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Going "No Contact" with grace?

Old 06-22-2011, 10:26 AM
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Going "No Contact" with grace?

Hi SR friends,
Had an interesting talk with my therapist yesterday and I have been mulling it over all night. I told him about the most recent conversations with the RAH...who has again declared he is taking responsibility for himself and his choices, while subsequently blaming me for not being able to have any kind of a relationship with me (said all in the same sentence, no less, what a contradiction!). I told the therapist I had cut off any form of communication short of a face-to-face visit (which I can't control short of an RO)...blocked his numbers, re-routed his emails to the trash box, etc.

The therapist asked me if I "let the RAH know I was doing this". I said no. He asked me if I thought that was the right approach, and how would I feel if someone did that to me? Well, it has been done to me before so I know how it feels. But the point of this is to STOP COMMUNICATING. Why would I want to initiate more communication to let the RAH know I want to STOP COMMUNICATING? Therapist asked if I was trying to hurt the RAH as he was hurting me. I said no. It is me trying to stop hurting me. I can't seem to not get emotional when I get responses like I did on Monday - the quacking just sends me into an emotional tailspin. I am getting much better at not engaging further when the conversations take those turns, but I walk away feeling defeated and hopeless. Why put myself through that anymore? Now I know I am a volunteer in the process, and I want to stop volunteering.

So my question today is - how do you handle a situation like this? Do I exit this with grace (i.e. write him a nice email explaining we can't communicate for the time being?) or exit abruptly (i.e. let him figure it out himself when his calls don't ring through and his emails go unanswered?)
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:35 AM
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I can only speak for myself, giving notice to an addict has never worked for me. It only opened Pandoras box.

I just stopped communication, it was the best alternative for me. My ex certainly wasn't the sharpest tool in the box, but, he figured it out.

To me, therapists don't know everything, and most, know very little about dealing with an addict. Addiction adds an entire different spin to a relationship.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:35 AM
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Honestly, I don't get your therapist's point.

When I left my EXAH, there was no such thing as caller ID, so when he did call me, I had no idea whether it was him or not each time.

I too got tired of volunteering and started hanging up on him as soon as I realized it was him.

The calls eventually stopped.

I didn't owe him squat for an explanation.

Just my two cents.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:38 AM
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What I did I did for me but I sent her an email that said I was going no contact, i wasn't doing it to punish her and that it was for my own recovery.

As you can see in my current thread it didn't work but it made me feel better that i did.

Of course your mileage may vary.

Your friend,
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:42 AM
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Yeah, I think the result would be the same either way. If you'll feel better letting him know your plans, then it's probably a good plan.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:54 AM
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In my opinion I guess it would depend on the situation and the person you are going NC with. My ex-husband was such a piece of excrement I had no problem not informing him of my choice to go NC.

If it ever comes to the point where I want to leave the ABF, well, I would tell him, because he's never been abusive to me. He treats me 180% better than my ex-husband ever did despite his alcoholism, so for that I feel I would owe him at least a reason why.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:16 AM
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I agree that it probably won't make a difference in re. A. However, I did give written notice- not to get him to comply, which I knew he wouldn't. And he didn't. I did it to have a written record because I might have to get a protection order. (different situation- never married, no kids, felony level misconduct by X.)
William Eddy's book "Splitting" gives good advice on case management with a high-conflict person. My tendency is to think in terms of proof rather than having any impact on the A.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:27 AM
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I want to be a "good" person. I don't want to "hurt" anybody. But jeez louise - I already can't communicate with this man. I feel today by trying to reason and rationalize my feelings/stance/opinions AGAIN just opens me up to more torture. It IS torture. Being blamed for everything is torture. It infuriates me! And that wrecks my serenity.

This guy has made it clear he DOES NOT want a relationship with me, regardless of the reasons why. So why drag it on with one more conversation? Why not let him off the hook, and myself in the process?

But...I have had this happen to me. It was very painful to be cut off completely with no explanation. However, the situation was very different. I thought I was in a relationship with this person. There was no conflict that led to that cut-off. It just happened. One day, out on a date, the next, no contact. Ever again. Hurt like hell. But...he made his feelings clear, that's for sure. There was no doubt in my mind this guy never wanted to see me again.

