TWENTY-ONE RULES OF NO CONTACT
*the below is an excerpt from, I believe, Sister Renee Pittelli's works from Luke 17:3 ministries. As far as I can tell she is the origin of these rules specifically although I have seen many variations of them on different ACoN blogs and books. These rules I have found personally most helpful since the narcs in my life are my in laws and we do not live in the same town as them, making the P.O box an easy solution to our 'new address'*
1. No talking to them no matter what happens and no matter what you hear.
2. No letting them talk to you, No listening to anything they say, No "hearing them out."
3. No letting them into your house and No going to their house. If it is possible to move, then move, get a P.O. box, and don't let them know when or where you're going.
4. No phone calls and No returning voicemail messages. Change your number to unlisted and unpublished, and do not give it to anyone you can't trust not to give it to your abuser. Never pick up the phone. Use Caller ID or let your machine pick up.
5. No sending or responding to e-mails. Block their e-mails, IMs, and ability to see when you are online.
6. No meetings to "talk things over" or "work things out."
7. No cards or letters, and No responding to cards or letters. No birthday cards. No Christmas cards. No Mother's Day or Father's Day cards.
8. No giving gifts and No accepting gifts. If a gift is sent to you, No acknowledging it and No responding.
9. No exceptions for holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.
10. No returning gifts, cards, or letters. To an abuser, that is a response. He will interpret it to mean that you are still emotionally connected to him, you still care, and if he keeps trying, he can wear you down. Just ignore all communications.
11. No visits, including hospital visits.
12. No letting them near your kids. If they're too toxic for you to be around, then they're too toxic for your children to be around. Monitor your children's e-mails and cell phones, changing e-mail accounts and phone numbers if necessary. Warn your children to stay away from them, and to run and tell a teacher if they show up at their school. Notify your children's school to call you and the police.
13. No public pleasantries. If you run into them in a public place, ignore them, turn your back, and walk away. If they approach you, say in a loud voice, "Leave me alone!" and "Do not talk to me." If they persist or you believe you are being stalked, call the police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.
14. No discussing them with anybody who has contact with them.
15. No speaking at all to anyone who might be pumping you for information or spying on you, and reporting back to them. Cut off anyone who is not loyal to you.
16. No listening to any news about them. If you are absolutely dying of curiosity, listen, but do not show any undue interest, do not get baited into responding, and do not reveal any information about yourself in return.
17. No giving other people information about you or your family that they could carry back to your abuser.
18. No invitations to your big events and No responding to invitations they send you.
19. No responding to news that they are getting married, having a baby, getting a new job, retiring, moving, taking a trip, sick, dying, or dead.
20. No big announcements and No telling them anything about your life- No letting them know you're getting married, moving, or having a baby. No letting them know when your children get married, where they live, work, or go to school, or when your grandkids are born.
21. Print out e-mails, tape voicemail messages, and keep all cards, letters, and other communications in a file for future harassment or stalking charges, but do not respond.
No Contact means NO Contact. Nothing! Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if your ex-abusers were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them?
Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is not possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or a funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret any willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.
No Contact is The End. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That is why you’ve reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It's over. It's time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety. And after it's all over, I leave it up to you whether you go to the funeral or not. If you have moved on with your life and left the past in the past, then you won't feel the need to.
I want to add my rule of 'no facebook' to this list. Although emails and IM's are mentioned, I've found Facebook to be a growing monster in the world of personal privacy. I have taken action to prevent others from spying on my profile via the privacy settings. I would also encourage all those dealing with N's to do the same. Facebook's privacy settings are really fantastic. You can now prevent someone from messaging your inbox even if you are friends, you can also block the person entirely which makes your Facebook traces disappear to them in a search bar. Think of blocking as the safest and best 'firewall' against drama you can arm yourself with in the realm of social media.
Rule 20 is also why we did not break communication to the N's about my pregnancy. Just not worth the drama. Regarding massive life changes like marriages and babies and moving far away, the less the N's know the better. Sitting tight and hoping for the best after breaking no contact is really silly when you think of it. Trying to set boundaries with truly NPD people is like inviting a lion into your home and expecting them not to break the china.... pretty pointless. For those with toxic N's- no contact is the first huge step to freedom.