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.
#3 Feeling More Balanced Emotionally
The constant battle in an abusive relationship is the one where you assess your every move before making it to determine what the consequences of that move might be. Right down to deciding what you will make for dinner, each event in the normal course of life becomes an emotional tug of war that drains your energy and controls your thoughts. By going NC, I blocked his ability to turn me inside out emotionally on a dime. I could choose when and if I read and responded to his communications and even had someone else read them and decide for me if there was anything to respond to. So while NC brought out the crazy in him full force, it surely brought out the emotional balance in me.
#4 That It Would Drive Him Utterly Insane, If He Wasn’t There Already
Speaking of the full-force crazy, this was it. The guy would call my home number over and over from blocked numbers. It wouldn’t ring through, but all the calls were logged by my AT&T UVerse system. I could see how many times he called, from what numbers, and at what times. When he sent the police to my house to do a “welfare check” (i.e., “Bitch, unblock the phones”), I was able to show that he had not only called numerous times after having already talked to the children the night before, but that he was lying when he said he was trying to reach the children. 17 of the first 20 calls were during school hours. The side benefit of all this was it validated for me just how much I had been putting up with because I was afraid of his wrath. Yeah, he filed false contempt charges against me because of it. But it ended up that, not only did his attorney withdraw himself and his whole firm from representing Captain Crazy, he was found in contempt of court on my counter action which I would not have filed had he not fabricated his claims. It was a relief to see that he was truly batshit crazy and that I was clearly not the problem.
#5 More Energy to Devote To the Things I Wanted and Needed To Do
When I would field crazy calls or texts or emails from him, it would suck my energy dry. Many times these communications included false accusations and unprovoked attacks. For a while, I would answer with logic and reason, which of course never worked. Then I would answer with a counter attack because I was so freaking sick of dealing with his garbage when he was the one who chose to move away. Once I went NC, it occurred to me that I was sleeping better, I had more focus, and I didn’t jump when my phone rang or text chimed. I was able to concentrate much better on my graduate school work, and be a more energetic and focused parent for my girls. We also had a lot more fun in general because I wasn’t one raw nerve all the time. So while I expected that NC would give me more day-to-day respite from the crazy, I didn’t expect that I would feel so much better physically.
Remember that No Contact is not a punishment toward the abuser; punishments don’t work with them, anyway. No Contact is a reward for you! It is a way of putting yourself first, which also benefits those you love. You start to regain your true self and your clouded view of the world begins to clear.