Why is No Contact So Hard?

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Everyone who has been involved with a Narcissist experiences this contradiction of logic.  Severing the relationship with a disordered personality should be a no-brainer, right?  Yet it seems no matter how much our cognitive brain understands the benefit of leaving such a person, we participate in a metaphorical self-flagellation, allowing the abuser back into our lives over and over again, creating even deeper wounds to our psyche due to the sadistic nature of being intimately involved with an emotional abuser.

It doesn’t help that the Narcissist repeatedly shows up via phone, email, or in person… dressed as Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy, future faking and giving you the impression that they have long-term plans for the relationship, all while squeezing out a crocodile tear.  Then, if we attempt to stay strong, we are criticized and condemned, accused of being selfish, and subjected to guilt trips that would make a Viking warrior surrender. This is the blue-print of the relationship between a Narcissist and a Codependent.

(If you’ve implemented NC in its true form, you wouldn’t have to deal with the Narcissists occasional trick-or-treat excursions).

Codependents spend their days trying to get from morning to evening with as little drama as possible.  They minimize the abuse, hang onto magical thinking, and come to depend on the Narcissist for their confidence and self-esteem.  They are unable to end the relationship because they want to hear the Narcissist say, “I didn’t really mean those things I said.  I know I told you that you are unattractive, worthless, trashy, and that no one could possibly love you.  But, none of those things are true.  You’re smart, attractive, and successful.  Anyone would be lucky to have you.”

Codependents crave closure and without it, they stay stuck in the moment, ruminating on their abuser’s accusations; letting the Narcissist return repeatedly, hoping to get their approval.  Any decent human being would feel some element of remorse and apologize, right?  Maybe even admit they said those things in a moment of anger and didn’t mean them?  The Narcissist will not only re-emphasize that they meant it, but that those things still hold true, widening the void that is the Codependent’s lack of self-love and self-esteem.

This is one’s Inner Child resurfacing, desperately seeking love and acceptance.  Codependents are caught in a cycle of re-creating their childhood patterns in an effort to resolve the memory of not feeling loved; aching for their abuser to wrap their arms around them and tell them they are precious.  Searching for gentle, nurturing words to make the pain go away (the pain the abuser caused)… so that they can go back into the world feeling safe and confident.  They try to reclaim the innocent, trusting person they were before they met the Narcissist.

If this sounds like you, watch the video below to see if you have any of the signs of being codependent.

Codependency Test:  Are You a Codependent?

Keep in mind that many people are codependents and don’t realize it.Some believe their childhood was okay because their parents provided food and shelter and didn’t use physical abuse.  But those are not the only indicators of a painful childhood.  Perhaps your father is a Doctor or CEO who provided all the trimmings, but was always absent in your life, or maybe nothing you did was ever good enough.  Perhaps you had a teacher who made you feel inferior, below-average in intelligence, and perhaps ridiculed you in front of your classmates.  Maybe your primary caregiver was in the military and you had to stay with a family member who had their own children and you always came last when attention was being rationed out.  Any of these events can result in childhood wounds that may cause an individual to develop codependent traits.

The reason No Contact is so hard is because it’s essentially the first attempt at recovering from codependency.  It involves establishing boundaries, accepting there will be backlash from the Narcissist (guilt trips, shaming and blaming, character attacks, etc.), physical and emotional cravings, and accepting that other relationships may possibly be lost.  It’s not only the severing of a toxic relationship, but the start of a new lifestyle.

Did you discover you were a codependent and have a success story to share?  Please do so in the comment box below!

