Willpower, determination, stick-to-itiveness, resolve, whatever you want to call it – discipline is the difference between success and giving in. For me, discipline is self–accountability. It’s an internal standards meter that propels you forward, when your body, mind, or emotions are all signaling, it’s time to give up.
By far, the question I get asked the most is, ‘How do I let go? How do I walk away? I know this is killing me, but I can’t stop.’ My answer is always the same.
There has to be a breaking point – that point where you say, ‘I deserve more than this.’ It’s a cup of pride and 8 cups of discipline. If you’re not used to delaying immediate gratification then this may be very difficult for you, but it is something you can learn.
We’ve all been in relationships and given in dozens of times – it feels good for a short while, but then it feels much, much worse and then we start thinking about ending it again. Making the final break usually comes once you’ve been on that break-up-give-in cycle a few times. That cycle teaches you that absolutely nothing is going to change, and you’ll continue to sing the same song, and feeling those same feelings, as long as you continue to give in.
You can make yourself nuts if you allow yourself to dwell on what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with and you give into the hurt and you just wallow in your misery. You can spend all your time pining and waiting for their next contact, that’s certainly your choice. It’s not a healthy choice, but it is your decision and no one is going to stop you. The one thing you have to understand is that no one can, or will, pull you off of this cycle, or dig you out of the misery hole – only you can do that.
The most difficult part about ending an unhealthy relationship isn’t making the decision to end it. The hard part is sticking to that decision, when everything inside you wants the opposite. I can remember when I would break up with my boomerang narcissist after catching him out with another girl. The pattern was always the same – I’d freak out, tell him off, and I would be determined to end it. It would last for a while, but then days would go by, and I wouldn’t hear from him, then a week, then another week and my resolve would start to crumble. I’d start to think about how much fun he was having with this other girl, that he was sleeping with her, that she was better than me, that he’d moved on so quickly and forgotten all about me, that I meant nothing to him….and on and on it would go until I would finally get that text, “We need to talk.”
Suddenly, I would get so overcome with relief that I didn’t care what he had done, or even why he’d done it. All I cared about was that he was back. The truth is, he was spending all that time away from me – with her and the only reason he was back, was because she figured out his game long before I did, and she kicked him to the curb. I would never admit that to myself though. I would always tell myself that he was really missing me and realized that I was the one he couldn’t live without, only to find out some time later that he was doing the same thing again with the same girl, or a different one.
Holding Your Resolve
When you decide that you want to stick to your decision and finally put an end to it, there are a few things you can do to enhance your chances for success.
Keep your mind occupied on things you want to focus on: Post break-up is a great time to go out with your friends, stay busy, take a class, start going to yoga, catch up on your reading. When you notice your mind going somewhere you don’t want it to – stop it immediately before it takes you all the way to misery town. The one thing we can control for sure is our thoughts – so when yours start to go there, rein them in and keep distracting yourself for as long as you need to.
Identify your triggers: If your eyes start to tear up when that song plays on the radio, you know the one, the one that was playing when he first kissed you, comes on – shut it off. If going to your favourite pub means your thoughts are prone to drift to that time that you two were in the corner over there, and he told you he loved you – then stop going until you’re over it. If walking in the park makes you think of that time he was being so sweet – again, don’t go. Figure out what activities and things try to drag you back there and keep you invested and ditch them at least for a while.
Have a plan ahead of time to deal with weak moments: We are all human and there is going to come a time when we do feel vulnerable. The ups and downs are going to happen, we just have to be prepared. The key is to write down all the possible scenarios and how we would like to react to them. If John texts me I will _______. If John shows up at my door I will _________. If I start to think about the good times I will ____________.
In 1992 a group of Scottish researchers worked with 5 dozen elderly patients trying to rehab after hip or knee surgery. It was important that these patients start moving immediately after surgery, if they didn’t they ran the risk of forming scar tissue which would greatly decrease the mobility of those joints and there would be a higher risk of blood clots forming, but moving was pure agony. They were all given pamphlets on rehabbing the injury. One group was given questions like – when the pain becomes intense I will _______and a blank part where they could fill in their responses and the other group was given the pamphlet without any questions. The research showed that those that had planned for their stumbling blocks and had already developed a coping strategy had a complete recovery and had healed 3 times faster than those who didn’t have a plan.
So this tells us, that if we expect to run into problems and we already know how were going to deal with them, then the better our chances of success.
Role Playing: Once we have a plan written out then we should act it out. Pretend that your doorbell has just rung; open the door and pretend he is there, saying, “John I really don’t want to discuss this anymore. There is nothing that you have to say that I want to hear. I’m asking you to respect my wishes and leave me alone. It’s time we both moved on. If you continue to contact me I will get the police involved. Good-bye.” And shut the door. Practice it a few times until you’ve got in down pat. Then do the same thing if he shows up at your place of employment. How would you react? What would you say? The purpose of this exercise is to make your responses automatic, so there’s no second guessing, no hesitation, no fear and no moments of weakness.
