You stand there in disbelief as the narcissist in your life hurls insults and accusations at you again.
You need to fight back and defend yourself, right?
The problem is, thats exactly what the narcissist wants you to do so they can continue sucking you into the Narcissistic Vortex. So, you resolve to give them the cold shoulder for a while and respond to their texts with one-word answers. That will surely teach them a lesson.
Except, in reality, it wont because narcissists dont process and experience emotions as average people do.
In fact, it will likely backfire in the long-run. Theres a very specific time and place to effectively ignore a narcissist. Unfortunately, most people get it wrong.
Still, complete liberation from narcissistic abuseispossible.
And with a comprehensive narcissistic abuse recovery program, you can come out the other side stronger than ever.
But first, lets talk about how to avoid the misapplication of the popular Gray Rock method and what everyone needs to know about ignoring a narcissist that ignores you.
Ignoring a Narcissist: How Most People Get It Wrong
If youve spent any amount of time researching how to ignore a narcissist, youve likely come across the Grey Rock method at some point.
The Grey Rock method suggestsvictims of narcissistic abuse should behave, well, like a grey rock: simply go about your day making yourself as boring and emotionless to the narcissist as possible. If the narcissist cant get their ego fix from occupying your attention, theyll eventually get bored and seek attention somewhere else.
The goal is to continue communicating with the narcissist without falling into their trap: the endless cycle of fighting and abuse, more aptly referred to as the Narcissistic Vortex.
If were speaking purely theoretically, this should work.
After all, theres no reason you cant just start ignoring a narcissist and only speak to them when its absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, like most interpersonal relationship problems, its really not so simple.
They want your attention just stop giving it to them sounds remarkably like you have a drinking problem so just stop drinking or he is hitting you so just leave. This strategy doesnt work for other types of abusive relationships and addictions.
So why on earth do we expect it to work with a narcissist?
Not to mention, can we talk for a second about how insulting it is for an abuse victim to simply turn themselves into a boring shell of a person just to avoid the wrath of a narcissist?
Its true that there are situations where you simply cannot remove the narcissist from your life due to legal or employment obligations. However, these situations do not make up the majority of narcissistic abuse cases.
Ignoring a Narcissist is Not the Best Revenge
Ignoring a narcissist should be a last resort: a tactic you use in situations where you have no other choice.
It shouldnot be your go-to strategy.
Chances are, the narcissist in your life has spent months, years, or even decades hurting you every chance they get. They manipulate your emotions into believingtheyrethe victim andyourethe bad guy even when you bring up situations where theyve very clearly harmed you.
Once you have a moment of clarity and start to identify their manipulative behavioral patterns, its very natural to start craving revenge.
Theyve made you suffer through horrible emotions like worthlessness, guilt, and shame all for the crime of wanting to be loved and respected like any human deserves (and to the narcissists benefit nonetheless).
Who wouldnt want to inflict hurtful emotions back onto them?
Its important to remember that this approach wont play out in real life like it does in your mind because youre hoping to appeal to the narcissists emotions, assuming they would feel the same way you do. But, emotions are simply tools the narcissist uses to manipulate others: they react to things in order to elicit a specific reaction from you.
Dont be fooled: their emotions arenevergenuine and theyll use your emotions against you later.
Thats why ignoring a narcissist wont work.
Any rehabilitated alcoholic knows that you cant stop drinking but keep a bottle of wine in the cabinet for cooking or a liquor bottle on the counter for company. In fact, someone with years of recovery would laugh at these notions.
(And just like alcoholism, a narcissistic abuse recovery program can make the difference between sobriety and relapse.)
Before moving forward, you need to completely write off the idea that you will ever get revenge or even closure for the abuse you suffered at the hands of the narcissist.
Your revenge will be living a happy, functioning life free from narcissistic abuse.
And it will feel better than any revenge or false sense of closure.
Principles of Psychology You Can Use When Ignoring A Narcissist
The oldest trick in the book that doesnt work: ignoring a narcissist who ignores you.
Lots of therapists, books, and websites will tell you that this is the best way to deal with a narcissist. This harmful advice suggests that by ignoring the narcissist, you can hit them where it hurts: their ego.
Stop giving them their fix and theyll go somewhere else to get it.
The problem with this approach is that youre also hoping to get a fix out of this as well: a brief moment of love and affection from the empty-hearted narcissist. Ignoring a narcissist who ignores you only encourages them to hoover. They know that you want respect, dignity, and love so they will exhibit behaviors that fool you into thinking they really have changed.
But these behaviors are completely contrived to suck you back in like a Hoover vacuum. This false compassion is entirely performative.
Contrary to popular belief, narcissistsdo have empathy. Its just not the compassionate kind we normally associate with the term. This dangerous concept known ascognitive empathyis frequently utilized by professional torturers to objectively get inside a victims head and manipulate emotions for their own gain.
Some time might have passed but it doesnt mean your abuser is no longer a narcissist. After a short period of phony love and remorse, the abusive and manipulative behavior will come right back.
Ignoring a Narcissist: 6 Steps to Get It Right
Attempting to ignore a narcissist, implementing the Gray Rock method, or going no response should never be your first line of defense.
Thats because these strategies actually feed into the narcissists cycle of abuse.
Here are a few steps you can take to precede your comprehensive narcissistic abuse recovery without allowing them to hoover and suck you back in.
- No Contact.Going cold turkey isnt easy but honestly, its the only permanent solution. You have to end the communication and relationship for good. No windows or loopholes for texts, emails, or phone calls cut them out completely. Its not much different from living near a nuclear plant. There are toxins in the environment and the only way to get away from them for good is to leave.
- Recognize your attachment to the relationship.You need to admit that youre also getting something out of this relationship. Why else would you stay for so long? We tend to crave the narcissists rare affection like a drug fix and theres never enough to satisfy because its never genuine love.
- Dont blame yourself.Remember that the narcissist does not experience emotions like you do. When they hurl insults, theyre trying to strike you where it hurts because thats whats worked for them in the past. Dont listen to them and dont give them the satisfaction. You deserve to be treated with respect and responding to their insults will only suck you back in.
- Admit that you need help.Just like with drug and alcohol recovery, you cant do this alone without relapsing. One day youll cave and answer their text with a one-word answer. Before you know it, youll be back in the same cycle of abuse. Find anarcissistic abuse recovery programto help and surround yourself with supportive people.
- Identify your limitations.If the narcissist in your life is a coworker or co-parent, you might not be able to cut them out completely. These are the only situations where implementing the Gray Rock method or minimal contact is acceptable. Give only straightforward answers when absolutely necessary like one-word answers, times, and dates. However, you still need a strategy to avoid the narcissists hoovering and your own relapse.
- Implement other tools.Consider using communication monitoring apps as a third-party buffer between you and the narcissist. It will help keep your interactions minimal and robotic like they should be. If an app isnt the best idea for your situation, employ a trusted friend (or professional) to act as a liaison.
Consider a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
A narcissist will never see the error of their ways and you shouldnt expect them to.
You cant control their behaviors you can only control your own.
Ignoring a narcissist who ignores you doesnt work because its too easy for the narcissist to play on your compassion and take advantage of your desire to be respected and loved.
By taking the steps to implement a narcissistic abuse recovery program, you can effectively go No Contact (or minimal contact when absolutely necessary) and liberate yourself from the abuse for good.
You deserve it and youll come out stronger and happier in the long run.