Tag Archives: no contact
Those of us who have gone no contact with abusive parents most likely have heard the same invalidating, nonsensical comments.
- “But that’s your MOTHER!”
- “Your father can’t help it… that’s just how he is!”
- “You need to let what they say roll off your back.”
- “You need to forgive & forget/honor your parents!”
- “You only get one set of parents!”
Statements like this make me cringe. People who say such utterly moronic comments truly have zero clue what it’s like to be in the position of feeling no contact is the only option left to protect our sanity.
If you have gone no contact, Dear Reader, then this post today is to remind you of some things.
First, no one has the right to tell you how to feel about anything, let alone your abusive parent’s actions. You know how it feels to you, & that is all that matters. Just because it may not bother someone else so much doesn’t mean you’re automatically wrong. It means you two are different.
Second, no one has the right to dictate how you should handle the relationship with your abusive parent. They aren’t in the relationship so they don’t need to have an opinion on it, let alone share that opinion with you as if it was the Gospel.
Third, just because you are no longer speaking to your abusive parent doesn’t mean you aren’t honoring that parent. There is absolutely NO honor in tolerating abuse. See this article for more information: What It Really Means To Honor Your Parents
Forth, you have every right to protect yourself from abuse from anyone, including your own parent. There is nothing Godly or holy about tolerating abuse. Nothing.
Fifth, remember that the person saying these things has absolutely zero clue of all the heartache you have endured, all the tears shed, all the prayers & begging God to change things & to show you what to do. This person is talking out of sheer ignorance, & is NOT someone whose advice you should listen to.
Sixth, many people who say such invalidating nonsense come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds. You facing your pain reminds them of their own pain that they are trying to ignore. Seeing you face your pain makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs. Or, it threatens their denial. If they had a decent relationship with your narcissistic parent, you clearly showing the truth about your parent threatens their delusion that your parent is a good person. Either way, they want to shut you down because of their own issues & lack of courage.
Lastly, if you have doubts about whether or not you’ve made the right decision to go no contact with your parent (which we all do at some point), ask God to tell you. He will tell you nothing but the truth & it will help you greatly. Some time back, I was starting to have doubts about being no contact with my mother. Elderly, widowed & on her own for the first time at almost 80 years old, it’s natural I felt badly for her. I asked God one morning if I should resume contact. Immediately, I knew what would happen if I did. I could see it kinda like a movie playing in my mind. At first, she was nice & not very demanding. As time wore on though, she expected me to come by a couple of times a week, then three times a week, then daily. I would be forced to be at her beck & call, unable to take care of my own family & home, & even my writing would be neglected. I knew in my heart God was right, & this is exactly what would happen, because it happened before. My mother’s mother was this same exact way. Physically & mentally, there is no way I could handle this, plus I can’t allow my calling & family to suffer just to provide someone with narcissistic supply. God helped me to stay on the right track, just like when He told me it was time to go no contact with my parents in the first place. He can do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.
Many people don’t seem to realize that the silent treatment & no contact are very different things. As a result, many people shame victims who implement no contact. They call victims immature, spoiled, unreasonable & more, saying victims are pouting or trying to punish their abuser when the truth is, abusers are the ones who are being immature, unreasonable & trying to punish their victims by using the silent treatment.
No contact isn’t done to punish or hurt anyone. It is done because a victim has tried & tried to make the relationship better yet nothing has improved. It’s a desperate, last ditch effort to protect a person’s mental & physical health by escaping an abusive person. Any person can take only so much before it affects their health.
No contact is also permanent. There is no going back for the victim who has settled on no contact as their best option. That is partly why so much serious consideration goes into it. Contrary to what many folks believe (primarily abusers & their flying monkeys), almost every single person who has implemented no contact in their life did so only after months or even years of a lot of thought & prayer. It’s not a spur of the moment decision done in the heat of anger.
This also means that victims don’t want their abusers trying to contact them in any way. They don’t want calls, texts, emails, etc. in some pathetic attempt to lure or scare the victim into returning to the relationship. Many abusers seem to think their victims want this type of harassment & it will win their victims back, but nothing could be further from the truth. When a person goes no contact, it’s because they want NO CONTACT, period. It isn’t some attempt to get the abuser’s attention. Abusers often think this is the case, because that is what they want to accomplish by not speaking to someone.
The silent treatment is done on the spur of the moment. Abusers are spontaneous people, & not in a good way. Anything a victim says or does can make an abuser decide in an instant to use the silent treatment. Or, a victim doesn’t have to say or do anything. Abusers don’t exactly have the most integrity in the world. If they want silent treatment drama, they certainly aren’t above creating it by inventing some imaginary slight from their victim.
The silent treatment is done to manipulate & control. The goal is to make the victim feel so insecure & badly that he or she comes crawling to the abuser, apologizing profusely & being willing to do anything to make it up to the abuser. The abuser rarely tells the victim what awful sin he or she committed, but instead makes the victim guess. This makes the victim easier to control & more willing to try harder. I remember my mother using the line, “If you don’t know what you did, I’m not going to tell you.” Not exactly a healthy or useful way to cope with conflict.
The silent treatment is also done to punish victims. When you aren’t aware of what the silent treatment is all about, it can be devastating! I remember my mother giving me the silent treatment countless times my entire life. It was a horrible feeling when my own mother wouldn’t speak to me or even tell me why. In fact, my mother once stopped speaking to me for 18 months several years ago. Why she did that, she never would say.
The silent treatment is also temporary. It ends when an abuser gets their way or becomes bored with it. A victim knows when it’s over too, because the abuser contacts them acting like nothing happened that was out of the ordinary.
There is one last big difference between the silent treatment & no contact. Victims grow accustomed to the silent treatment. After enduring it so many times, it stops upsetting them. Abusers are always shocked by no contact, no matter how horribly they treated their victims. And ironically, the ones who seem the most shocked by no contact are the ones who repeatedly used the silent treatment.
Ending a relationship with anyone is a huge decision, in particular when it comes to family members. If you read anything about people who are victims of narcissistic abuse, they’re frequently told, “Just go no contact.”
No contact is a very viable option for victims, & usually the best one. However, it also isn’t an easy solution. I have yet to talk to one person who has implemented no contact that came to that decision easily. It often came after months or even years of wondering if there was any other solution & much trying to turn a toxic relationship into a healthy one.
The purpose of this post today is to help you to gain some clarity on whether or not no contact is your best option.
To start with, I always recommend prayer. Ask God to show you the truth about your relationship, what you should do, how to handle the situation & to give you strength, courage & wisdom to do what is best.
Then, consider your relationship. There is a difference between someone who is abusive & someone with whom you just don’t get along. Personality clashes can be very challenging & frustrating, but they also don’t leave a person feeling badly about themselves or even doubting their own sanity. How does this relationship make you feel?
Are you the only one in the relationship who is trying to make it healthy? If not, that’s great! If so, that is a sign this person is toxic.
Does the other person make excuses or blame you for their bad behavior? Do you come away from a confrontation feeling as if you’re the problem every single time? That is a huge red flag! Healthy people accept responsibility for what they do wrong. They also apologize, try to fix things when possible & change their behavior.
