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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Great advice and commentary. I’ve been NC approaching 120 days come Christmas. I am a widow and subscribed to the abuse of a NC. I was taken in by grief and fell for looks and humor. At my expense no empathy was given just a play on what they needed. After breaking NC several times with the same “I gotcha again”. I have shut the door. I refuse to return. I will use my support system to continue my NC. After reading many blogs and articles this one is “putting it were the goats can get it”.
excellent article about no contact!
After 5 insane years in the no-win, violent narcissist trap – I am FINALLY beginning to see the truth and picture being me again. Finding information about narcissists and reading other people telling the exact same story as mine – over and over again is a huge wake up call.
It’s been crazy to learn that there’s this whole subset of people who act in the exact same twisted & controlling ways to fill their needs. They look like people, but are they? Seriously – I mean it. 🙂 The checklists for narcissistic tactics actually made me laugh because they so accurately describe every manipulative trick used. Can’t we just put warning tattoos on their self-hating, hollow foreheads!
Legitimate 100% No Contact truly is the only way to I can make my point and take my power back. Anything else is an invitation for them to stab you with 1 last devaluing insult on their way out the door.
I’ve been wondering if anyone else has been broken up with a thousand times with the same impossible, subjective threat. “This is your last chance to “fix yourself*” before you never hear my voice again and I move on to my back-up girl. 5-4-3-2-1″ OMG, really. Did a grown man just speak to me that way. What a power freak. And can how much I thank you for taking your voice and your overgrown bully tactics elsewhere.
Buckle up back-up girl, you are in one nasty ride.
* What does “fix yourself” even mean?
I just made myself re-read this post because, as you predicted, my exN who abruptly discarded me 6 months ago is back pulling the friend card. From what I can tell, the new supply he discarded me for isn’t meeting his needs. Initially I ignored his messages (they started on my birthday last month), but I have a stake in his business, so I decided that I didn’t want to jeopardize that by not responding at all. Since we split, I have moved to another city and haven’t seen him since. The reason for my comment is I actually find that hearing from him has made me feel less attracted to him. Is that normal? I now think he’s a sad and pathetic man and I can see all of his tactics in crystal clarity. I am certain that our relationship is over and I absolutely do not want him back in my life. But I just wondered if any others had had this experience (of truly being turned off by their exN and even more certain they don’t want them back as a result of hearing from them after an extended period of time)?
Its true, I ALWAYS feel like shi$ when start up contact w my ex again. No contact for me has been like a drug addict going cold turkey, but your website really empowers me to finally get “sober” for once and for all, even though it scares the hell out of me when he is not in my life.
I have a question…
Do narcissists ever realize how much they hurt their partners? I always want to believe that my ex knows in his heart how much he has hurt me and feels bad for treating me poorly after time has gone by w/o contact… But maybe I want to believe that because its too hard to accept that he has no real remorse or empathy… Any thoughts or advice about whether narcissists ever feel bad for their actions over time? Or if they have any idea how hurtful they are? Or do they literally go through their entire life believing the person they hurt is dramatic / crazy / out of line / at fault?
It’s hard for me to get closure knowing my ex has no idea how much he has hurt me and continues to hurt me even to this day… I just wish karma worked on them, feels like he swoops in and messes with me and my life, then carries on living a privileged life with no consequences & it’s the hardest pill to swallow. Thanks, V.
It actually is possible for a N to be remorseful, take responsibility and say that they know what they did is wrong. My N has been doing that all year long. It doesn’t mean anything.
I went back a number of times because he said all the right things, made all the right promises and then turned around and did the same cruel, demeaning things all over again. Of course it was my fault it happened. It can never be their fault.
I finally walked out and went NC for a week. He was shocked because the longest I could go was 3 days before. And, as expected he sent me a package trying to get me to text. When I didn’t he texted me. I held strong. He was supposed to be leaving me alone.
Today was a snow storm and he texted again to make sure I was OK and did he need to bring me anything. I declined. Before I know it he’s right back to sending me pics of his tear stained face, telling me how it will be different THIS time. Just needs to hear me say I love him. He wants to marry me. Then when I shot all that down he played the friend card– of course we could have sex though… He misses my touch. Oh please..
I told him he has me confused with his pathetic harem and maybe he should focus on them because he isn’t getting another chance to humiliate and control me. He said he wasn’t looking to control me, we could be intimate with no strings. I asked him exactly what did I get out of that… Then I suggested we tell his mom his great plan and see if she she’d be ok with someone treating his sister like that… Now I’m over reacting.
