When people realize that that they are involved with a sociopath, the standard advice from Lovefraud is that they should, as quickly as possible, cut the predator out of their lives. That means no phone calls, no e-mails, no texts, and certainly no in-person meetings. It means No Contact.
Of course, there are times when this is difficult, as when our reader works with the sociopath, or they have children together. In these cases, they need to implement No Contact as best they can. But let’s now talk about situations where it is possible to get rid of the person, such as in a dating relationship.
What is the best way to establish No Contact? Clearly, firmly and permanently.
The rules of No Contact
De Becker writes in the context of a woman who decides she doesn’t want to be involved with a man. Do not, the author says, try to “let him down easy.” Here’s what he writes:
One rule applies to all types of unwanted pursuit: Do not negotiate. Once a woman has made the decision that she doesn’t want a relationship with a particular man, it needs to be said one time, explicitly. Almost any contact after that rejection will be seen as negotiation … If you tell someone ten times that you don’t want to talk to him, you are talking to him—nine times more than you wanted to.
Here are more points that de Becker makes in the book:
- If you get 30 messages from a pursuer, and finally call him back to say, “stop calling,” he learns that after 30 attempts, he will get a response.
- If you make an excuse like, “I don’t want to be in a relationship right now,” the stalker assumes you will want to be in a relationship later, and keeps calling.
- If you say, “You’re a great guy, but I’m not the one for you,” the stalker thinks you’re just confused, and will come around in time.
- Never explain why you don’t want a relationship. If you give a reason, it gives him something to challenge.
- A nice or delicate rejection is often taken as affection.
“The way to stop contact is to stop contact,” de Becker says. “I suggest one explicit rejection and after that absolutely no contact. If you call the pursuer back, or agree to meet, or send him a note, or have somebody warn him off, you buy another six weeks of his unwanted pursuit.”
What happens if you’re wishy-washy about No Contact? Not long ago, Lovefraud received the following letter from a reader who we’ll call “Lenore.”
I literally had to count the days that went by as I refused contact with him, and on day 120, I celebrated because I felt healed. Well, on day 121, he emailed me, and against my better judgment, I emailed him back. He told me he had been in therapy, he realized what he had done wrong, he was on medication.
I was cautious and wary, and decided, amidst warnings of concern from my friends and family, to perhaps work on a friendship again. We worked on being friends for a few weeks, and everything was great and fine. I felt in control of the situation.
Then his old behaviors started creeping in. He installed a GPS app on my phone so he could track my whereabouts. He began calling and texting incessantly, and flipping out if I didn’t answer right away. The verbal and psychological abuse had begun again. Fortunately, this time it did not escalate to physical abuse. He began lying again, gaslighting and acting erratically, and began seeing other women on the side. Last night, it once again became too much and I told him not to contact me again because my heart and my spirit couldn’t take any more pain, and his inconsistency is so bad for my son.
So today begins Day One again without him. I am writing you today to tell you that your no contact advice was the best advice I didn’t take. For 120 days I went without him. It took a while, but by day 90 I was happy and free and at peace. Now I am back to square one.
No Contact is the path to healing from an entanglement with a sociopath. The stronger you can be about No Contact, the faster you will recover.