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Leave a Comment:

AJC says August 27, 2019

Hello, thank you for posting this article. I am very new here, just discovering my codependency two days ago. Apologies if this has already been answered, but I am just wondering: how ‘No Contact’ can be maintained when you have children together? Thank you in advance 🙂

Sandi says July 15, 2017

With help and a lot of pain and time ang persuaverence I eventually left my narcissistic boyfriend of 9 years . I am so much happier now and the energy I spent on him I can now spend on loving myself, my family and my friends . It took me years to realise what he was and he abused me mentally for years . I am so glad I am free now

Sherry says April 6, 2017

I am still living with my husband in our home though now we are in separate rooms. For me there is extreme gaslighting. He is a master actor. In the article it says that the narc won’t ever apologize. Well mine has and actually claimed that he is a completely changed person. Helping with things he never helped with before. My narc is a covert narc so they cannot look bad and they have to be the one who ends the relationship that’s why he cannot accept that I am ready to end the relationship. I know it may seem hard to understand for some who are waiting for that apology and the perfect person to come back but for me ‘he has’…. but it still feels like manipulation. He is insisting that I forgive him and and saying God wouldn’t want us to break up, which feels like spiritual abuse… now he’s painting himself as the better person. I am prepared to look like the bad person because I still feel controlled and under his power. We have material blessings and our life looks like a perfect picture to those looking from the outside. but I realize my sanity is worth more than an material possession. I am still going forward with the separation but I don’t know how he will respond when he receives the paperwork. Right now he’s acting like everything is back to normal even though I’ve tried to make it clear ‘nicely’ that I feel I’m done. That’s my problem I’m too nice. This is teaching me how to stand up for myself and face someone’s BS more than I ever have before because he won’t take no for an answer at this point.

    Kim Saeed says April 7, 2017

    Hi Sherry. Thanks for reading my blog and for reaching out. I am actually working on an article to illustrate this very thing…when the narc wants to act like everything is back to normal, but you’re DONE. It is truly weird feeling because you’re making plans for your new life…and the narcissist is acting all clueless, as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

    Stand firm. It won’t last forever. Just keep moving forward with your plans and go No Contact in its true form.


Stephen Bach says January 7, 2015

I am currently in no contact with my N-family and all the other N’s I’ve left behind.

One of the hardest pieces of staying no contact for me is the sense of loss and loneliness that no contact can create. Holidays are the worst.

When I feel lonely, I think about the alternative. All the horrible family behavior. All the ugly holiday incidents. Do I want to go back to that? The answer is always a resounding “NO!”. I’d much rather deal with the occasional loneliness and sense of loss. Thankfully it gets better every day.

All part of my healing journey.

Stephen Bach

Milla says December 19, 2014

When I was a child, I sometimes thought, my mum wouldn’t be my mom or she forgot her pills. This was my way to deal with this abuse.

Oh god, if I had known that the truth is not far away from my daydreams.

Will My Narcissistic Ex Ever Feel Guilty? | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says November 13, 2014

[…] read the articles about physical and emotional addiction to the narcissist and how codependency is the root of the […]

Vivi says October 31, 2014

Hi Kim,

My ex Narc owes me $1400.00 which he has promised to pay me by the end of the year. I feel like reaching out to him to tell him December 31st is around the corner and to save up….but then I don’t, I don’t want to contact him, but I want my money…what do I do?

    Kim Saeed says October 31, 2014


    Typically, you can hire an attorney to write a letter for you at an affordable price. You don’t necessarily have to retain them unless you decide to go to small claims court. Just a letter stating how much they owe you, etc.

    The letter is sometimes enough, and would keep you from having to sue. Also, it would have more effect than your calling or sending an email…

    jess says October 31, 2014


    Keep in mind that a promise to a narcissist means nothing. $1400 is a lot of money, but it is a small price to pay for your freedom and emotional well being. As long as he has this money to hold over your head he remains in control. If he doesn’t feel like paying you he won’t, and even if you do get a judgment against him the courts can’t force him to pay.

    When I went through my divorce earlier this year I was unemployed with terrible credit, and my ex was making 6 figures as a bank president. Thanks to his lying, hiding money, etc I literally walked away with nothing from him and a $3k lawyer bill. Over the next few months the most amazing things started to happen though. I was hospitalized from stress due to my narc, and because I was forced to get state insurance paid not one dime for my treatment. I was sued for $20,000 in credit card debt, and somehow got the case dismissed thanks to info I was able to find myself online. I truly believe God was rewarding me for having the courage to leave him.

