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Navigating a No-Contact Rule with a Narcissist

Posted by tonyoverbay

ORIGINALLY RECORDED ON 12/17/21

For many people trying to break free from unhealthy narcissistic relationships, a "no contact" policy is recommended. Tony discusses the challenges of going "no contact", as well as what healthy vs unhealthy reasons, look like for adopting a no-contact policy. Tony refers to the article "Narcissists and the No Contact Rule" from https://psychologia.co/narcissist-no-contact/

With the continuing "sheltering" rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can't continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

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[00:00:08] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 15 of Waking Up to narcissism, I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and host of the Virtual Couch podcast. And if you are not subscribed, please go find the virtual couch wherever you listen to podcasts. And I would love to have you as a part of that audience as well and continue to send me examples, examples of what you are waking up to, whether it is waking up to the narcissistic traits and tendencies of somebody in your life, whether it is a spouse or an adult child, a parent, employer, anybody, because every bit of feedback that I'm getting is going to help me create content that will just help get the message out there to to help others not feel crazy. And if you are also one who is starting to wake up to your own narcissistic traits or tendencies, and I am getting more and more of those emails, they're incredible. They are, and I know that takes a lot of courage, a lot of strength as well. And please, I would love to hear your examples as well because I am getting more and more of those. And as I shared in one of the previous episodes, that that is that's the duality of the title of waking up. The narcissism is I love talking about my own, waking up to my own narcissistic traits and tendencies as I really do feel as I share.

[00:01:22] Often there's a small percentage of people that are truly that diagnosable narcissistic personality disorder, but the concept of narcissistic traits and tendencies it does. It comes from our childhood. It comes from our insecurities, it comes from our weather. We were modeled the right way to take ownership of things. Or just how do we show up? Do we show up emotionally mature in adulthood? Because quite frankly, unless we are working on it or you have some awareness that you are going to maybe not even be aware of the way that narcissistic traits and tendencies look in relationships, sometimes I feel like one of the simplest things that is so powerful is being able to say my bad or I'm sorry, I'm so sorry that, yeah, I did do that or I wasn't aware of that's how you felt or how I was treating you. And that is just such a scary concept for so many of us. The concept of child childhood, the concept of gaslighting gaslighting is a childhood defense mechanism is so powerful when you realize that as kids, if we if we felt like we were in trouble, we really do. Did fear that our parents were going to kick us out of the house and no one one of the number one rules is childhood issues. Is that childhood fear of abandonment because abandonment is death. When we come out of the womb, we're factory programed to get our needs met.

[00:02:34] We're going to cry, we're going to scream, we're going to wear our parents out to get our needs met. Then as we grow into adulthood and teenager hood or maturity as we're hoping to mature. The goal is to go from self centered, which every kid is to more self-confidence. Self-confidence comes by being internally validated, not looking for external validation and learning to stand on your own two feet and finding yourself in relationships where you are. Two autonomous, interdependent people going through life, having your own unique experiences with a whole bunch of curiosity in the middle. So that is nowhere that I was hoping to go today. I was really going to start out with reading a few emails, and then one of the emails led into the topic of today, which, as you probably read in the description, is we're going to talk a little about the no contact rule with the narcissist, which is one of the key components, but also probably one of the most difficult things that anyone that has tried to do that can attest to the one bit of business, I guess. So to speak well, a couple is please do feel free to send me your feedback. Go to Tony over bakam. There's a contact form there and while you're there, I would love it if you take a minute and feel free to sign up for, I'm really bad about newsletters, that sort of thing.

[00:03:39] But at the beginning of the year, there is a lot of really neat things that I'm looking forward to sharing about this podcast, about programs, courses. I'm going to do another round of my magnetic marriage course sometime in January. And so just to sign up, shoot me some feedback that would be wonderful. And if you have a second, wherever you are listening to this podcast, if you know how to rate or review, I'm forever grateful. That part has been pretty overwhelming as well. Because the more ratings, the more reviews, the more downloads, the more you share. All the different podcast players have these different analytics, and that's what we'll get. Get the podcast in front of more people, and holy cow, thank you to any and all therapists. More of the emails I'm getting are my therapist recommended the Waking Up to Narcissism podcast, so I'm grateful of fellow therapist. I really am grateful for that support and I've heard from a few. But if you are someone that works with a lot of clients that do struggle with personality disorders, feel free to reach out. I've got some some plans in upcoming twenty twenty two to do a lot more interviews with people that are in relationships have been through relationships, and I would love to talk to a lot of the therapists who are working with this population as well and get your feedback and your thoughts.