I told him just the fact that he suggested something so vile was proof that he didn’t respect me and there was nothing more to say. He needs to be with all those girls he craved attention and validation from while he was with me, because he wouldn’t be getting another chance with me..
He knows full well we can’t be friends. He will just parlay it into more. Start controlling me again. Devaluing me again. Get angry when I don’t follow his script or buy his crap. Then once again it will all be my fault. I can’t take the mental drain anymore.
It is too hard to go NO CONTACT during the holidays. last Christmas, I tried to enforce NC, but he wants to talk to the kids greet them and then see me, talk to me and shout at me threaten me. I wish I did not give in and had him come back for a friendly fatherly greeting. I will restart NC and hope I will have more strenght to resist answering,Thanks for the blog. It really helped me a lot.
I think the hardest part of NC for me is the “mutual friends” who advocate for me “being nice” to the Narc. They lecture me due to the Narc’s manipulation. I tried for a long time to explain myself to these mutual friends. It made me feel much, much worse and defensive and I was even accused of being “mean spirited.” Really ?? It left me exhausted.
So – it’s sites like these that have helped me so much to see the enormity of the dysfunction, that’s it’s not my fault, that’s it so much worse and hopeless than I had thought. All the reading I have been doing encourages me to choose the company of those who understand and to give up “explaining” myself to those who just do not get it.
Very lonesome without my sham friends but I’m very grateful for truth !! It’s this knowledge that gives me “permission” to choose my own life. That’s exactly what I needed – permission to live my life – and it’s information and facts that give me this permission – if that makes any sense.
Thank you for this site !!
I want to thank you. My ex N was diagnosed with it, something he tried to minimize. I’ve been no contact since last March but I nearly caved in to return a possession of his to him (because I am “nice”. Now I won’t.
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about this since the start of the year and I think yours is outstanding.
NO Contact for 2 months and still strong. Received 2 late night texts expressing interest to “talk”. Of course I ignored, then a text later that day, “Sorry for last night, pls disregard.” Ignored that one too. These texts signify a few things.
1) Simply testing the waters for any kind of response, N/P’s love drama of any type, good, bad, or ugly. 2) they are in constantly having the attitude to “win” and realized how stupid they felt when they received no response. They have to maintain their ego. (3) New NS is not meeting their needs, and possibly entering a in D & D stage. I feel for their horror, and glad it is no longer mine.
NO Contact is the ultimate and the only strategy to rid these sicko’s from your life. If you make contact with them, you will receive no apology nor empathy for the bad things that have happened to you. The Cycle will repeat, and you will waste your time by not finding a partner who will give you intimacy, empathy, and consistent love. NO Contact is the ultimate Narcisstic Injury, and it will hurt them. So expect contact and be strong not respond. Good Luck.
Perfect and perfectly timely post! My narc was disparaging me on his Facebook page recently (which I captured by screenshot before blocking him). He then had the audacity to email me and tell me he loved and missed me. I sent him the screenshot and told him we should keep it real and go no-contact forevermore. These will be the my happiest holidays yet!
Beautiful post! You are such a strong woman! I admire your wisdom so much! I was with a narcissist for the majority of college. I was in DEEP. But when I found God, he ran like a chicken with his head cut off 🙂
Anyone male or female who has dated a narcissist should feel special. The Lord gave us wisdom to see the truth, maturity to forgive, and the blessing at a second chance at life.
I can no longer find the post, but someone in this thread thanked God for giving her the wisdom and knowledge to be able to spot a Narcissist… Her comment shifted my perspective a bit… I too am grateful to have this ability, but I hadn’t thought of it as a “gift” at all before
Today was a particularly hard day. He really threw some abusive words at me today. We go through this cycle over and over and over again. It is maddening and makes me a crazy person. Just when I say I can’t take anymore, begin moving on, make not contact and avoid avoid avoid, he finds a way in and says just the right things to pull me back in and give me hope and fall in love with him all over again. I am a complete mess tonight. I can’t live this way anymore. So much has happened over the past 12 months that I don’t know how I am still standing. All I want to do is sleep and cry and forget that the world exists. Tonight, I MUST begin no contact (again for like the 27th time) and stick with it. If I don’t, I fear one day I will be dead. My heart already feels deadened and my body is an empty vessel of a person. I really hate myself for allowing this to go on for over three years. And yet, why do I still love this man? That’s the part I don’t get. Why do I love this man? How is it that I am addicted to him? I always thought I was a strong person. When did I become this person?
