Loser is Gone, But Should I Take His Calls?

Reader’s Question

Hello: I wrote to Dr. Carver some time ago about how to handle the loser in my life, and I have finally realized that I must get rid of him! My question is should I answer his calls and be boring or not answer them? He calls a lot, and I used to answer and not fight with him, but now I’ve stopped answering his calls. What works best?

Many thanks,
SW in Pennsylvania

Psychologist’s Reply

If you’ve already stopped answering his calls, it’s best to continue that pattern. Losers, Abusers, and Manipulators will frequently continue to call following the breakup of a relationship, even when the breakup was their idea. They enjoy keeping folks on the “back burner”, just in case they need anything. If you’ve reached the don’t-answer stage of the breakup, I’d continue to move on and not answer.

There’s risk when we continue contact with an abusive or controlling individual. We often feel the risk is low because, after all, we’re not fighting. Rather than fight, the abuser engages in talks of “the good times” at first, hoping to lower your defenses, then begins to insert guilt into the conversation. Discussions of guilt then become verbally abusive or intimidating and the process returns to the old relationship. These non-fight calls and contacts eventually become very uncomfortable and place us at-risk for additional manipulation.

Winston Churchill once said “If you’re going through hell…keep going.” This is no time to change a successful strategy or second-guess your approach. Just…keep going. Stay on this course and you’ll stay free.

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