Yesterday I got a request to write again about no contact, and sharing your strategies for going no contact.
As I’ve written before, the problem with no contact isn’t the mechanics. That’s pretty simple stuff. You change your number, you block theirs. You only communicate via the lawyer. You keep communication about the children to very short sentences, devoid of emotion, that only deal with logistics of visitation or finances. You route their email to a folder named “Asshole” and you don’t look at it unless you’re with a friend who will read it for you and snark.
No, the problem with no contact is purely mental. It’s not your cell phone plan — it’s you.
Why are you struggling with no contact?
1) Hopium. Chumps can often be disingenious about no contact. It’s taken up in a spirit of “Harrumph! Well, I’ll show YOU!” And you think that your silence will goad your cheater into apologizing, or behaving, or showing you the proper deference and respect. This isn’t trusting that they suck, folks. At the core of this behavior is hoping that they come back to you chastened. It’s hopium. You don’t stay no contact because you still want a relationship with them.
No contact is for you. For your sanity and protection. It is the logical extension of trusting that they suck. There is nothing to say, no point in engaging. The gig is up. You understand who they really are and your silence speaks volumes.
Remember, if you want to end things with a narcissist, nothing says fuck off louder than silence. Disordered people WANT engagement. It’s kibbles. They want a fight, or they want to hoover you and see if their charm still works on you. Don’t give them the chance. Shields up, chumps.
2) Bad habit. If you’ve been married a long time, you’re used to having this person to talk to. To bounce things off of. You thought they were your friend, and you’re having a hard time switching that part of your brain off. You still believe at some level that they have your best interests at heart, that this person can be reasoned with. This is another trust that they suck issue.
Leave the reasoning to the lawyers. And reconsider your values. Do you want to be friends with someone who cheats on you and shows you such little respect? And why would you reason with someone who is a proven liar?
Get out of the habit of talking with them. Also get out of the habit of arguing with them. Why would you believe a word they say? Everything you need to know is in their ACTIONS. If they’re sorry, if they will cooperate with a divorce, if they care a shit about their children. It’s all on display. The words are about manipulation and impression management.
Do you really want to eat the shit sandwich of pleasant small talk? Of this person acting like your friend, while draining your bank account, or suing you for custody, or spending your marital resources on their affair partner(s)?
Treat this person with all the courtesy you’d give your local county tax assessor. It’s just business chumps. And most business can be conducted by email. (Always err on the side of documentation any way.)
3) You refuse to enforce your boundaries. You struggle with no contact because you think you can reason a disordered person into consensus.
Let’s say your cheater owes you child support. And you keep writing and calling and imploring them to do the honorable thing and pay for their children.
It’s kibbles and power to the disordered person. They’ll blow you off. They’ll make fake promises. They’ll deliberately frustrate you. What they will enjoy, however, is fucking with your head. Or they just won’t care at all. You are an annoying buzzing sound.
But you the chump persevere. YOU WILL LISTEN TO ME! You’ll get louder, more strident, more demanding. You might even threaten them with action.
Please skip all that and get straight to action. ENFORCE YOUR BOUNDARIES. They don’t pay child support? You tell the authorities. You call your lawyer. You get a court order. You deal with your local county child support enforcement agency. What you do NOT do, is go through your cheater to get things done. They had that chance. Their actions TOLD you their answer. Now YOU need to take care of this for YOU. No discussion necessary.
You can apply this to every other situation. They won’t move their shit out of your garage. (Sell it. Move it for them to a storage locker.) They won’t honor their debts. (Small claims court.) They won’t visit their children. (Don’t expect them to. Quit twisting on a rope accommodating them.)
Another ways chumps don’t enforce our boundaries is we think the cheater’s emotional state is our responsibility. But they’re so sad! They’re so angry! I must respond. You’ve grown accustomed to your role as Soother In Chief. And Person Whose Fault It Always Is. STOP IT. Not your job anymore. Don’t engage.
Shore yourself up, chumps. You can DO THIS.