Why do Narcissists Give Silent Treatment?

“Hey, you know, I’m not feeling great about what happened there. Can we talk about it please, and clear the air?”…

is something you never hear the narcissist say!

I mean, imagine for a second how peaceful and open your life would be if you were so wonderfully communicative!

No. Narcissists are like one of those really old phones with only 2 MB of data allowed. They retain so much, and after that, you can forget it.

Why exactly do narcissists give the silent treatment instead of communicating their needs or thoughts more healthily?

Where do I even begin…

The “What?”

Signs of the Silent Treatment

The narcissist might talk to everybody else in the room – except you. 

Why? What did you do?

Instead of enjoying the night, you’re hooked on how they treat you.

You’re worried about what you did out of turn.

You’re dreading the drive home. 

Sometimes, the narcissist can turn the most innocent, simple or pleasurable moments from hot to cold. They don’t have a reason – they don’t care. They can change it all in a heartbeat if things are going well.

If the narcissist wants something – you can bet your bottom dollar they will get it out of you or from you by manipulating their mood toward you. The silent treatment can sometimes be a ploy for you to give in. 

They want to go somewhere and you don’t? They will withdraw until you cave in.

You’d be surprised how many people would give up their beliefs or desires for a quiet life when in truth – why should it be one or the other?

But…. Why do Narcissists Do This?

I don’t want to offer you anything other than the truth. As brutal as it can sound – the reasons for the narcissist’s silent treatment are not justified, yet still cause so much pain.

Let’s look at the top 6 reasons why this happens…

Responsibility? Them? NOPE!

If you’re trying to hold the narcissist responsible for something they’ve done (or not done), they will react to your ‘confrontation’ with offense. This can be disguised behind the silent treatment. 

Essentially, this is taking the light you are shining on them, and shining it back onto you. It becomes not about what they did wrong, but about how you’ve hurt their feelings by questioning them. 

To you – it’s uncomfortable, so what happens?

Well – you likely end up apologizing for upsetting them.

Zero responsibility. 


Let’s call some honesty to the conversation here. It isn’t going to take much for you to upset the narcissist. They will find fault in almost everything you do. Watch them as they love watching you try to explain your way out of something you thought was so innocent.

The silent treatment is their unspoken saying, “If you do this again, this is what will happen.”

Yes, of course. You aren’t going to do that again because you don’t want to feel this way again. 

Short-term goals by the narcissist enforce long-term influence and authority. 

Poke and Prod

Why should a narcissist be the only one to feel so terrible? No, you might not think they do, but they do. Being reminded of that through the actions or words of another is going to automatically give way for the silent treatment. 

Narcissists can dish back by provoking you with their silence. You create a scene by asking them what’s wrong; they love the drama unfolding. Remaining quiet can give them much satisfaction. 

Remember – these egos are more fragile than eggs.


Codependency is common in narcissistic relationships and even in family or friendship dynamics. 

With codependency, there is no balance. Two people are not equal in what they give and take and this can well and truly live in the cycle of narcissistic abuse.




Love bombing

It comes round and round, and each time you lose yourself a little more. The silent treatment presents itself in this cycle as a form of devaluation and rejection. Communication changes and you are left wondering what is going on.

It’s a confusing time, and you want to do everything you can to make it right. 

This cycle of abuse is what triggers a codependent personality. This is because with each cycle comes the loss of identity for the person dealing with it. They can make you feel you aren’t good enough for anyone else, or that “Nobody else is going to want you.”

Yes, you believe it, because the narcissist is so good at pulling the strings. 

Before long, you’re left stuck, not being loved, feeling loved, or feeling that anybody else in the future could ever love you too. 

You’re codependent on them. 

Buh-Bye, Self-Esteem…

The masking of low self-esteem is helped by making others feel negatively about themselves. 

The narcissist feels at ease when they lower people to their own level. The silent treatment is one way to do this. 

Suddenly, their pain is less so, because you feel it too. It’s similar to seeing someone looking forward to their driving holiday, and slashing their tyres before they leave. 

I don’t like myself? Then you shouldn’t like yourself either!

I know it can be hard to believe because narcissists exude such confidence – but it’s all fake. They only own it in the first place because they steal it from genuinely confident people. 


I don’t need to tell you how much narcissists love control. They have serious issues with it, and want as much of it as possible. 

Think about when you roll to the gas station and fill up your car. Thank God, right? You can drive off for a little while now and not worry.

Well, narcissists roll up with their empty souls to good, confident people and extract their energy for their supply.

It leaves usually happy people feeling less than so, so they can feel better. They don’t know how to create it for themselves.

Narcissists can do this by giving you the silent treatment. As you react, they internally laugh and take what they feel they’re owed. 

The worst part?

Once the narcissist knows they can do this once, it will be the tactic they use every single time to get supply from you.

You’ll be seen as the easy target and equally easy to predict. 

This is all about control and getting what they want from people. Don’t think you’re the only one, either. You’re just one of many. After all, why put your eggs in one basket, right?

Related Articles