a Narcissist is rejected? Rejection hurts any normal person, but it nearly kills a narcissist! Why is that? It is believed that narcissists became narcissistic as a result of the shame they suffered in early childhood. If a child was abused in childhood or neglected in such a way that made him ashamed of whom he is, then he will try to cope with, or cover, that shame in whatever way is available to him or her. Some individuals will become socially withdrawn while others will choose a different defense mechanism such as narcissism. He or she does their best to hide their alleged defects by projecting an air of superiority.

To maintain his feelings of superiority, a narcissist will exaggerate his importance and will not listen to or accept anyone who tries to point out his or her flaws. That is why ignoring the narcissist hurts so much… because the act of ignoring him is viewed as an attempt to devalue his exaggerated worth and reminds him (or her) of his childhood shame.

What happens when you ignore the narcissist? How Will He React?

Those are generalizations about classic narcissists. The truth, though, is that every narcissist will react differently… there is no one standard for how a narcissist will react when ignored. Some will react violently, some will be furious, some will stalk the person, some won’t care at all, and some will never truly have a “love” interest that they put that much value on.

“I wrote an article about that” Read my article: What Happens When You Ignore the Narcissist who Dumped you?

“Love” may not necessarily be impossible for narcissists; they just view love differently than other people. Narcissists see love as a relationship where they are provided with a significant, highly valued source of narcissistic supply. Conquering a highly valued romantic partner is one of the best ways to attain this. Narcissists will fearlessly pursue a seemingly unobtainable love interest. As fame, money, status, and power acquiring a highly regarded partner is also a priority for many narcissists.

6 Ways How the Narcissist Responds to Being Ignored

A Narcissist wants to feel important, they want to feel strong, feel they have everything under control. When you start ignoring them you will hurt them. They are like vampires who need their supply to survive. Here are some common ways how the Narcissist will try to get your attention back after you started ignoring them.

1. Blackmail

Anger is a common reaction from the Narcissist and one that often works well for them. They need to fight fire with fire and blackmailing is one of their tricks. They might blackmail you to show photos of you and him, or threaten to tell your friends or family things you don’t want them to know.

2. They Will Try To Charm You

On the other side of the spectrum, they will try to get your attention back by charming you. They will tell you how much they love you, how beautiful you are, and about the good things in the relationship they really miss. This way they will try to lure you back in the relationship with them.

how the narcissist responds to being ignored
Try to charm you with presents is a way the narcissist could respond to you ignoring him

3. They will Say They Need You

I call this emotional blackmail. They might say they can not live without you and don’t know how to live without you. They will try to find your weak spot and ask if you can forgive them and take them back because life without you is not the life they want

3.2 Threaten to Harm Themselves

The ultimate emotional blackmail is to say you will hurt yourself if you will leave him. And although you might experience feelings of hatred, you also feel love for the Narcissist as that is the reason why you are still with him. Which makes this extremely difficult to deal with

4. Gossiping

The problem with a Narcissist is that to the outside world they look like normal people. They look strong and are often socially strong. They might use this strength to tell lies to your friends and family and tell how bad you are treating him, telling them he is the victim

5. Accuse You

They might start accusing you of all the problems you have together. How can it be his fault? He is perfect, but you, you made it all happen. You made him do bad things to you and you are the reason for all the bad things in his life.

6. Act As Nothing Happened

This type of behavior is also very hard to deal with. They might act as nothing happened and everything is fine. Why the big fuss? Let’s just grab a coffee and go for a walk in the park.

The danger in this behavior is that this mood is often temporary. Once you give in, normal abusive behavior will continue to exist.

How Will The Narcissist Try To Get Your Attention?

I have listed some common ways how the Narcissist will try to hoover your attention and make you try to stop ignoring him.

How will the narcissist get your attention
How will the narcissist try to get your attention?

1. Social media

Social media is a very easy medium for the Narcissist to contact you. He might do this by simply sending you messages, but he could also try to trigger you by posting pictures where you can see how much fun he has without you.

2. texting calling

The narcissist will continue to call or text you and please ask you to answer. He will either get angry at you for ignoring you or charming you and tell you how much he misses you

3. Stalking

Stalking or following you is a common thing for Narcissists to do. If they can’t have control over you when you are with them, they want to know what you are doing without them. This behavior can go very far. They might even track you with a sensor or an app installed on your phone so they know where you are.

I have heard stories where the jealous narcissist would follow the person to the bar and wait till she got out to go home again. This type of behavior can have a deep impact on how safe you will feel.

4. influence your friends

Like I wrote above with gossiping, your friends might see your narcissist differently than you do. Maybe he charmed them for months or years and always told them you were the difficult one in the relationship. He might continue with this and influence your friends by saying it’s your fault

5. Contact you out of the blue

They could try to contact you after weeks of no contact and act as nothing happened. This can be a lover of a best friend who contacts you to hang out as nothing happened before.

6. Apologizing

Does the narcissist apologize? Yes, but he often does not mean it. But for them, it is sometimes an effective way to get their supply back.

7. Contacting you at important dates

The narcissist could contact you on important dates, like the day you first met or your birthday or anniversary together. For some, this could be romantic, but don’t be fooled.

8. Declaring their love to you

They will tell you how much they love you and all the other things you want to hear

9. Gifts

Surely you can forgive him when he shows up with this cute gift?

10. Making (false) promises

The Narcissist is not capable of true change. But he will surely try to convince you he did change and did it all for you

To Conclude: What Should You Do?

I can give you all the insights you want about what a narcissist is and what you should or should not do. But clearly, it is not black and white and every situation will be different. Are you being verbally or physically being abused in the relationship? Is there a way out and do you want out?

My advice to you would be: Talk to someone you trust. Talk to a friend, a mother, father, or a professional. Don’t feel ashamed talking about this because there is no reason to be ashamed.

You can find professional help online and offline (I would suggest offline) which can help you order your thoughts and look at what is your best option. But the only one who can take action is you

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Written by Alexander Burgemeester on

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. He devotes himself to writing important information about certain mental health topics like Narcissism and Relationship problems. He is the main author of all content on Thenarcissisticlife.com Want to know more? Read by author bio page.