[00:04:46] And I would love to have maybe some of you come on as guests as well. So let me read a couple of emails and I am going to I just got some general ones, and I'm going to change a little bit of the specifics because of course, in the world of confidentiality and some of them, I'm going to hit some of the short ones because I think that'll be helpful today. But there was one that is someone that has been hearing me talk about the women's group for. In artistic relationships, and I really do welcome you to contact me through the contact form. It is a private women's group on Facebook, and it isn't just people that are in narcissistic relationships with spouses, but it's with people that are waking up to narcissistic relationships, whether it is in their family. A lot of people are kind of recognizing narcissistic traits and tendencies and family dynamics, and I sometimes I call it there's even generational narcissism where when people didn't grow up talking a lot about feelings and emotions, that that's where those narcissistic traits and tendencies can be narcissistic, the relationships with their siblings and that sort of thing. So this person just said they were hoping to find out more about the group. They said they listen to the podcast. It's changed their life. Coming out of the fog of confusion has turned their life into a whirlwind, which of course, at first read, You feel like, OK, wait, is that a good thing? But then they said, I felt like I was in a vacuum before, so at least I can now breathe and I love.

[00:05:58] They threw in the HA because I appreciate the humor. But they said they do need a community that understands the insanity because it just drains the soul dealing with it. And that's one of the things I hear in the community is really powerful, and I believe it's really starting to find its own voice. Someone else said that they also would like to join the group. They said they've been listening to the podcast for a few weeks and realizing that they've been married to somebody with narcissistic tendencies for 20 years. And that narcissist wants this person to go to marriage counseling this week, and they're in a panic, so they're looking for support in a community. The narcissistic spouse has already seen the counselor a couple of times. They saw a counselor that she had chose several years ago, and it was disastrous. One big, hour long circular conversation full of lies. And man, I see you. That can be so frustrating. And I just that's where I really feel like it is important. It's a matter of fact. I guess I'm doing this on the fly, but I would love to if at some point if I can put together a directory of therapists that do work in this field because I do work in this area, the specialty, because absolutely, I feel like you do really know has a therapist when you've been working with this population for a long time of what those narcissistic traits and tendencies look like.

[00:07:00] And there is some extra work that needs to be done, of course, to build rapport and try to keep the couple engaged, to be able to recognize if this is a situation that is, you don't know what you don't know or if it's a situation where the person because of these deep childhood wounds, maybe at the current moment, incapable of having productive couple's conversations. And if that's the case, couples therapy is not helpful. I'll let you know that right now a couples therapy is counter indicate or a counter indicated if there is emotional, physical, spiritual financial abuse going on in the relationship. But I know that there there can be some work to try to determine if that is the case. So they did say, though, that they are there trying to find a way out of this relationship and there isn't anything easy about it. And that's the truth, and I know how hard that can be. And they just said, thanks for the podcast and it has helped. So I do appreciate someone else that said that they're really liking the podcast. They're able to see what's happening inside their prior marriage.

[00:07:51] And I really appreciate this because I think that sometimes it is important, not sometimes it is important. It is important to be able to go back and take, take note or throw maybe this framework of what narcissistic traits and tendencies look like, even over previous relationships so that you can know what to look for moving forward. This person said that they were lucky that they had family who saw what he was and was willing and able to help them leave. When they were ready, they were diagnosed with depression and anxiety the last year of their marriage, and they honestly thought that they were crazy as they couldn't do anything right. And she said that she felt like she was a failure as a wife, a mother. The main example that sticks out was the dishes, and I'm telling you, I've thought before about doing an entire podcast episodes on the dishes. There's so much here, she said. I couldn't keep up with the dishes, and when I did, they weren't ever clean enough. I asked for a dishwasher for a new house for weeks, and he kept saying that if I could prove that I could keep up with the dishes, then we would get a dishwasher. Already, I mean, right there, we're adults. Do we have to prove if you can keep up with whatever this arbitrary guideline is, then I will think about getting you the dishwasher, even though you're the one that's washing the dishes.

