Friday, August 19, 2011

No Contact 101

According to Reverend Renee, the following is what it means to go No Contact. I have to agree with everything she has written and I would highly recommend that anyone debating going NC, or who has already declared NC with an abusive friend or relative read this list.

No Contact Means:

NO Talking To Them No Matter What Happens And No Matter What You Hear

NO Letting Them Talk To You, NO Listening To Anything They Say, NO “Hearing Them Out.”

NO Letting Them In Your House And NO Going To Their House. If It Is Possible To Move, Then Move, Get A P.O. Box, And Don't Let Them Know When Or Where You're Going. DO NOT leave a forwarding address at the post office- after the forwarding period is up, any card or letter your abuser sends you will get returned to him with your forwarding address on it; instead contact each of your creditors, friends, and anyone you want to keep in touch with individually and advise them of your new address. Never use your street address. Use your P.O. box as your address on everything- including your driver’s license, car registration, credit cards, deliveries, bills, etc. This will buy you a couple of years, until they find you online. The best move is more than a day’s drive away. In fact, the further, the better.

NO Phone Calls and NO Returning Voicemail Messages. Change Your Number To Unlisted and Unpublished, And Do Not Give It To Anyone You Can't Trust Not To Give It To Your Abuser. NEVER pick up the phone. Screen Your Calls. Use Caller ID Or Let Your Machine Pick Up. If you get any strange messages from people you barely know or whom you haven’t heard from in years, do not return their calls unless they told you why they wanted to talk to you when they left their message. Be very wary of anyone who just leaves his name and number and says something along the lines of, “I need to talk to you.” There’s a very high probability he’s a Silent Partner, sicced on you by your estranged abuser.

NO Sending Or Responding To E-Mails. Block Their E-Mails, IMs, And Ability To See When You Are Online Block them from viewing your page on any social networking sites you are on. Make sure you use a different, unidentifiable name and e-mail address on any forums or chat groups you belong to.

NO Meetings to "Talk Things Over" Or "Work Things Out".

NO Communication At All Except Through Attorneys. NOT THERAPISTS- Attorneys. If you go to counseling with a psychopath, I guarantee you'll regret it.

NO Cards or Letters and NO Responding to Cards or Letters. NO Birthday Cards. NO Christmas Cards. NO Mother's Day or Father's Day Cards.

NO Gifts and NO Accepting Gifts. If A Gift Is Sent To You, NO Acknowledging It And NO Responding. NO Returning Gifts, Cards, or Letters. To An Abuser, That Is A Response- It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, And If They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.

NO Exceptions For Holidays, Birthdays, or Anniversaries

NO Visits, Including Hospital Visits

NO Letting Them Near Your Kids. If They're Too Toxic For You To Be Around, Then They're Too Toxic For Your Children To Be Around. Warn Your Children To Stay Away From Them. Notify Your Children's School To Call The Police If They Show Up.

NO Public Pleasantries. If You Run Into Them In a Public Place, Ignore Them, Turn Your Back, And Walk Away. If They Approach You, Say In A Loud Voice, "Leave Me Alone!" And "Do Not Talk To Me". If They Persist Or You Believe You Are Being Stalked, Call The Police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.

NO Discussing Them With Anybody Who Has Contact With Them. 

NO Speaking At All To Anyone Who Might Be Pumping You For Information Or Spying On You, And Reporting Back To Them. Cut Off Anyone Who Is Not Loyal To You.

NO Listening to Any News About Them. If you’re absolutely DYING of curiosity, listen but do not show undue interest, do not respond, and do not give any information in return.

NO Giving Other People Information About You Or Your Family That They Could Carry Back To Your Abuser

NO Invitations to Your Big Events and NO Responding to Invitations They Send You

NO Responding To News That They Are Getting Married, Having A Baby, Getting A New Job, Retiring, Moving, Taking A Trip, Sick, Dying, Or Dead

NO Big Announcements or Telling Them Anything About Your Life- NO Letting Them Know You're Getting Married, Moving, Or Having A Baby. NO Letting Them Know When Your Children Get Married, Where They Live, Work, or Go To School, Or When Your Grandkids Are Born.

Print Out E-Mails and Keep All Cards, Letters and Other Communication In A File For Future Harassment Or Stalking Charges, But Do Not Respond.

No Contact means NO CONTACT. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if they were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, deranged, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them? 

Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is NOT possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret ANY willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.

No Contact is THE END. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That's why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It’s OVER. It's time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety. And after it's all over, I leave it up to you whether you go to the funeral or not. If you have moved on with your life and left the past in the past, you won't feel the need to.

