In many narcissistic relationships, the only solution to end long term abuse involves going “no contact.” This means cutting off all communication for a period of time to allow healing on the victim’s part. Here is how you successfully go no contact with a narcissistic abuser.
Successfully going no contact with a narcissist hinges on getting your motivations correct and having a workable plan. A narcissist will go to extraordinary lengths to get you back. And, without a proper foundation, they will succeed.
Ready to deal with the narcissist in your life once and for all? Here’s what you need to do to make no-contact happen.
Make Sure You Are Going No Contact for the Right Reasons
Never use no contact as a means of retribution or retaliation against a narcissist. Going into a period of no contact for any other reason than needing space for your own healing is a sure way to fail.
When we act out of anger, we empower the narcissist and amplify their hold over us. Every day that we don’t speak to them, we will be thinking, “I’m really showing him/her!” We’ll wonder what they are doing and if they miss us or not. Eventually, these thoughts will wear us down, and we will break the no contact.
The focus of a successful no contact period has to be you. Every day you must think, “This is really helping me, even if it hurts sometimes.”
Love is the key to making no contact with a narcissist work. Narcissists are themselves victims who have been hurt psychologically, causing them to hurt others in turn. Even though we love them, allowing a narcissist to hurt and manipulate us only worsens their situation. By cutting them off, we are working to end the cycle of abuse.
You must be certain in your heart that you are taking the step to make no-contact out of a true desired to make things better for everyone. The most loving thing you can do right now is to focus on yourself. Because only by amplifying the good can we overwhelm evil.
Develop a Plan to Escape Your Narcissist
Make sure you know exactly how you will make it through no contact before your narcissist finds out. Tipping off a narcissist too soon, or moving before you are ready, makes it very likely that the narcissist will be able to manipulate you, “hoovering” you back into their life.
Answer the following questions —
- What situations are you likely to see the narcissist or meet by accident?
- When can I not avoid seeing the narcissist?
- Who knows both of us? Which of them are likely to take the narcissist’s side?
- What times am I most vulnerable to the narcissist’s influence?
- How would I communicate with the narcissist if necessary without breaking no contact?
- Exactly how long will I be no contact
Ideally, the period of no contact would mean no communication at all with the narcissist. This means no call, no texts, no messages passed through others, no social media, etc. Think through the whole period that you plan on going no contact, or forever if that’s the plan, and identify times that the isolation might fail.
If there are times that you must communicate with a narcissist — legal procedures or child care, for instance — have a clear procedure in place. Ideally, all communication between you and the narcissist would go through an intermediary such as a lawyer or a close friend or relative you trust. Arrange things as much as possible so that you do not need to talk to the narcissist, and they have no way to talk to you.
Be Ready for the Tactics They Will Use to Get You Back
Be ready for the narcissist to go into overdrive to get you back. Some things we see from narcissists when their victim goes no contact include —
- Contacting everyone you know, saying you went missing
- Making false accusations against you — legal or moral
- Calling or texting you incessantly
- Passing message through friends saying how sorry they are
- Framing themselves as the victim of your abuse
- Over the top love bombing
- Doubling down on any form of manipulation that worked in the past
The extremes of such an onslaught are exactly why no contact is a necessary tactic. No victim of a narcissist can be expected to stand strong if they have to experience all this directly.
To prepare for the narcissist’s reaction, be sure you —
- Cut all lines of direct communication between you and the narcissist
- Make sure the narcissist doesn’t know where you are
- Notify close friends and family to expect what’s coming
- Stay away from areas you are likely to see the narcissist
- Cut off contact with people who might side with the narcissist or who could be used by them unknowingly to influence you
Before you take this step, I recommend that you run your situation by a a knowledgeable person or coach that can help you avoid mistakes.
Finding Closure After Going No Contact with a Narcissist
The hardest part about going no contact is never having closure with the narcissist. As victims of narcissists, we have been trained to rely on them emotionally and crave to hear their opinion. So, it is double difficult to go cold turkey while leaving the relationship.
Finding closure is an inherently internal task that reflects more about our psychological development than anything to do with our abuser.
I am a big proponent of using introspection and journaling techniques to overcome narcissistic abuse and find our own closure. See Resources. But, there are other options.
Never go back to a narcissist expecting closure. No matter what they say, returning to contact with a narcissist won’t result in you feeling better. They will use any communication as an opportunity to resume manipulation and abuse.
Does no contact work on a narcissist?
Going no contact is an effective last solution when dealing with a narcissist. A well planned and executed move will work without fail. However, many victims make simple mistakes that lead them back into their abusive narcissist’s arms.
What do narcissists do when you go no contact?
When you go no contact, a narcissist will resort to their old tricks to get you back. They will do everything they can to get back in contact or pass a message to you. Eventually, they will give up and try to defend themselves, usually by defaming your character.
Does the narcissist forget you?
Narcissists don’t forget you, but they don’t care about you once you leave. Narcissists see their victims primarily as a way to get what they want and feel good. When you leave them, your value to them and their interest in you fades. However, if they see an opportunity to get you back, they might try to show everyone that they are better than you.