Tag Archives: i can’t go no contact
**DISCLAIMER: If, like many of my readers, you are in the unfortunate position of not being able to go no contact with your narcissistic parent, please do NOT think this article is aimed at you! It most certainly isn’t!! I’m sure many of you have been shamed enough & I am not trying to add to that shame by implying you’re weak or wrong or whatever for being in that position. Every situation is unique, & I won’t judge you. This post is aimed at those who have gone no contact, not you!**
Going no contact (or even low contact for that matter) with a narcissistic parent isn’t an easy thing to do. There is a tremendous amount of anger & grief at the abnormal, awful circumstances that bring a person to this decision. Then there is society & their warped views of no contact. Some people think you should cut someone out of your life (yes, even a parent) at the first sign of them disagreeing with you. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who think you’re a horrible person if you even entertain the idea of ending a relationship with your parent, no matter what. Many of those people also think you’re weak for “taking the easy way out”. That is the point I want to address today.
If you’re in the painful place of having gone no contact with your narcissistic parent, my heart breaks for you. I know the pain of this first hand & would tell anyone who thinks it’s easy or cowardly that they are completely, absolutely, 1,000% WRONG.
First of all, a relationship with an abusive parent is incredibly painful. Parents are supposed to love their children unconditionally, & realizing that not only do they not love us but are out to hurt & control us hurts! Really, really freaking hurts! How can anyone continue to subject themselves to that indefinitely? Every person has their limits.
Secondly, even considering how painful it is having an abusive parent, children naturally don’t want to end that relationship. It feels unnatural to end that relationship. How can it not?! That’s your mother or father, not some casual acquaintance.
Third, thinking about going no contact isn’t some easy decision like where to go for dinner. It takes a lot of prayer, thought, time, weighing your options, imagining scenarios.. it’s incredibly draining just to think about, let alone do it.
Lastly, once you are no contact, that doesn’t mean things are going to be easy. Without that narcissistic parent in your life, your emotions that you stifled so long just to survive the toxic relationship are probably going to come to the surface & demand you deal with them. That’s never fun! I’m going through it myself & I can tell you, quite frankly, it’s really rough! (It’s good in the fact I’m finally able to deal with stuff left untouched in so long, but it’s not fun to go through the process). There’s also the distinct possibility your narcissistic parent will send the flying monkeys after you to “talk some sense” into you by attempting to make you feel guilty for going no contact. After all, that parent won’t be around forever yanno! She’s getting older, & she is your mother yanno! Flying monkeys are always fun to deal with. (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic in that comment). Even more fun is the chance your narcissistic parent will attempt to contact you personally. There’s nothing quite like going along with your day, in a good mood, when you open your mailbox & see that parent’s handwriting. So much for that good mood. You can block that parent from emailing, calling, texting or on social media, but you can’t block postal mail.
So if anyone reading this thinks no contact is the cowardly thing to do, the easy route, think again. It’s far from it! Going no contact is actually a very brave, incredibly difficult thing to do.
Lately, I’ve noticed many people in a relationship with a narcissist often have something that shuts them down with the narcissist. The narcissist says or does something that makes their victim feel like enough is finally enough. They reach the point of being completely fed up with the games, the gaslighting & the abuse. This one thing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The victim is now done. One of my readers calls this the last straw moment.
A while back, I had a big fight with my parents that I have mentioned in this blog before. Long story short, they wanted to attend my late mother in-law’s funeral, & seemed annoyed I didn’t tell them she died- they found out about her death when they saw her obituary in the local paper. In spite of knowing how badly she treated me, both of my parents said they wanted to “pay their respects” to her & “didn’t want to disappoint my father in-law” by not going (my parents & in-laws have seen each other twice in the 20+ years my husband & I have been together). I felt betrayed that they cared more about “paying respects” to her than me, & neither of my parents understood that.
As of the time I’m writing this post, neither of my parents have spoken to me in quite a while. The evening of the fight was the last time I spoke with my mother. That was in May. My father only spoke to me a handful of times after that, but I haven’t heard from him since July. I guess now he’s not speaking to me either. That’s fine- it’s his choice. I realized this situation was my last straw moment with my parents. Granted, this was not the first time they have cared more about someone else than me, even someone who has hurt me. The reason it is my last straw moment is because my parents have the unadulterated gall to be angry at me for defending myself to their complete lack of concern over my feelings. If they had responded by saying something like, “I never thought of it that way. I’m sorry,” I could have lived with them wanting to pay their respects, probably without even being angry since they just tend to be so inconsiderate of me. I accept that about them & don’t expect otherwise from them. But, they didn’t. They acted like something was extremely wrong with me for being upset with them. My father quickly changed the subject after defending himself briefly. My mother even acted bored when I was angry & crying. Bored! Her own daughter is upset to the point of yelling, crying & even using some profanity which are all out of character to me in her presence, yet she was bored. My parents were offended that I defended myself & they couldn’t comprehend why I felt they betrayed me. Wouldn’t even try to comprehend it, for that matter. Those facts are what triggered my last straw moment.
I’m learning from my own experiences & from those of others I’ve spoken with that last straw moments with narcissistic parents are a plethora of conflicting emotions.
When things first happen, there can be a sense of being in shock. Whatever they did may not have been the worst thing they’ve done to you, but you can’t believe it at first. You may think things like, “They did it AGAIN?!” or, “They really don’t care at all how I feel!” While you know they’re capable of such things obviously, you can’t believe it happened, even when it feels like the millionth time. You are amazed anyone can be capable of such cruelty, let alone extending that cruelty to their own child.
Anger kicks in too. You may feel totally fed up. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Enough is enough! You are done putting up with their abuse!
Sadness kicks in after the anger. Sadness because what they did hurt you & because you realize there is truly no hope for your relationship. Even understanding narcissism, there is usually a tiny part of the adult child of narcissistic parents that clings to the hope that maybe somehow, some day, things will change. Whatever they did to you this time erased that tiny glimmer of hope completely.
Sadness morphs into grief. Grief isn’t only for losing a loved one. Grief happens when you experience loss, & a last straw moment with your narcissistic parent is definitely a loss. Not only have you lost the hope I mentioned in the previous paragraph, but much more. It often hits people in last straw moments how much the narcissist has stolen from them- their childhood, their self-esteem, their ability to be mentally healthy, their joy… Such losses can be very hard to deal with, & trigger grief. That is the stage I’m at with my parents now.
You can bounce back & forth between grief & anger quite often. I certainly have.
Yet, among the negative emotions are some very positive ones as well. For me, once my parents stopped speaking to me, I finally felt free enough to be myself, the person God made me to be, not the person my parents wanted me to be. I’d been getting further from what they wanted me to be for quite some time, but without them in my life, I was able to be completely myself, 100% of the time, for the first time ever. It’s pretty cool! I love feeling so free!
Caring over what my parents think has disappeared as well. I know if I must deal with them at some point, the usual snarky, cruel, hateful criticisms won’t be as hurtful because I really don’t care what they think of me or my life. It’s really not my business anyway, what they think of me. I’m living as I believe God wants me to, & that’s all that matters to me anymore.
It’s also common to feel like a weight has been lifted. Which is natural since it has been. Whether you stopped speaking to your narcissistic parents or they stopped speaking to you, that burden is now gone from your life. Or, if you’re still in a relationship with them, you still may feel the lifted burden feeling. That is because you no longer care about pleasing them or gaining their approval. You may have accepted them as they are- cruel, devious, hate-filled & abusive people- & no longer have any expectations of them to be anything but what they are.
Last straw moments can be difficult & confusing, but oddly, they also can be a blessing in disguise. To deal with all of the conflicting feelings, I recommend a lot of prayer, as well as talking to a trusted, safe friend. Journalling helps too. Anything that helps Writing things out helps you to see things clearly, which really can help you to heal. Anything that helps you to get your feelings out without fear of judgment is a good thing.
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling led to focus on helping those with narcissistic mothers who are either unable or unwilling to go no contact with them. There are many in this position, & there is very little information out there for these people. I hope this post will encourage you!
My mother called last night, & hubby & I are going to lunch tomorrow with my folks (my father’s birthday is Monday, hubby is off tomorrow, so I thought this could work). Unfortunately, I learned quickly during the call that my mother’s niceness has ended for now. She was very nasty during the conversation last night, talking quite a bit about how hard it was for her doing so much all by herself for her mother when she was alive. A guilt trip, I suppose, for not doing enough. Not nice considering I was her mother’s primary caregiver for a year… the hardest year of my life, by the way, since she was a very malignant narcissist & just a hateful, heartless human being. And, my mother mentioning this was not surprising, since she has said these exact same things many times over the years, even while her mother was still alive & I was helping her. *sigh*
While this turn of events is disappointing, it’s certainly not unexpected. While some of my readers seemed to think I believed my mother was going to maintain her much nicer demeanor indefinitely, that was never the case. I’m hardly that naive. My mother only can be nice to me for brief periods of time, like many narcissistic mothers, & I am well aware of that fact. I accept that about my mother, because, well, let’s face it- she has no desire to change that about herself. It’s either accept it or try to change her. I’ll accept it, rather than overstep my bounds by trying to make her into something she is not.
