Gransnet forums


The Brainwashing Behind Going No Contact

(1001 Posts)
nina1959 Wed 08-Mar-17 08:31:00

I hope it's OK to post this here. I'm sure Gransnet will move it if it's not but in view of all those estranged, cut off parents unable to understand why their adult children treat them like they do, this very well written post sums it up perfectly.
It was sent to me this morning. Obviously some AC have no choice but to keep their distance from abusive parents, we understand this. But this NC approach being liberally recommended is a highly destructive trend ruining many lives.

' I am in the position that my estranged daughter is treating me like I'm toxic when I feel it's the other way around. We've been studying this for awhile now. Why are there so many adult children cutting off their families. These are things that we came up with. Something interesting: we've all noticed how our EC all do the same mean stuff and say the same mean things. It's like they're reading a script or like they all joined the same cult.
I have news for you. They are all reading a script. They did join the same cult.
What they are doing is called "Going No Contact". It's literally a scripted plan that they follow. It starts when they judge us as not just humans with whom they disagree, but "evil" because we don't see things their way. They complain online, and meet other complaining children who honestly believe, thanks to the self-esteem movement, that any time they were uncomfortable for a moment equals abuse. If their parents disagreed with them or made them do something that they didn't like or whacked their fresh asses when they talked back or refused to follow rules, they add this to their pile of justification. Lacking coping skills, they believe that anytime they are not happy, they have been wronged, and the person who dared to 'make' them feel bad is a Narcissist.
A Narcissist to them is what 'possessed' meant to our parents. The Narcissist is pure evil and a force to be feared and hated. They all bolster one another's justification of their interpretation of who we are. They swap war stories that are positively ridiculous, such as stories of the "evil narcissistic mother in law who wore a different dress than agreed upon to the wedding" or the "evil, narcissistic mother who took away all of their toys until their chores were done". I've seen both of those in these groups.
After justifying to themselves that they are RIGHT and their parents are EVIL NARCISSISTS, they begin plans to "Go No Contact". It is a systematic plan to discard the parents/grandparent, and turn the kids against grandparents. There are actual steps to this plan. They vary from group to group, but they are essentially all similar.
The groups talk a lot about setting boundaries, but what they call setting boundaries is just rude dictating, and setting their targets up to fail. Stuff like "I told my mother that she can come over between 12 and 1 on Sundays only. If she is one minute early or stays one minute late, that will be the end of her visits." Part of the plan is to NOT tell mother what she did wrong, just to enact the "consequence". They know that the targeted parent will try to rectify the situation. They react in a way that is illogical: refusing to answer questions, insisting that any apology is a manipulative lie and therefore is insincere, ordering parent out of their house, putting parents in that time out thing where they tell us not to contact them for a certain length of time, and then they will "review our request".
They post joyful stories of their parents reaction to losing grandkids or their parents pleas for an explanation. They cheer each other on and congratulate one another for cutting family off. Refusing to give any explanation is part of the plan. They call it Taking Your Power Back.
They claim that it's to protect themselves from the evil narcissists who are terrorizing them, but in reality, it's not about protection or healing. It's about power, control, and just being shitty. They don't know the difference between assertive and aggressive, and they think being arbitrary is the same as having boundaries.
Google "Going No Contact". You will find pages and pages of groups and instructions that will not surprisingly match exactly what our kids are doing.
I think this information can be very helpful. We can learn what they want us to do, so we can do the opposite.
I strongly urge every single person here to read up on "Going No Contact". It's like a map to navigate this territory. It even gets amusing sometimes, reading the steps and thinking "You're such a lemming". Who the hell would follow this crap.
They would, that's who'

MumOfTwins Tue 01-Jan-19 03:06:47

Thank you so much agnurse. My father begged my sibling as myself to go thru her things. We did. It was very healing.

You tried agnurse. And I appreciate it. There’s no rational conversation with some. Especially those who find personal attacks and arrogant ignorance preferable to self examination.

Have a happy and safe New Years. Best to you.

Namsnanny Tue 01-Jan-19 03:46:46

Smileless...As you have pointed out the thread is about the 'brainwashing' behind going no contact, and as you said it does exist. You also went to great pains to point out that this is not the case for everyone, but this is a discussion about those that it does.

Pity people cant read everything with a clear head instead of picking out bits that serve their purpose. But pay them no heed.
Happy New Year to you and your lovely H. flowers

DontAskMe...Good advice smile Happy New Year to you too flowers

Smileless2012 Wed 02-Jan-19 16:11:05

Thank you Namsnannysmile* and a Happy New Year to you.

