When you have decided to go on a ‘No Contact’ plan aganst an abusive partner, the first of many steps you have to come to term with is acceptance. Acceptance as it is here is similar to the Kubler-Ross grief cycle, and include denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. Why acceptance is related to ‘No Contact’ here is no other reason than the fact you must accept the person you have shared some part of your life with up till now will cease being part of it for the reasons best known to you (the pains you are being caused).
Comparing ‘No Contact’ model with the Kubler-Ross grief cycle model, you might have something like below;
Denial:The first of the steps to be taken in here is denial. You have to be able to come to term first by having a numerous checklist of criteria to determine if your partner has traces of narcissism in him, perform weeks or months of researches and confirm that in spite of all indications that your partner is narcissistic, you are clinging to a false and preferable reality. Here, the individual concerned is unlikely to accept that his or her relationship is doomed, thus he may continue to seek the partner’s attention by rationalizing and minimizing himself, always being available, accepting unnecessary infidelity from partner, seeking the narcissist’s sympathy and not setting any form of boundaries with the hope that the partner will stop being abusive at some point in the process.
Anger: The narcissist most likely would continue in his way of life and thus denial might not work. Immediately the clinging partner realizes this, he becomes frustrated with his life and his partner. Sometimes they come up with emotional questions like; ‘why do I deserve this? How can this be happening to me? Why do I keep letting them treat me this way? How can this person be so cruel? And lots more. Typically, the clinging partner gets frustrated with the fact that the abusive partner is dong and getting away with majority of his toxic behaviors. Because he is affected with all of these, he then becomes bitter to the abusive partner but yet would be unable to leave the relationship. This consequently leads to inward anger. It is this exact reason why self-forgiveness is a huge part of your recovery process.
Bargaining:This is the third stage and it is usually rocked with the hope that the affected individual can avoid their abusive partner’s rejection or termination of the relationship. This is a phase where the affected person would begin to make unhealthy compromises so as to keep the abusive person in his life. The affected person would be forced to retract set boundaries, perform embarrassing and degrading acts in their closet, turning blind eyes to abusive person’s pathological lies and accepting their affairs no matter how unpleasant they may seem.
Depression: This is the point of self-condemnation and dejection. Affected persons look like they are accepting their fate to be with the abusive partner no matter what. They would keep asking questions like “Why bother leaving? What’s the point leaving since they are too old to find someone else?”, and many other unhealthy questions. They would begin to believe that they cannot tolerate silent treatments and so would not be able to go on‘No Contact’. At this stage, the abusive victim reaches the point of despair at the recognition of their dysfunction and feel very powerless to change their situation. They become silent, withdraw from friends, spend much time sitting and desolate, reading materials related to narcissism and fighting their inner mind while they suffer the effect of the trauma-bonding. The victim feels dejected and unfulfilled that his self-disgracing compromises have done very little in changing the situation between him and his narcissistic partner.
Acceptance: The victim feels knocked down to the extent that he has to rise up in the situation, thinking it’s going to be okay eventually. He feels as though he might not be able to change the relationship of a narcissistic partner but he should at least be able to change his self-sabotaging behaviors. They would start to think they have to pull off exactly what their situation is, even if not for themselves, for their kids and people around them. They would eventually come to the realization that some people have been able to find happiness after narcissistic abuses and so it’s possible for them too. They would finally embrace the need to go ‘No Contact’ as a step to survival, having clearly understood that there’s truly nothing to do to save their relationship.
\The Kubler Ross model is later expanded to include any form of personal loss and rejection. This could be related to loss of jobs and income, brutal discard, ending of a relationship or divorce, and perhaps drug addiction in some instances. By all standard, relationship with a narcissistic person creates a special type of addiction referred to as love addiction.
As revealed, detaching from relationship with a narcissistic person can be very tasking as most subjects get stuck in denial and bargaining. It is fair to say this usually happen because of the destructive dynamism that play out in abusive relationships. These may include blame shifting, cognitive dissonance, self-esteem battering and distrust.
If you are accepting to go on ‘No Contact’ plan against a narcissist, one of the most important rule to adopt is the Al-Anon’s3 Cs of change. These are the Cs of cause, control and cure. You have to understand that you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and as such you can’t cure it. This is especially very much needed by individuals who believe their abusive partners needs them to get better. Here is the fact. Narcissists don’t suffer from wounded self because of bad childhood or relationships. They have strong egos they will go any length to protect even when it takes to deceive their victims in order to take advantage of their compassionate hearts. For this reasons, Empaths usually become physically and emotionally sick while they think they are trying to save the narcissist.
