Feeling shame over no contact

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blues_cruise

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Feeling shame over no contact
« on: December 30, 2019, 11:31:17 AM »
I've been no contact with my (suspected) N father for nearly three years, though saying that 9 months in I had a moment of guilt and sent a Christmas card so perhaps officially it's more like two years. Anyway, the last couple of months haven't been easy. My birthday is in November only a few weeks before Christmas, so I've had a double whammy of hoovers from my N father, the first of which contained a letter along with my birthday card claiming that he misses me. No apology or any indication of self-reflection or desire to change though. Admittedly I eased into no contact by fading away rather than writing a letter to explain, however as the adult child in this 'relationship' should I really have to be the one to point out all the poor behaviour that led to this? How is it not obvious to him that if he treats people cruelly then the consequence is that they will withdraw from him? It just shows to me that he hasn't done any of the necessary self-reflection or positive behavioural changes that would be needed to have any form of relationship. He seems to think that he can just soften my heart by sending me letters and gifts and that I'll somehow just slip back into the old routine. It can't work like that. It just saddens me that he doesn't have any emotional intelligence whatsoever.

Anyway, emotions have been high and with all the family idealisation Christmas promotes I've been feeling the pressure of being no contact. I want to remain no contact and whenever I have listed pros and cons of getting back into contact the only things on the 'pros' list are that society would stop judging me harshly and that it would please my father. The cons are having a relationship with an unkind person who I do not like and allowing myself to be sucked into the abuse cycle. I'm just not doing it and it annoys me that people seem to think that I should. A couple of family members were supportive to begin with but now that the reality that I'm serious has sunk in they seem to have distanced themselves from me. I don't think they appreciate how abandoned I felt as a child living alone with someone so emotionally abusive and how much it has affected me into adulthood. I didn't have another parent around to protect me or any kind of distance from him or way to escape; it was daily psychological torture.

I keep thinking that there surely must be something I could do to feel better and I'm coming up blank. I'll be fine for a while but then I remember that I have a parent who I no longer speak to through my own choice and I feel shameful about it, like I'm defective and a horrible, cold person. I unfortunately read something on the internet yesterday by a self-proclaimed childhood trauma recovery coach who was condoning remaining in a relationship with abusive family, and it made me feel so angry and sad that someone who otherwise seems quite knowledgeable about recovery would suggest that it's the right thing to do. If I were mentally strong enough and had a healthy level of self-confidence and assertiveness skills to have rock solid boundaries and simply shrug off the harassment and abuse that comes with it then I would entertain contact just to stop getting judged negatively, but until them I'm not putting myself back in the firing line.

Just getting this off my chest really, it's been bothering me so much of late but hopefully once the new year is in it will settle down.  :dramaqueen:

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Kizzie

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2019, 06:15:07 PM »
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I unfortunately read something on the internet yesterday by a self-proclaimed childhood trauma recovery coach who was condoning remaining in a relationship with abusive family, and it made me feel so angry and sad that someone who otherwise seems quite knowledgeable about recovery would suggest that it's the right thing to do

Reacting to this is completely understandable Blues, TBH it is why I am apprehensive about the proliferation of trauma coaches on the internet and cautious about what they advise.  We're (survivors of relational trauma) just beginning to understand finally we need not feel guilty or ashamed and that in fact staying in contact with our abusers may inflict additional trauma and/or trigger old trauma to the point where we cannot feel/think clearly enough to recover and heal. 

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I don't think they appreciate how abandoned I felt as a child living alone with someone so emotionally abusive and how much it has affected me into adulthood. I didn't have another parent around to protect me or any kind of distance from him or way to escape; it was daily psychological torture.

Sadly this is the reality we all have to live with for now until the scope and depth of the injuries caused by relational trauma is better understood.

