Review: A Christian’s Guide to No Contact

As I have mentioned before, this blog was birthed out of my private journals. For that reason, a lot of my earlier posts have important gaps in them, and some important steps of the journey go undocumented.
Perhaps the most important step is my reading A Christian’s Guide to No Contact

This was one of the first books that I read, and it had a profound impact on me. At the time, I thought that her words were very good, but perhaps her language was bit harsh. She kept referring to her parents as “narcissistic psychopaths.” At the time, I did not know what these words meant, and so I thought she was simply calling them names. I now understand that these are technical terms for real psychological conditions. I have recently discovered that both of my parents are narcissists, and my father is a psychopath, with “dark triad” characteristics. 

As I had a recent dream about my parents, I realized that parts of me are still struggling with feelings of attachment to them. I decided that I would reread this book, after the research and progress I have made in the last five months, I was able to understand her much more clearly.
The first statement that really stood out to me was: 
It is a basic human right of every person to be left alone if they want to be. (Page 5)
As I read it again, this sentence rocked me. In the days since reading it, this sentence has become like a bedrock in my thinking. Yes, I do have a right to be left alone if I want to be. And I do want to be. How could anyone argue with this? Well, how could they?
It reminds me of the early days of my journey, some eight months ago. In the tangle of confusion of my mind, I played through scenario after scenario of my angry father or manipulative mother confronting me in a variety of ways and saying, “Why haven’t you called? Why haven’t you contacted us?” I felt frozen, stunned, confused. All I could think of to say was, “I didn’t feel like it.” 
…and yet, strangely, this response seemed incredibly powerful. 
I didn’t want to. I’m a grown man. And I don’t want to talk to you. So why should I?
It is revolutionary thinking, for someone raised to believe that their life is owned by their parents, and that their own will does not matter.
“I don’t want to.” 

Who cares what you want. We have legal, Biblical, and societal rights: and our rights trump your desires. They always have, and they always will!

“No. I don’t want to, and that is that.”

This journey (which has now topped 200 posts) is really no more complex than that: I wish to be left alone. And I’m allowed to make that call if I feel like it.
Were these people not related to me, there would be no question: I am not in the habit of letting narcissists and psychopaths close to me. And simply sharing some genetic material and giving birth to me does not give a lifelong privilege of hurtful access to my life. I am allowed to cut out people that are not being nice to me. 
I am allowed to be left alone if I want to be. And I want to be.
The second principle that really stuck out to me was how to identify an unfixable relationship. People and relationships are moving in a direction. And based on the past, we can make a reasonable guess about what the future will be. Pitelli writes:

Usually we stay in a bad relationship because we think there’s a chance that things will get better. We need to ask ourselves what exactly are the chances that this person will change? It may be possible, but is it likely? It might happen, and it might not. For that matter, our relative might come to his senses after we leave, and change his ways. Nothing is stopping him from doing that, either. Probably the best way of judging whether there is actually a realistic possibility of our relative ever changing is to think back on our past experiences with this person. We need to ask ourselves the four most important questions: Does this person ever admit it when he is wrong? Does this person ever apologize (sincerely apologize)? Have I ever seen this person change his behavior after being told it was hurtful or upsetting to others? Has this person ever shown true remorse or tried to make amends for anything he’s done? If our abusive relative or friend has never done any of these things, then he is not likely to start now. And if he very rarely or grudgingly does one of these things, then he is also unlikely to make a sincere effort to modify his behavior. (pp. 32-33). 

The third thing that spoke to me was writing a divorce notice. Pitelli writes:  

Another possibility for going No Contact is to write your abusive friend or relative a note. Again, this can be short and sweet, as in “Our relationship is not enjoyable (and/or healthy) and I am ending it. Do not contact me or my children again.” Remember, the more you say, the more you are giving your narcissist ammunition to argue over. Send this certified mail, return receipt requested…in case you need it for evidence in the future. (pp. 35-36)

The final thing that really really spoke to me was the many Bible verses that Pitelli found about loneliness and families. However, the most powerful part of this book, I believe was her simple concept of abstaining from evil. Her logic is something like this: 1) there are evil people in this world, 2) the Bible has a lot to say about evil people, including having nothing to do with them, and completely being separate from them, 3) if you are reading this book, it is very possible that your parents are evil, and these verses apply. 
That is simple Bible exegesis, and when you see it laid out like that, it is hard to deny that going “No Contact” with an evil person is at times a Biblical mandate. 
Some of the verses that especially spoke to me were:

WHEN MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER FORSAKE ME, THEN THE LORD WILL TAKE ME UP… Psalm 27:10 KJV. 

