For the victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse, going no contact with the narcissist in their life is a huge achievement. It requires a lot of knowledge, self-awareness, courage, strength, good fortune and self-trust to have a successful outcome when going no contact with a narcissist.
There’s a lot that goes into going no contact with a narcissist but on the bright side, the more knowledge one has about what to expect when going no contact and why, all of the different aspects of going no contact with a narcissist become much more achievable.
Victims of narcissistic abuse should expect to encounter narcissistic rage, flying monkeys, narcissist enablers and ruminating thoughts when going no contact with the narcissist in their lives.
Unfortunately, leaving an abusive relationship is one of the hardest things one could do. In fact, the National Domestic Violence Hotline revealed that on average it takes victims of abusive relationships seven times to leave before staying away for good.
When victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse take the time to educate themselves on the hidden aspects of not only going no contact with a narcissist but narcissistic abuse as a whole, they put themselves in a much better position to leave their abuser for good the first time.
The No Contact Rule Triggers Narcissistic Rage
In our article Does Going No Contact With a Narcissist Work we wrote about this more thoroughly but going no contact with a narcissist contradicts their version of reality.
Why is this important?
It’s believed by many medical professionals that narcissists are created by an unhealthy/abusive upbringing.
There are many different theories to the specific dynamics of these unhealthy/abusive environments narcissists are developed in but Alexander Lowen, a psychiatrist who passed in 2008, believes that the children in these environments are humiliated when they express emotions that their abusive primary-caregivers consider weak or undesirable.
What does this mean for the child?
Growing up in an environment where their emotions are met with guilt, shame, mockery, humiliation, criticism or even physical punishment corrupts the child’s perception of healthy relationships. They end up developing a deep hatred for the emotions that are a core part of their identity because they’re considered weak or undesirable by their primary-caregivers.
A primary caregiver’s failure to acknowledge, reassure, and validate their child’s emotions causes the child to search their environment for the acknowledgement, reassurance and validation that their primary-caregiver can’t give them.
What ends up happening is that the child ends up prioritizing their external world over their internal world. In other words, achievements and appearances become more important to the child than their emotional stability and cognitive development.
Their primary caregiver’s hostility towards emotions has caused the child to develop a belief that their emotions make them unloveable. If this level of trauma is left neglected, this belief will follow the child into adulthood, creating an adult who hides behind a falsified identity because they believe their true identity is undesirable.
If you take a look at what people with narcissistic personalities tend to build their falsified identities off of, things like money, appearances, power and control begin to emerge. This is because the narcissist’s unhealthy/abusive upbringing has caused them to develop an emotional immaturity which prohibits them from looking past society’s superficial exterior.
What does this have to do with going no contact with a narcissist?
The falsified identity that the narcissist has designed to portray themselves as special, unique, charming and charismatic is the only thing that is protecting the narcissist from the tidal wave of negative emotions like self-hate and a crippling level of insecurities/vulnerabilities that they have suppressed within their psyche.
When you go no contact with a narcissist you contradict the identity that they’ve built for themselves, exposing them to all of the negative emotions they’ve been burying within their psyche for years. Unfortunately, their emotional immaturity makes them incapable of regulating these negative emotions so instead of imploding, they explode into a narcissistic rage.
A common mistake people make is assuming that narcissistic rage is just anger or rage from a narcissist, when it is actually much more complex than that. You see, when you take a moment to analyze narcissistic rage, it actually looks like a really aggressive form of projection.
Well, projection is a defense mechanism that occurs when someone takes attributes they don’t like about themselves and place them on others. A simple example of this would be a very angry person insisting that the person that they’re angry with is the one that is angry, not themselves.
This concept has a correlation with narcissistic rage because narcissistic rage occurs when a narcissist has their reality contradicted. This contradiction could manifest in the form of something small like unwanted feedback or something very bold like going no contact. The point is that the moment a narcissist has their reality contradicted, their falsified identity begins to deteriorate, leaving them very vulnerable and insecure.
But because of their emotional immaturity, they’re incapable of regulating off of the negative emotions that come from the deterioration of their identity, so they lash out in an immature, insecure and vulnerable attempt to regulate their own emotions.
“The need for revenge, for righting a wrong, by undoing a hurt by whatever means, and a deeply anchored unrelenting compulsion in the pursuit of all these aims which give no rest to those who have experienced narcissistic rage — these are features which are characteristics of the phenomenon of narcissistic rage in all its forms and what sets it apart from other forms of aggression.” Heinz Kohut. M.D.
On the surface level, narcissistic rage is a fear tactic. When you take a closer look it becomes clear that narcissistic rage is also a form of emotional regulation that narcissists use to make the person, animal or object that contradicts their convoluted version of reality feel as horrible as they do at that particular moment in time.
We wanted to cover narcissistic rage first because the other behaviors that you should expect when going no contact with a narcissist originates from the concept of a narcissist having their reality contradicted. So, it is important that you have a comprehensive grasp of a narcissist’s ruthless defense of their falsified identity before moving on.
