The Law of Addiction: Any re-engagement with an addictive substance, by a recovering addict, will cause an automatic re-addiction.
Implementing the No Contact rule, on a toxic relationship, gives us a measure of control, over a relationship that seems, very much, out of our control.
High risk relationships, like the peak and valley type, where one is repeatedly crashing and soaring, (breaking up and getting back together) affect the same parts of the brain as a drug addiction. Studies by Fisher, Brown, Aron, Strong, and Mashek 2010, conclude that the similarities between addictive substances and love-sex based attachments rely upon the same psychological, chemical and neuroanatomical substrates.
The same sensations such as cravings, obsessive thinking, compulsion, mood swings, distortion of reality, emotional dependence, personality changes, risk taking behaviors and a loss of self-control are all common to those going through a withdrawal of an addictive substance and in this case, a relationship.
The goal for recovering addicts is a cessation of usage of the addictive substance, similarly when one is trying to break free from an emotional manipulator, you need to approach it the same way.
No contact is akin to cold turkey and you have to be prepared for the same types of withdrawal symptoms. You’re going to have obsessive thoughts, cravings, desires to break no contact, and several other psychological and physiological symptoms. There undoubtably will be moments when you’re going to feel like giving in is easier than existing in your present state.
They say that the most important time to work out is when you don’t feel like working out and the same thing goes with no contact – It’s during the times when you want to reach and re-establish contact that you must be the most vigilant.
Tips to Help Keep You in No Contact
- Be constantly mindful that your critical parent voice is at it’s strongest during no contact. It feels you are trying to make a change and it goes into high alert. It will do it’s damnedest to sabotage you, by finding reasons and justifications for you to do things you know you shouldn’t. Acknowledge the voice, be mindful of it, but do not give into it – tell it to “f-off.” Tell it you’re in charge now and you’re no longer listening.
- If you’re prone to reach out when you’re drinking – don’t drink during this, the most vulnerable time, in your healing. Stay away from things that trigger you or make you feel weak.
- Have a friend on stand-by that you can call whenever you feel tempted.
- Distract yourself – go work out, hang out with friends, go shopping, visit family, clean your house, cook an amazing meal, garden, start a hobby, visit dogs at a local shelter, take a book to a coffee shop and be around people, go bike riding, walk along the beach – anything to divert your attention away from the craving.
- Understand that the feeling is temporary. It will pass, so ride it out.
- Keep your list of relationship crimes handy – put it in your phone so you have it with you at all times and read it whenever the craving hits. Allow it to change your mental state – get mad, be pissed off that you were treated this way.
- Come back to reality and start seeing him/her for who they really are, not the fantasy you keep dreaming about.
- It feels worse before it feels better. Stay the course.
- Think about how much better your life will be when you get past this. Plan your future. Focus on the next chapter, your goals and how you want your life to be.
- Be determined and disciplined to beat this tell yourself you’ll do whatever it takes.
Breaking No Contact
If you do give in and break No Contact, brush yourself off and get back to it. Do not go on a Narcissistic binge. The longer you stay engaged with it, the longer you delay your healing. So, put down your phone and get back on the wagon. You can think of it as a cheat day, but it’s the only one you’re going to allow yourself. Remember it’s a lot easier to maintain no contact than it is to start all over again. And if you’re thinking you’re strong enough to make contact without it having an impact on you, that you won’t get sucked back in – think again and reread the Law of Addiction again.
Once you are free of your love addiction you will notice an entirely different world. The anxiety you walked around with daily, will dissipate. You’ll feel lighter, breathe easier and walk taller. You’ll feel the toxins leaving your body, giving you a stronger healthier immune system. When the drama has left your life, you no longer have to walk on egg shells, you will feel a great sense of control over yourself and your emotions. When the negativity has gone you’ll feel optimistic and excited about your life. You’ll be focused on you and your happiness and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and just how skilled and talented you really are. But most importantly, at the end of this love addiction, you’ll find peace, stability, harmony, happiness, freedom, joy, autonomy and you’ll find yourself.
The journey is worth it. It’s not an easy road, but it’s a necessary one. So, pick up your sword, dust yourself off and battle through it.