Thank you so much for all your posts they have helped me see what my ex boyfriend is and always will be…after two years of roller coasting I have had no contact for a month…I will be seeing him at a venue but now I’m strong enough to deal with it… I feel a bit of pity for him that he will always live his life not feeling like the rest of us do.
Thanks again for your insightful knowledge!
Thank you, your blogs are absolutely great and straight to the point. They make me feel better as you are totally right in every thing that you write about Ns.
Wow, this sure couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My N just told me about a month ago that he just got engaged to a woman that he had been dating for 2 months! BTW he had been calling me and “seeing” me right up until a month ago….do the math. I was so stunned and shocked at his admission that I have finally gone NC. Everything that you wrote here sounds exactly what I have been dealing with for over a year! He even is obsessed with his body just like the one that you write about lol. Keep up the good work, you are really helping women!
Thank you,savannah,This has come at a good time ,as I am struggling with thoughts of him and this new supply having a fun time at Xmas,as this time last year I was a basket case,so anxious I struggled to eat and him looking down at me as though I was weak and pathetic, I could sense he was devaluing me for not being the strong woman I once was,I have had no hovers since August declaring his love. Two weeks later he’s with a new woman.it hurts so bad at times,but we have to be strong and resist all temptation to remain no contact.i do not want him back.i guess I prey for karma that the new innocent woman wakes up to him.that would realy make my Christmas,shallow on my part I know,just grates on me that others can’t see what I do.FRUSTRTING!!.Thanks again for a great timely article.
That is the most accurate cycle between a Narc and their ‘hostage’ I have ever read… That is my ex (of 4 weeks) and my own experience to a “T”.
Thanks for your blog
Tea pea x
I blocked emails, phone calls, facebook etc.
Last week, he figured out how to text me from his email account – clever little monkey!
His text was asking about some dates of an event but it was worded like this: “Please answer my email. I need to know the dates of…”
You see what was done here? It wasn’t just about the dates. He could have found out the dates many different ways but he wanted to engage me, he wanted me to know that he had emailed me, despite all of the barriers I had set-up to protect against this very thing.
Well,I broke my own rule and looked at the email. Yup he was asking about the dates…followed by the next line “I’m starting therapy next week if you care, which you probably don’t…but maybe you do”. Need I say anymore?
It was never about the dates. It was about the second part of the email. That’s the information he wanted to convey.
But things like this, they just strengthen my resolve. I see how sick and twisted and how none of it has anything to do with me. NC is the only way.
Just last week I told my counselor that I could go NO Contact if I wanted to. Everything is set up. There are no excuses any more. If I don’t maintain No Contact, it is because I am chosing to do so; no more blaming HIM. Property division, Christmas, child issues . . .can all be completed No Contact, using texting or lawyers to handle anything that is absolutely essential.
Thank you Savannah. Your blogs are great and have helped me so much. I’ve been NC for 3 months. That’s after two years of text book Narcissist nonsense. I’m experiencing this exact thing now and staying strong. This blog came to me to reinforce why I’m doing what I’m doing. He has tried to call and text and I just ignored and deleted. I feel SO much better in general although I still have moments when I think about the horrible things he did (the pathological lying, triangulation, cheating, gaslighting, devalue, discard, then valuing me again etc) and I get livid, but it’s getting better and better. I know ANY contact will hurt me. The holidays are hard. So thanks for writing this! You are awesome! 🙂
This came at the perfect time. I hae gone contact and broken it many times over a three year period.
The latest was after he once again did something to humiliate me. When I called him on it and called him an ass, I received many text and emails where he claimed he had no idea what he had done, and why was I ignoring him. I finally responded listing all the things he has done to hurt me over a three year span. His response was just “ok.” God forbid he would apologize.
In my usual fashion, I ended up leaving him a voicemail apologizing to HIM. And he responded by saying I deserve better and have a good heart and need to guard my sweet heart, blah, blah, blah. But no apology for him, of course.
It’s time for me to go NC once again and mean it this time. Like you said, it will ALWAYS have the same result if I allow him back in. I’ve had a thousand “Miss your face” and “Thinking about you” text messages. They mean nothing except that they put me into a tailspin and the mistaken belief that he does care about me.
It’s sad, because I fell in love with him despite knowing all the red flags. But like he always says, I deserve better. It’s time I believe those words.
I will read this post many times to help me stay strong. I am an easy target because I do have a good heart and do believe in being a nice person. I guess there are some people you just can’t be nice to.