Number 1: Silent treatment.
The first sign, and I know that many of you have encountered this, is the silent treatment. If a narcissist shuts you out, if they’re stonewalling you and you just can’t seem to get through, this is a sign that they are manipulating you. However, they’re doing it because they’ve been hurt. When a narcissist is hurt, instead of processing those emotions, they lash out. The common thread is that they’re trying to push it back on you. If you’re experiencing any of these five signs, please understand that this isn’t about you; this is about the narcissist’s pain that they’re trying to push back on you. They’re trying to get you to take responsibility for it, so they don’t have to deal with the bad emotions. Instead, they’ll make it feel like it’s your fault, and then they go right off into the sunset. But all of that surface-level stuff that we hear is actually true. The narcissist is not happy, and this is why they do this. When you’re burying things, suppressing your emotions, and not dealing with the shame bubbling up underneath the surface, there is no way that you can be happy. Also, it’s very difficult to get the kind of human connection that you might be after.
Recommended Book: How To Kill A Narcissist: Debunking The Myth Of Narcissism And Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse.
So, back to the silent treatment. Specifically, when someone gives you the silent treatment, they want you to figure out what’s wrong and fix it without any input from their end. It can also be manipulative because they’re not telling you what’s wrong. So, you may come up with five things to apologize for, and that wasn’t even what they were upset about. But now they have more ammunition to be upset with you for more things. It can be very manipulative, and it’s definitely a power play. I get this question sometimes about these passive-aggressive behaviors. Just because someone does this, does that mean they’re a narcissist? The answer is no. It could be a defense mechanism; it could be how they were raised. But really, the important part about all of this is not whether or not somebody is or isn’t a narcissist. It’s about whether they are willing to respect you and whether they’re willing to self-reflect and work on their own behavior because, in the end, that’s what really matters to you.
Regardless of who’s doing it, the silent treatment is a form of withdrawal, and it can also be a form of punishment. They’re punishing you for hurting them. So either way, whether they’re passively withdrawing or whether they’re trying to punish you and make it clear that they want you to change your behavior, it’s a sign that you’ve hurt this person. Of course, I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but if you’re in a place where someone has made you feel insignificant, like you do not matter to them, but yet they’re constantly pushing out all these passive-aggressive behaviors, it’s a clear sign that you do matter to them, and you have gotten to them.
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