So many websites & authors make no contact sound like an easy decision & once you go no contact, all will be right in your world. Nothing could be further from the truth!! While no contact is often the best & even the only solution, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.
If you’re considering no contact with a narcissist in your life, in particular one in your family, you need to be aware of some things. I am not writing these to make you change your mind about no contact, only to help you prepare for the potential aftermath.
- No one has the right to abuse you, not even your family.
- You are under no obligation whatsoever to tolerate abuse from anyone & yes, that includes family.
- Cutting toxic people out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you someone who cares enough about yourself not to tolerate abuse.
- Just because you severed contact with someone doesn’t mean you hate them. You can love someone but still not be able to be in a relationship with them because they’re abusive.
- No one can fully prepare for what may happen after no contact because all people are different. When I went no contact with my mother, she ignored me & kept her distance. When I went no contact with my father, he continually tried to force me to talk to him, including getting his family to try to force me to talk to him. It’s hard to predict how the person on the receiving end of no contact will handle it.
- You will be depressed for some time after going no contact. No matter how sure you are that you did the right thing or how much you know you had no choice but to do this, ending a relationship especially one with a family member is TOUGH! It hurts!
- You’ll also feel very guilty for a while, even though there isn’t a valid reason to feel that way. This is simply because that is how this person trained you. Their feelings are more important than yours & how dare you put your feelings ahead of theirs, at least that is what they want you to believe. Remember, this person is the reason the relationship fell apart. Yes, you walked away but only after you were pushed into doing so to protect your mental health. There is no reason to feel guilty about this!
- You’re going to have doubts. It’s only normal. Remind yourself of how much thought & prayer went into your decision when this happens. Also remember what led you to make this incredibly difficult decision. Doing so helps a great deal.
- Not everyone is going to understand. Some people are going to judge you very harshly. Those people can be incredibly hurtful & cruel. No matter how convicted they are in their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are right. Don’t let them make you doubt your decision or tolerate their abusive words.
- Of those who judge you, you will be surprised by who is doing it. Some folks you were convinced were on your side will turn on you, & it is going to hurt badly! You also may be surprised by acquaintances & even strangers who attack you for going no contact. It’s shocking when someone you barely know or don’t even know at all thinks they have the right to tell you what they think you should do with your life.
- Those who don’t understand also will try to guilt or shame you into reconnecting. Don’t let that happen!! Again, remind yourself of what led you to making this decision. Also remind yourself that these people don’t know the whole story, so their input is useless to you.
- Often, these people who attack you are going to be your own family. Family is often the most abusive in these situations. Mine certainly has been. Various members have attacked me like they were starving lions & I was vulnerable prey. Sadly this is pretty normal in narcissistic families. Family members often delude themselves into thinking they’re a happy, normal, functional family. They will do anything to protect their delusions, including attack someone who tells the truth. If they can quiet the truth teller, then their delusions can remain in tact. To them, attacking their own kin is worth it if it protects their delusions.
- You may think if you just did something they wanted you to do or loved them enough, the abuse would have stopped. That is not true! A person changes because they want to. To make an abuser want to change is nearly impossible. They get what they want from being abusive & they lack empathy. This means they see no reason at all to change.
- You also may have days where you miss this person. You may be tempted on those days to rekindle the relationship. You may even want to apologize for going no contact. DON’T DO IT!! Once someone has gone no contact then later returns to the relationship, it gets much worse than it originally was. It may start out good, but it won’t take long before the mask comes off again. When that happens, the person underneath is even uglier than they were before.
- You won’t be functioning in survivor mode anymore, so you may feel much different. You may feel very vulnerable & over sensitive. Little things can make you cry or make you angry that never bothered you before. You may have more nightmares than usual. You may experience changes in anxiety levels by either becoming more anxious in general or less anxious but when you do get anxious those times are harder than they used to be.
- You may feel oddly lost, too, like you don’t know what to do with your life. When in a relationship with a narcissist, they seem to take up all the room in the relationship, even down to including all the room in your brain. Without them, what is there to think about?! It can take some time to feel less lost after survival mode is over.
- At some point, you are going to feel so much better! You’ll experience freedom & enjoy that feeling immensely. If the narcissist in your life was a relative, guilt will come attached to enjoying your new freedom, but in time it will get less & less, until it disappears.
- You’ll also experience peace, possibly for the first time in your life! No more unnecessary drama. No more narcissistic rages. The peace is glorious!!
- You won’t feel on edge all the time, worried about what to say or do to appease the narcissist so he or she won’t rage at you. You finally can relax & not focus all of your energy on this person. It’ll feel like a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders.
- You also will start to enjoy little things more than you used to. When you’re life is totally focused on a narcissist, it’s hard to enjoy subtle things like a bird singing, a beautiful full moon or even a great song on the radio. It can feel almost like you’re reborn, I think is the best way to describe it.
In time, you’ll learn that no contact was absolutely worth it. In spite of all the pain, the tears, the doubts & the attacks from horrible people, it truly was worth it. You will survive it, & be better & stronger for it!