Many survivors of abuse chose to “go no contact” with their abuser. It is a state in which we deny the abuser direct access to us. We are often accused of selfishness (especially those who cut contact with their parents or siblings), but no contact is not about the abuser. It is not revenge, punishment or control (that would be the silent treatment that abusers use), it is often the only way the target can protect themselves from further victimization.
Monkey and Aubrey Discuss Their Experiences
We asked Monkey and Aubrey about their own experiences with no contact. Monkey established no contact with her parents a little over 3.5 years ago, and Aubrey did the same with her ex-husband almost 4 years ago. Here is what they had to say.The podcast is only available to our members. Join SwanWaters today to gain immediate access.
So How Does No Contact Work?
No contact sounds easier and more straight forward than you may think. Many people find it hard to do, if not only because the abuser is unlikely to accept your boundaries. After all, have they ever done so before? Here are some of our most important pointers.
No Contact Is NOT a Wonder Drug
Although you may feel better when you finally stand up for yourself, that euphoria will not last. Healing is hard work, and no contact helps but does not replace that hard work. In fact, no contact can be hard to establish and maintain, and needs your focus on your own recovery. Or, as one of our community members puts it:
Probably the best thing for me, and what made me strong enough to get through this was learning my own worth, and taking care of me. The more energy I put toward me, the stronger I got, and the stronger I was, the easier it was for me to stand on my own against the fear and the guilt.
No Contact Is Like Training a Dog
By that I mean that you have to be consistent. Once you have established no contact, maintain it. Any answer (even an angry outburst or a reminder that you asked for no contact) is contact. The abuser does not care what you say, as long as he or she triggers you into responding, and therewith overstepping your own boundary. Do not accept any breach of that boundary, and also watch out for proxies (flying monkeys).
Any letters Monkey’s mother sends her go straight in the container outside (I don’t even want that energy in my house!).
Use Technology Wisely
Blocking numbers, filtering emails, keeping your social media profile safe… there are many tricks that help you protect your boundary. We have listed some in this article about online safety, but also check out the help sections of your providers for the right path in your specific situation.
For the Children’s Sake Does Not Fly
In Aubrey’s words: people were perfectly capable of co-parenting before the invention of mobile phones and email. She shares some of the tools she used to keep the boundary when she and Stephen spoke to us about Co-Parenting With a Toxic Person.