is there a difference between No Contact and a Narcissistic Silent Treatment?

No Contact is very good advice given to victims of a malignant narcissist or a sociopath. It simply means no contact, of any kind, with the person that has been abusing you. It is a way to eliminate the abuser’s access to you.

Someone asked me a while back what the difference was between No Contact and a Narcissistic Silent Treatment. They didn’t think there was one and were sure that they equaled the same behavior. The blank stare I gave them was probably perplexing, but while sorting through that question in my own brain, I just could not fathom how they reached that conclusion.

Yes, there is a huge difference!  

Many folks have no idea what cutting off contact with someone means. Sometimes they think they can stop taking their phone calls, but texting is okay. Or they think that not allowing them access to them during the week, but bumping into them at church on Sunday is probably okay.

Um, no. None of that is okay. No Contact means no contact, ever, anywhere, at any time. Block the person’s number because even texting can be abusive and manipulative. I’ve seen it! I’ve experienced it! Find a new church, a new gym, and new friends if you have to.

Cutting off all contact with someone that has been verbally and sometimes physically abusing you is a necessity if you want to survive, heal, recover and live a healthier life.

Cutting off all contact is not about control. It’s about salvation and peace.

A Narcissistic Silent Treatment is all about control.

The narcissist enlists the silent treatment as a way to draw you in. Its abusive behavior meant to punish you for not doing what the narcissist wants you to do. You won’t know what you did to make them angry, so you will continue to ask them what’s wrong and wonder why they stopped talking to you.

A narc does not like to be ignored and wants you to continue trying to engage them, even though they are ignoring you. They enjoy seeing you struggle from their lack of attention. It feeds them and makes them feel important. The more you engage, the more they ignore you until the day they feel the need to build you back up again, so they can tear you down again.

When a victim cuts off all contact they are not interested in having the narc continue to engage them.

They want to get away from the narc.

They want to escape the abusive behavior.

They do not seek the attention of the narc and rarely fight back.

When you finally stop giving the narc your attention and you walk away from them, it makes them angry. A narc has an over inflated view of themselves. They think they are superior to everyone else and will brag about real and sometimes imagined life accomplishments. When you walk away from the narc that is giving you the silent treatment, they will lash out at you. To walk away from them is viewed as insolent and unacceptable.

This is where the Narcissistic Smear Campaigns come into play. Once you refuse to go along with their game, they will attempt to ruin you at any cost. They are vindictive and malicious and will seek out others to gang up against their victim. They will do whatever it takes to continue to keep the victim engaged, including stalking and cyberstalking them.

A victim of narcissistic abuse that has cut off all contact with the abuser isn’t interested in gathering an army of followers, stalking the narc or even knowing what the narc is up to. They often remain silent about the details of their abuse. This is why there is so little information out there about how to recover from the abuse and move on and away from it. The only thing a victim of narcissistic abuse is seeking by cutting off all contact is peace.

So is there a difference between the two?

Yes there is.

One is abusive behavior and the other is recovery.

If you are the victim of narcissistic abuse, I encourage you to cut off all contact and then speak up and tell your story. There are people out here listening and they need to know they are not alone.

You can find this and many other entries about living with and recovering from narcissistic abuse in my book, Life After the Narcissist written by Katy Shultz. Available on, Barnes and and all fine retailers.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
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14 Responses to is there a difference between No Contact and a Narcissistic Silent Treatment?

  1. Human says:

    Yes, please tell your story! The effort will help others feel validated and possibly also yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sedonastella says:

    Thank you and have signed up for Miss Paula’s wisdom! Yes I agree huge difference between the two and as another year passes with NC I am thrilled and grateful for the peace!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula says:

    Wow. Yes! Many survivors fear that going no contact is unfair and avoidant. They fear they will be judged for being no better than the abuser. I wish I had known what I know today about NC in the aftermath of my abuse. I practiced unconscious NC in the early months, which I call the detox phase. It wasn’t until months after leaving that I started thinking clearly and reached out to my abuser with questions, in search of understanding, not realizing I was breaking NC. It caused me to spin, much like his silent treatment caused me to spin inside the relationship. Going NC is self-preserving and pro-recovery. ❤ (Thank you for sharing the link to my newsletter, too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes when I recommend No Contact I get the “But what if…??” and I have to tell them again what No Contact means for them. It is recovery. I know it works! There is never a reason to continue a relationship with someone that is abusing you. Never.

      Thank you Paula for being a crusader for all of us and for continuing to support our recovery. I will share your link over and over again because I know it works. ❤


  4. betternotbroken says:

    I like how you summed it up, it is not about abuse, it is about recovery. COAC is about SURVIVAL in some cases, not hurting someone, s-ur-v-i-v-a-l. How narcissistic to think that it is about the narcissist! It is about someone gaining control and saving their own life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! But I can imagine that telling someone that No Contact is the best way, and knowing how fearful it can be to break that connection with their abuser. It’s the unknown. But the unknown is always better than being abused. That is what they will eventually figure out for themselves. No Contact helps that along because the more peace and serenity they experience, the more they will want that, instead of the abuse. You just have to take that leap.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. narcopathcrusher says:

    COAC saved my life while silent treatment was one of the methods my malignant narcissist mother used to make me a suicidal teen. Not quite the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Good explanation of the differences.

    Liked by 1 person

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