SHHH! How Manipulative Folks Weaponize Silence in Poisonous Relationships


It’s been 24 hours because you’ve texted your Guardian/Accomplice/Good friend. No response. You:

A. Assume their battery is useless or cellphone is misplaced.

B. Name the police — One thing’s unsuitable.

C. Panic at hour 1 – “What did I do?” “Why are they mad at me?” Then wait within the fetal place for his or her impending rage.

Should you answered C, you’re doubtless in a poisonous relationship.

Manipulative individuals need you trapped in CHAOS, to SELF-BLAMETO APOLOGIZE, CHASE them, and FEEL LESSER THAN. Most of all, they need you SILENCED so that you can’t blow their cowl.

Should you constantly end up pondering “Simply inform me what I did unsuitable so I can repair it,” chances are you’ll be a sufferer of manipulative silence.

MANIPULATIVE SILENCE is a part of a refined grooming technique of worry and intimidation that grows over time. Keep in mind, PREDATORS PREY on PRIVACY and POLITENESS. SILENCE is their best weapon.

Whether or not you’ve been ensnared by a manipulative associate, good friend, co-worker, roommate, or relative, these ways could look acquainted:


Manipulative individuals want to regulate the story. Separation is vital. By isolating people they’ll play sufferer or hero, even pit individuals towards one another with out them ever interacting. They’ll:

  • Let you know a “secret” they need you to maintain. One thing easy however private that pulls you nearer to them. The REAL secret is that they’ve advised a number of individuals totally different variations and requested them to maintain quiet.
  • Say “it’s no one’s enterprise” or “it is a non-public matter” to cease you from speaking about one thing that might expose them.
  • Accuse you of breaking their “belief” since you publicly shared one thing small. Manipulative individuals need you shamed and shushed. They devise accusations or make a giant deal out of one thing easy you stated to create confusion, guilt, and intimidation. “I can’t consider you advised everybody I like espresso.” They’re grooming you to be afraid to talk about them to anybody.


As soon as they’ve groomed you to not discuss ABOUT them, manipulative individuals need to cease you from speaking TO anybody who may expose them. They additional isolate you by infecting your relationships.

  • Level out issues about your folks or household that they don’t like. This may be refined “Did you ever discover how loud he talks?” They need you to decide on between spending time with them or with your folks. They need to create a rift so that you draw back from your folks and in return, your folks draw back from you.
  • Unfold a rumor about YOU that offends others, together with these near you. This will likely embrace abuse of them, animals, or youngsters. They’ll go to nice lengths to set this up over time, utilizing reactive abuse ways in public, loudly accusing you of false issues. “Why are you ALWAYS yelling at me?!” NOTE: That is meant to tell you a couple of manipulative tactic, to not decrease actual abuse accusations.


Manipulative individuals critique you with the intention to management your habits. They need you to really feel self-conscious, trying to earn their approval. Individuals who respect and love you present appreciation. They LIKE who you’re. Manipulative individuals need to CONTROL who you’re.

  • They make jokes at your expense, critiquing the way in which you look, sound, odor and behave.
  • Persuade you that folks react negatively to your behaviors. That is usually an unsolicited critique. “Didn’t you discover how bored everybody was whilst you have been telling that story? You go on and on.” “Nobody thinks you’re humorous, they simply tolerate you.” As soon as the seed is planted, they could provide you with a “You’re doing it once more” look, or arrange a “sign phrase” that stops you from interacting in public.


Everybody struggles to seek out their phrases now and again, however manipulative individuals purposely use lengthy pauses to regulate a dialog. They need you hanging on their each phrase whilst you concurrently really feel disgrace for talking. It’s like being in a 1940’s drama. “I can’t go on!” “However you will need to!”

They might:

  • Take massive, deep breaths as in the event that they’re going to talk
  • Sluggish their speech or create pauses between phrases “I…don’t know…how…to…say this.”
  • Management who can communicate when. Silence you by saying “I’m not completed” or accuse you of interrupting. In a gaggle, they could sign you to cease and level to another person to talk.
  • Disengage: Cease mid-sentence to stare off or take a look at their cellphone


Manipulative individuals by no means matured from “You aren’t doing what I would like, so I’m not speaking to you!” In contrast to youngsters, nevertheless, manipulative individuals aren’t so forthcoming. They need you to have simply sufficient data to realize it’s your fault so that you simply fill within the particulars and apologize to them. This will likely embrace:

  • Provide the silent therapy, informing an enabler who can drop hints of why they’re indignant/insulted.
  • Telling you they want time to assume with no timeline of when the silence will finish. This places them in an influence place. They like to make you wait. It boosts their ego realizing that you simply’re fascinated with them and punishes you on the similar time. They gained’t attain out till they’re positive you’ll be grateful. Should you attain out first, they chastise you. BIG NOTE ON THIS: There are conditions through which individuals want breaks from relationships or area to assume. That is completely wholesome. Leaving somebody hanging isn’t. It’s disrespectful. Recommend that you simply contact base in a couple of days, every week, or in a longtime period of time. You may all the time verify in and lengthen that point.
  • Accusing you of silent behaviors They’re insulted by one thing non-specific that they noticed about you. Rubbing your eyes “the unsuitable method”, standing too nonetheless, trying away, and sporting the unsuitable outfit. These are all punishable offenses to a manipulative particular person. You turn out to be scared to do something, which is what they need.
  • Disappearing/Ghosting This isn’t “we went out on a date and now I’m not returning your calls.” That is a longtime relationship through which patterns of communication are immediately reduce off. They don’t return calls or texts. They don’t contact you in your birthday or particular events. They intend to punish you with their silence so that you simply’ll come crawling to them with an apology. NOTE: Going no contact with a manipulative particular person could imply immediately slicing them off. The distinction is, that’s a wholesome step taken to PROTECT your self. The silent therapy is meant to PUNISH.

Should you’re in a manipulative or poisonous relationship, setting boundaries is vital. Right here’s a spot to begin.

Do I Have Poisonous Mother and father? NARCISSISTIC ABUSE: Setting Boundaries – Select Your Personal Journey

Have you ever skilled different sorts of manipulative silence? Share them within the feedback.

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