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Thank you. The failure of the relationship was really mostly all of my doing. But we were together for 10 years and I still love her very much. The past six months have been absolutely horrible and I have had all of the with drawl symptoms including stocking texting hundreds of times a day calling begging pleading. She is in love with another man and wants nothing to do with me. I finally made it a week with no contact I’m very proud of myself. I feel calm I feel like this though I have more dignity although I still hurt a great deal. No contact is really the only way I will be able to heal my heart thank you
I am just starting to get to the no contact point in my disastrous narc relationship of 3 years. I have had a difficult time doing it myself, so now that he finally seems to have disappeared on me I am taking the opportunity to get away. I am one of the unlucky ones who has been not only been destroyed by my narc man, but by his narc “ex” wife and two grown narc junkie daughters. I had no idea what I was dealing with and made the mistake of trying to befriend the family. They took my kindness and trust and twisted into something so ugly and hurtful. I knew deep down they would “win” and take away the man I never really had, and should have left so long ago. I was always a threat, they knew I finally had them pegged and they pulled out all the stops to make him finally hate me to the point of ending it for good. They slandered me in the most despicable fashion and he chose to believe that I was capable of being unloving and disloyal…as if! I have made a mockery of myself being loyal. I gave him my soul in exchange for the breadcrumbs. I would’ve died for him and almost did. It’s such a perfect ending, really. I couldn’t think of anything worse until I read all of the other comments on this site and realize now how lucky I am compared to so many. This site does give me strength and hope. I’ve started reading every day and it’s amazing how much drive it gives me to move forward and not backwards. I am still weak, I admit I keep waiting for that phone call from him saying he believes that I didn’t say and do the awful things I was accused of. I yearn for that and at the same time prey that call doesn’t come. I realize I need to block him from my phone, haven’t quite made it there yet. I will keep reading and working on myself and I believe I can get to that place. Thank you Savannah and everybody who has shared their stories here.
Hi Jenny, It seems like you described me and my relationship with a Somatic Narc that end up on November 07 (my discovery of prostitutes and many other women on his phone that he never stop talking to them). My world is upside down, I’ve never been this way, I’m sick severely depressed and his daughters when I reached for explain the reason why I was leaving him they twisted the situation and made it seems that I was the wrong one to “involve them on this”. They are both 30 something years old, they are dependent on him, he is wealthy and has his properties and life together, paint a picture of a good man, helping with money everyone in a ways I never see… he made me believe in a dream that never existed and I gave in with all my trust, loyalty and love until I face him, made him tell me the truth and it’s like I had another man… Cold, and totally avoidant. Narcissists are vampires… They are empty, they suck the best of their victims, and trust me they know how to pick them, they know who are the ones that can serve them very well… It’s traumatizing, totally disgusting and very hard when the Narc is attractive and charming, when they have money and have everyone in his hands. I hope they rot in hell.
Hi there and thank you for this post. I have just left a relationship that started getting abusive and am in the second week of no contact. The relationship followed the usual pattern of falling madly in love, ignoring my gut feelins, which kicked in from the start, and trying to manage his deteriorating behaviour before the penny dropped and I got the hell out.
What struck me in your post is when you mentioned lowered immune systems. This past year has seen me going to the doctor with a series of random infections all over my body. I have had about 6 prescriptions for antibiotics in that time, and I usually have the Constitution of a horse.
That’s another thing to add to my list of reasons to stay the hell away from him.
All my love and solidarity to fellow survivors and thrivers.
