5 Common No Contact Mistakes – No 1 Item Retention



It is well understood that no contact is the effective approach to tackling our kind. Whether your entanglement with a narcissist was in a romantic context, familial or a friend, the aim is to cut that person out of your life forever so that the cessation of fuel supply forces the narcissist to seek an alternative source and leave you alone. The concept is an easy one ; have nothing to do with us and cut off all means of contact. Execution is somewhat more difficult. You will have to overcome significant emotional hurdles which cause you to either want to continue some form of contact or leaving a route open for an approach to be made “just in case”. You will have to conquer innate empathic desires for answers, to know the truth of what has happened, to know what the narcissist is now doing, whether he or she is alright. You will have to make changes – whether that is blocking numbers, altering e-mail contacts, staying off social media or more significant ones such as moving jobs and/or home. You will also face a determined opponent who will be reacting badly to the sudden cessation of a source of fuel  and also the inherent criticism that comes with such a bold move on your part. Dependent on the precise nature of your narcissist, you will be hoovered, often in ingenious and intense manners, you will face appeals to your better nature, your sympathy will be milked, you will be threatened and charmed. Resisting much of this proves difficult and even more so when you are ground down, exhausted and bewildered. Nevertheless, should you grasp fortitude and bolster your resolve to execute no contact, it remains the most effective way of forcing us to seek our fuel elsewhere and in the process provide you with a much needed respite

This road to being left alone is paved with difficulties and often they are of your own making. This may arise from under-estimating who you are dealing with through to the complacency which arises as a consequence of the perception that a period of silence on our part means that it is finally and completely over. There are five common mistakes that are made when people implement no contact and we begin with item retention.

1. Item Retention

People like mementos. Whether it is a reminder of a wonderful holiday in the sun, a trip to a concert or a sporting final, people like to collect something which is a tangible reminder of the experience.  A link is made between that item and the experience and picking up that glass lighthouse with different coloured sands inside of it transports the holder back to the sun-kissed shores of a Greek island and the blissful times that were spent there. It might be that pilfered plastic seat taken from the stadium when the football club moved to pastures new and the zealous fans helped themselves to a memento. It may sit in the garden shed, but every so often it is touched or gazed at as the memories of victory (and defeat) come surging back, triggered by looking at this piece of coloured plastic. The associations are powerful. The emotions that were experienced are imprinted on that person and they are able to summon them or indeed the memories and emotions rise in an involuntary fashion just by their eyes looking on the memento. They are transported back to the concert, the triumph of completing a marathon, the first music exam passed, the memory of a relative who in their dying days would sit with that blanket over their knees. Indeed, the blanket is kept in a box so that every now and then, the holder can hold the blanket to their face and smell their deceased relative still and in so doing intense emotions are evoked through such an act.

This is no different with our kind. I have explained about Ever Presence and our instinctive (and in some cases calculated) laying down of  triggers throughout our entanglement. This Ever Presence is very powerful and allows us to linger in your memory, maintain a grip on your heart and pave the way for a successful hoover in the future.

Some people make the error of retaining those items which were both gifted to you and which we purposefully left behind. They think that whilst no contact has been implemented there is no harm in having those reminders of better times. The first present that was given to you as we seduced you, a jumper of ours which we have left in the wardrobe which still smells of our fragrance or a particularly special gift given to you on our first anniversary of being together. Sometimes the item may prove to be expensive and/or practical to you and you are loathe to remove it for those reasons. More often however it is because you still wish to retain some reminder of what we had together, so that every once in a while you can sit and hold that stuffed toy, or let your fingers trace the ornate frame of a beautiful landscape we gave you and conjure up the memories of when we were together. It may be one item, it may be several.

Do not do it. All items – be they gifts or our possessions which have been left – must be purged.

By allowing yourself to retain this connection you are enabling us to live large in your memory. This means that you are allowing emotion to govern you, rather than the cool, hard logic which is needed to keep no contact effective and in place. By giving emotion the opportunity to surface and interfere in your no contact you are weakening it. You allow yourself to consider matters such as

“We had such a wonderful time when he gave me this, I wonder what he is doing now?”