I want to do the next right thing. Communicating with the RAH does not feel like the right thing to do. But neither does being mean or hurtful. Guess I need to give this one some more thought...

Thank you!
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:27 AM
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The only thing that comes to my mind is this: If you want him to stop contacting you but don't tell him you no longer want contact, you can't really blame the guy for continuing to try since I don't think we should expect people to read our minds...

I know all too well the nonsense that arises when you try to talk to an A so I like Mike's idea of an email. That way you say it but don't have to deal with a response.

But we are each individuals with our own comfort levels and whatever YOU feel most comfortable with is what is best for you.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:30 AM
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Yeah, emails are good. I've used it before. I get to say what I need to say. The recipient gets to read it without the pressure of having to respond or not. The whole thing slows down to a manageable level.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:14 PM
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When I originally went no contact with XABF, I left him a voicemail on his cell phone. He was still in inpatient rehab at the time, so they still had custody of his phone, so I knew he wouldn't answer when I called. I also called his therapist at the rehab, and left a message that I was going no contact.

At the time I felt certain I was through with the relationship, but I did not feel comfortable sharing that with him yet, so I left a message about how I wanted no contact with him so that I could work on myself, and that it might be a week, a month, or forever - that I would let him know if I was ready to talk to him again. (Of course he didn't respect these wishes, but that is a different story).

I finally communicated the breakup when he cornered me in my office, talking about how everything was all my fault but that he'd give me another chance if I came back now. I told him that I was done with the relationship, and that it was over forever. I would not have felt comfortable communicating this in person except that there were lots of people around (the conversation itself was private, in an area enclosed entirely by glass - nobody to overhear, but safe because everyone could see), and I had already mapped out a couple escape exits during his tirade in case he followed me after I said my few sentences. I let him shout on until I collected my thoughts, then I cut him off and escaped. (I mean escaped, because he did follow me, then hung around my desk for awhile waiting for me to return. I meanwhile had a vantage point on the second floor behind tinted windows watching his car in the parking lot.)


Sorry, I didn't mean to type all that.
But my point is, you don't have to communicate anything to him.
You also don't have to communicate anything to him right away.
You just have to do what you feel is right, when the time also feels right.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:18 PM
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well - I guess it would depend on your exA

in my case - it doesn't matter HOW many times I have asked mine NOT to call or text me, how many explanations of how unhealthy it is for me, blah, blah, blah, blah -

Whenever my exah comes up with a reason to call or text me - he's going to - regardless - He is just that selfish, self-centered and self-seeking

For me, I'd be better off talking to a Pine Tree in my front yard then to send an explanation for no contact.

He never honor my boundaries before - he's not going to honor them now.

Soooooooo Tufgirl - it goes back to some of our slogans -

doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. . . .

and if you want something different you have to be willing to do something different. . . .

If you have asked him to leave you alone before and it's worked ~ then go for it, if you have and he's ignored it - then my thoughts are why bother?

But as others have said - You have to do what is healthy and right for you - Keeping your garden of self CLEAN!

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:31 PM
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I found everyone's answers to this question very interesting. Would anyone's answers have been different if you were going NC with a parent instead of spouse?

Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:44 PM
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I never found it useful to communicate that i was doing it, and explaining one last time why i was doing it.

A "don't call, write, text, or email me anymore, and don't come by my house or the police will be involved for harrassment" worked well for me. Actually, the police had to call him and tell him the last part. That's it, no explanation of what no contact is, no reasons why I was doing it... he refused to hear any of it anyways. No contact is for you, not for them. I didn't feel i owed him any more than I had already gave him.

Your therapist saying that, i think is bs. Like everything I do or say is supposed to make everyone around me as comfortable as possible? If i break up with someone, i'm obligated to sit them down and list the reasons why, because they 'deserve an explanation'? I don't think so. Assuming responsibility for how others react to my decisions and choices is co-dependancy at it's most basic form. Why a therapist would encourage that is beyond me.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by CKN View Post
I found everyone's answers to this question very interesting. Would anyone's answers have been different if you were going NC with a parent instead of spouse?

