The Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

You see them on television before going to work. You hear them from the radio every morning. News of all forms of abuse is always present like it’s already a part of our daily lives. A battered wife sues her husband but later on you hear they live together again. A famous male politician becomes a suspect for the murder of a group of reporters who allegedly defamed him. How can these people do such acts of violence? How come some victims don’t even see they are already being victimized? Perhaps not everyone knows that these acts are part of narcissism, a mental condition that can hurt people.

Brief Description of a Narcissist
Narcissistic attitude is embodied by the word “selfishness” and they mean it in every essence of the word. Narcissists have also a grandiose regard of themselves. Anyone who criticizes them will be punished with cruelty. And to them, there are many ways of punishments. Whatever these are, they are all tantamount to abuse. One of these is by completely ignoring a person who have done them wrongly or popularly known as “silent treatment”. Why do they do these? This is because they want to be in control. They have this need to manipulate people. And this act makes them feel very special.

On Narcissistic Supply
A narcissist may shower their victims with many expensive gifts and provide a lot of great favors. As a result, their victims feel special too. Aside from seeing their victims as an extension of their grandiosity, ulterior motive is for their victims to fall into their trap. This is exactly what the narcissists want to happen- to feel good about themselves through other people. Their victims are their source of narcissistic supplies. This has been rightfully termed by Dr. Sam Vaknin as “Narcissistic Supply Source” or NSS.

The Narcissist’s Victim’s Attributes
Eventually, the victims start to depend on them just like what happens in a relationship. When narcissists do not get what they want, they slowly put some distance from their relationships with the people who “hurt” them. They become indifferent and may not even bother to give gifts anymore to their victims. They will make their victims feel small and belittle them. Vaknin, in his book entitled Malignant Self-Love Narcissism Revisited, calls this “devaluation”. Narcissists will not talk to you, and even worst, abandon their victims. They do this without remorse.

As this happens, their victims feel less and less special. They rationalize about their past action and possibly think they were to be blamed. The victims lose sight of themselves until they surrender to the silent treatment and offer “ways” to make peace with the abuser. The narcissists succeed again and gain another narcissistic supply. The cycle between abuser and victim then becomes vicious. But if the narcissists get bored by the situation or no longer get their supplies from their victims, they simply leave and look for other sources.

What to Do When It Happens To You
Possibly the narcissistic attitude has its roots from their childhood trauma when events of abandonment from their parents, siblings or any close friends have permanently left indelible ink in their bank memories. He uses these early experiences and re-lives them again, doing everything he can to avoid being abandoned. Therefore, the only way to counteract these is to stop them from getting what they want from their victims. Instead of providing a source of their narcissistic supplies, cut the ties. Ignore them as if you don’t see them. Threaten to abandon them, or if you are all fed up, just leave them. This situation is enough to put them in unbearable anxiety. In general, narcissists cool down when they see their faces in front of the mirror.