If you feel like you need some more information about narcissistic rage, please check out our article What Is Narcissistic Rage to learn about the different ways it can manifest and much more!
A flying monkey is someone that a narcissist will manipulate into participating in the narcissist’s smear campaign of the victim. For victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse, flying monkeys are very hard to handle. The reason being that a narcissist’s recruitment of flying monkeys originates from a place of fear.
The victims and survivors are usually the first people to see the narcissist’s true identity, the one they spend their entire lives hiding. So, when the victims and survivors go no contact with the narcissist in their lives, it terrifies the narcissist because they’ve lost power and control over the narrative. With the right approach, the victim or survivor of narcissistic abuse could expose the narcissist’s true identity to mutual friends and family.
Unfortunately, this rarely happens during the victims’ or survivors’ first attempt because of how much healing, learning and reflection is required before one can safely expose a narcissist but narcissists don’t know that. They’re terrified that the world they’ve built is going to come crashing down on them.
To prevent this from happening a narcissist will recruit mutual friends and family members of the victim or survivor by spreading demeaning lies and gossip. That’s right, flying monkeys are usually close to the victim or survivor.
There’s a lot that goes into this recruitment process but you can find all of the information in our article How Do Narcissists Get Flying Monkeys?
Victims of narcissistic abuse who go no contact with the narcissist in their lives can expect flying monkeys to support the narcissist, attempt to manipulate them into reconciling with the narcissist and display narcissistic behavior patterns while participating in the narcissist’s smear campaign of their victim.
For a detailed explanation of the specifics of the behavior patterns that flying monkeys often display, read our article How Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys for more information because succumbing to the pressure flying monkeys create could push those going no contact with a narcissist back into the narcissistic abuse cycle indefinitely.
Narcissist enablers are those who don’t understand narcissistic abuse so they approach the situation as they would a healthy relationship. While their ignorance is innocent, they are actually very dangerous.
Well, the victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse are often plagued with self-doubt and self-blame even after they’ve been able to grasp a comprehensive understanding of the abuse they experienced.
While this self-doubt and self-blame may not apply when it comes to their ex-abuser, it certainly bleeds into other aspects of their life for a considerable amount of time after escaping the narcissistic abuse cycle.
What does this have to do with narcissist enablers?
If a victim or survivor were to confide in a narcissist enabler, their ignorance may cause so many negative emotions like self-doubt and self-blame within the victims’ or survivors’ psyche to be triggered that it causes them to fall back into same abusive cycle they escaped, a different abusive cycle, or a vicious cycle of ruminating thoughts.
Be sure to read our article What Are Narcissist Enablers for the information required to identify narcissist enablers.
Rumination is the secret weapon of narcissistic abuse. When someone constantly overthinks the same thoughts it is called rumination. Every single victim and survivor of narcissistic abuse experiences rumination at one point or another. It is so common because narcissistic abuse is designed to cause crippling levels of self-doubt and self-blame.
After months, years or even decades of narcissistic abuse and all it entails, victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse could find themselves having ruminating thoughts that circulate around self-blame or self-doubt.
If the victim or survivor of narcissistic abuse were in a place where they’ve been able to control the self-doubt and self-blame that accompanies narcissistic abuse, they could still find themselves ruminating about closure, justice or even revenge.
In all honesty, those are three things victims and survivors will never get from a narcissist after escaping the narcissistic abuse cycle.
Well, closure from a narcissistic relationship is something that has to come from within. Closure requires both parties to have a significant amount of emotional maturity because to actually have closure from a relationship there has to be a significant amount of self-awareness and self-reflection.
For a narcissist to do this they’d have to contradict their own reality… the same reality they’ve built a falsified identity to protect… it is not going to happen!
When it comes to justice and revenge, victims and survivors aren’t likely to get those either because we live in a world that supports narcissistic behavior. By no means is it easy for the victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse to watch the narcissist in their life get a “slap on the wrist” and move on with their abusive behavior, but actively searching for justice or revenge actually keeps them trapped within the narcissistic abuse cycle.
Meaning that even if they were to find some form of justice or revenge, the narcissist will still get the last laugh because the ruminating thoughts kept the victim fixated on the narcissist instead of progressing down their healing journey.
What Should You Take Away From This Article?
The no contact phase is a really important milestone in the healing journey of those in the position to actually use the no contact rule. While flying monkeys, narcissist enablers and ruminating thoughts are really tough adversaries, they’re all manageable with the right information.
The best defense against all three of those hurdles one must jump during the no contact period is a clear understanding of the hidden aspects of the no contact rule: going no contact with a narcissist means going no contact with their flying monkeys and enablers as well.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, you can find all of the information in our article When Should You Go No Contact With a Narcissist?
When combined with the correct information, the no contact rule is by far the best technique one could use to defend themself from narcissistic abuse.
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