[00:08:53] It's maddening. But she said, I asked for the dishwasher. Yeah, I kept saying if I could prove it, I could keep up with the dishes and we could get one. We were in the house for almost a year with no dishwasher and the smallest sink in the world. And she said when I felt like I was doing well, I would reach out to him to make sure he was satisfied and he never was. But when he cleans, if she finds his footprints on the newly clean floor, I couldn't mention it. He could never. He would then share that I can never please you and that I was the one that was being too harsh. We could never get anything new. Everything had to be used, so everything broke down really quickly. And then at one point, her sister was staying and said something to him about how he was treating her. She said, I don't even remember what it was, but after it was one of the biggest fights because he blamed me for what my sister said, as if I was able to control my sister. And I love that, she said. I hope that it will help me see these traits earlier in my relationships. And absolutely. And this is where I feel like one of the things I do enjoy is working with people to help them spot red flags and help them recognize that there are ways that relationships are easier.

[00:09:50] And it is when people do approach a relationship and they are asking questions, they are curious. It's it's often a bit easy. Once you do wake up to a little bit of the narcissism to to notice that people go on dates in the other person is doing the proverbial love bombing where they are just talking about how amazing they are. The people they know, the grandiose things that they want to do and they're not asking questions or if they are asking questions, they're asking them so that they can get to their own stories that that sort of thing. She just said this has helped me so much in processing what's happened in her marriage. A lot of things are coming back, and she started to talk with a therapist and helping her heal and not suppress the issues and memories. And I think that is so powerful. It really is powerful to process memories to be able to help them heal because suppression of memories of situations doesn't end with a and we lived happily ever after in your own mind. So it is good just to be able to express and talk, and it's going to sound like I'm doing a set up. But when I was talking about taking care of a little bit of business earlier, this is the one plug I'll do for because this does help with the cost of the podcast, that sort of thing.

[00:10:52] But if you are looking for counseling therapy, if you're not sure where to go in your area or if you even want to be more discreet about it, you can go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you'll get 10 percent off your first month's services. And Betterhelp.com has a really powerful tool or assessment form where you fill out quite a bit of information. You're able to share what you're looking for, and you can talk about the the fears of the worries you have of waking up narcissism point. Point him to the podcast whatever you need to do to be heard, and you can find a counselor, a licensed counselor or therapist in your area or within your state. Because as therapists, we are licensed to work within our state and you can work in the world of online therapy. You can do tele therapy, you can do email therapy. I think they even let you do some chat therapy, text therapy, but anything just to start. The process of being able to feel heard and understood is a really powerful thing. So if you're thinking about doing that, go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and again you get 10 percent off your first month's services. The next one. I love the title, the title that says yes, yes, yes and yes again, she says. Thank you so much for your waking up.

[00:11:54] The Narcissism podcast she found it yesterday and already is in the middle of episode six and finds herself just saying yes throughout the whole thing. Said she's been married to her husband for almost 20 years and finally decided that a few months ago that enough was enough that it was time to look at a divorce. She said they've struggled their entire marriage, going to counseling five different times. The best I could say is he's just so unkind with a lot of examples, and I'm just putting a pause here. And as you go back and look at the numbers of the various episodes, the death by a thousand cuts episode truly is one that is being listened to over and over or spread or passed along. So I know that that is part of this when you feel like all you can say is he's just so unkind. But she said that there are just so many examples of what that looks like, and I feel like that is that death by a thousand cuts, but the behaviors kept getting more extreme. And she talks a little bit about some more of the prayer and research that she went through to try to uncover some things. And she has a couple of questions I will try to answer in a previous or previous in an upcoming episode, but I just appreciated this part where she told him most of the marriage that his hot and cold moods and behavior made her feel like she had to walk on eggshells just to keep the peace.