“I have always loved this item, I could never get rid of it, we had some special times together”

“It is bittersweet holding this now and thinking of her, but I still crave her. It wouldn’t do any harm just to chat would it?”

“I remember this so well, seems like such a long time ago, I can put it behind me now, so it would not hurt if I contacted him.”

As I have repeatedly explained, there is a reason you were ensnared by our kind. You have an innate ability to attract our kind and be susceptible to our overtures and that will never leave you. Yes, you will become adept at recognising our kind and knowing you ought to stay away from us, but many of you will fall for us again if you allow yourself to interact with us. You cannot help it. Some of you have greater resistance and may well be able to interact without plunging back into the quagmire you once struggled in but why would you ever want to risk finding out what the outcome would be? The fact that you were once ensnared means that there always remains a risk of it happening again. You have acquired the knowledge and that knowledge tells you what we look like, what we do and why you must maintain no contact. That knowledge is based on icy logic and that is why it is effective. As soon as you give any emotional thinking the opportunity to govern you, then this icy logic is abandoned. You may even be thinking “i should not do this” but you are unable to fight the emotional thinking which has taken you over and is drawing you back into our grasp. You will always remain vulnerable to us. That is how you have been built, in the same way that I have been built to always need fuel. You are able to protect this vulnerability by staying away from us and evading the new vultures which come sweeping towards you.

By allowing yourself to retain some kind of trinket, trophy or object you are giving the emotional contagion that we placed inside of you the chance to surface. This then wants to govern your thoughts and once it does, it will create a considerable risk that you will make an approach to us and thus break your no contact. Even if you do not place yourself in a sphere of influence in that way, your nostalgic interaction with this item places you at risk that if we execute a hoover against you, you will crumble and respond to it.

If you keep some totem of your supposed love, a memento of those fabricated ecstasies, you are sitting with a time bomb. It will keep reminding you of us and this will hinder your forward advance which is required to enable you to recover. As you know, much of what we do is designed to paralyse you so that you cannot escape us. This paralysis is caused by our varied manipulations. The keeping of a memento is self-inflicted and a potential for us to infect you again.You are keeping the ghost of us with you. Our haunting is allowed to continue and by glancing on this item, holding it, touching it, smelling it or caressing it you are allowing the poison to continue to flow through you and in so doing the experience which may feel reassuring to you amidst all of the pain that you are enduring, only serves to weaken your resolve. The greatest risk is that you are puncturing holes in your logic vessel as you try to cross the emotional sea (see The Post Discard Battle – Part Two ) and in so doing you will fall into that emotional sea once again. Once that happens it becomes far easier for us to ensnare you.

No matter how strong you might feel, no matter how much you feel that a mere object cannot have such an effect, you ought not to take that risk. Whether it is a gift we gave you, something created through the golden period or a trinket of delightful times then it poses a risk. If those items belong to us, you are exposing yourself to a double risk. Viewing those items has the potential to affect you in the way that has been described above. It is also provides us with a ready reason and excuse to make contact with you and to see you for the purposes of collecting those items. By enabling us to appear directly in front of you, from our point of view at worst we will gather fuel from you and at best we will successfully seduce you once again and resume the Formal Relationship. Once you give us a toe hold, we will take it and use it to hoover you and apply our manipulations once again. Combine this determination on our part with your inherent susceptibility to our kind and the fact that you are allowing emotional thinking to surface and override your logical thinking, you are exposing yourself to danger once again.

Do not keep those items. Purge them all. Return our property and expunge everything else. Retention risks infection.5-common-no-contact-mistakes-2



73 thoughts on “5 Common No Contact Mistakes – No 1 Item Retention”

  1. Hi HG,
    I’m on my third book of yours right now, Devil’s Toolkit, and still struggle with a couple of items.

    – cutting soul ties (I have no problem not looking at the items he purchased although I haven’t purged all yet; my issue is more so with the ‘what ifs’, the memories that were created over half a decade). I am what you would consider the white knight dirty empath. I have a great deal of empathy for the situation even after what he did – dating someone behind my back two years and then marrying her, so clearly I need to cut ties. He had multiple sexual partners (hindsight epiphany).

