If You Break 'No Contact' With a Narcissist

Updated on December 12, 2017
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, and a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders.

You're trying to separate from a narcissist and you've been doing great with not contacting or interacting with them. But then you slipped up. It happens. Nobody is perfect and we are talking about a seriously powerful pattern to break out of here. Some people have been in this kind of situation their entire lives, with reinforced trauma bonding patterns that go back to childhood, so breaking away from that isn't easy to do at all. Many people slip up and fall back, so it's important to remember not to beat yourself up over it. Just re-establish your boundaries, put the no contact rule back in place and try again.

Breaking no contact doesn't mean all the work you've done on yourself has been ruined, either. It means you're trying to break out of a pattern that you may have had your entire life, one that your body and mind are basically addicted to and dependent on. Making a mistake is not the end of the world. However, at the same time, you want to be careful not to cut yourself too much slack. The voice of addiction is very sneaky. It can rationalize anything and it is very persuasive. It's important to remember that even a little bit of poison is still poison. You don't get cancer from one cigarette. You don't get cancer from smoking one single cigarette after you've quit. You get cancer from continuing to smoke. It's the same principle here. One slip up is not the end of everything, but a slip up that turns into a pattern may be. A slip up is a slip up. It's not more than that, but it's certainly not less, either. Take it for what it is and work on doing better next time.

How do you do that? Well, most of the time people break the no contact rule when they are feeling vulnerable. This can be when you yourself are especially lonely or sad, or it can be when the narcissist has communicated that they are especially lonely or sad. This happens partly because of our own intrinsic humanity and partly because of the trauma bond and arousal-jag dynamics that are part of the relationship with a narcissist or other abuser. People who have been traumatized and abused come to depend on the "good feelings" that come after abuse, when the abuser is sorry and apologetic and everything feels like love again. They are used to - we could even say addicted to - the emotional and chemical lift that results from the abuse being stopped. So it's natural that when people in this situation feel vulnerable or bad, they would want to feel better the way they know how. Going no contact with an abuser is like going up on that emotional roller coaster into the bad feelings and never coming down again into the good feelings. Try not to let it get to you. It's temporary. Your mind and body found ways to cope when you were being abused and they will find ways to cope now that the abuse has stopped. You just have to let it work itself out. Be patient and hold on to your self-respect. That's more important than temporarily feeling better.

People also break contact because they feel guilty. They realize this is a disordered, miserable person and they feel bad for them. There's nothing wrong with that. It's normal. But it's also dangerous. You can feel pity for this person but not at your own expense. Part of self-care is not engaging in situations where you are being hurt, no matter what the reason is. It is entirely possible to pity a person while at the same time realizing there is nothing you can do to help them. This is how the narcissist should be approached. Yes, they are a victim. Yes, it is a terrible shame. No, there is nothing you or anyone else can do. It is extremely important to remember this, because it is nothing but the truth. Regardless of how you feel, regardless of what they say, it is not possible to help these people. It isn't possible to help anybody who does not understand that there is a problem, whether they are narcissistic or not.

Sometimes we find people break no contact out of fear. They may go into a panic when they realize the relationship might really be over this time. They may experience fear that the narcissist does not care about them anymore, or that the narcissist will find a new person to care about. This goes for any type of relationship, not just romantic ones. People may worry excessively about what the narcissist is doing or who the narcissist is talking to and contact them to find out. It's important to be very honest about your feelings here, because this kind of thing is actually an attempt to control the narcissist, which is just as wrong as them trying to control you. We cannot control other people. Not only is it not healthy, but it isn't even really possible.

People will do what they want to do, and that's the end of it. We only stress ourselves out worrying about things we can't control and other people are things we can't control. Sometimes people do things we don't like, or that hurt us. All we can do is get out of the situation, learn and move on. No one can change or control another person, and no one has the right to try. You do have the right to say that if someone is going to act a certain way or do certain things, you will not be around them because you don't want it in your life, but it's up to them if they want to do anything about that or not. If they don't, then you should move on.

There are many relationships where there is a fundamental problem, such as cheating. One spouse cheats all the time, and of course, the other one doesn't like it. It's hurtful. It's disrespectful. But instead of ending the relationship with this person - who obviously cannot be faithful for whatever reason - the faithful spouse argues and fights and insists the cheater change. The faithful spouse attempts to control the cheating spouse's movements and daily life in an effort to prevent them from cheating. This may be understandable from an emotional standpoint, but it's not healthy at all. It's bad for any children involved and it hurts everybody. Too many people have a problem with the way someone else is but instead of ending the association, they stay and complain that the person is not who or what they want them to be, or they try to control the person and force them to change. Many things can be worked out, of course, and many marriages have survived things like infidelity and become stronger. But if there is a pattern of behavior or interaction that you are unhappy with or that is hurtful and abusive, staying in the relationship and insisting the other person change is not healthy or productive. It almost never works. You can either accept the situation as it is, or you can't - because, and this may not be easy to hear - but people don't have to change. They don't have to change for their spouse or their kids or their mom or their dad or anybody else, and most of them won't. They can be as awful and sneaky and wrong and abusive that they want to be - and many of them will. But you don't have to put up with it.

That's what no contact is about. Not putting up with it. It's your way of standing up and saying, "I'm not putting up with this anymore." No contact is not finite. It has no end. It's the stopping of your association with this person because they have demonstrated that they are not someone whose behavior you will tolerate. It can be hard to keep no contact, because you cared for this person and because of the addictive, dependent nature of the relationship.

If you feel the urge to contact the narcissist, it might help if you write down your feelings. This gives you a way to express them without involving the narcissist. Those feelings need to come out and be addressed, they are not going to just go away. So write them down. Maybe write a letter to the person but don't give it to them. Maybe you could make a list reminding yourself of the ways they've hurt you. This both helps you process those traumas and gives you a good reminder of why you are staying away from them. Some people say they listen to videos like this one to remind themselves why they should not contact the person. There are things you can do to exercise the feeling without giving in. You can also distract yourself in various ways. You could go for a run, walk your dog, play video games, see what's on TV or hang out with someone. The important thing is to acknowledge your feelings for what they are and let them work themselves out without involving the narcissist. You cannot work on your own feelings with someone around who is unable to understand that you even have feelings. The only thing that will happen is what always happens: your feelings will be ignored and you will be abused. No contact is about breaking that pattern, so hang in there!

You might notice that this article does not mention how the narcissist reacts when you break the no contact rule. That's because, quite frankly, it doesn't matter. Focusing on the narcissist is not what's important here. They will react how they always react to attention. There's no new information there. What's important is how you feel and how you react to it. They may step up their efforts to get your attention once you reinstate the no contact rule, but that's not really news, either. If you've been dealing with a narcissist, you already know that. It's more important to figure out your feelings. Let the narcissist worry about their own feelings for once.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Kiana 

      20 hours ago

      I dated a narcissist for 9 years. I ended it because I was drained. As far as I know, I was never cheated on. And I caught on quickly with the spending habits, my ex had, so I was financially dead when the relationship ended. I decided not to go "no contact" with my ex, and it's actually been going good. I do nothing for him, but we still talk and laugh together.

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      7 weeks ago

      Very, very well stated. To the point. It’s the way it is whether we like it or not. Very well put. Thank you so much.

    • profile image

      A nony mouse 

      4 months ago

      How about parents that are split up, who are obliged to share information. In my case, I tried to keep it to business like letters, but from time to time appointments with school would come through at short notice, necessitating direct contact in the form of a 'phone call that would invariably end in arguing?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)