Going No Contact With Family

Learn To Be Done.

Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA
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One of the most common phrases I have heard from clients over the past 20 years practicing as a licensed Psychotherapist and certified trauma-informed Coach is, “I’m done!”

“I’m done” can mean many things. Therefore, my first question is always, “What are you done with?”

Are you done with fawning and submitting as a means of avoiding conflict? Are you done with being told you’re “too sensitive” when you attempt to convey to someone how they have harmed you via their actions or words? Are you done with being called “crazy,” “mentally ill,” “emotionally sick,” or a “liar” when you call people out on their egregious behaviors?

Are you done with being victimized by outrageous “smear campaigns” designed to defame you or distort your character? Are you done with becoming small, stuffing down your truth, and/or swallowing your “righteous rage” over the injustices done to you? Are you done avoiding standing up for yourself because you fear retribution or retaliation, even though you were the one who was wronged?

If you said “yes” to any or all of the above, congratulations. You are on your way to recovering from family scapegoating abuse (FSA) and reclaiming your innate wholeness. And therein you will know peace.

What are you done with? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, below. You can also share via a comment on my pinned post on my Twitter Feed. Be sure to include the hashtag #DoneWithFSA.


About Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA

Rebecca C. Mandeville coined the research-supported terms 'family scapegoating abuse' (FSA) and 'family scapegoat trauma' (FST) and is a recognized thought leader in understanding the consequences of being in the family 'identified patient' or 'scapegoat' role. Her best-selling book, 'Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed', is the first book ever written on FSA. Rebecca is now working on a book of reflections with affirmations to support adult survivors in their FSA recovery. Rebecca serves as a YouTube Health Partner via her channel Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse and is also active on Instagram and Facebook.

29 comments / Add your comment below

    1. I’m done with having my spirit and Human Rights crushed and becoming small when the family are together…pretending I didn’t hear my sister say to my mother I hope I don’t put all my weight back on, then NM doesn’t answer as that will give away what they were talking about before I came round. (I have an underactive thyroid and comfort eat). I’m done with never being able to express my feelings, yet the hypocritical bitch can do and say as she pleases, if I’m hurt I’m ‘too sensitive’, that is when I dare to question her. I’m done with my father being two-faced about her behind her back because he won’t be a MAN and say it to her face. I’m done with being the family outcast and trashcan, the sniggering, the blaming and now I’m 5 yrs NC (no contact), I’m done with the Smear Campaigning, the injustice of being disinherited, the depression that stops me from getting out of bed and I’m done with my Social Anxiety which imprisons me in my house because of the Smear Campaign. I’m done with my anger and tears and feelings of injustice, when I used to work and have a relatively ‘normal’ life which she slowly took from me with her constant criticisms, put downs, dirty looks, covert emotional abuse, untrue slander. I’m done with thinking she will change, that stopped a while ago, I’m 54 now. All I wanted was her unconditional love and I became her emotional punch bag. I’m COMPLETELY DONE.

      1. So sorry, I’ve just read through a couple of others, which I should have done first!
        I’m afraid I wrote my entry when I was in a bad space and it hasn’t come across that well.
        I vented too much pain and hurt.
        I will understand if you don’t put it up.
        I want to take this chance to thank you though, your book and all your other writings have been so helpful. Helen x

        1. Hi Helen, I celebrate your raw and honest emotion. I did approve your post, but if you want me to remove it, I can certainly do so. I’m heartened to hear my book and other writings have been helpful. Keep going – wholeness and peace await!

  1. This article describes right where I’ve been the last year or two, right on the nose! I’m finally just done, and it’s great not to have to do any of the things you mentioned any more. The last straw for me was when my mother chose to not tell me my grandmother was actively dying, and had everyone else at her bedside for weeks—-except me. I had no way of knowing because I kept trying to call my grandmother and left messages, but of course she couldn’t return them. Mother and sister heard my calls on answering machine, and chose not to tell me or call me (in another state).

    I finally tracked them down and asked where was my grandmother, and finally was told the situation, except she died the next day before I could get there. They had known for a month or more, during the beginning of the pandemic, that my grandmother was heading that way, yet chose to keep me out of the loop. Probably so they could let the rest of the extended family wonder why I was such a bad granddaughter and wasn’t there—-I don’t know.

