What Does it Mean to Go “No Contact” with a Person?

In psychology, therapists offer different ways for a person to cope with their abuser, and patients may wonder what it means to go “no contact” with a person. “No contact” typically means cutting off all types of communication with the abuser. The process can be difficult, which is why a person doing it may need extra support from the people with whom they are staying connected.

Related resource: Ranking Top 25 Master’s in Psychology Online Degree Programs

No Communication of Any Type

No contact literally means no communication or physical contact of any type. Not all people can realistically do this, but it is possible. For example, an adult woman may go “no contact” with her narcissistic mother. This could mean blocking the mother from all social media, changing phone numbers and stamping snail mail as “return to sender.” It could also mean blocking common friends. In extreme cases, the woman might have to stop contact with all family members who might share information with the abusive mother. A restraining order is a legal form of “no contact” that might be necessary if a person feels that their safety is at risk.

Get Away from a Toxic Influence

Therapists may recommend no contact as a way to get free from a toxic person’s influence. For example, a person whose friend manipulates them into paying for dinner, loaning them money and giving them rides here and there may want to be free of this person who is using them. A grown daughter whose mother is a narcissist may want to get away from her toxic mother who constantly berates, undermines and negates her feelings. Not contacting the person means that there is no longer any exposure to their toxic influence.

Heal from Past Trauma

It is impossible to heal from the trauma caused by an abuser if there is ongoing contact with that person. Every point of contact would be a reminder and new exposure to trauma. When a person goes no contact, they can start the healing process. They can work on healing their mind and restoring their inner self. They can also work on physical recovery, which will be easier when the anxiety, fear, and stress of being in contact with an abuser are no longer regular occurrences in the person’s life.

Removal of the Dysfunctional Relationship

According to Thought Catalog, to go no contact with a person means taking an action to remove oneself from the dysfunctional relationship. This is a mature thing to do, but it is not an easy thing. It is easier to stay in a dysfunctional relationship because the status quo is simple to maintain. The abuser may have said things that make the person feel like they owe, need or are somehow indebted to them. Breaking free of that dysfunction allows the person to move on with their life. It frees up space to start anew.

Going “no contact” is not easy, and the person who is doing it may feel more emotional than usual. They have to process their feelings about it, and they may have some short-term mood changes such as anxiety, withdrawal or sadness. Knowing what it means to go “no contact” with a person provides an individual with a safe and effective way to get away from many different types of abuse.