    During divorce proceedings my ex said he stopped paying my bills so that my credit would be destroyed, and that way I would never leave him. I’ve never been so broke or so happy:)

aves says October 26, 2014

I’m choosing the pain of missing my ex-NARC over the pain of being devalued, disrespected and discarded by him.

Mary says October 22, 2014

These feelings and situations describe my relationship to a T. It’s surprising how the desire to hear someone say sorry can be so powerful. Being obsessed with wanting to know why someone could do these awful things. Wanting to be comforted by those responsible for the uncomfort. I truly would have given anything to have him be the person I’d invented in my mind. Desperately seeking emotional availability, knowing that I’d never have the things I wanted. Yet trying so hard to get them anyway. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic and extremely forgiving. The length the forgiveness I went through with this relationship even surprised me. I’ve gotten to the point that the prospect of happiness, is more valuable than the sadness of loss. It’s time for me to be a brave little Indian and take back my happiness! Wish me luck and thank you.

Samantha says October 22, 2014

I’ve been in an on-and-off relationship with my narcissistic boyfriend for over 7 years. About three years into it, I had a friend who was going thru a divorce and her therapist suggested her ex was a narcissist. When she described some of the traits, I began researching narcissism and discovered that my boyfriend fit many of these traits. So, I’ve known for over 4 years that he is a narcissist and have spent countless hours reading, researching, attempting self-help techniques, yet still find myself addicted to the relationship. While I had never thought of myself as a codependent and had never been affected by a person in such a way, I became a codependent in our relationship after the initial honeymoon phase ended and the slow devaluation began.

Of all the articles I’ve read over the years, this article particularly hits home by pointing out that the reason no contact is so hard is because it’s an attempt to recover from codependency. I’ve tried it numerous times but always find myself going back. And I go back not because he’s begging – I nearly find myself begging him to try again. My heart always holds out hope, though my head knows better. I do think this article will encourage me to try again and to see No Contact in a different light – that it’s time to heal me – not just lose contact with him. Thank you, Kim!

April Lind says October 21, 2014

My boyfriend brought us down to friend level and always searched dating sites as I semi lived at his house. After he left me before for a girl then brought me back in deeper. This had me questioning him often of our relationship status then I was passive aggressive by making sarcastic comments such as how hard and shitty the world is when two people who live so well together can’t be together…or no I am going to my house since it’s too hard to hang as only friends…etc. yes, I was fishing for him to say “stay”. Well, he is seeing a new girl, has a group of motorcycle group and his band is recording now. He is being fed….completely dropped connection for two weeks. I text him to ask if he missed me, and I was hoping he was enlightened and value our relationship. He said he was busy and would answer the next day. So the next day he said I should come over for movie during week. I said just a movie is not enough for me, and I asked him to hold my hand and share stories of good times and ” help me let go…I can’t let go and I need to, help me let go”

This is the part I want to state, His response..get the fuck out of my life ” you have been on my back three yrears!” Stop stalking me, you are sick! He had never ever shown this kind of behaviour. I did not stalk him…This was a viscous scary outburst opposite of his past perfectness. He was always this cool musician life of the party overly friendly guy. Of course, alone with me he was not too nice, saying how fat people are, ugly, poor musician, etc

Well…..in my case he is not trying to win me back.

Sent from my iPad


dianaiannarone says October 21, 2014

Reblogged this on diana iannarone and commented:
Great job Kim. Truth is captured here!

