LC is dangerous. Thoughts?

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MarlenaEve

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LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« on: May 24, 2021, 03:46:10 PM »
Hi all.
I stood up all night reading stories from people who went NC with their parents on reddit. Reddit has a fabulous community and it's inspiring. Anyway, a poster said this: "Low contact escalates the abuse. Hardly anyone will tell you that. It creates a situation where they circle the wagons and they get everyone in your arena on your side."

My experience does reflect this. No one actually talks about the dangers of LC. My mother was so incredibly abusive when I started put boundaries and communicated to her that eg. I want to talk to her once a month. She began fake crying on the phone (I didn't know back then that she was faking) and told me I was so mean to her and whatever she did to deserve that treatment. I had so much anxiety and minor panic attacks during the time I set those phone call boundaries. It really was the worst period of my life. We went from talking once a month by phone to once every two months and then three and then I remember my brother called to tell me about a family loss.

My mother was incredibly mean and self-involved during this loss and she poo-pooed my grieving time as if that family member was not a human being but a fish you flush down the toilet after they die. No compassion and no empathy. I went immediately NC.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience with the LC period I had and my thoughts on how unproductive and from my pov, dangerous it is. Dangerous for our mental health, that's what I mean.

Let me know your thoughts on how LC worked for you or if you didn't manage LC and went straight into NC.
I am sure some PD parents CAN tolerate LC, I know people are different this way. It just didn't work for me so my plan is to wean myself off them and go straight into NC in the following months.
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the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
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wisingup

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2021, 04:30:51 PM »
I think there is something to this MarlenaEve.  I had the most peace when I was NC with my mom.  She had lived with my aunt for a couple years, so aunt dealt with her issues.  Now aunt has booted her out and my brother and I have had to step up.  After several years of NC (other than holiday gatherings), she has made no progress in understanding how her behavior affects us.  She has no more respect for our time or our quality of life than she ever did.  And knowing that I am re-involved and that she may call with yet another crisis at any minute has absolutely destroyed the peace of mind I enjoyed for a couple of years.

And each time we help her, it reinforces that we are the helpers.  Whatever we helped with once, that's now our responsibility every time from this point.  And now she wants help with another thing.  And another, with no end & no thought to what we've had to cancel, shuffle around, miss out on to help.  But she will make sure we feel guilty if we seem grouchy or stressed out.

I am actively working on a plan to remove myself from this dynamic.  I'm not sure entirely what it will look like (or how much it may cost), but the main thing will be that she has someone to call FIRST other than me when she needs help, then that person can relay information to me .  I may even block her phone or at least screen her calls, and go to an email only relationship.  I'm not trying to be mean or punitive, I'm trying to safeguard my own mental health here.  I refuse to be stressed to the point that it affects my FOO relationships or my job or anything else that I value.



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Starboard Song

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 05:05:14 PM »
There are a lot of factors that lead some of us to LC, some to VLC, and others to NC. For everyone, one option works best and one option works very poorly.  For many people it is VLC (not LC) that fires up the dragons. And for another very large traunche it is NC that turns Cold War into Kinetic War, so that is the dangerous one for them. NC was the "dangerous" one for us, but a crisis forced our hand.

Given that, I wouldn't call out LC as dangerous. I'd agree that it can fail to deliver peace, just like the other's can fail.

People do need to know that each level of contact, and each tactic for management of PD behaviors, comes with its own risks of blowback. And each demands different skills of us as we try to navigate it. Always asking yourself what has worked and what hasn't is a great idea, allowing us to be flexible and responsive. We have to remember that our goal is not be consistent: it is to be at peace. And that may require us to change our plan as we go along.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
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Dandelion

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2021, 06:47:41 PM »
We have to remember that our goal is not be consistent: it is to be at peace. And that may require us to change our plan as we go along.

^I think this is a v helpful way of looking at it.

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athene1399

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2021, 02:54:01 PM »
IMO just like every boundary that you try to enforce with an unhealthy relationship, there will be push back. The PD will probably use the tactics that have worked on you in the past thinking it will get you to stop the boundary to put things back the way they were. It’s like needing to weather a storm and it often gets worst before it gets better.

I can’t remember who said it, but I like the idea of weight your options between LC, VLC, and NC and see what works best. Maybe review the toolbox for tips as well.

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Andeza

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2021, 03:04:30 PM »
It depends entirely on the pwPDs in your life. Their reaction may be to cling or to discard. There's really no way to know,  although you might be able to guess, before you make your choice.