    Then my sister, whom I haven’t spoken to for over 10 years, called to let me know my grandmother had passed away, and the funeral would be in less then two days. Everything was closed and I had no protective gear, so I could not possibly make arrangements to go that quick. So I got left out completely. I had always planned to cut off contact with my mother after my grandmother passed someday, but this just made it so easy to just go ahead and do that. My mother never even called me after my grandma died, and then calls and leaves a message for me over a year later, saying “I hope we can speak again some day.” That’s it! No mention or apology for doing such a horrible thing to me. Ugh. I was then SO done, walking completely away was really easy. It’s been two years since then, and I’m feeling great with no contact. Such a relief!

    1. This is incredibly painful to read. I feel your pain. It’s easy to say “I’m done”, but it’s a much bigger challenge to FEEL it. The silver lining is that there’s a huge relief that comes from them crossing SO far over the line that you have no choice but KNOW IN YOUR BONES that you’re truly done. I’ve arrived there with my mother. I’m not there with my siblings yet (trying to maintain connection with 3 of 6 of them – I’m the youngest ofd 7). The uncertainty sucks, but I’m getting more and more confident in dancing the dance and reclaiming my power. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. I am done with sisters’ ganging up on me, and especially with being blatantly manipulated, lied to, lied about, and used by my older sister. I am done with excusing my younger sister’s aiding and abetting, and actually enjoying my older sister’s mistreatment of me. They can take their abusive, dishonest, greedy “mean girls” game elsewhere, because I am done. No contact, no more. Blocked them on social media, on my phone, on my email. D.O.N.E. (I actually just got diagnosed with serious cancer, and I will NEVER let them know. They would enjoy it too much.)

  3. I’m done with being expected to turn a blind eye to abuse and neglect. I’m done with accommodating abuse and staying quiet in order to keep the peace and maintain family approval. I’m done tip toeing around the tulips. I’m done with being the fall guy, the whipping boy, the scapegoat, the brunt bearer, the family dog to kick, the runt of the litter. I’m done taking the crap for things that weren’t my fault or responsibility so that others can have someone to take it out on and blame or punish and pick on.

    “I’m done” means I’ve reached a point where I can no longer be controlled and manipulated by fear of rejection or fear or being left out. Being done means I have no fear of loss anymore; rather, I’ve reached a point where I’d rather go it alone than tolerate relationships that expect me to squash the truth to maintain others false narrative or ignorance or denials.

    Being done means I’ve had enough, I can’t or more pointedly I’m not going to take it anymore. Being done means I’m gonna start being true to myself, validate myself, take care of myself and protect myself and put my mental health and my psychological and physiological welfare first. I’m done means having no contact and breaking bonds is painful but it’s incrementally less painful than having contact is so I’m going no contact. I’m done means I’m focusing all my energy and willpower on learning, growing, evolving, recovering, and healing. That’s what I mean when I say I’M DONE! Hope that helps!? xxx love Jane x

  4. I heard myself saying “Why don’t you just let it all go!”….so I did! This last Mothers day was the last straw. I finally accepted that I will never ever have the family that I thought I was creating. I put SO much love and care into creating it..but it takes loving children to have that! My children inherited their fathers narcissistic traits. It is their loss..because I give them so much…unconditional love..kindness..support..and I’m giving up being devalued and disrespected!

  5. I am done feeling less than. I am done feeling that I need love from a mother who didn’t want me in the first place. I am done with the family who treated me like an outsider. I am done feeling like if I achieved, I would be accepted. I am done with the pain in my head and in my heart from withstanding the abuse I didn’t comprehend or understand. I thought my family was like everyone’s. I was wrong. It is so ingrained in you as a child it is hard to shake free of. But I survived and I am finally living for me. I am done forever with the family who haunts me in my dreams and has taken parts of me away that I can never recover.

  6. I’m done with explaining myself over and over again to people who have no sense of compassion and no clue what authentic connection feels like.

  7. Thank you for this post, Rebecca. And thank you all for these comments. I am just newly estranged from my family and am having a difficult time being done, to be honest. I think what makes things more complicated is that this estrangement includes a disconnection with my teenage son, who the family has brainwashed and groomed into turning against me. I think I would have been fine to disconnect with family if it didn’t mean saying goodbye to my only child and missing out on all of the major milestones in his life. I wish I was as grounded as the rest of you but I think I will just take my time around this grief and process it all. In time, I hope to be done with being targeted by siblings and their smear campaign against me, calling my friends and other relatives to curry their favor. I hope to be done with a teenager who has joined in on the constant bullying and manipulation. I hope to be done with the constant confusion, the setting up for failure. I hope to be done with being ashamed of my success in life. If anyone else has experienced something similar, I would love to hear your thoughts of how you got through it all.