How does the other person react to you setting reasonable boundaries? Healthy people are fine with boundaries. Unhealthy people, not so much. They get angry, pout, behave in passive/aggressive ways, ignore & mock boundaries.
Probably by now, you have more clarity on whether or not you should end the relationship. If you think you do need to end it, there are other things you should consider too, especially if this person is a family member.
Possibly the most important thing to consider is this. If you go no contact, will you be able to stay no contact, no matter what? Going no contact then later resuming a relationship with an abuser never ends well for the victim. Reason being is abusers see this as a victim having weak boundaries that mean nothing. They can be trampled over with no real consequences for the abuser. This means an abuser will behave worse than ever when they understand this.
For your own peace of mind, I also believe it’s important to know you tried your best in the relationship. No, one person can’t fix any relationship on their own. However, having peace of mind knowing you did your best is very beneficial. So many abusers do anything they can to make a victim think they didn’t do enough before severing ties or if they just would have done that one thing, the relationship wouldn’t have failed. When you truly know you did your best, those sorts of tactics don’t work.
Going no contact also means losing friends & family who side with the abuser. You need to be aware that will happen, even with those who you never expected to abandon you.
Lastly, what do you feel in your heart is the right move for you to make? Instincts are a wonderful thing & I believe God’s still small voice speaking to us. Trust what you feel in your heart, & you’ll know if no contact is the right decision for you.
When a relationship ends, the average person is sad for some time. They may fondly remember special times with the other person or great conversations. They miss such things, but in time, they’re ok. They move on & get involved in other relationships. This is a healthy way to cope, because it allows a person to heal.
Nothing like this happens with narcissists.
Narcissists are incapable of truly loving. Because of this, a relationship that has ended doesn’t affect them in the same way as it affects your average person.. They don’t miss the person they love, but instead, they miss their favorite source of narcissistic supply. This is why they act differently than functional people when a relationship ends. Narcissistic supply is like a drug to them. When a relationship ends, they’re losing their “fix”, if you will. That isn’t an easy thing for any addict to handle.
To start with, narcissists don’t usually understand why someone ends a relationship with them. To understand, they would need at least some empathy, which most people know is something that all narcissists lack. They don’t understand why their ex would object to them cheating, why that former friend complained that they took advantage of their good nature, or why their adult child was hurt when they cut their child out of the will for simply telling the parent, “no.” Narcissists are incapable of grasping such concepts. In their minds, they’re entitled to whatever they want. Besides, the behavior didn’t hurt them, so it isn’t important to them. If it had hurt them, they’d change their behavior at the speed of sound. Since it didn’t though, they are left baffled why their partner, friend or child ended the relationship. What the other person wanted or felt wasn’t so much as a blip on their radar. All that matters to a narcissist is what they want, which usually boils down to their precious narcissistic supply. Since the wants of the narcissist & victim are vastly different & the victim’s are not even considered by the narcissist, usually the end of a relationship catches them by surprise. Their victims often warn them for months or even years in advance that they won’t tolerate the abuse forever, yet still, narcissists are shocked when someone ends a relationship with them.
Narcissists also don’t like rejection. No one does, of course, but narcissists are infuriated by it. Rejection is a narcissistic injury. It makes them feel badly about themselves, so the person who rejected them must pay for making them feel that way. Rather than walk away from the failed relationship with some semblance of dignity, most narcissists opt for revenge. Overt narcissists often harass & stalk their victim, & get their flying monkeys in on the process as well. They also will unleash a very impressive smear campaign, lying about the victim being the cause for the failure of the relationship because of being selfish, crazy, controlling & even abusive. This often isolates the victim from friends & even family who believe the lies. Covert narcissists are much less likely to harass & stalk their victim, since they prefer to look like a good person, but some will or have their flying monkeys do their dirty work for them. They also don’t have any trouble creating a smear campaign, but it is much different than their overt counterparts. Rather than say outright their victim is crazy & abusive, they phrase their smear campaign in a way so as not to sound critical, but concerned instead. They may say something along the lines of, “I’m not surprised my ex left me. She got so mean when she took drugs. She just wasn’t herself. I hope she’ll be ok…” See how this smear is? It makes the person saying these things sound concerned & as if he isn’t trying to destroy the reputation of his ex girlfriend. People will believe this type of smear campaign very easily, even if they know the ex in question & know she never took drugs.
There is also the likelihood of the narcissist trying to “hoover” the victim back into the relationship. When this happens, the narcissist may do their best to make the victim believe they have changed. They may make promises that they have no intention of keeping such as they won’t do whatever the victim complained about anymore. Some other empty promises are if the victim would only take the narcissist back, he or she will be faithful, they’ll be less selfish, they’ll think more of their victim’s needs. The narcissist also may shower the victim with expensive gifts or love letters. They may send their flying monkeys to tell the victim how miserable they are without the victim, & how desperately they want to resume the relationship. This is a tough one, I know. When I first broke up with my now ex husband, it seemed like everyone we knew was telling me how sad he was, how miserable he was, how much he missed me & how I really should get back together with him. I felt so incredibly guilty at that time that I agreed not only to return to him but to marry him after only a short time apart.
Sometimes, narcissists fall into depression after a relationship ends, too. They have no coping skills & aren’t fully aware of their emotions, plus they just lost their narcissistic supply. It’s normal they wouldn’t handle any break up well when you consider these facts. This can be so hard for the person who ended the relationship. When people tell you how sad this person is or he says he doesn’t want to live without you, it can be incredibly hard to take. It can make you feel incredibly guilty & responsible, which is truly unfair.
If you experience these things after ending a relationship with a narcissist, I urge you to remember that the narcissist is acting this way not out of a genuine & healthy love for you, but because he or she is a narcissist. They are incredibly dysfunctional people. You stick to no contact, & remind yourself often exactly why you came to that decision. Write things down if it helps, since writing can be an incredibly useful tool. Also remember that person’s emotions aren’t your responsibility. Don’t forget to document everything in case you need to involve the law at some point. Even if you don’t, the documentation will help you a great deal to remember why you’re no contact. It’ll also help you to see the way this person tries to manipulate you. And, if the narcissist creates a smear campaign against you, never, ever react to it. Any reaction would give this person narcissistic supply, so you deprive this person of that supply. In time, he or she will get bored with your lack of reaction & give up the smearing. Lastly, if the narcissist sends the flying monkeys after you, remember that few are truly innocent people who are fooled by the narcissist. Most are also narcissists, I believe. Treat them accordingly. Remember to tell them nothing that you would object to the original narcissist knowing, in particular anything about the original narcissist. Chances are the flying monkey will share everything you say with that person, so give them no material to work with. Most importantly, pray & lean on God to help you get through this. He truly will help you!
In a recent conversation, I’ve come to realize something that may help at least some of you who follow my work.
The conversation was with someone who is involved with a very covert narcissist. She has broken off their relationship months ago, but he continues to call & to try to hoover her back in. She has wanted to tell him to stop calling her, but hasn’t. Based on some of his past controlling behavior, she & I both believe that he is one of those narcissists who would harass & stalk her. She knows what that’s like, having gone through it with me at the hands of a narcissist I went no contact with several years ago, so she wants to avoid that if at all possible, & understandably so!
