It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. It often isn’t supported when the decision is made to go no contact. It’s hard to maintain.
When my best friend left her fiance she did not fully recognize his abusive nature and he sent her regular emails, pretending to care for her and wanting to make sure she and her children were okay, delaying removing the rest of his things from storage in her outbuildings. He also contacted me, her parents and brothers, and damaged her reputation with the non-profit she was working with. I told her he contacted me and, if she wanted to know, what he said. My support was 100% with her.
So… why do it?
Leaving an abusive relationship has been proven to be the most dangerous time for a victim. The abuser does not let go easily and will say and do anything to either get you back, or destroy you. In addition, your mind is in a strange place. Your esteem has been defeated, you doubt yourself, and you are susceptible to manipulation from the abuser. No contact gives you the space to protect yourself and to heal.
When Lily left her husband the first time, he phoned me, asking if I would help him get her back. He tried to convince me he was turning to God, that he was willing to do anything to get her back. I told Lily he called and what he said, and she was able to tell me exactly what was going on and how he was manipulating people to his side.
What is No Contact?
No contact means exactly that. Don’t see, talk to, communicate or otherwise engage with the abuser. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
No contact also needs to extend to family and friends who support the abuser. Not only will the abuser try to contact you, but they will contact mutual friends, acquaintances and family in order to manipulate the facts, to lie about what has happened and to manipulate or coerce them into helping them get you back. In some instances, the abuser will reach out to your friends and co-workers (non-mutual) as well. These friends may not even realize they are doing the bidding of the abuser, but it is effective all the same.
My ex reached out to our church community, he contacted our pastor and spread the story that I was unfaithful to him, that I left because he had gained weight and I didn’t find him attractive anymore, that I had made up all of the abuse. He convinced our pastor that he had changed within 6 months of me leaving, all the while sending me abusive and insulting emails. When the pastor confronted me, I shared the evidence contradicting his claims of having changed. It was the last time the pastor contacted me regarding the matter, or was supportive in any other way towards me.
This means you have to change all online passwords, social media, banking, etc. You may also wish to change your phone and computer, or at least have them checked for stalking software.
No contact means eliminating any source the abuser may use to contact you, by blocking them, deleting online accounts, and asking those close to you to assist you by not being a go-between. It also means not checking up on the abuser. It’s tempting. We want to know what lies they are telling, we want to see if they have let us go, we want to know if we are safe. It isn’t safe.
All of the above is easiest if there are no children from the relationship. It becomes more challenging if there are children to take into consideration. Then, no contact is impossible and minimal contact must be engaged.
If there are children and contact cannot be completely cut off, you have to use absolute discretion and wisdom in the amount and type of contact allowed. You have to set strong boundaries and stick to them. It is recommended to keep to written communication only – text, and email. Set clear definitions on parenting time and have everything solidified into a court agreement or order as quickly as possible.
If you have grounds for a restraining order, obtain one. Do your best to maintain it. Report every single infraction to the authorities, no matter how slight. Remember that in the beginning of the relationship the abuser tested with small abuses before escalating to larger ones, and he (or she) will do this with testing a restraining order – and your commitment to no contact.
Leaving an abusive relationship is only the first step to freedom. The second step is No Contact. Keep walking forward. Find your healing and stay safe.