Give Yourself a Reward: Once you’ve set your goal of letting go and going no contact, set up a reward system for yourself. After you’ve gone one week of no contact, buy yourself a new pair of shoes, once two weeks have gone by with no contact, treat yourself to an outing with friends at a nice restaurant. After a month of no contact, treat yourself to a day at the spa…. Once you’re completely over it, then plan something bigger, like maybe a vacation. Setting goals and rewarding yourself for achieving them helps to keep you focused on the task and gives you incentive to stay the course.
The key to walking away from an abusive relationship is exactly the same as ending any other type of addiction. You make the decision to end it and then you follow through with discipline. You can greatly enhance your chances of success by identifying your triggers and creating action plans based on how you plan to react to these triggers when they appear. Developing self-discipline is really like lifting weights, the more you practice it, the stronger your self-discipline muscle gets and that’s not all, according to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, the stronger your self-discipline muscle gets, the more you will use it in all aspects of your life and pretty soon, you will find yourself meeting and exceeding all of the goals you set in life.
Subscribe to our mailing list and receive our weekly posts right to your inbox and like us on Facebook to receive our weekly quotes, quizzes and updates.
thank you for this article
it was. very helpful
Going No Contact feels like crap… but it feels better than sitting around staring at your phone, feeling angst, despair, and misery wondering why your partner is treating you like shit, and waiting for them to pay attention to you again. It is HARD to walk away, for so many reasons, mainly because walking away means facing the fact that it’s over, it means really coming to terms with the fact that the person was actually as fucked up as they were, it means letting go of them and the fantasy, and it means you have to deal with the aftermath of being with him and all that entails for you. Letting go of the fantasy means facing the reality of what happened- all those dreams disappear and you are left with what’s real. UGH!
I have been going through the process of No Contact for the past 2 weeks. It helped to use his distance during a devaluation phase to prepare myself- of course, he didn’t know I was doing that, thought he had the upper hand, but then surprise- when he came back, I dumped him. I turned off my phone, deactivated FB and left town for a week to gain resolve. I was wobbly, for sure. During this time of NO CONTACT I’ve noticed the following process inside myself that I thought I’d share, in case it’s helpful for anyone else out there struggling with this:
1.) Guilt. I felt guilty for not responding to his texts and messages, like I was being a bad person or something. I noticed how I even felt guilty thinking about how his parents would feel upon hearing that we had broken up, that they would be sad, confused, and feel bad for their son- I felt responsible for that, like I was hurting them. I was also worrying about his feelings- that he’d be hurt and confused as to why I wasn’t responding to his messages of “What’s going on?? Are you okay??” I completely was not thiking about how he had been asshole to me, for example he said the actual words, “Shut up. You’re so much better when you aren’t talking.” But that behavior wasn’t even in my brain… not responding made me feel like a terrible person. Hence…
2. Shame. Awful, awful feelings of just YUCK, deep in my bones, of feeling like a bad person, feeling responsible, wanting to connect with him so that it would all go away. The kind of yucky feeling where you just want to curl up into a fetal position.
3. Fear. Is he going to get mad?? What will he do?? That subsided however, because I turned my phone off for a week. Isolating myself physically like that was phenomenal because it gave me time and space for…
4. Grief. The loss of the love I thought I had. Deep sadness. It doesn’t matter that this person presented a false persona, that what we had ultimately wasn’t real, that he actually can’t possibly love me, and that a lifetime with him would have ultimately landed me in an insane asylum… I had loved him, deeply. I had thought we’d live a life together. People will say, “Oh, good thing you got out of there!” And expect you to move on. But I needed to grieve the loss, and cry from the pits of my despair. That needs to happen, and you need to have space, quiet, time to do so. You can’t rush past that part. And it leads you to realizing…
5. You Inner Child Is Alive and Needs You… I realized, as I grieved, that all of this pain was coming from the Original Wound… the loss of the love I never had as a child. That’s why these feelings are so yucky, so awful, so hard to manage… because we never were able to feel them in the first place! These feelings have to come out, in this way, by feeling the yuck- but this time you can rewrite the narrative by being there for yourself… the book, Healing the Shame That Binds You, has some great visualization exercises that helped me do this.
… and the grief also includes realizing how you’ve been conditioned to not have boundaries, to be so vulverable, to care take others feelings, to realize that you are in that category of “Co-Dependent”… so gather your rose quartz and tissues and let yourself cry… and afterwards you do feel better, the fog begins to clear, you start to get excited about life again, and as you do so you have to remember…
6. You have to keep your guard UP. You are vulnerable at all times because of your wounded, precious heart- so treat this as an on-going journey where you are battling for your own well being. Any contact feels like shit…
I came back to town, switched my phone back on, and a text from him appears… felt like shit. I activate FB again, he sends me a message. Felt like shit. I caved and looked at his FB page, saw pics of him at a birthday party, felt like shit. After a whole week away, gaining strength and healing, I come back and spend a whole day of my life feeling like shit- because I paid attention to him again. And I realized, I don’t have to feel any of this! I can just delete him, block him… why am I doing this?? Ohhhh… because part of me wants to know he cares, part of me wants to see him work for it and hear a long diatribe of how much he loves me and wants to be with me… there’s the Inner Child again. So…
7. Develop a practice of self-love and compassion. Spend time grounding yourself. Go outside, be in nature, and remind yourself of the vastness and magic of life. Be around friends and people that like you. Read this blog, remind yourself about narcissists and how they work. Learn about co-dependency. Learn about self-love, try to develop a practice of it. Realize that this process is the greatest love story of your life- the one with yourself!
