communication, family, mental health, narcissists, psychology

Going “no contact” with rude and hostile people…

It’s Thursday! We had quite a lot of severe weather last night. In our area, there was just a big thunderstorm with lots of rain that refilled my rain barrel. However, in our former town of Jettingen, I’ve seen that a lot of people’s cars and windows were damaged by hail.

During our four years of living in Jettingen, I noticed there was more severe weather there in all respects– more snow, more rain and hail, more wind, and yes, hotter days in the summer! Jettingen is at a higher altitude than some other areas. Consequently, it gets some interesting weather. I remember in 2015, we got snow that hung around for weeks after it was long gone from Stuttgart.

In spite of the weather, I did like Jettingen, mainly because it was right next to a beautiful forested nature park. On the other hand, the nature park was full of ticks, and any time we walked through it, we came out with the little bloodsucking pests. I was forever pulling ticks off of our dogs. We also had a landlady who was a bit of a leech, as we found out upon leaving her house. Where we live now, the weather is milder. So is our landlord’s disposition. That’s a good thing, too, since he’s also our neighbor.

Speaking of non-literal “leeches”… I could also use that metaphor for some of the people I run into on Facebook. I’m sure anyone who uses social media has noticed how hostile and rude people are these days. You post a comment– especially one that goes against the status quo– and chances are good someone is going to come at you with negativity. There’s a pervasive “shoot first and ask questions” later attitude on Facebook.

Lately, I’ve been blocking people like crazy, mainly because I’m tired of being confronted with that level of disrespect by strangers. I know some people think blocking people is “cowardly” or “immature”. However, I think being nasty to people you don’t know, simply because you disagree with something they’ve said or written, is also cowardly and immature. If we were in person, I wouldn’t stick around to listen to that shit. I’d walk away. So that’s what I’ve been doing a lot more of on Facebook. I don’t post on Twitter or X or whatever… and I don’t really use Instagram, either. I stick to Facebook and YouTube, and lately I’ve been upping my YouTube consumption, because I mostly find it a more pleasant place to spend my time.

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that yesterday, I read an AITA post on Reddit Ridiculousness that triggered me. I mostly confined my comments about that post to my blog, because it’s a place where I can write everything I want to, and have some control over the responses I get. But, even though there was a little voice in my head telling me not to comment, I didn’t resist leaving a short statement on the post. I basically wrote a much shorter version of what was in yesterday’s blog post. It went against most of the other comments, praising the OP in yesterday’s post and saying he’s “not the asshole” for looking after his mental health by going “no contact”. My verdict was that “everyone sucked”.

The gist of my comment was that if a person wants to go “no contact”, they should stop being in contact with pretty much everyone connected to their target. In my social media post, I specifically wrote that the no contact thing makes “funerals and weddings awkward”. Which it does. Don’t kid yourself thinking your passive aggressive “silent treatment” toward certain family members doesn’t affect everybody else at a family function. It totally does, even if no one says that out loud.

I got several angry comments from people who told me my comment was “rubbish”. I blocked the first two or three people who responded to me in that way, because I figure if they’re automatically hostile because I’ve disrupted their version of reality, they aren’t mature enough to have a discussion. Frankly, I neither have the time nor the crayons to explain this concept to them, and I don’t want to get into a heated online confrontation with a stranger who hasn’t bothered to put on their thinking cap or employ basic civility.

I know sometimes comments on Facebook are very triggering, but most of the time, when I post on social media, I try to take a deep breath first. I wish others would try to do the same. I don’t like getting into contentious arguments with randos.

I’m sure the people who responded to me in anger were triggered because other people, whose opinions they might actually value, have admonished them for “taking care of their mental health” by going no contact with family members. And they feel that no one has the right to deny them their right to go no contact with others. What they really want is to have their cake and eat it, too, and it upsets them when someone has the nerve to suggest to them that “no contact” doesn’t work that way.

Here I am, a total stranger behind a computer screen whom they feel “safe” to attack, having the audacity to write that if you want to go “no contact”, you have to be all in and really commit to it. So attack they do… and I’m sure it temporarily makes them feel better. But I don’t usually respond to their angry comments. Lately, more often than not, I simply block them without any other response. I have the right to express my views, too, and I don’t owe anyone a conversation or an explanation, especially when they tell me my opinions are “rubbish”. If they want an explanation, they can find my blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

For the record, I have never claimed that people don’t have the right to go “no contact” if that’s what they want to do. What I wrote yesterday is that if you claim to be going “no contact”, but then you hang around with people who are communicating with your “no contact” target, you’re not really going “no contact”.

Going no contact is not just about giving people the silent treatment. Going no contact means just that. You don’t communicate with them at all. Communication isn’t just about talking to people, because not all communication is verbal. So, that means you don’t stalk them on Facebook; you don’t drive by their house; you don’t ask others about them; you don’t talk or think about them at all. And you don’t give other people in their circle of friends and loved ones the opportunity to share information about you to them. To do that effectively, you will probably have to cut off more than the target person.