Luckylegs9 Wed 02-Jan-19 16:53:44

Oh dear, another one! Ignore.
To everyone that come on here offering support in a very difficult situation, which helps do many. Happy New Year🎉

HurdyGurdy Sat 05-Jan-19 18:34:22

Two words I absolutely loathe at the moment, because they are bandied around freely, and with no apparently knowledge of what the words actually mean.




Smileless2012 Mon 07-Jan-19 11:15:20

Hmm not sure about 'snowflake' HurdyGurdy but do know what narcissist means and is. I agree that that particular word I often miss used and used too often.

KC1956 Mon 07-Jan-19 21:10:38

agnurse, While I agree NPD is a genuine medical condition way too many are chair psychologist attempt to diagnose another using information from on line. They are not trained and thus it is nothing more than their opinion not a fact. While I would agree there are some who if having went through getting proper professional help are advised to use NC that is one thing but for those who sit behind a computer screen and suggest this is the best way to deal with a situation it is not. It not only places that generation for the ones to follow on a very destructive path. It can and does cause major damage to family relationships. It is also interesting as I read through post here and other places that it is noted by some who say they have attempted to talk to other but the other party just will not listen. Thus there is no reason to continue with the relationship. As a third party looking at that I see that person doing the same that they are accusing the other party of doing. Just because one party does not agree with them based upon their statement does not mean they are not listening. To me it would mean that maybe they need to make a different argument as to why. I can listen and if the facts presented make sense then I should be willing to change my view. However, if the facts do not support changing my view then I have still listened but the argument was not sufficient to justify changing my stance.

I hate to say this but I think all to often we jump on a band wagon because it is easier to do so than working to actually solve the issue at hand. Also I would say that there are always three sides to every story, person 1's side, person 2's side and the actual facts. Many on both sides of this issue have been hurt in one way or another.

A saying with I grew up was "sticks and stones my hurt my bones but words will never harm me." It pretty much laid out a philosophy which my generation grew up with and served us well. However, today I look around and every where I look people are saying they are offended but what another has said. Really are they so immature that a simple word is so devastating to them. Have we created a society that is that weak? Sure words can cut someone to the bone but why not get to the reason why it was done and solve the underlying issue not run from it. Another saying of my time was "what does not kill us only serves to make us stronger." I think many today fail at this because it is much easier to run and hide our head in the sand than not to as we might learn something about ourselves.

Luckylegs9 Tue 08-Jan-19 07:48:14

For a few people it's easier to sever contact and move on than working at a relationship. So many elderly people are facing a lonely old age because they are seen as a burden, a wrong word and your out. Loads of lovely families out there all supporting each other in different ways, I know many and it's great to see, but for some people completely on their own especially if they have lost a pattner, then you are seen as more of a burden.

KC1956 Tue 08-Jan-19 13:06:30

@ Luckylegs9 I guess I can understand that, for us our ED pulled back shortly after her mother spent 6 weeks in the hospital and she has multiple health issues. She was later hospitalized again and the ED even though she knew about her mothers surgery along with all the grandchildren has not to this day bothered to call and check to see how she is doing. Last Thursday my wife again had another surgery but this time we didn't even bother to let them know. Really can't see a reason to keep them in the loop anymore. It is really sad since we more or less raised them for years as the ED was a single Mother after she divorced their father. one is 21 another just turned 18, we sent him a birthday card and gift even though we hadn't heard from him and didn't even get a call or a text thanking us. We know he received it as he made sure to cash our check. sad

Monique Thu 10-Jan-19 10:36:23

First time on here and not too sure if this is the right forum so please feel free to correct me.
I have two gorgeous granchildren (1 girl aged 9 1 boy aged 7) My son and his wife split up a number of years ago due to her manipulation and controlling behaviour to him. He really did try above and beyond to keep the family unit together but in truth he was pushed so close to the edge it was scary to watch. At first when his wife said she would change and get help for her behavioural problems she allowed us to see the children and my son backed her completley. That was a number of years ago and as soon as she realised he would support her but would not go back to the marriage life has been a nightmare to see the children for us both. My Son is a police officer and travels almost 200 miles (one way) to see his children when agreed only to be told the morning hes due to have them by text that they do not want to come and she will not force them. The odd times we have had them they have absolutley loved it. My grandson we saw a little more as he is on the autistic spectrum and so it would be quite hard to alienate him. but in the last 6 months even that has stopped. He is not even allowed to talk to the children on the phone. It is going to court but by her delaying tactics and also saying to a solicitor that abuse took place (which it did not) she has been granted legal aid and is basically making it hard financially for my son to keep affording the services of a solicitor and so in essence just wasting money. He has given her their home and pays regular maintance. The latest is she is posting on FB pictures of herself in a Love shouldnt Hurt T shirt with my grandaughter. This surely is wrong as she is allowing her to believe that my son abused her in some way. I have no idea where to turn as I do not have pots and pots of money and she just keeps delaying the court case so that she can manipulate the children more. I have tried contacting her and all the other things they recommend but she either replies and says not this week and then I get nothing more or doesnt even bother to respond.

