A lot of people tend to think that when we go ‘No Contact’ with a narcissist, we are behaving in a similar manner as they do when they give us the ‘Silent Treatment’. The two are so very, very different and are done for very different reasons. We need to look at what motivates someone to initiate the Silent Treatment or No contact.
The Silent Treatment
When a narcissist gives us the silent treatment they are doing so as a punishment, to invoke fear, obligation, guilt or remorse. Remember that these disordered personalities are all about power and control. It is a means employed by these disordered individuals of showing their displeasure or disapproval. Have you done something to deserve it? Probably not. Most of the time, the victim has no idea why they are being treated in this despicable manner. They have done nothing wrong. Any attempt to resolve the situation by discussion is thwarted. Their contempt for you is blatantly obvious. The narcissist’s ego is very easily upset. It takes so very little to ignite their fuse. The silent treatment is a passive aggressive form of emotional abuse and has been described as mental murder. When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment your very existence is not recognised by your abuser. They will not speak to you, look at you, answer your phone calls or answer your texts. This makes a target feel that they are dead to their abuser. The narcissist knows exactly what they are doing, they know how this behaviour is making you feel and yes, they may enjoy seeing you suffer. Basically, they just do not care how they make you feel. In their sick and twisted mind, you have upset them and you deserve it.
When we go no contact with an abuser it is done to protect ourselves, to give us time to heal and recover, not to punish or hurt anyone. (When there are children involved, minimal contact is advised. Keep one line of communication open, preferably in writing.)
No contact has often been described as removing the drugs away from the addict or the alcohol from the alcoholic. The narcissist was our drug and when we need to become clean we have got to stay away from the drugs or the alcohol. For many, this may last a lifetime. Some alcoholics may be alcohol free for years and just one drink will see them back in their pit of despair. Likewise with the narcissist, just one conversation, letting your guard down can be enough for you to let the narcissist back into to your life. Make sure you know that you are strong enough before you have any dealings with the narcissist. For many that time will never come. So be it. Losing the narcissist in your life is not a loss, it’s a gain. You are gaining freedom. You are gaining strength away from these dysfunctional individuals. You are getting your life back. You cannot stop them treating people the way they do but you can stop them treating you in this way.
Know that someone who truly loves you would never want to hurt you, would never want to see you cry or be the cause of those tears. Know when enough is enough. Know when to walk away.
Written by Anne McCrea
Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon