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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

My whole life, I have struggled with abandonment issues due to the aftermath of an absent father. From a young age, I saw changes in a person I grew up loving. Slowly, my father went from being my best friend to a complete stranger in my life. Not being old enough to conceptualize addiction, my childhood was filled with confusion and fear as I struggled to make sense of my father’s change in behavior toward me.

When I was old enough to recognize my father’s addiction, I always wondered why he chose drugs over me and my sister. As much as I did not want to admit it, my “daddy issues” played a major role in my relationships as an adult. No matter the guy, no matter the type of commitment, no matter the time, I constantly would feel myself carrying this baggage of trust issues, fear, and self-doubt. 

In my senior year of high school, things got the worst they had ever been with my father, and I looked at FSU as a way to distance myself from him and get a fresh start. Admittedly, I had hoped that my going to school fifteen hours away would cause him to reach out and make an effort to have any kind of relationship with me. However, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months without a text or call from him. Normally, I was used to this behavior from him, but being so far away from my mom and sister at the time, as well as not yet having a support system at school, caused me to feel more alone than ever.  

Around this time, I met a boy. At first, I wanted nothing to do with him, but for months, he kept making efforts to change that. Having had this history of seeking male approval, I found the thought of someone doing the same for me comforting. It took me a very — and I mean very — long time to open up to him. For the first time in my life, I had a man who made me feel valued and, most importantly, safe.

As time went on, however, I saw a shift in him and the way he treated me. He tried to assure me that it was nothing, but it didn’t work. One second, I was having a breakdown over not hearing from him all day, and suddenly, I was eight years old again and wondering why my dad never talks to me. His actions suddenly began to resemble those of my father. Hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks without him. Before I knew it, I could see my trust issues, fear, and self-doubt returning, and it felt like there was nothing I could do about it. 

That was until March 8 came around. See, March 8 isn’t some random date; it’s the day of my father’s birthday. Growing up, I had begun to hate this day because it felt like no matter how much my father had hurt me that year, I was obligated to send him a text that implied appreciation or gratitude. This year, however, I made the decision to not text my dad and instead write him a letter. This letter talked about what was going on in my life, the person I have grown to become, and most importantly, the things that I wish I could say to him. After I finished this letter, I did what I intended to do: I tore it up and threw it away.  

I thought I would feel a sense of sadness and regret, but I immediately felt an almost euphoric sense of calmness and independence. I quickly realized that cutting myself off from my father was the only thing freeing me from any false hopes or expectations I had left for him. Moreover, I realized that you can’t look for happiness in the same place or person that hurt you. So I decided to make a change in my life and go “no contact.” This past summer, I did just that with both my father and the boy. This decision truly changed my life for the better.  

Here are some things that I’ve learned. The no contact rule states to not text, call, email, or message the person in question for a specified period. The no contact rule gives you complete and utter emotional control. With that, I become more appealing both physically and intellectually, as I demonstrated restraint and discipline. Instead of suppressing my feelings of abandonment after a broken relationship, the no contact rule forced me to confront them head-on. The space from the person also clarified how I felt and the type of relationship, if any, I wanted in the future. No contact gave me the ability to conceptualize my relationship’s wants and needs and understand the positive impacts of their absence in my life. Most importantly, I no longer seek emotional validation from others, as no contact has allowed me to find that in myself. Yes, I miss them at times, and that is completely normal.  

I am learning to be stronger than my desire to communicate with them. I understand that I am not my mind. I remember that my mind is in pain and experiencing withdrawal, and I must maintain my firmness. I do everything I can to make myself feel better and remember that contacting them is not the answer.  

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Veronica Eichberg is a dedicated staff writer for the Her Campus at Florida State University. As a Hispanic and Jewish female, Veronica is passionate about finding your voice through writing. Her dedicated approach to journalism is also shaped by her wide array of interests ranging anywhere from politics to pop-culture.  Veronica is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Affairs at Florida State University, she has served as a Field Representative Intern for Pennsylvania State Senator Devlin Robinson and actively engaged in local politics as a Student Campaign Promoter for Leon County. Her campus involvement includes being the Director of Mental health and Recreation for the FSU Honors Student Association, Student Senate and directing social awareness efforts in the Delta Gamma Sorority. Veronica is a passionate advocate for mental health, a skilled debater, and a speaker with thought-provoking TEDx talks.  In her free time, Veronica enjoys going to the gym, thrifting, listening to music and reality TV.