KC1956 Thu 10-Jan-19 13:16:13

Monique, I too am new here so I may not be the best to respond but saying that I can also share your heartache as I know for both my wife and myself our grandchildren are very precious to us and we love them all so very much. I can also understand how difficult it is for you to be on the side lines and have to watch all this take place and how it tears your heart out. I wish I had the words to give you to make it all right and take the hurt away but I do not. I am not an expert in the area but from what you have shared it would seem that she be it unintentionally or intentionally is using both the fathers love and your love for the children as a manipulating factor but keeping your hope up to see the children only to crush them by then pulling back and not allowing such. Again I am not an expert but it would seem to me she knows of your love and desire to see and be with the children and thus using that to you and your son to hurt. I know how difficult it is to not count on or look forward to the possibility of getting to see them but I would caution you and him not to do this and thus limit her ability to rip your heart out yet again by her manipulation. Rather prepare for the worse and cherish any time you in fact are able to be with them. Carry those fond memories in your heart and hold onto them. I hope it will not be long till the court is able to hear the case and it is my wish for you that not only will they provide time for the father but also the grand parents as well.

RationalEC1 Sat 12-Jan-19 05:58:22

Seeing the vibe here, and the people hurt, I'm interested in what you'd think from the EC's perspective. I told my mother I needed some time apart after she accused me of something I didn't do and attempted to emotionally manipulate my children to take her side. Of course, she didn't think the accusation was a big deal and didn't see what she did as "emotional manipulation."

We'd worked on a business together for several years (I'd increased profits by 18-19K/year) but all my assets were in her name. She confiscated all but a pittance and left me to try and care for my wife and children without even enough money to get a car. Meanwhile she's pulling in 70K a year. I had to get government aid. I couldn't get another job at first because no car. I was barely able to put food on the table because she took everything. She demanded to see her grandchildren while doing everything she could to drive me to despair and be her servant again.

From her perspective, she was entitled to all that money. She forgot, or in her opinion, never made the agreement to share the profits of the business I helped create- she was paying me for services temporarily. My financials problems were my own and I needed to be "nice" to her if I expected anything from her.

Well, I scraped and scraped and worked and worked and pulled myself up by my bootstraps and I'm now doing okay with my own little business and other employment. I'll never forget how she took advantage of my trust- I put all the assets in her name because I had some credit problems. She was a worse problem than debt collectors.

But why would I ever want to contact her again? She destroyed any trust between us, and in taking those profits for the past several years, I consider myself to have retroactively paid her for all the food I ate as a child.

Further, talking is pointless. She will never change. As she says "she just is who she is." Alternatively, I'm constantly trying to better myself. I take constructive criticism seriously- I know I'm a being with faults too, but she takes no responsibility for her faults. The complete lack of hope for her to change is the biggest reason I gave up. It wasn't like the accusation and manipulation was a one-off event, it was the straw that broke the camels back after 30 years of trust-issues, emotional manipulation, and NPD behavior.

I've seen people talking about "spending the inheritance" - well, she made the same threats. As the bible says "Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given." Proverbs 24:15

For thirty years she told me about things she do for me that she never did. She would've spent the supposed inheritance anyway, and just used some other excuse. The reason we go NC is that we finally stop believing you. Saying you love a person doesn't make it true, actions speak louder than words. I've seen people saying it's ridiculous that the EC expect then to be put ahead of their parents...

I always put my kid's interests ahead of mine and I always will. I may have to balance my resources between them, sure, but I want them to be smarter, richer, and happier than I am. If going NC with me makes them happier someday, I'm okay with that- if you love something, set it free. My children don't owe me for rearing them, I did that for the joy in itself, the joy of giving that I learned from God. If we don't get along as adults, so be it.

Also, it hurts me most days I'm NC with my mother. The memories hurt, and I miss the few good times with her. But, as much as being NC hurts, the pain of having contact is 1000x worse. The hurtful things she says, the drama, the horrible examples for my children. I ended up in therapy for years because of the way she treated me. I'm finally able to function and work again after she left me destitute. I'm not NC to hurt her, I'm NC to protect myself. I wish I could erase myself from her memory- I think, deep down, she'd have been happier never having me. She always made me feel like that growing up until I was useful to her.

