Managing NO CONTACT With Narcissists
Making the decision to walk away from a relationship with a narcissistic person can be very difficult. It doesn't matter what the relationship is. Because of enmeshment and trauma bonding, separating themselves from the narcissistic person could be one of the hardest things some people ever do. It requires the painful acceptance of some really tough stuff in order to walk away, and staying away can prove even harder, especially when the narcissistic person is a family member.
Part of the reason for this is because often when pathologically narcissistic people are facing the end of a relationship and it is not one they were ready to be done with, they will begin to panic. This can result in something that many call "hoovering." It's named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, because that is what the narcissist is trying to do: suck the person back in to the relationship. They may suddenly be sorry, or kind, or become hysterical and talk of suicide. They may use guilt against the person who is attempting to leave. They may say the person is abandoning them or rejecting them, that they are being treated unfairly or that no one has ever cared about them. They may seem very sincere, and in fact they may very well believe the things they say. These things may even be true, but it doesn't matter because there's nothing you can do about it. You cannot help or heal someone by letting them abuse you, and that is all that is really possible in the narcissistic relationship. Any kindness or consideration they show other people comes with a string attached. They know no other way to interact with people and they have nothing to give.
Another reason it's so hard is because even though the relationship was generally unfulfilling, usually frustrating and often abusive, the person still wants to see the narcissist. They still want to be around the narcissist. They are holding on to hope. They are looking for closure. They are not sure if the relationship is salvageable. There are any number of reasons that people will use to convince themselves that seeing the narcissist or talking to the narcissist one more time is justified or even necessary. In order to manage NO CONTACT, it is essential to remember that this relationship is feeding an addiction that you have and these reasons are lies the addicted part of your brain is telling you. It just wants its fix of drama and love-bombing, and you cannot break an addiction if you are continuing to use. It's hard, it's painful and it sucks, quite frankly, but if you really want to break this addiction, you have to face it down and beat it. The only way to do that is to stop.
It's really important to examine your motivations here. Are you ending the relationship because you are truly done with being disrespected, abused and mistreated? Or are you trying to teach the pathologically narcissistic person a lesson in the hope that they will change their behavior? Because they will - for a while. For as long as it takes to convince you to come back and to stay. Then it will likely go back to how it was because this is all they know: manipulation, domination, and control. So many people say they are trying to help the narcissist "function normally" and don't realize that they are functioning normally. This is their normal. They've never been any other way. If someone suddenly loses their ability to see, their new situation will feel abnormal because they were used to a different way of functioning for so long. They feel like they've lost something. But for someone who has been blind since birth, there is nothing abnormal about the situation at all. This is how it's always been and they have nothing else to compare it to. It's not possible for someone to understand the loss of something they've never had.
If you're having trouble with NO CONTACT or walking away from the relationship, just remember that it's going to take time. You have to get used to someone not being around and life being different, you have to mourn the relationship, and you have to get used to not being responsible for this person anymore. These things are difficult in and of themselves, and you're dealing with an addiction on top of that. Habits are hard to change. Patterns are hard to break. There is a chemical or physical component to this addiction, an emotional component and a habitual one. It's hard to change all of these things at once. It's painful and it takes time to do. Remember that when you decide to quit smoking, it's not a decision you make only once. It's an ongoing choice that you have to keep making over and over again. A person who decides to quit smoking on Tuesday doesn't wake up on Wednesday not wanting to smoke anymore. They have to keep making that same decision 50 times a day or more until the physical urge goes away, the emotional triggers become less intense and the habit is broken. It is the exact same thing here.
It takes willpower, committment and time. Sometimes people beat themselves up for still having feelings for the pathologically narcissistic person or for still wanting to be around them. Don't. You're a human being with feelings, dealing with someone that is extremely difficult. Accept the situation for what it is and do the best you can. Don't beat yourself up but don't give yourself too many excuses, either. Remember that in narcissistic relationships, closure is a myth. IT can ever be a trap, because repeatedly engaging with this person in an attempt to find closure is only putting yourself back on that hamster wheel, running and running but never getting anywhere. You have to find your own closure by making it OK with yourself that you will probably never get what you want from this person.
The relationship with a narcissistic person is a never-ending circle, where you chase what you want but never get it. It's like a mule with a carrot. Mules are strong but they're stubborn, so if you want the mule to pull the plow, you show him a carrot. When you dangle the carrot over the mule's head, he works harder trying to get that carrot. For a while. Mules are stubborn but they're not stupid. Eventually, he will figure out that he is never going to get the carrot and when he is tired, he will just sit down. No matter how hard you pull or what you offer, he is not going to get up because he's wise to the game now. He understands that you're working him. So the question is, how tired are you?