11 comments:

  1. This is really helpful. Not easy, but helpful, especially the clarification that narcissists do not understand limits. I know this, but seeing it in print, in this context, makes it crystal clear. I haven't been able to move, but I have implemented a lot of the suggestions.

    On the flip side, I'm baffled by the number of people who can't seem to find me. They talk to my parents, and tell them they'd like to reconnect. I haven't moved. Aside from a few adventures, I've never moved. Reading this, I feel like people have gone NC with me, which has me questioning my sanity, again. Then I remind myself that these are people who knew me before I started setting boundaries. My friends now are all good at keeping in touch. God bless 'em.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Jonsi!

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  2. You're welcome, Judy. When I found it, it really clicked with me and I thought others might benefit from it as well.

    On people not contacting you - DH has dealt with this as well. It seems there are so many people from his past life who claim to "miss him" or who say they want to talk with him or have a relationship with him. And yet, no follow-through. I keep telling him not to take it personally - people in our lives come and go. Friends grow apart. Sometimes, as you become a deeper person, others do not and you have to leave them behind. Maybe you aren't important enough to them (and vice versa) but I don't think that's a bad thing, it's just a way of life. I don't mean to say that you aren't important...just that you each have different perspectives and different life experiences that have brought you in new directions.

    I've also told DH that I don't think he was as deep and thoughtful then as he is now - so his relationships were very superficial. He's grown, and it would seem they have not. That, and perhaps they were never as important to each other as he once thought.

    Again, it's not a reflection on your worth or value as a person.

    I know this list of NC stuff can be hard. But when we're dealing with abusive people, it's just the way it has to be sometimes!

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  3. Amen, Rev. Renee!

    I feel like she spoke directly to me when she wrote this part: "You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That's why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try."

    I have printed this list and plan to read it every night before I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up!

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  4. Seriously, Mulderfan, I love her stuff! She's so right-on-target.

    "There is nothing left to try" sounds sad at first, but then I think, "You've really done everything you could. You've made such a huge effort." That's an accomplishment, not something to be sad about!

    It's sad when you can't have a relationship with a person you care about or love. But it's empowering when you realize that you've tried and the ball is in their court.

    I say, the ball is in your NP's court Mulderfan! Three cheers to leaving it there!

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  5. Hi Jonsi!
    I'v been reading for a awhile, but I'm just now becoming active in the community. I live in a small resort (seasonal) town and all my NC FOO live here too. As a result, I have a lot of people from my past that see me after a few years or run into me and say "How's your mom..." or who try to contact me through the FOO without ever realizing what a hornet's nest they're stepping into.

    It helps me to remember that my FOO is comprised of narcs; some of the most manipulative people on the planet... they made sure that all anyone on the 'outside' ever saw was how gracious, kind and loving they were, and they are very good at that false surface projection of themselves.

    Some people who haven't been around Narcs and haven't been scapegoated by them simply can't believe that something that looks so right can be so rotten inside.

    Thanks for posting this article, I loved it!
    Vanci

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  6. Hi Vanci,

    Welcome! I'm glad you were able to get something from this article - Rev. Renee writes some really powerful stuff and she's worth reading (and re-posting, in my opinion).

    I'm sorry to hear that you have suffered at the hands of Narcs, and that they came from your own FOO. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful and loving FOO, so in many ways, they have helped me open my eyes to the fact that there are people out there who look normal on the outside, but, as you've said, are truly rotten when you take a closer look.

    I've had several N relationships in my life, though I was lucky enough that none of them were from my own FOO (a boyfriend and a friend). Sad really, because I chose those relationships. BUT, I also chose to end them when I realized how unhealthy they were - and going NC was the only way to end their abuses.

    Thanks for reading! I am really glad that I've posted something of use to you. I feel validated in my attempts to both be heard, and help others who suffer a similar plight!

    Keep fighting the good fight!

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  7. In my experience as I started to attempt to impose some boundaries, disengage from the drama etc. I was already in a stage of anticipatory grieving. Each attempt I made that was simply bulldozed into oblivion made it clearer yet to the core of my being this relationship was doomed. I just refused to let it "lay down." It became very weighty to keep holding up/propping up the corpse of a dead NP relationship. I had been performing CPR for years. It was time to pull the plug.

    And No Contact is exactly that: A death that must be grieved. Illusions that must be accepted for exactly what they are-our attempt to forestall the reality we KNOW that INFORMS these relationships.....perhaps that's why I continued to waste my time/energy/effort in an attempt to delay the inevitable....but despite my best attempts to delude myself, that day of reckoning could no longer be denied.