I’ve personally been a victim of narcissistic abuse. When I was growing up & being raised by a Narcissistic adoptive mother & an adoptive father who was never home. Already hard enough as it is to be adopted at the age of 7 but then to add to that difficulty being raised by a NPD “mother” & being the scapegoat for the entire family has quite the traumatic impact I’m sure you can imagine. She never missed a day in reminding me how much she resented me for simply just existing & that I was dispensable along with creating a feeling of being dispensable at any moment by saying things like, “We’ll send you back to that orphanage” when I was younger & was worried that could really happen. Then I learned about what NPD is & that such a dangerous personality disorder exists when I got into a relationship with a Narc that was extremely high on the spectrum. He threatned to kill me with his gun after slamming me into my bedroom wall with my mattress a few good times (just so he could say he didn’t put his “hands” on me). Gave me a concussion after tackling me in my front yard & then tripped me in the middle of the street & sat on me screaming & spitting in my face. Luckly, I’ve sense gone No contact, & its been about a year if not longer since I’ve spoken to him or seen him or anything. He tried emailing me a few times & I ignored them all but he made it easy by showing his true colors with each email i would ignore he would get more irate & e-mail me hateful & hurtful things trying to get me to react & respond & then the next email the next day would be saying he’s “always here for me whenever i need a friend & that he hopes im not ignoring his emails & that he’ll just wait patiently if i am for me when im ready to or need his friendship”. Hah! Havent heard from him since though. Now, I am dating a guy who’s dealing with a narcissistic ex-gf who has brought the nightmare things you only read about narcs doing to their victims after their victims leave them, to reality. I know all Narcs are dangerous & manipulative but I swear this girl is sick. She’s not only wreaked havoc on his entire life but she really did a number on him mentally & emotionally after executing her last & most horrific punishment & discarding of him because we started dating after she cheated on him for the last time & he broke up with her. She was PISSED to say the least, to see him at all happy.
It has been 3 years since I was discarded by the psychopath. He had been my first boyfriend at 14 and then he reconnected with me 5 years ago. After the discard, I have never experienced such emotional pain as I was going through. Three weeks ago I found out he had just died. At the same time I found out he had considered me his “trophy of innocence and naivete’. So I find myself right back where I was 3 years ago emotionally. I feel used, devastated, and yet I am heartbroken and grieving. I wonder if I will ever be happy again.
I am so sorry you are going through this, no closure is hard enough and then him loosing his life is an incredible Rollercoaster of painfull emotions. It will get better, but it takes time and the damage he did takes time to heal. Be around positive supportive people,
Don’t give up it is a hard road!
Lynn I hope mine narc would dye so I don ,t see him around anymore
The book that I found 8 years ago helped me realize that narcissistic people are found every where in all economic places is NOT TO PEOPLE LIKE US.
I recommend it to everyone. My ticket out started with a plan when I found out I was having a daughter. I could not raise her this way. Along the way as I started working my plan with three children and $20.00 to my name, nature struck. I became a young widow.
Now I keep my guard up, because those narcs LOVE mommies and their children.
Keep your chins up and have a great week y’all !
.And thank you, thank you, Savannah. Many blessings to you for helping people like us who write on here for your writing on here.xxx
Well done Beverley, When I first started reading your comment I had to double check that it wasnt me who had written it. I too was held down on the bed with his knee on my chest and I stupidly tried to bite his knee which he pulled back and kneed my bottom lip throught my teeth. I am also 65. Met him at 15 and married at 19. I can look in the mirror and the scar is still there on my disfugured lip done by him. Anyway a small miracle has happened and I dont want to waste my breath on him. One last thing. my father told me not to go back to him as in his words he would kill me next time. I took that advice.xx And thank you for your story.xx God bless you.x
This was so needed. Thank you, Savannah. It is an addiction, this love roller-coaster with a narcissist. I and now four years away from my five year relationship with a N and I had to spend the first two years afterward learning about narcissism and grieving the city, degree, home and job I lost to move into the middle of nowhere with this man who was — I will admit — everything I ever wanted in a man. What I didn’t know and what you helped me see once I found your site, Savannah, is that I am wired up for Ns. My codependency is the other half of the equation and I would say that facing that and going into therapy to face all the carnage and loss of being a codependent is almost as hard as going NC. About two years ago now, my mother almost died and I flew back from bum #@*** nowhere to help her live or pass, whichever God had in store. About a month before as I was stressed out and getting ready for this impossible trip, I turned to a man who had been pursuing me ardently all the time I was NC with my former live-with fiance (I’d moved out and had been on my own about three years at this pint, every inch of self-esteem and financial solvency hard-won). In a moment of weakness, I succumbed to his arms and charms only to find I’d done it again. Narcissists are everywhere and for me, codependent child of a narcissist father, I am NARC BAIT. I should have it tattooed on my forehead so I remember. There is a great quote that “a mind once stretched never returns to its original dimensions” and I KNEW what I was doing so it was a pretty miserable six months. I probably saw him about 6-8 times in those six months because I kept staying away and then, one of your articles hit home: I was addicted! So I blocked his texts and a year later, he got hold of me through FaceBook. Within a week I was back at him house. About two months passed during which my self-esteem (that I’d worked so hard for) began to plummet and my health regimes went out the window. I began smoking again. I gained weight. And the self-hatred was toxic. Fortunately I was only with him twice in those two months but the hell between my ears made every one of those days a nightmare. So, I can attest to your words, Savannah. Once you use again the addiction is there. Waiting.
