Being ignored is an awful experience, which can leave you feeling anxious, confused and even filled with shame.
Why does a narcissist ignore you and inflict their cruel silent treatment without warning? Narcissists are masterful manipulators and know exactly how to trigger your deep wounds of insecurity. Ignoring you is a passive aggressive strategy to punish you by withholding all attention, affection and communication.
Ignoring and ghosting is actually an emotionally immature way to avoid having to engage in conflict resolution and to evade accountability for any wrongdoings.
Let’s dig deeper into the mechanics behind the narcissist’s silent treatment to find out why they do it.
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Why Does a Narcissist Ignore You?
To Regain the Position of Power
The narcissistic silent treatment is so much more than just an inconvenient aloofness to endure. It’s all about control.
Why does a narcissist ignore you to regain their position of power? Well, if the narcissist feels that their control over you is slipping in some way, they need to reestablish their grip on you pronto.
Two of the narcissist’s biggest fears are rejection and abandonment. Given that the narcissist is an inverted self, everything that they do is flipped, creating so much confusion that you think you’re going crazy!
So, in order for them to control not being rejected or abandoned, they will do those very things to you instead. Insane, right?
Being given the silent treatment serves to reiterate that they call all of the shots and that you must dance to the beat of their drum exactly when and how they say.
Something may have even occurred, which caused a narcissistic injury (triggered a deep wound) within the narcissist. However, since they absolutely refuse to see that there is anything in them that needs to be addressed or tended to, they project their hurt outward onto you.
The narcissist doesn’t have the resources to feel compassion or empathy about how their actions are painfully affecting you because they have no conscience. They simply do not care. This is all about manipulating you into getting what they want, which is for you to stick around so that they can siphon out your life force energy.
When the narcissist ignores you, they are showing you that you’re completely irrelevant and can be extinguished from their world at any given moment. You feel so unstable by having their time, attention and communication taken away that you spiral into needing it from them more than ever before.
Think of a puppeteer, pulling the strings of the puppet, while being in complete control. That’s exactly how the narcissist expects to control you by withholding their attention at random intervals, then giving it back only when it suits them.
This takes us to the next big reason why a narcissist ignores you – trauma bonding.
To Strengthen the Trauma Bond
Quite often with a narcissist, they can ignore you and dish up the silent treatment totally out of the blue. Their hot/ cold energy serves to keep you in a state of anxiety, which is exactly what is needed to strengthen a trauma bond.
Where an abuse victim feels emotionally connected and loyal to their abuser. The bond is formed subtly over time through repeated patterns of abuse whereby the abuser becomes the victim’s only source of validation and security.
The trauma bond is created with the delivery of intermittent punishments, which are then followed by ‘rewards’ for what the narcissist deems as good behaviour.
Why does a narcissist ignore you at seemingly random intervals? Because the basis of a trauma bond requires a narcissist to punish you at inconsistent times, so that you never know when to expect it from them.
The punishment is often a narcissistic silent treatment, where they completely withhold communication, affection and attention from you.
You are left in a state of anxiety because there you were, cruising along, then out of nowhere you’re being punished. Oftentimes you have no idea what you’ve done to have caused the silent treatment. Other times, the narcissist seems to create drama out of thin air just to have an excuse to induce the punishment.
Either way, your nervous system is feeling pretty fried as you fret about how you can gain the narcissist’s approval and simply be seen as a worthy human being.
When the narcissist feels like it, they’ll deliver you some type of ‘reward,’ which you soak up like you’ve just been given a million dollars. You feel such immense relief that the narcissist’s silent treatment has finally come to an end that you aggrandise their tiny breadcrumb and are happy to pretend like nothing even happened. You just want things to go back to ‘normal’ so that you can feel okay again.
Through this process, none of the narcissist’s abusive behaviour is ever addressed, which effectively means you’ve just ‘okayed’ it for future use.
