Has a narcissist suddenly stopped communicating with you?
It’s important to note that couples, friends, and family members can go through communication issues, including brief stonewalling in the form of “silent treatment.”
However, people who aren’t narcissists can work past communication issues when they want to. It’s worse when a narcissist stonewalls you since that person doesn’t care about you or fixing problems.
The narcissist isn’t taking a healthy timeout and planning to work it out. Instead, the narcissist uses stonewalling as a form of control.
Also, stonewalling and other maladaptive behaviors narcissists display are usually tied to their fear of abandonment and insecurity.
Although stonewalling often involves silence, it doesn’t mean complete silence all the time. The narcissist can shut you out in other ways. If you think you’re being stonewalled, look for these signs.
1. The narcissist starts ignoring you suddenly or more often
A narcissist may ignore a person for any reason or an imagined one. When victims try to defend themselves or show signs of being able to survive without a narcissist, immediate silent treatment may be the first response.
Perhaps you just decided without the narcissist. Even if the decision is logically in the narcissist’s best interest, they may not see it that way.
Maybe you argued or disagreed with the narcissist on something. The immediate response was the silent treatment.
Remember that narcissists can tie their beliefs or opinions to the false persona they try hard to maintain. Disagreeing with them is often perceived as a personal attack.
While stonewalling may last an hour or a day when two people simply disagree and have communication issues, it can last much longer with a narcissist.
As someone highly sensitive, you’ll also pick up on the fact that the narcissist is trying to control you with continued stonewalling.
2. Conversations are done before they even start
The theme to remember with narcissist stonewalling is that they refuse to communicate. That can happen in several ways other than the silent treatment, and this is one of them.
We’ll cover some more in the following points.
Narcissists are good at evading subjects that feel threatening to them or may be perceived as a personal attack.
Perhaps you told the narcissist that you were unhappy about how you were treated. The narcissist immediately denied any wrongdoing, used gaslighting to make you think you imagined it, and shut you down.
Sometimes, narcissists leave a room when you’re talking to end a conversation attempt.
After an incident like that, the narcissist’s anger may escalate. You’ll be made to feel like a bully for bringing up any concerns again, so you may just keep them to yourself.
Even though not being able to voice your feelings over being abused is damaging to you, the narcissist could care less.
If you start standing up for yourself often, you may notice that the narcissist stops talking to you completely or avoids you even more. At that point, the narcissist may be getting ready to discard you.
3. Everything you say that isn’t ignored is dismissed
Whether a narcissist starts ignoring a victim or refusing to communicate in another way, this is almost inevitable. Even when they’re not stonewalling victims, narcissists will often dismiss some things others say.
When you try to talk to narcissists about anything, they make you feel like what you say is meaningless. Maybe you had a bad day at work and just want someone to talk to.
The narcissist gives you a disparaging response to make you feel like you’re being dramatic.
With stonewalling, the reverse may happen instead. For example, you may ask the narcissist about their day.
Instead of going on about every detail of their day and trying to make you somehow feel sorry for them, the stonewalling narcissist will brush off what you say.
The reply is usually short, and the narcissist may act annoyed.
If you ask questions or try to have a conversation about anything, the narcissist may act disgusted that you’re talking.
You’ll feel like a bother, and you may start to question yourself if you’ve already been gaslighted and manipulated a lot by the narcissist.
4. The narcissist makes fun of you or patronizes you
Other tactic narcissists use for avoiding communication through stonewalling is making fun of what victims say. They may patronize victims instead to shut them down or make them feel smaller.
Covert narcissists are especially good at these tactics.
Let’s say you’re offered a job, a promotion, or something else that makes the narcissist feel threatened. Instead of expressing concern over possibly losing you, the narcissist may put you down and make fun of you or the new job.
For example, if you were accepted into veterinary school, the narcissist may think they’ll lose you. In the narcissist’s mind, you’ll make more money or find another partner, best friend, or favored coworker.
The narcissist will attack your choice, probably trying to make you feel bad about the possibility of euthanizing animals or doing some unpleasant tasks.
You won’t hear any praise for your kindheartedness and desire to help animals.
Whatever the source or outcome of your success, the narcissist may even make it sound like it’ll be an embarrassment to them.
The key to remember is if you’re considering doing something to make your own life better, the insecure narcissist only sees how it may affect them.
5. You have to jump through hoops to get information, only to be disappointed
At this point, it’s common for victims to feel like all conversation is a one-way street. You’re trying your best to discover why the narcissist has been giving you the silent treatment or refusing to communicate for so long.
You’re frustrated, and you’re trying new tactics to get information.
For example, you may offer to take the narcissist to their favorite restaurant. Since it benefits them, they agree. You politely say that you miss hearing the narcissist talk or share their feelings.
The narcissist may give you a vague answer, hinting that you should know why they’re upset. They may also deny being upset.
It’s also possible for a narcissist to vaguely indicate that you should remember something they said long ago. You may go to great lengths to relive the narcissist’s happier days and try to remind that person of them.
Narcissists are lazy and expect people to read their minds. However, there’s no pleasing a narcissist who’s stonewalling you.
6. They never take responsibility for stonewalling you or the damage it does
Stonewalling is a vicious cycle with a narcissist. When a victim brings up poor treatment and wants to solve communication issues, the narcissist responds by intensifying their abusive behaviors.
You ask the narcissist why you’ve been ignored or dismissed for the past month. The narcissist answers your question with another question or starts doing something else to avoid the conversation.
The response may be rude or manipulative. For example, an overt narcissist may just roll their eyes, walk out of the room and continue dismissing or disregarding you.
On the other hand, a covert narcissist may find a sneakier way to divert your attention away from what’s bothering you.
If it gets to the point you need to talk to a counselor because you feel so alone, you’ll probably hear dismissive or mocking comments from the narcissist.
7. Your feelings of fear, anxiety, and doubt are amplifying
When you notice this in addition to the previous points, it’s a telltale sign that you’re being used by a narcissist.
Narcissists use people in phases even if they’re unaware, they follow patterns. The increased fear, anxiety, and doubt come with the devaluation phase, after they pretend to be the perfect person.
In this phase, the narcissist does things to make you feel worthless. They may not tell you you’re worthless, but their actions will make you question your worth.
You’ll also question your sanity, and you’ll grow to fear losing the narcissist. The anxiety you feel over that causes you to do about anything to make the narcissist happy.
Keep in mind that narcissists feed on control. As long as you keep focusing on them and trying to make them happy, they know they can manipulate you for anything until you’re no longer useful to them.
When you notice these signs, it’s time to put your well-being first. The narcissist never will. With stonewalling, there’s no winner in any type of relationship. Breaking free is hard, but it’s worth it for your future.
If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.
You don’t need to go through this alone. There’s no shame in getting help!
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