No one wakes up and decides to go no contact with their parents. The choice to go no contact with anyone is made after you’ve tried for years to build a healthy relationship with someone. Unfortunately, when that someone is a parent, society attaches a lot of stigma to those who go no contact with parents. Some people feel like they owe their parents a relationship for the room and board they provide. The truth is, you don’t owe anyone who mistreats you anything.
What is No Contact?
No contact is a strategy to avoid toxic people by giving them silent treatment. Refusing to communicate with someone is a form of punishment. Usually, the silent treatment is the only way to deal with people who have untreated narcissistic behavior patterns. By withholding communication, you deny a toxic person access to your time and attention. In addition, going no contact with your parents is painful because you are forced to grieve multiple losses.
When Should I Consider Going No Contact?
If you have not already, start keeping a journal of all the negative interactions you have with the parent, you plan to go no contact with. Be clinical about it rather than injecting your own emotions into the recording. Do your parents continuously ignore your boundaries? What about using emotional blackmail to manipulate your behavior? Do they blame you for everything wrong with your family? Even things that can’t be your fault? Aside from obvious physical or sexual abuse, all of these are considered emotional abuse, which can be subtle but very damaging. People who emotionally abuse others rarely will admit that they are wrong. Instead, they will double down and find more ways to abuse you if given a chance.
Understand It Won’t Fix Everything In Your Life
Going no contact with a toxic parent will likely help your emotional well-being, but it won’t fix all your problems. Cutting them out stops the bleeding, but a wound still needs healing. For many people, the reason they can’t step away from a toxic person is due to a trauma bond that can feel as addictive as drugs or alcohol. Removing a toxic parent from your life solves one problem but opens the door to new problems. Perhaps now you will struggle financially by not interacting with this person anymore. Maybe the rest of your family will take your parent’s side and shun you. You must decide if cutting out this person is worth the potential cost you might have to pay.
You Will Feel Doubt About Going No Contact with Your Parents
You will sometimes feel like you have made the wrong choice, and other people might also make you feel like this too. Likely, you will consider going back to your toxic parents after some time as passed, hoping they have improved. Instead, they will likely welcome you with open arms and “love bomb” you for a few months. You might feel like they have changed until the sublet boundary-pushing and undermining starts seeping back into the relationship. You must have the fortitude to realize that this is a slippery slope, and soon you will be back where you were before you went no contact.
Healing Takes as Long as it Takes
No one wants to hear this, but healing takes as long as it takes, and everyone’s journey is different. You can not expect to cut out someone who has been in your life for so long and feel nothing. Instead, there will be a grieving process where you mourn that you did not have the healthy parent you deserved. Online counseling is a convenient way to work through this grief and keep you focused on why you had to cut them out in the first place. Depending on the scale of the toxic behavior, you might also want to consider trauma counseling to help process the physical or emotional damage your parents inflicted.
Family Strategies Counseling & Mediation is a therapy office serving the Chicagoland Area. We offer couples counseling and mental health services. Our therapists are skilled at working with those struggling to process traumatic events. Call our office at (708) 798-5433 or email us at info@Family-Strategy.com for appointment details.