The intermittent reward delivered after a silent treatment is often something so small as them starting to talk to you again, as if nothing ever went down. By holding you in a state of not knowing when the reward will come, they condition you to always want to please them in the hopes of receiving any old scrap of attention.
To delve further into the full cycle of trauma bonding, check out the article below.
To Devalue You
Why does a narcissist ignore you to such extreme lengths unless they intend to impose a harsh lesson on you? That’s exactly what the narcissistic silent treatment is used for.
The narcissist actively sets out to make you feel as though you do not even exist to them anymore. Their silence can be so vindictively cruel (especially if you still have to see them), that they will smugly exterminate you from their world.
Their intention is to devalue you and make you feel as though you do not matter. This further instills that your thoughts and feelings are irrelevant and the only one in the room who is of any significance is the narcissist.
As the person at the receiving end of the narcissist’s stonewalling, you will feel so excluded and devastated that you’ll do anything to appease the narcissist and get back into their good graces. This means handing over more of your resources to the narc, which can come in the form of independence, money, sex, personal boundaries, beliefs and so on.
By devaluing you through their silence, they work to erode your confidence and self-worth to such a dismally low point that you really think you’re not worthy of anything better. This is a psychologically abusive way to keep you stuck in the relationship for their own selfish gain.
They’re Low on Supply
If things are too calm and peaceful in the narcissist’s world, they will start to sink within. When that happens, they’ll begin to feel that which sits deep inside of themselves – utter self-loathing, unworthiness and deep-seated shame and resentment.
The narcissist absolutely despises being alone with themselves. They know that they need a quick hit of energetic supply to stop from spiralling down into the darkest recesses of themselves.
One way to achieve narcissistic supply in a hurry is to enact the silent treatment on you, because they know you’ll be deeply triggered by their severing act.
Given that their silence has come completely out of nowhere, you’re left totally confused as to what has caused the issue with them in the first place.
Straight up, you’ll be pandering to the narcissist and giving them attention, which is ultimately what their false self is craving.
You’ll ask the narcissist…
“Is everything okay?”
“Have I done something to hurt you?”
“Is there anything I can do for you?”
“How can I make this better?”
The truth is, you haven’t done a damn thing wrong, but the narcissist’s warped perspective will peg you as the target in some twisted way. You probably won’t get any answers from the narcissist as to what’s wrong, because there is no answer!
What they really want is to make absolute sure that you are idolising them and placing them at the centre of the universe. By enacting the silent treatment, you feel anxious and insecure, therefore you drop everything else and make the narcissist the full focus of your time and energy.
So, why does a narcissist ignore you? To get you to hand over Grade A narcissistic supply when they are lacking energy. You go right ahead and hand over your precious life force energy in order to attempt a reconciliation with the narcissist. You’re hanging on the hope that they’ll stop treating you as though you don’t exist and that you can, in turn, feel better again.
It’s a vicious infinite cycle. The narcissist is a black hole, which can never be filled, however they will continue to spend their lives sucking the life out of those around them in an attempt to alleviate their own emptiness.
The only solution is for you to exit their funnel of a black hole and stop feeding the bottomless pit at your own demise.
|READ: Narc Supply Explained →|
They Want You to Chase Them
Why does a narcissist ignore you if they actually want your constant attention, validation and admiration? Because they want you to chase them.
Being chased makes the narcissist feel extremely important and serves to inflate their ego.
“If they want me this much and put so much effort into me, I must be extremely valuable and superior.”
The narcissist withholds their attention from you because in their arrogance, they deem themselves to be a God who must be revered at all times.
If they feel like you haven’t been giving them enough attention, they’ll withhold from you with the expectation that you will come grovelling back to them. Even then, they may still refrain from ending the silent treatment, because now you need to be punished for daring to pull your energy away from them and focusing on other things.
The narcissist loves to be avoidant, while watching their minions fawn at their feet, vying for any scrap of attention. In the narcissist’s insane reality, they truly see themselves as the highest power, whereby you should be so lucky to get anything from them.
