No Contact Rule Breaks Unhealthy Habits
Did you ever tell someone it was over or made threats? Then you found yourself backsliding again and changing your mind. You may have a pattern of getting back together and breaking up, or keeping your word even if you say you are done. This is a sign that they have been believing, subconsciously or consciously, that they can do what they want. You were probably scared the first time you uttered the modern-day dating equivalent of “WOLF!” They were likely scared when they first shouted ‘WOLF!
- “I can’t bear this!”
- “We are done!”
- “Well, piss off to your ex then!”
- We’re done! You got me?!”
They will be able to tell if you are a crying wolf by the fact that you are still there. You’re constantly expanding your horizons to accommodate their behavior, and they learn that you can.
“We’re done!” It’s an empty threat, they learn. It’s over until you panic about where they are, who they are doing, who they are, and how you can resist/get over them.
“Well, piss off to your ex!” You take them at their word, and they come back to you to return and you even offer to be the Other Woman/Guy so that you can keep them in your lives. You can also apologize for what you said and for the behavior they displayed.
We’re done! You got me?!” You stay, and they do it again. They know that they have the freedom to do whatever they want. They know you are a ranter, a threater, but they don’t think you are a mover or shaker. They were afraid the first time you raised hell. Perhaps even the third, fourth, and tenth times. They realized that you were mostly talking and figured out the dynamics between you two. They don’t believe it’s a threat because you’re still there. Or, at the very minimum, they consider you their best option.
You can temporarily experience a power shift by crying wolf. These situations are so frustrating that you can miss the memo that it has the hallmarks of a get-the-hell-out-of-dodge situation because you’re too busy trying to get things on your terms and battling your own insecurities that are likely part of the reason you think that this person is as good as it gets.
You’ve likely tried many different methods to move forward in your relationship, but instead, you find yourself in a vicious cycle. They are either too hard to shake or you feel the need to go back to the relationship crime scene. You keep repeating how unhappy you are, but you continue to be miserable. Crying like a wolf is a sign of an unhealthy relationship between you and your partner. It also indicates that you have unhealthy thinking and behaviors that lead to you living off the crumbs of others while neglecting your needs, desires, and expectations.
Your ‘enough moment’ is when you feel the most empowered and motivated. You know your self and you would probably not be reading this if you didn’t trust yourself.
You came to this place because of something. Now you must build on it. To make the No Contact Rule a success, but also to improve your relationship habits and be happier, and eventually to find a better relationship, you must understand why you have that pattern.
You may have already fallen off the wagon, become petrified of the next call/email/text/Facebook status and how you might react, or you’ve become paralyzed by the reality of telling this person to take a run and jump, and have gone in search of some information to bolster your decision. Let’s face it, you aren’t going through a breakup like a run-of-the-mill relationship. You weren’t in a boring relationship. I meant that if there was mutual love, care, and trust in your relationship, you wouldn’t be applying the No Contact Rule unless one of them had changed dramatically after the breakup.
You are not the only one.
Many people have found themselves in difficult situations, such as mine. We feel for someone, want a different outcome, but keep trying to solve the problems the same way we got into the relationship. This is clearly not going to work.
At the beginning of this process, you need to understand that your relationship, or ‘involvement, is a series and sequence of interactions that have combined to form the pattern of your relationships. Your own set of patterns and habits are yours. You have learned from each other what your habits in this dynamic mean.
As I have explained to many people struggling to get out of a relationship that is barely there, particularly those who are wondering if they should even try. The pattern of your relationship with this person and the dynamics between you help them form assumptions about what they will or won’t do. This is crucial for you to grasp.
They will make assumptions about you, whatever you’ve done in the past, and won’t change their mind until they have significant information from the No Contact Rule.
They take so much comfort in their pattern that even when they aren’t there, they believe you will behave in the same way they expect. This could mean that some people will feel so secure in your love that they are able to go on with their lives, but then they’ll suddenly come back into yours to disrupt it. They think you are so crazy about them they can feed off your adoration and their distress in your absence.
You must exceed the longest time you have been apart or not communicating with each other. To end the pattern, you must cut contact with each other for at least 7-12months if you have been apart for more than a few weeks. This is the only way to get rid of it – many people have tried and failed.
This is why it happens. Even if you believe you have made a lot of progress in the past few months or weeks, but your relationship has not been broken up for more than one year, they will respond to you. When you have been dealing with someone who is a hot-headed jerk, it is only when they realize that they are not getting what they want that they receive a signal to their brain that they must shift gears and’strike. This message may indicate that they may not be as in control as they thought and may make them seek confirmation. If they decide to contact you, this is the time to be clear and assertive. By not being ready to have a relationship with them that they are still refusing to offer.
If you are eager to take in all the attention and promises of them, you will again show that you are a crying wolf. They will see your attempts at the No Contact Rule (no matter your original intentions or convictions) as a game and will feel confident and in charge again.
Your habits must be changed if you want to make positive changes in your life and break free from an unhealthy dynamic. People tend to try to change their thinking and behavior to be more compatible with others. This is called “game-playing”. This only encourages unhealthy behaviors and eventually leads to deeper relationships. You also become distant from your core self, your needs, desires, and ultimately your identity.
If your ex or soon-to-be-ex stops taking you seriously, and figures out the “pattern”, which is similar in that it is able to open your door and allow you back into your home, then you will realize that the No Contact Rule is the best way to communicate that you don’t care about them anymore, that you’re serious and that your relationship is over. You need to convey a completely different message to someone who has been following you around like flies and enjoyed the ego-stripping to some degree, even though things didn’t work out. You don’t want them to be a jerk and ask for your help, but they will get the impression that you are ‘there’ to abuse them and take advantage of them. Furthermore, you can’t continue to project the image of someone who is okay with not having love, trust, and respect.
No Contact is about changing your response to the cues or triggers. This in turn changes your patterns and leads to a change in your behavior. You must respect the No Contact Rule. This not only shows that you are not going to engage, but also that you are a valuable, worthwhile person who is committed to their happiness.
How An Unhealthy Pattern Is Established
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 expect you to try harder or do more. They figure out ways to get more from you, without needing to do anything. 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, even though 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 the No Contact Rule until your new habits are so well-established that it doesn’t matter 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 to 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 actions are justified. However, it’s actually their character and habits regardless of whether or not you are there.
- 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 you are still their backup plan. This 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. The events in PHASE 2 & beyond reveal the true nature of their actions in PHASE 1. They used speed and intensity to disarm. If you continue to respond to this situation and their behavior by making it about you, you are giving them airtime in your life. Instead of acknowledging what they are doing and telling them to bounce.
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 have not 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, claiming they have, and promising to change.
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 as long they blow hot, they will respond.
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 an “I made a mistake” statement within days or hours. 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 with you, it’s not possible to teach them different expectations. They’ll think you’re expressing frustration and that after a while they will forget or accept the inevitable. 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.