I am so sorry you are feeling as you are and I hope coming here will help you to feel less ashamed and alone in this. We will not judge you; frankly no-one has the right to judge you  :grouphug:

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woodsgnome

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2019, 08:41:29 PM »
Blues-cruise, I admire you for following your heart's instincts.  :applause:

I also concur with Kizzie that there's too many self-proclaimed self-help gurus out there who lack credibility pretending to help vulnerable people. I know of one highly-acclaimed author who was praised for inventing a word ('woundology') which is no more than a cleverly disguised put-down of abuse victims. Based on what I've seen,  she has no notion of what she's talking about, except perhaps feeding off of those trying desperately to find some way to find hope.

Survivors deserve understanding and empathy, not taunts and suggestion they're somehow to blame for their circumstances.

Personally, one of the best things I could have done years back was to go non-contact; and stick to it. I'm still haunted by much of what went on, but followed my heart in staying clear of further damage I might have come by had I succumbed to the guilt flag some tried to wave in my face.

Best to you -- none of this is ever easy.

 


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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2019, 09:29:30 PM »
 :grouphug: for you blues_cruise.

fwiw I have tried to explain to FOO why I can't maintain contact but in their narc way they twist up my words and just plain don't listen. They play devil's advocate instead and try and find a flaw in my reasoning or prove I'm using the wrong words etc. So I think doing a fade-out NC is just fine!! I know I'm not the only one whose words just don't get through.

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blues_cruise

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 07:44:31 PM »
Thank you so much for the supportive replies and happy new year to you all.  :)

Reacting to this is completely understandable Blues, TBH it is why I am apprehensive about the proliferation of trauma coaches on the internet and cautious about what they advise.  We're (survivors of relational trauma) just beginning to understand finally we need not feel guilty or ashamed and that in fact staying in contact with our abusers may inflict additional trauma and/or trigger old trauma to the point where we cannot feel/think clearly enough to recover and heal.

Thanks Kizzie and yes, absolutely. I mean, I'm all down for forgiveness which is what this coach endorses, but I think boundaries and self-care are just as important, if not more so. There's no point in forgiving a parent for past wrongdoing only to have them attempt to do it all over again. Plus I don't think 'one size fits all' when it comes to this. This coach apparently comes from a background of child neglect driven by her parents' alcohol and drug abuse but when she was a vulnerable child it was obvious to outsiders that she was being badly abused and neglected and as a result she had trusted teachers and neighbours around her who would help her, if only via small acts of kindness or offering brief stays of refuge when her parents were kicking off. In my situation (and I expect this is true for a lot of us) no-one had a clue how bad the psychological abuse and emotional neglect was at home and since I had no obvious signs of malnutrition or bruising it was assumed that my dad was a good parent. My mum played along with the delusion too so outside closed doors all was assumed to be fine.

Blues-cruise, I admire you for following your heart's instincts.  :applause:

I also concur with Kizzie that there's too many self-proclaimed self-help gurus out there who lack credibility pretending to help vulnerable people. I know of one highly-acclaimed author who was praised for inventing a word ('woundology') which is no more than a cleverly disguised put-down of abuse victims. Based on what I've seen,  she has no notion of what she's talking about, except perhaps feeding off of those trying desperately to find some way to find hope.

Survivors deserve understanding and empathy, not taunts and suggestion they're somehow to blame for their circumstances.

Personally, one of the best things I could have done years back was to go non-contact; and stick to it. I'm still haunted by much of what went on, but followed my heart in staying clear of further damage I might have come by had I succumbed to the guilt flag some tried to wave in my face.

Best to you -- none of this is ever easy.

Thank you woodsgnome, regardless of how hard it often is I don't think I would ever have started the self-care necessary to feel better had I not have withdrawn from contact. No longer do I have to endure the dreaded anxiety of imminent phone calls, the frustration of being bullied during the call and then days and days of emotional recovery. Such wasted energy.

I think you're right, it seems like some of these self-help gurus are in a position where it could be easy for them to take advantage. I do think the one I was looking into means well but clearly has little background knowledge or understanding of how insidious and permanent the effects of personality disorders can be, particularly the purposeful psychological manipulation of the abusive parent. The most comfort I get is from others who have been in a similar situation and have an understanding of how it feels, plus published authors such as Pete Walker and Bessel van der Kolk who have years of experience surrounding trauma and whose work and insight I feel better able to trust.

