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Should you go "no contact" with an abusive parent or partner?


This is a personal decision.

However, in making the personal decision there are some questions you may want to ask yourself.

These are questions I personally found invaluable about how much to withdraw from a person. It is a rather simplistic formula, so I have included psychologist, Judy Rosenberg's videos below to give you some other perspectives on it, and a video by popular life coach, Lisa Romano, as well as some articles at the very end.

With partners, or friends (or potential partners, or friends):

I ask myself does this person care about my feelings? Do they care about how they effect me? If the answer is "no", then I conclude they don't love me or care about me. Note: I also conclude they don't care about me even if they switch to concern and care later on. In other words, I don't believe that love bombing and hoovering to be authentic love. Love and caring does not switch on and off; if it is real it is a constant (Jeckyll and Hyde traits are common among abusers, and not common at all among the rest of the population).

The next question I ask is whether they seem to want to dominate me. Do they interrupt? Do they listen, or are they more concerned with responding, in making come-backs, persuading, lecturing, patronizing, in giving advice or demands? Do they get in my face when they try to talk? Are they more concerned about their feelings, than about both of our feelings? Is there any shame-talk going on? To me this is a bad sign of them wanting the relationship to be about them, and their agendas, rather than about us, as a team. Domination also shows they probably don't love or care.

The next question I ask myself is: Does it matter that they don't love me or care about me? The answer is usually yes, I care that they don't care or love me. It's a one-sided relationship in that case, which can never be close, and is likely to be painful. If it is clear that their relationship agenda is about them dominating me, they will be in pain over the fact that they cannot dominate me, and I will be in pain because I believe that love, caring and respect is not about domination. The course of action I take then, is to at least disengage enough so that they are not part of my life in any real sense of the word. I can see them at a party, or function, be polite, very occasionally be helpful, or keep out of their way, but that is about it.

The next question is are they kind? Usually a lack of kindness points to some kind of abusiveness.

If I see clearly that they are abusive (and particularly if they practice rounds of idealize, devalue, discard in their relationships, display overbearing behavior, perspecticide, shaming, verbal abuse and excuses which don't add up), then that becomes the deal-breaker for which I go no contact, or at least do my my best at avoiding them (note: that wasn't always the case when I was young and groomed to feel that abuse was normal, but it is now).

These days I want to do my utmost to not become attached to people who, from the beginning, cannot love me or authentically connect, cannot care about me because they want me in a role submitting myself to their will, cannot be kind to others. So before any kind of significant connection starts, if I see a lot of signs of perspecticide, teasing (chiding) and haughty-know-it-all behavior, I disengage at that point. One reason I do this is because I feel I don't have any more time to invest in relationships that have a potential to be filled with rancor, triangulation or disturbing issues.

However, if you have children with an abusive partner, going "no contact" will prove to be very difficult, so my best advice is to go to a domestic violence counselor to help you set up boundaries and keep a record of infractions to those boundaries (note: abusive people do not like boundaries, and keep trying to side-step them, but they will also most likely, unless they are violent, respect boundaries if the law is involved ... Domestic violence counselors are usually up on all of the laws within your county). In the meantime, here are some good boundaries to start with:

1. No talking about personal issues other than the children's welfare and schedules. If your partner starts in on personal subjects, or attacks you verbally, or wants to argue, disengage.
2. If your partner insults you, remind him that you will not be responding to insults, and that he needs to stick to the subject of the children.
These are just examples. You may have to keep a list of things that you expect your ex to say and do, and have a plan in action in terms of how you will respond.

With parents:

As far as parents go, the deal breakers should be the same for them too. A parent who does not love you, or care about you is not a good parent. If they are abusive too, they are a nightmare parent. A parent who is not kind to others (or your siblings, other parent, their siblings, or is someone who disposes of, or derides others) will probably eventually not be kind to you either. However, it is sometimes impossible to avoid your parents altogether, especially at family functions. Some abusive parents can be super invasive, goading, taunting, laughing derisively at you, and triggering to be around. They can make family times miserable. You can avoid them by not going to family functions at all (which is what a lot of survivors find themselves doing in the end), or you can do your best at setting boundaries before or during the event so that you have the most minimal contact.

If the parent is dangerous, threatening, sending their flying monkeys (bullying partners) your way, then the answer should be self explanatory in terms of whether you should have contact.

This is not to diminish the pain of the realization of what they are about, or of having to separate yourself from them, but many people survive going no contact with a parent who has spent a lot of time in their lives inflicting emotional wounds, and come out, after an intense grieving process, with flying colors. There are steps I will recommend to make the transition as smooth and healthy as possible, ones that I found that helped me, but for now I will just say that abuse almost always escalates (gets worse over time), and there is usually always a cyclical pattern of love bomb, denigrate, dismiss and destroy (Dr. Judy Rosenberg's words). Also, it is imperative with abusive parents to get financially independent of them. They use money to justify constant erroneous guilt trips and punishments (abuse).

However, children of abuse do not always see abuse as awful because they were groomed by the parent to normalize abuse as a child. Children who have been abused a lot often become trauma bonded to an abusive parent, making the separation more painful. The second-guessing of whether you are doing the right thing by disengaging from your parent, becomes another huge hurdle along with the grieving process. All child abuse victims have been taught at a young age to feel guilty for any and all actions that do not meet their parents approval. However, my thought on this is that they have lost their rights to approve or disapprove of what you do, period, if they abuse or condone the abuse of others who have hurt you.

To get a good sense of whether you are a victim of child abuse, see this post.  For general information on what abuse is and who perpetrates abuse, see this post.

videos of psychologist, Judy Rosenberg, discussing about whether
to go "no contact":

PART I:

PART II:

PART III:

from life coach, Lisa Romano:

further reading:

The one thing Narcissistic Abuse victims never seem to regret: going no contact -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- oh My! blog


Recommended: 7 Signs It's Time to Cut (Toxic) Family Ties -- by Genevieve Shaw Brown for ABC News

Recommended: Signs You Need To Go No-Contact With Your Family -- from the Rebel Circus website

Recommended: What does going no contact mean? -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- Oh My blog

Recommended: No Contact – The Scapegoat’s Last Resort -- by Glynis Sherwood, MEd, CCC, RCC

Recommended: 5 Ways To Escape An Abusive Relationship -- by the staff of Your Tango for Psych Central


The Myth of “It Takes Two to Ruin a Relationship” -- by Sharie Stines, Psy.D. for Psych Central

Why "No Contact", Intentional Detachment and Support Help the Trauma Bond-- by Rhonda Freeman, PhD

'Life Without My Mother Is a Joy': Women Talk About Divorcing Their Moms -- by Samantha Ladwig

Reddit forums: Raised By a Narcissist -- long discussion among many members about going "no contact" with their abusive families.

When No Contact as an Adult-Child Is Necessary -- by A.J. Mahari (tells of his life with a father who is alcoholic diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

Recommended: Letting Go of Toxic People, Even If it’s a Family Member -- for The Pragmatic Parent website

Why I Stopped Talking to My Family -- by Ashley Davison

No Contact -- by Danu Morrigan from the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers website

How To Achieve No Contact With A Toxic Or Abusive Person -- from the Femsplain website

What does going no contact mean? -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- Oh My blog

5 Reasons Why Adult Children Estrange From Their Parents -- by Kim Bryan for We Have Kids Magazine
Recommended: Letter From a Narcissist’s “True Self” -- by Lauren Bennett

How To Deal With A Narcissist: The Only Method Guaranteed To Work -- from the Conscious Rethink website (it has a lot of ads, but it is a good, worthwhile article to read)

Found on Facebook (author unknown):


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