Kim Saeed:  Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
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Ignoring a Narcissist

Ignoring a Narcissist? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

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You stand there motionless as the narcissist in your life hurls insults at you – again.

You need to fight back and defend yourself, right?

The problem is, that’s 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 won’t because narcissists don’t process and experience emotions as average people do.

In fact, it will likely backfire in the long-run. There’s a very specific time and place to effectively ignore a narcissist. Unfortunately, most people get it wrong.

Still, complete liberation from narcissistic abuse is possible.

And with a comprehensive narcissistic abuse recovery program, you can come out the other side stronger than ever.

But first, let’s 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 you’ve spent any amount of time researching how to ignore a narcissist, you’ve likely come across the Grey Rock method at some point.

The Grey Rock method suggests victims 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 can’t get their ego “fix” from occupying your attention, they’ll 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 we’re speaking purely theoretically, this should work.

After all, there’s no reason you can’t just start ignoring a narcissist and only speak to them when it’s absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, like most interpersonal relationship problems, it’s 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 doesn’t 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?

It’s 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

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 should not be your go-to strategy.

Here’s why.

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 believing they’re the victim and you’re the bad guy – even when you bring up situations where they’ve very clearly harmed you.

Once you have a moment of clarity and start to identify their manipulative behavioral patterns, it’s very natural to start craving revenge.

They’ve 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 narcissist’s benefit nonetheless).

Who wouldn’t want to inflict hurtful emotions back onto them?

It’s important to remember that this approach won’t play out in real life like it does in your mind because you’re hoping to appeal to the narcissist’s 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.

Don’t be fooled: their emotions are never genuine and they’ll use your emotions against you later.

That’s why ignoring a narcissist won’t work.

Any rehabilitated alcoholic knows that you can’t 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.

That’s it.

 And it will feel better than any revenge or false sense of closure.

What You Need to Know About Ignoring a Narcissist Who Ignores You

The oldest trick in the book that doesn’t 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 they’ll go somewhere else to get it.

The problem with this approach is that you’re 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, narcissists do have empathy. It’s just not the compassionate kind we normally associate with the term. This dangerous concept known as cognitive empathy is frequently utilized by professional torturers to objectively get inside a victim’s head and manipulate emotions for their own gain.

Some time might have passed but it doesn’t 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.

Those strategies do nothing but feed into the narcissist’s cycle of abuse.

Here are a few steps you can take to precede your comprehensive narcissistic abuse recovery program without allowing them to hoover and suck you back in.

  1. No Contact. Going cold turkey isn’t easy but honestly, it’s 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.
  2. Recognize your attachment to the relationship. You need to admit that you’re also getting something out of this relationship. Why else would you stay for so long? We tend to crave the narcissist’s rare affection like a drug fix – and there’s never enough to satisfy because it’s never genuine love.
  3. Don’t blame yourself. Remember that the narcissist does not experience emotions like you do. When they hurl insults, they’re trying to strike you where it hurts because that’s what’s worked for them in the past. Don’t listen to them and don’t give them the satisfaction. You deserve to be treated with respect and responding to their insults will only suck you back in.
  4. Admit that you need help. Just like with drug and alcohol recovery, you can’t do this alone without relapsing. One day you’ll cave and answer their text with a one-word answer. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the same cycle of abuse. Find a narcissistic abuse recovery program to help and surround yourself with supportive people.
  5. 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 narcissist’s hoovering and your own relapse.
  6. 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 isn’t 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 shouldn’t expect them to.

You can’t control their behaviors – you can only control your own.

Ignoring a narcissist who ignores you doesn’t work because it’s 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 you’ll come out stronger and happier in the long run. 

If you feel miserable and trapped in your relationship, that’s a problem that likely won’t improve on its own.  Join the many wonderful folks in The Essential Break Free Bootcamp who have finally found freedom and are healing their own lives.

If you’ve just found this site and are ready to begin your first steps to freedom, download your beginner’s healing roadmap below!  You get everything you need to start your journey of narcissistic abuse recovery.  It’s free!

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Leave a Comment:

Maria says August 28, 2019

After 3 months no contact hes got a new woman
But still buz around

Maria C says August 28, 2019

No contact with my ex nar hes got new woman
But still around want my attencion Sic mind

3 Psychological Techniques and Viewpoint Shifts to Help You Deal with a Tough Time - Thinking Out Loud says August 15, 2019

[…] meet the specific challenges we are confronted with. Just as there is a particular art to properly ignoring a narcissist and escaping their abuse – and a mindset that has to go along with that – so too are there […]

Lou says August 8, 2019

Great artical hit the nail on the head. Thanks I needed to read that.

How to Deal with the Silent Treatment and Gain the Upper Hand - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says July 28, 2019

[…] You’ve heard a lot of good things about ignoring a narcissist. […]

Mehdi says April 18, 2019

Great article. thanks. Even with no contact, progress of recovery is pretty slow. the amount of toxicity these individuals put on people is simply indescribable. living within their proximity is so difficult that sometimes people prefer to change jobs or cities just to get rid of them. After 9 months of complete no contact in its all possible forms, i am finally feeling a little relieved. i never thought i could survive. it took much longer than other breakups for me to recover. you know what i am saying. IT REALLY took longer!