If you cut off speaking to your father, but you’re still talking to your siblings, and they are still speaking to your dad, there will be communication and, likely, some triangulation. Your name will probably come up. You can’t expect your siblings to honor your desire to keep all of your communications private, especially when they are talking to someone as significant as a parent. You can certainly ask them to do it, but chances are good that, ultimately, they won’t honor your request.

It might even be by accident that they let something slip. See yesterday’s AITA post for proof of that. The OP claimed to go “no contact” with his brother and parents, but he still spoke to his cousin and grandmother. Sure enough, that eventually put him back into contact with his parents and brother, because the parents pressured the cousin to give them his phone number. And I’m sure when Granny died, if the OP went to the funeral, there was communication, even if he didn’t say a single word to his parents or brother. A large percentage of communication is nonverbal. Maybe nonverbal communication is not the mythical 93% that has been claimed for so many years, but it’s a very large percentage.

So, that’s why I wrote that if you want to go “no contact”, you have to go all in and commit to it, which means not talking to other people in the family. If you’re still speaking to family members, and they’re still speaking to your target, you haven’t really gone “no contact”. You’ve gone “low contact”.

Going low contact can also be effective for mental health purposes. Plenty of people who have to co-parent with a narcissist do just that, for the sake of their children– that is, if they’ve been able to arrange a co-parenting scenario. Not everyone can do that in every situation. My husband couldn’t do that with his ex wife; she flatly refused to cooperate, and he lacked the means to legally force her to comply with his requests to share the kids.

But if you’re not speaking to certain people, except to rudely tell them you’re not speaking to them… or you tell someone you obviously know that they have you mixed up with someone else. Yep… that is, indeed, a form of communication. You haven’t actually gone “no contact” with them at all. It’s petty as fuck and really stupid, to boot.

After a few indignant responses from irate people about how my comment was “rubbish”, I decided to respond to the last person who challenged me. I was feeling rested, because I had just taken a nap. And I was tired of being tagged in angry responses by people who were trying to “correct my opinions”.

I calmly explained that it seems to me that the guy in the Reddit article had not actually gone “no contact”, and I included reasons why I believe that. Then I briefly explained why I think anyone really going no contact needs to quit talking to other people in the group or family unit. At the end of my response, I wrote “That’s just my opinion, and I’m entitled to it. If you respond to me with rudeness or hostility, I’ll be going ‘no contact’ with you.” And I added a winking smilie, even though I was dead serious, not that I think the guy cares one way or the other if he ever has a Facebook exchange with me again.

I doubt most random people care when I block them. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know, because I don’t so much as interact with them. I just notice their online conduct and “schwack” them… as Bill would say. Because I’ve seen the trailer and I’ve determined that their show isn’t one I want to watch… or be sucked into for binge viewing. I do it for MY mental health. Sure, it hurts more when a person is blocked by someone they “know”. So, I figure it’s better to spare them the pain by not engaging and just sending them to Facebook’s proverbial round file called the “block list”. I’m sure other people still love them anyway, even if things didn’t work out between us. ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s very difficult to truly go no contact with people you somehow know. I would love to be able to do it with Ex, but it’s been impossible, especially since Bill and his daughter reconnected. I used to make a point of not searching for information about Ex, because I figured it would disrupt my peace. But then I’d hear about her latest antics or past shenanigans, or some other disgusting layer of toxic crap would come to light. I’d need to unpack it, so I’d write a post in my blog.

Then I noticed her trying to mess with the vulnerable in Bill’s family. I don’t directly intervene, but I do raise the alarm so the more easily affected can protect themselves from the craziness. At this point, I just embrace watching what she posts online. At the very least, it helps warn us if she’s planning something sinister; and at best, sometimes she’s entertaining. I know she watches what I do; she always has, even long before I started paying attention to her. I know, because she mentioned my blog to Bill’s daughter. So yes, I realize I’ve been “Googled”. Turnabout is fair play.

I figure that if you’re reading my blog, seething because I’ve written something you don’t like, or you think is unfair, but then you lack the courage to have a conversation, you’re no better than I am. At least I watch Ex because I know for a fact that she can be dangerous, if not to one’s health, then certainly to one’s finances. I may not be the most likable person, but I’ve never used family members (especially children) as weapons; I don’t threaten or abuse people; I don’t manipulate others; and I’ve never been the direct cause of anyone’s severe financial or emotional problems. I’ve also never left any physical scars in private places on another person’s body.

I suspect people in the family read yesterday’s post, as well as several others. I pay close attention to who reads my blogs and where they come from. There were some suspicious hits yesterday. Allow me to go on record in saying that I truly don’t care if my husband’s former family members read my blog. Maybe it will help some of them wake up and grow up. Or maybe it won’t… either way, it doesn’t matter to me, because they’ve all supposedly gone “no contact”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Life is short. I don’t like the bloodsucking ticks in the naturepark, or the extortionate behaviors of our former landlady. I also don’t enjoy having my time and emotional well-being sapped by hostile people on Facebook, who don’t bother to consider more than their own perspective before popping off with disrespectful comments to perfect strangers. I choose not to waste my time with those people. I simply go “no contact”. And because they are complete strangers and we have no shared experiences, relatives, or friends in common, it’s super easy to do.

