15 Things That Happen When You Go No-Contact With A Toxic Parent

15 Things That Happen When You Go No-Contact With A Toxic Parent

Coming from someone who’s done it, going no-contact with a toxic parent is one of the hardest decisions you can make. Whether you’re thinking about cutting off one of your parents or have already done it, you’ll want to know what to expect. It’s a decision that has a lot of ramifications, both positive and negative, and will affect you for years, if not the rest of your life. Regardless of the challenges, the benefits are worth it if you feel happier, safer, and healthier. Here are 15 things that happen when you go no-contact.

1. You feel a sense of relief.

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The first thing that happens after going no-contact is usually a period of relief. You’ve been struggling for years to get along with a parent who was harming you. At last, you’re able to take a breath. It’s natural to feel elated, or even want to celebrate this occasion. There may be a tough road ahead, but for now, find ways to share that relief with others and hold onto it. That’s why you made this decision.

2. A healing journey begins.

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You might already be healing from your toxic parent. But a new stage of healing starts when you go no contact. Having distance from the person who harmed you makes it easier for you to examine, confront, and heal that harm. This healing will take time and will touch many areas of your life. Friends, partners, therapists, and other family members can all help you.

3. You create more safe spaces for yourself.

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If you had a toxic parent, chances are you didn’t always feel safe at home. Growing up without this sense of safety is a huge challenge, and you may struggle to feel safe as an adult. There’s a comfort that comes with knowing your toxic parent can’t contact you. You start to let your guard down more. You can turn your own home and other places in your life into safe spaces where you feel unconditionally loved and supported.

4. You struggle to find your place.

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Cutting off a parent isn’t all relief and safety. While the good usually outweighs the bad, there are still challenges to deal with. Without the familiarity of that family member, you might struggle to figure out where you belong. Some people don’t feel an attachment to any particular role for a while. But this also opens up the opportunity to explore your place and see what feels right to you.

5. You’re empowered to live the life you want.

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As you try out new things and figure out where you fit in, you’re making your own choices. You don’t have to worry anymore about what your parent will say or if they’ll take away support. There’s a lot more agency in your life now, and you get to choose what to do. While that comes with responsibility, the sense of freedom can also be very empowering.

6. Other family members weigh in.

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Inevitably, other people in your family are going to have opinions. It’s likely that “sides” will form, even if you don’t want them to. Some might support you, even going so far as to not talk to your parent either. Others might entirely believe the toxic parent and try to guilt you into letting them back into your life. Many will fall in the middle. This means a renegotiation of boundaries and relationships. Remember that you get to decide who you want to keep around.

7. There’s more space in your life for growth.

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Dealing with a toxic parent takes up a lot of mental energy. There may even be physical effort involved if you have to travel to see them or care for them. Now that they’re not a part of your life, you’ll be able to use that energy for other things. Giving it to people you love, finding new hobbies, or leaning more into work are all things you might want to focus on.

8. Holiday celebrations change.

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Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, you’re probably used to your parent being involved. Maybe you’ll still go to family gatherings, but won’t interact with the toxic parent. You could steer clear of family events entirely, making your own plans with others you care about. You might join your partner’s family. Whatever you do, you get to create new traditions and find new ways of sharing joy with those you love.

9. You learn how to redefine family.

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Most of us are taught that family means shared blood. But you’ll find that family means something different to everybody. Now’s a great time to explore what that looks like to you. Do you have friends you’d consider family? Do you have your own kids who you want to cherish? Are there still blood relatives you love? There are no wrong answers in this exploration.

10. You get closer to the people you love.

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As you start to feel safer and have more mental energy, you’ll notice your relationships improving. The more trust you can have in a relationship, the stronger it will be. And the people around you will be happy getting to see you feel safe and loved. You’ll have more moments of laughter, more fun nights out, more deep conversations.

11. People ask a lot of questions.

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From family members to coworkers, many people will want to know why you went no-contact. It’s still seen as a taboo decision to make, so people want to learn more about it. But the truth is, that information is private and potentially triggering. It’s okay for you to say, “I don’t want to explain that to you,” or to give a shortened version of the truth, like, “This is just what’s better for me.” You only have to explain as much as you’re comfortable with.

12. Fears slowly fade away.

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Toxic parents can be scary. Were you always worried about how they’d respond to your outfit? Did you get judged for your interests? They may have given you fears, but now they aren’t around to uphold them. Without this reinforcement, you’ll notice those fears appearing less and less. The more people you feel supported by, the faster you’ll learn to trust yourself and not be afraid.

13. You get better at setting boundaries.

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Cutting out a toxic parent is one of the hardest boundaries to set. It might even be the hardest. And if you can do that, why can’t you set other boundaries? As you take your needs seriously and learn how to protect yourself, you’ll get better at self-advocacy. This can be big boundaries like ending relationships, but also small things like how someone talks to you or when you’re willing to work.

14. You find a new community.

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At first, going no-contact can feel really isolating. But there are a lot of other people who have been in your shoes. You’ll be able to connect with other adult children of toxic parents in a way that others wouldn’t understand. You get each other due to having similar experiences. These people help with your healing and teach you that you aren’t alone, even when you feel lonely.

15. You feel more whole.

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Gone are the days of hiding yourself or being blamed for everything. With safety and agency comes a stronger sense of personal identity. You can start to see yourself as a well-rounded person, without the lens of guilt and fear. You might find a sense of wholeness in your work, your hobbies, your religion, or just the people you love.

16. Sick of the dating world but still want to find a partner? Turn your love life around with your mind.

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Discover the power of thought with our sister site, Sweetn. Their quick quiz and research-backed tools make finding love easy and fun by transforming the way you think about dating and relationships. Click to try now — it only takes a few weeks to see a difference.

Ashton Rose is a writer, creator, and educator. They have provided writing services since 2019 and are studying Creative Writing at Macalester College. They specialize in SEO-driven blog posts about writing, gardening, and mental health. Ashton also provides website design and web copywriting. They have worked with dozens of clients across the globe. When not writing, Ashton loves to crochet, garden, play video games, and cuddle with cute animals.
They can be found on Instagram and LinkedIn @ashtonrosewrites; on Facebook @ashtonrosewritesfb; and on the web at ashtonrosewrites.com.
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