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How to Go No Contact with Toxic People in Your Life

How to Go No Contact with Toxic People in Your Life
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Updated: 2/22/2024 | How to Go No Contact with Toxic People in Your Life

What is the “No Contact” Rule?

The “no contact” rule entails cutting off all communications with a toxic person in your life. This can be an ex-partner, friend, family member, or just about anyone whose energy does not serve you. This no-contact period can last a total of weeks, or months, or is indefinite. 

Going no contact means severing relations with your friends or family members to end the emotional, psychological, and physical suffering. It a boundary that you set for yourself against people who have constantly violated your trust. 

This includes not engaging in phone calls, texting, direct messages, and “likes” on social media, in-person meetups, or stalking social media accounts just to see what someone has been up to.

The “no contact” rule can help you get back on your feet after a breakup or falling out.

Our guide will show you how to go no contact by giving you all the information you need. We will also include strategies for you to get over you severed relationship.

People usually decide to go no contact because someone has repeatedly crossed their boundaries. 

Related: How to Deal With Exhausting People

Healthy boundaries determine what is appropriate in our relationships and keep both parties from harming the other. Also, setting healthy boundaries is critical for good self-care and positive experiences in a relationship.

The problem with weak or non-existent boundaries is that we don’t know where someone else ends, and we begin. Setting healthy boundaries involves one beginning to assert their needs and priorities.

Without appropriate boundaries, you can never hope to overcome the differences in your family of origin. However, what happens if you have set strong boundaries and your family keeps crossing and ignoring them?

And going no contact might be your only option.

In essence, most NC decisions boil down to: you have experienced trauma or have had negative experiences with this individual and need distance indefinitely, in order to heal.


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How to Go No Contact with Toxic People

Toxic people will DRAIN YOUR energy and health. They will never have your best interests at heart and will constantly misalign themselves with your values. They will manipulate you and go against your wishes just so that they get what they think they deserve.

These people need to be removed from your life in order for you to start healing.

What does going no contact involve?

  • No talking
  • No texting
  • No instant messaging
  • No calling/phoning
  • No in-person visits
  • No social media interaction
  • Let trusted people in your life know what’s going on in case you need support or a person to step in 
  • The way an ex tries to establish contact with you might be through any of the following:
    • They text you to “check in” on you
    • They comment on your social media posts
    • They post pictures of you two on their social media
    • Repeated phone calls, under the pretext of ensuring closure after the breakup, or asking how you are
    • Asking your friends and family about your well-being and relationship status
    • Showing up at your workplace or places you frequent
    • Asking someone close to you to deliver a message to you
    • Befriending the people close to you just to contact you is a good sign that it’s working

All forms of communication are off the table

Guide to Going No Contact

Below are steps you need to take to go fully NO CONTACT with someone in your life.

#1 Delete their Accounts and Contact Info

Go ahead and delete their phone number and social media accounts from your phone and laptop.

#2 Avoid Your Exes Friends and Family

After a breakup, it’s best to stay out of your ex’s circle of friends and family.

This way, your ex won’t hear from you directly or indirectly, through friends and family.

Going no contact may have the following effects:

  • Grieving
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of remorse
  • Backlash
  • Feeling lonely
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Handling Mutual Friends and Family

  • Cut mutual friends out of your life until you’ve somewhat moved on. Or at least distance yourself from them.
  • Don’t hang out with them just to assert your reputation. Take time away to heal. 
  • Always cut out shit stirrers, or the people that contribute to drama between you and your ex.
  • Ask mutual friends to not come to you with any information about your ex.
  • Avoid fishing for information, be that directly or indirectly. It won’t benefit you if you’re trying to heal.
  • Don’t tolerate uncomfortable ex-related conversations. Ask your friends to change the topic.
  • If your friendships enable you to maintain any sort of connection to your ex, you’re breaking no contact and should stop immediately.
  • Don’t expect or demand that your friends side with you when it comes to your breakup.
  • There will be friends and family that will urge you to reconsider and rekindle your relationship with your abuser. DO NOT LET THEM impede on your journey towards healing. Stick to your boundaries.

Handling Belongings:

  • Retrieve your stuff (if your ex won’t return something and it’s of great sentimental or monetary value, pursue a legal route).
  • Give back their stuff (either do it yourself in person, via mail, or ask a friend to bring all the items to your ex so you can minimize contact).
  • For joint possessions, do an inventory and divide the items purchased together appropriately. This may be based on value or attachment. And if there’s a legal process involved, consider opting for solicitors or a mediator, although it obviously costs less if you can sort it out amicably yourselves.