Spot on with everything here. I had no idea these people existed, till it happened to me. Now removed from him for almost 2 years, all of the things you feel – eggshells, anxiety, sleepless nights, weight loss, the constant texting, the drive bys, the anger I was out with other friends – the anger I HAD other friends, the pity parties that everyone was “against” them, the “stupid” ex-wife, the “cunt” of a mother, the “I’ll burn your house down”, the “I’ll kill your dogs”, the “I’ll fuck all your girlfriends, to teach you a lesson”, the “I’ll drag your name thru the mud so none of our mutual friends will want anything to do with you” – all of the red flags for these types of individuals, and then the, “I can’t live without you, I love you, you’re my world…(enter ANY bullshit to get someone back here..)”. You try to go no contact numerous times but they weasel their way back in because you are conditioned to see the good in people, so you overlook things slowly as they start to degrade you and your self worth because you “LOVE” them and you start to rationalize their actions by their childhood, their parents…and this is where you slip further and further down the dark abyss of the narcissistic rabbit hole. Then, there’s that breaking point some of us have where there is NO going back. You block their number, you delete their family/mutual friends, your circle becomes smaller and better. You start to realize that it’s not you, it was never you…it was ALWAYS them and their shitty life of perpetual lies they fed you, and to anyone else that listened. Sure every once in a while, you get nostalgic by some song or some movie quote or something that was shared between the two of you…and you think back to everything that was ever said and done to you….and THAT stops you cold in your tracks of nostalgia. You remember the emotional abuse, you remember the threats, you remember how he spoke of anyone that ever “crossed him” and you breath that sigh of relief that you’re finally out of that rolodex of women on his phone. You realize you survived… and only those of use that know what it’s like to dance with the devil and survive…can truly smile at the end of it all.
Jessy…I have read hundreds of replies and yours was the one that sounded just like me talking. I am just starting to realize that I have to go no contact and I cannot wait to get to where you are. I love “You realize you survived..and only those of us that know what it’s like to dance with the devil and survive…can truly smile at the end of it all.” Thank you so much for everything you said here!
Thank you, Savanah!
I was married to a Narcissist Abuser for 15 years. He was “OK” for the first two years. The last 13 he would emotionally and finally physically abuse me. He hit, kicked, pushed down, suffocated, kneed me in the chest while holding me down on my bed, so I couldn’t breathe, threw my dishes all over my house and kitchen, ignored me, threatened me, and squished my body up against the door with my arms held upright so I couldn’t breathe, while I felt my heart not have the room to beat. He also put my hand in the doorjamb and closed the door on my finger so it cut the finger tip off on my left hand, to injure me, and bleed all over. There were 45 felony abuses over the 13 years. I called the Police, 3 different times, had them come to my home, and he was arrested, and put in jail for 3 days. He would agree to go to Domestic Violence Counseling, then refuse to. The best thing I did was go to my local county Abused Women’s Center, for counseling and help with the Divorce. I made 3 Police Reports, where the Police took pictures and took my statement to file for divorce and a restraining order. He never lived up to the RO, and would take my door off to enter my home, just as I was returning from Court. with a sick, evil smile on his face. He builds homes, so knows and works construction M-Sat. He would never say he was sorry but blamed me. I went to an Abused Women’s Center for counseling. I realized he was damaged from his childhood, beaten up by his 4 years older brother, and has a perfectionist mom, and disconnected dad, his entire childhood. He left at 17 after getting high school girlfriend pregnant intentionally. He used to call her “crazy”, and she died at 51 of cancer, after she finally divorced him. I believe the stress gave her cancer.