    Almost 30 yrs. later, retrospectively NC is still the wisest and most defining decision of my adult life. It was also the most life-affirming.

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  8. Anon - I can well understand the deep desire to continue a relationship that, for all intents and purposes, was doomed from the very start. There is a lot of denial and delusion that goes on within when you're trying to keep that sinking Narc boat afloat.

    In my own relationships, though they weren't familial ones, I was very much in denial. I wanted to believe so badly that they would change, in the relationship with my narc-ex especially. I was young and I was in love with the idea of being in love and I just wanted him to love me in return.

    He never did. No matter what I said. No matter what I did. No matter what boundaries I imposed.

    I have to agree with you though, NC has been a wise decision for me as well. I'll never forget the choices I made that lead me to that place. Was it difficult? Yes. Extraordinarily. But it was also a life-defining series of events for me.

    NC in some ways can be very difficult. I know there will be times in the future where my husband's will is tested. But we will persevere. All of us, here. We can do it.

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  9. One thing that has helped me to steel my reserve to maintain NC with anyone who's driven me to that point--was reading about how much stress can affect our physical health. Heart problems, digestive issues, etc.

    And for what?

    Why on earth should I allow someone else's chronic dysfunction to shorten MY life span?

    The flying monkeys, and/or well-intentioned, but ill-informed bystanders will spout off the ,

    "Life's too short to hold a grudge" line.

    (gotta love regurgitated rhetoric)

    To that , I say,

    "Life's too short to be continually mistreated, and disrespected."

    (If only I'd figured this stuff out YEARS ago........)

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  10. Hi, I read your text with interest. I am from Europe, so I am not mothertongue english, excuse any of my bad spelling or bad grammar. In my case I have a narcissistic father, but I am not in his abuse angle, he is ok to me, but he is bad to my mom. But my sister is also narcissistic, and for her it seems I am a major threat. She tries everytime we meet or she seeks contact to hurt me. It took me long to accept this truth that she IS hurtful, that she is hurtful on purpose and that she also is hurtful after I told her she is hurting me (which was basically the proof that she really is hurtful because she wants to hurt me (stealing things from me, changing her narrative into things i did in my life or things that matter to me, she is also hurtful in comments and she cuts faces when I talk, like yawn or just dropping evil comments (to my dad:) "tell her (me) that i was so happy that she was nice the last time, it was so cool..." Awwwww o my god... ). Anyway, I want to write to you my thougnts on NOCONTACT, since just like you, it is in families and at certain moments I cannot avoid her and our lives will have some strings together until death tears us apart...
    So my thoughts are these: For me, NO CONTACT means basically, that
    - she doesn't get any info from me on my feelings, on what i love, what i do, what hurts me
    - my vocabulary for her is very limited: I huse standart phrases when we talk: I use senctences with words like good or interesting, or great, or wonderful, or cool, ... just keeping everything very general.
    - I let her do the talking, I just listen, and then I reply with a general phrase as above
    - I don't seek for her, don't call her, don't rely on her, don't respond to her calls, i don't maintain a close and trusting relationship from her, and we only see eachother mostly on family occasiions, when others are around too.
    - I don't expect much from her, and expect more shhhhhhiiiit (lowered my expectations, so her hurtful attempts don't surprise me anymore, since I know they will come)
    - observe her actions, but don't take them for anything, just watch the play evolve on her narcissistic stageplay...
    - detachment

    ---> so all of this is, I find, very helpful, when the narc in your life is somebody you cannot always escape from because they are family, and still, she IS my one and only sister I have, and yes, so I try to be polite and as honest as I can but not giving her any much info on what I hold dear and what is meaningful to me, just the phrases is what she gets, and of course, if she would be in a bad situation, I would help her, or try to, or protect her if I could, but i won't let her hurt me anymore or steal from me by not giving her infos on my personal live, feelings, thoughts. After all, I also love her, except that her narcissism doesn't allow me to live this love more personally, learnt through very hurtful experience. I do feel sorry for her that she cannot relate to me in a way that there is room for both our personalities, but once I see through it, I just see it and it got clearer and better, and my confusion got less and my clarity got more.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      I'm sorry for your struggles - I understand them well. What you are describing sounds like "Low Contact," where you still maintain some contact with the abuser/narcissist but attempt to maintain strict boundaries and see or talk to them as minimally as possible. I understand that some people are not able to go completely No Contact for a variety of valid reasons.

      It's sad that you can't share information with people like this - they are soul suckers and use anything you do share against you. I wish you the best of luck.

      Hugs,

      Jonsi

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