More broadly, we can offer each other our own experiences as a sort of way to prepare ourselves for what may happen.

For instance, as I lowered contact with ubpdm, she waifed about how I never call, etc, but that was pretty much the worst of it. LC wasn't enough in my case, but that was a personal decision for my wellbeing.
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Pepin

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2021, 03:53:28 PM »
This is something that I am currently living.  Going NC with NPD F was a success for me.

However.  LC with DPD MIL has been painful.  Her response is to dig her heals in deeper.  She knows DH differently (mother/son) than I do and that is her playbook.  I cannot compete with that.  But.  I am making some headway in a sense purely by behaving like a mature adult.  DPD MIL to me seems more childish by the day and I am greatly embarrassed for her.  No compassion for her anymore either.  She is a big girl, much older than me and just foolish.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2021, 03:57:08 PM by Pepin »
NPD F (overt) NC
DPD MIL (covert) VLC
FALLEN GC SIB
GC#2 SIB (covert) LC headed to NC

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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Sheppane

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2021, 04:53:22 PM »
Yes agree it's a very individual decision and there will be pushback and afterburn in different ways and for different levels of what the relationship is used to. I like the idea that Starboard Song suggested about the goal being peace,  not consistency. IME all of this journey is about trying to find the path to most peace. Sometimes that takes a bit of trial and error. There is no knowing how any of this will "work ". A day at a time in my experience!

That also reminds me of the power of being flexible in the approach. For example if I have strong boundaries in place around a particular issue in the relationship I sometimes need to revisit them. No hard and fast plans for me. Maybe that's fear , i dunno. But I also think it feels overwhelming to take it all on and have it feel like a " forever decision". So I do what Im doing at the moment and let go of the rest. Remembering I didn't cause it/ cant control it/ can't cure it. The 50% rule too.
Good luck  :) :)

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daughter

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2021, 09:08:03 PM »
LC is "being the grown-up", still accessible, and thus exposed to possible more abuse, but self-aware and willing to leave immediate situation if need be. LC is "2nd chances, on repeat", hoping npd parent will be sufficiently self-controlled for duration of specific encounter.  But yes, most npd parents notice the LC detachment, sense that they're being monitored, and feel angry that they're expected to "behave" if to be "rewarded" by our active presence on occasion.  For me, LC was offensive to my parents, who chafed against any boundary, and felt grandiosely entitled to say and to do whatever they please.  My polite LC was equivalent of normal adult-child contact with a normal parent - it was immensely irritating for my npd-parents, and so no improvement for me, relationship-wise.  (I did though regain some control over, and personal use of my free time.)

I found NC freeing and satisfactory resolution. My personal situation was unredeemable, given that I was SG.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2021, 02:08:39 PM »
Daughter, what you write is very relatable. LC was dangerous for me, but what defined “low contact” was really that I was doing less than was expected of me  on their end. And I had begun expecting a measure of reciprocity in the relationship on my end. That was the death knell. The “last straw” incident I believe would have come somehow. The fact is that my parents never did accept my more adult self, and their behaviors in response consistently caused me to respond in a way they liked even less. I could only put that together in hindsight, but I think it’s accurate.

I think whether or not two individuals can remain in contact or not would look something like a Venn diagram, with mutually acceptable behavior in the overlap. First of all is there an overlap? And is the area of overlap acceptable to both parties?  Only if both are yes is the relationship workable. I think the more time went on the area of overlap shrank, whereas for them they would only have been content with them being able to do whatever they liked, with my behavior simply conforming to their expectations. One circle, essentially. Whereas by the end I was dreading any contact. My parents and I wanted opposite things and were consistently frustrated with each other for many years.

Interesting I speak of individuals, but then in my mind my parents are one circle. That is in fact how they operate. Inverted NM is engulfed by uNF and that’s their dysfunctional dance. I was expected to mirror that, and I wouldn’t do that to their satisfaction basically my whole life.

As far as “holding it loosely,” I admit that I’m more of a hardline nope than many on these boards. I’m okay with that. Sometimes I feel that I “should” be more open to a future relationship. But that feeling isn’t really mine. The more I learn and reflect the more secure in NC I am. I’m ok with where I am right now. And that’s all there really is anyway.

