Give Yourself a Gift This Holiday Season: A Lesson in No Contact
The holidays are a great occasion to spend time with family, friends and loved ones, but they can also be a time of great loneliness, emotional despair and temptation.
Watching other couples bask in their festive glow, being merry and exchanging gifts, can be pretty heart wrenching, especially when you are all alone and nursing your emotional wounds.
It’s at this time, that what we want most of all, is to have someone that cares about us and someone to spend the holidays with. Everyone wants to be missed and have someone thinking about them.
When we’ve made the decision to go No Contact, we’ve made it for a very good reason. When we realize that our relationship is unhealthy, toxic and dysfunctional, full of drama and causes us a great deal of heartache and pain, No contact is the only viable option we have to regain control of our lives and our sanity. It’s a drastic step, but one that needs to be made when a relationship just doesn’t seem to have an ending. But during the holidays, even the most militant advocates of No Contact, can be vulnerable.
To a Narcissist, the holidays are like the opening of hunting season. These skillful predators, know exactly the right duck calls to put out there, to illicit the response they’re looking for. They are looking for a way back into your life and the holidays give them that perfect excuse to make innocent, friendly contact.
Because let’s face it, Narcissists don’t want to be alone for the holidays either.
I had an experience recently, with a former boomerang Narcissist, that provided the inspiration for this blog. I received an email in early November. It was short and sweet and went something like this:
“Hey Sav, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I hope all is well. I miss you.”
While this may sound innocent enough, sweet even, but like most people that have been involved with Narcissists, I’ve seen this production of his before. The first time I was surprised by his behavior, the second time I was surprised, but by now I know what he wants and how this story turns out.
Don’t mistake this kind of reaching out, as flattery. All too often we think that after a period of time has gone by and someone contacts us, that they’ve been thinking of us, missing us even. But if we take our ego out of the equation, it’s actually pretty insulting when you think about it.
It’s insulting because, if you look at the reasons he’s making contact – he wants to weasel his way back into my life and have a pseudo relationship, all on his terms. He wants the benefits of being ‘my boyfriend,’ without actually being my boyfriend and he actually thinks that I am naïve enough, or foolish enough to fall for his ruse again. And for all I know, he probably sent the same feelers out there, to a bunch of other women.
Just like a duck hunter doesn’t care precisely what duck his calls attract, neither does a Narcissist. So regardless of how sweet and innocent their contact may sound, always remember there is a motive behind it. Narcissists aren’t looking to catch up and be friends. Narcissists don’t care about you, your life, or how much their making contact again will hurt you. All they are thinking about is themselves.
If you are in No Contact, stay in No Contact, irrespective of how sweet and thoughtful their message may appear. A duck hunter isn’t going to make the sound of a wolf, or a fox, when he wants to catch a duck. They are going to put on the best duck façade possible. What they want is to find a chink in your armor, because they know once they’re in, even a little, that they can chip away at your defenses. That’s what they do. So the key is, to not let them in – even a little.
If you respond nicely – they believe you still want them and they’re in.
If you respond meanly – they believe you still want them and they’re in.
But if you don’t respond at all – ever – you send a crystally, clear message that you are done with this game and they need to take you out of their batting rotation – permanently.
No contact is necessary because these clowns don’t comprehend the concept of boundaries, or friendship. If you engage, you will always lose and end up feeling duped and conned all over again.
If they were honest enough to tell you their true motivation, out of the gate, you’d have no interest in engaging with them what-so-ever. If my Narcissist was given some magical truth telling serum and we had an honest to God conversation it would go something like this:
Sav: What do you want?
Narc: You know what I want. I want you to love me and give me all of your affection and attention. I want all of the benefits of being with you, without being with you. I want you to be pining for me and available for me whenever I decide to come around. I want you to have no expectations of me and to accept the few crumbs I throw your way.
Sav: Yeah I’m not interested in that.
Narc: I know, but I don’t really care about what you want. You should know by now that this is all about me and it always will be. I want what I want when I want it, and I want you to be back in the batting rotation, so let me in.
Sav: I don’t think so.
Narc: I know you’ve built up this great barrier to keep me out, but if you let me in just a little, you know I’ll break down your defenses and get what I want.
Sav: I know. That’s why I’m not letting you in.
Narc: You know I’ll just keep trying.
Sav: Knock yourself out. You won’t get anywhere.
Narc: You know I always get what I want.
Sav: Not anymore.
In my blog, Translating Narcissistic Jargon, I state that, when a Narcissist says ‘I miss you,’ what it really means is, I wish I could be with you, but something is preventing it. (Like me) I’m thinking about you (But only at this minute, because I might be thinking about someone else tomorrow) The truth is- it means nothing. It’s one of those phrases that women give way too much importance to. What it means is, you’re on my mind for now and I’m looking for a way in, but I’m not willing or prepared to seriously do anything about it and it’s just ambiguous enough to free me from any responsibility or expectations you may have.
So knowing that, I didn’t respond to his email and I promptly deleted the message and went about my business, but low and behold, just a few days ago, another message pops into my inbox from Captain Boomerang. All I kept thinking was, ‘don’t you know I’m not interested. Don’t you know I write blogs warning people about guys like you?’
We’ve been in no contact for a long, long time. What I had forgotten was the entitlement mentality of a Narcissist. He is probably sitting there dumfounded and unable to figure out, why I won’t speak to someone, as special, as he is. Did I mention that his email came with a picture of his chiseled body and flexed biceps? It really did.
You see, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, or even the manner in which you parted, they will come back whenever they feel like it, waving the banner of friendship.
So when the second email came in, I didn’t open it. I stared it down, the way a recovering alcoholic stares down a drink. I was curious, for sure. A part of me wanted to know what he had to say and I could have come up with a thousand rationalizations to open it, but in the end, I realized I had absolutely nothing to gain, by anything he had to say, and it went immediately to trash.
There are always going to be excuses we can give ourselves to accept, or even initiate contact. But at some point you have to draw the line in the sand and say, ‘No more. You’ve shown me again and again, who you really are and I won’t be fooled again.’
“When you know better, you do better.” Oprah Winfrey
You can care about someone and at the same time know that they don’t belong in your life. I had a reader most eloquently state, “I don’t hate myself when I’m not with him.” That’s what not breaking No Contact is all about.
Breaking No Contact is like putting in a lot of time and effort into eating right and exercising and then telling yourself you’re just going to splurge this one time. And then one day turns into two, then three, then four and suddenly you realize, that all your hard work was for naught, and you’re right back to where you started from, feeling worse because you allowed yourself to be conned again.
I felt a sense of empowerment, as I clicked on the delete button to his email. As I watched it vanish off of my screen forever, I thought of the character Samantha, from Sex in the City, as she said goodbye to her lover Smith, she said, “I love you baby, but I love me more.”
So give yourself the gift of No Contact this year. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
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