Thank you Rise Above. That really was a useful post. I’m 2.5 weeks into No Contact and being stalked/ hoovered. At the moment I’m being the slot machine that never pays out – I’m ignoring everything he does, which is difficult when he turns up at the park where I attend my boot camp classes, knocks on my door and lurks outside when I am about to head out to meet a friend. One other thing I would say regarding having the resolve to keep No Contact is that in order to give yourself the best chance, I recommend a period of time away from alcohol. I’ve always found that alcohol makes me emotional and in the past I’ve ruined my own good efforts by giving in to the urge to contact ex’s when under the influence. Good luck to those going through this at the moment, I’m having good days and bad days
I dated what I consider to be a NPD for just over a year, until our final mutual break-up in early July. The thing is, she definitely exhibited strong signs of NPD in some ways – needed to be admired constantly, controlling and overbearing, unrealistic expectations of love/relationships, a general lack of concern for my thoughts/feelings, inability to admit any fault with her behavior, disproportional verbal abuse and rage at perceived slights (she also physically attacked me once by dumping soda on me as I slept because I didn’t respond quickly enough to her) – yet she also displayed the complete opposite of some of the classic NPD traits. For example, she was not promiscuous in the least; in fact, I was only her second serious relationship in 4 years, and I never caught her lying or cheating about anything of consequence such as money or sex, and she wasn’t exploitative of people, although she would certainly gossip about anyone and everyone without shame. I just started discovering and reading about NPD/codependence after our breakup, and I’m actually curious whether she’ll break NC. It’s been 5 weeks with absolutely no contact, and I’m actually treating this as an experiment to see if I was right about her NPD tendencies. If she tries to contact me, while it’s probably a bit pathetic, I’ll feel a small vindication and confirmation that I was right. From everything I’ve read, there’s no statute of limitations on it and sometimes people go NC for years before something happens, so I’ll just wait and see. In the meantime, I’m working on my codependency issues and learning to just enjoy my own life again. Thanks to Savannah for the helpful and informative articles.
Can someone tell me if it’s normal to miss your x-narc even if you are in a good relationship with someone new? How long does this last?
The N that i have been with for the past 10 years just dump me as he has found his new NS. We are thousand of miles apart & I have told him repeatedly to STOP contacting me. But he keeps using our pets as an excuse to contact me & asked me to send him their latest photos. Pets, unlike children, will not change in their look nor hairstyle. With us being thousand of miles away, he will also NOT be visiting them. They are totally in my care. I feel NO guilt in not keeping him updated on their well being. Am I doing the right thing?
I bookmarked this and have been reading this every single day of the peat 50. This + prayer have been by far my savours and the only way I have yet to answer my ex narcs daily calls/texts. Savannah i hope you’re give yourself a pat on the back every day because you are literally saving lives.
I went no contact just shy of 3 months ago. My ex boyfriend has tried multiple times since then to contact me, texts and phone calls. I’m happy I’ve gone so long, but it baffles me why he continues to try even though I haven’t answered one text or phone call. Will he ever stop trying to contact me?
8 weeks of No Contact and I made the mistake of replying to his first text yesterday. 8 weeks! I was feeling pretty good and was so proud of myself for my self discipline. Then one measly text comes in and I crumble. Ugh. I don’t know why I did it. I feel like I am now back at square one again.
IT IS SO HARD!! I want to have no contact but I work in the same place as my extreme Narcissist ex. I have to see him almost every day. He is now in the stage of being incredibly cruel to me for no reason. He broke it off with me, via text message, and refused to speak to me since. I say hi when we pass and he responds but that is all. We have had to talk a couple of times on the phone to arrange collecting my belongings from his home, but they always end with him being a jerk, calling me names etc. I always try very hard to be as nice as I can be, no getting angry, no name calling, no tears, no drama. Every time though, he manages to make me feel awful. I tried emailing instead of talking on the phone when we need to communicate but he is just as cruel via email. He always spins my words, horrible childish replies. I have 2 weeks left in my workplace and I am about to break. I cry every night when I finish work and feel so broken. I continue to try to take the high road around him and just keep being as nice as I can be, not that he deserves it … but I am starting to fall. I don’t want to explode, shout at him but I know this is exactly what he wants as it helps him look like the victim and I won’t …. just 2 weeks of this and I am free!
Wow these blogs are in no order so I just read this one after I read the “are you being groomed for abuse”.
Some may say only 7 weeks shut up. I say it feels like a life time. I felt something was wrong right away. When he asked for my bank acct number to deposit money in it. It was a long story he told me. See I had enough sense not to take a chance with my money but not my heart, my love and my emotions.