    – rewiring my brain – I no longer want to wake up wishing to be dead. Although he has left me with nothing and dreading life, I want to believe that one day I will ‘heal’. Since I don’t have the guts to kill myself, I need to be able to cope and not think of him constantly, not acknowledge the fake memories, not think of him period – essentially delete him from my soul, heart and brain.

    – photos. He forced me to send a ton of compromising photos and some videos to him. I am concerned about what might happen to these. I’ve been discarded and now am in a soft hoovering phase – comes around professing his love once a month and then dissappears for about a month. I need to know how to protect myself with this – don’t want him to do anything with them.

    It is sad that he is not well enough to accept love. I truly believed what he told me and the fact he made me feel I was the one and I healed his childhood wounds. Hurts to know he probably doesn’t feel this way.

    He is an elite narcissist, if I had to guess based on the pillars.

    Thank you.

    1. Hello WJH, thank you for reading. Keep doing so and you will begin to move beyond the struggles that you are experiencing as you build your logic vessel and begin to get your emotional thinking under control.

      1. Thank you, HG. And about the photos? This brings me concern. We work in the same company so he can walk around and force me to be in one of his spheres of influency and I avoid being around him to not trigger him. He is happily with the new IPPS but still likes to force me to idealize. In process of finding new work, but again, what about the photos? What do I do or not do to avoid? What are the chances he will do something with them and how would I know what exactly he would do? Any way to stop it ahead of time? By the way, I think he fucked his sister. Trying up build up things I have on him because believe it or not, I have him lots of space and never dug into his life. Only going based on the many times he “told on himself”.

        1. The photos were obtained at the time for the purposes of fuel and for control. He will not do anything with them whilst in the golden period with his IPPS. He may well use the threat of circulation as a means to draw fuel from you when hoovering you in the future. If he raises such a threat counter it by involving the police.

  2. Hi HG,
    I love this article. I recently encountered my ex N. briefly (5 minutes). He was pleasant but every other word he spoke was a lie and I knew it. For the next 2 days I felt sick inside. Did I feel this way because now I have the knowledge and hearing him speak made me sick-knowing from you the truth?
    I felt I was in the presence of evil seeing him fully after reading your work.
    Thank you sir 🙂

  3. See the thing is I’ve been following this blog for a year I just haven’t commented… probably because I still had a lot of anger. I no longer want him and if I happen to think of a good moment it is immediately replaced with a bad one. No doubt hg has helped move me along in the process but I still wonder if it keeps me from continuing to move forward. I will consider getting rid of the items….as much as I hate to you are both probably right.

  4. I refuse to get rid of the two items I still have because honestly they were the only nice things he bought me and I picked them out so it’s not like he put any thought into it. Hg…do you think your blog can also be ever presence for us? I’ve noticed that when I don’t read your blog for a week or two I barely think about my ex but as soon as I come back it’s like I can’t get him out of my head all over again.

    1. Undoubtedly that can happen, but then if you have to have some surgery to cure an ill, there is a period of convalescence associated with it or certain medication will have side effects as the main ailment is tackled. There is never an instant solution.

    2. Hello Klm,

      I understand what you mean. I have been participating on this blog for approximately 7 months now. I felt like you do now at the beginning when I was in the process of emotional detachment from my ex ( reading the articles was like tasting a medicine that was worse than the disease) but that was the only hard way of doing it and moving on.
      You will notice that with time and as you learn here and move on, the blog will play different roles being one of main importance
      ( as it for me now) of reinforcing what I have learned and diminishing the risk of being hoovered again,
      By the way, I would really advice you to get rid of EVERYTHING that reminds you of him and specially the things he gave you…it doesn’t matter if they are of great value for you..I know it is hard, but believe me..it helps !!