Our Abba Father will never leave nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5; Psalm 37:25; Hebrews 13:5). The Lord sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6) and his grace is always sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). (p. 9).   

He will replace every relationship that has caused us sorrow and pain with a healthy, loving relationship- often in the most unexpected ways and from the most unexpected places: AT MY FIRST DEFENSE NO ONE STOOD WITH ME, BUT ALL FORSOOK ME. MAY IT NOT BE CHARGED AGAINST THEM, BUT THE LORD STOOD WITH ME AND STRENGTHENED ME, SO THAT THE MESSAGE MIGHT BE PREACHED FULLY THROUGH ME, AND THAT ALL THE GENTILES MIGHT HEAR. ALSO I WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LION. AND THE LORD WILL DELIVER ME FROM EVERY EVIL WORK AND PRESERVE ME FOR HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM. TO HIM BE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN!… 2 Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV. Thank you, Father! (p. 10) 

FROM MY EARLIEST YOUTH MY ENEMIES HAVE PERSECUTED ME, BUT THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO FINISH ME OFF. MY BACK IS COVERED WITH CUTS, AS IF A FARMER HAD PLOWED LONG FURROWS. BUT THE LORD IS GOOD; HE HAS CUT THE CORDS USED BY THE UNGODLY TO BIND ME.…. Psalm 129:2-4 NLT. (p. 11) I feel as though this is my new life verse.

I WILL SET NO WICKED THING BEFORE MINE EYES: I HATE THE WORK OF THEM THAT TURN ASIDE; IT SHALL NOT CLEAVE TO ME. A FROWARD HEART SHALL DEPART FROM ME: I WILL NOT KNOW A WICKED PERSON. WHOSO PRIVILY SLANDERETH HIS NEIGHBOUR, HIM WILL I CUT OFF: HIM THAT HATH A HIGH LOOK AND A PROUD HEART WILL NOT I SUFFER…..HE THAT WORKETH DECEIT SHALL NOT DWELL WITHIN MY HOUSE: HE THAT TELLETH LIES SHALL NOT TARRY IN MY SIGHT. I WILL EARLY DESTROY ALL THE WICKED OF THE LAND; THAT I MAY CUT OFF ALL WICKED DOERS FROM THE CITY OF THE LORD…. Psalm 101:3-5, 7-8 KJV. 

BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: FOR WHAT FELLOWSHIP HATH RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH UNRIGHTEOUSNESS? AND WHAT COMMUNION HATH LIGHT WITH DARKNESS? AND WHAT CONCORD HATH CHRIST WITH BELIAL? OR WHAT PART HATH HE THAT BELIEVETH WITH AN INFIDEL? AND WHAT AGREEMENT HATH THE TEMPLE OF GOD WITH IDOLS? FOR YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; AS GOD HATH SAID, I WILL DWELL IN THEM, AND WALK IN THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD, AND TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU, AND WILL BE A FATHER UNTO YOU, AND YE SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAITH THE LORD ALMIGHTY…. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV. 

FOR MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES, COVETOUS, BOASTERS, PROUD, BLASPHEMERS, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, UNTHANKFUL, UNHOLY, WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION, TRUCEBREAKERS, FALSE ACCUSERS, INCONTINENT, FIERCE, DESPISERS OF THOSE THAT ARE GOOD, TRAITORS, HEADY, HIGH-MINDED, LOVERS OF PLEASURES MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD; HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY….. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 KJV. 

REJECT A DIVISIVE MAN AFTER THE FIRST AND SECOND ADMONITION, KNOWING THAT SUCH A PERSON IS WARPED AND SINNING, BEING SELF-COMDEMNED… Titus 3:10-11 NKJV. 

DO NOT BE MISLED: “BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER.”… 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV. 

HE THAT WALKETH WITH WISE MEN SHALL BE WISE: BUT A COMPANION OF FOOLS SHALL BE DESTROYED… Proverbs 13:20 KJV. 

THROW OUT THE MOCKER, AND FIGHTING, QUARRELS AND INSULTS WILL DISAPPEAR… Proverbs 22:10 NLT. 