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Sidney37

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2021, 05:55:04 PM »
LC is what led directly to NC in my case.  I attempted to reduce contact to a more "normal" and reasonable level for me and my family.  Every therapist I saw for 20 years suggested that I reduce contact with my PDm because she was verbally abusive and manipulative.  From the time I left for university, PDm expected 2 calls minimum from me every day at a time that was convenient for her.  Basically I was supposed to read her mind or memorize her schedule to figure out what time that was.  If I didn't call at the right time, she'd sound exasperated, insult me and demand that I call later.  If I didn't, she's attempt to punish me by threatening to or actually withholding information from me such as when a relative passed away or wasn't doing well. In college she threatened to withhold the small amount she contributed toward my tuition or to have my car repossessed because she cosigned when I purchased it.  I made all the payments and all of the insurance payments.   When I was older, I lived many hours away. If I went 24 hours without talking to her, she try every trick in her book to punish me.  Toward the end, none worked because she had no control over me, my finances or my family. 

So when I reduced contact (LC) to a few times a week, she flipped out.  Eventually that flip out included her insisting that enF was going to commit suicide because of what I was "doing to them".  Doing to them was going on a vacation with my kids 2 weeks after seeing her for a week and not asking her to go on that vacation with my kids, too.  Not calling her twice a day every day, but 3 times a week instead.  And suddenly being busy and hanging up when she started insulting my husband and son on the phone.  I was talking-to enD every few days. She was refusing to talk to me unless it was on her terms (twice a day on her schedule and agreeing with her insults of others). 

That reduced contact caused such verbal abuse that eventually we ended up NC.  They waged a smear campaign on social media accusing me of not allowing them contact with their grandchildren and me blocking them on all available ways to contact me.  Only my PDm was blocked.  Therapist eventually agreed that I should block PDm's number on my young teen's device.  PDm was telling young teen how mean I was and because of me that they would never see each other again.  I was willing to attempt to have a relationship with my enD.  It didn't work.  Their church friends took screen shots of their lies on social media that included pictures of my kids and reposted them.  I had to contact the companies to have the pictures of my kids and lies removed. 

So yes, LC can have consequences.  It can cause an increase in the abuse.  I describe my PDm as needing my attention (narcissistic supply) the same way an addict needs heroin.  She goes totally crazy when she doesn't get it and lashes out terribly.  With constant attention from me, she's still  verbally abusive, demanding and manipulative, but she doesn't act like an addict who is very desperate need for a fix.  I have tried LC both gradually and by having her go "cold turkey".  I expected that weaning her off my attention might work since she acts like an addict, but for me, it didn't work.  Her tantrums were just as bad.   There seemed to be no option but NC after the tantrums over reducing calls to twice a week.

I do have friends who managed to "train" their PD mothers.  They have managed to decrease contact with them to once a week or even once a month without them lashing out.  Reduced contact or LC worked for them.  It wasn't easy and they still are very frustrated with the weekly or monthly phone calls, but they did manage to do their own level of LC without an increase in verbal abuse.

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Hilltop

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2021, 09:56:42 PM »
Marlenaeva dangerous is a strong word however I agree that LC can lead to PD's ramping up their behaviour and therefore its harder for us to help our mental health or find the peace we are looking for. 

I think I mistaken thought that LC would give me some space and then I would deal with the hurtful behaviour my PD parents gave me better than when I was in normal contact.  I also may have assumed that they may have behaved some of the time and it would overall be better.

For me the opposite happened.  With LC my PD parents really ramped up their behaviour and were openly rude and mocking toward me.  I didn't know if they were just angry at me and as they can't communicate properly it came out in their behaviour to let me know they are upset.  The game we normally play is that they act out and I ask what's wrong, they tell me I'm sensitive and have issues and then they are happy and we all move along.  This time I didn't play but continued to go lower contact.  The less contact and the more hurtful they became.  I also didn't know if they ramped up their behaviour as they were seeing me less and so it just came out more intensely in the time they did see me.  Either way it didn't matter it was still really unpleasant and hurtful for me.

My relationship is now relegated to a few texts throughout the year at holidays.  I've found the VVVVLC works for me but our relationship if you can call it that is only hanging on now by a few random nothing texts that's it.  I won't go back as LC was really bad, they tried to get to me any way they could and it was overly obvious what they were doing.

In some ways this can be good because it highlights the behaviour and it definitely gave me the last final acceptance to move on.  It really helped me to see that nothing will change.  Staying in LC when its like this then yes that then borders on becoming dangerous over time.

