Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
You’ve bought all the books, trawled the recovery sites and everyone tells you the same thing.
“If you don’t have the tie of kids or court, then no contact is the only way to recover from a toxic relationship.”
You know it makes sense.
But as you sit there, playing with your phone, bored and lonely and craving him more than a crack addict just out of rehab, you’re more than tempted.
You’re right on the edge.
And find yourself wandering back down memory lane, telling yourself-
“He wasn’t that bad, we had some really good times together”
“I know he’s not perfect, but neither am I”
“I know he’s angry sometimes but he never laid a hand on me”
“He text to say he’s lost without me, so that’s a sign we’re meant to be together”
“I know he’s cheated, but everyone deserves a second chance”
“One text won’t make any difference, it’s only a text, it doesn’t mean anything, does it?”
It really does.
To most healthy people, a text is just a text. But to a toxic person, a text is an open door back into your life. They’re unable to give you closure on the relationship, because the only ‘relationship’ they had, was with themselves. They see people as objects. It’s in their personality. It’s just how they roll.
A text is seen as a sign that you’re willing to tolerate all that he put you through and an invitation to come back and repeat the behaviour.
Toxic people don’t take accountability for their behaviour.
Regardless of what they say, they don’t lie in bed at night writhing with guilt and shame for the way they’ve treated you. Because, according to them you deserved it. It was all your fault.
A text can be used as ‘evidence’ for his new supply, enablers, family and friends that you’re stalking him and that it’s all your fault and you are indeed crazy.
When toxic people discard you or you go no contact, they move on quickly. Just as you may have experienced at the start of the relationship, their ex was crazy, bipolar, alcoholic or just plain nuts, which is often evident by her texts he waved around to you and everyone who would support his cause.
Well, now it’s your turn.
You have now entered his insanity inbox and used to gather sympathy, entertainment and attention to keep him in Narcissistic heaven until he gets bored again and decides bounce back into your life.
A simple text lets him know that your attempt at no contact has failed and you were really just giving him the ‘silent treatment’.
Toxic people view their targets as weak and pathetic and unable to resist them for long.
By caving in and texting him, you hand him full control of future contact, letting him know that he still rents space in your head.
And you were merely administering no response or silent treatment and you were never strong enough to go no contact.
Just as he always thought.
And as your text arrives in his inbox, he basks in smugness, you wait for his response and he feels that he’s won-again.
All this for just one text!
So let’s just take time to breathe….
All those swinging pendulum thoughts of “I know he’s bad for me but I love him” and “should I stay or should I go” are good examples of cognitive dissonance (holding two opposing thoughts in your mind at one time).
These thoughts are hard wired within your brain and keep you in a state of anxiety fuelling symptoms of trauma.
But the more no contact time you have under your belt, the quieter these thoughts become.
Remember, thoughts are just thoughts.
It’s what you do in response to those thoughts that make all the difference.
So, instead of thinking those thoughts while looking at your phone, try putting your phone away and staying away from devices for a while.
Also, in recovery from anything, we’re more likely to experience cravings when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (H.A.L.T).
So using this acronym can help you stop and focus on self-care, rather than letting the thoughts hurtle you down the road of destruction.
Although you can’t switch off your thoughts, you can accept that you have them and change your focus to something on T.V or change your state by playing music or go exercise.
If you’re in the early stages of recovery and still feeling shell shocked then try not to fight the thoughts, just accept them, and don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way.
Just don’t act on them.
Ride the wave of these thoughts and feelings, they will pass.
Just make a pact with yourself that no matter what, you won’t send that text.
Your future self will thank you for it.
Jacqueline Groves is a counsellor with 25 years experience specialising in helping women recover from psychological abuse from toxic relationships.