Rather than face the probability of stalking & harassment, she has opted to use the Gray Rock method, in the hopes that her ex will lose all interest in her. So far, it has worked pretty well. He no longer calls her daily, only a few times a week. This is big progress! Even so, she still wants rid of him completely.
As we talked, I had a thought that I think might work well for her, & it might benefit some of you as well..
Obviously, he is losing interest in her, which is why he isn’t calling so often. Now might be a good time to give him some narcissistic turn offs. She is great with not providing narcissistic supply, but I suggested she also try to take some from him using ways that aren’t bad enough to provoke rage. Turn offs, basically.
One thing that he wants her to do to provide him with supply are always look good. Dress well, makeup done.. things like this. When he sees her, I suggested she dress frumpy. Wear sweats & no makeup. Also never call him since that can make him think she is still interested in him thus providing narcissistic supply. He likes to go out or travel, so she will make a point of exaggerating her naturally introverted & home body ways. She can talk about how glad she is to be at home & have nowhere to be for the weekend, things like this.
Little things like this can be explained away easily, like she just wanted to be comfortable which is why sweats & no make up. This means they most likely won’t bring about a narcissistic rage, especially considering he is trying to behave so she will come back to him. But, these things don’t provide supply, they also are big turn offs & they will get under his skin. At some point, he is going to get sick of her lack of supply & my guess is he will discard her. The good part of this is that if he discards her, he thinks ending the relationship is all his idea, so he won’t stalk or harass her. He will leave her alone.
I did mention that if she does this & he discards her, he’ll probably do the smear campaign thing. She said she really doesn’t care what people think of her, so thankfully that isn’t going to be a problem for her.
Dear Reader, I don’t know your situation with your particular narcissist, so obviously I can’t say making the narcissist want to discard you is your answer if you’re having trouble going no contact. Only you know if this will work for you. I urge you to pray & seriously consider it though. So many narcissists, after a victim has gone no contact, harass their victims in real life, over the phone & on social media. Others who are more covert do the same but with less hostility than their overtly narcissistic counterparts. They claim just to want answers, promise they’ll change, use guilt or portray themselves as the victim as they harass the true victim. If this awful behavior can be avoided or even just minimized by acting this way, then isn’t it worth considering at least?
Severing ties with a narcissist is never easy. Not only due to the simple fact that ending any relationship is hard, but also because of the fact they don’t exactly handle this well. While no one likes to have someone end a relationship with them, it can become devastating to a narcissist. They will do about anything to get their victim to return to the relationship, often only so they can later discard their victim on their terms. This article will help you to avoid behaviors that can encourage a narcissist to want you back.
Naturally, do your best to avoid any interaction whatsoever with the narcissist after no contact. Narcissists don’t think like normal people, obviously, so they are prone to taking any interaction after no contact as a sign the relationship has been resumed. Take away their hope in that area if at all possible.
Sometimes even when doing your best to avoid a narcissist, they find ways to interject themselves into your life. One way they do this is by stalking & harassing their victims. They inundate victims with constant phone calls, text messages, social media messages & even postal mail. Or, they may show up places they know you frequent such as your favorite coffee shop. This can be incredibly unnerving. I’ve been on the receiving end of such behavior from two narcissists in my life, & I found it terrifying. I also learned that narcissists often know stalking & harassment laws well, so they stay just barely legal. This means getting a restraining order is very difficult, if not impossible. The most effective ways I know how to handle such behavior are never to respond to anything they send you & to block the narcissist at every pass. Granted, he or she probably will find ways around your blocks, such as creating new email addresses or social media accounts, but block them too. Keep blocking. If they have flying monkeys who tell you to talk to them, block them too. Do NOT engage either the narcissist or the flying monkey at all. Ever!
If you can’t avoid the narcissist completely, always remember the Gray Rock method. In other words, provide zero narcissistic supply. You know this person well, so naturally you know what makes him or her happy. Deprive this person of it. Provide no praise, no complements, no offers to do things for him or her. Also share absolutely no personal information about yourself. If she asks what you’re doing later, say you have plans & leave it at that. How is your job going? “Fine.” One or two word answers are the best.
Show no emotions to this person. You aren’t happy, sad, angry… anything. You are completely neutral in his or her presence. Emotions feed narcissists. If you’re happy, they can destroy it so you’re as miserable as they are. If they make you sad or angry, they feel powerful, so they’ll do that thing again to get their “high”. Deprive them of that feeding.
Show no remorse for anything you have done, including no contact. If you show you feel any sadness, guilt, or regrets, the narcissist will pounce on you like a hungry lion.
Do not give in to anything the narcissist tries to make you do. I don’t care if it’s something silly like passing them the salt shaker over lunch, don’t do it if it can be avoided. If not, do it perfunctorily.
By doing these things, you are essentially making yourself very unattractive to the narcissist in your life. They want people who will prop up their egos, blindly obey them & make them the center of their world. People who refuse to do such things are of no use to a narcissist, so a narcissist will leave them alone.
Narcissists are an incredibly difficult bunch. Usually, the best way to deal with them is not to deal with them. You see it everywhere, “Go no contact.” Sadly, that often is the only solution victims face if they want to protect themselves from the vile narcissistic abuse. However, severing ties with a narcissist is often very complex, & the problems don’t end just because you told this person you want him or her out of your life.
Narcissists don’t exactly handle rejection well, in any form. Many narcissists will lash out in all kinds of ways when their victim ends their relationship.
The smear campaign may be the most common tactic narcissists use after someone as ended a relationship with them. They tell everyone what a terrible person the victim is, how unreasonable, crazy & yes, even abusive the victim is. Overt narcissists most likely will use those words, but covert narcissists are much more discreet. Rather than say something obviously bad, they disguise their insult under a veil of concern. This way, they not only get to insult the other person, but people think they are kind for caring about someone who obviously was so mean to them. For example, they won’t say, “She’s crazy.” Instead, they may say something like, “Poor Sue.. I worry about her mental health. Things were getting really bad before she left me, & when she left, she didn’t even tell me what the problem was.”
Narcissists also may try to lure their victim back into the relationship. They try to accomplish this in various ways. One way is what is known as love bombing. The narcissist will inundate the victim with gifts, promises of change, sweet words pledging their undying love & more. This can be very difficult for a victim to resist, because the narcissist appears to have changed back into the good person the victim thought he or she once was. It’s very important to remember that this is most likely nothing but a ploy! Narcissists rarely see the error of their ways & improve their behavior. If this is happening to you & you’re wondering if the narcissist has changed, seriously examine their behavior. The narcissist should admit their behavior was wrong & accept responsibility for what they have done. They shouldn’t make excuses or blame you or anyone for what they did to you. They should be willing to do whatever it takes to gain your trust back, & be willing to wait as long as it takes to do that.
Another common ploy of narcissists is to stalk &/or harass a victim. If they can’t lure a victim back with sweet words & fake promises, narcissists aren’t above trying to wear down or scare a victim into coming back to them. They will overwhelm a victim with calls, texts, cards, letters, & social media messages. They may show up at places they know their victim frequents such as a favorite coffee shop or at work. The volume of their contact can be absolutely overwhelming & even terrifying. It’s no wonder many victims return to a narcissist at this point. Unfortunately, that is the biggest mistake a person can make, however! If this happens in your situation, ignore all contact. Block the narcissist’s phone number, email & social media accounts. When he or she creates a new one to contact you, block that one too. Keep blocking!