      Sent from my iPad

  5. I had found the “vault”… he was obsessed with taking photos and filming…. I had blocked this out till now…. i could write a long paragraph in regard to this, but no one would believe it, except HG and don’t want to take up tons of space…

      1. its way too fucked up and don’t feel comfortable sharing in public forum… TMI, if you know what i mean

    1. C, how did you manage to find it? I don’t live with mine, in fact he now lives with his new wife who was ensnared while we were still on “wonderful” terms so I had no idea this was coming. The thought of knowing my contents in his little book make my insides churn.

      1. by “snooping” and using my instincts… I had found a hidden wall vault in the home and was able to get into it….. then, I am very tech savvy… so I knew there was more. I “gave” him my old iPad as a “gift”, I knew he would synch it to his device and BINGO, everything he synched, downloaded to my iCloud account….. end of story.More pics and all the emails & txts to back it up… It is all currently being used in divorce proceedings, of course he denies it and says i obtained it illegally! Right!!

  6. It didn’t take me long to purge myself of everything it gave me with the exception of a stuffed toy given to me in the Golden Period.

    On the day I moved house the toy was the last thing left, I locked the door and walked away leaving it there.

    Even commenting about this has brought the memory back . Pft !

  7. II had a gathering at my house and invite a mutual “friend” of ours over. After nightfall I started a fire then went inside and brought out a box of items he had given me. This friend asked me if I was sure I wanted to burn the gifts he gave me. Not saying a word I placed each item in the fire. When I was done I looked straight at them and said he is now dead to me.

    I kept a knife and pictures. I went looking for my flash drive as to I was asked to share some pictures of mine. I noticed it was missing and my iPhone 6. I traced the phone to a place where we had spent many nights at. I know who was in my house and who took my stuff. The fact of the matter I hadn’t been back to this place in over a year. I can’t prove it is him……

  8. Hi HG,
    When you mention:”Retention risks infection.” are you referring to ever present or something else?
    Thank you 🙂

  9. Hi HG. Wondering…a friend has a hole in her wall where her head was once pushed. She says she keeps it there as a reminder to never go back to her narc. Personally, I would want it fixed. What do you say about the ‘negative’ gifts the narc leaves behind? (Although anything they give is negative in its own way). Thanks heaps.

    1. I understand the logic and it has value for a period of time but ultimately I would have that fixed. Besides, are next door really happy that she can stick her head through to ask for a cup of sugar?

  10. I have kept every gift and when the time is right, I pull them out to where whatever it is I received. I still have earrings from my bf
    from my 20’s

  11. Reading Exorcism really helped me here. I gave away the expensive camera and discarded the book he gave me, and transferred all emails/texts/digital media to an external drive I buried in the closet. Halfway purged. Now that it’s been a full year, I finally deleted those as well. They started to feel more like a barrier to fully moving on, rather than retaining proof so I didn’t forget the bad.

  12. My narc’s parting gift to me was a bottle of my favorite wine — left in my apartment a few days before I moved out of town. With it was a note that said he hoped I’d have “only warm and positive thoughts” of him when I drank it. A few months later, my best friend and I drank it while shredding every photograph, scrapbook page, and other souvenir that had to do with him. But we made a “warm and positive” toast to him: “We’re positive you’ll be very warm in hell.”

    1. RecoveringNarcoholic,
      LOVE your toast!!! 🍷
      What a perfect way to handle his parting gift.

    2. except there is no such thing as hell.. you see narcissism is revealing the true nature of nature, stripped from illusions..

  13. I love the way you pronounce your words, HG. Especially the emphasis you use with the words “us” and “you”. Your laugh is wickedly delightful as well.

      1. Has anyone ever told you that your voice resembles to a degree the late Sir Christopher Lee? I was watching and old school horror and his voice popped up and I said, ” well damn, that sounds like HG “

  14. HG, what do you do with items given to you from your victims? Do you discard these items like you discard us? Keep them for some period of time? Forever? I am just curious.