[00:13:01] And that that gave her anxiety at the times when he was home, but not in any other part of her life, which if you've been listening, that is one of the big key things or when somebody says No, but I, but I do get angry. I do get frustrated. Am I the one that's the nervous system? I the one that's gaslighting. But then I love to say, are you doing that in other areas of your life or you do in response and reaction to the relationship that is in front of you? Because remember, trauma is held in the body, the body keeps the score. So if you find yourself getting angry or having a short Fuze or yelling when you aren't a yeller or when you find yourself saying No, no, no, that's not what I meant. And that's where somebody can listen to a gaslighting episode and think, Wait a minute, am I doing the gaslighting? Am I the narcissist? But if that's the case and it's done in reaction, then that is your body, your brain trying to protect you and make sense of things. So she was saying that she had to walk on eggshells to keep the peace had anxiety, but again, not in other parts of her life.

[00:13:51] So of course, what he said was that she was the problem. The problem in their marriage was that she had the anxiety disorder. She said long story short, she started doing all the kinds of things that I talk about in the first episode of setting boundaries and calling out gaslighting and not engaging, and he lost it. He absolutely cannot handle boundaries. And then she found a YouTube video in narcissism and realized that I also described the husband perfectly. And so she does have a question that I'll get to in a future episode. But remember, as you're starting to listen to these episodes and put these pieces together, that that part where when you start to set boundaries, when you start to raise your emotional baseline, get yourself care in order. And when you start to, as I say, get your PhD in gaslighting and realize that there isn't anything that you are going to say or do that will cause the other person to have the AHA moment or the epiphany, then it will start to be met with. You are becoming more distant, you are becoming more angry, you are letting things hang on too long. You are, and those are the parts where that is because you are starting to differentiate. You were starting to become autonomous and interdependent, not codependent and enmeshed. And that is part of this whole process of waking up because in a healthy relationship that is going to be met with curiosity.

[00:14:57] Tell me why you feel like you have to walk on eggshells. Tell me more. Help me see my blind spots, and I've got my four pillars of a connected conversation. If you listen to some of those episodes on the virtual couch that I. We'll get to an episode coming up here about what that looks like, because I feel like often people don't even really understand a frame or framework of really a productive way to communicate because it's definitely not happening in the narcissistic relationships. All right, here's the email that launched today's episode, which I really do love. The person said that she wants to express how much she loves the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, which I appreciate. She said I've had way too much experience with people who are either a narcissist or have the narcissistic tendencies. She talked about one of her grandparents being one of those people. She said she's dated a few and now in her current relationship, excuse me and her current relationship, the narcissist is her mother in law. She said she's probably one of the worst that she's encountered since marrying me. My husband has found his voice and has been able to stand up to his mom and set boundaries, which of course, we just as we just alluded to, she doesn't respect the boundaries, which ultimately has led us to have no contact with her or my father in law, and we did not want it to end that way.

[00:16:01] But they both kept amping everything up constantly gaslighting and worst of all, coming in between my husband and I. And that can happen so often it really can. She said we finally saw the light called it quits and in order to have some peace in our lives, she said, your podcast has taught me so much about the inner workings of the narcissist and also how I am not crazy. And she is not. I don't know her, but I know just already she is not crazy. It's also taught her that her mother, that she is the mother in law, a scapegoat, that the mother in law has blamed this person for so many ridiculous things when all that she has done is truly tried to be the best daughter in law that she'd be. She's gone out of her way to be kind and helpful, but nothing is ever enough and love. She alludes to the concept of flying monkeys, which we'll get to that in a future episode. She and the flying monkeys have accused me emotionally abusive or racist of so many things that she's not to her husband and children and so much more. She said that her name, she knows, is being dragged through the mud constantly. But here's the powerful line, she says. I've come to peace with that because really do their opinions of her matter? Or are they her that her opinion of her isn't any of her business? So she just wanted to say thank you, and she loves listening and re listening to every episode.

[00:17:04] And so I am so grateful for that. And she talks about the concept of no contact, and that is one of the things that you will hear over and over about narcissist and the no contact rule. So I'm going to be referring today to a psychology article in psychology moco and its narcissist and the no contact rule. And of course, that will have the link to this article in the show notes of the episode. Because the no contact rule is they share and there isn't an author, so you're going to hear the proverbial v. The no contact rule is they share. It is a widely prescribed strategy to break free from the narcissist. As the name suggests, it involves avoiding any contact with the narcissist, including meeting with the narcissist in public or in private phone call, calling yourself or taking calls from the narcissist blocking the narcissist text messages, blocking the narcissist on social media, or even more extreme, deleting people's social media profiles. So the narcissist can't find you carefully avoiding any other possibility of meeting with the narcissist or avoiding talking to them at all. And so that is the goal of a no contact rule, and I want you to know that this is something that when people say, I know that I need to just break contact when I can, I know I need to not continue to reach out or get sucked in.

