When The Narcissist Is Stonewalling You

If you’ve ever been stonewalled, you’ll know that it never stops hurting. It’s a really cruel tactic used by narcissists to get you to feel anxious and unsettled.

Beyond that though, it’s a really destructive way to present in any kind of relationship. Don’t expect anything less from a narcissist though – they don’t have the intelligence to communicate effectively at the best of times. 

Psychologically, stonewalling is going to destroy your self-esteem – and is the ultimate weapon of control of the narcissist. They enjoy watching you shift uncomfortably as they continue their quest to manipulate.

When the narcissist stonewalls you, I want you to know what to expect, how to deal with it, and how to protect yourself.

This is about reclaiming your power – once and for all – starting with knowledge!

Walls of Silence: Stonewalling 101

You’ve probably heard of the term before but if you haven’t I wanted to give you the rundown. Stonewalling can be summed up in just one sentence:

Stonewalling is the purposeful refusal to participate or connect in a relationship. 

There’s no two ways about it, and you can dress it up how you want – that’s the bottom line. 

You can familiarize yourself with stonewalling if you think of things like the silent treatment, or acting busy to get out of spending time with you.

It can even be people who purposely don’t respond to a message you send, or an important email they would have got from you. 

Nothing about stonewalling is pleasant, but for the narcissist, it’s all part of their character (if you can call it character!)

Most people who are in, or who have been in narcissistic relationships will know the exact feelings stonewalling rises within them.

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They know how damaging it feels to be treated this way, and know it’s all part of the narcissist’s game plan.

How Narcissists Use Stonewalling as a Power Play

This is all about control and manipulation: the narcissist’s two favorite words. 

Feelings it can bring up in you are:

  • Abandonment. Will they leave me? Why am I not good enough? What did I do wrong?
  • Fear of rejection. What if this means they’re going to leave me? What will I do?
  • Anxiety. What’s going to come of this? Will this end in conflict?
  • Depression. Is this my life now? 

Narcissists stonewall because they don’t want to engage with you. It’s not like they need a moment so they can provide a response to you. 

Stonewalling is unhealthy. The narcissist doesn’t want to deal with the issue you’re trying to highlight.

Why?

Well, for a start, you might be asking them to take responsibility. (Run, narcissist, run!) You may also be prodding them for some kind of emotional response that’s way past their remit. 

It’s uncomfortable for them. They don’t want you pushing it, so they resort to shutting everything down to avoid communication. 

Whatever it is – expect the conversation to come to a sudden halt. After all ,a conversation involves two people, so if only one is participating, it can’t carry on!

Coping with Narcissistic Stonewalling

In the moment, it can make you feel like you want to scream and shout:

Why are you doing this to me!

I strongly advise you not to do this. Not only is this what the narcissist wants, it’s also how they get a reaction from you.

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That way, they can overstep what you’re saying, and blame you for acting like a child. 

The Impact of Narcissistic Stonewalling on Relationships

There are impacts to using stonewalling as a manipulation tool in any walk of life. I wanted to bring up the main impacts. It’s my hope that you can see how damaging it is to stick around and try to make a conversation with a narcissist work:

#1 You feel ignored 

Being ignored is equally as sad as it is frustrating. It’s like talking to a brick wall (see the connection?) When you feel ignored, you feel like you are just disappearing as a person. 

Your self-esteem plummets, you don’t feel you have any kind of identity any more. 

You feel like you’re with somebody who just doesn’t even see you as important enough to have a conversation with.

Yes, it’s soul destroying.

#2 They invalidate you

It’s truly invalidating not to be listened to. When you tell somebody whom you think cares about you something really sensitive or meaningful and they ignore you, wow.

It’s as if you may as well be reciting the alphabet to them, they’d be just as disinterested. The worst part is, if you bring emotions to the table and they still find ways to leave you high and dry, it’s as if what you’re saying is being entirely belittled.

Like you’re some kind of joke.

Well, I’m here to let you know that you aren’t, and that your words are important. 

#3 You feel as though you’re imagining things

Wanting to talk about those important things only to be brutally shut down can raise the thought: “Am I making a fuss over nothing?” Their silence proves in that moment that you overreacted, or made something out of nothing. 

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Don’t let them make you feel like you’re going crazy – you aren’t. 

#4 You stop seeing the things that matter

Giving up on what matters is not the first sign you need to leave, but it’s a pretty big indication that things aren’t right.

When you would normally raise the issue with the narcissist, but experience has taught you that doing so gets you nowhere – that’s when people stop bothering. 

Getting to that place makes you feel numb, like nothing you think, say, or feel is worth discussing.

So you stay quiet.

How To Handle the Narcissist’s Stonewalling Behavior

Number one: Keep calm. Don’t let the narcissist get a rise out of you. Let them do what they need to do, and just disallow your attachment to it. Let go of the idea that it’s your fault or that you’ve done something wrong.

Number two: Leave the room. You don’t need to be there if they want to be silent around you. Your remaining there leaves them with something physical to ignore. You are gone. Well, how can they ignore nobody?

Number three: Reiterate to yourself that this is not you. This happens; it’s the narcissism within the other person. It has nothing to do with you. You’re a good person who wants to explore a conversation that they are finding challenging. They respond only how they know how to. 

Knowing these three points will help you whenever you are faced with a stonewalling narcissist. Remember – engaging in their games means playing their game.

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