Setting Boundaries With Narcissist: No Contact Rule
A few years ago, when I found out I was with a narcissist, I started making researches about a lot of things: How to change a narcissist, how to cure a narcissist, the reasons of narcissism, the results of narcissism and many other things…
I’ve witnessed a lot people who have been in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath (just like I have) writing blogs and sharing informative videos about narcissism. All of them mentioned one particular thing without exception: The No Contact Rule.
What is the No Contact Rule?
No contact rule is a strategy in order to cut ties with a narcissist, sociopath or other emotional manipulator. As the name suggests, it is about stopping all kinds of communication with the emotional manipulator and cutting all ties with them so that we can no longer interact in any way. For instance;
- Not facing the narcissist under any circumstances (whether you’re alone, in public or surrounded by friends).
- Not calling or texting or e-mailing the narcissist.
- Blocking the narcissist’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses, not answering calls from unknown numbers and if necessary changing your phone number.
- Blocking and removing all the social media accounts belonging to the narcissist (in fact, deactivating your own accounts as well if you’re worried about the narcissist finding a way to follow you anyway or if you’re worried you might continue checking their profiles).
- Changing your passwords.
- If your mutual friends are unable to see the true colors of the narcissist, cutting them off your life.
- Not sharing any private information with those you’re going to continue seeing (so that the narcissist cannot receive any information about you) and preventing them from telling you anything about the narcissist.
- Avoiding all places you might see the narcissist in, trying not to go anywhere near their house or workplace or the other places the narcissist often goes to.
Despite all this, the narcissist may insist on getting in touch with you. They can appear right in front of your house, school or workplace most unexpectedly. They can continue harassing you by sending you gifts or flowers. In this case, try to continue practicing the no contact rule and avoid overreacting. If possible and necessary, you can get a restraining order.
When I first read about no contact rule, it sounded quite exaggerated and unnecessary to me. I thought, “why should we completely remove a person from our lives? After all, we shared so many things in the past, shouldn’t we at least be able to say ‘hello’ if we ever run into each other again?” I also thought that “pretending that someone never existed is so immature!” But all these thoughts were caused by the fact I was still denying the systematic emotional and psychological abuse I’ve been through.
Why Do We Need the No Contact Rule?
There’s a huge difference between breaking up with a narcissist and breaking up with an emotionally healthy individual. Leaving a narcissist is such a difficult as well as a dangerous process. Narcissists feel rejected when somebody tries to set boundaries between them or end the relationship all together. They can’t accept breakup the way a normal person would. They can do anything to keep you, in other words, their narcissistic nutritional source.
How Do Narcissists React When You Try to Cut off Communication With Them?
- They can go back to the idealization phase (for a time).
In order to win you back, they can pretend to be a good and attentive partner all over again. They can talk about how much they love you, how impossible it is for them to live without you. They can give you empty promises and remind you of the good old days. In this phase, you’re likely to receive some nice gifts and compliments.
If you ever face such situation, please remember that it won’t always be like this and that things will go back to being abusive and toxic once the danger of losing you passes. Besides, no matter how good the idealization phase might make one feel, if you take a step back and observe the situation you can see how shallow, artificial and even aggressive it looks.
If the “good side” of the narcissist confuses you too much and prevents you from leaving them, I recommend you to to check my articles titled “Why Does the Narcissist Want You Back?” and “The Two Faces of a Narcissist” as well.
2. They can try to make you feel guilty.
They can remind you of your past mistakes (or the things that looked like mistakes to them) as well as the good things they’ve done for you (in an exaggerated way). They can tell you things like you’re taking them for granted, you’re too selfish and that you can never find someone like them. When we’re accused, we can react in several different ways:
– We can show empathy. We can decide that they have a point, and try to take some responsibility.
– We can think that we’re being wrongly accused and try to explain ourselves to them.
– We can get angry and react aggressively.
No matter how we react to these accusations, it will serve the narcissist well. For narcissists, there’s no difference between a good and bad reaction. In any case, they see that they still have control over us, and that they can still influence our emotions and thoughts one way or another. What we need to do is to remain calm and fight the urge to defend ourselves.
3. They can try emotional blackmail and slander.
They can tell that nobody will believe you, your word holds no value against theirs, everyone is going to see what kind of a person you are, you are nothing without them, you’ll be completely alone without them and so on. They can also start talking behind your back to make sure people really don’t believe a word you say.
Again, you need to remain calm. People around you either believe the narcissist or don’t. What you need to focus on is not the opinions of other people. You need to practice the no contact rule as if your whole sanity depends on it, because it does!
4. They can completely discard you.
Even though it’s a small chance, they might not care about losing you especially if they’re an over narcissist. They can say that you didn’t deserve them anyway, or that you weren’t worthy of them. They can tell others that they were the one who ended the relationship or start flaunting about with someone new right after ending it with you.
Even though this looks quite annoying, this is actually the most fortunate outcome.
The Things You Might Feel While Trying to Cut Ties With the Narcissist
If you’ve found yourself in a narcissistic relationship, you’re likely to have some psychological and spiritual problems such as; trauma bonding, fear of loneliness and abandonment, lack of self-confidence and self-love etc. And considering the trauma bonding between you two, cutting the narcissist out of your life completely can seem extremely difficult at first. At the very beginning of the no contact rule, you can doubt and question yourself quite frequently and feel the urge to give them another chance in order to reduce the anxiety you’re suffering from. No matter how hard it is you should try to fight the urge to see them again and maintain the no contact rule. During this time period, you should surround yourself with people you can trust, and stay away from those who wouldn’t understand the situation you’re in. Besides, you can write down all the poor treatment, abuse and lies you’ve suffered from and read it all whenever you feel like you’re wavering. Educating yourself on narcissistic abuse and manipulation tactics will also help you see the ordeal you went through much clearer.
For How Long Should We Stay Away from the Narcissist?
No contact rule isn’t something you should practice temporarily. We don’t use no contact rule in order to take revenge on the narcissist, to make them suffer, to force them to change or to miss us and regret what they’ve done to us. If you have such plans, try to see how narcissistic and controlling these urges are.
And practicing no contact rule does not necessarily mean you’re completely over it, that you’re free of your traumas and have healed. The initial goal is not to cut the narcissist out of our lives, but to realize the insecurities that left us vulnerable against narcissists in the first place so that we may never go through the same ordeal again.
The goal is to get rid of the poison in our systems, to protect ourselves against narcissistic abuse and regain the control of our own lives.
If you want to support financially, you can help from the link below. https://www.patreon.com/narsistsiz/membership
You can also find the articles on https://medium.com/@narsistsiz:
Psychologia. “Narcissists and the No Contact Rule”. https://psychologia.co/narcissist-no-contact/.
Mindcology. “How To Go “No Contact” With A Narcissist”. Access 3 September, 2018. https://mindcology.com/narcissist/going-no-contact-with-a-narcissist/.
You can also check out my other articles on the subject:
Why does the narcissist want you back?
Why is Leaving Them So Hard? Getting Attached to the Narcissist