Each time I introduce the art of acceptance to people, it is usually in regards to an unhealthy relationship they want so badly. I try on every instance to make them accept the fact that they wouldn’t get the kind of relationship they desire from the abusive partner. None of them would really voice this out but the first thought in their mind is always, you are my coach and you’re supposed to fix it. They feel the coaching sucks because they want their partner back and it’s appearing they wouldn’t get him. But eventually, they get to realize that most of the aspect and happenings in their relationships are beyond their control. This usually causes them more pains than accepting their toxic partner back
According to Wayne Dyer, ““If I could define enlightenment briefly, I would say it is the quiet acceptance of what is.” Even when one considers the Buddhist philosophy, he would realize that accepting reality causes less suffering than struggling in vain against it. Another truth as exposed by Buddhism is that all suffering is caused by our craving. Examining psychological suffering for instance, it is easy to picture how our cravings are responsible for it. We get frustrated once we fail to get our heart desires, and get saddened or let down when it appears people are not living up to our expectations. To this end, most of the suffering in toxic relationships are best prevented by accepting the toxic person for who they are and refusing all form of contact with them, instead of struggling vainly to remain in their lives or change them. Whatever the situation is, you are always left with at least two options. You either accept the toxic person for who he is without expecting to change him, or accept the choice to leave. Acceptance as discussed here doesn’t however mean that you have to act immediately. You must not join the flocks of people that think that acknowledging a difficult situation means that they then need to either be resigned to it or act on it right away. If eventually you are not prepared for any of these two options, you are most probably destined to remain distressed without a way to handle your situation. Because you are not acknowledging the truth, it becomes difficult to admit your own role or throw your hands up in convictions that you have no other options than giving up. That’s not acceptance. Acceptance means that you have even in the face of terrible happenings, you are still able to make empowering choices. The most important fact about acceptance is that you have a chance to either accept or deny, and most times denying doesn’t and won’t change obtainable reality, rather it would add to your pains.
There are a whole lot of media outlets that describes the narcissists’ loads of cons and how they always stick to their guns without no signs of change, but it is very rare to find those ones that speak about accepting them for who they are, which is the most critical to your decision to either stay in your relationship with the associate alibi or make a lifesaving and empowering decision to leave. Below are four things you may have not considered about acceptance before;
- It doesn’t mean wanting, choosing, liking or supporting things you don’t like. It is so not about that. Nobody is saying you should like what it is you’re accepting, even the unfairness of it as it may seem to you. Understandably, by struggling against the pain, undue suffering is created .Nobody wants your emotional pain or support the injustice that has happened to you in the relationship, rather you are choosing to accept the fact and reality about the relationship. Acceptance means that you give yourself permission to acknowledge what you have experienced without getting unnecessary shameful and anxious. The pain might remain for some time, but some of the suffering will eventually be alleviated.
- It is an active process that must be intentionally applied. It is an active verb that requires to be practiced consciously like a healing process. It is obviously very rare that we would accept our emotional pains and suffering in all capacities, and s usually requires effort and times, but like creating a path in the forest by hiking the path many times, you create a neural pathway that makes it easier to pass next time, every time you practice acceptance. The feeling of acceptance is that of rejection and so it might not be understandably easy. This is why t s best to practice compassion to yourself alongside acceptance.
- Acceptance isn’t a promise of eternal pains. Therefore you have to be focused on the present pains knowing that there are bountiful gains thereafter. A large chunk of acceptance means that you are letting of of your desires that things will change and detaching from the hope that in the case of a toxic relationship any expectation of change creates more suffering. Although imagining anything close to practicing acceptance forever can be daunting, overwhelming or seem impossible, you still must find the sweet spot where you are accepting the current moment for its ordeal but not under the pretense that things will change in the future.
- Acceptance can be practiced in a lot of ways, particularly towards people, emotions, experiences, ideas and more. In fact, it could be practiced in all areas of your life. Again, you must be remembered that this doesn’t mean that you are endorsing whatever it is that you are accepting, rather you have realized that you cannot change the nature of your toxic partner and accepting the anxiety that helps manage and helps calm you. According to Carl Jung, “when you resist, persist”. The alternative of accepting in therefore resisting. Thereby prolonging your pains and creating suffering.