    1. Some I destroy and send the pieces to them or film it and send them the footage. Others go in the vault in the asylum of the grotesque.

      1. Are there any specific deciding factors which influence your decisions about what is done with the items? Is it handled with regard to your experiences with the victim? Whether they left you first? Some other factor? Or is it just random based on your current mood and need for fuel? Or something else? Thanks for your insight.

      2. Another reference to filming. Always keeping a record of your existence and something you controlled the outcome of with someone so as not to be forgotten in the great abyss of oblivion.

          1. Um…typically when I’m taking pictures, the other party involved knows and is participating in said picture or video and we are sharing a happy moment. What you are describing is covert and probably goes in the vault next to your special Scrapbook. Little different HG.

          2. No, I wasn’t asking whether it was consensual or not, I was asking why do you do it? You can share a “happy moment’ without recording it, so why do you do it?

          3. I do it to capture a moment in time that is special and I’m feeling sentimental about to have a visual keepsake rather than just the burned memory in my head.

          4. Thank you for the clarification. I also do it to capture a moment in time that is special, although of course the basis for it being special are different to yours but just as valid.

          5. Uh-huh. I see where we are going to agree to disagree based on our worldviews that taking images unknown to the person being filmed at one of their worst moments and for the use of possible, future manipulations is the same type of “special”. But yes, special to you, indeed.

      3. What’s so special about the items you kept? Is it because the items are of value or that the IP that gave you the items were of particular value during the formal relationship? And what was the reason for destroying some of the pieces – were you sending them a message about their failure as an IP or were their gifts considered inferior to you?

      4. My ex narc loves to keep his gifts from ex’s. I found out the artwork I abhorred that hangs above his bed was from his ex girlfriend. He has artwork his ex wife made him displayed at his workplace. I bought him a pair of birkenstocks for his birthday (the day he broke it off as well…) and he’s been wearing them every time I see him. Let only the many ties and shirts I bought him for work. I’m sure he still put those on daily. I know for a fact he has my necklace given to me by my mother with my name engraved on it!!! Yet, he plays dumb and didn’t give it back when he returned my other items.
        Do some narcs get off on keeping these things?

      5. Do you perhaps film it because it is quicker to send to the individual you seek reaction from?

        Oh, the vault. This is another book in the works, the asylum of the grotesque, looking forward to it. I wonder if this is a hint to a collection of momentos/totems and your use of them to keep this “object permanence” going, to resemble your continued ownership of the associated person (appliance). Possibly like reliving a tiny bit through it and get thought fuel from it (I wonder). Plus, I think you had said before you also use these items in triangulation with new sources of fuel too. I think.

        1. Hi Indy, I film it because usually when I want to photograph them I need to get the lighting right and the pose correct and for some reason unknown to me they won’t co-operate when I am holding a light reader next to their head and telling them to ‘hold that look’ and ‘give me pure abject misery, yes, that’s it, like that’.

      6. I find the mention of the scrapbook and the vault, as well as the filming of a discard comparitive to a serial killer that collects momentos or records what he or she does to their victims. Its to relive a moment they really enjoyed and is in itself sadistic. I think its a exaggerated level of negative fuel. Taking pleasure in someone elses pain emltional, physical is sadistic.

      7. I do wonder if all narcissists have some level of sadist in them. I know ive seen this quality in my narc. I could never understand how someone who claims to love and cherish you could enjoy seeing you in discomfort. It reminds me of a neighbor friend of my daughter when she was about 8 in our backyard pulling the legs off of ladybugs yet she wanted a pet so bad. Really twisted behaviour. Definitely a sign of something very wrong.
        I now know with the narc why he enjoyed seeing me upset. I dont fully understand but i know he was getting energy and validation from it. A perverse pleasure.

  15. Exorcism was one of the first HG books I read. It was the kick in the ass I needed to shed all the last bits of the ex greater. It’s not that the book made me want to throw everything out necessarily but it did leave me with a choice. Did I really want to cross the emotional sea and heal or atrophy right where I was. Now all that’s left is the war in my brain. Every step away is a good one no matter how long it takes.