Lastly, another common ploy narcissists implement after a victim has gone no contact with them is their beloved flying monkeys. They send their wicked minions to talk to you on their behalf, to “talk sense” into you about how you should return to the narcissist. After all, she misses you so much, or he doesn’t mean those things he says- it’s just how he is. The best way to handle this situation is to refuse to discuss the narcissist in any capacity with this person. Flying monkeys are only loyal to their narcissist, not you. They don’t care how miserable the narcissist makes you, so this means they aren’t worth listening to.
Whatever the narcissist is doing to you after you implement no contact, I truly wish you the best. You can handle this situation. God will get you through it!
I’m writing this post for those of you who are currently unwilling or unable to go no contact with a narcissist.
Almost every article out there regarding victims of narcissistic abuse says the same thing – “just go no contact.” The tone in many of these articles & even some fellow survivors can be downright shaming. They make it sound like being unable or unwilling to go no contact means you’re weak, stupid or something is very wrong with you.
No contact is almost always the best way to deal with a narcissist, but that still doesn’t make it an easy solution. It always hurts to end a relationship, even when the person with whom you’re ending it is abusive. The closer the relationship the more it hurts, too. If you’re ending a relationship with your parent, that is going to hurt a great deal more than ending it with someone you have dated only a month. Narcissists usually abuse those closest to them. This is why the most abusive relationships with a narcissist are close relationships, such as parents & spouses.
There is also the fact that narcissists are able to behave & treat people right (they just prefer acting the way they do because it gets them what they want). When they behave, they can be so very good & loving! Seeing that, it’s hard to want to leave them because you can’t help but hoping that good part of them will stick around for good.
Not wanting to end a relationship with a narcissist doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or you’re weak. It means you’re normal!
It often takes a lot of time to work up the inner strength to be able to go no contact. Narcissists beat their victims down so badly, they can utterly destroy their victim’s self esteem. Even when you learn what is happening, it still takes time to repair your self esteem & to build up enough strength to sever ties.
Or, maybe you believe in your heart that the timing isn’t right just yet for no contact. That happened to me with my parents. I wanted to go no contact with them for well over a year before I felt God was saying it was time.
A lot of times, a victim who lives with a narcissist is financially dependent on that narcissist. Narcissists love using money as a means of control, so often they take away any access a victim has to money, even if it’s his or her own paycheck. It takes time to be able to find means of supporting oneself in these situations.
There are also some narcissists who are pretty low on the spectrum. Yes, that person causes problems but they aren’t over the top in their behavior. In cases like this, some people would prefer to learn ways to deal with these people than end those relationships, & it is their right to do that.
None of the above situations make a person weak or flawed.
For those of you who are in situations like these, I want to encourage you today.
It’s very difficult at best being in a relationship with a narcissist, I know. Until the time comes when you are ready & willing to go no contact, there are some things you can do to make your relationship with this person a little easier.
The first thing you should do is ask God to show you creative & effective ways to cope with this person & also to enable you to go no contact if that is your desired result.
Always remember that narcissists are all about gaining narcissistic supply. It’s the motivation behind everything they do. Any attention or reaction you give them, good or bad, provides supply. Learn to be as boring to the narcissist as possible. Show them no anger, sadness or happiness. Be calm & collected in the presence of the narcissist. Offer simple answers without explanations. Provide no personal information. This is known as the Gray Rock method.
Don’t forget to question whatever the narcissist says. They are masters of gaslighting & manipulation, so basically almost everything they say needs to be examined. Ask yourself if what they say is true or not. You also can question the narcissist directly. If you opt to do that, do it calmly in your best gray rock way. “Why do you think that?” “Explain how that makes sense.. I don’t follow you.” Logical & calmly asked questions can throw a narcissist off balance. They show her that you’re onto her.
Never forget to keep & enforce healthy boundaries. You have every right to tell the narcissist no & to expect to be treated with respect. Don’t explain your boundaries either, as the narcissist will tell you why your boundaries are wrong, & may make you doubt yourself. Or, if you feel you absolutely must explain something, remember to stay gray rock & keep all explanations minimal.
Never forget that whatever any narcissist is doing isn’t about you. It’s about them. Everything is always all about them! Yes, that person is hurting & abusing you, but it’s because it makes her feel better. It’s not because you have done something to deserve it. Also, nothing that person says about you is true. Narcissists project their own flaws onto their victims. It doesn’t mean you actually are whatever the narcissist says you are. In fact, if you listen to what the narcissist says about you, you can learn a lot about that person. If she calls you a liar, it’s because she lies often.
If your goal is to go no contact in the future, low contact may be an excellent option for you. It’s as the name describes – you are in low contact with the narcissist. You don’t take phone calls or visit often, but only when you feel able instead. Low contact can be a really good stepping stone to no contact.
While there are no easy, one size fits all solutions for narcissists, these tactics can help you at least. And, don’t forget – there is nothing wrong with you for being unable or unwilling to go no contact. It’s a very big decision, & every person has to do it only when & if they feel equipped to do so.
One of the things I love so much about the Bible is it never gets old. Even if you’ve read it countless times, you still will see something new.
This Scripture came to my attention a few minutes ago…
Titus 3:10 “After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],” (AMP)
I thought about how this relates to no contact.
Many people think those of us who have gone no contact did so on a whim. The truth is that we struggle a great deal with no contact. It’s a VERY big & difficult decision! Some people go no contact but then later resume the relationship when the narcissist gets word to them that they need help, are sick or maybe even they simply wear down the victim by constant stalking & harassment. Many people who have considered or gone no contact also think it’s not Godly. You can’t be a Christian & sever ties with an abusive family member or divorce an abusive spouse. This thinking is completely wrong though, & Titus 3:10 proves that!
If you’re in this situation, then I urge you to consider your situation. Have you prayed about it? Chances are, if you share my faith then you have. A LOT! Yet, you still are leaning towards no contact or you have followed through with it… doesn’t that tell you that it’s ok? I mean, if it wasn’t, God would find some way to let you know it’s a bad idea. At the very least, you’d have a feeling inside that it’s not a good solution. God’s voice may not always boom loudly in our ears, but He does have the Holy Spirit quietly let us know if there is something we should or shouldn’t do.
Also, have you done as this Scripture said? Have you spoken with the narcissist in your life, explaining that their abusive behavior has hurt you? Again, chances are you have. Every single person I’ve spoken with who has survived narcissistic abuse whether it was at the hands of a parent, spouse or relative tried talking things out with that narcissist many times. They didn’t simply end the relationship, & I’m sure you are the same way.
