On what occasion should we contact our ex

Contact lock? Why ex-partners want radio silence.

About radio silence, transmission pauses, contact blocks and ghosting (part 2)

Part 1 was about why breaking off contact after a breakup is by no means a silver bullet for all people. Here you will find possible explanations for why the radio silence seems to be the best or even the only possible way after a separation for some people.

Frequent causes of contact blocking and radio silence after separations

Whether the contact block appears to us as a suitable solution after a breakup is first a question of type. For some people it is simply good, others choose it because of a lack of alternatives, and some deliberately avoid an honest examination of the ex-partner's point of view. For some, the encounter with the ex is too painful or even threatening, for others it is simply annoying.

Psychologically, the strategy of blocking contacts can often be explained with different approaches, some of which overlap:

Conflict avoidance because there was "never an argument" at home:

People who have not learned to deal constructively with conflicts, or who are even very afraid of conflict, often do not know how to help each other apart from - alone or with a new partner - to go underground. The deeper causes usually lie in the family of origin. For example, when there was often punished with silence and withdrawal of love and / or there was an extremely harmonizing atmosphere in which problems were consistently swept under the rug.

Constant avoidance of conflict also almost inevitably leads to evasive strategies, which often lead to excuses, half-truths or lies. At some point, the complete ban on contact may appear almost inevitable in order to escape the confusion of one's own 'alternative facts' and 'not to be exposed'. Or at least not to have to take any responsibility for it thanks to being 'away'.

Conflict avoidance after early experiences of violence:

Even the opposite of a supposedly healthy world and pancakes can stir up fear of conflict from an early age: Anyone who was beaten at home does not initially learn that and how conflicts can be resolved. Experiences of violence often lead either to one's own violence or to not even noticing one's own aggressive and angry impulses. Not even those that would be necessary to risk a conflict. Many of these people are traumatized, even if this is not apparent in everyday life. But in conflicts or cross-border situations such as separations, the old injury is triggered. The other person is then quickly perceived as hostile and the impotence from back then shapes the current experience. All 'good reasons' to dive down very quickly and avoid contact.

Unwillingness to deal with oneself:

A benevolent argument can help to part on good terms. Because those who deal with each other put their own thoughts and feelings next to (!) Those of the other: They separate and compare both points of view without repelling the 'foreign'. Here we can clarify what is yours and what is mine. How did I experience you and how did you experience me? What did and what do we have in common, and what separates us? How do I tick? How are you How did we - and I, too - fail? What sore points did you touch on me? What triggers a close relationship in me, what is its end? Which, otherwise well-hidden downsides do I come into contact with?

Those who fear the deeper layers of their own personality have many reasons to avoid separation talks. Because here he would almost certainly come into contact with them.

Insecure attachment style:

Some people avoid closeness, even if they have lived as a couple for decades, because they learned early on that the most important relationships were not reliable. Addiction scares them. The attachment theory then speaks inter alia. from an avoidantly insecure attachment style. People who are affected prefer to regulate themselves in stressful situations alone or with people who do not get too close to them emotionally.

Often it is the 'lonely wolves' who do not like to be helped and prefer to manage their affairs alone than to talk to others. "The experiences of their childhood made them believe that addiction only leads to disappointment, blatant failure of fine-tuning, indifference, inner agony and shame." (Solomon / Tatkin 2013: 119, see below)

Schizoid and Narcissistic Personalities:

People with narcissistic and / or schizoid personality are mostly masters of breaking contacts. Both are usually a question of character. However, strong narcissism can also be pathological, i.e. as a mental illness, etc. Personality disorder apply.

Schizoid means (similar to the avoidant attachment style): Better to stay at a 'safe' distance from other people. Intense closeness and surrender threaten one's own autonomy, as a 'loss of self'. Fear quickly arises of being absorbed and drowning in the we.

Schizoid knit people usually appear cool and controlled and sometimes have little access to their feelings: Those who have hardly received any response to their emotions at home simply learn less often to perceive them well. This also applies if the parents hardly showed any feelings of their own and a cool, rational atmosphere shaped the family. As adults, they are very good at splitting off emotional aspects. However, the (ex) partners often feel just as split off when they break up. Because then there is an absolute break in broadcast.

over narcissistic A lot has been written about personalities in recent years, so the term is used inflationarily today. In the relationship they are (roughly speaking) looking for someone who fulfills certain functions for them (care, good company, avoiding loneliness, etc.). They are not really interested in the whole person, but only in those aspects that they can use to strengthen their (essentially unstable) self-esteem. Therefore, they separate quickly and radically if the partner no longer fulfills the functions for which she was chosen (e.g. becomes older, sick, unemployed or more independent), or in some other way triggers deep-seated doubts about self-worth.

The more narcissistic a person ticks, the greater the likelihood that he only sees his own needs and simply does not want to burden himself with the feelings of the ex-partner. Then he 'absolutely urgently needs distance' in order to 'come to rest', 'think' ... and to distract himself very quickly.

Experience of violence in the relationship:

Of course it's not always the parents' fault;). Sometimes the relationship itself is characterized by emotional or physical violence. Then breaking contact is the urgently needed, healthy step out of an unhealthy partnership.

The rule: Defense mechanisms are self-protection and attempted solutions

As bad as the effect of the blocking of contacts on the ex-partner, who has been avoided from now on, may be: In many cases, breaking off contacts is a kind of aggressive emergency reflex: an almost automatic self-protection, since there are no other possible solutions. What is missing is the ability to deal with conflicts or with one's own fears of closeness, self-knowledge, one's own darker side, 'deficits' etc. Or the ability to actually establish a deep bond with another person is missing only fulfills the functions mentioned above.

The tragic: the greater these fears are, the less people affected are often aware of them. Because our psyche uses so-called defense mechanisms to protect us from knowledge that endangers our well-being and self-esteem. In crisis situations, they often go up like a protective wall made of concrete and barbed wire. They then shape our experience, thinking and feeling, our perception and our memories.

In my opinion, whether a relationship is successful or not is determined primarily by the question of whether we can cope with the partner's defense mechanisms. This is even more true in the case of separations. Because unfortunately, especially in times of crisis, we fall back on our oldest defensive or emergency responses. The result is then sometimes far greater injuries than the separation itself, for example, but not only in Wars of the Roses.

Is the blocking of contacts so stressful that support would be good for you? I would be happy to accompany you with separation counseling in Münster or online. If you don't want to break up in the first place, early couples therapy in Münster or online couples counseling can often be of great help.


back to Part 1: In the event of separation: break in contact?

Or read on?


Literature tips:

On the subject of 'attachment styles in couple relationships' (more suitable for professionals):

About love relationships with and between narcissistic people:

The depth psychology classic on the subject of 'people tick so differently':

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