Tine Birgitte Søndergaard Nielsen says December 9, 2018

Thanx Kim and greetings from Denmark.. signing up for your online courses, reading your ebooks and e-mails, joining your webinars, filling out your worksheets keeps me on track resisting thoughts that’s Ilm esagerating , eases the pain and sorrow, the anxiety of how to get by when I move to my own apartment in february.. Your articles little by little gives me clarity to many of the mindspinning questions and unsurtensies I deal with on a daily basis, and even though I’m buissy struggeling to find the money to leave and a hole lot of other stuff, I make time to read, listen to, do my “homework” almost every day.. to keep focused, to Heal, as self therapy to create the life I’ve never been able to fully define for my self. You have given me a chance to be a self aware, independant and hopefully a future happy women.. love from Tine, Denmark

Ethel Grimes says November 26, 2018

Great article, Kim! And very informative. Unfortunately, I did try GR the other day at Thanksgiving. It’s a long story, but the gist is: what do you do when the contact is the fault of someone else, who is well aware you want to stay away from the Narcissist? In this case, I was (I felt) tricked into being in the same house with the two Ns involved. Mercifully (and surprisingly), one of them had the good grace to keep his mouth shut; but his wife kept trying to talk to me and I made no reply to her at all. But I was cajoled (if that is quite the word) into sitting at the same table with them, in spite of my wish to do otherwise. Needless to say, I left as soon as I could but was very upset when I got home. I’m still angry and upset. And one of the very relatives who enabled the situation has turned right around and invited me over for Christmas. I won’t be going because I just know I’m headed for the same thing. It will hurt, but it will hurt even more to be there. I have trust issues as it is, and it just seems like the very people who I THOUGHT understood and sympathized are just adding to the problem.

Anonymous says November 25, 2018

I was confused too at first lol

Mia says November 7, 2018

Thank you for sharing all of this information. By God’s grace, I’ve been no contact for almost 5 months now. It was a 9 year cycle with a guy, who I’ve come to realize is no more than a stranger to me. The guy I fell for doesn’t exist. I couldn’t really tell you how much of those years we were actually together because it’s just a blur of break ups, fights, confusion and bad decisions. The worst thing about narcissists is that most people don’t know they really exist or how dangerous they can be. I had no idea what a narcissist was. I could never have imagined someone having the ability to manipulate my life and be so deceptive. Before my experience, my definition of a narcissist was the Hollywood version, it was just someone who was vain.
The sad thing is people who haven’t experienced a narcissist do not believe it. You can tell them what happened but they don’t hear you. It’s very much like this, when I was a teenager I loved to sing along with Pat Benetar. The words didn’t really mean anything to me. Now that I have had this experience, the words of those songs strike a different chord. What I hear now is her pain and frustration in dealing with a narcissist. I don’t think you can hear the songs in that way unless you’ve experienced it. (These songs are good therapy too, empowering if you like her music)
All of this to say…
BE ENCOURAGED. No contact is hard, but it gets easier as your mind and body begin to heal from the abuse (and it is abuse so don’t pay attention to anyone who tells you otherwise). Be kind to yourself. Be a protective parent over yourself. If a bully was trying to hurt your child you’d react, so try to get that mindset about yourself. You’re worth it. Don’t be in a hurry to get over it, allow yourself time to process and understand what you went through. Don’t get caught up in who the narcissist is, after you understand, switch your focus to understanding yourself and finding yourself again. YOU moving forward is far more important than spinning your wheels and keeping that emotional connection to someone who is honestly never going to be as good as you’ve made them out to be.
You can do it!

    Tine says December 9, 2018

    So true.. people really don’t understand.. and yes.. achieving a good life for yourself after narcissistic abuse is the only goal worth fighting for.. Love Tine, Denmark

    Cathy M Fraser says August 8, 2019

    Mia! Your words hit the nail on the head for me!! Everything you said I can relate to. Trying to explain about Narcissistic Abuse to anyone that knows nothing about it is like talking to the wall. Thank you!

Shirley Akpelu says August 30, 2018

Thank you Kim for your timely article. I already enrolled in the essential bootcamp and beyond bootcamp abuse recovery courses. They were excellent and insightful and affordable. I appreciate all you do to help those of us who have suffered this unfortunate abuse. Shalom.

Tanja says August 30, 2018

Going No Contact with my Ex wasn’t so painful. I knew it was going to be hard letting him go because he was still in my heart. So I had started praying to God to take my ex out of my heart and finally let go of that prayer. My ex and I use to text each other in the morning to wish each other a good day but one morning this text he sent didn’t sit to well with me. It wasn’t a bad text, I just knew it was a lie and I guess at that moment I got tired of the lies and cheating and went no contact. No phone calls answer, no responding to any text, not even listen to any voicemail. I had to get ME back. It has been a long journey and the reward is so great when you finally get them out of your life. My ex thought he had me, but God had my back. And you Kim is one of his 👼 angels.

Melissa says August 30, 2018

Great Article! Narcissists are good manipulators.

Carol says August 30, 2018

Kim how do I handle parental alienation with the Narc? He plays the victim and then tries to claim me to be an abusive parent. We had 5 months of supervised visits from a professional and she said I don’t require a babysitter!

Helena says August 30, 2018

I don’t get it…..you say going no contact is not a good idea and then at the end you say go no contact. Can you explain that please or am I missing something. Thank you.

    Kim Saeed says August 31, 2018

    Hi Helena,

    I’m not sure what you mean. Ignoring isn’t the same as no contact. Ignoring is leaving the lines of communication open and then choosing not to answer in any given moment. No Contact means you’ve completely blocked the person out of your life so they cannot contact you. I always promote the no contact approach.

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