I also beat myself up about the fact that I fell so hard so fast. It was years without a man in my life. So when I meet him on line we lived 3 blocks away. He looked and dressed to my liking Oh I can go on making excuses for why it happened, how and when. But it did.
I read other forums and blogs on other narcissist sites. So I have a little information on Him. By week 2 I was on line searching. I don’t understand fully what happened and why I let it.. One thing I do understand is that if not for my daughter, grand daughter and my up coming hip replacement I know I would be hoovered back and spit out like dust.
How ironic this. This topic on the experiment with the hip replacement gang.
I can not have contact with him because Narc will demolish me and pick my soul apart.
NO CONTACT ever.
Reading this blog has helped me so much. I’ve been in an on and off “relationship” with a narc for 2 1/2 yrs. Like so many others stories, it started out so wonderful, love bombing, constant attention, etc, and by the end of it, I was nothing more than a booty call begging him for any scrap of attention I could get. He finally discarded me very coldly about a month ago and he’s now in a relationship with someone else. I’m struggling with not cyber stalking him which has been like an addiction for me. I haven’t done it in about two weeks and honestly only stopped because it just hurts too much to see him with her. I think about him literally every minute of the day and have for pretty much the entire time I’ve known him. I want him out of my head. I want to move on with my life. I just don’t know how.
I found this blog and it is absolutely amazing. I have been in an on again off again relationship for five years with a man I now believe is a narc. He was married when I met him but i didnt know until six months after. He also lied about his age. He is twelve years older than me. He did get a divorce. His ex wife has never spoken a bad word about him and He has never said anything bad about her to me. Early on he was exactly how you mention very giving. He took me to wonderful places I had his undivided attention but he also travels quite a bit due to his job. I would see him for months at a time then I wouldnt because the job he has causes him to stay in certain areas for months at a time. Everything seemed good but then he started accusing me of cheating and started calling me names. Then he would be ok. Throughout our entire relationship he has NEVER stopped communicating. I have actually been the one that has stopped communicating for days and weeks at a time. I stopped because he would say mean and hateful things to me!! Then a few minutes later he tells me how much he loves me and how the things he has done have been out of fear that I wouldn’t complete “us”. So, it does make me wonder if I did something that caused this? I have seen some of the red flags that have been mentioned on this blog. Such as always wanting me to tell him how great he is in bed, how i should make him the most important person in the world, how I should want to cook for him and clean his house. He has used every insecurity of mine against me. He constantly brings up my past relationships and keeps asking me the same questions about them over and over again. He is successful but needs constant reassurance and gets upset if he feels I am looking at another man (although i am not). I finally thought I had enough and I broke it off a few years ago during that time I met someone else but went back to him and now he still brings it up and accuses me of cheating. He did tell me that during our break up he also met someone but that it was a one night stand. I moved in with him thinking this would solve our problems. He kicked me out after i found out his divorce was not yet complete, he made me believe the divorce was final.I moved back in then found out he was cheating. He said that it was out of revenge and that he didnt know how to react to me cheating so he cheated. He went back to her several times. Everything he wanted me to do she would do it for him. She even got a tattoo of his name. This lady tried to get me fired from my job. She did tell me that he would tell her horrible things about me. He pushed me around all during the time he was cheating on me with this lady. He has begged me to give him a chance. He has asked me too marry him. I don’t know what to do. My family hates him. My kids dislike him and his kids do not like me. They are adults mine are still young. I dont know if my gut is telling me something is off or if I am afraid of my families reaction? He has consistently been mean and has called me horrible names brings up the past and blames me for everything that has happened that if I would give him my all no questions asked he would be the best boyfriend, husband. To sum it up when things were good they were good but when he is mean he is very mean. I am just wondering if I am dealing with a complete narc?
@Alice — I really hope you see this. Yes, yes, YES this man you are dealing with is a bonafide, full-blown Narc!!!!
Only a Narc can make you this crazy and accuse you of cheating completely out of left field (when you are NOT doing it) while THEY maintain their harem of women.
You broke up with him a few years back and then as time passed, you met and dated someone else. This is completely normal. This is what people do after a relationship ends and they become single again — they meet and date new people. But your Narc views this as cheating. It isn’t. He later used this as a “reason” to cheat on you.
He actually thinks it was OK for him to cheat because you dated someone else AFTER you broke up with him.
I hope you see the double standard that exists in your relationship. You cannot even go out in public without being accused of looking at another man, but it’s OK for him to sleep with someone else. Repeatedly.
He was going to cheat on you with this other woman no matter what. If not her, it would have been someone else. And he would have found any and every reason to justify it. I guarantee he would found SOMETHING to blame it on — you didn’t do X, Y and Z for him. You made him feel bad. You didn’t like the dinner you cooked. You left your socks on the floor. The sky is blue. And water is wet. Yes, they will find THAT inane of a reason to “punish” you. My ex Narc actually iced me out for a few days because he “didn’t like the way” that I had cut a loaf of bread when I was making bruschetta. I sliced the bread “too think” and he said he was “disappointed” in me. For real. In hindsight, now I know he did this as part of his hot and cold game, his abuse, his efforts to tear me down, and most likely because he was sleeping with someone else and was looking for a reason, any reason, to be gone from me for a few days.