MAKE NO FRIENDSHIP WITH AN ANGRY MAN; AND WITH A FURIOUS MAN THOU SHALT NOT GO: LEST THOU LEARN HIS WAYS, AND GET A SNARE TO THY SOUL… Proverbs 22:24-25 KJV. (pp. 11-14)  

SHORT-TEMPERED PEOPLE MUST PAY THEIR OWN PENALTY. IF YOU RESCUE THEM ONCE, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN…. Proverbs 19:19 NLT.
(p. 14)  

GOD WILL JUDGE THOSE ON THE OUTSIDE; BUT AS THE SCRIPTURES SAY, “YOU MUST REMOVE THE EVIL PERSON FROM AMONG YOU”… 1 Corinthians 5:13 NLT. (p. 14)  

BUT NOW I AM WRITING YOU THAT YOU MUST NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE WHO CALLS HIMSELF A BROTHER BUT IS SEXUALLY IMMORAL OR GREEDY, AN IDOLATER OR A SLANDERER, A DRUNKARD OR A SWINDLER. WITH SUCH A MAN DO NOT EVEN EAT…. 1 Corinthians 5:11 NIV.
(pp. 15-16)

Sister Pitelli has a Facebook page that I have been following, and several other books. I am very interested in her book on forgiveness, as this is something that my wife and I have discussed at length. Forgiveness has been a cornerstone of my ministry for over a decade. But I now feel like I may have been teaching it slightly wrong. I would like to read and analyze this book in the near future.

Review of the book, A Christian’s Guide to No Contact

The first statement that really stood out to me from this book was: 
It is a basic human right of every person to be left alone if they want to be. (Page 5)
As I read it again, this sentence rocked me. Yes, it does seem like a person should have a right to be left alone if they want to be. How could you argue with that? “You have to let this person into your life, even though you don’t want them there.” I’m sorry, that is not a loving relationship. That is domination and captivity.

A healthy adult can be left alone if they so chose.

The second principle that really stuck out to me was how to identify an unfixable relationship. People and relationships are moving in a direction. And based on the past, we can make a reasonable guess about what the future will be. Pitelli writes:

Usually we stay in a bad relationship because we think there’s a chance that things will get better. We need to ask ourselves what exactly are the chances that this person will change? It may be possible, but is it likely? It might happen, and it might not. For that matter, our relative might come to his senses after we leave, and change his ways. Nothing is stopping him from doing that, either. Probably the best way of judging whether there is actually a realistic possibility of our relative ever changing is to think back on our past experiences with this person. We need to ask ourselves the four most important questions: Does this person ever admit it when he is wrong? Does this person ever apologize (sincerely apologize)? Have I ever seen this person change his behavior after being told it was hurtful or upsetting to others? Has this person ever shown true remorse or tried to make amends for anything he’s done? If our abusive relative or friend has never done any of these things, then he is not likely to start now. And if he very rarely or grudgingly does one of these things, then he is also unlikely to make a sincere effort to modify his behavior. (pp. 32-33). 

The third thing that spoke to me was writing a divorce notice. Pitelli writes:  

Another possibility for going No Contact is to write your abusive friend or relative a note. Again, this can be short and sweet, as in “Our relationship is not enjoyable (and/or healthy) and I am ending it. Do not contact me or my children again.” Remember, the more you say, the more you are giving your narcissist ammunition to argue over. Send this certified mail, return receipt requested…in case you need it for evidence in the future. (pp. 35-36)

The final thing that really really spoke to me was the many Bible verses that Pitelli found about loneliness and families. However, the most powerful part of this book, I believe was her simple concept of abstaining from evil. Her logic is something like this:

1) there are evil people in this world,

2) the Bible has a lot to say about evil people, including having nothing to do with them, and completely being separate from them,

3) if a person came to mind when reading the above section about unfixable people and relationships, there is a good chance that this person qualifies as a “wicked” person, as in the Bible. Thus, the Biblical commands about “separating” from wicked people would apply to them.

That is simple Bible exegesis, and when you see it laid out like that, it is hard to deny that going “No Contact” with an evil person is at times a Biblical mandate. 
Some of the verses that especially spoke to me were:

He will replace every relationship that has caused us sorrow and pain with a healthy, loving relationship- often in the most unexpected ways and from the most unexpected places: AT MY FIRST DEFENSE NO ONE STOOD WITH ME, BUT ALL FORSOOK ME. MAY IT NOT BE CHARGED AGAINST THEM, BUT THE LORD STOOD WITH ME AND STRENGTHENED ME, SO THAT THE MESSAGE MIGHT BE PREACHED FULLY THROUGH ME, AND THAT ALL THE GENTILES MIGHT HEAR. ALSO I WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LION. AND THE LORD WILL DELIVER ME FROM EVERY EVIL WORK AND PRESERVE ME FOR HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM. TO HIM BE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN!… 2 Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV. Thank you, Father! (p. 10) 

FROM MY EARLIEST YOUTH MY ENEMIES HAVE PERSECUTED ME, BUT THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO FINISH ME OFF. MY BACK IS COVERED WITH CUTS, AS IF A FARMER HAD PLOWED LONG FURROWS. BUT THE LORD IS GOOD; HE HAS CUT THE CORDS USED BY THE UNGODLY TO BIND ME.…. Psalm 129:2-4 NLT. (p. 11) I feel as though this is my new life verse.