Anyways, alternative perspective, because I see a lot of my mom in a lot of these posts.

Smileless2012 Sun 13-Jan-19 07:37:45

Rational what a sad woman your mum is. Your post suggests that the love of money supersedes anything or anyone else. Very sad for her, for you and for your children.

Of course you should no longer have been available for her emotional abuse and manipulation, once you were able too, it's right that you took the decision to walk away and protect your children. Yours was not a decision taken to inflict pain and suffering, just because you could it was due to the total break down of your relationship with your mother and the destruction of trust, which is so important in any relationship.

The reason you went NC is because you finally stopped believing your mother because as you say, "saying you love a person doesn't make it true, actions speak louder than words". That however is not the reason all AC choose to go NC.

There are many heartbroken parents whose actions spoke just as loudly as their words. Who did the best that they could do for a child who now no longer wants anything to do with them. Parents who will only ever be grand parents in name, because they're not allowed to see their GC. Not because they need to be protected but just because the AC can take them away.

You say about your own children that "if going NC with (you) makes them happier some day, (you're) OK with that - if you love something set it free".

I hope you'll never know the pain of your own child refusing any and all communication. I hope you'll never hear the lies that are told to try and justify the unjustifiable because if you love your children and are a decent, kind and supportive parent, there is no justification.

Maybe if you do experience all of the aforementioned you maybe OK with that, but somehow I doubt it. You say that being NC with your mother hurts you most days. Despite all that you've been through, there is pain due to your separation from your own mother.

Imagine then, if you can, the pain of being separated from your own child, never to see them again and never to know their children, your GC because you "don't get along as adults". If you don't get along with your parents you can spend as little time with them as you wish, but if they were never a threat to you as a child, why keep your children away from them. No contact; by letter, email, text, face time, birthday and Christmas cards. Nothing at all, as if they don't and never have existed.

Your aspirations for your children are the ones we had for ours. We've been estranged for more than 6 years from the youngest and are currently in Aus. where our eldest now lives.

Two sons raised the same in every way. A great relationship with one and absolutely no relationship with the other.

We need to protect ourselves, just as you do. Our ES said he and his wife needed some time apart from us, then emotionally tried to manipulate our other son to take their side.

A mirror image of your own experience or, as you say an alternative perspective. Your pain and ours though is the same; as devastating, damaging and life changing.

I'm sorry for your pain. I'm sorry that your mum has eventually made it impossible for the son she should be so proud of to have a relationship her.

Smileless2012 Sun 13-Jan-19 07:40:14

sorry, a relationship with her.

KC1956 Mon 14-Jan-19 13:36:42


Do not get me wrong, I am sure there are some EC's who have suffered both emotional, mental and even physical abuse and in those cases there is a real reason to going NC. But I will tell you that and I will use your own words that you always put your children ahead of yourself that was me. While my daughter lived at home and even after she moved out, I was always there providing a safety net, including money, housing etc. Do keep in mind she moved out at 18 and I continued this through even now that she has went NC I am still paying for some of her bills and she is now 40. I helped after her first divorce to make sure the grandkids had food on the table, gave her money to fight the child custody issues with her ex, was there anytime she needed us to help out with the kids. Even though during her life she had done things which hurt and cut deeply into her mother and I we stood by her. Now because she claims her mother said something which hurt her feelings we are toxic... and there for NC and taking the grandkids with her. I know from watching her with her first ex she was one to constantly bad mouth her ex in front of the kids so I have no doubt that she has done the same. But if asked to talk about it to try and work past it or understand things she will not do that. Now if she would at least talk that might be a start but she will not.

Each relationship is different but if the people in a relationship will not communicate it can not work. We have even attempted counseling with her and she went but would not take part. How can to help when someone doesn't even want to try to work through things. The worst part about it is that the true victims out of all of it are the grandchildren.

helouise7 Tue 29-Jan-19 20:21:24

I didn't find out about this being a trend until recently- this script IS offputting... Definitely should avoid throwing a diagnosis at people, and making everyone feel like they should abandon their family if things don't go their way.

Sometimes though, it's for the best. After a heartbreaking tragedy in my family (husband and kids) and snowballing hatred from my immediate family towards us... after "the main event", I had to do it. It really just seemed to come out of nowhere... and their rage is best described as "Silent but then deadly" and the situation "bizarre"

People can think it's terrible all you want, sometimes it is. You can think young kids just lack respect, but sometimes this happens because the parent that got "cut off", is the one lacks the traditional family values. Just to the extreme.
If most family-value-respecting people were present for the "final straw", you would see why I made my choice. I know the neighbors certainly did, couldn't miss em!

