Book Review – How To Do No Contact Like A Boss

Book Review – How To Do No Contact Like A Boss

Hello and welcome to this book review!

Over the years as I’ve worked to assemble the best knowledge I can find about codependency recovery, it’s become clear to me that lots of our readers are looking to escape (or have recently escaped) an abusive relationship.

After interviewing Kim Saeed of letmereach.com (CNM Podcast Episode 9 – Narcissistic Abuse & How To Go “No Contact”), I decided to review her first book, How To Do No Contact Like A Boss. If you like books that stick to the facts and present ideas in a logical way, you’ll enjoy this book. There’s not much fluff in this one (a few anecdotes that are closely related to the topic at hand). And if you tend to highlight the key points while you read, you’ll be highlighting about 25-30% of the book like I did.

I hope this review serves to educate you with some tips for breaking free, and provides an introduction to a helpful resource if you want to look more closely into the topic.

So here goes!

The book starts with an introduction about Narcissism and other “Cluster-B” pathological personality types, the dysfunction that often ensues during relationships with them, and why it can be so devastating and difficult to leave them.

Then, we move into assessing whether you suffer from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (NAS) which includes things like hypervigilance, heightened irritability, overwhelming shame and guilt, withdrawal from family and social circles, among other symptoms. (We’ll use the word “Narcissist” to represent all Cluster-B personality types from here on for the sake of simplicity).

Narcissists constantly try to place you in a state of uncertainty and fear of 1) being abandoned, and 2) not being good enough. That’s why, Kim explains, Narcissists typically attract their polar opposites; codependents, empaths, HSP’s (Highly Sensitive People), many of whom score INFJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. These intuitive, sensitive, feeling people have a personality type of often leads them to want to “save” or “fix” their partner, and conversely the Narcissist feeds off the attention and loyalty. There’s a lengthy description of each of these types with characteristics, lists of symptoms, and the chemistry they tend to have with their Narcissists.

After detailing the personality types that tend to be attracted to Narcissists, Kim wraps up this subsection of the book by posing a common question she gets from her readers:

Can a relationship with a Narcissist last?

And at first blush, the answer might surprise you. The short answer is, “yes, perhaps”.

But, Kim quickly explains that it can only last “if you are willing to devote your entire self to serving them without any expectations that they will reciprocate. You must accept that, in pursuit of their shallow goals, they will likely cheat, steal, lie, insult you to your face and talk badly about you and others. Even then, all your self-denial and patient acceptance of their abuse still wouldn’t guarantee that the Narcissist would stay with you, since they do whatever their ego commands them to do, whatever that may be. So, yes, perhaps such a relationship could last, but the real question is: ‘At what cost to you?'”

Next, we move into determining whether you’re actually in an abusive relationship right now, and why people tend to stay in these relationships even when they’re unhappy. Some basic tips for assessing your current relationship include:

1) Pay attention to how your partner speaks to you. Does he put you down one minute, then cozy up to you the next? 2) Consider whether your partner is overly jealous. Does he prevent you from spending time with other people? Does he go through your mobile phone, email, purse, or trash? 3) Pay attention to how he treats his parents. This is a good indicator of how he’ll treat you and any future children you may have with him. 4) Consider whether he pressures you to move faster than your comfortable with in your relationship. 5) Consider whether he asks you to engage in sexually demeaning activities, and threatens to cheat if you don’t comply.

The irony of hanging around hoping things will get better is that while you are systematically lied to, cheated on, financially abused and manipulated, you somehow still expect the Narcissist to eventually show some sympathy towards your pain and realize they were ‘doing it all wrong’, because you’re projecting your inner values of compassion on someone who doesn’t have any capacity for it. On top of that, Kim explains, your Narcissist gives very reasonable sounding explanations for why he hurts you. He also knows how to conceal his aggressive intentions and exploit your emotional vulnerabilities.

Now, for the “why” and “how to” parts of going No Contact.

“Why?”

1) Staying in toxic relationships subtracts years from your life. 2) If you have children, hiding the toxic traits of your relationship will only get harder over time. 3) Some victims of emotional abuse eventually commit suicide. 4) You open yourself up to STD’s and other illnesses. These are some of the more serious reasons, but there are plenty others.

“How To”

At this point in the book, you can start to understand the depth of Kim’s experience breaking free from a toxic marriage. If you read between the lines, you can’t help but picture what it must have been like learning by trial and error (and if you’re in the same boat, realizing how real the dangers are, and how much you’d like to avoid repeating her mistakes).

Preparation becomes crucial to a successful break because if you allow any reason for your Narcissist to have contact with you after the break, you’ve weekend your armor (and even your chances of any successful legal battles that may ensue). Therefore, Kim advises thinking through your personal situation and making plans for after the break, such as where you’ll stay, where your money will come from (if you rely on his income), and how you’ll avoid contact after the break. You’ll want to block him from phones, email and social media accounts, and be prepared to lock your doors and even file for a restraining order if necessary. In this section Kim also goes through a variety of temptations and “don’ts” for No Contact, like unblocking him from time to time, or asking a mutual acquaintance how he’s doing.

The book gives a lot of importance to how difficult No Contact can be, especially in the first few weeks, as well as the extent to which Narcissists may go to re-establish connection or try to make your life miserable after the break (hint: there’s no limit to what they may do, as you may already know!) 

