When “No Contact” Is Not Helpful – (Love Addiction & Codependency)
No Contact is a necessary approach for distancing from a loved one after a relationship has ended and if there is a compulsive drive to return to the partner. No Contact is an intelligent response and action-plan for when a person is caught in any harmful, unhealthy, domestic violent cycles of abuse. This includes cycles of abuse rooted in emotional manipulation. It is a sign of sanity to commit and employ the No Contact approach as a tool.
However in cases where there is not abuse; and I repeat, in cases where there is not abuse, then sometimes it can be helpful to employ another alternative approach referred to as Conscious Contact. Pursuing Conscious Contact comes from understanding the body’s physiological response to separation and the ensuing primal panic that gets activated when an attachment trauma is now triggered.
If perhaps you have an unintegrated attachment injury, then chances are your body goes into overwhelm due to being denied contact comfort and connection with your partner (now ex-partner). Sometimes there is a need to seek out proximity via not so mature behaviors of perhaps driving by an ex-partner’s home or calling a voicemail just to hear his or her voice, etc. These behaviors are driven by the need for relief from the primal panic.
Conscious Contact is not something to engage in long term but it can be a short-term viable tool to help facilitate releasing your body from looping in profound separation anxiety due to an old, childhood abandonment wound. The goal is to have some brief contact with the partner or proximity to the partner’s home or work so that such contact will trigger release and the body can now calm down.
The key focus here is more about having the skill to then grieve and use the relief from the panic. Conscious Contact is only to be used if you are then able to take care of yourself, self-soothe, and affirm that the relationship is over. If Conscious Contact does the opposite and brings about confusion, stoking more desire to reunite with your ex-partner, then it is not something that will be beneficial.
Conscious Contact has been introduced as a reasonable response when a rigid No Contact approach creates the risk of re-traumatizing a person who has an attachment injury and/or abandonment wound. If a person’s nervous system is chronically revved up in a hyper-aroused state of panic and without any options for release available, then Conscious Contact might actually be a sane, helpful response.
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