    1. Kate, I so commend your candor. Every line you wrote describes the painful scenarios I lived through for the past twenty-plus years. Excruciating at times, I knew my only way out was THROUGH. Every resource that could lift me out of my abandonment depression and keep me from succumbing to the grief void, I tried. In addition to the resources that I listed above, I’ve been in specialized counseling regularly for years as an ongoing “tune-up” – just like a well-cared for vehicle on the road. Ironically, the more counseling and healing I’ve embraced, the more my birth family and DH have excluded and slandered me.

      Knowing talk therapy only treats the surface of the deep trauma, I recently discovered Brainspotting by David Grand, PhD. An improved trauma release modality compared to EMDR, it gently lifts the stored traumatic images from the subcortical brain, without reactivating the initial trauma memories. In very few sessions. And, best of all, my sessions were covered by COVID frontline responders’ monies! Experiencing it’s profound results have been the miracle that released the buried abuse/neglect spots that kept retriggering me. Please look it up on Psychology Today Therapist Finder for your area and include the search word “brainspotting”.
      My only hope that kept me on the recovery path were lighthouses of genuine people who vulnerably and candidly shared their recovery resources. Now I, too, feel safe enough and strong enough to share openly.

      Being DONE with FSA lies on an invisible continuum and is a personal choice for each being. You will know when you know. Until then, know that you are in compassionate, safe company. My tears could have filled an ocean and now have become tears of joy for my emotional liberation and freedom from my intergenerational families’ unresolved past. Perhaps most importantly, my teens once caught in the struggle have grown into independent adults who choose to remain in healthy contact. Your emphasis on “hope” for the future is the most potent seed you can cultivate. Kind Kate, I believe in your strength and wisdom to overcome adversity and become your very best! Fondly, linda with a simpatico mother’s heart

  8. BRAVO, Rebecca! Every post of yours perfectly captures another chapter on my own life reclamation journey. Your FSA book “Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed” became another essential pillar in my recovery and because of your encouraging and truthful words, I am feeling more WHOLE and HEALED than ever before in my life. As i promote to my 3rd graders, “Practice makes IMPROVED!” The tools you offer certainly do work, if we are willing and ready to DO the work.

    Choosing to accept the pandemic isolation space as a crucible for personal growth work vaulted me to unexpected heights of wholeness and joy. As I honor the courageous and beautiful and relatable comments above, I noticed that I crossed a bridge from “DONE” to “ONE” in my own inner personal growth with myself. Transforming lead into gold, my healing practices have lifted me into an expanded state of unity and grace with greater ability to embrace life. Genuine healthy self-love allows me to offer more compassion to others in appropriate and balanced ways, based on the present moment. Gone are the knee-jerk reflex responses based on traumatic historical influences, and instead I naturally radiate authentic clarity and functional responses. In addition, I am receiving an abundance of positive reflections and savory support from my professional, personal, and universal soul family. TRUTH: We all can manifest this state.

    Thirsty as a newborn kitten, I savored every morsel of healing available online. In addition to Rebecca’s powerhouse volume, I found enormous benefit in the following resources. Belleruth Naparstek’s Guided Imagery on healthjourneys.com for relationships ( particularly Releasing Heartbreak, Abandonment, and Betrayal). Insight Timer’s free international meditations ~ especially renowned author and wellness expert Davidji ~ helped regulate my brain waves into more peace and calm. Trust me on this one… I teach 3rd grade and didn’t raise my voice once this year! Also, Pete Walker’s CPTSD brilliant book “From Surviving to Thriving” and his “Feel Fully” You Tube podcast were lifesaving. Former Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn responses bloomed into effortless Firm, Fearless, Flexible, and Fresh boundaries. Infinite gratitude to all!

    Becoming “ONE” with my best personal self allows me to be of humble servant leadership to the planet, returning everyday to my daily practices of self-regulation, nutritional healing, mind-body-spirit unification, and balanced interactive social & emotional bonding. “DONE” has become “ONE with LOVE” in every breath. Healing is not only possible, healing is essential to the future of our glorious planet. I remain hopeful that a new and improved world is being birthed. I am deeply grateful to holds hands with this online collective of brave and invincible souls. Considered yourselves validated and warmly hugged. Love and light on your path, linda <3

  9. I’m done with being hurt and confused and in pain because of being emotionally abused and neglected and humiliated by my own mother and by my siblings who she’s conditioned to assist her and to carry on her abuse. I’m done wondering why they abuse me for her. Whether they know why they do it or not doesn’t matter. They’re an abuse group working for a narcissistic bipolar mother. Mom’s 88, I’m the eldest at 66, and have four siblings. I’m done wasting time. I need to be me, and focus on myself and my health and on my own family and on our lives. I’m done with my mother going behind my back to my daughter and with her main enabler/my sister who supports my mother’s every action. I’m done answering to my condescending and controlling sister. I’m done thinking that it was me who was the problem. I’m glad I’m done with waiting to get therapy, I was so low, I couldn’t wait anymore. I’m done with waiting for what belongs to me. My life!