Minnieme says October 21, 2014

I was with narcissist on and off for 4 years. My divorce finally went through with my ex husband. I was thrilled I could be free to be with the N. I thought he would be so happy that after all of these years we could be together. Well, the last D & D was the worst. He lied to my face, I of course knew he was lying and he was angry at me for pulling off his mask. Years prior N had cheated on me , had 3 OW, I was obviously OW to them too…and everyone I knew found out My self esteem was ruined, suffered from PTSD, since 2011 until the summer I have been D&D by N at least 15 times. Any normal person would have walked away after first D&D. But I had codependent need to be accepted and loved by him, to prove I was worthy in his eyes , despite his cheating ways. This D & D , he giving me silent treatment. For 3 weeks I was emailing him…first with hatred, then love, then asking. For him back. He never responded. This is longest he has been silent. Being away from him and his texting, I realize what a sham the whole rs was. I am embarrassed that I would let anyone treat me this way. Part of me would like him back , but that part of me is fading ( yahooooo!) and I have kept NC for 2 weeks now. I am tempted to send him everything I can on his NPD to try and hurt his precious ego. But I know it won’t have the effect I want and it will just feed his ego that he has affect on me. I find myself depressed, not motivated of which I know will pass. I just wasted so much time on this freak, I will never get those years back. No contact is hard to do. But this time it’s a little easier for me. It’s taken me almost 5 years to be no contact for 2 weeks. It sounds like nothing, only 2 weeks, but it’s huge victory for me. Good luck to all who are in same situation.

    jess says October 21, 2014

    I am very proud of you! My ex discarded me the week my father died of lung cancer. He literally changed the locks on our home and filed while I was camped out in a hospice. That discard on such a grand level for all of my family and friends to see was one of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received. Everyone got to see the true him, and the love/support I needed was all around me. We get discarded because the Narcs know we are too amazing to ever meet them down at their level. Being rejected by garbage means you’re doing something right.

      Anonymous says October 22, 2014

      The same happened to me: my brother was dying and my ex filed for divorce (again). I was scared, he tried to back-pedal, but this time I kept going, I had a lot of support. Now divorced 2 years, he is still a pain, NC is hard (we have kids), but I hang on. I love your last 2 sentences. Thank you and good luck to you!

Aura E Martinez says October 21, 2014

I just love all your posts! Thank you so much for all the information you share with us and for helping those who truly are in abusive, harmful relationships because anyone who is with a psychopath is truly in an abusive relationship.

    Kim Saeed says October 21, 2014

    Thank you, Aura! It’s so nice to receive such encouraging words from you <3

JD says October 21, 2014

After the last biting incident where she bit my hand and drew blood again ( first time she bit me in the face ) I gave psycho sally 30 days to get her and her 2 kids(narc supply) to get out of the house I paid for and I proceeded to play the game for 6 months while she was back in her crappy townhouse and then no contact took precedent before I even realized she was the devils child. I then blocked her email, had facebook block day I kicked them out and phone. Its been over 2 years and I am doing better than ever. I have learned so much about myself, people, God, why were here, etc. There are a lot of sick people in this world and I choose not to associate with them and I don’t care what happens to them as it isn’t my business. My business is to love myself and those who show they love me with actions, not words. I won’t believe anything a person says until they show me they care and there aren’t many but that is ok because I have myself and my higher power just like I always have and that is all I need! I think they should come up with a way to test narcissistic types and take them to a special place where its just them and let them kill each other. 🙂 That would be good reality tv.

    jenna says October 23, 2014

    AGREED 🙂

jess says October 21, 2014

Once again you are exactly right. When there are children involved it’s even harder to let go. After growing up with amazing parents, I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like for my step-daughter to grow up knowing her father was a loser. I stayed longer than I should have because I couldn’t stomach this being her reality. I thought I could fix it, but of course that wasn’t possible. The girl I raised since she was in diapers is no longer allowed to have any contact with me, as this is my punishment for taking a stand against my ex. I receive emails from her telling me that she loves me and misses me, but there is nothing that I can do because he father insists on severing the love we have for one another. If a man will harm his own child, he is truly capable of anything.

Sylvia says October 21, 2014

Excellent article. Lived it!!

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:33:19 +0000 To: [email protected]

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