7 Examples of Narcissistic Stonewalling

by Ryan Hart | Updated on September 25, 2023 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you are trying to communicate with a narcissist, you may have experienced stonewalling. This communication behavior is characterized by refusing to engage in or respond to a conversation or a person’s attempts to communicate.

Stonewalling is a metaphor that draws from the concept of building a stone wall that does not allow for connection.

Narcissistic stonewalling can take many forms, including silent treatment, ignoring someone suddenly or more often, or refusing to listen to someone’s concerns.

It is a common tactic used by narcissists to manipulate and control their victims. If you are dealing with a narcissist, it is essential to recognize the signs of stonewalling and understand how to respond to it.

In this article, we will explore some examples of narcissistic stonewalling and provide tips on how to deal with it.

Woman looking down at phone

What is Narcissistic Stonewalling?

If you have ever dealt with a narcissist, you know how frustrating it can be when they give you the silent treatment. This behavior is known as stonewalling, and it is a common tactic used by narcissists to manipulate and control others.

Stonewalling is a form of emotional abuse involving refusing to communicate or ignoring the other person’s attempts to communicate. It is often used as a way to punish or control the other person.

Here are a few examples of stonewalling:

  • Ignoring or refusing to acknowledge the other person’s feelings or concerns.
  • Refusing to engage in productive communication or problem-solving.
  • Shutting down emotionally and withdrawing from the conversation or relationship.
  • Refusing to take responsibility for their actions or apologize for their behavior.
  • Dismissing the other person’s perspective or invalidating their experiences.
  • Using gaslighting techniques to manipulate the other person’s perception of reality.

Narcissistic stonewalling is particularly insidious because it is often accompanied by gaslighting, a tactic in which the narcissist makes you doubt your perceptions and reality. They may tell you that you are overreacting or that you are the one causing the problem.

An inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration are characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). People with NPD often struggle to regulate their emotions and may resort to stonewalling when feeling threatened or criticized.

If you are dealing with a narcissist who is stonewalling you, it is important to remember that their behavior is not your fault. In the next section, we will explore some examples of narcissistic stonewalling so that you can better recognize this behavior when it occurs.

Common Examples of Narcissistic Stonewalling

Here are some real examples of narcissistic stonewalling:

  • Your partner stops responding to your messages, calls, and emails for no apparent reason. When you try to confront them about their behavior, they either ignore you or give you vague excuses.
  • Your boss refuses to give you feedback on your work or communicate with you about important projects. When you try to schedule a meeting with them, they either ignore your requests or cancel at the last minute.
  • Your friend stops talking to you after you express a different opinion on a topic. When you try to reach out to them, they either ignore you or give you short, dismissive responses.
  • Your family member refuses to acknowledge your feelings or concerns about a situation. When you try to converse with them, they either shut down or change the subject.
  • Your co-worker treats you silently after you make a mistake or challenge their ideas. When you try to apologize or discuss the issue, they either ignore you or give you a cold response.

Characteristics of Narcissistic Stonewalling

Narcissistic stonewalling is a manipulative behavior that is commonly used by individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. It is a tactic used to control and dominate a person by shutting them out and refusing to communicate with them. Here are some common characteristics of narcissistic stonewalling:

Control and Power

Narcissistic stonewalling is used as a tool for control and power. By refusing to communicate with you, the narcissist is able to manipulate the situation and maintain power over you. They are able to control the conversation and the relationship by withholding information and refusing to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a common tactic used by narcissists to stonewall their victims. They may suddenly stop talking to you, refuse to answer your calls or texts, or ignore you altogether. This is a way for them to punish you and assert their dominance over you.

Denying Responsibility

Narcissists often use stonewalling as a way to deny responsibility for their actions. By refusing to engage in conversation, they can avoid taking responsibility for their behavior and deflect blame onto others.

Blaming Others

Narcissists may also use stonewalling as a way to blame others for their behavior. They may refuse to communicate with you and then accuse you of not communicating. As a result, they avoid taking responsibility for their actions and shift the blame onto you.

Effects of Narcissistic Stonewalling

Narcissistic stonewalling can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being. Here are some of the effects you may experience:

Fear and Anxiety

When someone stonewalls you, it can create a sense of fear and anxiety. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells around the person and not know how to approach them. This fear can be especially intense if the stonewalling is part of a larger pattern of emotional abuse.

Self-Doubt and Low Self-Esteem

Narcissistic stonewalling can also lead to self-doubt and low self-esteem. When someone refuses to engage with you or respond to your attempts to communicate, it can make you feel like your thoughts and feelings don’t matter.

