What Does It Mean When a Narcissist Goes Quiet? (& How To Respond At That Time?)

What Does It Mean When a Narcissist Goes Quiet? Narcissists going “quiet” or “not responding” seems a little out of place when you experience or face it for the first time. Yes! Indeed a narcissist can do that and go completely quiet either when they are hurt, want to teach you a lesson or simply to gain control back. There are multiple reasons as to why a narcissist would go quiet!

Though the reasons for a narcissist to go quiet vary depending upon individuals and their motives behind behaving so, this article will provide reasons in the form of answers to the question, “What Does It Mean When a Narcissist Goes Quiet?” along with some tips and suggestions for responding at such times. Let us go further and get to know the reason, tips, and some additional information regarding the same.

What does it mean when a Narcissist goes quiet?

By going quiet, here it means that the narcissist has decided to use the silent treatment. But what is the reason behind using the silent treatment or going quiet? Let us find out reasons why a narcissist might choose the silent treatment or go quiet.

What is the Narcissists’ Silent treatment?

Defining silent treatment is interrelated with understanding people with dark personalities. Dark personality traits include sadism, narcissism, psychopathy, greed, spite, and social overtness. The well-known or most aware “Dark Triad” of personality traits include Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Thus people with dark personalities possess many such dark traits and toxic behavioral patterns which include all the above-mentioned traits and many more. One such toxic technique used by dark personalities, especially narcissists is the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive abusive and toxic trait possessed by dark personality people, especially narcissists where they exhibit their disapproval, dislike, disapprobation, disagreements, or criticism without using words but rather with their nonverbal actions. It can be defined as a control mechanism. Their gestures do not contain words but such disapproving actions where they know you exist but just ignore your mere existence. They would display how spiteful they are of your actions without uttering a single word.

The silent treatment tends to represent some sort of anger but with actions and no words. It is usually used to convey sort of negative emotions to the victim of the silent treatment in the form of ignorance or non-verbal communication or action.

If you have been with a narcissist then you might be familiar with the silent treatment, the no-answers zone, or the ignoring phase when there are any issues or inconveniences and misunderstandings in the relationship. Being with a narcissist is as is tough and it needs a lot of perseverance to keep the relationship going with them.

How would a narcissist dispose of that they are going quiet or giving the silent treatment?

There can be a few examples explaining the narcissist’s silent treatment through which you can know that you are being ignored or brushed aside by the narcissist. let us know them further,

Ignoring or withholding communication and personal interactions without providing any explanation.

Using minimal body language to display that they have gone quiet like avoiding eye contact, changing directions as soon as they spot you, intentionally walking away from you when you call them out or just turning a blind eye to what you say.

Punishing you or causing emotional distress by ignoring you or just withdrawing attention.

Refusal to engage in any sort of communication, ignoring making conversations, delaying responding to phone calls, text messages, or just simply feigning ignorance when you try to reach them out.

If very much necessary, by only providing one-word answers like yes or no, or hmmm, or maybe or just grunting. But that’s it, this is only how they would reply to you.

Dismissing or belittling the other person’s feelings and considering them insignificant or unworthy of their attention. They might also ignore your mere existence in the space that they share with you.

By making the person feel guilty or unsure about the course and quality and status of the relationship that they hold with the narcissist.

Using the silent treatment as a form of control, manipulation, and intimidation to get the person to comply with their wishes.

Blaming the other person for their silent treatment by making them feel responsible for their own behavior.

Using social media platforms for indirect communication by post memes, and quotes, suggesting their dismay without addressing the issue directly.

Reasons why a narcissist would choose to go quiet with you!

A narcissist is someone who needs attention, praise, boost, and appreciation all the time. They want to be the center of attraction or the elephant in the room. They just want you to listen to them without putting in your opinion, views, or any criticism most of the time. They just want to dominate the relationship and so when that does not happen, a narcissist feels underappreciated, undervalued, and also unnoticed. This would surely make them furious beyond the range of words. They would treat you like you have done some sin arguing or counter-questioning them.

And thus when something upsets them beyond the reach of words or fury, they would not use their usual technique of lashing out their narcissistic rage but instead just ignore you and let you just be figuring out what went wrong until you go crazy thinking the possible reasons. They would ignore you to the extent that you just cannot leave the matter either nor they would tell you what is wrong. It is like one of their manipulation tactics for you to make efforts for them, convincing and begging them to give you their attention. They would treat you like you no longer matter to them and you just keep attempting vague attempts to know what is wrong.