[00:18:13] And this is part of the purpose. The reason for this whole podcast is that I know that even what I'm going to read today is not as simple as it sounds. It's not even remotely as simple as it sounds because and we're going to talk about this today because the narcissist knows how to push your buttons. This is where when you are trying to over the course of months or years or decades. For some people where when you are trying to reason and when you're trying to say, Man, I just have to find a way to explain myself of why this hurts or how he hurts me, or because then maybe he'll understand. But in that scenario, what you're doing is falling prey to that. That fifth rule that I share that there's nothing you'll say or do that will cause him or her if she's a narcissist to have the aha moment or the epiphany. So when you are doing that, what you're actually doing is even if in the moment they say, OK, no, I thank you. I didn't even realize that. But then when they are angry, when they are fighting and now they pull that out, it's because you've handed them another button to push.

[00:19:09] This is what I talked about in a previous episode that concept of object constancy that for an emotionally mature adult that they can, they can be angry, but they can. Still, that anger can reside in that same place in their mind as love that I love this person. I'm frustrated with them. Or I might be angry about the situation, but I still love them. So why on earth would I treat them this way? Why would I pull out the things that they've told me that that I do that hurt them and now use them in that moment, which I feel like those are some of the true indicators of the narcissistic traits and tendencies. So the no contact rule is so important. It really is, and I know that it can be so difficult. And if you're in the relationship right now, as you start to set the boundaries and work through those five things, I talk about that as you do that that there are going to be part of the boundary setting process is going to be in essence, going no contact about certain things or certain topics. And if you are out of the relationship or going through a divorce or have narcissistic in-laws or parents, siblings or adult. Children, then that's where this can be, something that can really, really be difficult, but be absolutely necessary. They the article, it says if you have any common friends that the nurses could use to reach you, you may need to apply the no contact rule to these relationships as well, which can be.

[00:20:19] And while one may argue that the strategy isn't always practical, the narcissist could still show up at your workplace or wait near your home. And so it may be really helpful in some cases, and it is really worth considering even just being aware waking up to the concept of a no contact rule. This is so good. This is why I love this. There's a lot out there about no contact, but they talk about the wrong reasons to go, no contact. People ask a lot of questions about the no contact rule, but one of the common trends is that a lot of victims approach it with the wrong mindset. They view no contact as revenge. They want to hurt the narcissist. They want to make them miss them and regret everything that the nurses has done so that the nurses will come crawling back. And while that is absolutely understandable that this is, unfortunately this is a bit of, as they say, immature thinking and a sign that that victim is not quite ready to heal. This is where you need to learn to this way. I feel like then my first thing they raise your emotional baseline. Self care, find yourself. Self care is so important as the number one thing to do to raise your baseline so that you can be in a position where you aren't even approaching this from more of an immature standpoint where you're not, in essence, seeking that external validation of wanting them to know that they've hurt you so that you feel better.

[00:21:27] We need to get you to a place where you know that this is not OK the way to be treated. And so therefore then I'm not doing this because I am trying to teach them a lesson. I'm doing this because I don't deserve to be treated the way that they treat me, and that is a big difference. And it's powerful and it does take time, and it's not something that just happens overnight and I understand that. So again, they view if someone's looking at this with a little bit more anger or immaturity, their view in the no contact is revenge. And so we go no contact to finally break free from the narcissistic abuse. And, as they say, to regain your life, to restore your mental and physical health, that it is not meant to be used to manipulate the narcissist into changing his or her ways with to be with you and you alone, or to leave you alone. It's not one of those relationship games that people play to satisfy their ego. So this is the part where you have to look inward. You have to be honest with yourself because your future is, they say, literally depends on it.