For more information on how to REALLY go “no contact”, have a look at this excellent post by the folks at Psych Central. It offers good advice, but again… it’s not easy to do.


Enjoying the silence…

It’s not a punishment to be shunned by an assholeโ€ฆ

We’re coming up on a year in Wiesbaden. A year ago, we found the house we’re in, and it was about this time in 2018 that we were starting to plan our move. Even though the house we’re in is much better than our old one was, and our current landlords are much more mature and respectful, I remember being very anxious about the move for many reasons.

I knew that our former landlords would be screwing us out of our deposit. I knew that our ex landlady would be passive aggressive and angry. In fact, she’d been passive aggressive all year, probably because she was offended when Bill asked her to give us notice before she came over to the house. We were certainly entitled to notice. It was clearly stated in our lease. But when Bill politely asked her to let us know before she came over, she became belligerent. In an email to Bill, she made it plain that she would NOT be telling us when she was coming to do her yard work… which by then had become sporadic, even though we were paying her to do it. She claimed she was “too busy” to send us a four word text or email.

The message was that Bill and I are not busy… or, more specifically, I’m not “busy”. She has a life and I don’t; therefore, she had every right to disturb me whenever she pleased, even if I was doing something important or private, not dressed appropriately, sick, in the shower, having sex, etc. Because I don’t have children and wasn’t working outside of the home, I couldn’t possibly doing anything that shouldn’t be interrupted by her uninvited presence. I don’t have the right to feel disrespected and discounted. After all, I’m just Bill’s childless, seemingly unemployed wife. Who cares if my privacy or peace is violated? By the way… just because someone doesn’t work outside of the house, that doesn’t mean they aren’t working. For all ex landlady knew, I could have been working remotely. A lot of people do that. It wouldn’t have been any of her business, either, as long as she was being paid.

There we were, paying these people to let us live in their house. We were also paying them to do yard work, on their insistence. I will never again rent from people who insist on doing the yard work. It’s a sign that they will be intrusive and controlling.

Even though we were paying them, they were acting as if we were employed by them. They had the right to intrude whenever they pleased. They had the right to yell at me in my own home, accuse me of things I didn’t do, demand that I do chores, insult me, violate the lease, and become extremely defensive and nasty whenever something went wrong. I never heard them take any responsibility or give us the benefit of the doubt. I never heard ex landlady apologize when she falsely accused me of being negligent– such as when the electric Rolladen wouldn’t come down and she claimed it was because I didn’t use it enough. The real issue was that it wasn’t installed properly, and she later admitted to that fact. But she never apologized for blaming me for that issue. She wasn’t even concerned that I could have been seriously hurt when the awning that her husband didn’t fix properly suddenly collapsed. In fact, she blamed me, since I wasn’t sitting under it when it went down. I guess she wanted me to break bones or suffer a concussion on her property.

Then, when she predictably ripped us off, we asserted our rights. And she became even more vindictive, threatening to countersue for things she claims we damaged, but can’t prove we did… because she neglected to do basic landlord tasks like conduct a proper check in. We were expected to be perfect, but she was not. Why? Because she probably already thinks she’s perfect. Her behavior is very narcissistic and controlling. She gave us the silent treatment because we weren’t falling in line and giving her the deference she thinks she’s owed. I guess the silent treatment must have worked in the past. People who care about her must have acquiesced when she’s used that tactic on them. The difference in our case is, I don’t have that kind of relationship with the ex landlady. When she accused me of being irresponsible, negligent, filthy, lazy, a homewrecker, etc., I stopped wanting to appease her. I stopped wanting to even be in the same room with her, let alone talk to her. So I enjoyed the silent treatment and responded in kind. That’s not the best way to settle differences, but when one person refuses to cooperate, it’s probably a sanity saver. I don’t make time for verbally abusive people who refuse to behave in an adult manner.

Ironically, the last year in that house was probably our happiest overall, even though she was pissed at us and giving us the silent treatment. What she doesn’t realize is that it’s not a punishment to be shunned by someone who is immature, and engages in childish power plays in a passive aggressive attempt to get other people to change their behavior. I enjoyed the silence. It was a relief. Honestly, why would I want to talk to someone who acts like that? It’s not a punishment to be shunned by someone who behaves like an asshole.

And if there was ever anyone wondering why I penned frustrated, angry posts about her when this was going on, it seems to me that the reason is obvious. I could have yelled back at her. The thought crossed my mind. But I knew that if I started yelling, I might not be able to stop before I said something truly vicious. Besides, that would just be lowering myself to her immature level. So instead, I let my face do the talking and vented about it in writing. Apparently, I didn’t have the right to do that, either, since she’s clearly 100% right and I’m clearly 100% wrong. I got messages from her flying monkey about how wrong I was to be angry and vent on my space about the way I was being treated. She said this even though she’s got one side of the story… or, she doesn’t believe my side. It’s none of her business, anyway, is it?

It’s been a year, and I’m feeling somewhat better. I wish I were the type of person who could just flip my hair and be done with it. It takes me awhile to get over stuff. I own that. This is going to be resolved and things will be back to normal soon. We just have to go to court.