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How a Bad 80s Song Helped Me Go No Contact

First, let’s clear up all the misunderstandings about No Contact. It isn’t a punishment like when an abuser ignores you in order to demean your very existence. It isn’t a reactionary position like when 10 year olds who get into a fight and refuse to talk to each other. It isn’t manipulation, as in, “I’m not going to talk to you until you do X.” No Contact (NC) is about boundaries and emotional survival. It is about no longer giving the abuser access and the ability to continue causing turmoil in your life. It’s about peace and freedom and managing stress.

“You know my first impulse was to run up on you and do a Rambo…
instead I chilled — That’s right, chilled”
– The Rain, Oran “Juice” Jones

No Contact is a Shield

You know the saying, “You don’t have to attend every fight you are invited to?” No Contact is what helps you remove yourself from the constant cycle of drama and pain with the abuser. Time and time again, your response has been turned back around on you through a crazy gaslighting scenario because the abuser was still able to call, email, text, and so on. The funny thing was, when I first decided to go NC, I had never even called it that. I just decided that since both of my girls had their own wireless, I did not need to give him direct access to me anymore. He was out of state, the visitation schedule was clear, and snail mail still works. I had cut his email access to me a year prior to the phone access being cut, and it has given me so much more peace. Before that, I would become physically ill when I would open my email. When he would call the house or my cell, my blood pressure would rise and my heart started to pound. By removing direct access to me what I did was control his input—in order to control my reactions.

The Mail Still Delivers

People chuff and snort about No Contact and its supposed implications. Do you know how many people got divorced and co-parented before cell phones and email? Do you remember how people communicated before there were phones at all? Captain Crazy has a mailing address to use. Legally, that is the only way he is allowed to have contact with me. The peace this has brought to my life has been incredible because I am now the one who chooses when, and in what context, I receive his communications. It also lets me reflect and respond when and how I choose. For anyone who goes NC with a toxic person—partner, parent, friend, or sibling—this means claiming your right to be free from the constant barrage of abuse disguised as “meaningful” communication. The down side is the judgment from those who don’t understand your choice.

But She’s Your Mother

I have watched a friend of mine struggle to deal with people who chastise her for going NC with her abusive, toxic mother. But there are people who don’t have a clue what that means. Like me, this friend had to make a decision to put on her oxygen mask, and refuse to let toxic people keep suffocating her. The only way to do that was to remove their access to her. Well-meaning know-nothings have tried to chide her into keeping contact with her parents because they are “old” and “miss her”. While the old part is true, the “missing” part is just another form of Hoovering. Let’s be clear: NC is a survival strategy based on choosing to be calm and purposeful instead of allowing the abuser to get reactions out of you.

Similarly, I’ve had attorneys ask me how I can possibly organize visitation and other details by using the mail. Simple: visitation is in the court orders, medical bills get mailed, payments are made electronically. He was given the option of a communication intermediary and refused. Then, of course, there is the well-worn refrain “Can’t you just get along for the children’s sake?”  Well, no, actually we can’t. When you are a healthy, functional person being constantly attacked, manipulated, gaslighted, and otherwise vilified for no reason, there is nothing you can do to communicate with the one doing it to you. So now, I have no nausea when opening my email, I get no ranting 3am text messages or repeated calls when I don’t answer. I only go to my P.O. Box once a month, choosing a day in which I am in a good place to handle anything he throws my way. In fact, this method has served me so well, I literally laughed uproariously the last time I got a giant package of documents from one of his attorneys.

So I Chilled And Went No Contact

This is where I began to practice the “Juice” technique. I just chilled, and became more calculated in my reactions. I realized two things:

1. Not responding immediately is good for me, and

2. Not responding immediately drives abusers insane because it robs them of their drama supply.

When you master this technique, you give yourself incredible peace with the added amusement of knowing that it makes them bonkers! Yes, there is a side benefit, too!

Going NC, believe it or not, helped me to practice mindfulness techniques more effectively. Each time I would receive communication from Captain Crazy, I would have the time and focus to control my response. I was able to drill down to the important pieces of what was making me upset and deal with them rationally instead of reactively. This benefitted me both psychologically and physically.

Remember that No Contact is for you. It is not a punishment or a manipulation, but an essential part of healing from abuse. Really, you couldn’t heal a burn on your hand if you just kept sticking it back into the fire, could you?

 

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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.
Aubrey Cole

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