I am 5’4″ and weigh 130, so not any strength against him, 6’1″ 175 of pure muscle. I also have been injured in a slip and fall on blacktop in the pouring rain, 12/10, and it fractured my sacrum and I have herniated discs….so I could never try to defend myself. He moved into my home and then took over, literally. I worked in Chiropractic Offices for 10 years, then started my own Billing Service, which was very successful for 15 years, until he started abusing me. I couldn’t even do math, after he would injure me, much less sit at a desk, or talk to DCs on the phone. If I would get the locks changed, he would climb up the beams of the trellis outside. I had him stay at his mom’s house for a couple of years. I told his family, which they did not believe. He has Huntington’s Disease, so I thought it might me a “hostile outburst”….and that’s the only reason I stayed with him so long. I finally went to the UCSD HD Center and asked the 3 psychiatrists if these were HD symptoms, and they bravely told me “No, it is abuse!” I filed for divorce, and a RO, which his attorney wouldn’t allow. I got a GREAT attorney who did a great job for me. I went through my entire home (over a 8 month period), sold things (that were all mine), and finally put it on the market, sold it in 75 minutes and left, on 2/26/17. My family moved me (a 3rd time), and I finally moved out of state, All he gets is a PO Box in AZ. I have not contacted him since the day I left him, and don’t want to. The abuse fog has been lifting and I remember horrible things he did to me…I would never give him another chance, EVER! When I realize how many times he could have killed me, I am in shock! I don’t even care any more. I am dealing with my own accountability about marrying someone who was so charming, and a Christian, and built homes, and had lifelong guy friends, within 5 months. Way too short, to try to get to know him. A red flag was how he kept bashing his ex-wife, calling her “crazy” and saying it was all her fault they divorced, after 30 years. Whenever he talked about her, he was always played the victim. He NEVER sat down and talked with me to repair our relationship….I was always the peacemaker. I should have talked to his ex-wife before she died and talked to her friends. I lost my business and have taken a huge financial loss, but am thankful to be far away from him and his family. The two grown daughters and two grown sons never even asked me my side of the story. He said I did to him what he did to me, which is insanity, in and of itself. Narcissists are pathological liars, treat you the way they were treated in their childhood, accuse you of exactly what they did to you, don’t honor boundaries and will cheat you in every way, and not ever live up to your rules or boundaries. It has been 16 months since I left and not contacted him. He’s truly the Loser. I believe there are recording of every thing he did to me, and the God and Jesus will judge him. “Vengence is mine saith the Lord” gives me peace. I am 65, and didn’t think one ignorant, clueless decision (marrying him) would ruin my life, so deeply, but I did not date him long enough. I knew nothing about Narcissism and am thankful to have empowered myself through reading and counseling.”Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, (why do they do that), by Lundy was helpful to read. Also it took me two days to read, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans. It’s never your fault when someone abuses you. Just disagree with a Narc when you are dating or change the plans nicely and see how they react. My ex NEVER apologized. Being charming and oh so helpful is a warning sign! Then they aren’t that way with you at home. Don’t ever let someone mistreat you, have boundaries and if you are being abused, take pictures, make the Police Reports, involve your family, hire an attorney, and get OUT! I left him 2 previous times, and gave him way too many chances due to him having Huntington’s Disease. It was abuse, not HD.
I am so thankful for this website and all your Chapters on Abuse, and recovering.
Pray and God will answer your prayers to leave, and be safe. Innumerable prayers were answered, and I stuck to my boundaries and left a 3rd time, for good.
It breaks my heart to hear what you have gone through. He is an insult to us men and Christians in general. I pray that God will restore the years that this locus has eaten.
So well said! Everything I went through and more, couldn’t have put it better myself.
Once again, I stumble across an estemeology email at just the right time. Thank you Savannah for always writing the kick in the ass I need that reminds me of what I have to do to keep moving forward….. I’m getting dressed for my walk/run/clearing my head and healing my ❤️ activity.
Thanks. This came in a really good time. My mom called yesterday and proceeded to gaslight me over and over. It was actually funny to observe her highly-disturbed persona acting out. I resumed no contact of course. Living in the world of a narcissist is unreal. Their entire life is based on a lie (the false self) so, no wonder they’re so damaged.
Keep repeating this again and again Savanah! It’s so important that you give us support to keep us on the right track, so that we avoid returning to someone who kept us captivated in the roller-coaster of love and hurt, love and more hurt. In the end the pain is is almost unbearable.