You have to know that when you are dealing with a Narc, which is what your man is, logic does not apply to them and they have no capacity for it. Another example: After I kicked my Narc out of MY house, after he moved his things out of my apartment, because I chose to not answer my phone when he called or respond to any of his texts, guess what he did? He fired off several senseless, abusive text messages that I was cheating. Yup. He even left me a voicemail, yelling at me for “cheating on him,” well after I ended the relationship.
You didn’t stumble across Savannah’s blog by mistake. You must have known something was wrong or some other force — if you believe that — led you to find it. I hope this site and my comment helps give you some clarity. And I hope to hell you get rid of that loser, what a piece of work.
@Narcrepellent Thank you so much for your comments. It has been extremely difficult for me to realize who I am dealing with. My family, kids and friends have been telling me he is not a good person and I kept allowing him to suck me in with promises of marriage with promising that he loved my children. Even though everytime I took him back I had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I now understand that I am co-dependent. I started to see a therapist and he convinced me that the therapist was brain washing me against him. I now say am I really that naive to believe one person (him) over my family, kids and a professional!!? I know that I have a long road ahead. I thank God that my intuition has helped me to find this blog and that I have a great job!!!
@Alice — I am so glad to hear that you are in therapy and that your family supports you leaving your Narcissist.
Please don’t beat yourself up for falling for him and for being with him. You are not naive. As co-dependents, we are naturally prey for Narcs. You’ve already been unkind to yourself by staying with him and blaming yourself for his actions. You’ll be mad for a while, but don’t be unkind to yourself anymore.
But now that you know and identified what he is, beyond that he is simply a bad person and can put a label on it — which I think is one of the hardest parts in the struggle, identifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder — and you are now aware as to why you stayed with him and tolerated this, you’ve already gotten that much closer to the light.
We’ve all been where you are at and many of us here have left our Narcs and our lives are better for it. I know that you can do it, too! Sounds like you are on the right track. All of Savannah’s post on this site are extremely helpful, and even though it’s been 8 months since I left my Narc, I still check-in and read up when I need. Good luck to you and may you have a Narc-free Christmas!
I feel sorry for your poor children. You are clearly prioritising this man, and your dysfunctional habits, over and above them. You are selfishly subjecting them to a volatile and emotionally damaging, (not to mention potentially dangerous), environment. Stop focusing on this man. Stop focusing on what you think you want … and start putting your children’s welfare first.
I am so very grateful I came across this site. Today, I sent the final, final, final “I’m Done” email. And yes, I am still mixed up in crazy obsessive behavior – the “he doesn’t even care enough to respond” yet he “still has time to email his other girlfriend” emails all morning. I am reading his messages to hear because they are strengthening my resolve (or I am rationalizing). I am so sad for myself, for the time I have invested, for all of the times I have ignored my children, my family, my friends, and my own needs in order to be available to him. I am writing a comment so I can publicly declare my intent of “no-contact” although every fiber of my being is desperate to hear from him. I know that pain and heartbreak is momentary in the scope of life. But I would really like to know how to get through these first few days, especially with Christmas coming up, without completely losing my mind. It’s still raw, and fresh, and there is still that (pathetic) part of me that is hopeful that he will change. So its really helpful to read all of the posts and comments that although I definitely have serious co-dependency issues that I need to overcome, the heart of the problem does not lie within me. Thank you for the space to ramble!
Reading this blog and looking through these comments is really helping me through my recent “breakup”. Thankfully, it was only a relationship that lasted for half a year, but in that half year he managed to insinuate himself into so many aspects of my life. I was always a bit out of his reach, so the abuse did not quite start, almost the perfect relationship. But nothing added up. When I found out about the other girls, I knew I had to stop this relationship. However, letting go and realizing he can’t be fixed was hard. Finally blocked him on social media last night and decided to stop snooping was a hard decision but I know it will be the best decision of my life. Dealing with crazy will only make you crazy.
I have the most effective method of going no contact!! In a strong moment, delete ALL of his contact information from ALL of your electronic devices. Unfriend him and block him, block calls and emails, AND unfriend all mutual friends (explaining kindly that it is nothing personal). Beforehand, let him know that if he simply must contact you, then he must do it through an intermediary.
I did this and I’ve never been happier or more focused!
Want to know how I finally was able to go ‘no contact’ with my ex? I didn’t. HE went ‘no contact’ with ME. I had called him and he told me he was seeing someone else after he had invited me to his daughter’s wedding and had been sexually intimate with me just a week prior. I was devastated and angry and confused but it was really the only thing that saved me from my devastating addiction to him. There is a silver lining though—here is what happened:
I tried to contact him via email after that several times. He didn’t even bother to respond. The love of my life, who I thought had loved me purely and totally, whose children I loved like my own, whose life was so entwined with mine I didn’t know where his ended and mine began, could not even be bothered to answer an email from me. I was devastated and in disbelief.