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MarlenaEve

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2021, 08:09:33 AM »
LC is "being the grown-up", still accessible, and thus exposed to possible more abuse, but self-aware and willing to leave immediate situation if need be. LC is "2nd chances, on repeat", hoping npd parent will be sufficiently self-controlled for duration of specific encounter.  But yes, most npd parents notice the LC detachment, sense that they're being monitored, and feel angry that they're expected to "behave" if to be "rewarded" by our active presence on occasion.  For me, LC was offensive to my parents, who chafed against any boundary, and felt grandiosely entitled to say and to do whatever they please.  My polite LC was equivalent of normal adult-child contact with a normal parent - it was immensely irritating for my npd-parents, and so no improvement for me, relationship-wise.  (I did though regain some control over, and personal use of my free time.)

I found NC freeing and satisfactory resolution. My personal situation was unredeemable, given that I was SG.

I feel as if we have similar parents. LC was a true challenge for my parents as well, especially mother. The lower the maturity level in the PD, the harder and riskier LC is, in my opinion. As I said, she'd cry over the phone after setting x boundary, that was just ridiculous for me because I was observing a late 60's woman acting like a 5 year old.

I am glad you are NC, it is I think the ultimate boundary for us ACONS.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
-Viktor Frankl

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MarlenaEve

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2021, 08:52:19 AM »
LC is what led directly to NC in my case.  I attempted to reduce contact to a more "normal" and reasonable level for me and my family.  Every therapist I saw for 20 years suggested that I reduce contact with my PDm because she was verbally abusive and manipulative.  From the time I left for university, PDm expected 2 calls minimum from me every day at a time that was convenient for her.  Basically I was supposed to read her mind or memorize her schedule to figure out what time that was.  If I didn't call at the right time, she'd sound exasperated, insult me and demand that I call later.  If I didn't, she's attempt to punish me by threatening to or actually withholding information from me such as when a relative passed away or wasn't doing well. In college she threatened to withhold the small amount she contributed toward my tuition or to have my car repossessed because she cosigned when I purchased it.  I made all the payments and all of the insurance payments.   When I was older, I lived many hours away. If I went 24 hours without talking to her, she try every trick in her book to punish me.  Toward the end, none worked because she had no control over me, my finances or my family. 

So when I reduced contact (LC) to a few times a week, she flipped out.  Eventually that flip out included her insisting that enF was going to commit suicide because of what I was "doing to them".  Doing to them was going on a vacation with my kids 2 weeks after seeing her for a week and not asking her to go on that vacation with my kids, too.  Not calling her twice a day every day, but 3 times a week instead.  And suddenly being busy and hanging up when she started insulting my husband and son on the phone.  I was talking-to enD every few days. She was refusing to talk to me unless it was on her terms (twice a day on her schedule and agreeing with her insults of others). 

That reduced contact caused such verbal abuse that eventually we ended up NC.  They waged a smear campaign on social media accusing me of not allowing them contact with their grandchildren and me blocking them on all available ways to contact me.  Only my PDm was blocked.  Therapist eventually agreed that I should block PDm's number on my young teen's device.  PDm was telling young teen how mean I was and because of me that they would never see each other again.  I was willing to attempt to have a relationship with my enD.  It didn't work.  Their church friends took screen shots of their lies on social media that included pictures of my kids and reposted them.  I had to contact the companies to have the pictures of my kids and lies removed. 

So yes, LC can have consequences.  It can cause an increase in the abuse.  I describe my PDm as needing my attention (narcissistic supply) the same way an addict needs heroin.  She goes totally crazy when she doesn't get it and lashes out terribly.  With constant attention from me, she's still  verbally abusive, demanding and manipulative, but she doesn't act like an addict who is very desperate need for a fix.  I have tried LC both gradually and by having her go "cold turkey".  I expected that weaning her off my attention might work since she acts like an addict, but for me, it didn't work.  Her tantrums were just as bad.   There seemed to be no option but NC after the tantrums over reducing calls to twice a week.

I do have friends who managed to "train" their PD mothers.  They have managed to decrease contact with them to once a week or even once a month without them lashing out.  Reduced contact or LC worked for them.  It wasn't easy and they still are very frustrated with the weekly or monthly phone calls, but they did manage to do their own level of LC without an increase in verbal abuse.