Everyone has their limits, & there is nothing wrong with reaching the limits & eliminating toxic, abusive people from your life. The above Scripture from Titus is only one of many that say this in the Bible. Here are other Scriptures that show God wants us to be in good, healthy relationships.:
Psalm 1:1 “Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],Nor stand in the path of sinners,Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers).” (AMP)
Proverbs 13:20 “He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise,But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.” (AMP)
Luke 9:5 “And as for all those who do not welcome you, when you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet [breaking all ties with them] as a testimony against them [that they rejected My message].” ” (AMP)
Luke 17:3 “ Pay attention and always be on guard[looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him.” (AMP, emphasis added)
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (AMP)
2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (AMP)
2 Corinthians 6:17 “So come out from among unbelievers and be separate,” says the Lord, “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will graciously receive you and welcome you [with favor],” (AMP)
I think it’s a very safe assumption that almost everyone who has gone no contact with a narcissist, in particular a narcissistic parent or other family member, has had more than their share of doubts. Ending relationships is tough, but especially when the relationship is a close one such as in the case of family.
What makes the doubts worse is when after not speaking for some time, you learn through the grapevine that the narcissist is sick, lost their job, or going through some very difficult situation. Considering this is someone you were once very close to, it’s only natural to want to help them & to feel bad they are in this situation. Those desires may make start to override the terrible things that made you sever ties in the first place.
Today, I want to tell you.. DON’T DO IT!!
No, I don’t know you or the narcissist personally, but I do know a lot about narcissists & have more than a little experience with them. I have learned that once you end a relationship with a narcissist, resuming it will only cause you heartache as it did me.
At first, the narcissist will behave, & probably even be respectful & caring. This lulls you into thinking this person has changed. All is right in the world now. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth!
In time, little things will change. Maybe a comment here or there about how you shouldn’t have left in the first place. Or, instead of 10 complements a day, it’s dropped to 9 & a nasty criticism. Everyone has a bad day sometimes, so you rationalize the comments as nothing more & let it go. After all, things have been going so well.
Gradually more things change. Things get worse. There are more criticisms. Now there are also some manipulation attempts too. “I never did that.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” There are also guilt trips about you “abandoning” the narcissist in the first place. They may even have their friends or family mention how hard it was for them when you weren’t in their life. You begin to feel guilty for hurting the narcissist, so you go along with what they do.
Before you know it, the relationship is as bad, if not worse as it was before you went no contact in the first place.
Maybe you’re thinking this won’t happen to you but I can tell you, the chances of it happening to you are excellent. I was fooled into thinking that myself in three very different relationships.
One was a friendship. Upon meeting, she told me we were going to be best friends. I was young, naive & knew nothing of narcissistic personality disorder, so I blindly obeyed, & became her good friend. The friendship ended a couple of years later, then a couple of years after that, resumed. At first, things were good. We had a lot of laughs together. Then things changed. She constantly demanded my attention. I spent a lot of time with her, no matter what I had going on. She expected me to watch her small kids while with her too, which is something I’m not good at doing. I ended that friendship again after about a year & a half.
One was my first marriage. I broke my engagement to my ex husband because I realized I wasn’t happy with him. While we were apart, he insisted we remain “friends.” We spoke often & he told me how miserable he was. Our mutual friends told me the same. We got back together, & married a few months later. I knew that although he was acting better, I shouldn’t marry him but I did. He made me feel like I owed it to him. In fact, when he proposed again, he said, “I’m not letting you go this time.” We separated a bit over 4 years later.
The other one was my mother. In 2001, I had enough, & finally cut ties with my mother. In 2007, my father told me that she needed heart surgery. I said I’d pray for her. Once she got home, she called me to thank me for praying for her. I honestly believed at that the change in her personality was from facing a near death experience. The more time passed, the more she regressed into the abusive person she’d always been, which is why when I went no contact in 2016, I determined this time, it’s forever.
My stories are very typical, Dear Reader. I told them because you need to know that if you have doubts about being no contact, they need to be ignored. Take care of yourself. Your mental health is very important! Resuming a toxic relationship does no good to you or the toxic person in question. It simply enables their awful behavior while you sacrifice yourself. There is NOTHING good about that!
As I’ve said many times, my heart goes out to those in the position of being unable or unwilling to go no contact with their narcissistic parents. You’re in a tough, tough place, & I understand since I’ve been there. I want to help you if I can, & that is what today’s post is about.
There are some small, easy ways you can set boundaries with your narcissistic parent while not eliminating them from your life entirely.
For starters, reduce the amount of time you spend with your narcissistic parent. Don’t visit or have your parent visit you as often. Stop taking their calls every time they call. Ask yourself if you feel up to dealing with your parent, & if not, don’t take that call or visit.
When you must visit or speak with your parent on the phone, set a time limit. Don’t allow your narcissistic parent to waste half your day when that is so hard on you! Set a limit, then say “I have to go” & go.
Also if you visit your narcissistic parent, have a way out. Plan something to do so you only have a limited time to spend with your parent. If you can’t think of something, say you just remembered something you have to take care of & go. It’s not a lie- you remembered you have to take care of yourself!
Remember to keep the conversation away from you. Your love life, in-laws, job, troubles & even your mental & physical health should be off the table for topics to discuss with your narcissistic parent. Giving any narcissist personal information is just asking for trouble such as criticism & unasked for, useless advice. Change the subject if your parent wants or demands to know something personal about you. If all else fails, ask your parent about something that matters to her. Chances are excellent she’ll drop the matter at the opportunity to talk about herself.
If you’re dependent even slightly on your narcissistic parent financially, find ways to put an end to it. Narcissists love controlling their adult children with money, so remove that tool if at all possible. If not, then at least find ways to reduce the amount.
If you have pets or kids, have strict boundaries in place. It is your job to protect them & that includes from abusive & narcissistic parents.
When it’s time to set boundaries with your parent, remain calm. Show no emotion, simply state the facts. Any signs you are upset will fuel your narcissistic parent’s behavior. Stay calm, state your boundary & the consequence of your parent not respecting the boundary, then enforce it if necessary.
If you’re friends on social media, unfollow your narcissistic parent. You will remain friends, but you won’t see her posts which can reduce stress.
If you must go somewhere with your narcissistic parent, drive separately. That way, you are free to leave at any time if need be. Also, cars are a great weapon for some narcissists. There is no escape- you have to put up with whatever they do when you’re in a car together. My mother loved having me trapped in her car, & used it to scream at me when I was a kid or belittle me as an adult.
Always remember the Gray Rock Method. Think about what gives your narcissistic parent narcissistic supply, & refuse to provide it. Basically, you need to be boring to her. Don’t admire her. Don’t praise her. Don’t get angry at her so she can portray herself as the victim. Don’t coddle her. Don’t share anything personal about yourself that she could use against you or as fuel to spread lies about you. Don’t empathize with her if someone has hurt her. Show no real interest in her problems. If she needs your assistance with something, do the bare minimum, don’t go above & beyond. Gray Rock can be hard at first because every tiny thing can provide narcissistic supply, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Lastly, pray & pray often. Ask God to help you cope with your narcissistic parent, to give you the right words to say, & to give you effective, creative ways to cope with her behavior. He will NOT disappoint you!
Many people tell victims of narcissistic abuse things like “You need to be the bigger person & let it go.” “You just don’t understand- she had a bad childhood!” “You just need to forgive & forget.” “The Bible says to honor your parents. If you call your mother/father out on their behavior, God doesn’t approve of that!” Such statements are often said for the following reasons…
- The person has come from an abusive past, & refuses to face the pain. You talking about it reminds that person of his or her pain. That person wants to shut you down so you stop making that person uncomfortable.