:grouphug: for you blues_cruise.

fwiw I have tried to explain to FOO why I can't maintain contact but in their narc way they twist up my words and just plain don't listen. They play devil's advocate instead and try and find a flaw in my reasoning or prove I'm using the wrong words etc. So I think doing a fade-out NC is just fine!! I know I'm not the only one whose words just don't get through.

Thanks Blueberry. I'm fairly sure that upon receiving a letter of no contact my father would instantly have phoned all family and friends up to play the victim and smear me to all who would listen. It's what he did in the past whenever I dared to defy him after all. And yes, my words would have been twisted! Ultimately he hurt me time and time again with no acknowledgement or remorse and it just became unbearable.

The sad thing is, I think he does have lucid moments where he wants to make an effort and it really feels like a punch in the gut to reject that when in the moment he probably is genuinely trying to do something good and reconcile. I just think it's so fleeting, plus his unhealthy coping mechanisms (i.e. using other people as an emotional punchbag) are so deeply ingrained and his ego so massive that he would just feel entitled to continue mistreating me and pushing for too much unwanted contact if I gave him even a foot in the door. Before resorting to no contact I was willing to communicate via email only but he threw it back in my face and insisted on phone calls, which just created far too much anxiety within me.

Anyway thanks again all, it helps to share this stuff.  :hug:
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 07:47:01 PM by blues_cruise »

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Kizzie

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2020, 08:15:27 PM »
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Ultimately he hurt me time and time again with no acknowledgement or remorse and it just became unbearable.

You've hit the nail on the head when it comes to forgiveness for me. I used to feel so guilty, ashamed and as I later came to realize, angry when I would read something about forgiveness. For me forgiving would be not only be turning my back on younger me and what she endured, but might invite more trauma because like your F my NPD parents  do not acknowledge their behaviour nor feel remorse and that will never change.  If I don't keep my distance and keep that in my mind the abuse will repeat itself if I open that door again.

I do feel compassion now I know my parents developed NPD because of a lot of trauma in their lives as children, but I find I have to be careful not to let that overtake me so I do continue to protect myself.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 08:17:32 PM by Kizzie »

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blues_cruise

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2020, 12:12:08 PM »
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Ultimately he hurt me time and time again with no acknowledgement or remorse and it just became unbearable.

You've hit the nail on the head when it comes to forgiveness for me. I used to feel so guilty, ashamed and as I later came to realize, angry when I would read something about forgiveness. For me forgiving would be not only be turning my back on younger me and what she endured, but might invite more trauma because like your F my NPD parents  do not acknowledge their behaviour nor feel remorse and that will never change.  If I don't keep my distance and keep that in my mind the abuse will repeat itself if I open that door again.

I do feel compassion now I know my parents developed NPD because of a lot of trauma in their lives as children, but I find I have to be careful not to let that overtake me so I do continue to protect myself.

Yes, absolutely.  :yes: Having done a fair bit of reading on trauma I do recognise that my father shows a lot of signs of having been traumatised himself and I feel empathy for that because I know how horrible it is to go through, however I also recognise that we all have a choice and that it's not my responsiblity to take the emotional blows for him. Rather than do the enormous amount of self-reflection and healing work needed to break the cycle he instead chose to self destruct and carry out the very same abuses to all his children. This just baffles me as I can't imagine why on an earth a parent would do this to their children with the full knowledge of how horrible it is. Any empathy is just non-existant or completely miniscule. I think acknowledging his pain is as close to 'forgiveness' as I can get without enduring contact and the sacrifice of my self-identity that would go with it.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 12:17:53 PM by blues_cruise »

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Kizzie

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Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2020, 06:51:26 PM »
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I think acknowledging his pain is as close to 'forgiveness' as I can get without enduring contact and the sacrifice of my self-identity that would go with it.

Well said Blues, I could not agree more  :thumbup: