The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.
No contact means exactly what it says: no contact. You don't talk to this person, you don't see them, you don't deal with them at all. If they call, you don't answer. If they knock on the door, you ignore them. In this way, you work to break the enmeshment pattern and trauma bond that you are stuck in so that you can be freed from the relationship and the abuse that goes with it. If you have children with this person, no contact can be trickier, but there are often court liaisons who will help or perhaps a friend is willing to be an intermediary.
The reason everyone recommends "going no contact" is because this is the only way to break the spell, so to speak. Narcissists create an atmosphere of drama and high emotionality. They are manipulative and abusive, bombarding the person with all manner of abusive and controlling tactics designed to maintain control over the person so that the narcissist can get their needs met. A person cannot think in this situation. Going no contact creates the distance that is needed in order to see things clearly. Once all of that stops and the narcissist's siren song has been silenced, it is much easier to have a realistic perspective regarding what is happening. You can't observe the destruction a tornado has caused if you're inside of it. All you can do is hold on. You can only survey the damage later, once you're out and the tornado has passed.
As stated above, going no contact also helps to break the trauma bonds and enmeshment patterns that victims of narcissistic abuse are stuck in. If you are bonded with someone through trauma, your body and mind have basically become addicted to the situation. You couldn't quit smoking cigarettes if you kept doing it, right? You can't say you're quitting as you're lighting up a cigarette. You quit by quitting. It's the same thing. You break the trauma bond by stopping the trauma, which usually involves ending the relationship and staying away from that person.
We're not going to pretend that this is easy or painless. But neither is the relationship. At least after breaking the trauma bond, you have freedom to look forward to instead of more trauma and a never-ending roller coaster of emotions and drama. If it's going to hurt either way, pick the one that at least has a good outcome in the long run. No contact gives you a chance to evaluate and reestablish boundaries and work on separating yourself emotionally from the narcissist. You've spent so much time worrying about this person and carrying their emotional burdens that you may not even know what your needs are anymore, or understand your own feelings. No one can be happy or healthy in that situation, regardless of why they are doing it. You were not put here to be a slave to someone else's needs. It's time to let other people carry their own weight, so you can carry yours.
No contact works to starve a narcissist's need for attention from you as well. Going no contact is mostly for you, but it affects them also. They are addicted to the drama too, don't forget. They endlessly crave attention and support and admiration and anything else they can get. Even negative attention works fine for them, which is why they will provoke arguments and drag them on for hours. But nothing is ever enough, so they are chronically empty and miserable. You could never give them enough attention or love or affection or anything else to make things OK. This is hard for a lot of people to accept, so look at the situation you're in. You have basically given up your entire life to make this person happy, you have given them absolutely everything, you've bent over backwards, you made them the center of the universe. Did it work? Are they happy?
No. They always need more, and more, and more. They laugh at what you've given them or deny it altogether. They spit on everything you've done and say it didn't matter, or that it wasn't good enough, or that you didn't mean it or it didn't happen or whatever else. They delight in frustrating, upsetting and manipulating people. What makes you think this is ever going to change? Especially since it never has?
That is why no contact is recommended. Because if you stay in any type of relationship with a narcissist, that is all it is ever going to be. It's abusive and even if you are willing to put up with abuse, are you willing to put up with pointless abuse? Abuse just for the sake of abuse? Because that's what it is. It isn't leading to anything. You're not going to be rewarded for your patience and suffering. It isn't going to end with them someday waking up to reality and the abuse was all worth it because now it's wonderful all the time. Even if the narcissist does not discard you, the best you can likely hope for is someone who eventually just ignores you instead of attacking you. They have no capacity for or understanding of happiness. They don't have any capacity for or understanding of love. They don't understand or care about other people's feelings or needs, and there is nothing you can do or say that will fix this. They are not built that way. All you can do is get out of the situation before you lose your capacity for happiness, too.
A lot of people want to find a way around this, but there isn't one. There is no magic pill that will make them not abusive and not disordered anymore. It is what it is. No contact allows you to put an end to the situation before any more damage to yourself is done. The relationship - any kind of relationship - with a narcissist is a lost cause because they don't even have the capacity to understand that there is a problem. You are pouring your love and energy down a black hole, and you deserve more than that. Everybody does.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
A nony mouse on March 21, 2018:
Sadly, it is often difficult to spot a narcissist as they are charm itself until something goes wrong and then they are a nightmare. Was married to one, who only showed his true colours once we had our son.
He turned, we got divorced, I insisted on supervised contact to try to keep him at arm's length, but the judge was not wearing it and thought that I was exaggerating. Needless to say the divorce was a nightmare, he hid £250k in a trust fund and child contact was used as an excuse to behave badly. In the end, we wound up moving away. He took it back through the courts, but this time I had evidence of his bad behaviour and the courts bought an end to contact.
We live in hiding but in December 2015, the police turned up on my parent's doorstep asking about my safety. My parents 'phoned me and the police asked me to contact the police force where he lived. When I did they wanted to know all about our marriage. I told them about the abuse and they said he had perpetrated about 90% of the abuse that I described upon his new wife. He was initially bailed, but new evidence came to light and he was remanded into prison, he spent Christmas Day there, how Karmic. Unfortunately, about 3 weeks later the new wife retracted her statements. As she is foreign the Crown Prosecution Service took the view that it was a waste of taxpayers money to pursue as their witness would probably disappear out of the country if they did so.
I know he is unlikely to change, but it is such a shame that the courts are not more supportive of women in this situation.