Giving someone the “silent treatment” is an extreme form of Narcissistic Abuse related wholly to power, social dominance, grandiosity, and control. The Abuser, seeking to make themselves feel powerful, will literally pretend their target is not even in the car or room with them in order to provoke extreme duress in their preferred scapegoat, target, or any socially neglected victim.
When a person plays mind games like giving the Silent Treatment, it’s crucial for survivors and collateral damage victims forced to witness the charade realize that the person who is refusing to civilly acknowledge the person they are trying to control emotionally, physically, or psychologically is striving to harm. What’s more, on a purely biological level, they are deliberately causing a hyper-adrenalized response in any person or peer who realized they have been targeted.
On a purely biological level, human anatomy is hard-wired to seek the safety of shelter with others.
If a romantic partner is ignored and made to feel invisible, the body responds by (typically) panicking. Hoping to end the bizarre energetic assault, most lovers who are literally starved for attention will tend to seek the approval and validation of their persecutor, forming Stockholm Syndrome affectations rather than fleeing their abusive captor if and when their own parents or primary caregivers played similar games with them.
Giving the Silent Treatment, “is an abusive method of control, punishment, avoidance, or disempowerment (sometimes these four types overlap, sometimes not) that is a favorite tactic of Narcissists, and especially those who have a hard time with impulse control, that is, those with more infantile tendencies.” noted Psychology experts on Psych Central, quite accurately.
Children given the Silent Treatment by parents, grandparents, guardians, caregivers, school teachers, playmates, and/or siblings tend to remember singular incidents that cause them to react to people who withhold affection and social acknowledgment while gaslighting and pretending that the target is not worthy of noticing, caring about, or validating tend to remember the horrific biological angst for the duration of their lifetime.
In fact, it is the reason why so many children of Dark Triad parents end up becoming People Pleasers, striving pervasively throughout their lifetime to ensure no other human being ever feels so alone, worthless, invalidated, or miserable.
As the writers of Good Therapy confirm as stereotypical, pattern behavior to expect from Stonewallers, “Often, the narcissistic person will demand that the target apologizes for whatever inflated transgression the target may have committed (the target may have set a limit or asserted a boundary against emotional abuse, for example). Sometimes, a person with narcissistic qualities will decide to abandon and discard the relationship when his or her partner presents an ultimatum or attempts resolution requiring compromise.”
The website’s writers go on to share and validate that people who abuse others by giving them the Silent Treatment are by and large emotionally as well as psychologically immature.
They write, “The person with narcissism may prefer to end the relationship and start over rather than be in a position of potential abandonment. The 5-year-old storms off and plays with a new, innocent target on the swing set. It is too much work to share the pail and shovel.”
The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse that no one deserves nor should tolerate claims the well-respected health and wellness website.
We could not agree more here at Flying Monkeys Denied.
Going low to no contact with any person who employs Narcissistic Abuse tactics like Stonewalling, Withholding Affection, or giving the Silent Treatment to a person that they know or claim to care about is crucial for victim health and target’s comprehensive short and long-term psychological and social well-being.
If that means leaving a romantic relationship or ending social enmeshment from a toxic friend or family member, do it. There is no excuse for tolerating abuse, and even less for enabling a full-grown adult to successfully employ mind control tactics to emotionally, biologically, and psychologically control a victim.
To do so is not like taking candy from a baby. It is more like handing a loaded weapon with the safety off to an angry, irrational toddler who is in the midst of a tantrum.
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