No Contact – The Breaking Point
I write a lot here about difficult relationships, the challenges about them, the symptoms, and I share my experience and my resolutions about handling some of these conflicts. In this issue, I’m going to talk about the No Contact rule.
This method is usually a last resort to ending a relationship after several other remedies have been applied without success.
When we have struggled with people who hurt, ignore, or harm us, either mentally or physically, and there is no solution left for handling these people, other than continuing to put up with them or creating distance from them wherever we can, sometimes all we can do is go full-blown No Contact. Yes, you can read 100 books on psychology about these issues, but when we reach the last end of the rope where we can no longer endure a toxic relationship, this may become the only option we’re left with to seek peace.
So, what is no contact exactly?
No Contact means taking a firm stance to remove ourselves from another person’s life or situation. It can often be a difficult process, especially when feelings of guilt intervene, but this is sometimes necessary to bring back sanity and peace. And despite our decision to go through with the process, it can still be difficult. And sometimes, despite our decision to break free, we may still get swept back into that person’s drama. Friend or family, sometimes we just have to let go to save ourselves. No Contact means the relationship is over. This is a self-protective measure we should take when a relationship isn’t just not fulfilling us, but becomes bad for our mental health. It’s a measure that will often entail grieving the loss of that relationship despite our choosing to sever ties with that person.
So what is the process for No Contact?
First, we should set our internal boundaries. Once we decide to go No Contact, we must stop filling our minds with the situation and playing the hurt hits over and over in our heads. If we’re at this point in a relationship, it’s time to stop thinking about them, the hurt, the words, the guilt and the pain they’ve caused us, and think about ourselves. When we’ve exhausted every avenue of trying to discuss and fix, and they either don’t see the problem or aren’t interested in repairing anything, it may be time to banish them. Going No Contact is not only a physical action, but a mental one too.
Going No Contact means: no phoning, no texting, no engagement on social media or otherwise, no talking, no partaking in events around them. It means staying strong when confronted by those we’ve walked away from and remembering the many reasons why we chose to delete that person from our lives. The object is to remove our presence from their life.
Like any loss in life, we may well go through some of the grieving stages, similar to how we do when we lose a loved one. During this process, we may experience mixed emotions such as: I’m a bad person for doing this, I don’t want to make bad blood, I don’t want people to be angry at me. I know this ritual through my own experience. I lived it when I finally had to use it with my mother. And since my husband’s passing, I’ve realized a lot about the people who’ve been a part of my life with ‘new eyes’. One thing I know from experience is that a deep loss of a loved one will forever change you.
What can help when we’re weighing the scales about a certain relationship is to write out our feelings. Make a list of the pros and cons of the relationship in question. Look at the good parts and the painful parts. If the painful parts far outweigh the good and you’ve already given the relationship many chances with the same outcome, it may be time to consider this method.
Toxic people are manipulative people. They have an inherent knack for knowing how to overpower others. It’s important not to allow these people to define us by manipulating us into feeling obligation or guilt when we attempt to distance ourselves mentally and physically from that person. Going No Contact is often akin to abstaining from a harmful substance like drugs or booze. And just like going through any detox program, we will undoubtedly go through some withdrawal symptoms after removing a person from our lives. And yes, second thoughts, guilt, and remembering some of the better times, may all pop into our heads during the cleansing, but the idea is to remain strong in our resolution for a greater good. In essence, creating No Contact is self-love and for self- preservation.
I came across an article of comments while I was researching what some people who’ve chosen to go No Contact have to share: 7 Cups – Family Stress – What’s it like to go no contact with your entire family
And at this point, I will share my own experience with No Contact.
As some of you are already aware of from reading my books, I had no other choice but to go No Contact with my own mother. When the badgering, lying, manipulating and the hurt became enough that it was affecting my mental health, I had no option than to go this method. I put up with it for 50 years from my mother and despite it all, I still felt terribly guilty when I finally did banish her from my life. As a sensitive and compassionate empath, I found this doubly hard to do. But the alternative was destroying my health, so I felt no choice but to walk away. No Contact.
Now that didn’t mean that I strolled merrily along, thinking, great I got her off my back finally. Besides the painstaking steps I made to take on the decision to walk, my decision to leave her still hurt every day. But when I’d remind myself why it became necessary to do so when thinking back on all the painful things she’d done and said to me repeatedly with no regard for my feelings or my life, it eventually eased the wound of leaving and the pain I’d endure if I had stayed would have been so much worse.
As I’ve been pretty much alone on my journey of grief since the passing of my husband these last six months, the supposed family in my life have shown me just how much I don’t matter. When devastating things happen in someone’s life, it becomes so easy to see who is really there for us in our corner. No phone calls, no check-ups, no visits, nothing from anyone other than my ‘family of friends’ who’ve been at my side through this worst time of my life. I have seen the light once again. And once again I’m slowly planning my No Contact plan.
Below I’m sharing two videos that go a little deeper into the subject:
“If people aren’t on the side that’s good for you, walk away.”
Dr. Jordan Peterson – When is it right to walk away from your family?
When to Cut Toxic Family Members From Your Life
If they don’t have the time of day for us, show indifference to anything difficult we’re going through, if they consistently leave us out of family gatherings, if they’ve forgotten our existence, or if our spouse dies and they didn’t have the courtesy to call just once to see how we’re getting on, that’s a good indication we’ve been deemed insignificant, and it’s time to move on.
I’ve always been the scapegoat of my family. It has seriously affected my self-esteem and sense of worth. And after years of what seems trying to win the love and approval from anyone in my family, the only thing left to do is go on with my life and acknowledge the fact that some people just don’t care.
Remember this, anyone who has treated us with anything less than respect does not deserve a seat at our table. No Contact helps us to resist the temptation to invite them back into our life. If we’ve tried to say our piece and found it only falling on deaf ears with zero concern, repeatedly, it may be time to rethink that relationship.
I hope nobody here reading this has had to endure toxic relationships, but if anyone has had an experience and would like to share here, I’m all ears.
My thanks to Debby for this insight into toxic relationships and why there comes a time when you have to walk away for your own long-term wellbeing.
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
“I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.”
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
Books by D.G. Kaye
One of the reviews for Meno-What
I tried to read this book in bed before nodding off, but my husband made me go downstairs… apparently my laughter was keeping him up. As someone who’s gone through “The Change,” I found this book highly relatable and, at times, laugh out loud funny. Kaye recommends laughter as a way of dealing with this shocking stage of life, and her account of her own battle with menopause and post-menopausal changes demonstrates that conviction.
Kaye gives an overview of the biological changes, reminds us that she isn’t a doctor, and clarifies that every woman will experience this misery in different ways. Besides offering plenty of opportunities for laughter, she provides suggestions for ways to manage our changing bodies. I especially related to her discussion of post-menopausal changes that begin with a stage called “What the Hell?”
Her anecdotes are relatable… the covers on/covers off routine… opening the car window to let the snow blow in… “alligator” skin… sagging, spots, you name it, she covers the gamut and all with sardonic wit, disbelief, good sense, and a determination to fight back. This book is a memoir but one that doubles as a guide for women during their menopausal journeys. Highly recommended.
Thanks for joining Debby today and please share your experiences in the comments.. thanks Sally.