The terms "no contact" and "silent treatment" are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different things. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between these two concepts.
What is No Contact?
"No contact" is a deliberate decision to cut off all communication with someone, often to protect oneself from abuse, manipulation, or other toxic behavior. It is a form of boundary-setting and self-care often used by people who have experienced trauma or abuse in a relationship.
No contact ultimately ends all communication with the other person, including phone calls, texts, emails, social media messages, and in-person contact. This means that the person implementing no contact will not respond to any attempts at contact from the other person and may even block their phone number or social media accounts.
The goal of no contact is to create a clean break and allow the person implementing it to move on from the relationship. It is not meant to punish the other person but rather to protect the person implementing no contact.
What is Silent Treatment?
On the other hand, silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse in which one person intentionally ignores or withholds communication from another to exert power and control over them. The silent treatment is often used in romantic relationships but can also occur in other types of relationships.
Unlike no contact, silent treatment is not a deliberate decision to cut off communication as a form of self-care. Instead, it is a manipulative tactic to punish or control the other person. The person giving the silent treatment may refuse to speak to the other person, respond to their messages, or acknowledge their presence.
Silent treatment is often used to elicit a reaction from the other person, such as feelings of guilt or shame. It can be very damaging to the other person's self-esteem and can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
In summary, the main differences between no contact and the silent treatment are:
No contact is a deliberate decision to cut off all communication with someone for self-care, while silent treatment is a manipulative tactic used to control or punish another person.
No contact is a way to protect oneself from abuse or trauma, while silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse that can cause harm to the other person.
No contact is a healthy boundary-setting technique, while silent treatment is a toxic behavior that can damage relationships.
In conclusion, while no contact and the silent treatment may appear similar on the surface, they are fundamentally different concepts that should be understood. If you are experiencing silent treatment in a relationship, seeking help and support to address the underlying issues is essential. If you are considering implementing no contact, it is crucial to do so thoughtfully and deliberately, with the support of a therapist, trusted friend, or family member.
Narcissistic abuse survivors who implement no contact with their abuser may be gaslit in a few different ways, depending on the specific dynamics of the abusive relationship. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser seeks to sow seeds of doubt in the survivor's mind, causing them to question their perceptions and memories of the abuse.
Here are a few ways that emotional abuse survivors may be gaslit when they try to implement no contact:
The abuser may deny that the abuse ever happened: This is a common tactic that abusers use to undermine the survivor's confidence in their own experiences. By insisting that the abuse never occurred, the abuser tells the survivor that their memories are unreliable and that they cannot trust their own perceptions. This can make it very difficult for the survivor to maintain their resolve to stay no contact.
The abuser may minimize the abuse: Another way that abusers may gaslight survivors who try to go no contact is by downplaying the severity of the abuse. They may try to convince the survivor that what they experienced wasn't bad or that they are overreacting to the situation. This can make the survivor feel like they are being overly dramatic or unreasonable for cutting off contact with the abuser.
The abuser may guilt-trip the survivor: Abusers may also try to make survivors feel guilty for implementing no contact. They may try to make the survivor feel like they are abandoning them or somehow responsible for the abuser's well-being. This can be especially effective if the survivor has a history of being the caretaker or "fixer" in the relationship.
The abuser may try to manipulate the survivor through third parties: Sometimes, abusers will try to use friends or family members to maintain contact with the survivor or to pass on messages to them. They may try to make the survivor feel like they are causing problems by refusing to engage with them, or they may use third parties to spread rumors or lies about the survivor.
These tactics are designed to make the survivor doubt themselves and decide to go no contact. They are meant to keep the survivor entangled in the abusive relationship, even if they are physically separated from the abuser. Survivors of emotional abuse who are implementing no contact should be aware of these potential gaslighting tactics and seek support from trusted friends or professionals if they begin to doubt their decision to go no contact.