Also, a few other reasons can be;

  • As a form of Punishment – Narcissists often use silent treatment or choose to go quiet as a form of punishment for not meeting their expectations or for challenging their authority.
  • To feel powerful or superior – Narcissists often go quiet to establish power or superiority over others. The silent treatment or going quiet can give them the upper hand in the relationship.
  • For regulating their emotions – This tactic may be used by a narcissist to regulate their own emotional state. They may withdraw from a situation or person to avoid feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed.
  • Fear of Abandonment – In some cases, a narcissist may give you silent treatment or would go quiet out of fear of abandonment. They believe that this way they would be able to test other people’s loyalty towards them and commitment to the relationship.
  • To gain control – They may use the silent treatment or go quiet just to exert control and manipulate others into making apologies, asking for forgiveness for the things that they have not committed, and ultimately begging for the narcissist’s attention.
  • To avoid – Narcissists may use silent treatment as a way to avoid confrontation, responsibility for their actions, or making any sort of commitment to the relationship.
  • To reveal their indifference – Some narcissists may go quiet or give you silent treatment as a way to display their indifference or lack of interest in a relationship or situation.

What would trigger a narcissist that makes them go quiet or give you the silent treatment?

Narcissists have quite a long list of things that might upset them,

  • Throwing facts or factual data straight at their face
  • Dismissing what they have to say
  • Making them wait
  • Setting firm boundaries
  • Staying put and not reacting
  • Hurting their Pride and Ego
  • Talking to other people and making new friends
  • Denying or saying no
  • Making them lose control
  • Gaslighting them
  • Making small talk or disregarding them
  • Intimidate them with threats like a breakup, cutting off relations, or even leaving them indeed
  • Keep yourself busy in self-care
  • Criticizing them or their behavior and actions
  • Including competitiveness in your conduct
  • Glorifying their failures
  • Dismissing their opinions
  • Pissing them off
  • Acknowledge yourself how their behavior is wrong and you are victimized
  • Ignoring their toxic behavior
  • Praising someone else in their presence
  • Devaluing them
  • Challenging their authority
  • Exposing their nature or intention to others
  • Refusing to comply with their demands
  • Disagreeing with them publicly or in front of others
  • Confronting them about their lies, manipulation, or control tactics
  • Failing to meet their expectations or standards

It is important to note that narcissists use the silent treatment or simply just go quiet, as a way to punish and manipulate others, so it is not always a reflection of something you did wrong.

The Purpose of the Narcissist’s silent treatment or when a narcissist would just go quiet!

The main purpose of the narcissist’s silent treatment is to make their victim feel guilty, confused, and deficient in some way when they have done something to displease the narcissist. Other reasons can possibly be,

  • When they are done with you
  • When they have found a new source of supply
  • When they perceive you as someone who is not up to their mark
  • When you share a concern with one of their flying monkeys
  • When you have done something to upset them and they wish to punish you
  • When they wish to devalue your worth
  • To feel wanted and boost their ego
  • When you have exposed them or figured them out
  • When you set a boundary

When the narcissist goes quiet

When a narcissist goes quiet, they may be withdrawing to protect themselves. This can happen when they feel criticized or when they are feeling vulnerable. They may be spending time in their own head, trying to figure out how to respond or protect themselves from perceived threats.

It is important to remember that narcissistic personalities are not always conscious of why they are behaving a certain way. They may not know why they are acting out or being quiet, and their behavior may be driven by subconscious fears of motivation.

Narcissistic personalities can be very difficult to understand and one of the ways they can express themselves is by going quiet. When a narcissist goes quiet, it can be a sign that they are experiencing frustration, anger, or simply that they are busy with other things. This can be difficult for those around them, as it can be challenging to know how to respond.

How to respond when a Narcissist goes quiet?

The best way to respond when a narcissist goes quiet is to be patient and understanding. Try to give them space if they seem to be withdrawn, and avoid putting pressure on them to open up. The best way to respond is to not give in to their attempts.

It is also important to consider your own feelings and thoughts when a narcissist goes quiet. How are you feeling, and what do you need at the moment? It can be helpful to talk to someone else about what is going on, so you can get a fresh perspective on the situation.

Should You Ignore the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment or the going silent phase? – Just ignoring their silent treatment or ignoring them when they go quiet may elevate your mental peace and can even bring a little joy for defeating them at their own game but this may result in some changes that are not favorable to you. So do not avoid or ignore face them and dealing with them peacefully is one of the easiest ways to get par the silent treatment phase or the going quiet phase.

Finally, if you are dealing with a narcissistic personality on a regular basis, it is important to set boundaries and take care of yourself. This means being assertive when necessary and recognizing when you need to put your own well-being first.


Dealing with narcissistic personalities can be frustrating and challenging, particularly when they go quiet. While it is important to be patient and understanding while dealing with a narcissist, it is also essential to take care of yourself and set boundaries. By being aware of what it means when a narcissist goes quiet and how to respond, you can navigate these tricky situations with more confidence and clarity.

Just ignoring their silent treatment or ignoring them when they go quiet may elevate your mental peace and can even bring a little joy for defeating them at their own game but this may result in some changes that are not favorable to you. So do not avoid or ignore face them and dealing with them peacefully is one of the easiest ways to get par the silent treatment phase or the going quiet phase.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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