You Might Be Criticized and Vilified

Perhaps the biggest problem is that when you go no-contact, you will often receive criticism from those who do not understand your situation. Even your friends may abandon you for “being so cold” or “unreasonable.”

Being abandoned or shunned by other family and friends when you are most vulnerable is a form of abuse. Remember that they have NO PLACE in your healing process. 

Of course, your family will spread rumors of how awful you are for not wanting anything to do with them. They may tell others that you are ungrateful and that they love you despite how “cruel” you have been to them.

Remember that you have nothing to feel guilty about because these people were traumatizing you every day you were with them. Lean into your newfound freedom and try not to allow others to impede your healing.

Here is an example of how my mom responded to my video about continuing to go no contact. In her broken English, she says she is perfect, no one can make a fool of her. She brought me into this world so probably thinks I owe her something. If she knew I’d be like this toward her she would’ve laid an egg.

hien tran mother being abusive on my facebook post always the victim

My mother shamed me in a public post on Facebook.

The Benefits of Going No Contact

Now the good stuff! Here are reasons why you should consider going no contact.

  1. It gives you time to gather your thoughts, process your emotions, and rebuild yourself. You will finally get to HEAL.
  2. Taking a break will give you and your abuser space. 
  3. Putting things on “pause” is also a good way to get ready for conflict resolution. It allows the dust to settle and lays the groundwork for negotiations later on.
  4. The benefit of ending a toxic relationship is that it is refreshing, and you may feel exhilarated. You can begin over again to rebuild your life based on what you want from life.

Soon enough, you’ll realize that going no contact can be the best thing you have ever done for your mental health.

When Is No Contact Impossible?

There are situations and times where the no contact rule is not always possible. 

Going no contact does not work when:

  1. You have kids together and need to co-parent.
  2. You work with your ex.
  3. You study or go to school with your ex.
  4. You live together and need to make plans to split.
  5. You have an ongoing commitment with your ex that must be maintained.

If you need to stay in touch with your ex, you can reduce the frequency of conversation. You should ONLY communicate when necessary and in a very pragmatic and straightforward way. As hard as it sounds, do not get engaged in any conversations that will stir your emotions.

Some people call this limited or low contact.

No Contact Timeline

If you’re wondering how long to go no contact, here are some guidelines.

  • 4 weeks is the standard recommended no contact duration. A month will give you plenty of time to get back on your feet. Most experts recommend 30 days of no contact.
  • About two weeks is fine when it isn’t a bad breakup and the relationship is less than a year old.
  • 10 days is enough for relationships that last less than a year.
  • 7 days of silence can work for a new relationship (under 3 months.)

Here is what to do when you go no contact

  1. Unfriend, unfollow, and block.
  2. Delete all photos and videos that you have of him or her. Keeping them only reminds you of them and will make you sad.
  3. Dive into your emotions, and fully allow sadness & grief to engulf you. Don’t suppress it as this will ensure a fully healed heart. Only a fully broken heart will fully heal.
  4. Don’t hate them. Just heal yourself by keeping your mind and spirit pure & healthy. There’s no point turning yourself into a bad person because of them. Let them turn into nothing.
  5. Continue to improve yourself. Occupy your time and mind with things you love to do. Go out with friends, take a hike, cuddle with your pets, indulge in a hobby, and don’t just stay at home and mope.
  6. Sometimes the attachment will be so strong that you will want to contact them. That’s normal. When you want to contact them, talk to friends instead, or talk to your pet.
  7. Lastly, congratulations, you have just thrown a rotten apple away, leaving behind for you is a big basket of fruits waiting for you to choose!

Time will heal everything and help you realize that what you are feeling right now is just a common heartbreak.

When you look back in the future, you will realize, that you were better off without them.

The goal is to put the drama of the breakup behind you, so you can:

  1. Find relief and rebuild your confidence;
  2. Use the time to get a plan together;
  3. Deal with your heartbreak and any anger you have in your own time…
  4. Rally your friends and family to support you and keep you accountable with your decision.

It’s like taking a personal or mental health day off from work. It would help if you got away from things for a bit. But you wouldn’t be allowed to take weeks off just doing nothing.

Remember that you used to live without them. There should be no problem with being without them again. And the biggest bonus? Now you can do whatever you want freely!

See our other NPD articles here

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