Congratulations! You’ve decided that you’re through being abused by a toxic parent, partner, or friend and are ready to go No Contact. Good for you! You’re taking a HUGE, healthy step!
Your first urge? To explain why. You want to deliver that one last message that details every wrong. How you’re at the end of your rope. How you’ve told them over and over to stop their toxic behavior. How nothing has changed so you need to make the change. Maybe you think they’ll stop harassing you if they know you won’t respond. Maybe part of you hopes that raising the stakes will prompt an apology or better yet, changed behavior. Maybe you just “need them to know.”
Beware. YOU’RE BODY’S TRICKING YOU!
TRAUMA BOND is chemical. An addiction to the adrenaline rush occurs when your fight-or-flight survival instinct is engaged. If the abuser is also your caretaker, a hormone develops that confuses abuse for love.
As with any addiction, your body goes through withdrawal. It tries to convince you to do unhealthy things, like sending a letter.
TIP: Just like a smoker chews gum to quit, have a list of healthy alternative activities you enjoy for when symptoms emerge, such as journaling, gaming, walking, crafting, reading, yoga, or simply breathing deeply.
But, How Will They Know I’ve Gone No Contact if I Don’t Tell Them?
The same way they know everything else. By your actions. Manipulative people memorize what you SAY to weaponize against you later. They watch what you DO to adjust their control tactics.
By having a “final” conversation or sending them a letter with all of your wounds exposed, you’re doing three things — no, one of them isn’t giving the silent treatment. That punishes. No Contact protects:
- Confirming that they are important and influential in your life. That they have power over you
- Providing your bully instructions on how to further bully you
- Warning them to assemble their army of enablers and flying monkeys. Relatives, friends, and co-workers who’ve been groomed to pity your abuser try to persuade you to return with phrases like “But he’s your…” “I’ve never seen her be…” “They love you so much.” “You’re breaking their heart.”
So, What Do I Do?
Go ahead, write a letter. JUST DON’T SEND IT TO YOUR ABUSER. That will only prolong the abuse as you worry and wonder if they’ve received it. Instead, write as much detail as you desire, and get everything out. Draw pictures, and do multiple drafts. Write whatever you need to write.
Then, take a break from it. A day, a week. Participate in healthy activities. You may even choose to stick your letter in an envelope and mail it to yourself.
After your break, re-read your letter and write a response that contains the apologies you deserve. Address each detail. This is hard and SO worth it. If you’re struggling, try writing how you think they’ll respond, then write the opposite. For example:
I received your “letter”. I read your letter thoroughly. H ow dare you speak to me that way. I’m so glad that you felt comfortable telling me the things I’ve done that have hurt you. You know that I’ve had a hard life. I have no excuses for my behavior. Y ou’re always accusing me of ruining your life, but have you ever stopped to think how you ruin mine? I am selfish and I purposely hurt you to control you. Accusing me of hijacking your wedding is absurd. I know now that your wedding wasn’t about me. I was jealous of the attention you got and behaved terribly.
f you want to behave selfishly and turn your back on me, so be it. I understand why you don’t want me in your life. I know that I treat you terribly. You’re only punishing your children. You’re protecting your children from my abusive behavior. I would never do this to you. I constantly reject you and turn my back on you. When you come to your senses, you know where to find me. I’m sorry that I hurt you so badly that you need to remove me from your life. That’s not what a parent is supposed to do. I will never stop loving you I will never stop manipulating you. You are wise to get away. Goodbye forever, Love, Dad Your Abuser
These letters were never for them, they’re for you. You’ve given them enough of your time.
Congratulate yourself and Ask for help. Find a trauma-informed therapist, support group, or trusted friend/relative to talk to. You can use both letters as a blueprint of issues to address. The sooner you remove the toxic people from your life, the sooner you can start healing and surrounding yourself with people who treat you with love and respect. You’re making difficult, important, healthy choices and you’re doing great!
Need more tips for going No Contact with a Toxic Parent? Check out the links below!
Creative storyteller and recovering scapegoat of a narcissistic parent, working through Complex PTSD one post at a time