They Refuse to Give to You in Your Time of Need
The idea of being a supportive partner to you when you’re going through a sickness, injury or devastating event is absolutely abhorrent to the narcissist. You are there to serve them with undivided attention and unlimited energetic supply. How dare you take that supply away from them and ask for them to give to you in any way.
My narcissistic ex husband was guilty of this behaviour. I was entirely programmed to push my own needs so far under the rug, it’s actually heartbreaking.
I remember doing a full day of bushwalking while we were travelling and by the time we got back, I could hardly walk. My pelvis and hips were so incredibly sore due to not 100% healing properly after having our second child. His sympathy level was in the negative as he made me back up the next day with even more bushwalking, despite being in pain. His ego’s need to complete all of the trails far outweighed my physical concerns.
As with so many narc victims and codependents, I never prioritised getting my body seen to after the childbirth because we didn’t have the money and I was so accustomed to ignoring my own needs.
I have another clear memory of being in agony one day as my period came in. I was used to having painful cramping periodically, however this particular period felt so much like labour pains that I couldn’t ignore it. We had planned to spend the day outside doing the yard work, but given my current situation, I couldn’t even get off the bed to heat a hot water bottle. In came my husband, to whom I expressed my concerns. He flew into a rage and yelled, “Effing hell, you’ll do anything to get out of work, won’t you!” Then went outside in anger, not talking to me again for 24 hours.
Why does a narcissist ignore you in your time of need? Being severely punished by a narcissist for taking the focus (i.e. energetic supply) off them and needing your own support is so common in narcissistic relationships. It works to reiterate that they are the only important person in the relationship. You mean nothing and your needs are completely irrelevant.
They’re Entertaining New Supply
This tactic is one that became particularly obvious to me after I left my narcissistic husband. He was an absolute monster towards me after the break-up, because he was not yet done with me. Between threats, hoovering, guilt-tripping, playing the victim, rage and more gaslighting, I was a wreck. But I held firm and never gave in to him.
Then one day, it’s like he just dropped off the face of the Earth (besides coming to collect the kids). This form of silent treatment was in direct correlation with him love bombing a new, younger, perkier supply. I cannot tell you the level of relief I felt that he’d found a new point of focus (victim).
Although I then had to face the stark reality that if he was able to move on so fast, how could he have truly loved me in the way he was professing just weeks prior? It was a heartbreaking experience to go through as I’m sure many of you can relate to.
However, why does a narcissist ignore you when you’re still in a relationship with them? Unfortunately, the answer is quite often still the same. Their ‘late nights at work’ and ‘weekends with their friends’ may actually be them entertaining new supply.
To a narcissist, attention, admiration and excitement are their drug. All of these things directly provide the narc with energetic supply, which they need in order to feed their false self and keep it alive.
If things are boring at home or they’re not getting large amounts of supply from you, they’ll go elsewhere. As devastating as this is, it’s more often than not, the truth.
I have no hard evidence that my husband ever cheated on me, however, knowing what I know now, my instinct tells me otherwise. He threatened to do it many times and he told me during the break-up that he had plenty of chances to cheat on me and now wished he’d done it. In hindsight, it sounds like more inverted truths and rewriting of history to control the storyline and serve his own ‘victim/ good guy’ agenda.
So, why would the narcissist keep you hanging around if they’re off with other people? There are obviously many benefits in it for them or they would simply discard you.
Why the narcissist will stay with you while seeing other people:
- You serve to feed their appearance of ‘happy families’ or ‘happy home’
- You keep the household running while they’re off doing whatever they want
- When supply dries up, they can come back to suck more out of you
- You offer food, sex, money, a place to live etc.
- Getting away with it makes them feel powerful
- Having multiple people giving to them feeds their superiority complex
- They know they can get you to hand over more of your life force energy
The most final reason why a narcissist ignores you is when they are completely and utterly done with you.
Once the narcissist deems that you have nothing left of value to offer them, they’ll go silent for good. You will never receive any closure or explanation as to what’s happened. They will simply disappear into the sunset, arm in arm with their new fully charged supply.