  10. I went no contact with family after 3 years of lies, gaslighting and outright stealing by 3 siblings while settling my parents’ estate. It has been 2 years now and I have good days and triggered days. Two steps forward, one step back…the latest trigger was a friend of 40+ years “guilting” me about shutting out my family. She knows virtually nothing about my abuse as the family scapegoat and her flippant judgement has made my mind spin for over 2 weeks… I will get past it, but I am DONE with that “friend” too. Peace and self love is my quest and my RIGHT.

  11. When my daughter was nearly 2, my mother had been gone for 7 years (suicide), my father was dying of cancer, my grandmother of old age, and my brother was drifting into a heroin addiction (later and currently fentanyl) along with a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis. I met my now fiancé during all of this and thought that he was perfect. Only he has been grooming me now for six years to be the scapegoat to him and his children. I was never even able to mourn the loss of my family. I’m just a piece of garbage for them to hate. He picked me because I was extremely vulnerable. I had a good job with the county when I met him. I lost it. I lost everything. Most recently he had me take out a $10,000 loan with my car that I owned even though I didn’t feel comfortable with such a large loan. But he promised that I would be able to pay off the one credit card I’d ever had and didn’t know how to use so I maxed it out. (I owe $1,500 for it) and that I could get my teeth fixed (with no job and insurance plus stress and malnutrition my teeth have sadly become broken and painful…so even when I have reason to smile…I can’t.)…I took my daughter school clothes shopping and by the time I dropped her off at her dads and returned home…my fiancé had spent every last dime. He paid off his credit cards. He paid off his car payments, he paid off his loan, he paid off his affirm payments for his kids Christmas presents, and when he told me there was nothing left but that he’d still had sat aside 2500 for my teeth I actually believed him. When I started to think about it…I realized he probably hadn’t. And he hadn’t. Nothing I was promised was taken care of. My car is now technically his because the loan puts his name on the title, I’m upside down on it but he doesn’t mind…I need it not him…my insurance wasn’t paid, my registration he was supposed to pay with part of the 10,000 he did not. And when I asked him for the 2500 to start making arrangements for my teeth he said…”I paid my car payment and it wasn’t in my account so it pulled from savings. Here…you can have 1,000. Now go and get a job to pay for the rest.” Have you ever tried to get a job when you feel like a piece of trash? Worth less than worthless? Have you ever tried to talk to someone’s children who you care deeply about…about how you need them to please be kind because your father is dying right now and you don’t know what to do…only to have them laugh at you? That wasn’t the first or the last they laughed right in my face while I cried. Even their mom participates. “Go change your daddy’s diapers…” she’d say to me. Referring to the fact that my dad was too sick to use the restroom. I’m where everyone directs their anger. The kids have even started fake Facebook pages and instagrams to be me. Now I get funny looks if I see people like my daughters grandparents or her old daycare lady. I have told them before that they are fake profiles but how can you not wonder why a person would still subject themselves to the cruelty…willingly. It’s not willingly though. I have no friends anymore, he insisted I switch phone plans early on to be on his and his sons so not only could he monitor my activity but so that he could turn off and on my phone service when he so chooses. I have pointed all of the fake profiles, all of the things that are said about and done to me by his ex wife, by their kids…he denies it all and always turns it into my being sensitive, their being kids, or me just completely making it up all together. I want to be done. I say it all the time. I’m done. But I’m scared that there aren’t many options for me to be done. I’m starting to really feel like my daughter would be better off without me. She has her dad and bonus mom. They have a lovely life. I’m just not sure there’s any other way for me to be done than to truly be done. I’m so happy for all of you who have been able to be done and move on. That’s so nice to hear that there are so many strong people out there capable of beating this horrible thing. I’m just pretty sure I’m not one of you.

