When is the Silent Treatment NOT the Silent Treatment?

If you’re human…

and not some alien from another planet who ended up on Earth and is stuck here (through no fault of your own, of course),

because your own people have abandoned you (you volunteered for this mission and they warned you that if it goes wrong they’re just going to pretend they don’t know you because of intergalactic diplomatic issues),

they are giving you the cosmic version of the silent treatment (which is colder than the farthest planet from the Sun),

or maybe they just haven’t had time to notice that you’ve sent a distress signal (it’s a tiny blip on their radar and they’re so busy with so many blips… coming from all the beings from your planet and species which are spread across so many galaxies getting into all sorts of predicaments on other planets with other species).

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The universe - Neil Degrasse Tyson

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If you’re human…

you’re prone to lots of things which other humans are prone to,

but when they do it it’s annoying…

when you do it it’s okay and why are they getting annoyed at you!?!

If you don’t reply to their text, email, phone call, knock on the door, etc, you have very good reasons, excuses, justifications, righteous rightnesses, etc, which are logical and they should understand, empathise, and let you get away with something which… you don’t let them get away with when they do the same thing to you, in spite of the logical reasons, excuses, justifications, etc, which they give you and which you could understand and empathise with if you…

weren’t taking what they do to you personally while expecting them not to do that with what you do to them.

*conditions apply and batteries are not included (so buy your own and don’t blame the manufacturer because they told you in smallprint that batteries were not included).

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texting-thoughts

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If you’re human…

and have somehow stumbled across information about narcissists and looked into it a bit…

read a few articles about it (skimming over the bits which were boring and didn’t apply to anything relevant to you)…

and found a few things which…

WOW!…

this totally applies to a bunch of people you know (but not you, of course, or just a little bit but those are crumbs which can be brushed off)…

and explains to you why they weren’t catering to your every need, dropping everything because you needed their attention ASAP, going on about themselves which was tedious because you wanted to go on about yourself because that’s interesting…

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capturing-interest

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made you think that some of those you know must be narcissists,

particularly because of the whole ‘silent treatment’ factor…

that must be what they’re doing when they ignore you… they must be giving you the ‘silent treatment’… because otherwise why would they not respond to you immediately when you contact them and need them to notice you then and there!?!

It’s not because they’re busy with their own lives, didn’t have time for you (WHAT!!!???!!!), were just taking a break (because they’re effing knackered out by life and the demands of it… oh, the good old days when the internet and texting, email, etc didn’t exist (and people waited patiently for you to have a private nap)… enjoying some radio silence because they’re perhaps a bit overwhelmed and need some ‘me’ time (if it’s not me=you time then you’re not interested or understanding about it!).

maybe you need a more defined definition of who a narcissist is and who a narcissist isn’t,

and what the silent treatment is and what the silent treatment isn’t…

because it can be confusing and it is easy to get confused… if you’re human.

Let’s go with an example from a recent story which has been doing the rounds in the news (in non-prime world news news – this stuff isn’t serious, but it’s serious in a way which is all too human and what happens in this kind of news ripples into what happens in other kind of news in certain ways, because it all involves humans – mainly).

One version of this story can be found here – This UCLA Student’s Alarmingly Heated Email Exchange is Reason Enough To Switch Rooms

The person who wrote this email:

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narcissistic-roommate

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to her new college roommates whom she had not yet met is typically narcissistic…

and was typically narcissistic in her conviction that she was being given ‘the silent treatment’ – narcissists know the term ‘silent treatment’ and also what it entails – someone not talking to them when they want someone to talk to them, silence which they find incredibly uncomfortable and fill with all sorts of thoughts, words, talk and paranoia… but they don’t self-reflect and thus what they imagine during this silence when someone isn’t catering to their need for immediate attention becomes a reality.

If a narcissist decides that you’re giving them the silent treatment… don’t bother tryign to explain to them that you’re not, and what they think is the silent treatment is NOT the silent treatment (see below excerpt).

If I had received this missive I’d diagnose her as being a narcissist (even though I’m not a professional and not allowed to diagnose people)… and I’d be considering ways of getting out of having to share a room with this person (ways which might include not going to college at this time), because this is just the tip of their narcissist drama iceberg (she confirms this suspicion in a later email when she describes herself as a ‘ticking time bomb’ amongst other self-descriptions which don’t leave much room for hoping for the best).

If someone is this narcissistic when they don’t even know you (most narcissists are rather charming when you only know them superficially and inititially, they only show their nasty wet and fed after midnight gremlin side after you get to know them) then things aren’t going to get better from here…

One of the roommates decided to reply… and be bold about it, stand up for themselves and their other roommate, set boundaries and confront matters (I admire the gumption and bravery):

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reply-to-narcissistic-roommate

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Although it was a tad bitchy (can’t really resist a bit of tit for tat and frankly sometimes it’s the only way to get through to someone who speaks in the language of bitchy) it tried to stay on a non-bitchy course and did a good job of it…

it tried to explain that the perceived silent treatment was NOT the silent treatment…

but

a narcissistic person was involved and even if this reply had been written by the best diplomat in the galaxy… drama shit would still hit the fan

The narcissistic roommate’s subsequent reply confirms even more that this is ‘written by a narcissist’:

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narcissistic-roommate-response

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because it’s a mess of contradictions and stories.