To the narcissist, you have been completely extinguished from their life. There is nothing in it for them anymore, therefore you are erased. They have no interest in talking about what’s happened or trying to work it out because they have zero intention of explaining anything or being held to account.
You were only ever an item for them to use, abuse and empty out. Now that you’ve been depleted or replaced with a better item, you’re yesterday’s trash.
Being given the ultimate silence from a narcissist in the form of a final discard can be absolutely soul-crushing to experience. You were so invested in this person, who you thought was also invested in you. Yet their cruel behaviour is in stark contrast to what you thought the relationship was.
As devastating as a final discard is, you are now given the opportunity and space to begin to see the abusive relationship for what it was. This is your precious time to finally be able to heal from all of the trauma the narcissist so expertly drew out of you.
What Happens If You Ignore the Narcissist Right Back?
If you respond to the narcissist’s silent treatment by ignoring them right back, the narcissist will not be impressed. To be honest, they’ll still think that they’re in control of the whole situation. However, once they decide to waltz back into your life and you respond with No Contact or indifference, that’s when they’ll know they’ve lost their power.
Some things you can expect if you ignore a narcissist:
- Rage – they’ll lose it at you because they expect to be the one in control
- Hoover – restart the ‘love bombing’ cycle to try and hoover you back in
- False Apologies – offer false apologies and promises
- Guilt – play the victim to guilt you back into their abuse cycle
- Threats & Accusations – falsely accuse you of things in order to get you defending yourself and engaging with them again
- Smear Campaign – rewrite history to make themselves appear to be the sane/ good one, while completely destroying you in the process
- Flying Monkeys – use people (including your friends and family) to spy on you and enact their abuse by proxy
- New Supply – if they can’t get anything out of you anymore, they’ll move onto new supply
Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
A narcissistic discard is a shocking mic drop, dishing you up the ultimate truth, which you were never able to see before now. The narcissist is a self-serving, soulless creature, who never respected you and sees you as utterly worthless once they’re done with you.
Once we finally extricate ourselves from the narcissistic relationship, we often shatter into a million pieces and hit a massive fork in the road.
Two after effects of a narcissistic relationship:
- Spiral down into C-PTSD, while getting more and more sick. We are at risk of shutting people out all together, or repeating the same cycle with another narcissist.
- Hit rock bottom and give ourselves no other option but to heal and become someone better as a result of the experience.
One big lesson that narcissists come into our lives to teach us is that we’ve been programmed to hand our power over to forces outside of ourselves. This is an ancient human belief, which was really driven home in the Middle Ages when the patriarchy took hold.
The truth is that no other being can or should be responsible for ‘us.’ Only when we come back home to our higher selves and learn to be our own source of love, validation, approval and security can we authentically experience those things in our outer world.
The job of the narcissist was to so expertly manipulate you into handing your power over, that the results were catastrophic. Unfortunately it had to be that cruel and dramatic so as to make such a huge impact in your life that you would sit up and take notice.
Along with handing your power and life force over to the narc, they also managed to locate and shine a spotlight on your deepest, darkest wounds. The silver lining here is that you are now fully aware of what your traumas are, which have been screaming at you to be seen, heard and healed.
If only the narcissist knew that their very role in your life was to elevate you to such a high vibrational place that they effectively extinguished their own existence! Isn’t it just beautiful.
From my own personal experience, the only healing modality that I’ve found to truly heal me from PTSD and fully release all ties with the narcissist has been through energetic healing on a spiritual level.
I was raised by an overly controlling narcissistic mother, then fell into the arms of a covert narcissist man (boy), who spent the next two decades eroding what was left of me.
I’ve tried many techniques to get better, but energetic healing was the only true one to have worked. If you’re keen to find out more, check out the purple box below.
I hope this article has helped to understand the question, ‘why does a narcissist ignore you?’ along with what to expect in return and how you can heal yourself beyond the narc’s realm.
|REMOTE HEALING SESSIONS|
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