    1. Ren, I have referred people in your situation to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. This is more than just scapegoating – it sounds like there may be several types of abuse going on, possibly narcissistic abuse and financial abuse, but of course I can’t be sure. If you are in the U.S., you can contact the NDV hotline privately and see if they are able to help. I hope you will not give up and that you find the support you need. Link to the hotline here: https://www.thehotline.org/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=domestic_violence

  12. How interesting to me – the first friend who I opened up to last year about what was going on for me as I realised @ 52yo that I was the i p / scapegoat / & was met by “if you want my honest opinion get back to your Dr & get some better meds” was Me saying “We are Done” & pointing to the front door. Not a phrase I was conscious of ever using. Insidious is this – I see my survival tactic was to not see the behavior as against me – I guess it’s that splitting.
    I reacted badly yesterday by hanging up the phone on my mum when I was triggered, how do I get passed this? It’s more important to me to be the bigger person here & trick my ego into not giving a f? This morning I’m good I was at peace before I went to bed & I know she will be sad or at least sad she also couldn’t contain herself in the moment, do I do nothing? Wait for her ? Or just sit back & see how this plays out? I mean I already know she does what she wants & it has nothing do with me. Depending on how much she wants to be seen as being right about me weighed up against how much she wants to have Christmas with my son I guess. Oh boy.

    1. Hi Lynn, thanks for taking the time to comment. For legal and ethical reasons I am not able to give advice to those who are not my clients; however, I can tell you the very simple (yet effective) question I would ask a client in this situation – and you may need to give it some thought: “What would serve you at the HIGHEST level in this particular situation, at this particular time?” Depending on where you are in your recovery – including *possibly* from complex trauma – you will need to consider creating a “safe-enough” emotional and physical space to do some healing in. Sometimes stepping away for a time is needed – and sometimes for longer than that. But usually, some change in the level or intensity of contact with a scapegoating parent is required for deep healing to take place. And if you haven’t read my book yet, or subscribed to my new YouTube channel, you may find those resources helpful as well.

  13. I’m done being told I’m crazy and the reason for all our family problems are because of my bipolar disorder. The reason I was called crazy was because I fought back and tried to hold them accountable for treating me bad. They don’t like being called out, just take it like you have since childhood. I’m done being left out of my nieces destination wedding which was a week long of sun and parties after I paid for it. Because I said no more abuse my sister was afraid I’d make a scene at the wedding. The week they all left for the wedding I thought I wasn’t going to make it. How cruel can my own sister be telling me I wasn’t welcome. I’m done being the only person wrong in 58 years. I’m done being treated like a second class human being. I’m done being called trailer park trash by my brother. I’m done being suicidal over the abuse and gaslighting. I’m done asking my own mother to please call me for my birthday and a text seems cold to me. I’m done with my mother returning every Xmas gift I ever gave her. I’m done feeling like the butt of there jokes. I’m done being told it’s all about you when I confront them and no one wants to hear your drama. I’m done watching them do my daughter what the do to me. I’m done!

  14. I am pushing 70 yoa and realized my Narcissistic FOO dynamics just a few years ago. I am learning to be done with my diseased family, which is why I read everything that I can about it. Sorry to say, these people are still living in my mind “rent free” as they say, but I am making progress. Through reading, I learned that I was the Scapegoated IP (it was bad), inheriting that position when my oldest abused brother fled at age 18. After the witch died, he and I became closer and shared very similar details of mental and physical abuse that we suffered. I had a really bad adolescence complete with all of the psychological ills that are common to Scapegoats of Narcissistic abuse by a parent. Lucky for me, I had a good career fall into my lap (there was no guidance from my parents) and now have a good family. Quite a bit better than the fate that was engineered for me. Sorry for my oldest brother, who at 80, has had a lifetime of career and relational problems because he didn’t get to understand what was going on at a younger age. The witch was responsible for his problems, my problems, my Father’s ugly death that still haunts me, another golden brother dying in a mental hospital, and the separation of me from my younger golden brother. It bothered me greatly for a long time. Now that I learned about his special status, his (phony) mirroring, his entitlement, his cunning ways, I am done with him. Sorry for the long rant – my advice to everyone is to keep reading.

  15. Google “Going No Contact: the Scapegoats Last Resort.” It is something that gave me peace of mind when my 3 siblings basically cut me out of most of my inheritance (less for me meant more for them). I realized during that 4 years of hell that my sister had taken on the exact dynamics of my mother; my brother the same as my father. The pattern of scapegoating had been learned and was repeated. (And they even taught their children to scapegoat/threaten me).
    I think we need to understand that these behaviors are repeated generation after generation. I totally get what you say about they (your family) “live rent free” in your head…that’s the hardest hurtle in letting go (and trying to forgive).
    But with faith in our own goodness and wholeness without family, we can and will thrive.

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