Sunday, 22 March 2020

No Contact vs The Silent Treatment/Ostracism & Why The Former Makes Sense For Me

By Waiching 

No contact is not a ploy to get back at the person, nor to let them back into our lives; rather it is a way of removing or at least minimising almost no contact with him/her and is used as a last resort when all attempts at maintaining neutrality, fail. No contact falls more in line with the victim, whereas the silent treatment is what a narcissist does. 

We choose to establish a 'no contact' rule for numerous reasons, including preserving our emotional and mental health and allowing ourselves space and time to 'heal' from abusive, toxic relationships, -and not to exact revenge, to hurt or punish them. 

Full non-contact involves absolutely ZERO communication, correspondence and interaction of any kind with the other person who is having a negative effect on you, in under any manner and through any medium (phone, text, messaging, social networking, in-person). You need to make a clean break and cut off any communication with him/her and detach yourself from doing so. You need to free yourself, to feel and sense your feelings, one needs time for oneself and to mourn and to replenish your energy levels. Disengage from him/her emotionally and spur yourself from their pain. 

It is a way of setting boundaries, giving you perspective on yourself and your personal or professional relationship with that person and whilst it is not an attempt to change him/her, but letting go of changing them, letting go of the desire in changing them, it is more about preserving your needs and being happy within yourselves. The no contact thing applies mostly to relationships involving couples, married or otherwise, but it can also be applied to work relations and relationships with (increasingly) difficult, toxic and problematic employees, co-workers you are not working in direct contact with. It enables you to take the focus off them and to focus on managing your well-being and self and maintaining self-respect. 

No contact is often mistaken in an unfavourable light and is often viewed in a similar fashion to narcissism and ostracism and the silent treatment as manipulation and punishment, it is not a decision to be taken lightly, - yet I'd argue no contact is lesser of the three negatives. There comes a point in a working, professional or personal relationship with a so-called narcissist or otherwise, emotionally negative person, that one says to him/herself, ''that's it, I must remove myself from their presence, which is hurting me on the inside, as well as outside''. The very minute you choose not to interact and engage with him/her, refrain from speaking to them, not approach them, to go about your work or life as normal and as if s/he doesn't exist, your head starts to clear and you feel relieved and happy. Narcissistic or toxic coworkers or bosses, partners know what your emotional weaknesses are and they have no qualms in drawing them out and exploiting them by pushing your buttons to get a reaction out of you. By responding or reacting to their d***ish behaviour, you are giving them ammunition to hurt you further. I have no control over the stupid things they do and say and things that I'd never expected and ones that made me wish, ''I wish you'd stop speaking to me''. A seemingly small act of rudeness can have an effect on others that is unjust. 

Yet it is important to stand firm and not get sucked into their toxic and erratic behaviours and become affected by them. It is just as much a mental and emotional exercise as it is a physical one by means of being present with him/her in the same room, location, space. And it is tough work, - I have to remind myself there is no point investing any more of my emotional energy and giving so much more of myself to him/her when all they'll do is suck the joy out of me and replace it with trepidation and anguish. I walk away from them, I stay away from them. By establishing a 'no contact' boundary sends a clear message to the undesirable person that my emotional security is well and truly guarded -, and that it can't be affected in such a way that will hurt me. It also prevents you from demeaning and embarrassing yourself unnecessarily; like for instance, saying something to him/her that you might end up regretting later on. Cutting off someone, blocking them or at least giving them the brush-off, just because they are being an idiot towards me or they are mistreating me or in a manner, I feel upset by, means I avoid any escalating tensions that might come my way and in having to contend with him/her. 

Silence is golden that it speaks volumes, and as such with the no contact rule, this is effective: narcissists, extremely difficult and toxic people feed on attention, control and yet when they don't get what they want or expect and crave for that, they feel restless and frustrated. Many will claim no contact is passive-aggressive - I'd argue no, it isn't. It isn't towards a toxic individual or narcissist. There is no intent to cause harm or hurt the other person, but it is a way to cancel out, defuse or oust feelings of fatigue, potential anger that might happen or depletion of an unpleasant situation & to stand up for yourself. Ostracism, in contrast, is passive-aggressive, is far more damaging and detrimental, considering that deliberate disengagement with colleagues, friends, family members (which this is) can lead to sadness, depression, further isolation and feelings of loneliness and anger.

For many of us, it is far easier by choosing not to utter a single word to him/her, rather than to address whatever issue or concern is going on -especially if all past attempts in doing so have failed -, and if one is not a confrontational person or someone who avoids conflict and drama. If you are suffering because of their attitude, and yet your compassion, patience, attentiveness and empathy isn't good enough for them, and they don't seem to care one bit, ask yourself, ''Is it truly worth going through all those emotions with him/her again?''. Resorting to the silent treatment doesn't mean everyone who issues it, are being petty or truly hates him/her, well in the form of no contact that is, - for some, they do it because they want to avoid the drama, because they want to heal mentally and emotionally, and to give the other person space and time to heal and to give them a peace of mind. Let's face it - whenever I try to speak out or defend myself, I get shut down and I feel that no matter what I say, I will always get called out and I don't have a good way to reply back. On the face of it, however, one drawback with no contact or be it the silent treatment is without talking it out, face-to-face in a one-to-one setting, there is no way to define nor for the person to understand what they did or said in the first place. 

When someone goes 'no contact', the reason is not with or about the narcissist or toxic individual and what by going no contact, will do to them, but they do it for themselves, for their own emotional protection and well-being. They want to heal. They want to move on, not harbour ill-feelings with the other party in the long run, and hoping the next couple of days, weeks maybe, things will get better for them and for their relations with their colleague/s, friend/s, partner, family member/s to improve. I am not a heartless person, I have empathy, I have feelings too; I also have my boundaries and so does s/he and I am aware that ignoring or shunning someone can have a detrimental impact on him/her. But it feels empowering to me to gain some confidence and knowing that on occasions such as this towards narcissists and people who might display narcissistic traits, it is best not to utter a single word at all to them. 

If someone at work or in your relationship is a strain on your personal or professional relations, I'd suggest to going 'no contact' - no talking, no speaking, avoid communication for several days (I read that for some couples it's 30 days), and when you feel able and willing to speak to him/her again, then do so. Don't shut them out, completely and for good - unless they are completely toxic and narcissistic. These toxic people thrive by feeding on their noxious behaviours and attitudes to the detriment of others. These types of people do not truly care about your feelings, no matter how much they claim or insist they do.

Extreme pessimists and antagonisers do not deserve your undivided time and attention. 


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