There are times in our professional and personal lives when we have no choice but to get up, keep our distance, and go to zero contact. We do it to regain control of our lives and above all to protect our emotions and dignity and to be treated as we deserve: as people with the right and legitimacy to choose what we want and what not.
One thing that both developmental and cognitive psychology shows us is that most of us are not ready to stand up and leave anything behind. Our brain cells are wired in such a way that we build relationships, connect socially and emotionally. So when suddenly this alarm system goes off and warns us that something is “bad”, that an attachment causes us more suffering than joy, it is more than usual to oppose us.
Zero contact is synonymous with hope. He is strong enough to leave a phase behind us in order to free us from any happening and thus initiate the change with security and stability.
Far from breaking this bond, we rather gloss over it. And we do that by coating them with the most sophisticated shadows, layers and correctors: with self-deception like “This is only temporarily so, it is sure to change” , fictional goals à la “Tomorrow I will tell you what I think and end this false friendship ” and even through complex defenses such as oppression and isolation. We kind of forget that ends are just as necessary as beginnings.
Fear, whether we like it or not, will always be there, both when it comes to getting rid of something or someone and when life leads us into a new phase. Therefore, there are times when the best way to allow us to enter this new cycle with greater dignity is to make zero contact with those who at some point brought us the bitter taste of misfortune.
Zero contact to regain hope
There are decisions that must be made based on security and strength. To do this, one has to learn to shape what many psychologists call “raw emotions”. We can constitute this type of psychological dimension through three approaches, which are complex to implement, but promise good results:
- First, let’s think about the possible consequences of not ending this relationship, this work, this bond with someone who is determined: stress, suffering, loss of health are some examples.
- Second, we need to be able to do something very simple , which is to make it clear what we want for ourselves, for example: I want to be comfortable and take control of my life back. After all, we need to know each other well enough to know what is good for us and what makes us uncomfortable. Once that is clear, we can affirm ourselves in this dimension.
- Third, the desire for change must be awakened in the face of the shadow of fear. It is necessary to focus on the impulse to improve on this conservative dimension where the same calamity can become chronic.
After considering these aspects, we will shape the raw emotion with which we combine conviction and personal strength to make a firm decision where there is no room for fear and uncertainty. Once the purpose has been fulfilled and that person or persons have been informed about it, we will also consider whether or not we will apply zero contact.
In which cases is it advisable to go to zero contact?
- We will go to zero contact in those stressful relationships where it is necessary to leave behind the affective relationship with a narcissist or friend who shares the same destructive traits.
- In relationships with family members where the harm continues when there is no sign of change, awareness, or improvement
- Zero contact is also recommended when we want to leave behind a work environment and colleagues who have violated our rights.
Zero contact: you have the right to say no
Good gardeners know that a rose needs pruning from time to time to keep it beautiful and healthy. Sometimes it has more buds than it can hold, sometimes it makes others sick, and sometimes it takes up space that makes it difficult for others to grow. The pruning, which eliminates any contact with the parts damaging the rose bush, is essential for it to thrive.
The same goes for our relationships. It’s not enough to just keep a little distance, wait for things to change, or lower your face and keep watering a garden full of weeds. That is a scenario that does not identify us. We have every right to say: “I don’t want any more suffering” and then to pull our roots out of this place so that we no longer come into contact with those who live there.
Zero contact to free us from the tyranny of harmful gangs
There are relationships, people, and dynamics that should be named: emotional abuse, manipulation, traumatic attachment, toxic partners or bosses, selfish families, or false friends. Clarifying what is happening to these people will also help us make decisions with greater confidence.
On the other hand, it should be noted that zero contact in these cases symbolizes the full right to set limits. It implies our determination to free ourselves from the tyranny of those bonds that have exercised their power for a while for one purpose: to destroy us physically and emotionally. It is also our only guarantee of protecting self-esteem and mental integrity.
So there is no need to be scared when it comes to making such a decision. In addition, we are not required to justify ourselves or explain why we choose to do so. Assuming that the best thing in this new phase is the fixed distance and zero contact with which to heal and restart yourself, there is no need to waste any more energy explaining what the other is likely to do does not understand.
If we choose to leave, we must do it correctly and with a view to our future growth, not with a sense of guilt. Because the decisions that are made to ensure integrity and happiness also serve to make us masters of our fate, architects of a future with greater hope. And on these streets the burden of guilt has no place and no meaning.