The addiction makes that we go back, because we want to believe their sweet promises when they try hovering us back in the relationship.
The people who mistreated us badly will not really change.
Their love bombing created a false image in our mind.
They are fake, their love was fake.
Thank you Savanah!
I really needed this. Just left 2 days ago after countless incidents. I always would be devastated and would really think any contact, even rude and over the top disgusting texts meant he was having the same hard time I was having, just saying things out of anger. He would always betray my secrets to my family by texts if I leave or he locked me out of” his house”. We are married for over 9 years. But he always would remind me it was his house and lock me out and threaten me.Then, i get the” how could you hurt me this way? I just wnt to make you happy..gaslighting me and my whole family and friends. I lost so many friends when I’d forgive and forget. Well, I found this site and the inner strength from an older woman I kniw that really brought me back to reality. This man would cry at the drop of a hat and swear he was so devastated and I would go back feeling so bad and find other girls belongings in my home, beer bottles, etc. His excuses were outrageous but ignorance was bliss after feelimg traumatized out of nowhere. The balance of power in his home is NOT a real marriage. I can’t think of one thing he didn’t tell me I did wrong, from driving to parking , not cleaning good, my fault the dry cleaners messed his shirt up since I picked it up ang dropped it off, holidays sucked as he looks at everything as a hassle, I slept in too long, didn’t sleep enough, would throw me out if he didn’t have the right groceries, I’ve gone too 5 grocery stores for him for things and would still get berated for things being out of stock. I finally had it when ib realized this man could care less if I got cancer or needed any emotional support and I’m going to be thrown out one day penniless and I got the” disappear threat” on my anniversary. I def lost myself. I gave up all my frirnds, animals, dreams because he was all I wanted. It felt like a challenge for me to get us back to the happy first year. I NEVER thought it was impossible but I did start reading this site and I see I’m on the roller coaster from hell. Time seems to be flying by and all I do is what he wants and what’s best for his family. Hes great at gaslighting me when I leave. Swears he is devastated crying in bed for days when really I found he was out drinking with strippers while I’m being accused of cheating. I started noticing everytime I go back, my pics are gone, the house is cleaned all of a sudden. One time he took 3 hrs to pick me up so he could end his little party he would throw as my punishment. I was such a good stepmom, raised his son for almost his whole life and he purposely ruined that bond and left me penniless. I’m not too old to start over but I am too old to have kids now and it is very hard to accept. I do find myself thinking maybe I should have done more but then I read all the nasty texts and listen to the voicemails and remerber this man is really sick. He is not someone that cares about my wants and needs and I felt like an isolated inmate. I’m sure I’m up for a tornado of a divorce but I’m still staying strong. I’m over the lies. I only respond brief short texts since we are married and I do need to still get the rest of my belongings and go through the process but I don’t care if I live under a highway ( thankfully I have family and they begged me for years to leave) before I hear about one more thing I’m so retarted to do or understand. I know it’s going to suck and the repercussions are going to heat up but ill never forget what this older woman told me and the advice on this site. She is almost 70 and said she hasn’t been happy since she was in her 20s and has no choice since she has a sick daughter and her whole life was doomed. She regrets not leaving every single day. I know I don’t deserve to get nothing in this divorce, he insisted my jobs were a waste of time since he made great money while I essentially was a babysitter , asst, house maid, chef… every thing was about him and him succeeding. Little did I kniw he could care less about my future. He swears my life is going to suck and I admit, it sucks feelimg displaced and thrown out but I am with my family..I knoiw after reading this for months that I have to stay strong no matter how happy we were 12 yrs ago, so much damage has occurred that I have 2 choices. Stay and have to deal with it at a later date or save my sanity and have a little faith in myself( like I used to) and ignore him as much as possible until I’m all the way divorced. Thanks for this forum. I need it and went to 5 or 6 therapists and no-one pointed this cycle out to me. I’m forever grateful and encourage all of us to trust your gut. I would have left in 2012 and saved myself and family ang friends so much grief. It shouldn’t be a battle to make your spouse happy. They shouldn’t belittle you, ignore you, threaten to slash your face or destroy you. It’s not ” things I say or of anger”, it’s b.s.