- The person knows the narcissist, & like all flying monkeys, is protective of that narcissist. If the narcissist is related to this person, this is a very likely scenario. Families are extremely protective of narcissists. You can see a post I wrote on the topic here: How Families Protect Their Narcissist
Whatever the reasons these ludicrous statements are said, they not only hurt, they confuse & frustrate victims. As if it’s not bad enough we’ve been abused by the narcissist, now other people are being abusive as well by invalidating our pain as well as judging & criticizing us for speaking up to the abuser.
There is a verse in Isaiah that can shut down the argument that a victim shouldn’t speak up:
Isaiah 1:16-17 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” (NKJV) (emphasis added)
Notice the part in all caps. “Rebuke the oppressor.” God said that! I just capitalized it for emphasis. Pretty cool, huh? According to God, we are not only allowed to confront someone about abusive behavior- we are supposed to do it. Do you really think God would’ve included that in the Bible if He didn’t want people to do it? Also notice- it doesn’t say, “Rebuke the oppressor, unless the oppressor is a parent.” There are no exceptions in this verse!
Now I realize with narcissists, many times it’s easier to let them do something than confront them. They love turning things around where the victim is the blame or telling others how mean & unreasonable a victim is for not tolerating their abuse. It’s frustrating but such behaviors mean that sometimes we shouldn’t confront them. But, even so, there are times that we know in our hearts we need to speak up to them no matter what they do. During those times, you can rest assured you are doing the right thing. It’s even in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah!
If anyone judges or criticizes you for speaking up to the narcissist in your life, although it can be painful, try to ignore it. If God Himself has said we are to rebuke an oppressor, who is any mere human to tell you it’s the wrong thing to do? You do what you know that God would have you to do, even if that includes confronting a narcissist, & you do it secure in the knowledge God approves of what you’re doing.
While no contact is often the best solution for a person with narcissistic parents, sometimes it isn’t an option or at least isn’t an option in the near future. This post is for those of you in that position.
I understand how difficult it is to be in that situation. I wanted to sever ties with my parents for over a year before the timing felt right. I did learn some things during that time though, & I hope what I learned can help you.
I think it is a good idea first to get to the root of why no contact isn’t an option & eliminate the problem if at all possible. Are you financially dependent? Then try to find other means of supporting yourself. Are you afraid of being alone? It is better to be alone than to have abusive people in your life! God can send you new friends who genuinely love you & become like family. Are you afraid of what may happen if you go no contact such as relatives attacking you? I know that can be pretty intimidating, but think about it- what can they really do to you? If all they can do is tell you what a terrible person you are, that is something you can handle. After all, didn’t your narcissistic parents tell you that often growing up? My mother did. Although it bothered me when the flying monkeys told me the same things, I realized their words only upset me because they reminded me of when my own mother said worse to me. Once your own mother has called you horrific names, you develop a sort of armor to that verbal abuse. Do you somehow know that the timing isn’t right like I did? Then keep praying & follow God’s promptings. When the timing is right, you will know it & He will enable you to follow through with going no contact.
If you are unable to go no contact at this time but want to, then try for low contact. Limit your exposure to your narcissistic parent as much as possible. Don’t be available every time they call. Don’t visit or invite them to your home often. Follow your heart & deal with them only when you feel you are able to. I used to pray before answering my parents’ calls. I’d ask God if I should take it or not & if I felt His answer was yes, I’d ask Him to guide my words & enable me to handle the situation in the best possible way.
When you must deal with your narcissistic parents, there are some helpful skills you can use.
Always remember that your parents are narcissists. You aren’t dealing with normal, stable, healthy people. You can’t expect them to behave as such. Get rid of any expectations for them to behave normally or show love to you.
Also remember- with narcissists, everything boils down to how can they get narcissistic supply? You’re best off depriving them of that supply, but in ways that can’t trigger their narcissistic rage. To do this, the Gray Rock method is best.
I think of Gray Rock as becoming boring to narcissists. What interests them? Deprive them of that. In other words, don’t tell them personal information. In conversation, stick to superficial topics like the weather. If you’re out of ideas for superficial conversation, ask the narcissist about herself. They love talking about themselves, so you might as well make it work for you. In difficult situations, you can ask the narcissist about herself & that should divert the attention off of you since most narcissists can’t resist an opportunity to talk about themselves.
Always stay calm, cool & collected around your narcissistic parent. Narcissists see displays of emotions as weakness, which makes them attack their victim like a hungry lion attacks a weak gazelle. In their presence, show no emotion. Always be cold & emotionless.
Keep firm boundaries in place & offer no explanations for them. You can say NO without explaining yourself further. If your narcissistic parent demands to know why you say no, change the subject. If your narcissistic parent hints at wanting to know, ignore the hints.
Keep learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It will help you to keep a healthy perspective of your situation. It will help you not to take your parents’ abuse so personally & it will help you to figure out effective ways of dealing with them.
And, never forget to pray often & talk to your safe, supportive friends who understand your situation. A good support network is extremely important in these situations. Avoid people who tell you what to do. People who don’t understand why you won’t go no contact or think no contact is wrong are not people you need to deal with, especially as you are trying to go no contact.
I read a really good article the other day. It gave me another reminder that it’s ok to cut toxic people out of my life, even if they’re so called “family.” I thought I’d pass this excellent reminder along to you, Dear Reader.
Although family is supposed to be a safe haven, that isn’t always the case, as no doubt you are well aware. Many families are downright cruel & abusive to their own family members. When their victims defend themselves, they often are shunned by other relatives (even ones who know how the abusers are), friends & society in general. Why people seem to think you should tolerate abuse from someone because you share some genes & maybe a name is beyond me!
Being related to someone by blood or by marriage does NOT give a person the right to be abusive. In fact, there is NOTHING that gives any person the right to be abusive.
As the victim of an abusive person, you have rights…
- You have every right to protect yourself from all abuse- spiritual, mental, emotional, verbal, financial, physical & sexual.
- You have the right to expect people to treat you with basic respect- be polite, not try to cause you harm or pain, etc.
- You have the right to be upset when you are mistreated or abused.
- You have the right to say no & to have healthy boundaries & to expect them to be respected.
- You have the right not to tolerate guilt trips, manipulation & attempts to control you.
- You have the right to be in a relationship without losing yourself, to maintain your own identity & independence that is pleasing to you.
- You have the right to live your life in a way that is good & healthy for you, even if others disapprove.
- You have the right to end a relationship with an abusive person, even if that person is “family.”
Remember these rights, Dear Reader. If someone in your family is abusive, you absolutely have every right to eliminate that person from your life if you have to do so to protect yourself.
Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things. One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving. These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent. It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely! After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!
I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian. I am well aware that I don’t. But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect. Far from it. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus. And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect. No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.
Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different from loving people’s way. God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest. Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior. Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim. However, it is not your place to force them to change. It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.
But it’s certainly NOT easy! Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior. As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it. Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love. They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one. People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.