[00:22:17] If you are looking for a way to hurt your abuser or tame them, you're most likely not willing to change your relationship with them. And if that's the case, then you're not quite ready to heal. And then, as they say, to understand, and this is so powerful, this is so true and it is unfair, it is absolutely unfair, and we have to get to a place of acceptance that it is absolutely unfair. Once we accept the fact that it's unfair, then we're no longer arguing. This isn't even fair. It isn't. But once you accept that now, you can work with it now that we have already accepted the fact that this isn't fair. Now what do we do with that unfairness? Because they talk about how understanding you cannot out manipulate the narcissist? And that's difficult. That's hard. It's frustrating, but that needs to be from a place of acceptance. You can't beat them at their own game, and truthfully, you shouldn't even attempt it. Here are a few of the possible scenarios of what happens they talk about if you insist on seeking revenge that you will get back together and after a honeymoon period of sorts, then your relationship will most likely return to old patterns. I call it the shelf life. The person then says, No, OK, I get it. I'm sorry, and you want that so desperately.

[00:23:17] You do. You just want that. You want them to understand you're a kind person. You can make this work. And that's what really does. Start to create the trauma bond over and over, and it makes it more difficult each and every time they say you'll become hurtful and manipulative person yourself, which will negatively affect your future relationships. And that is obviously not the answer as well. This is where people really find themselves so reactionary. That isn't who they are. And in the article they talk about, they said, We're not discouraging you from avoiding the narcissist if your intentions are less than pure. But what we mean is to be honest with yourself, and if you have work to do, do the work, find a therapist, reach out, join a group, start to really wake up to these nasty traits, tendencies and the ways to get to a better place yourself. They say the feeling of hurt pride and the desire for revenge are complex emotions, and you'll need to work with a professional to get past that again. Some something like a betterhelp.com or find somebody in your area. So this is so important. How does a narcissist feel during no contact you as the most likely pathologically kind person who wants to think the best and see the best? And others are going to great lengths to try to make sense or of why the narcissist is doing what they're doing, and you're viewing it through your own lens.

[00:24:25] And so you are assuming that they are ascribing to a similar moral code such as that lying and cheating or stealing is wrong when in reality, this person is in a completely different space. The Insight Psychology ATCO they say a narcissist is similar to a drug addict in the sense that they are addicted to attention, admiration, praise and control over other people. We refer to it as the narcissistic supply, and that is one of the terms you'll see so often. So while you were together, you were their source of narcissistic supply. And now that it's taken away from them, they feel frustrated. They feel restless. They literally is as if they're having a withdrawal, so they will want to regain their source of the narcissistic supply. They'll feel challenged, and they want to prove themselves by forcing you to get back with them. And I'd love. This one, this is not one that I think about often, but they feel very bored because there is nothing to distract themselves with, and they are not really very comfortable being in their own skin where that's where it is often the desire to manipulate, control or just put themselves in a one up position at any and all times in order to just feed that narcissistic supply. So how does the narcissist react to no contact? There is no doubt that no contact has a devastating effect on the narcissist, which again, I understand can be so difficult for you if you are the kind person.

[00:25:37] But depending on the state of your relationship and the presence of other sources of narcissistic supply or a lack thereof, they say there are a couple of possible reactions that the narcissist may have. They may frantically pursue the victims in an attempt to get them back, which is the most probable thing they will. They know how to push the buttons, they know how to go through all the emotions. Again, I call them the popcorn moments. They will get angry. Then if you don't respond, they will cry. They will laugh. They will say, Oh, you're right, I finally understand. And then if you do not give in, if you don't respond to one of those buttons, they will continue to try to find that way to to get you to react. And because it isn't working, they'll announce that their victim doesn't deserve them anyway. Generally, they will pretend that they were the ones who were doing the dumping because they have to be the one that then takes that one up position or control. And while that second option seems less than flattering as an alternative, it is, in fact, as they say, a much more fortunate outcome because now you truly are virtually free. So that's one of the hard things if you have to then become the person that they are saying, Well, you know what? I never wanted this relationship anyway, and I am dumping you, that can be a gift.

[00:26:38] As difficult as it can, that really can be. So unfortunately, they say in most cases, narcissists don't let their victims off the hook very easily, and they will do whatever it takes to win them back. They will call you, they will text you, they will stalk you, they will try to interact with you on social media. They'll send you emails, they'll show up at your workplace, they'll embarrass you in front of your colleagues. They'll wait for you in the parking lot. They'll wait for you near your home or gym, or they'll contact your friends and relatives. And I see this so often that all out of the blue, there will just be an email that will say anything. Hey, what kind of the food did the dogs like again? Or it will just be anything? Here's a picture. I'm just sending you a picture because they're looking for any way to lure you back in. And once they manage to get a hold of you, then they try to manipulate the emotions by reminding you of how happy you were together. Or now that they understand or they get it, they want you to recall those sweet memories of the days that you were in the initial stages of the relationship and so much in love before.