I am not as proud of myself as I could be about breaking my addiction to him because I didn’t have the self-discipline to START the ‘no contact’. However, I definitely AM happy about my ability to resist him and STAY ‘no contact’ after he started it. Knowing he had chosen to let me go AND was being exclusive to and sexually intimate with someone else AND being unworthy of any response to an email I had put considerable effort into composing was so painful that I finally was able to see that what I thought was nourishing me, was actually destroying me.
I suppose I took my ‘cup of pride’ and decided in my own heart it was over. Any man who didn’t think enough of me to be considerate to the pain I was in because of his choices and actions was NOT somebody who really loved me, no matter WHAT he said. At that point, I stopped trying to contact him. I stopped trying to make it work, trying to understand why he would do this, and just grieved. I cried. A lot. Sometimes spontaneously and without warning, sometimes many times in a day. I had big scream sessions in my car where no one would hear me and I would yell, cry, beat the steering wheel and rage at the injustice and the senselessness. I finally allowed myself to believe and accept it was over. This was withdrawl, and it hurt. Oh God did it hurt, and truthfully, the only reason I was able to endure it was because I knew my ‘drug’ was not available to me. It reminds me of what it must be like when people get sober in jail or prison, when their drug of choice is not available to them, and so it was with me.
Although our official breakup had ocurred nearly 2 years ago, this ‘no contact’ withdrawl process took 6 months, during which time, my cravings for him dissapated and lessened. I still missed him terribly, but didn’t try to reach out. I dated several men, and to my surprise I met a man I was actually attracted to and got into a relationship with. When my N found this out, within 3 days, he called me, apologizing for his behavior, claiming he had memory problems from a brain injury he had been in the hospital for, and that everything was just foggy during the time he was dating the other woman. (They had just broken up). I thanked him for his apology, asked him a few questions about his behavior and got off the phone with him. He even told me he still loved me, but I didn’t fall for it.
Although he has contacted me several times and wants to resume seeing me, to my complete amazement, I have declined. And I have HIM to thank for it. If he hadn’t gone silent on me, and had continued to drip feed me bits of affection (the drug) I am certain he would still have a hold on me. I would hate to see what sorry state I would be in now, hanging on, hoping, and waiting, addicted as ever.
So please…if you are struggling ‘biting the bullet’ and starting ‘no contact’, I URGE you to try! If a week is too hard to fathom, start with even just ONE day. If one day is too hard, start with one morning until noon. Gradually increase the time you commit to loving YOURSELF enough to stay away, to loving YOURSELF more than you love him. It hurts, I get it. But what is even more awful is allowing someone else to hold YOUR happiness in THEIR hands. Hold it in yours, so it is always within reach. You CAN do this!
Happy endings are possible: As it is, I have just returned from a lovely vacation to Mexico with my sweetie of 8 months, where I had Thanksgiving dinner on the beach with new friends and family. I am a new woman with a wonderful man, thanks to staying ‘no contact’. It saved my life!
And a very important part of my breaking my habit and addiction is the replacing it with something else–the piano playing. Studies have shown that it is extremely difficult to break a habit through sheaer self-discipline, but it you approach it as doing something else rewarding INSTEAD of the thing you want not to do–to make it learning a new positive habit–it is so much easier and takes almost no willpower. It is just the one step of willpower to walk over to the piano and start playing. It has been 2 weeks now, and I am pleased with my progress.
@NarcRepellant, I almost moved away, but my teenage daughter refused to move with me and I would not leave her. The judge ordered him out of the house on the initial hearing, and that was a blessed relief. He lives nearby now. In evenings I tend to get lonely and that is my weak time to text him or even talk with him. However, just a couple weeks ago I decided to spend an hour each evening learning to play piano, something that I always wanted to do (but was too busy serving him to do . . .) and I find the enjoyment and challenge is what I needed to fill my mind. I feel so much stronger. But, indeed, I do envy those who have chosen to move away. I also know that he is using our daughter as leverage. Yes, that is totally unethical. And, no, there is nothing I can do about his attempt. What I can do is to hold firm. She can spend as much time with him as she wants, but I don’t have to spend any time with him. Period. This evening she took him out on the farm and they cut a Christmas tree for MY house. Even though I felt left out of a family tradition, I chose not to go. He did not attempt to come in the house; my daughter and her boyfriend brought it in. And it is so easy right now to ignore him. My mind is somehow in a better place. And, do you know what, ignoring a narcissist is probably the absolute best thing to do. I guess it is the No Contact, but to see him and look right through him, that is pretty effective, too.
Excellent insights! Thank you!
Thank you to Savannah and all of you who comment on this blog. I discovered this blog a few days before I made the decision to end my abusive relationship three weeks ago. Over the past three weeks, all of your stories, ideas, experiences, and failures have kept me aloft. Tonight I was missing my ex (Narcissist?) terribly and finding it hard to remember why we aren’t together. Since I have been staying with friend’s while I await a new apartment to become available, the visceral aspect of the abuse is fading. Now I am just feeling empty and wishing our relationship would have worked out. Thankfully, I have all of you to remind me that with healing comes a fading of the hurts that led to the need to leave. That is a good thing, but for someone like me who has spent a lifetime conflating pain with love, this lack of pain is hard to tolerate. Once I can move to my new apartment and can reunite with my cat (which he has since I am unable to bring her as I am moving around too much) I can commit to no contact. Until then, I have to just keep my distance and find solace in your stories of recovery.
