One of the many reasons that communicating with a narcissist is so hard is the fact that narcissists have a tendency to not answer your questions.

7 Reasons Narcissists Don’t Answer Your Questions

  1. They are giving you the silent treatment.
  2. They are gaslighting you.
  3. They don’t feel like you deserve an answer.
  4. They are trying to bait you into a confrontation.
  5. They are trying to maintain control over you.
  6. They are trying to protect their falsified identity.
  7. They are incapable of building connections with others.

This article is a thorough exploration of the different reasons that narcissists don’t answer your questions.

1. They Are Giving You the Silent Treatment

A common reason that narcissists refuse to answer your questions is because they are giving you the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is the refusal to communicate verbally and electronically with someone who is trying to communicate and elicit a response.

For example, imagine that you asked the narcissist in your life,“Do you know where my credit card is?”

They respond by sitting down in front of the television and turning the volume all the way up.

A narcissist giving someone the silent treatment and not answering their questions.

This would be considered the silent treatment.

A Quote From One of Our Community Members

“The most frustrating part of our relationship was the silent treatment. It felt like no matter what I did, he would find some reason to punish me or our kids with silence. You’d ask him a question and he would stare off into space and simply not answer. Being with a narcissist is like being with a child.” – Annie

Suggested Reading:

Our article How to Respond to a Narcissist’s Silent Treatment has a ton of helpful information that you can use to grasp a better understanding of the silent treatment and how you should respond to it.

2. They Are Gaslighting You

Gaslighting is a manipulation that occurs when someone says or does something that doubts or denies another person’s reality. 

Narcissists use gaslighting to get others to question their own sanity, memories, and/or perception of reality.

It is very common for narcissists to attempt to gaslight you by refusing to answer your questions.

You see, one of the six types of gaslighting that narcissists use is called mind reading gaslighting.

This occurs when a narcissist punishes another person for not being able to read their mind.

For example, imagine you ask the narcissist in your life, “What would you like to eat for dinner tonight?”

They respond by getting angry, hitting you, and saying, “You know that it is Tuesday. Obviously I want to eat (blank). How dumb can you get?!”

A narcissist going into a narcissistic rage because his wife didn't know that he wanted to each chicken

This would be an example of mind reading gaslighting.

Now, this was an extreme example of mind reading gaslighting but you can see how a narcissist might not answer your question because they expect you to read their mind.

Suggested Reading:

As we mentioned before, mind reading gaslighting is one of the six types of gaslighting that narcissists use. If you’d like to learn about the other types, please click here to download our free guide that will teach you about all of them!

3. They Don’t Feel Like You Deserve an Answer

One of the defining characteristics of narcissism is a grandiose sense of self-importance.

When someone has a grandiose sense of self-importance, it means that they have an unrealistic sense of specialness and superiority.

Now, it is very possible that the narcissist in your life doesn’t answer your questions because their sense of superiority causes them to believe that you don’t deserve an answer.

They simply ignore everything that you say because they don’t view you as an equal.

A woman asking a narcissist why he is ignoring her.

For example, imagine that you have a very rich and successful narcissist in your life.

One day, you try asking them a question about money but because you aren’t as rich or successful as they are, they refuse to have a conversation with you because they don’t view you as an equal.

This would be an example of a narcissist’s grandiose sense of self-importance causing them to not answer your questions because they don’t feel like you deserve an answer.

4. They Are Trying to Bait You Into a Confrontation

Baiting is a manipulation tactic that occurs when a narcissist says or does something manipulative to get you to engage in a negative interaction with them.

The goal that narcissists have when they try to bait you is to get you to have a negative reaction that allows them to portray you in a negative light and/or victimize themselves.

It is very common for a narcissist to not answer your questions because they are trying to bait you.

This is particularly true when you are in public.

You see, one of the five types of baiting is called public baiting.

Public baiting occurs when a narcissist says or does something manipulative in front of other people to manipulate you into having a negative response that makes you look irrational, dramatic, or foolish, and themselves as a victim of your “bad” behavior.

For example, imagine that you are at your friend’s wedding with your narcissistic spouse and your three month old daughter.