I’ll pause right here to drive this last point home and highlight the potential danger we’re dealing with. The message about Narcissists (true, dyed-in-the-wool Narcissists) is that they aren’t capable of establishing a healthy relationship based on trust or compassion; they’re incapable of these sentiments. Their ego feeds off compassionate people whom they use to elevate their self-worth and protect their very fragile self-image (even to extreme ends). They don’t realize they are toxic to others or have a personality disorder.

They often have a great read on other peoples’ emotions, and can fool others into thinking they are “normal” for a period of time. But inevitably their true colors come out. They often only care about external factors like money, status, image, and sex, which are exactly what they extract from their victims. In short, true Narcissists are like vultures, ruthlessly feeding off anyone who meets their criteria.

Now, back to the “how to” part of the book…

Kim advises that in addition to physical, monetary and legal preparations, you also make important mental preparations before executing No Contact. Come to terms with the fact that the Narcissist will soon be completely out of your life for good, and you won’t have an opportunity for closure. Don’t expect any genuine remorse on his end either. He’ll probably have a new girl in a few weeks, while you’re still crying into your soup by yourself in your new apartment. And he’ll probably take any opportunities for financial gain if you’ve left any opportunities open for him (bank / credit accounts, etc.).

He’ll actively try to contact you for a while and play on your insecurities, and if you’re not careful you may even become “the other girl” in his new relationship. (By the way, he’ll also make the relationship with his new girl look so wonderful and glamorous that you’ll probably feel even more worthless if you torture yourself by paying attention to it.)

(There’s a list of items and documents you should take with you when you leave in this section.)

On the day of No Contact, Kim cautions that your Narcissist may deny the seriousness of the situation, thinking it’s just another fight, or he may go into a fit of rage over his loss of power, which can result in a smear campaign whereby he contacts your friends, co-workers, or loved ones feigning concern or bad-mouthing you to them. If he’s especially vindictive, he may file false police reports, spiteful law suits, harm your pets or personal items, post racy photos of you online, or even threaten suicide (I know, this all sounds very sad and scary). The bottom line is that you should be prepared for anything.

To help get through the initial shock and loneliness, it’s a good idea to create a daily “schedule of survival”, planning your entire day by the hour. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll probably need time each day with other people. If you’re an introvert, you’ll probably want more alone time with movies, guided meditations, exercising, etc. so make sure you give yourself what you need as you transition, and keep your calendar completely full so there’s no time for your mind to wonder. Either way, plan for an emotional detox. Really, you’ll be going through a process that is similar to detoxing from an addictive substances.

During your prolonged abuse (or even trauma-bonding) with the Narcissist, your brain was receiving doses of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin which signal pleasure and reward centers in the brain. You were unknowingly conditioned by him, and you should expect a bit of a bumpy ride as you retrain your brain (if not, you may end up in another toxic relationship in no time). During this time, you may have feelings of intense fear, depression, or other feelings (which may be traced back to your childhood).

It’s also common to feed yourself lies like, “What if I’m really as bad as he says I am” “He must really care if he’s trying so hard to get a hold of me now” “I feel like I’ve abandoned him, what if he needs me?” “I feel so pathetic because I can’t stop thinking about what he’s up to”.

(Around this section of the book there are some tips for “Modified Contact” which is legally necessary if there are custody issues to sort through, or divorce proceedings).

As hard as this initial period of No Contact can be, success means eventually coming to the realization that, according to Lee Goff:

Sometimes the hardest thing you will ever do will be to let go of someone. It will be painful, you will suffer guilt, and you will second-guess yourself, but for your own sanity and quality of life, there will come a time where you hand them to God, with your love, and trust him to be who and what he is.

In this new phase of recovery, we must often heal from unconscious wounds, establish healthy connections, and remain on a forward path of healing (leaving nostalgia and longing behind). In addition to traditional things like talk therapy, Kim provides some suggestions for the aftermath, including energy healing, guided meditations, reiki massage, “smudging” your home, aromatherapy, The Sedona Method, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Yoga, Inner Child Healing, and body and heart awareness (specifically for HSP’s).

Kim closes out the book by recommending that we think about the aftermath of a toxic relationship as going through a process of enlightenment. All of us are capable of recovery, and it’s a journey we must all finish on our own.

In summary, How To Do No Contact Like A Boss is full of nitty gritty information from front to back. It sometimes repeats points more than once, and is so full of information that you sometimes need to reread sections to make sure you’ve digested it all before moving on. Overall, it’s an excellent resources for anyone currently in the process of leaving an abuser, or just thinking about it. This book may also be helpful for anyone concerned about a friend or family member who is preparing to break free from an abusive relationship.

If you’d like to know more, click here to purchase a copy of How To Do No Contact Like A Boss. (I do NOT receive compensation for your purchase of this book.)

Or, if this book review struck a chord with you because you’re currently struggling to break free from a toxic relationship, Kim has also put together The Essential Break Free Bootcamp, which assembles key materials from this book (and elsewhere) into a self-paced course to get you through the process of No Contact (with access to a private Facebook group so you can plug into a supportive network and have direct access to Kim. Click here to check out the bootcamp. (Please note: as an affiliate for this product, I do receive compensation if you choose to purchase.)

Now we want to hear from YOU!

Have you read the book? Was it helpful to you? If you haven’t read it, do you think it sounds helpful? Comment below!

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