Thanks!
No, it's no different. I went NC with my mother for about five years straight. She's not an alcoholic, but she ain't right in the head either. I have re-established contact, but those five years gave me time to heal, and the ability to deal with her on a detached level. I'll never have the mother that I want or deserve and as sad as that is, I've come to grips with it and accepted it. It is what it is.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:09 PM
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If you express the no contact (via an email so there is no circular crazy making conversation) for yourself, then I think it is an appropriate thing for you to do. If it is something you need to do, for yourself, then it is a good idea. If it is something you need to do in order to follow through on it, then do it.

If you do it expecting him to honor that or whatever, it is pointless.

I do get wanting to share your intent once, for yourself. It is what I wanted too. I did something like that. I told him (in an email) that I would communicate about the kids but I was no longer talking about anything else. He did not respect that (of course!) nor did I expect him too. I said it once (and did follow through) for my own peace of mind and what I felt was the right thing for me to do.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CKN View Post
I found everyone's answers to this question very interesting. Would anyone's answers have been different if you were going NC with a parent instead of spouse?

Thanks!
My parents live two hours away, so limiting contact with them is easier.
I don't answer emails or phone calls unless I want to, and they have learned the hard way that driving two hours to visit me without my permission is a very bad idea.

I went on a limited no contact with them previously. I did not inform them of my decision, I just stopped answering entirely, until around the second week of December, when I called to make arrangements to visit my two youngest brothers for Christmas presents.
No sense "punishing" them for something my parents did. They have it rough enough, still living there. The main reason I'm keeping any contact at all is because of them.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:02 PM
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There is a difference between no contact and avoidance. Avoidance (from a therapist's perspective) can be seen as passive aggressive.. it is a form of emotional abuse. To leave someone spinning and wondering. Sometimes people do that just to illicit that reaction. Which is equally as unhealthy.

But that is different than protecting yourself from the other person's emotional or physical abuse. Emphasis on abuse and not just discomfort. What your therapist says should support you, I think he was just trying to prevent you from actually perpetuating the drama and pain. By telling him you aren't retaliating or expecting a response, you are giving the ex notice and then you go no contact.

I personally see that as much healthier for the person going NC (again assuming they are not victims of the other person's abuse) then to disappear. I couldn't go NC. I may step back or far far away but if I were to cut someone from my life, I would definately tell them that I will not be responding or communicating. Then they will have to deal with it and I will walk away knowing that I didn't leave the door open until I chose to open that door. It is about regaining control and not just continuing an impasse to me.

Letting the other person know isn't about expecting them to honor it. They may or may not, you have no control over that. But it places you back in the driver's seat.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post

But...I have had this happen to me. It was very painful to be cut off completely with no explanation. However, the situation was very different. I thought I was in a relationship with this person. There was no conflict that led to that cut-off. It just happened. One day, out on a date, the next, no contact. Ever again. Hurt like hell. But...he made his feelings clear, that's for sure. There was no doubt in my mind this guy never wanted to see me again.
That is hard. Happened to me too - just like that. I wouldn't do that to another person no matter how big of an azz they were. Well I would if they were dangerous.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:52 PM
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My answer is colored by the fact that my AXH was emotionally abusive and an emotional manipulator who used every interaction as a way to try to "get me back" into the marriage.

I don't think you have any responsibility toward him whatsoever. None. I know I have to treat my AXH in a very behavioristical manner: What I say to him means jack sh*t; it's what I do that gets through. So every time he sent me an e-mail calling me names and telling me what an evil person I was, I ignored it and didn't respond. I only responded to direct questions ("Is DD taking trumpet lessons?" "No"). After a while, his e-mails dwindled to direct questions. (Well, until he completely lost his mind, but that's another ballgame...)

I don't get the comparison with a parent. With a parent or a child, I would want them to know why I've stopped communicating. With an ex I don't have children with, all I feel he needs to know is that it's over. He's out of my life, I don't care one whit what he thinks about me.
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