What It’s Like To Go No Contact With Parents

People often don’t understand what it’s like sever ties with  parents.  It’s easy to understand how shocking it can be to some people.  I want people who don’t understand to understand, & I hope to help them to do that with this post.

Looking from the outside in, most people don’t see an abusive family scenario.  They see attentive parents & well behaved children.  They see parents who are successful at their chosen careers, kids getting good grades in school, active in sports or other after school activities & their parents supporting such things.

They don’t see what happens behind the scenes, though.  Screaming, raging, sometimes even physical assaults.  Then there are the scathing criticisms said so often that it destroys the child’s self esteem.  There also is the fact that narcissistic parents do their level best to destroy their child’s identity & recreate the child into whatever it is they want.  The child’s personality, likes, feelings & even morals mean nothing to that parent, only what the parent wants is what matters.  While this may not sound so bad to someone who hasn’t experienced it, I can tell you from my own experience & that of others I have spoken to in similar situations, a child in this situation often considers suicide as it feels like the only means of escape.

When the child in this situation grows up, often, that child who is now an adult learns that their upbringing wasn’t normal.  They witnessed other people with kind & loving parents.  They have friends whose parents bought them their first car when they got their drivers’ license instead of fighting them getting a license & car.  Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.

Things like this often make this adult child look for answers.  Frequently many abused adult children learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this time.

Suddenly, so many things make sense!  The abuse, the belittling, the manipulation, the control.  Then they learn there is almost no hope whatsoever of changing a narcissist.  Explaining that their actions hurt only encourages them to do those things more.

After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option.  Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.

Eventually, they do sever ties though.  Suddenly people they know, or barely know, come out of the woodwork to tell them how terrible they are, how they need to fix the relationship, how badly they’re hurting their parents, how selfish they are & more.  The guilt is horrific & people like this make it even worse.

There is also the devastation of betrayal, because most of these people are people you never expected to side with anyone who abused you.  Actually society in general often sides with parents in these situations rather than the children they abused.

People assume estranged children hate their parents, & treat them accordingly when nothing could be further from the truth.  People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact.  They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either.  They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.

This is what happens when someone goes no contact with their parents.  This was my experience as well as that of so many others I’ve talked to.  If anyone thinks no contact is easy or taking a cowardly way out, they are utterly mistaken.  It’s the hardest decision I ever made, yet also the best one.

37 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

37 responses to “What It’s Like To Go No Contact With Parents

  1. I’ve had no contact with my mother for 5 years. It does hurt and it is the best decision that I made. She will never change nor see what she does or who she is. My sister’s first car was stolen from our mom in the middle of the night. That was one of many examples of the kind of person she was/is.
    When I was faced with a crisis within the family I had to call her and started speaking to her again. Even after years of silence from she went right back to the hurtful behavior. Eventhough that hurt, it also confirmed I was going the right thing and cut ties again.
    Counseling helps tremendously to push back guilt that has been looming over my head all my life. I now deal with ptsd some and am trying to find ways fo cope with it.
    But God! He is my saving grace. He helps each day

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ibikenyc

    “Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.”

    My mother LITERALLY cried at my junior-high graduation because, “You didn’t get any HONORS!” Most of my classmates and friends were taken out to lunch and / or had family parties thrown for them. We drove directly home, and my mother took to her bed, from where she got on the phone with my grandmother and cried to HER about it.

    I banned both my parents from my high school graduation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes. Thank you for writing this. I stopped talking to my mom last year after she pretty much faked a stroke to keep me from going to an interview from my dream job that would take me further away. Her friends and family have always vilified me and said I wasn’t raised to be this way. Then when one of them can’t get her to move out, they start to see it.

    People who don’t have shitty parents don’t get it and their judgment makes everything ten times worse so those of us who do it don’t talk about it. I am glad you talked about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re so right! People don’t get it unless their parents are like this.

      Faked a stroke…wow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah…. she still hasn’t admitted it but she has had like four types of cancer supposedly. She did it when my cousin was visiting me no less and supposedly was disoriented and only asking for my cousin (who was with me so people would call her and I would know). I have written some blog posts about the issue (like Meghan Markle’s dad and then one in general). I feel like there is something there to write about my specific experience but I don’t know if I could write about it without writing it poorly.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: What It’s Like To Go No Contact With Parents — CynthiaBaileyRug – Building Atlas

  5. Oh…. just the mental image of your mother doing that, is sickening. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Everything you said here is so true, Cynthia. I especially like:

    “After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option.  Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.” — Yes!

    “People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact.  They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either.  They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.” — The story of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can validate your experience. I walked away from my parent. There was additional growth for me that came after her death. Also additional criticism that came from family as I didn’t acknowledge her passing in any way …I chose ME! Maybe if she had chose me as a child … there wouldn’t have been the need to completely walk away. Hugs to you and others who have gone through this experience…

    Liked by 2 people

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