When a narcissist refuses to participate in the communication and connection of a relationship, it is called stonewalling. It is such a common technique narcissists use to manipulate others and protect their emotional stability with one of the most common manifestations of it being blocking. 

Narcissists block you to reassure themselves of their grandiose self-perception of being someone who is powerful, in control, wanted, special, and unique. They aren’t necessarily angry at you, they just want to feel powerful, in control, and validated.

This article is a thorough exploration of the different ways that narcissists use blocking to feel powerful, in control, and validated. Since blocking is a very common thing on social media, we’ve also created a short video (see below) about narcissism and social media since the two are very closely connected. 

A Short Video About Narcissism and Social Media

Narcissists Block You to Feel Powerful, in Control, and Validated

If you’re to understand the reasoning behind a narcissist’s ability to use blocking to feel powerful, in control, and validated, you have to start with their origin story. 

There are many different theories to the origin of narcissism that we unpack in our article How Are Narcissists Made but it is widely believed that narcissism originates from an abusive upbringing with primary caregivers who are emotionally unavailable, unresponsive, and inconsistent. 

An emotionally neglectful childhood upbringing prevented the narcissist from having their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs mirrored so they never got the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they needed to develop a realistic sense of self. 

The correlation that this has with the feelings of power, control, and validation that narcissists get when they block you comes from the emotional immaturity that this type of childhood upbringing brings. You see, to develop a sense of self, narcissists turned to their external environment to get the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they couldn’t get from their primary caregivers. 

However, to be able to successfully get the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they needed from their external environment, narcissists needed to use mirroring to figure out what society values most. 

a narcissist mirroring and entire group of people

When the term “mirroring” is mentioned in the narcissistic realm it is usually referring to a technique that narcissists use to absorb a ton of information about their victim’s identity and how they use that information to create a falsified identity that is designed to make them look “perfect” in the eyes of the victim.

We highly recommend that you read our article How Do Narcissists Use Mirroring for more information on that but as we mentioned before, this tactic is used by narcissists on a much larger scale when they are trying to create a falsified identity that is capable of attracting large amounts of validation, admiration, and reassurance from their external environment. 

One of the many problems with this emotionally stunted and immature approach to constructing a sense of self is that narcissists are so emotionally immature that they can’t look past societies superficial exterior when constructing their falsified identity so they end up building it out of the most superficial, materialistic, and trivial aspects of life. 

All this does is make the narcissist even more emotionally stunted and immature. Instead of constructing their self-esteem, self-perception, and identity out of important aspects of life (e.g. respect, thoughtfulness, honesty, healthy relationships, etc.) they build it out of things like social media, money, appearances, social status, and so on. 

What this means is instead of feeling powerful, in control, or validated because of healthy reasons such as self-control or self-awareness, they get these feelings from unhealthy things such as blocking you, having multiple partners, manipulating and/or dominating others, and so on.

How Do Narcissists Block You to Feel Validated, Powerful, and In Control?

There are three types of narcissistic blocking that we want to bring to your attention: normal blocking, antagonistic blocking, and protective blocking. 

To truly understand each type of narcissistic blocking, you have to be familiar with the 9 personality traits that the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

  1. A grandiose sense of self-importance.
  2. A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions.
  4. A need for excessive admiration.
  5. A sense of entitlement.
  6. Interpersonally exploitative behavior.
  7. A lack of empathy.
  8. Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her.
  9. A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes.

It is important to be aware of those nine personality traits, particularly a sense of self-importance, specialness, uniqueness, and a belief that others are envious of him/her, because narcissistic blocking always originates from or contributes to one of those personality traits.

A narcissist getting ready to block someone.

Normal Blocking

Normal blocking is pretty straightforward. It occurs when a narcissist blocks you on all real-time and verbal communication platforms (e.g. social media, instant messaging, phone calls, etc.).

The point of normal blocking is that narcissists want to feed their grandiose sense of self-importance, specialness, uniqueness, and need for excessive admiration by creating a situation where you are “chasing” them. 