While accepting that fact about my mother, that doesn’t mean I accept her abuse however. I’ve learned how to handle this relationship with my mother, how to maintain a civil contact with her.
When my mother is in one of her pleasant moods, I enjoy it. I never know how long it will last, so I don’t think about that. I just enjoy it, whether that mood lasts for a day or a month. I also remember that this change isn’t permanent, & she can go back to full narcissistic mode at any moment. That keeps my expectations realistic (well, low), so I am not disappointed when she changes.
When the narcissistic mode kicks back in, I keep a distance from my mother. I answer her calls less frequently, & spend less time with her.
I’ve noticed her narcissistic mode lasts less time doing this. She is now nicer, or at least civil, more often than not. While I certainly can’t say my relationship with my mother is perfect by any means, it is way better than I ever thought it could be. We have pleasant conversations pretty often now, & I don’t cringe every time the phone rings. I’m also able to relax some during the good times where I wasn’t able to before. I now know they may not last long, so I just live in the moment, enjoying them as they come up. When they stop, I knew it was going to happen, so I am not surprised or disappointed. That is when I keep my distance, & wait for the nice mode to start again.
I believe these changes have happened for a couple of reasons. First, God. I prayed a lot recently as I’ve mentioned before, because I was so close to going no contact with my mother. He told me that decision was up to me. I asked Him to help me be able to stay in this very difficult relationship, at least for now. I assumed that meant He would give me strength & courage as I needed it, but it’s been so much more than I could’ve expected. I am now able to hear my mother’s nasty, cruel words, & not feel devastated. Hurt sometimes, sure, but I am more able to see them as a result of her issues, rather than taking them personally. That helps to take much of the sting out of her words. I also am now able to say “no” & defend myself where that was once very difficult for me to do sometimes. I also, for once, haven’t trouble speaking my mind to my mother. Granted, I don’t do it all the time, but sometimes, it’s just not worth it. Sometimes the topic is trivial & we simply have different opinions- so what? That just means we’re different people. Other times, if I need to speak up to her about how she treats me, I can tell she is going to ignore me, so there just isn’t a point in frustrating myself by speaking up.
God also has enabled me to be much stronger with setting & forcing very strict boundaries with my mother. She has no choice but to go along with them now, whereas I used to have very weak boundaries, if any. Does she like this? No, but I really don’t care. They are reasonable, & I am taking care of myself. I think by doing this, I have gained a slight amount of respect from my mother for the first time ever. Narcissists are bullies, & one thing I’ve learned about bullies is that they respect someone who has the guts to stand up to them. They may not like that person, but they respect her!
I’ve also gotten a real revelation on something else- my mother can’t hurt me anymore! When I was a kid, she threatened me with military or catholic school or to have me locked up in a psyche ward, she screamed in my face, calling me filthy names, she was also strong enough to throw me into a wall so hard when I was 19, my back was injured to the point I had to quit working a few months later. Even in my early 20’s, my mother once threatened to contact my landlord because I had more cats than the lease allowed, all because I disagreed with her about something. Those times are gone now. We’re both much older, & now I’m the physically stronger one. I also don’t need to sit there while anyone screams at me- I can walk out & never come back if I’m so inclined. She also can’t have me taken away or contact my landlord because I am now a home owner. The only weapon my mother has left are her words, & frankly, that weapon is rather lame. She called me so many terrible names & said so many terrible things about me when I was growing up, while her current tactics may hurt me, they really don’t hurt me all that badly. After all, I’ve been through worse! The comic Chris Titus once talked about how critical his father was when he was growing up, & said something like, “Thanks to him, I’m like an insult Navy Seal!” That is how I feel about my mother. My mother accused me of terrible things like doing drugs & having sex with the entire high school football team when I was a teenager (neither of which I did) & called me awful names. After surviving that, what else is there?! What else can she say? Nothing! And, I’ve also realized that my mother needs me much more than I need her. I have my own home & life now- I need nothing from my mother. She has no hold over me.
These things have been very freeing to me, & very helpful in dealing with my narcissistic mother. I pray they will help you to find ways to deal with yours as well.