Hi Sidney. Your LC story is horrifying, I am very sorry you went through that. Sending you hugs
 :bighug:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
-Viktor Frankl

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lightworld

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2021, 08:59:22 AM »
I too think we have to find out own way through and do what is best for us. In my case with NPD F LC was damaging, it triggered F to ramp up the rage so that I dreaded any contact and would virtually have a panic attack before phoning or visiting. He particularly liked leaving multiple abusive messages on my phone so that even now hearng a certain ringtone makes my heart beat faster and I feel the old dread.

This was not healthy for me so I had to go NC and I have found peace despite F threatening suicide and calling me a terrible daughter. Fortunately for me he is still in contact with GC brother so he does get his N supply and so pushback is not so bad now after almost a year NC.

None of our options as ACONS are easy, but I do believe that for me it was the continuing abuse that did it. Someone on here once said that every contact with a PD is damaging and that certainly was the case for me.
An empathic, highly sensitive, caring, loving, naďve, emotional and vulnerable child is a prime target for a narcissistic parent
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Sidney37

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2021, 12:38:05 PM »
[quote author=MarlenaEve link=topic=88432.msg756789#msg756789 date=162237193

Hi Sidney. Your LC story is horrifying, I am very sorry you went through that. Sending you hugs
 :bighug:
[/quote]

Thank you.  I've been NC for 2 years.  Because so much of it seemed normal to me, it took years and multiple therapists to convince me that reduced contact was necessary.  My best friend in high school had a PDm, too, but she was the ignoring type.  My PDm is covert and wants to be fully enmeshed, so family friends and relatives constantly point out all that she is doing that proves that she loves me. 

I spent weeks many years ago with the college therapist trying to understand and accept consequences for not going to her house all day every Sunday to do my laundry and missing an activity in which I was involved on campus.  College was nearby and she insisted if I wasted money to do my laundry at college, she's stop paying her small percentage of my tuition (I was on scholarship and working 2 part time jobs to pay for school) so that I would have to quit school.  This was after she didn't tell me that a great aunt died until 2 weeks later and after the funeral because I didn't call for 48 hours.  I think the therapist was stunned. 

So even now, typing it out reminds me that it wasn't normal.  It was abusive.  And it reminds me that my NC is the right thing.  Every few months I still question if I am doing the right thing or not. 

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Sheppane

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Re: LC is dangerous. Thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2021, 11:32:38 AM »
Daughter, what you write is very relatable. LC was dangerous for me, but what defined “low contact” was really that I was doing less than was expected of me  on their end. And I had begun expecting a measure of reciprocity in the relationship on my end. That was the death knell. The “last straw” incident I believe would have come somehow. The fact is that my parents never did accept my more adult self, and their behaviors in response consistently caused me to respond in a way they liked even less. I could only put that together in hindsight, but I think it’s accurate.

So much on this thread I could comment on. It's exactly where I'm at right now. Callmecordelia I couldn't have said it better but this really accurately describes my situation - LC for me means I am doing less than is expected of me. Working through the fact that I would call mainly out of obligation but also as a sense of wishing to maintain a connection, also fear ( what will happen if I don't call ) made me realise how one sided my relationships are. So I reduced the frequency to see what would happen. Nothing. Mom calls occasionally but it always feels punitive or as if she is " reduced " to calling because I didn't,  this time. From the start of the call I can tell in a  instant. I've also had the experience where she calls , I miss it and return call a minute later and she answers with surprise and a very judgemental tone of " well ???? I haven't heard from you ". Her motive being to chastise for the lack of contact rather than call out of genuine interest.

So now that I call less ( because I am the dumping ground and frequent calls were so triggering ) - I hear nothing in reply. Its like all I had to do was drop the rope and no one was going to pick it up.

Nothing will be communicated directly to me about any of this that's the way it works in my FOO. But if I get near it there will be an explosion. Otherwise it will continue on pure PA with me doing LC at my end and no one doing anything at their end.

In a way maybe this will end up in NC once I stop showing up. I am never good enough , never will be , and I'm shocked how easy its been for them to drop the rope. It's really sad and painful.

I am in a strange place right now of sticking with LC but it seems like it is the only contact happening. I know they will not contact me because its my punishment for not doing enough. As soon as I stopped my role as caretaker always putting everyone else's needs ahead of mine , walking on eggshells around anyone,  I have fallen further in their estimation as bad daughter / bad sister. They haven't said that to me but I know from past performances / rage attacks its always the same line. So if I provoked an " open" conversation guaranteed that's where it would end. Unless I'm completely wrong but I think that's my gaslightinh mind that jumps up and whispers " maybe you are the crazy one / it's all your fault ".