During the dinner service, you realize that your daughter needs to be changed but you don’t know where the diaper-bag is.

You quietly ask your spouse where the bag is but they ignore you. You try to ask them again but they ignore you again. You try one last time and your spouse says, “Can’t you see that I am talking with my friend? Sit down and shut up.”

Your spouse says this under her breath so only you heard this comment.

You get furious and yell, “All I want is the damn diaper bag!”

The entire place goes quiet and you are left there looking irrational, dramatic, and foolish. 

This is an example of public baiting and it is an example of a narcissist not answering your question because they are trying to bait you into a negative confrontation.

Suggested Reading:

There are six different types of baiting that narcissist use. That’s right, six! If you’d like to learn more about them, click here to download our free guide that teaches you all about them.

5. They Are Trying to Maintain Control Over You

One of the reasons that the narcissist in your life refuses to answer your questions is because they are blocking you.

Blocking is a manipulation tactic narcissists use to maintain control over you.

It occurs when they do or say something to avoid or prevent an important conversation from happening.

For example, imagine you’ve caught the narcissist in your life in a huge lie.

When you confront them about it, they respond by saying, “You are going to bring this up today of all days? You know that I have been stressed at work and about to lose my job and you are just going to add more onto it? You are disgusting.

A narcissist trying to avoid talking about a specific topic.

Then they walk out of the room.

This would be an example of a narcissist using blocking to stop an important conversation from happening.

So, when a narcissist refuses to answer your questions, it could be because they are trying to block you.

Suggested Reading:

Our article 8 Manipulation Tactics Narcissists Use to Try to Control You has a ton of helpful information about the different ways that narcissist try to maintain power and control over others.

6. They Are Trying to Protect Their Falsified Identity

Narcissists struggle with many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Behind their superficial exterior, there is an individual who feels unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, weak, and worthless.

Unfortunately, narcissists don’t have the emotional skills one would need to manage these thoughts, feelings, and emotions through healthy forms of regulation.

Instead, one of the ways that they manage these thoughts by maintaining a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

A narcissist's fantasies.

These fantasies help them to create a falsified identity that they can be proud of and suppress all of their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

If you were to ask a question that somehow challenged their falsified identity, it is common for them to not answer your question because they are trying to protect their falsified identity.

For example, imagine you asked the narcissist in your life, “Why do you act like you are so much better than me?”

A woman questioning a narcissist.

They aren’t going to say, “Well it is because I am very insecure and have many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I struggle with.

They are going to say something along the lines of, “Because I am better than you,” or dodge the question completely.

Now, these types of comments and/or behaviors can hurt your feelings, but it is important that you don’t personalize them.

Narcissist’s have to maintain their falsified identity or they will have a complete meltdown.

This doesn’t excuse their behavior but it does explain why a narcissist might decide to not answer your question.

Suggested Reading:

Our article How to Respond to a Narcissist’s Silent Treatment has a ton of helpful information that you can use to grasp a better understanding of the silent treatment and how you should respond to it.

7. They Are Incapable of Building Connections With Others

For non-narcissistic people, asking questions is a way to build a connection with someone.

Because of their lack of empathy, narcissists are incapable of building connections with others.

If you didn’t know already, when someone lacks empathy, they don’t have the ability to understand and/or share the feelings of another.

When you ask a narcissist a question to try to get to know them, they can’t understand that you are simply trying to learn more about them.

A confused narcissist.

All they see is a person asking them questions that could potentially reveal that they are not the flawless, superior person they want everyone to think that they are.

So, one of the reasons that a narcissist doesn’t answer your questions is because they are incapable of building connections with others.

Suggested Reading:

Our article How to Respond to a Narcissist’s Silent Treatment has a ton of helpful information that you can use to grasp a better understanding of the silent treatment and how you should respond to it.

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References:

Akhtar, Salman. “Narcissistic personality disorder: Descriptive features and differential diagnosis.” Psychiatric Clinics of North America 12.3 (1989): 505-529.

Ronningstam, Elsa. “Narcissistic personality disorder: A current review.” Current psychiatry reports 12.1 (2010): 68-75.