5 Things I Did Not Expect from No Contact

No Contact is a term I didn’t even grasp at the time I decided to do it. I had finally had it with my ex-husband’s email attacks and my often uncontrollable responses to them. I was fed up with his harassing phone calls and middle-of-the-night text tirades. I knew I had the right as a citizen to not have to put up with that bullshit from anybody, and he was no exception. I knew he had full access to the children through their cell phones and finally, one day in April 2012, blocked him from every method of accessing me directly. I sent him notice that any communication with me would now be done through postal mail. Then I started getting piles of mail from him when he had not responded to a single letter of mine previously via mail. Some of them were even addressed to “Resident” in his handwriting. Yeah, those I sent right back unopened.

When I went NC, I really had not read any guidelines, or reasons for doing it, or even how to do it. This was just me drawing a line. Good or bad, I really had no expectations except that I would no longer be awakened by his rambling, drunken texts or accused by email of doing things that were so outrageous I couldn’t even grasp them. I particularly didn’t miss things like the email saying, “The grass is too long. Do you want me to call Richard to cut it? Oh, and the garbage cans have been out by the street for a week.” He was several states away.

So for better or worse, I didn’t know what to expect when I went NC, except that I knew it would probably drive him up a wall to not have instant access to me. Now, over four years later, I can safely say there are five things that happened which I did not expect from going NC.

#1 A Sense of Power Over My Life

I had spent a lifetime kowtowing to his every whim and demand just to keep the peace. By drawing this line and refusing to allow him to keep controlling me like a master puppeteer, I suddenly realized I was steering my own ship. It occurred to me that I was no longer going to bed wondering if I was going to face another tirade. Oh, sure, he would try calling from other numbers and I’d just block those, too. He even once grabbed the cell phone from a subordinate at work and called me from that. The story I heard from people who were there was everyone was too afraid of him to say no. That, reportedly, changed shortly after they read my blog. In the weeks that followed my going NC, I saw a lot more crazy behaviors out of him, but I also realized my own power to stand up for myself.

#2 Being Preached At By Others for “Not Being Able To Get Along”

I had a scant few of these, but I surely didn’t see this coming: People who didn’t understand what NC actually is and wanted to lecture me about “putting my kids first” and how I should “figure out a way to get along.” Well, those of us who have survived an abuser understand that there is no such thing as “getting along.” You are either submissive or you are punished. What they also failed to understand was that, by putting my own peace and emotional safety in a priority position, I was putting my kids first. I was caring for my children alone while he was 1,000 miles away doing whatever he damn well pleased, including terrorizing me for the heinous sin of divorcing him. By blocking his ability to draw me into his crazy whenever he wanted, I was able to be more present, calmer, and more available for my children.

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Aubrey Cole

Aubrey Cole

I survived a quarter century of psychological, emotional, economic and sexual abuse. When I got out, I vowed to help others do the same and founded the Emotional Abuse Survivors Network project in 2012. Now, I offer hope and healing to others on their journey as they rediscover themselves. My forthcoming books, Bodies in the Basement and Define Winning, chronicle my experiences, escape, and recovery. There is nothing so special about me that others can't emerge and thrive.

No Contact is a term I didn’t even grasp at the time I decided to do it. So for better or worse, I didn’t know what to expect when I went NC...

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