They want you to make different social media accounts to maneuver around their blocking, they want you to try to communicate through friends and family, they want you to show up unannounced. They want to feel special, unique, and important. 

Antagonistic Blocking

A narcissist will use antagonistic blocking to portray you in a negative light. They will create a situation that has you upset, agitated, angry, defensive, etc. so you begin to type back a response to defend, explain, or express yourself. But the moment you are about to send it, they will block you so you can’t say anything. 

With antagonistic blocking, it is very common to see a lot of baiting. In a narcissistic relationship baiting is when a narcissist will use your vulnerabilities and insecurities to manipulate you into having a negative reaction that allows them to portray you in a negative light and victimize themselves. 

It is very common for those with a narcissist in their life to experience antagonistic blocking after normal blocking. For example, if a narcissist were to use normal blocking but felt like they weren’t getting enough out of it (e.g. you weren’t trying to get in touch with them) they might start to bait you into responding.

Suggested Reading: How to Respond to Narcissistic Baiting

The sneaky thing that they will do here is they will use your response, no matter what it is, to portray you in a negative light and possibly victimize themselves. If you have an angry response, they will pretend that you are harassing them (e.g. “Hey, I don’t want to bring you into this drama but can you please tell your daughter/son to stop harassing me?” , “How dare you speak to me that way, I have done nothing but love you since the day you were born.” , “Your behavior is extremely unprofessional, I am going to report you to HR.”).

A narcissist being passive aggressive on the phone.

If you respond calmly, they will try to gaslight you or twist your words to victimize themselves (e.g. “You don’t even care about us anymore.” , “I am your mother/father don’t be sarcastic with me, I gave you everything in life.” , “Well it looks like you don’t want this job as much as I thought you did, maybe we should speak about your future at this company.”).

When you come across antagonistic blocking it is best to not get upset and try to get in touch with them. If they do reach out and try to bait you into a negative confrontation, you should use the Yellow Rock Method to stop them in their tracks. 

You can click here to learn more about the Yellow Rock Method but here are 10 Yellow Rock responses that you can have to beat the baiting that comes with antagonistic blocking: 

  1. “Thanks for letting me know your thoughts, I’ll consider them.”
  2. “Thank you for voicing your concern.”
  3. “I will only read and respond to productive communication.”
  4. “Your attempt to elicit a negative response is noted.”
  5. “It is my preference to not debate the issue, rather just to resolve it efficiently.”
  6. “Your attempt to manipulate my intention is noted.”
  7. “Your refusal to engage in effective communication is noted.”
  8. “Your statement about (XYZ) lacks merit because (list facts).”
  9. “I do not agree with your portrayal of the event in question.”
  10. “Your recollection of events differs greatly from mine.”

Source: Let’s Talk Canned Responses for a Narcissist

Protective Blocking

When a narcissist uses protective blocking they are trying to protect themselves from experiencing a narcissistic injury (ego injury). They want to block you before you can say something that contradicts their grandiose self-perception and triggers all of their suppressed negative emotions. 

If you were having an electronic disagreement, argument, heated conversation, etc., with a narcissist and they felt like they were losing power and control over the situation, they might block you to prevent you from causing a narcissistic injury (ego injury) and to regain a sense of power and control.

A narcissist telling another narcissist to block someone.

For someone as shallow, emotionally immature, and misguided as a narcissist, the concept of blocking another human being can feel extremely powerful, validating, and give them the control that they desperately need. 

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Narcissists block you because they are emotionally stunted and immature. Childish actions like blocking allow them to feel powerful, in control, and validated.

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Hawk, Skyler T., et al. “Narcissistic adolescents’ attention-seeking following social rejection: Links with social media disclosure, problematic social media use, and smartphone stress.” Computers in Human Behavior 92 (2019): 65-75.

Somerville, Tiffany A. “The effect of social media use on narcissistic behavior.” Journal of Undergraduate Research 25 (2015).