I am in the vicious cycle of wanting to end it over and over again. I become weak, and start thinking about the good things and always call it off before starting no contact and firmly putting my foot down. I think I am finally at my breaking point. His ex wife’s boyfriend recently left her, and she has been calling and texting and showing up at his house a lot. They do have kids, but it seems excessive to me, and when I brought it to his attention, of course I am jealous and insecure with myself and crazy. He then told me yesterday he needs space and I smother him. I said ok we can call it off, and he told me that is so typical of you to jump the gun and assume you know what I need. I have to get out of this, or it is going to kill me emotionally.
I know how you feel, I did this over and over again for a whole year before I finlly found the guts to walk away. You are not jealous, insecure or crazy, your instincts are telling you there is something going on here, listen to that instinct. The fact that he now wants space and you are smothering him would also be a red flag in my opinion.
Don’t hang around to be his option, listen to your feelings and RUN not just walk away
My ex narcissist stayed away for 2 weeks til he heard I was looking for an apartment to move then he came around. I was ignoring him hopping he would go away but he didn’t. He started telling me about things going on between him and his girlfriend. Which I don’t care. Her daughters don’t like him and are pissed that she left him move in. Her ex knows him so he knows what he is like and what he did. He doesn’t realize he is coming in between her and her daughters and he don’t care I can see that he is only thinking himself.
Regardless Nicole – whatever he does or his gf or gf’s ex says or doesn’t say is none of your concern. Wash your hands of all of them and don’t give him your new address.
After eighteen months of him constantly contacting me, me changing my phone numbers, him turning up at my door I think it is finally all over, the last contact was over a month and a half ago and it feels different this time because instead of falling for his crap I bring up things he did, things I have found out and I think he finally realised that I had found my strength again 🙂 Instead of changing my phone numbers which was a pointless exercise I bought a new android phone which has a blocking app…I have no feelings left except disgust due to me finally realising that 1 and 1 makes 2 instead of that ambiguous 3.
Some of his actions now make me shake my head in wonder as to why the hell did I not notice, why did I carry on ignoring what was terrible terrible behaviour, was I that bloody desperate?
He made the relationship hell and he made the break up hell but I get the last laugh, I am happy and toxic free…him, well he gets to be in another relationship which doesn’t make him happy and which he won’t leave until his next supply is lined up and ready to go.
All excellent advice and all I have to report is that I have failed NC miserably. Not that I’m with him, but I’m giving him way too much ear. I like all your good ideas, but what I have to do is to actually DO them. So a few days ago I told him that I dont’ even feel sorry for him for hanging around for 10 years in the hope that I change my mind, I don’t see it happening and him hanging arouond in vain is his own problem. So he walked away. Good. But he walked back the next day. I like the idea of totally blocking the phone. Living near him is indeed like an alcoholic living across the road from a bar . . . . 🙁
@kathy – can you move away? Do you and your N both have children together?
@Hurtin’ Cowboy – I literally laughed out loud when I read this line in your post “just because I am not in touch does not mean I am not thinking of you,” . I heard the exact same line from my ExN. Rather than fall for that line of ridiculous BS, I smiled and recalled an old Jimmy Buffet song, “If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me”. If you don’t know it, check it out on You Tube. I guarantee it will put a smile on your face. Hang in there 🙂
I’ve been in the “NO CONTACT” phase for 11 months. Three weeks ago I receive a text from him and I deleted it without opening it. The text had the nerve to say I miss you.
I absolutely love all your articles and all of them have helped me in an extraordinary way to get myself prioritized to move out and have things ready to walk out and never return.
But we have a 2 year old daughter and in the city we live I have very little family or support. And I know that with this narc the only way to truely get over him is no contact. He is abusive psychologically on a massive level and physically. So I guess what I’m getting to is can you PLEASE give some advice on no contact when you are sharing a child. I don’t want to talk or see him ever once i leave cause he will haunt me and play his mind games on me forvever!!! I’m scared of the hurt and absolute destruction he will try to cause once I leave!!
I have over 90 days of no contact now, and I found I have to work hard on two things to maintain it. First is piercing through the selective memory: that crazy addict’s thinking that at times remembers only the good times and completely overlooks the awful times. What helps with this is to keep a list handy of the absolute worst moments with my narcissist. I actually saved some of her texts and sent them in an email to myself to keep this fresh. Just some classic excuses for ignoring me, a sudden stop in a back-and-forth texting session, a lame explanation for dinner with another guy who is “an old friend,” lines like “just because I am not in touch does not mean I am not thinking of you,” all the garbage. Seeing the actual messages tends to snap me out of my addictive reverie. I move beyond nostalgia for the narcissist’s manipulative overvaluation stage, and back into the reality of the devaluation stage. (I did not let her get to the discard stage, I saw it coming so I discarded her first. That’s what NC is: self-protective discard of the abusive narcissist.)
