Question: Am I being mean or cruel when I go “no contact”? I don’t think it’s selfish to go no contact to protect myself from my ex.
Cutting off all contact in order to protect and to take care of yourself is not bad. I haven’t contacted my ex for 7 weeks and I feel great about myself. He is acting all hurt and upset because I have cut all contact with him and finally looking after myself. I’m very proud of the progress I have made. Sometimes it’s okay and normal to be selfish. You can’t love and care about someone else if you don’t love and care of yourself first.
Yangki’s Answer: I agree 100% that taking care and looking after yourself is not selfish at all. And if you read my articles, I am all for cutting off contact to move on; if you feel you need to. I say “need to” because as someone securely attached, I know that securely attached people can move on without cutting off an ex. Dismissive avoidants also can move on without cutting off an ex because they are able to completely shut off feelings for their ex and operate on a purely practical “no emotions” level.
Fearful avoidants and anxious-preoccupied individuals on the other hand have little control of their emotions, and may need to cut off an ex to move on. The operating word here is “move on”.
1) What makes no contact rule mean, cruel and selfish
What I am against is using ‘no contact” as a strategy to attract back an ex. I think no contact is mean, cruel and selfish because it uses someone’s insecurities, fears and attachment trauma to get them back.
Imagine your ex in a vulnerable moment showing you a scar of an injury; and they tell you the scar is from their mother accidently knocking them down. They also tell you that even if it’s a long time ago, they haven’t completely healed; and sometimes the pain is as intense as when the injury happened. And you have seen them in pain a few times.
Would you if they broke up with you intentionally punch their scar to make them feel pain? Would seeing them in intense pain feel vindicated and justified since they broke up with you? And would you be asking “Is my ex regretting breaking up with me?”, “How long will it be before my ex stops crying and contacts me” Etc.
Attachment trauma is like an injury and no contact uses triggers the pain and trauma from being rejected and abandoned in childhood.
2) No contact to protect yourself from your ex
No contact to protect yourself from your ex is not selfish. And if your ex is acting all hurt and upset because you cut all contact with him and finally looking after yourself, that’s on him. You should not feel guilty for looking after yourself.
That said, if you feel the need to protect yourself from your ex, then you really need to rethink why you want your ex back in the first place. If you feel the need to protect yourself from someone, it means that person is a threat to you and/or abusive towards you. This is why most judicial systems have the “no contact” restraint order.
Generally, you don’t protect yourself from someone who is good for you.
3) Going no contact to take care of yourself
As I stated earlier, taking care and looking after yourself is not selfish at all.
However, there are two ways to love yourself.
- Only care about what you want or you think is good for you even if it hurts someone else or hurts a relationship with someone else. That’s what selfishness is about.
- Take care of you, and be mindful of how it affects the relationships that you want in your life.
If you don’t want a relationship with your ex, then by all means be as ‘selfish’ as you want. It may give you some joy to see your ex acting ‘all hurt and upset’, but that little moment of joy is not worth the long-term damage to the foundation of your relationship. Later, after taking care of “what’s good for me”, you will have a hard time trying to put “us” back together.
But if you still want a relationship with your ex, I suggest doing #2. What’s good for ME and “what’s good for US is not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to stop taking care of ‘us” in order to take care of “me”. You can do both.
Take good care of yourself. You need it and deserve it; but make sure whatever is left of the relationship is taken care of too, if you want your ex back.
3 Ways ‘No Contact’ Undermines Secure Attachment