This is a common question among those who are thinking of leaving or have left an emotionally abusive partner (Narcissist, Sociopath, Borderline, etc.)
While some exceptions exist, the main reason that a Psychopath won’t leave someone alone is that their target hasn’t implemented No Contact in its true form.
For example, I often read on forums that someone has been “No Contact” for x-number of days, but then they receive a phone call, an email, or a Facebook message from the person they’re trying to get away from, which of course keeps them in a state of confusion and doubt. (The only reason an abusive Ex should have an open line of communication is in the case of shared custody, and even then, there should only be one).
If there is a way for the Psychopath to contact you, then you haven’t gone No Contact…you’ve gone “No Response”, which is different. Let’s talk about what No Contact really means as described in my article, The No-Contact 7-Day Challenge ~ Quitting Your Narcissist:
What No Contact IS
No Contact is – Blocking your Ex from your cell phone. There are a number of apps that will allow you to do this. “Mr. Number” is a great one because you can set it to automatically hang-up without ever going to voice mail.
No Contact is – Blocking your Ex from your email accounts. All of them. If you are the type that needs to explain what you are doing, then send a final email, and then block them. Don’t leave yourself open for a reply because doing so will only lead to more crazy-making.
No Contact is – Blocking your Ex from your social networks. All of them. There is absolutely no reason to keep them on your “friends” list. This includes Facebook, Skype, Tango, VooLoo, Facetime, etc. Make a list of all the networks you use and remove the Ex from all of them.
No Contact is – Changing your cell phone number, if needed, and only giving it to friends and family. Not your Ex.
No Contact is – Not answering the door if they come over. And they likely will. Don’t crack the door so you can tell them you’re fulfilling the No Contact rule. It’s counter-productive and shows the Psychopath they are winning, which is all they want in the first place. If they insist, walk away from the door, go to your room, put in earplugs, sing a ditty, or hook yourself up with earphones and your favorite song/meditation on YouTube. Pretend they aren’t there. If you begin to worry about your safety, call the police. No need to inform them you will do it, just do it.
No Contact is – Letting a trusted friend open anything you receive from the Narcissist through USPS. Let them determine if it’s something that can be saved for evidence, or just smoke and mirrors saying they miss you. If you have a custody arrangement, let same trusted friend open the letter to determine if it’s a legal matter or just their attempt at Hoovering.
No Contact is – Not replying to friends they send your way in order to pump you for information.
No Contact is – Not accepting any new “friend requests” on social networks, especially if it’s a request with no picture and was JUST established.
What No Contact Isn’t:
No Contact Isn’t – Leaving them with complete access to call or text you and deciding if you will answer the phone or not when they call.
No Contact Isn’t – Leaving them on your “friends” list on your social networks so you can covertly show them how happy you are in order to make them jealous and/or miss you OR so you can post pretty pictures of yourself to make them “regret” how they treated you.
No Contact Isn’t – Ignoring them for a few days to teach them a lesson, and then letting them back in as if nothing happened.
No Contact Isn’t – Asking your mutual acquaintances about your Ex so you can find out if they are dating again.
No Contact Isn’t – Sending a message or text that you will be going “No Contact” and then caving in when they start throwing a fit. They will throw a fit. Save yourself the drama. Keep those lines of communication blocked.
No Contact Isn’t – Telling all your friends that you’ve gone No Contact, but secretly communicating with your Ex because you’re embarrassed and ashamed of the truth.
There are typically three reasons why the Psychopath is able to get through during No Contact:
1) You genuinely forgot about that Instagram account you hardly ever use and you find a message on it from your Ex from two weeks ago.
2) He or she stalked you to your favorite coffee shop/restaurant/park, etc.
3) You secretly want the Ex to get in touch with you.
If you find a message on a networking site you rarely use, simply delete it and remove/block the Ex.
If they stalk/follow you to a place you are visiting, you will need to let them know you aren’t interested in pursuing the relationship and ask them to leave you alone. If they resist, inform them that you will involve the authorities if necessary. As a last resort, go back to your car, go home, and call the police to file a report. It’s important to establish the fact that you no longer want contact with your Ex in case your situation goes to court later, such as in the case of your needing to file a restraining/protective order.
If #3 resonates with you, it’s important to understand why the Psychopath is trying to get back into your good graces. Following are common examples of why they do this (this isn’t a comprehensive list):
- Because they can – when you repeatedly let the psychopath back into your life after obvious abuse and mistreatment, they will not only continue to abuse you, they will take it as a sign that you are willing to accept such abuse.
- You’ve started to internalize their lies about you – after months and years of hearing that no one else would ever want you except for sex and money, you believe it to be true. Additionally, you believe their abusive descriptions of you such as you are too old, too overweight, not intelligent enough, not pretty or handsome enough…think about it, would someone who loves you EVER say these things?
- Punish and Destroy – they enjoy playing cat and mouse. Since you dared to establish a boundary, they want to prove that not only can they violate it; they will destroy what self-esteem you might have left in the process.
Many targets of emotional abuse feel that implementing No Contact and sticking with it is a cruel way to end the relationship. That’s because they are able to feel compassion and empathy for others. Psychopaths don’t. While you are trying to protect their feelings, they are plotting ways to make you pay for your decision of No Contact, and you will only suffer more at their hands. Unfortunately, it’s necessary to detach yourself from your feelings of empathy and consider No Contact as a way of escaping abuse, beginning recovery, and starting a new life.