  16. I returned everything I think of his to him and deleted everything single picture. Some of the pictures I still see clearly in my mind though. I am working on that.😉

  17. Reading this as I sit in a chair given to me by recent (current? Forever? – Yikes!) narc. The chair is so darn comfy, ha! You are right, many objects left behind, sucks us right back in, ugh! I’m doing my utmost to remain unemotional in regard to that person. Thanks for all you do and all the info you provide.

  18. I have some very beautiful and expensive dresses I got from him, and shoes, and jewellery. If you were a woman you’d understand why I need to keep these things, HG. If I was the one to choose these things is it ok to keep them? Please say yes.

    I do have some house shoes he used to wear whenever he was at mine. They’re somewhere down in the cellar though and I have no idea in which box (I moved recently, dozens of boxes). I don’t think I have anything else really. Aside from my fat rat, Emile, he got me when we were in Disneyland but honestly, Emile is staying.

    1. You don’t need to keep them. However, if your emotional thinking keeps telling you to do so, one option is to box them up and place them with a third party so that you only use/wear them once the emotional infection has been purged and a cooling off period has followed.

      The best route is complete purge. If you do not do it, that is a matter for you to decide on as risk v benefit analysis, but do be aware that trying to undertake such an analysis in the close aftermath of dis-engagement/escape means your emotional thinking will make you think it is okay to keep certain things when the logical position is that it is not. Hence why a total purge is best.

      1. Thank you for the response. I don’t think I connect any of the items with him, to be honest. I told him I wanted them, he got them, I never wore any of them in his presence (we live in different countries) as far as I remember.

        One of my biggest concerns are photos, ones that are online. We used to always put our photos on Google+ and then shared the albums with each other. We’re talking about thousands of photos here. There’s no download button on his albums because I guess he hasn’t enabled that feature. I have deleted and blocked him from everywhere but he’s still in my Google+ circles, because of the photos. It would take me days if not weeks to download each photo and video individually. I’m not ready yet to say goodbye to those photos. I don’t want them right now. I don’t even know if I ever will, but I’m not ready to make that final decision to lose access to those albums for good. Maybe once I’m old and shrivelled and look like a wizened troll I’ll want to look at those pictures of ME and MY trips/events/etc. I could always crop him.

        1. You are welcome. There will be some connection an unconscious one but it is evident the impact is not as great as it could be.

          With regard to the photos whilst this does need to be addressed, I assume you are not poring over them regularly? It is not as if they are on the walls on your screensaver, you have to access them to look at them so there is something of a gate keeper effect there.

      2. I never look at the photos. In fact, I cringe when I see one by accident. Seeing photos of him now is extremely weird to me because in my mind, he’s not the person I loved anymore, but some monster almost. There’s a good chance I will never want the photos he took (I still have my own), but I want to know that IF I ever want them, there’s the option to look at them. But I really want to delete and block him on Google+. I check sporadically if he has deleted me but no, still there. It would make things easier for me. Not sure why he keeps me on there anyway, probably because of the photos as well. That’s actually another thing, I don’t want his filthy eyes looking at my photos. I think at some point I will dedicate several nights to downloading photos. How exciting.

  19. The things can be tossed. The memories are more difficult. Another reason why “selective good memory brain bleach (without any repressed feelings)” should be invented.

    I took the 2 things of mine that were of any value to me Mother says if one forgets to take something of value at another’s place,, it means they want. In this case she may be right. That thought regarding him made me want to retch.

  20. Excellent advice HG.
    All his belongings were bagged and returned but I did keep a pair of his boxer shorts. I know… I know…

  21. I work as a bartender and my narc got me a beautiful bottle opener to use at work from Ireland. I was loathe to do it but once no reality existed but that he was one, I put that suckered in a crown royal bag and chucked it in his yard. He always said how nice it was, now he has one. Who wants to look at a present that reminds you of a jerk?

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