Going no-contact with a toxic person means that you no longer have any form of communication with this individual. It is one of the biggest boundaries you can build when dealing with another person.
Its important to acknowledge that going no-contact is not the appropriate choice for everyone who is navigating toxic people. If you are co-parenting with a toxic person, or you are forced to be in a work environment with one, going fully no-contact may not be an available option.
If you’ve spent some time in the abuse recovery space, you probably have heard that going no-contact is the best solution to dealing with toxic people. And while this is the general advice, it can be detrimental to your overall well-being if you go no-contact before you are ready to.
I like to think of no-contact as the long-term goal for folks who are actively engaged with toxic people. Actually going no-contact takes a LOT of effort. For most folks, that effort is worth it, but you shouldn’t take on the project of going no-contact unless you are able and willing to put in that work.
I’ve gone no-contact with both of my toxic parents, and I am currently low contact with a toxic ex and mother-in-law. These different relationships require different solutions, which is why I think saying for all people it is always necessary to go no-contact is a bit too simplified.
Having said that, going no-contact is a really robust way to help yourself on the journey of healing from toxic people. There are a lot of good reasons to go no-contact.
In this episode, I’m going to be reflecting on the top 3 reasons to go no-contact with toxic people. I’m going to be pulling on my experience going no-contact with both of my parents and the experiences of the various clients that I have worked with.
Before you can even decide if you want to accept the long-term goal of going no-contact, you need to have a sense of why this type of boundary is supposed to be so helpful.
One thing that folks don’t realize about going no-contact is the struggle to maintain that boundary persists for a long time. Its not like just getting the person immediately out of your life magically heals you. So even if you have maintained going no-contact for a while, you may benefit from reflecting on WHY this boundary is so helpful.
Let’s get into it.
When you go no-contact, you are putting a stop to the constant flow of new harms that toxic people are dishing out. Being constantly inundated with the terrible treatment of toxic people can really wear you down. It can make you feel exhausted. It can make you feel emotionally raw all of the time.
Every single time a toxic person mistreats you, you need some space to process that event. In general, Toxic people strive to prevent you from getting that space. The main way they do this is through feeding you such a constant stream of mistreatment that you don’t even have a chance to catch your breath. That is an intentional strategy that toxic people employ. That’s one of the reasons that folks often describe their experience with toxic people as being immersed in this kind of brain fog.
One of the best ways to stop that cycle is to remove the opportunity for the toxic person to mistreat you. Cutting off this stream of negative experiences buys you some space to begin processing the huge backlog of experiences you just survived. Everyday the toxic person is able to generate new harmful experiences, they are adding to the catalog of things you need to work through. That’s one of the reasons, no-contact is so valuable.
In previous episodes we’ve talked about how toxic people somehow manage to make EVERYTHING become about them. Constant exposure to this centering of the toxic person, can make you lose touch with who you really are.
When you get some space away from this, you can start to notice yourself again. You are able to get reacquainted with what the heck is going on with you.
Maybe through your surviving this toxic person you lost touch with things like how your body feels, what things you enjoy doing, what things are important to you. I definitely lost touch with these things being around my toxic father. His presence was so overwhelming that there really wasn’t any way for anyone to have independent thoughts or feelings.
Its really hard to notice and appreciate how much you’ve become a stranger to yourself until you get away from the LOUDNESS of toxic people. When you go no-contact it is a lot easier to notice what is happening with you.
This can be a jarring experience at first. Especially if you have spent years dealing with the toxic person. But, its critical to regaining your freedom from toxic people. Going no-contact allows you to begin being yourself.
When we are in the thick of dealing with toxic people, we don’t really notice all of the ways their presence is dragging on us. Whether we are aware of it or not, the emotional toll of these folks really impacts us. It especially can make it difficult for us to show up for the people we want to have in our lives.
When you are in an abusive environment, you naturally need to focus your energy on survival. Unfortunately, this means that you have very little bandwith to channel your energy toward other forms of relationship building. For example, you may be so immersed in brain fog that you forget your best friend’s birthday. Or maybe you are just too exhausted to make it to your cousin’s little league game. If you have a partner, you may never seem to have space to really enjoy the occasional romantic dinner.
When your whole being is dedicated to surviving the next abusive episode, you can’t be fully present for the folks in your life. Its not because you are a bad person, or that you don’t care about these folks, its simply because you are human and you are trying to survive incredibly difficult circumstances.
By going no contact, you allow yourself the opportunity to begin showing up for those folks again. You give yourself the gift of space to relax and become more than just a human trying to survive. This increases the strength of your support network and overall ends up making it easier to maintain your no-contact boundary.
This is another place where its important to point out that this doesn’t magically happen over night when you decide to go no-contact. You may need some time to let down your guard and really commit to trying to support these folks in your life.
For me, when I went no-contact with my toxic mother I did a lot of hard thinking about what was important to me. I had to really get in touch with what kind of life I wanted and what I wanted to be remembered for. Through that process, I realized how important these relationships were to me. That realization then motivated me to work through some of my fear of abandonment and the things that had previously made investing in relationships unpalatable. Ultimately, I realized that showing up for the people that I do care about was actually a way for me to demonstrate that my mother’s toxicity was no longer going to control me.
When you go no-contact, you begin to get the mental and emotional bandwidth needed in order to show up for the people you care about. You may not be able to show up immediately, but for the first time in a while, you will have the energy to do so if you choose.
Going no-contact is a really big step. You don’t want to make the decision to put up that boundary lightly. In my experience, it was worth it to go no contact. However, I would have struggled with enjoying the positives of this boundary if I hadn’t made absolutely sure that it was what I wanted before I established that boundary.
Have you thought about going no contact? Does it seem like something worth doing to you? Let me know in the comments below!
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