If there is an unhealthy dynamic, then the person will know that if they do X, they are more likely to do Y.
The X symbol in your relationship can be interpreted as either an indication that you should respond in a certain way or a cue.
These cues and triggers will influence your actions, thoughts, and emotional reactions.
For example, X could refer to the person who is starting to blow cold or lukewarm. Y could be your attempt to get them to blow hotter.
They quickly learn that if they act in this way, they will try harder or do certain things. They figure out how they can get more from you without needing to do more. They figure out what they can do to get the best personal benefit, which is likely to be one that doesn’t tax them in areas they don’t want to spend. For example, emotions, effort, time, accountability, responsibility, commitment, money, respect etc.
If they are doing something that is not comparable to your efforts, or that they did not get the benefit without integrity, it shows that they do not have to try and that you are flexible and willing to please.
They conclude that X +Y equals Z. Until you stop responding to the same cues or triggers in your relationship, they will continue to believe it’s just business as usual. You will continue to fall into the same traps, wondering why they do it.
You’ve learned that certain responses can generate a short-term benefit that feels like a “benefit” and that this is why you cry wolf. It’s because they feel it generates enough response to provide a temporary fix. However, they still hope that this person will behave differently this time… even if they aren’t. You can’t look beyond the immediate gratification and even your ego, which can lead you to try to solve or soothe problems with unhealthy ‘fixes. This could leave you open to the long-term consequences.
No Contact Rule is a way to ensure that the triggers and cues you are receiving do not have the same effect on you. You can change your thinking and habits so that they no longer affect you. People who consider No Contact Rule are often disappointed or hurt because they have fallen for the same traps repeatedly.
You don’t want your feelings of hurt, disappointment, and availability for unhealthy relationships to continue. Instead, you can go No Contact Rule. Keep following No Contact Rule until you are so comfortable with your new habits that you no longer care what the other person is doing. You will be happier and healthier, so it won’t appeal to you to fall back into old habits you don’t like.
We help people understand what they should expect of us. They get a sense of how they can treat us. If there are no consequences or little, they become the norm. No Contact Rule helps to create boundaries in this dynamic. If you have been neglecting to set boundaries or suppressing your needs, desires, and expectations in the name ‘love,’ this person will expect you to do certain things, even after the relationship ends. They will assume you are still available and can come up anytime they want. This is not true.
A Good Example Of How A Cycle Can Be Broken By Ignoring The Contact Rule
This is an example of how a person can see that, in or out, they have you under their nose and are likely to respond in the way they expect. This means they can extract any benefit they’ve come up with, even if it’s just getting an ego boost from the security of knowing you’re still there.
- PHASE 1 – They Fast Forward you during the initial stages of your relationship. You respond positively, even though you are strangers.
- PHASE 2 – They begin to relax and show their true selves, which may not be the same as the original advertisement. If you feel unseated blame yourself and chase them harder.
- PHASE 3 – They try to end the conversation but then tap you for an ego stroke or shoulder to lean on.
- PHASE 4 – They cut down on contact and no longer respond to text messages. They allow themselves to continue their behavior in a “Well, if they don’t value themselves why shouldn’t I?” attitude. This is a way of saying that their behavior is legitimate.
- PHASE 5 – After a while, or even years, they send you a text message or a Facebook message. You pick up right where you left off with very few barriers to entry. This is confirmation that you haven’t changed and that they still have a backup plan. It may be enough to make them disappear once again.
This example shows that when you are in an unhealthy relationship with someone, regardless of their actions, you continue to attach the same or similar meanings and respond in a similar way. You would be able to see the lackluster, neglectful, and shady behavior of this person if you both changed your responses and addressed their meanings. It would be clear that no matter what you thought this person was doing in PHASE 1 they have become someone who is unsuitable for a relationship. What happened in PHASE 2 reveals the truth about what they did in PHASE 1. They used speed and intensity to disarm. If you continue to respond to their behavior and situation by making it about you, you are giving them airtime and space in life. Instead of acknowledging their actions and telling them to bounce, you should recognize what they are doing.
Let’s now imagine that you feel their behavior in PHASE 2 and you are able to say no contact.
They try to reach you but are met with silence or lack of action by you EQUALS. This is their cue that something is wrong and they haven’t received a response as expected.
This is when they sense that you are not responding in the way they expect. They may feel out of control and want to know if they are correct. They will use this as a cue to up the ante with Fast Forwarding and Future Faking. This includes fixing you with their puppy dog eyes, threatening to change, or claiming they have.
They try to contact you again, but this time with a much greater effort. If you don’t reply or you continue to ignore them, they may assume that you aren’t playing ball.
You continue to ignore their attempts to reach you, plus you keep sending the EQUALS message loudly that their behavior is unacceptable and that while they may have been able to get away with certain actions, it will not happen again. You can continue living your life as normal and not rely on others to make changes.
Let’s say they met with silence on the radio and you were hoping they would change.
You respond positively to their contact by accepting their contact and assuming that they have changed EQUALS. They receive a cue that you are still interested in the original offer (but not actually available). Plus, they get the cue that you will respond as long as you blow hot.
They will revert to their former position if they feel secure and in control of you. I have heard of thousands of people who have gone through this. Only for them to disappear or make a “big mistake” in matter of days or hours later. This is not something you should be doing. Your happiness and future depend on other people making positive changes.
While you are still in a relationship with them or trying to get them out of a relationship, it’s not possible to expect them to do different things. They’ll think you’re expressing frustration and that if you give them time you will forget about it. They will tell you what they want to hear, then make a few gestures and then move on to their agenda.
You can rest assured with the No Contact Rule that this won’t happen. And that regardless of their aggressive or passive behavior, you will be able to assert your rights and not allow them to dictate your life. No Contact Rule can help you realize that you matter and to rebuild your life with healthier habits.