Second is a steady stream of self-affirmations I constantly repeat to myself, including when I am triggered by a memory of the narcissistic abuser. “I am valuable. I am important. I am precious. I am whole. I am complete.” Things like that. This helps me give myself what I used to look for from her. Only I am completely reliable, do not lie to myself, and do not make excuses. I did not receive proper care and nurturing as a child; if I had, these affirmations would not be necessary, they would be hardwired into my mental “firmware”. (And I would not have sought them from an external source like a narcissist.) But because they are not lodged deeply in my mind I need to consciously and actively repeat them many times each day.
So when the thought strikes that it would be nice to hear from her, or some trigger makes me think of her, I (1) remember the bad times, and (2) very actively affirm myself. Seems to be working for me so far, if you’re having trouble with NC maybe give these 2 tactics a try. Good luck dumping your loser and getting on with your soon-to-be-much-better life!
Great advice hurtin’ cowboy.
I am in over three months of “NO CONTACT”. I spent over a year trying to salvage what could not be salvaged. A $2.50 flower sent me where I needed to go. Forgot all of the other things he had done, the emotional abuse, subtle insults, ignoring my texts, phone calls, my watching him as the others parade in/out of his home on a daily basis (Yes! I said daily). I even got to watch him go on dates, go on a trip this past summer. Despite all of this, it took a $2.50 flower for me to say I have had enough of his tomfoolery, his shenanigans. I am better than this. This man is a womanizing fool and because he lives within feet of me, I get to see it all. Enough is enough. Think I’ll give that “no contact” thing a try for myself — not for him. Now, I don’t even speak. I don’t even look his way. If he drives by, I turn my head. I was just thanking God this very morning for the healing that has taken place inside my head, my heart and my soul. Had I continued to play that silly game, trying to be friendly, trying to nice, I would still be that silly puppy dog being totally mistreated. I cannot think ALL of the bloggers who knew more than me what these relationships can do to a person!I’m FREE!
Thank you. I have just managed just over 3 weeks of no contact with a man who has withheld the fact he had a 5 year old son whom he has never seen from a one night stand from me for 4 years, refused to introduce me to his family for 5 years, been possessive yet refused to commit and would not tell me he loved me for three years. And then would only say he loved me if I said it first. Your article could not have come at a more poignant time for me… as I miss him and am in love with a fantasy.
agree 100 percent – merci ms gray, with your help plus 2 other amazing gal bloggers advocating the ‘letting go’ – I have clocked up 10 pure days of not communicating or stalking (only a few minor slip ups) – even mastering thought stopping midway – so all good ,have a great week & to all here too , the heart is healing…
Thank you x
One thing that has really helped me with keeping up No Contact and sticking to it was blocking my N’s number on my phone through an extra feature with my mobile carrier that I have to happily pay for — it’s a system that makes it easy to block someone but burdensome to unblock them should temptation strike — allow me to explain:
First off, the iPhone and many Android phones now do have a free feature where you can block a number just by hitting “block” under the person’s contact information, but I think this is dangerous for people in our situation — because you have to keep that person’s contact information stored in your phone in order for it to work, and it’s REALLY easy to UNBLOCK them with just one swipe.
But when you do it via paying for an extra service, like a parental control, you do everything via your online account: You have to log in, go to a separate page just for this service, and then type in their number on the website and add them to your “blocked” list. The same thing must be done to remove them. This feature in my case is NOT available via the mobile app, there’s a separate desktop site just for it — meaning you have to go through the trouble to turn on your desk top computer, laptop or tablet, and do it through the site.
With this extra feature, he cannot call or text me, nor can I make any OUTGOING calls or texts to him, and this is why this is important:
Blocking his number this way got rid of ANY temptation I may have had the past 7 months to call him. Had I just blocked him via my phone, it would have been too easy to swipe “unblock this caller” and call him when I felt vulnerable, sad or was tipsy and angry and wanted to give him a piece of my mind.
I knew what my pattern was with him, so this was part of my action plan to change it and remain disciplined. Because previously, he was ALWAYS able to weasel himself back into my life through the phone.
I went back and forth with my N for a while before I finally left. I kicked him out of my house three times and made him stay at his mom’s or brother’s house before I finally did it for good. Aside from me not truly being ready to leave yet, he would ALWAYS call and text after these break-ups: That he was sorry, that he finally understood me, that he would change, that he would “make it work.”
I also know another thing about myself: I have a tendency to drunk dial after a night out (I picked this up in college and admit I still call a trusted friend or two after drinking on occasion, but only to friends that welcome hearing from me at these times!) but with my N, during out break ups for someone reason, I would drink and then be filled with the desire to read him the riot act, so I’d send him a ton of really mean, angry texts. What would follow is he’d call and say I was hurting his feelings, then that would open the door to reconciliation eventually.
These break-ups always barely lasted a week, because neither of us could not keep up No Contact.
I hate to sound like a shill for my wireless company, but the measly $5 that I spent to set up blocking his number was the best $5 I had ever spent. I highly recommend it and urge everyone to call their wireless carrier and ask what kind of limit plans/parental controls they offer in order for you to do this!