What Does It Mean When A Narcissist Ignores You
What Does It Mean When A Narcissist Ignores You?

Narcissism, a personality disorder characterized by self-centered, arrogant, and grandiose behavior, often leaves victims with questions and confusion. One of the most distressing behaviors exhibited by narcissists is when they choose to ignore you. In this article, we will delve into the world of narcissistic manipulation and explore the reasons behind why they might employ the silent treatment.

When a narcissist ignores you, it can be a bewildering experience, filled with emotional turmoil. We’ll explore the potential meanings behind this behavior, shedding light on the motives, emotions, and damage it can inflict on victims. Let’s embark on this journey of understanding and healing, one step at a time.

“Ignoring” or Silent Treatment as a Manipulative Tactic

Narcissists are known for their manipulative behavior, and one of the tools in their arsenal is the silent treatment. This passive-aggressive tactic can have a profound impact on those on the receiving end. In this section, we’ll explore what the silent treatment is, why narcissists commonly use it, and the emotional damage it can cause to their victims.

What is The Silent Treatment?

The silent treatment, also known as stonewalling, is a form of emotional abuse where one person in a relationship chooses to stop communicating with the other person. It involves deliberately ignoring them, not responding to their texts or attempts at conversation, and creating an atmosphere of emotional distance. It’s a form of control that can leave the victim feeling isolated, anxious, and desperate for validation.

Why Do Narcissists Commonly Ignore or Use the Silent Treatment?

Narcissists employ the silent treatment for various reasons, all of which revolve around their narcissistic traits. Some of the key motivations include:

Emotional Abuse and Control

Narcissists use the silent treatment as a means of control. By withholding communication, they keep their victims on edge, unsure of what they’ve done wrong and eager to please the narcissist to regain their favor.

Validation and Admiration

Narcissists crave validation and admiration. When they ignore someone, they often expect the person to chase after them, showering them with attention and praise. This feeds their insatiable need for admiration.


The silent treatment is a potent weapon for narcissists to punish those who have seemingly slighted them or challenged their fragile egos. It’s a way for them to assert dominance and make the victim feel guilty.

Manipulative Behavior

Narcissists are skilled manipulators, and the silent treatment is another tool in their manipulation toolkit. They use it to bend others to their will, making them more compliant and submissive.


By ignoring someone and later denying that they ever did so, narcissists engage in gaslighting. This tactic makes the victim doubt their own reality and sanity, further solidifying the narcissist’s control.

What Does It Mean When a Narcissist Ignores You? (Possible Interpretations)

When a narcissist ignores you, it can leave you perplexed and hurt. To make sense of this behavior, let’s explore various possible interpretations that shed light on the motives behind it. Understanding these reasons are the first step in knowing what to do when a narcissist ignores you.

#1. Control and Manipulation

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists often employ the silent treatment to exert control over their victims. By making you anxious and unsure about their feelings, they maintain dominance in the relationship.

Impact on You: This can lead to a constant state of emotional turmoil, making you more susceptible to their demands and manipulation.

#2. Punishment

Narcissistic Behavior: When a narcissist feels slighted or criticized, they may use the silent treatment as a form of punishment. It’s a way to make you feel guilty for challenging them.

Impact on You: You might internalize the blame and try desperately to regain their favor, even when you’ve done nothing wrong.

#3. Attention-Seeking

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists thrive on attention and admiration. Ignoring you can be a way to elicit a reaction, proving that you care deeply about them.

Impact on You: You may find yourself going to great lengths to get their attention, feeding their insatiable need for validation.

#4. Triangulation

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists may ignore you to create jealousy or competition. They might start paying attention to someone else to make you feel insecure.

Impact on You: This can trigger feelings of inadequacy and jealousy, making you question your worth in their eyes.

#5. Devaluation Phase

Narcissistic Behavior: In a narcissistic relationship cycle, ignoring often occurs during the devaluation phase, where the narcissist devalues their partner’s worth.

Impact on You: You may feel devalued, unloved, and worthless, leading to a diminished sense of self.

#6. Lack of Empathy

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists often lack empathy for others’ feelings. Ignoring you is a reflection of their inability to understand or care about your emotional state.

Impact on You: You may feel isolated and unimportant, struggling to connect with someone who seems emotionally distant.

#7. Avoiding Accountability

Narcissistic Behavior: When confronted with their own mistakes or wrongdoing, narcissists may choose to ignore you as a way to avoid taking responsibility.

Impact on You: This can be frustrating and disheartening, leaving you without closure or resolution.

#8. Testing Your Loyalty

Narcissistic Behavior: Some narcissists ignore their partners to test their loyalty and devotion. They want to see if you’ll stick around despite their hurtful behavior.

Impact on You: This can create a toxic cycle of proving your loyalty and enduring mistreatment.

#9. Narcissistic Supply

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists feed off the emotional reactions of others, known as narcissistic supply. Ignoring you might be an attempt to elicit a strong emotional response.

Impact on You: You may find yourself caught in a constant cycle of emotional turmoil as you try to satisfy their need for supply.

#10. Insecurity

Narcissistic Behavior: Paradoxically, narcissists often have deep-seated insecurities. Ignoring you can be a defense mechanism to protect their fragile self-esteem.

Impact on You: You may feel responsible for boosting their self-esteem, even at the expense of your own well-being.

#11. Boredom

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists can easily get bored with routine relationships. Ignoring you might be a way to create drama and excitement.

Impact on You: This rollercoaster of emotions can be draining and confusing, leaving you uncertain about the stability of the relationship.

#12. Psychological Games

Narcissistic Behavior: Narcissists often enjoy playing mind games. Ignoring you can be part of a manipulative strategy to keep you off-balance.

Impact on You: You may find yourself in a constant state of confusion and anxiety, trying to decipher their motives.

Understanding these possible interpretations can be a crucial step in dealing with a narcissist who ignores you.

Closing Thoughts

Dealing with a narcissist who ignores you can be emotionally draining and confusing. It’s important to remember that their behavior is a reflection of their own deep-seated issues, not your worth or value. Recognizing the motives behind their actions can help you navigate these complex relationships.

In situations involving narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), manipulation, gaslighting, and emotional abuse, seeking support from a therapist or counselor is often crucial. Healing from the emotional scars inflicted by a narcissist may take time, but it is possible.

Remember, you deserve respect, love, and validation in any relationship. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being and seek help when needed to break free from the cycle of narcissistic control and manipulation.