One minute she’s chilled as a chilly chilled chillness and the next minute she’s hot and about to explode… and everyone else must understand that this is not her fault but their fault, the fault of everyone but her – she’s trying here!!! She’s got issues (apparently no one else has these things) but she’s doing her best to sort those out (everyone must cater to this while she doesn’t actually do this but uses it to keep them under her thumb). She’s sharing and caring… now do what she wants or she’ll share the eff out of you until you wish you didn’t have a caring bone in your body…

Did I mention that this story contains humans…

and humans…

really can’t be contained.

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what-people-expect

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If you’re human…

you’ve probably inadvertantly made other humans think that maybe you were given them the silent treatment because…

You didn’t reply to their text, email, comment on your blog, phone call, etc… they may take forever to reply to you but you’re not allowed to take forever to reply to them, they won’t understand but will expect you to understand – this is human!

They took your lack of reply personally – rather than see it as being personal to you (you’re busy, tired, didn’t notice their message… eek!… your Wifi is a mess, you’re just… a worn out modern human)

Maybe you were deliberately ignoring them – they do this too to others, to you, but DON’T do it to them especially if they’re regular doers of ignoring others because… NO, No, no…. they can do it to others, others can’t do it to them! Or they’ll think you’re doing it to them for the reasons they do it to others and that’s just not what they signed on for with this contract of this relationship!

And other human stuff!

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greathumanshark

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If you’re looking for the ‘silent treatment’ you’ll find it…

whether it’s the official narcissist version of it is another matter entirely.

It’s worth noting that if a narcissist gives you the official narcissist silent treatment – it’s not about you it’s about them and if you want to understand what it’s really about you need to stop thinking it’s about you. It’s always about them – and the silent treatment which a narcissist gives you is usually triggered by the narcissist wanting to avoid something which made them feel embarrassed, awkward about, not perfect, ideal, and too human…

it’s where they go when they’re sulking because they made a mistake and think you noticed that mistake and will now never let them forget about it…

luckily for them you were probably not paying the kind of close attention to them which they’re convinced everyone should be, they think everyone is scanning them like they scan themselves and others, looking for faults, flaws, bugs, viruses, so what triggered their silent treatment went either completely unnoticed by you… or you just didn’t notice because you were paying attention to yourself rather than them (oh… what a faux pas!)

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excuses et cetera

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The narcissist’s silent treatment… isn’t about you, isn’t for you, isn’t aiming to manipulate you… but the fact that it does allow them to manipulate you (perhaps only because you think that’s what they’re doing with it) is a bonus for them which you give them by letting such a thing as their selfish silence unnerve you and leave you open to them.

I’ve been there… let their silence make me play myself and then blame them for playing me with it…

Narcissists don’t really need to do anything (which is great because they feel paralysed most of the time due to their perfectionism and idealism) we do it all for them.

They sulk because they effed up and want to hide until no one remembers they effed up (until they can wipe it from their memory which is the same as everyone’s memory because… we are Borg)… and we turn their sulk into something done by Machiavelli (but Machiavelli isn’t who we think he was).

Perception is distorted and that distortion becomes what we see…

Look, look, look how much we’re bending over backwards to turn their frown into a smile… why!?!

If you’re human… you know why.

And now look at how angry we are because they didn’t appreciate what we did and we hated doing it so…

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clockwork O meme

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now what…?

There’s a bittersweet side to the real silent treatment from a real narcissist – it’s pretty much the only time they shut up and you have a moment to yourself… without them wittering on and on and on…

we should carpe the diem out of it….

unfortunately rather than use that silence and moment to yourself for yourself… for some much needed self-reflection and other things which might be nourishing and helpful to you, you fill it with paranoia (a gift a narcissist teaches you if you didn’t already have it), you wait anxiously for the other shoe to drop (because with a real narcissist there is a shoe on the ceiling and it will drop… on your head… bringing all sorts of drama shit which was on its sole with it…), for the sword of Damocles to chop your head off (or something equally gruesome), you fill that silence with all your bogeymen… and they come to get you.

Your own bogeymen can make the bogies of a narcissist seem rather tame (or is that just me?).

If you’re human… you have what other humans have and can imagine what they have,

you think what they think and can imagine what they think…

and fill their silence with your noise, which may be the same as your own noise.

Narcissists are human… and have all the human mess which all humans have… it’s just that we don;t want our mess to be like theirs and so we prefer to see them as not being human.

They are…

we are…

mess ensues…

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