But I get it, the point is it being a trend done on a selfish whim. That's not a good idea. Nor is throwing around a diagnosis. However, any commenter that thinks its evil of anybody to do, should rethink.
Sometimes it's for the best.
I do feel sad and wish it never happened, but at the same time confused and hurt. Letting it sink in that even if I want it, I wont have a good immediate family.
And hahaha I didn't cut off the "flying monkeys"!! I still call and write them. They didn't offend me so why cut them off? What do I care if they gossip or fill this family in? At least I feel better knowing life events will get back to them without me having to put myself in the line of fire.

Jmoen77 Thu 18-Apr-19 20:16:33

What a load of narcissistic bs! If your child has gone non contact with you, why don't you, for once in your life, take a hard look at YOURSELF. Rest assured, children with normal, non abusive parents, do not go no contact. It's a huge, very difficult step of self preservation that a child makes, never lightly. Once again, as you've mostly likely done all your life if your own child has gone no contact, you feel entitled to their energy, with no accountability what so ever if the abuse you've inflicted.
And no, exposure to toxic people, even in small doses, is not healthy. Narcissists do not love their children, that is what we've learned. We are done being used as a supply by the time we go no contact. We've got your number. This whole post is "gaslighting" and "devaluation". If it sounds like we are reading from the same script, it's because the behavior of the narcissist parent has been studied, and is very predictable. Reconciliation is NOT recommended by mental health professionals, and it will not benefit the victim... No matter how much you try to twist your reality.
No abuser thinks they're abusive. I promise you there's no way a child is going no contact with you unless you're abusive. You don't get to decide whether or not you've hurt someone. You can only honor their HEALTHY BOUNDARIES, I know that's a foreign concept to you, boundaries... As they've never applied to you, but learn to let go and let your child heal on their own. You do not control them.
Oh, and go get tested for NPD.

tickingbird Thu 18-Apr-19 21:09:15

Oh please! We have a poor me adult child here. What don’t you get about diagnosing all these parents (mostly mothers) as narcissists? It’s a get out clause for all the selfish, spoilt and, no doubt, over indulged, overgrown brats to wash their hands of their parents when they’ve outlived their usefulness. The only thing is we never outlive our usefulness, especially when money is required or childminding. I’m sorry but i’m so angry at the last post. Stop blaming your parents for everything and don’t expect anything in the way of inheritance. It cuts both ways and I’ve seen first hand this spiteful behaviour towards a dear friend and the distress it’s caused and the son doing it is piece of work. He’s just had a tantrum as she’s finally made a will and he’s not in it. He hasn’t sent a burthday card, mother’s day card or had Christmas lunch with his mum even though she had had a knee operation and yet she’s done everything for him. It’s the offspring that behave like this that are the narcissists. She’s well shot of him and if one of mine ever follows this rubbish blindly I’ll respond in kind.

Starlady Fri 19-Apr-19 00:53:04

I was a little surprised to see this thread back up here. But I guess I shouldn't be because it covers a very timely and important topic.

But there it is... right in the two posts above mine... each side calling the other "narcissists"... each side saying they're the "" (my word) and need to protect/defend themselves. I suppose it could be either way, depending on the people and the circumstances.

Smileless2012 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:17:55

Well I thought tickingbird's post was very good Starlady. Yes, she responded angrily by her own admission because she sees her friend suffering.

Your post Jmoen was extremely aggressive and judge mental. If you'd taken the time to read this thread in its entirety, you'd have seen the understanding and sympathetic responses from parents and GP's who've been cut out of their AC's lives, toward AC who for understandable reasons, have chosen to go no contact with their parents.

We do not tar all estranging AC with the same brush and you'd do better to reciprocate when posting your ill informed opinions about all parents who find themselves estranged.

itstormy Sat 20-Apr-19 11:37:01

Well, hope you feel better now Jmoen.

Smileless2012 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:42:26

Somehow I doubt that itstormy

Namsnanny Tue 23-Apr-19 00:06:09

Smileless, Thank you, your posts always help flowers

Namsnanny Tue 23-Apr-19 00:10:32

tickingbird…..Well said!

MotherOfTwo Sat 27-Apr-19 12:00:32

Why not?
Why was it OK for you to develop anxiety and depression just so you could stay in what sounds like, from your description, a very unhealthy and toxic relationship?
Why is one life more important than another?

This discussion thread has reached a 1000 message limit, and so cannot accept new messages.
Start a new discussion