I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love. Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things. However, love also must be tough sometimes. God proves that! He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior. He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions. As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone. Many people have been, including me. When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (AMP) As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you. He will reward you one day! Those who said such cruel things however?? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…
2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].” (AMP)
Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)
Hoovering is when a narcissist doesn’t want to accept the fact you have ended the relationship, & they try to lure you back. If you’re not aware of hoovering tactics, it can be easy to be lured into a false sense of believing the narcissist has truly changed, & the relationship will be better this time only to be sadly disappointed when finding out the narcissist really hasn’t changed. To prevent this from happening, this post will address some hoovering tactics narcissists use.
Love bombing is very common. It involves the narcissist confessing their undying love for you, doing nice things for you, showering you with gifts &/or plenty of attention. It can be hard not to believe a narcissist really cares since they can be very convincing. It also can be hard to resist. It’s important to remember that these displays of the narcissist’s love are NOT real! They’re only designed to lure you back into the toxic relationship.
Narcissists also will use family & friends, aka flying monkeys, to talk “sense” into you. This is a very tough one. When someone you think highly of tells you that you should resume a relationship with someone else, it can make you doubt yourself. Instead, think about what this person is saying. Does this person make sense? How much do they know of the situation? Do they believe you when you say the narcissist has been abusive to you? Do they want to hear what you have to say or do they cut you off or tell you that you’re wrong? Your honest answers to these questions will determine if you should listen to what that person has to say.
Another hoovering tactic is using or faking illness or injury to reconnect with you. Most people want to help a sick or hurt person, especially if it’s someone they love. If this happens, remember- when you went no contact, it was for excellent reasons. It also was permanent, not until the narcissist got sick or injured. Maybe that sounds cold, but truly, it isn’t. It’s a person reaping what they have sown. A person who abuses another can’t expect that victim to be there for them indefinitely. Everyone has limits.
Sending cards, letters or calling on special days like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays is another common hoovering tactic. It feels wrong to spend special days not acknowledging the narcissist. For those with narcissistic parents, birthdays in particular can be difficult. And, for those with narcissistic exes, anniversaries can be especially difficult. It’s normal, but even so, remember all they are trying to do is hoover you back into the toxic relationship by using the special day.
Some narcissists give their victims months or even years of no contact when suddenly they call or write. It seems that they figure after some time has passed, the victim has forgotten just how bad the relationship was, & will be open to resuming it. If this happens, remind yourself of exactly why you ended the relationship in the first place. The chance of that behavior improving is very, very slim. Is it really worth taking a chance on resuming the relationship?
Some narcissists don’t go the route of trying to convince you that they love you or are thinking of you. They opt to get cruel.
Smear campaigns can get really nasty to provoke a response out of you & also to discredit a victim so people won’t believe them but instead they’ll believe the narcissist. You may learn that people are saying you’re crazy, stupid, spoiled, abusive to the narcissist or even a bad Christian. As hard as it can be, do NOT respond to these ridiculous accusations! Doing so only convinces people that you are the terrible person the narcissist says you are. And, if you confront the narcissist about the lies, it only gives that narcissist narcissistic supply. The narcissist can look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways.
Many narcissists who can’t win a victim back will resort to attempting to bully the victim to return to the relationship by stalking & harassing them. They’ll inundate victims with countless phone calls, emails, texts, & letters. They may show up at places the victim frequents or drive by the victim’s home frequently. Especially devious ones send others to drive by the victim’s home so if the victim says anything about the narcissist stalking them, they look paranoid or even crazy. The best things to do is block all access the narcissist uses to get to you, & document EVERYTHING. If you decide to press charges, documentation will work in your favor, even if the narcissist didn’t break the law. Documentation of bad behavior, even when legal, can only help your case.
Remember, Dear Reader, never allow the narcissist to hoover you back into the relationship. It only ends badly! The behavior is usually much worse after hoovering than it was in the first place.
Although the title of this post may sound like common sense, it may not be to everyone. Or, you may logically understand that yet still don’t feel you have the right to go no contact with the narcissist in your life. Narcissists are very good at destroying how you think, even making you feel you have to have that abuser in your life. (God forbid you think in a healthy way! You’re so much easier to manipulate if you are dysfunctional!)
I just want to remind you today, Dear Reader, that you absolutely have the right to protect yourself. You have the right to set healthy boundaries & expect them to be respected. You have the right to enforce consequences when they aren’t respected. You have the right to expect to be treated with civility & basic respect. And yes, you have the right to end an abusive relationship. It doesn’t matter if that abuser is a friend, significant other, sibling or even a parent. No one has the right to abuse you! NO ONE!
I understand that many people who read my blog are in situations where they are unable to end their abusive relationship for various reasons. I certainly am not trying to make you feel bad for your position!! Everyone’s situation is different. But, of all the reasons to stay in such a relationship, the false belief that one doesn’t have the right to end it should not be one of those reasons!
Anyone who has made the decision to go no contact has no doubt thought about resuming that relationship at some point. This is especially common when a person ends a familial relationship.
I really think this is because God made people to need relationships, in particular those with our families. Ending a familial relationship is abnormal, no matter how valid the reasons. It goes against nature so it’s very painful to do & also to live with. As a result, it’s only natural to reconsider the decision to go no contact with family. When parents are involved, that decision is doubted even more often.
If you’re reconsidering your decision to go no contact, first of all, please know you aren’t abnormal, a glutton for punishment or anything else bad you may be feeling right now. You’re normal. In spite of the tremendous amount of prayer & consideration that goes into going no contact, I seriously don’t think there is one person who doesn’t have doubts about it at some point. I certainly haven’t talked with anyone who hasn’t doubted their choice. I can honestly say every single person has, including myself.
If you end a relationship with a family member, chances are slim that person will be out of your life entirely. You may see each other at family parties, reunions, weddings & even funerals. Even if you haven’t spoken to each other in a long time, you still share relatives & they will mention that person at some point. They may mention what is new in that person’s life or that they saw that person recently. If that person develops health problems, you are guaranteed to hear all about it, whether you want to or not.
When you see that person after a long time or when a mutual friend or relative mentions that person is having health problems, those are likely times for you to consider reconnecting. Before you do that, please pray & think long & hard before you do anything.
When you pray about it, listen to what God has to say. He probably won’t give direct orders by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord….” Instead, you may feel a “knowing” about what you need to do. Listen to that! I firmly believe those “knowings” are from God.
Think long & hard about what this person you’re considering reconnecting with is doing. When your mutual friend or relative talks about that person, do you see old familiar patterns in that person’s behavior? Is that person still controlling? Critical? Abusive? If so, reconnecting is a terrible idea!
Another thing to watch for- if that person has told someone to tell you that they are sorry, do that person’s actions back up the words? Has the person accepted responsibility for their abusive actions? Did she mention specific acts that she was apologizing for or did she say non apologies like “I’m sorry you feel I was mean to you” or “I’m sorry for whatever it is you think I did wrong”? Non apologies are NOT real apologies! They are said to lure you back into the relationship thinking all is OK now.