[00:27:28] And I think this is interesting. This is something I've discovered with my own clients that they they often say, Can we just get back to the part where how things used to be before you started to be become so egotistical or interdependent or independent or? And I've had people literally say that they liked it better when their spouse didn't have so many opinions or wasn't trying to do. I'll figure all these things out on their own. And so what they're saying is, can we go back to the part where you were submissive and I was dominant and you would do anything? I said so that I felt better about myself. Expect gifts. Expect beautiful promises, tears. They know you well. They know exactly what you want to hear and love. In the article, they said, Think about your favorite romantic drama or character. This is their response. Well, the nurses come back after no contact. In most cases, the answer is absolutely yes, and they will do that over and over again as you are continuing to learn how to set these boundaries. Sometimes they will get you back, if only to break up with you or discard you later. And it's important to them that if a breakup takes place, that they are the ones, then to initiate it. But more worrisome, they may say to seek revenge because ignoring them is one of the worst things that you can do to a narcissist in their mind.

[00:28:28] So then another question is how long do you go? No contact, no contact is not something you do for two weeks or a month. That in the best case scenario, really is indefinite. If the nurses has a way of contacting you, they will continue bugging you and it can be for years to come. And that's why it's so essential that you heal yourself first so you can stay strong and resist the temptation to get back together. I find that what becomes very fascinating is that sometimes it has been time and somebody will just reach out and they feel like, OK, enough time has passed, you know, I'm just going to let them know, Hey, I hope you're doing well. We really I know that our relationship wasn't healthy, and so I just hope you're well. And I often advise my clients. I mean, you're so kind. But I would not recommend that because basically, if you are out of sight, you are out of mind. If you're out of mind and out of sight, then they are looking for other narcissistic supply. And so I have worked with so many people that have been engaged just to be nice. And now it's as if the narcissist is like, Oh, OK, here's my supply again. And as a matter of fact, I know exactly the right buttons to push. So narcissists miss their ex after no contact, and this is hard.

[00:29:27] This was a hard one, but you might be thinking the narcissist really misses you, and the answer is yes, but not in the way that you hope. And as they mentioned earlier, you were the source of that narcissistic supply. You were the source of love and admiration and praise. And now that you're gone, there's a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction. So they say that at this stage, the narcissist is eager to fill that empty space, which is why they keep contacting you. But unfortunately, this doesn't mean that they love, really love or miss you in a way that most people would understand. And they say. Finally, one last note the narcissistic personality disorder, the clinical kind, and this is again, why I love this article is very rare. Most people we refer to as narcissists do not have narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder. It's and it's not clear. Nicole, him, it's more of a spectrum with people falling closer towards the end, hence displaying more narcissistic traits so that it means along with the traits, they can also have other, more desirable traits. In other words, there absolutely could be some good things about them, but it means that along with narcissistic traits, that they can also have other, more desirable characteristics. In other words. Absolutely. I recognize there can be good things about them, and so that can be part of the problem that can be part of the struggle.

[00:30:29] And you as a kind person are going to look for those things that you would like to see. It's the confirmation bias. It's why when you buy a blue car, all of a sudden you see so many blue cars on the road you want to see that trait, those traits that you find desirable in someone. And so often that is to the point of ignoring the things that are difficult are bad. So they say that if you're unsure about this particular relationship, a good question to ask is not whether you or your partner has narcissistic personality disorder. A better question to ask is how does it feel to be in a relationship with them? Because that truly is a situation where your body keeps the score. It's trying to warn you, does your heart rate elevate? Do you have a visceral negative reaction? And if so, then listen to your body, get back there to trust that gut. All right. So I know that that is a lot more difficult than it sounds and I would love your experiences are things that you this brings up for you. So that might be something that if you have some thoughts right now, please feel free to reach out to me. Go to Tony over bbc.com and contact me through the contact form. I appreciate your you being here. I appreciate the support and I will. I will see you next week on waking up the nurses home.

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