Sometimes it is necessary to go No Contact with a narcissistic family member. Although I believe that it is best to simply fade out of their lives, giving them no reasons to rage and hoover you, sometimes a formal No Contact letter is necessary.
If you are harassed by your N to the degree that you are considering a restraining or protective order and their harassment is not criminal (assault, vandalism, trespassing, etc.), then your first step is a No Contact letter. Courts are notoriously unsympathetic to family squabbles being brought to their attention until and unless other avenues of resolution have been attempted, so by sending a No Contact letter, you demonstrate to the court that you have proactively attempted to resolve this issue on your own.
For the lucky ones among us, a successful NC occurs when we fade out of their lives and they don’t come chasing after us. Unfortunately, I suspect we are in the minority and the rest of us have to deal with a spectrum of responses. For people with this issue, the No Contact letter opens the door and, unfortunately, it will probably first open the door to drama and chaos before it finally closes again with a peaceful no contact situation. How much drama and chaos, however, can be limited by carefully crafting the No Contact letter.
What should a No Contact letter look like? Well, the first thing is that it should not contain a list of your grievances against the person/people you are attempting to cut out of your life. That is like waving a red flag in front of a bull: you cannot send a letter containing accusations of wrong-doing to a narcissist and expect them not them be outraged and determined to respond and “set you straight.” If you do expect that, then this is your reality check: they will respond, it won’t be pretty, and it will probably be an extended response that includes calling in all of the Flying Monkeys to help them beat you into submission.
A No Contact letter crafted to avoid drama would look something like this:
To: John and Jane Doe
From: Mary Doe Smith and Robert Smith
Subject: No Contact
This letter is to inform you that as of the date noted above, we direct you to cease all forms of contact with us and with our children, Sissie and Bubba Smith. This includes telephone calls, texts, email or other electronic communication, letters, cards, gifts, and personal visits. This prohibition also includes messages of any kind delivered via other persons, such as other family members or friends.
We are prepared to take legal action if you refuse to respect our wishes for no contact with you.
Mary Doe Smith
This is a no-nonsense letter that dispassionately lays out your demand for complete privacy where they are concerned. There are no emotional hooks for them to grab onto, like accusations of wrong doing on their part that they can argue with or invalidate. It gives them no reasons for your decision and demands…as an independent, autonomous adult you are not required to justify or even explain your decisions to your parents and, knowing that even the mildest reason given will be a hook for them to start manipulating and gaslighting and invalidating is reason enough to say nothing. You don’t owe them an explanation so don’t throw open the door to drama and chaos by giving them one.
Depending on your family situation, you might want to send copies of the No Contact letter to key family members to pre-empt your N’s attempt at embroidering the letter you do send. You can send a cover letter to them, but don’t go into your reasons for going No Contact with them, either, because they will most certainly share those reasons with your Ns, giving them the hook you did not. If you absolutely must write down the reasons you came to the point of NC, then write it in your journal.
The letter to the N must be sent via registered post so that you get a receipt back from the postal service proving it was delivered. You should staple this receipt to your copy of the letter and put them in a safe place because you will probably need them later. Letters to any Flying Monkeys should be sent by regular mail or email and if you must preface it, say only something like “I recently sent the attached letter to my mother and father and I am sure they will be in contact with you about it. I am sending you a copy so that you know exactly what I wrote to them, and so that you know we are not open to second-hand communication from them through you or other family members or friends. We do not find it necessary to enumerate our reasons: it is sufficient that we have given long and painful consideration to this decision and ask only that you respect it.” Keep a list of people you sent copies to.
Once you have sent the letter, it is important to record any violations of your request. If they text you, you can forward their texts to your email program, then print them out and put them in the file with the letter. Any mails or emails you receive, put them in the file. Make sure you notify your children’s schools that nobody is to be allowed contact with your children without your express permission and that includes their grandparents and aunts and uncles. If your children have such activities as soccer or karate or dance or music lessons, make sure the adults know not to allow your children contact with adults who are not other parents, and if someone attempts to make contact, to report it to you.
If they bombard you with contacts, particularly if they are character assassination-type messages, take your file to an attorney and have him draw up a cease-and-desist letter and send it to your Ns. You can send photocopies of the letter to the Flying Monkeys yourself.
I would guess a majority of Ns will stop at this point and satisfy themselves with spreading rumours, innuendo and plain, old-fashioned lies about you to the Flying Monkeys and others. Whether you want to admit it or not, this will not be something new…they have been doing this behind your back all along, so you are losing nothing with this latest round and at least this time there is the grain of truth that you cut off all contact without so much as an explanation.
If you are one of the unlucky few whose Ns don’t stop at this point, then you continue collecting evidence of their violations and go back to the lawyer because now is the time you should be able to get that restraining or protective order and when the N violates that, the law will get involved. Nothing cools an Ns jets like being arrested for violating a court order…it is something they can’t explain away to their Flying Monkeys and if they want to continue to look like a poor victim of a hateful, ungrateful child, they can’t sully themselves by violating the law.
Your part in this is to respect the boundary you have laid down: no matter the provocation, remain NC with your Ns. Collect evidence and know that you have not only taken a huge step in the direction of your own freedom, you have dealt a huge blow to the Ns by taking away their control and their power. You just need to stay the course until the Ns finally give up, realize there is no more NSupply coming from your family, and shifts their attention to more productive fields.