What No Contact Really Is – And What It Isn’t
No Contact is not a game or a ploy to get a person back into our lives; this technique has been misrepresented in many dating books and blogs as a way to “manipulate” a person into coming back to us. We should not desire to have people who have mistreated us back into our lives. On the contrary, No Contact is a way to remove this abusive person’s toxic influence so we can live happier, healthier lives while cultivating our authentic selves and minimizing people-pleasing. No Contact is the key that locks out that person from ever entering our heart, mind, and spirit in any palpable way again.
I understand that not everyone can go No Contact with their abusers. Some people may have narcissists in their family, for example, that they feel they cannot cut all ties with. Others may be forced to co-parent with a narcissist. In those cases, you can still adapt some of the suggestions below to your specific situation. If you are in a situation where you must remain in contact with an ex-partner for legal issues or because of children, keep in low contact (minimum communication) and use the Grey Rock method of communication if this person has narcissistic (NPD) or antisocial (ASPD) traits.
Why We Establish No Contact in the Context of Abusive Relationships
We establish No Contact for a number of reasons, including preserving a healthy mind and spirit after the ending of a toxic, unhealthy or abusive relationship or friendship. No Contact gives trauma bonds, bonds which are created during intense emotional experiences, time to heal from abusive relationships. If we remain in constant contact with the toxic person, we will only reinvigorate these trauma bonds and form new ones. No Contact also gives us time to grieve and heal from the ending of an unhealthy relationship or friendship without reentering it.
Most of all, we establish No Contact so that toxic people like malignant narcissists can’t use hoovering or post-breakup triangulation techniques to win us back over. By establishing No Contact, we essentially remove ourselves from being a source of supply in what is clearly a non-reciprocal, dysfunctional relationship.
How To Execute No Contact Effectively
Full No Contact requires that we do not interact with this person in any manner or through any medium. This includes in-person and virtual contact. We must thus remove and block the person from all social media networks since this individual is likely to attempt to trigger and provoke us through these mediums by posting updates on their lives post-breakup.
We must also block them from messaging or calling us or contacting us via e-mail. Avoid the temptation to find out about the person’s life via a third party or another indirect way. Remove triggering photos, gifts and any other reminders from your physical environment and from your computer.
Always refuse any requests to meet up with this person and avoid going to any places the person frequents. Should the person stalk or harass you by other means and you feel comfortable taking legal action, please do so. Your safety comes first.
I also highly recommend cutting contact with the friends of the abusive ex-partner if possible as well by also removing them from your social media sites. I understand you may have established great friendships with these people during the course of your relationship but if you did date a narcissist or sociopath, he or she has likely staged a smear campaign against you and you will not get any validation or support from these people.
Unfortunately, the narcissistic harem or fan club is ultimately convinced by the illusion and false self of the charming manipulator. Think of your ex-partner’s “friends” (more like narcissistic supply – sources of attention, praise and resources) as being kept in a perpetual idealization phase with no discard – they are not likely to believe your accounts of the abuse and may even be used by the narcissist or sociopath to hoover, triangulate, trigger or manipulate you in some way. It’s best to cut ties with them completely and create your own support network that is separate from the abuser.
Sticking to No Contact
If No Contact is a struggle for you, there are many ways to ensure that you stick to it. Make sure you have a weekly schedule filled with pleasurable, distracting activities. This could include activities such as spending time with friends, going to a comedy show (laughter is a natural stress reliever), taking long walks, and reading helpful books on No Contact and healing from toxic relationships to keep you focused on your progress.
Self-care is essential in No Contact. Take care of your physical and mental well-being by exercising daily, establishing a regular sleep schedule to keep your circadian rhythms in balance, doing yoga to help strengthen your body and relieve stress, as well as engaging in a daily meditation practice of your choice. You can find more about these self-care tips here.
Use these meditations in order to be mindful of your cravings, which will be an inevitable part of the addiction cycle to this toxic relationship. Remember that we are literally “addicted” to the narcissist via biochemical bonds created by lovebombing, devaluation, and trauma. If you have a relapse, the important thing is to radically accept (nonjudgmentally) your fall off the wagon and continue to maintain No Contact. Relapse is inevitable in addiction, but recovery is possible.
Research indicates that mindfulness curbs our addictive or impulsive behavior by rewiring the same regions of our brains that create that sense of craving. Meditation Oasis is an excellent resource for guided meditations. You may also want to experiment with alternative healing methods such as Reiki, acupuncture, or aromatherapy as these can help to facilitate the mind-body connection in healing.
Do yourself a favor and look up online forums that relate to unhealthy and toxic relationships; joining such a forum ensures that you have a community and support network that enables you to remain No Contact and support others who are struggling just like you. The feedback you gain from these communities can be crucial to your recovery. Ensure that the forum in question is vetted and is, ideally, moderated by a licensed mental health professional. This will also help validate some of the experiences that you went through during the friendship or relationship with people who’ve been there.
Do not resist your grief during this process, because you will have to face it at some point. The more you resist negative thoughts and emotions, the more they’ll persist – it’s a fact. Learn how to accept your emotions and accept the grieving process as an inevitable part of the healing journey. I recommend trying the grieving exercises and abiding by the No Contact rules in the book Getting Past Your Breakup, written by certified grief counselor Susan Elliot.
Most of all, develop a healthier relationship with your cravings to break No Contact by practicing radical acceptance and mindfulness to the present moment. Remember that relapse may be an inevitable part of the addiction cycle and forgive yourself if you do break NC at any point.
After practicing this self-compassion and forgiveness, you must get back on the wagon after falling off of it. Track your urges to break No Contact in a journal to curb acting upon these urges. Make sure that before you act on any urge, you give yourself at least an hour to collect yourself. It will get easier once you realize that breaking No Contact often bears no rewards, only painful learning experiences.
If you’re looking for extra inspiration, you may also want to check out 30 Kickass Affirmations for Going No Contact with an Abusive Narcissist.
Why We Remain No Contact
The ending of an unhealthy relationship often leaves us reeling and feeling unable to cope. Even though we logically know we did not deserve the abuse or mistreatment, we may be tempted to stray from this when our emotions get a hold of us. Trauma bonds often keep us tethered to the abuser, as well as other factors such as codependency, low self-esteem, feelings of low worth, which may have been instilled in us from the abusive patterns within the relationship or may have kept us in the relationship in the first place.
No Contact is a space for healing and reviving yourself, apart from the belittling influences of your former partner or friend. It is an opportunity for you to detach completely from the toxic person while moving forward with your life and effectively pursuing your goals. It enables you to look at the relationship honestly and productively from the realm of your own intuition, perceptions, emotions, and thoughts, apart from the gaslighting or abuse of the former partner.
Remember that anyone who has treated you with anything less than respect does not deserve to be in your life, so No Contact helps you to resist the temptation to invite them back into your life in any manner or form. Many survivors find it helpful to track their progress on a calendar, blog or journal. You should celebrate and take note of your No Contact progress, as it is both a challenging and rewarding path to self-empowerment.
By establishing No Contact, you are ultimately staging your own victory and exploring your strengths, talents and new freedom with more ease. I invite you to take the first steps to recovery and success by challenging yourself to at least 30 days of No Contact if you are doing it for the first time. This will provide a detoxifying period where you can start to heal in a protective space of self-care and self-love, enabling your mind and body to repair itself from the abuse. Then, utilize the resources I’ve mentioned here in order to maintain No Contact and purge your life of the toxic influences you were once tethered to.