Distorted Views and Projection

Another effect of narcissistic stonewalling is the potential for distorted views and projection. When someone stonewalls you, they may be projecting their own issues onto you. This can lead to a distorted view of yourself and your relationship with the person. You may start to believe that you’re the problem, even when you’re not.

Narcissistic Stonewalling in Relationships

When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you may experience stonewalling. This behavior is characterized by refusing to engage in or respond to a conversation or a person’s attempts to communicate. Narcissistic stonewalling can be incredibly frustrating and hurtful, and it can be difficult to know how to respond.

Manipulation and Gaslighting

Narcissistic stonewalling can be a form of manipulation and gaslighting. The narcissist may use stonewalling to control the conversation or to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. They may also use stonewalling to make you doubt your own perceptions and feelings, which is a form of gaslighting.

Communication Breakdown

Stonewalling can also lead to a breakdown in communication. When the narcissist refuses to engage in the conversation, it can be difficult to resolve conflicts or work through relationship issues. As a result, you may feel frustrated, angry, or resentful.

Emotional Abuse

Narcissistic stonewalling can also be a form of emotional abuse. It can be incredibly hurtful to be ignored or dismissed by someone you care about, and it can be difficult to know how to respond. If you are experiencing narcissistic stonewalling in your relationship, seeking support and setting boundaries to protect yourself is important.

Dealing with Narcissistic Stonewalling

Dealing with narcissistic stonewalling can be a challenging and frustrating experience. However, there are steps you can take to help manage the situation and protect your emotional well-being.

Establishing Boundaries

One of the most important steps you can take when dealing with narcissistic stonewalling is to establish clear boundaries. By setting limits and communicating those limits in a calm, assertive manner, you can make the narcissist aware of what you cannot tolerate.

It’s important to remember that narcissists thrive on control and manipulation. By establishing boundaries, you are taking back some of that control and asserting your own needs and wants. This can help to reduce the power imbalance in the relationship and make it easier to manage stonewalling behavior.

Seeking Professional Help

Dealing with narcissistic stonewalling can take a toll on your mental health and well-being. If you’re struggling to cope, it may be helpful to seek the support of a therapist or counselor.

You can get help from a therapist to cope with the emotional fallout of stonewalling behavior and tools and strategies to manage it. You can also work through any underlying issues that may be contributing to the relationship’s dynamic with their help.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

When dealing with narcissistic stonewalling, it’s important to approach conflict resolution calmly and assertively. This means avoiding the temptation to engage in power struggles or to react emotionally to the stonewalling behavior.

Instead, try using “I” statements to express your feelings and needs, and focus on finding common ground and solutions that work for both parties. It may also be helpful to involve a neutral third party, such as a mediator, to help facilitate the conversation and ensure that both parties feel heard and understood.

Narcissistic Stonewalling and Children

If you are a parent dealing with a narcissistic partner, you may have noticed that they tend to stonewall you when you try to communicate with them. This can be frustrating and hurtful but can also significantly impact your children.

Children who grow up with a narcissistic parent who stonewalls them may develop a sense of worthlessness and may struggle with communication and emotional regulation. They may feel like they are not important enough to be heard or that their feelings and needs do not matter.

It is crucial to recognize the signs of narcissistic stonewalling in your partner and to take steps to protect your children from its effects. Here are some examples of how narcissistic stonewalling can affect children:

  • Your child may feel like they cannot communicate with their parent, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Your child may struggle to express their emotions or needs, leading to difficulties in forming healthy relationships.
  • Your child may develop anxiety or depression as a result of feeling ignored or invalidated by their parent.
  • Your child may become withdrawn or avoidant, which can make it difficult for them to form connections with others.

If you suspect that your partner is a narcissist who stonewalls you and your children, it is essential to seek professional help. A therapist can help you develop coping strategies and provide support for your children as they navigate the challenges of growing up with a narcissistic parent.

Remember, you cannot change your partner’s behavior, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your children from its harmful effects.

Bottom Line

Woman reading text on phone

Stonewalling is a common tactic used by narcissists to control and manipulate their victims. It involves refusing to engage in communication or responding to someone’s attempts to communicate. Narcissistic stonewalling is often used in combination with other abusive tactics, such as gaslighting and silent treatment.

If you are experiencing stonewalling in a relationship, it is important to recognize the signs and take action to protect yourself. Respect and dignity are the cornerstones of all your relationships. If you feel like you are being stonewalled or manipulated by a narcissist, seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.

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About the Author:
Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart is a certified relationship coach and writer. His mission is to help make connections between people better, stronger, more meaningful, and longer lasting using technology.

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