Also watch the person’s behavior. Does that person respect the fact you wish to stay no contact or try to contact you even years later? Safe people don’t like when someone ends a relationship with them, but they at least respect that person’s decision. They don’t inundate them with phone calls, texts, emails, posts on social media, etc. They stay out of the life of the person who ended contact with them. Unsafe people are much different. If they don’t want to end a relationship, they will fight hard not to let it end. They often harass, stalk, & bully. My mother & I stopped speaking to each other in 2016, & all was fine.. until my father was dying in October, 2017. Suddenly she called & sent me notes in the mail often & the flying monkeys attacked me constantly. Two months to the day after he died, & also two days before Christmas, I received a letter from her lawyer in the mail trying to force me to talk to her. This behavior shows me that nothing has changed with her. She still believes what she wants is what matters.
So Dear Reader, if you are considering ending no contact with someone, then please consider what I said. Pay attention to what you hear & observe about the person before allowing that person back into your life. And most of all pray! God will NOT lead you wrong!
Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (NIV)
One of the most common yet stupid things said to Christians in the situation of having a narcissistic parent is how you’re not a good Christian let alone son or daughter if you don’t do everything your parents want, right down to tolerating their abusing you.
Truly, some people have no concept of what it truly means to honor your parent. They also must have missed Romans 15:2. Take a moment to read that Scripture again…
“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
See that? “..for their good…” That doesn’t mean to do blindly for someone, it means to do things that benefit them. Doing whatever your narcissistic parent wants doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is best for them. Narcissists care more about what feels good at the moment than what is genuinely good for them.
So what is “for their good”?
- Taking your elderly narcissistic parent to the doctor when sick.
- Helping your parent by cutting their grass when their lawn mower is broken or washing their clothes when their washer is broken.
- Buying them something you think your parent would like just to be a blessing.
- Setting & enforcing boundaries.
- Saying no.
- Going no contact.
The last three items were pretty hard to consider good, weren’t they? They really are good though, & I’ll tell you why.
All three of those behaviors are about boundaries, & boundaries are a VERY good thing. Boundaries show others how you wish to be treated & gives people the option to treat you accordingly or not without forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. Boundaries encourage good behavior while helping you not to be responsible for someone else’s behavior, feelings, etc. In short, boundaries are a very loving behavior. Granted, narcissist don’t see them that way, but it’s still true. (If you’re interested, I have a free “Boundaries” book study course & article about boundaries on my website.)
Saying no is also a good boundary behavior because nobody needs to go through life without being told no at some point. Getting one’s way creates spoiled, entitled people with no regard for others (sound familiar??). Narcissists don’t like to be told no, & will do whatever they can to avoid it, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear no. The more they hear it, the less they will demand of you. This works well for you & at the same time, teaches the narcissist that you won’t tolerate being pushed around. A very good thing for the narcissist to learn.
No contact also can be for someone’s good sometimes. No contact should be the final step after trying to work out the relationship, & often, sadly, it’s very necessary with narcissists. It can be good for narcissists though, because it shows them they simply can’t go around abusing people & expecting them to tolerate it indefinitely. Also, you never know- maybe with you not in that person’s life, God will be able to reach her & help her to see the error of her ways. Sometimes it takes having people out of a person’s life for them to turn to God. (Granted, that is extremely rare, but with God, all things are possible.) No contact also removes the opportunity for that person to sin by removing you to abuse from her life. These things are all for the narcissist’s own good.
Doing something for someone’s own good never means giving someone whatever they want or tolerating abuse. These never benefit anyone! If someone suggests otherwise, they clearly have no idea what it means to love someone God’s way.
If you are at the point in your relationship with the narcissist in your life where you are ready to go no contact, I truly wish you the best. It’s not an easy decision to make, so it shows you have courage & strength just to make the decision. You’ll need it to follow through with it.
So many people that write about narcissistic abuse make it sound like it’s all so simple. “Just” cut the abuser out of your life & all will be fine from now on. Unfortunately, that is very far from true!
The narcissist may not respect your decision. Narcissists don’t respect boundaries, so why would they respect this one? They think they alone should decide what happens in relationships, & if the other person in the relationship makes any decisions like setting boundaries, that person is wrong. They often do things like constantly trying to contact you via phone, email, text or social media. They sometimes say they want to know what’s wrong, but truth be told, they only want to tell you why you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. They also may say they’re sorry. Listen to the apology if one is offered. Most likely it’ll be a fake apology designed to pacify you & lure you back into the relationship. Something like “I’m sorry if I hurt you” “I’m sorry you feel that way” or lame excuses for their behavior. A genuine apology offers no excuses, genuinely admits to wrongdoings & behavior changes. Use your discernment & what you have learned about narcissism so you don’t fall for the act & apology!
Granted, most narcissists smear their victims behind their back for years in order to discredit the victim (in case the victim tells others of the abuse, she won’t be believed), but it gets worse once you initiate no contact. The narcissist will tell anyone who will listen about how mean you are, how you hurt her, how she doesn’t understand why you’d behave this way & more. This is basically damage control- if the narcissist can convince others you are mentally unbalanced or even just a bad person somehow, others will believe the narcissist’s version of events over yours. The narcissist’s reputation then will remain in tact while yours is in shreds. As counter productive as it may sound, refuse to defend yourself. Any self defense will be construed as you being just as awful as the narcissist said you are. Sadly, you still will lose friends & family, but if they blindly believe a narcissist, you truly are better off without them. People who truly love you won’t believe the narcissist’s lies.
Do not feed the flying monkeys! If the narcissist can’t reach you because you have blocked their access to you, they will send flying monkeys. It’s a given. They are going to come out of the woodwork & tell you how sorry the narcissist is, they didn’t mean to hurt you, they were just trying to help, she had a bad childhood so she didn’t know any better & a plethora of other lame excuses why it’s OK that the narcissist abused you. They are convinced the narcissist is right & you’re wrong & they don’t want to be bothered with the truth, so don’t waste your breath telling them the truth. Their loyalty to narcissists knows no bounds. Ignore the flying monkeys! If you can, avoid them or sever ties with them. If you can’t, refuse to discuss the narcissist or anything about the narcissist with them. Tell them the topic isn’t something you’re willing to discuss with them. Change the subject. Repeatedly. Be rude if you must. Hang up the phone or walk away. Repeat as often as necessary.
Stand strong in the truth. You know what happened. You know what the narcissist is capable of. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Write down everything you can think of, so that way if you feel any doubts, you can read over your experiences to remind you of what made you come to this difficult decision.
Work on healing. When there is a narcissist in your life, it’s nearly impossible to heal because they take up so much time, energy & thought. Once they are no longer in your life, that is gone. It’s a huge relief! It also means your mind has more time, energy & thoughts it can devote to your healing from the abuse. In fact, it may not give you a choice. I found that some time after being no contact with my narcissistic parents, I started having more intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares than usual. Thankfully, it didn’t last forever & they calmed down after a while. During prayer, God told me it was because I no longer had to function in survival mode. My brain needed to heal from so much & hadn’t been able to do it for a long time. It was like it was forcing me to face things so it could feel better. I figured if these things were happening, I might as well use them to my advantage. The more you heal from things, the less intrusive thoughts, nightmares & flashbacks you have about them & they eventually can disappear
Most of all, pray. People can be a great support of course, but not everyone understands your suffering. God, however, does. He will help you to cope & to heal as well as comfort you when you’re hurting if you let Him. All you have to do is ask.