In my culture, it is relatively customary for parents of adults to still worry about them and wish to be informed when they have arrived safely at their destination after a trip. My very normal aunt has the same expectation from her very normal very adult kids, who don't have a problem with it, so I know it's not an insane request. But my father is.
A day before we were going to visit my ILs for our daughter's first birthday, my father sent me a message saying, and I quote "If it's not too hard and if you remember, please let me know when you arrive."
Translation: If sending a message to your father is too hard or you forget, then you're evil and reprehensible.
I forgot. Here's the story of that and of how I even learned I was getting the Silent Treatment in the first place (again, I didn't even notice he hadn't called on my daughter's birthday. If his girlfriend hadn't sent me that insane message, I'd never know I was being "punished". No communication with him just feels like normal, pleasant life).
So he wouldn't call me to ask if we arrived safely (something normal parents would do if their kids forgot). No, instead he chose not to wish his granddaughter Happy Birthday and start trying to recruit an army of Flying Monkeys to Put Me in Line. He called my ILs and complained to them. Then he wrote to my aunt, telling her he was angry with me. She wrote back saying he shouldn't be so hard on us and he should have just called us. She forwarded me his reply. I have to share it because it even made my very calm husband angry. Well, I'll share the highlights, the rest is boring cliche narc talk. My comments are in green:
"I'm not too hard on them, I was raised that way. I don't know who Pronoia takes after, it's as if she hadn't been raised by us."
What his parents did to him can't be referred to as being "raised" but that's beside the point. The fact that he's angry and confused by my behavior and feels like I'm a different person than the one he "raised" is a huge compliment and proof that he knows he can't control me and he knows it.
He may have been fully controlled by his narcissistic mother, but he's appropriating my mother here for his purposes. She never really called her parents and I have heard her say so repeatedly. It was only at his insistence that she'd do the same as he and call her mother on arrival.
"Perhaps times have changed, and I'm still living in another, older time, when parents were respected."
So there we are. This is not about worrying, it may not even be entirely about control. It's about "respect" as it always is with narcissists. He's offended that I forgot. He wouldn't call himself to check, because he doesn't really care or worry. The only emotion he's capable of is being offended.
"Perhaps you're right and we should bore them and call them, but I try to avoid it. I know she's busy and I don't want to get in the way. Even when I want to drop by to see them I ask them if I can come first, in case they perhaps have some other plans or business :--("
This is the part that made my husband angry. The hypocrisy aside (I don't want to bore her, because I'm not so important, but I'll get angry if she forgets, because I'm so important, more important than Birthday Girl on her first birthday), there's an outright lie there. No, he doesn't call to check if we indeed have other plans. He did at first, but he dropped it altogether. He just drops by, not to "see us" but to wait while his girlfriend is in class. He drops by at a time inconvenient for us, late in the evening. When his girlfriend has no classes, he won't come at all, for weeks at a time.
The SAD FACE at the very THOUGHT that we might DARE have other plans or business is the SCARIEST part of this message. It's a fake message to someone who loves me, and STILL it's showing. Can you imagine what's actually in his head if he'd WRITE that to my aunt?
The silent treatment went on for 10 days. I wondered what to do when we got back and the next opportunity for "normal" communication came up. I chose to ignore the ignoring and wrote a message to let him know we got back home, like I normally would. He chose to interpret it as his victory, sending me a sickly sweet message in reply. My husband told me to save that message as proof to others, who don't get it, that it's all a fake game. Going from "angry" to saccharine in a beat is not something normal people do.
I'm not sure I did the right thing, but I just didn't want to engage in the game. Let him think he won. I wanted him to understand that if he has a problem, he's supposed to TELL me. I'm not interested in reading between the lines of his girlfriend's messages or being "scolded" by other family members. I'm not interested in him believing I'm obsessing over whether Daddy's angry and why, oh why? I'm not sure I made him learn that. But ignoring him would have clearly said I noticed him ignoring me. And I'm so dead set on not being vulnerable to him that I won't acknowledge to him or myself that I have even noticed that he wouldn't say Happy Birthday on my daughter's first birthday. And I might be hurt. But it's too stupid to be hurt about anything a narcissist does, so I won't acknowledge that.