I WILL SET NO WICKED THING BEFORE MINE EYES: I HATE THE WORK OF THEM THAT TURN ASIDE; IT SHALL NOT CLEAVE TO ME. A FROWARD HEART SHALL DEPART FROM ME: I WILL NOT KNOW A WICKED PERSON. WHOSO PRIVILY SLANDERETH HIS NEIGHBOUR, HIM WILL I CUT OFF: HIM THAT HATH A HIGH LOOK AND A PROUD HEART WILL NOT I SUFFER…..HE THAT WORKETH DECEIT SHALL NOT DWELL WITHIN MY HOUSE: HE THAT TELLETH LIES SHALL NOT TARRY IN MY SIGHT. I WILL EARLY DESTROY ALL THE WICKED OF THE LAND; THAT I MAY CUT OFF ALL WICKED DOERS FROM THE CITY OF THE LORD…. Psalm 101:3-5, 7-8 KJV. 

BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: FOR WHAT FELLOWSHIP HATH RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH UNRIGHTEOUSNESS? AND WHAT COMMUNION HATH LIGHT WITH DARKNESS? AND WHAT CONCORD HATH CHRIST WITH BELIAL? OR WHAT PART HATH HE THAT BELIEVETH WITH AN INFIDEL? AND WHAT AGREEMENT HATH THE TEMPLE OF GOD WITH IDOLS? FOR YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; AS GOD HATH SAID, I WILL DWELL IN THEM, AND WALK IN THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD, AND TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU, AND WILL BE A FATHER UNTO YOU, AND YE SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAITH THE LORD ALMIGHTY…. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV. 

FOR MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES, COVETOUS, BOASTERS, PROUD, BLASPHEMERS, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, UNTHANKFUL, UNHOLY, WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION, TRUCEBREAKERS, FALSE ACCUSERS, INCONTINENT, FIERCE, DESPISERS OF THOSE THAT ARE GOOD, TRAITORS, HEADY, HIGH-MINDED, LOVERS OF PLEASURES MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD; HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY….. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 KJV. 

REJECT A DIVISIVE MAN AFTER THE FIRST AND SECOND ADMONITION, KNOWING THAT SUCH A PERSON IS WARPED AND SINNING, BEING SELF-COMDEMNED… Titus 3:10-11 NKJV. 

DO NOT BE MISLED: “BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER.”… 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV. 

HE THAT WALKETH WITH WISE MEN SHALL BE WISE: BUT A COMPANION OF FOOLS SHALL BE DESTROYED… Proverbs 13:20 KJV. 

THROW OUT THE MOCKER, AND FIGHTING, QUARRELS AND INSULTS WILL DISAPPEAR… Proverbs 22:10 NLT. 

MAKE NO FRIENDSHIP WITH AN ANGRY MAN; AND WITH A FURIOUS MAN THOU SHALT NOT GO: LEST THOU LEARN HIS WAYS, AND GET A SNARE TO THY SOUL… Proverbs 22:24-25 KJV. (pp. 11-14)  

SHORT-TEMPERED PEOPLE MUST PAY THEIR OWN PENALTY. IF YOU RESCUE THEM ONCE, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN…. Proverbs 19:19 NLT.
(p. 14)  

GOD WILL JUDGE THOSE ON THE OUTSIDE; BUT AS THE SCRIPTURES SAY, “YOU MUST REMOVE THE EVIL PERSON FROM AMONG YOU”… 1 Corinthians 5:13 NLT. (p. 14)  

BUT NOW I AM WRITING YOU THAT YOU MUST NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE WHO CALLS HIMSELF A BROTHER BUT IS SEXUALLY IMMORAL OR GREEDY, AN IDOLATER OR A SLANDERER, A DRUNKARD OR A SWINDLER. WITH SUCH A MAN DO NOT EVEN EAT…. 1 Corinthians 5:11 NIV.
(pp. 15-16)

Sister Pitelli has a Facebook page that I have been following, and several other books. I am very interested in her book on forgiveness, as this is something that my wife and I have discussed at length. Forgiveness has been a cornerstone of my ministry for over a decade. But I now feel like I may have been teaching it slightly wrong. I would like to read and analyze this book in the near future.

Other books by Pitelli include: