Your situation isn't so unique that it requires you to make an exception to having your self-esteem in tow.

Readers often stumble across Baggage Reclaim on a quest for answers and possibly while seeking the love equivalent of a ‘Get rick quick scheme’. They’re often confused, wondering what went wrong, what they ‘did’ to ‘make’ the object of their affections ‘change’ (more like unfold) and what they can do to ‘win’ this person back or change them. The overwhelming majority of readers have believed that their situation is entirely unique and may have gone through some serious torment that’s isolated them and greatly impacted their self-esteem. When they discover BR, read elsewhere, see a professional or even talk to their peers, they realise that there are stark similarities between their situation and those of others.

You’re not alone.

While you may feel somewhat disappointed that you’re not having a relationship worthy of the record books or that a study isn’t going to be conducted, the fact that while the situation may be unique to you but not unique in the wider sense, is actually empowering and burden lifting.

You have options… just in case you thought that you didn’t.

You’re not going crazy and you haven’t created some sort of catastrophic unique situation with one false move or your worth. Note, if you feel like you are going crazy or have convinced yourself that it’s all your fault, this itself is a red flag that this is a toxic situation.

You’re not alone. You’re not the only person to have felt like you were losing your mind. You’re not the only person to have tormented themselves with unnecessary guilt and  blame, or to have ruminated and suffered with analysis paralysis. You’re certainly not alone in having tried to please the crap out of someone and ended up feeling as if you hit a personal low.

You’re not the first person to love, to want to be loved, and to basically be human and have made errors in judgment, simply because you’re not the first person to live and not get the things that they do with other human beings ‘right first time’.

Your situation isn’t unique because we’re all creatures of habit and while the granular detail varies, the top line data doesn’t even though you’re, for instance, two unique people. There are such stark similarities in unhealthy relationships, it’s not unusual to wonder if the ‘drivers’ in these situations all read the same playbook, or are part of The Secret Society of Future Fakers or The Alliance of Aggressors.

But they’re not – it’s just a sign that the same types of situations bring out similar responses and also that the same habits of thinking and behaviour contribute to the participation in or even the creation of similar situations.

If you tend to avoid reality, you’ll end up in bullshit relationships and situations making assumptions.

If you avoid commitment, intimacy, your feelings etc, then yeah, you’ll find yourself in situations that make this easy for you.

If when faced with a problem you tend to avoid it, possibly by seeking an external solution as an ‘upper’, or something to numb you, or just to give you the best of both worlds where you avoid responsibility, likelihood is that you’ll have an affair or do something to excess like be a workaholic, or drink, drugs, sex, forms of unhealthy attention etc.

These are not unique situations. I’m quite sure that the person is special to you, but they’re just not that special that acceptance of disrespect along with an absence of care, trust and love is acceptable.

Your situation isn’t so unique that it requires you to make an exception to having your self-esteem in tow.

They’re just not that special that they’re the only person that you can have a relationship with or that can love you. Granted there may be unusual circumstances (although you’d be surprised how ‘un-unusual’ they may be) but the situation isn’t unique and actually, if you have your relationships and situations on repeat, it’s indicative of a pattern.

We are all unique; there will never be another you but there will be more of these situations in general and you’ll have personal experience of it if you stick with this current ‘situation’ or you don’t learn from the insights it can provide.

We like to think that our situations are unique because we want to be the exception, but when we convince ourselves that we are the exception to the rule, we essentially sign ourselves out of the class of life because we block out the truth and this prevents us from learning.

If you don’t think that your situation is comparable and you believe that you’re a ‘special case’, you’re not going to truly process feedback from the situation or even heed advice or general information pertaining to values or healthiness. You’re not going to ask for help. You’ll think it needs an entirely new solution cooked up by you because it’s unique.

It doesn’t. It’s not ‘unique’. You’re not alone so look around and learn.

Your thoughts?

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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255 Responses to Your Situation May Feel ‘Unique’ But Really, It’s Not Unique In Literally Being the Only One of Its Kind

  1. miskwa says:

    This is the greatest gift that BR has given me. That I am not alone nor are the situations that have caused me hurt unique. Guys disappear, guys cheat in outrageous ways, grad students lives get destroyed due to controversial findings, kickass chicks are financially trapped in towns that hate them and yep, sometimes problems do not have ready solutions. This past coupla years has been soul destroying but also informative. I have found that most of the destruction of self esteem comes from thinking that one must be one colossal eff up on order to have so many bad things happen in a few short years but in reading BR and talking to my female buds, it makes sense that those that challenge the status quo, that were vulnerable due to a combination of life disruption and loss of a marriage are often likely to suffer more loss. The greatest insight into the AC debacle was finding out that I was one of many targets over many years, I am not the only woman that has left/wanted to leave the area due to this guy, and that narcs like him do leave a disproportionately large hole in your heart. Have no idea what the next 7 years here is gonna be like, but it’s really good to know what I have been feeling is “normal”. Keep on writing sisters and brothers!!

  2. Astrid says:

    I completely agree, the day I found this site was the day I started to feel better about myself. I have been reading for a few years now, it’s a long journey but it’s so comforting to come back, read words that make sense, are encouraging and empowering (ny NML and the readers) and walk away feeling renewed. Lots of times I will go back and read a post that I know is especially relevant to a current situation, and everything I would normally have buried under the sand in the past I can now face with absolute clarity, call it what it is and actually DO something about it. And doing something about it doesn’t need to include beating myself up anymore! It’s still hard at times but I truly appreciate the existance of this advice. It has helped me become stronger and more authentic.

    • beth d says:

      Exactly! I was not only in pain when I found BR, I was confused, second guessing myself and analyzing my situation obsessively. The best thing was knowing I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t imagining that I was dealing with the biggest game player in the universe. There is something wrong with breaking up and going back so many times in a relationship and I found answers here. It also let me know for sure I was in the web of a socially gifted Narcissist and that is about the worst. The treating you like a queen to devaluing was something I could never figure out until I came here. I know if not for BR I would still be in his web and for that I am eternally grateful. :)

      • jewells says:

        Here here beth d, I was exactly in the same boat. I’ve had no problem in the past turfing assclowns, this one took the cake. Now I know he is not unique, in fact unfortunately common to be sure. It’s the sheeps clothing that gets us and the disorder that flumoxes us. I am so glad to have found this site and managed to work my way through ‘what the hell just happened’ land.

        • beth d says:

          Exactly Jewells These socially gifted Narcs are really good. I call mine “Master of the game” I gave him a run for his money though :) Learned some life lessons as well.

          • jewells says:

            Beth, I think we’re similar as were the Narc’s. I learned a lot from my experience, and so did he because of how things ended. I told my mum about what happened and she said “I bet he never saw that one coming” :) Nope he didn’t. The funniest part to me is that his roomate (flatmate) who I happened to have worked with many years ago and is a womanizing EUM AC, tried to warn him – told him that I was ‘scary’. Well, I guess at the time he didn’t understand what that could possibly mean. Now he does. :)

            • beth d says:

              LOL Jewells You are scary and I am ugly. My ex said he never experienced any woman in his life who can get as ugly as me. Poor baby Just cause I called him a lying scumbag and POS amongst other choice words which I won’t reveal on here lol Oh my Narc learned plenty. We actually laughed alot about my ugly outbursts after. He did have moments of introspection where he tried to be a better man for me and if he got extensive counseling…maybe But these types don’t get the counseling…their significant others do. They are quite happy being soulless assholes.

  3. Lexi says:

    Yeah well, since there seems to be a lot of AC’s out there, and plenty of us women who are willing to dump our needs and wants for them, how could it be all that “unique”? It isn’t. As NL says, wanting love, care, trust and respect is universal. And sadly, so are assclowns.

    • Lacy says:

      Thank you Nat for Br.I felt like I have been through the ringer and these type of events only happen to me.Its good to know that so many women have overcome and made it through there heart ache and pain of whatever difficult situation they’ve had to deal with in there life.It lets me know that I will and can move on from this, I just have too!!

    • stacey a says:

      heres my story30 years ago i met my first love we were very happy for about 2 years till he dropped on bomb on me that he want ed to date others and that he wanted to go away to college he said he was being honest with me that we should date others 6 months before he left for college i found out later that he was sleeping with my neighbor my best friend and god knows who welse he left for college said he did not want me visiting him until he slept with oothers he wrote me twice and i did not hear from him again until 8 months later he wanted to ge banck together i said no because by then i was dating someone else i was not in love with 30 years later he contaacts me on facebook goes into it againhow he was being honest with me and how he did not want his wife finding out that he had found mei told him i felt uncomfortable with this and he should tell his wife he found me i have been happily married for 22 years him for 23 when he contacted me he saidhe did ot want me to do anything that would upset his wife like come out to where he now lives to visit etc wheich pissed me off in the first place because hes the on that contacted me i accepted his friend request he started playing me these songs that reminded me of him trying to get me to talk to him i got very uncomfortable with it so i unfriended him my best friendpassed away and i was posting piscs to show herboyfrind where we grew up he buts in says the pictures were cool says hes planning a trip without his wife and kid expecting me to say hey lets get together i presume I blocked him I put the story on facebook cheating 6 9 months ago he makes a comment on the site saying this soyunds klike his story with his high school girlfriend but how he knows its not him is because he never said he was planning a trip hereand that I shou;ld let the past be the past whats your opinion he says this is all a misunderstanding and that he never had any intentions of starting another relationship with me what are your thoughts

      • Allison says:

        Stacey,

        I’m sorry, but why are you engaging with this guy. It doesn’t matter! What does your husband think of this?

        You need to block ASAP!!!

        • stacey allam says:

          i mdid block over six months this was in response to the truth i told him on facebook cheating i only spoke to him one night it was a how are kind of thing i unfriended him weeks later when he started playing songs that reminded me of him my husband thinks he is trying to make me look crazy on facebook cheating but thats okay because most people on there realize a liar when they see it and thats him saying that he only wanted to say hello and that he was planning a trip thing was a misunderstanding that could be strraightened out only if i continue a relationship with him to let him explain he also said he should man up and admit that its him everything s above board with my husband we laugh over how ridiculous it is

          • Allison says:

            I misunderstood.

            I’m confused? This all happened six months ago: blocking?

            Glad you brought your husband into it!

            This guy is bad news!

            • stacey allam says:

              he found me on facebook over a year ago he was my first boyfriend 33 years ago while we were dating in the beginning we were very happy then he told me he wanted to go away to school and for uus to start dating others right away he would not take me to his prom i found out after he left he was sleeping with my neighbor best friend and god knows who wlse he came back 8 months latersaid he was wrong and he wanted to get back together i had moved on and said nothat was in 1979 he found me on facebook last year he has been married for 22 years not as happily as he used to be and ive been married 22 years very happily he apologized for his behavior in the past i accepted his apology said he did not want anythingelse from me but that he did not want me flying to see him or do anything that would upset his wifeand that any thing else would have to come from me i told my husband immediateley we were both like oookkkayy dioes he really t5hink that i would fly out to see him and that what did he mean by any other futher communication and why would contact me and say he he did not want me to dio anything that would upset his wife he contacted me and left it at that he started flirting with me AND SAYING THINGS LIKE OH STACEY WE COULDVE BEEN SO HAPPY ETC I DECIDEDTHAT LIVING IN COULDA WOULDA SHOULDA LAND DEPRECIATED THE PROPERTY VALUES HERE AND UNFRIENDED HIM MY BEST FRIEND THE ONE THAT HE SLEPT WITH THAT I REMAINED CLOSE TO UP TO 15 YEARS LATER I POSTED PICTURES TO HER BOYFRIEND OF WHERE SHE GREW UP PASSED AWAY HE BUTS IN AND SAYS COOL PICS IM PLANNING A TRIP WITHOUT MY WIFE AND KID I BLOCKED HIM IMMEDIATELY ASSUMING HE MEANT THAT HE WAS PALANNING A TRIP HERE EXPECTING ME TO SAY HEY LETS GET TOGETHER MY HUSBAND KNOWS OF ALL OF THIS THE FIRST BOYFRIEND ALSO SAYS HES SORRY OF MY FRIENDS DEATH WHICH FURTHER PISSED ME OFF SINCE HE CHEATED ON ME WITH HER AND ESPECIALLY BECAUSE AS I SAID I THINK THAT HE WAS EXPECTING ME TO SAY HEY LETS GET TOGETHER I BLOCKED HIM THENLAST WEEK I GET A NOTICE THAT THERE WAS A COMMENT MADE TO THE POST I PLACED ONN THE SITE FACEBOOK CHEATING ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE FROM HIM HE SAYS THAT THE STORY SOUNDS REMARKABLY LIKE HIS OWN BUT THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES HIM KNOW ITS NOT ABOUT HIM WAS THE PART ABOUT TAKING A TRIP WITHOUT WIFE AND KID AND THAT HIS ADVICE TO THIS STACEY PERSON WAS THAT SHE SHOULD DEFENITELY LET THE PPAST REMAIN THE PAST AND KEEP HIM BLOCKED WHICH OF COURSE I WILL MY HUSBAND SAID THAT IN HIS OPINION HE SHOULD MAN UP AND ADMIT THAT IT WAS HIM I WAS TALKING about this isnt a case of him and i conspiring against my husband this is a case of where my husband and i a laughing at how selefish and maniulative he is and how im glad im not his wife he put his wife and child vulnerable in the first place by searching for me gave no respect to my husband to me or my huisband by ignoring the boundries i set up and thought nothing of anyone else but himself he also said in his comment that it is unfortunate that i blocked him because he could explain the whole misunderstandingthere was no muisunderstanding i understand fully hes a liar

              • Allison says:

                This guy is a sociopath!!!!! I truly feel sorry for his wife!!!
                You’re lucky you did not end up with him!

                • stacey allam says:

                  nothing or no one is more mportant to him than feeling that hes the good guy who is always misunderstood he always said that he was just being honest with me about wanting to date others while he was doing just that he felt like he was doing the right thing by being honest even though he neglected to tell me he was sleeping with my best friend so much for honesty glad to see he hasnt changed and i made the right decesion by not getting back together with him ive made it a coottage industry telling my story i defenitely feel better about myself by doing this than by going through with his scheme whatever that was hes just upset things didnt work out his way

      • Fifi says:

        hey stacey,
        speaking as someone stung by a ‘returning sweetheart’, he didn’t type your name into facebook for no reason. He definitely does have intentions of some kind, but is pretending to himself he doesn’t so he can still appear ‘the good guy’ to himself.
        You’ve handled him beautifully too, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a misunderstanding or not – you owe him nothing and you’re better off without his games or wondering about him in any way. He’ll add nothing to your life at best, at worst, he’ll mess it up majorly.
        I’d say continue to ignore:)

  4. Tracy says:

    I used to think that there was something wrong with me that men just couldn’t be bothered to be nice to me and treat me properly in a relationship. But I have men friends, friends from high school and college, who have always been nice to me. And they had nice girlfriends or wives. I thought I must be, somehow, horribly flawed, yet I couldn’t figure out what that flaw was…after all, everyone would tell me how nice, smart, and funny I was! (Well, not all the time, but you know what I mean.)

    When I found this site I was looking up “emotionally unavailable men”. I can’t remember where I had heard the term before, but I was FLOORED when I read the description, a description of the guy who had just dumped me…and my ex husband…and after that it would be the description of ALL the men I have dated since my divorce. I guess I’m a slow learner. BUT what I have learned from this site is a)women are dealing with this type of guy ALL OVER THE WORLD and b)trust your gut and when it starts to seem shady…GET OUT. There is NO reason to stick around with this type, they DON’T change. And Natalie is right, EUM/ACs really don’t change, and their moves are really all the same. I can flush a lot easier, faster, and with fewer tears than I was able to five years ago.

    Thank you, Natalie!

  5. FX says:

    “If you avoid commitment, intimacy, your feelings etc, then yeah, you’ll find yourself in situations that make this easy for you.” Ok, so that explains how I ended up with the Narc AC for so long. LOL

    This post is even more timely for me in my new r/s. The new boyfriend asked me last night what I was doing/wanted in the relationship. He seemed to be voicing his concern I was just in it for a good time and he needed to adjust his emotional investment accordingly. And the truth is, I am ambivalent. My first “love” of my life asked me if I was in love with him or just a good time, the ex AC said he was in 100% in the beginning but he knew I didn’t have both feet in at that time “For whatever reason.” I would like to break my pattern in my non-unique approach to relationships because I can clearly see the common denominator is me.

    I also see myself in the following which I’m sure contains some of the information about myself that will help me to tease out my unavailable-ness…

    “If when faced with a problem you tend to avoid it, possibly by seeking an external solution as an ‘upper’, or something to numb you, or just to give you the best of both worlds where you avoid responsibility, likelihood is that you’ll have an affair or do something to excess like be a workaholic, or drink, drugs, sex, forms of unhealthy attention etc.”

    I’d like to figure this out and fly right sooner rather than later because I’m in my 50s for goodness sake!

  6. teachable says:

    I agree Nat. I am definately NOT unique. I am not the only person who was molested by violent peadophiles as a child, nor am I the only mother whose son by one of them, due to his fathers influence, grew up to also be an abuser. Here’s where I hope to be one out of the box. I will stand in my truth of not accepting abuse from ANYONE until the day I die. I will quietly keep rooting for my son to change & always facilitate access to professional resources to help him to do so (he needs this). And I will forgive myself that I was unable to prevent any of this occurring. I was a child when my son was born & I have done things the hard way, on my own. I don’t believe in God but I pray for my son & sometimes, when I am very down, I pray for me too, that I can keep being the good role model which I have tried SO HARD to be, as an adult. It’s not easy, but I am slowly getting there. x

  7. Espoir says:

    Thanks Nat – just what I need it (again) – yes, Miskwa, the fact that we feel less lonely in our struggle is amazing but I consider the AWARNESS being the pirceless gift that BR gave me.
    Pattern: this is the magic word..but why ? And then it hit me like a lightning (actually it was after I watched some videos about Dysfunctional families) – I expect different results when actually I AM the problem and I have to work and take care of myself first…well..yeah …I know…Nat says the same thing over and over again…it,s just that in my 43 yo young little head my family was …OK…you know…it could have been much worse….and all those rationalizations/excuses…Even Wikipedia Dysfunctional families describes 75% of my family dynamics…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family

    I don,t blame anybody – they did their best with what they knew – but the cycle must be broken !!!
    And it will start with me !!!

    Anyways, sorry to ramble…I actually wanted to say again Thank you and I love you all :)

    P.S : I have a great blog that I started reading – maybe it will be useful to someone.
    https://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/

  8. birdseye says:

    “…a study isn’t going to be conducted…” That made me laugh. I do think I have the most perfect specimen for “a study,” though. He checks all the boxes. We all know him well. And now I know any and every woman he’s with will be treated the same way, just as “special” as I was. I hope they figure him out quickly. I will be smarter, much smarter next time.

    Astrid, I agree with you. Was a good day for me too, the day I found this site. I love Natalie!

  9. Tulipa says:

    “If you tend to avoid reality, you’ll end up in bullshit relationships and situations making assumptions.”

    I have posted a lot over the years about the ex EUM/AC and failed in so many ways to take on board the advice given to me it all comes back to failing to live in reality.
    Recently I found myself in difficult circumstances and I went to the ex EUM/AC for some help. I don’t know why I lost sight of reality he said I come and see him.
    I don’t think I need to say it was horrible and all I could see was the reality of the whole situation he wanted it all to disappear.
    I have felt like I’m going crazy I asked for so little from him and to him he felt like I was asking for a lifetime commitment.
    How could I have been so completely and utterly wrong?
    This article has pushed me to getting some professional help otherwise I will never move forward in life he is not worth me losing my mind.
    I made far too many assumptions about him thinking he would care about what I am going through, sucking up the bullshit of his words that he does care ignoring his actions which say I don’t care.
    In fact in the middle of the huge argument he said he cared and I yelled at him what have you done to show you care? He had no answer because he had done nothing.

    • Grizelda says:

      Oh Tulipa that’s so agonising — and yet such a common denominator for so many of us on BR.

      Just by forming the words ‘I care’, against all evidence to the contrary, we’re supposed to believe it and be happy and content. What a crock.

      On a date last week (my first in a long time), I was presented with a gentleman who had an excellent description of intelligence, wealth and interests. We met at a lovely understated venue for a drink and a chat. He looked nice, but was too old for me and this was born out in the conversation. Across the two hours of getting-to-know-you, he found some way of shoe-horning into the conversation three very previous-generation points of view about a) how men think with their dicks and so need to be allocated special dispensation for their ensuing bad behaviour; b) how Bill Clinton should be applauded not derided for ‘just being a man’; c) how the males of the animal kingdom species with the highest levels of testosterone need to ‘run the show’. I made sure he was clear at the end of the evening that I won’t be seeing him again. I know what behaviour to expect from him, and the paltry level of ‘care’ he’d have for a woman, if this is the kind of banner he’s hanging out on date one.

      • Allison says:

        Griz,

        The great thing is, is if we listen, the info is there. :)

      • Revolution says:

        Good God, Griz. That was his Sunday best?! You did the right thing.

        • runnergirl says:

          So sorry Tulpia. Keeping with the theme here, I, too, broke NC in the early days because I was experiencing some stress. Of course, he used my distress to his benefit. It does seem like you are going crazy when you are in the middle of it because the actions simply don’t match the words. You aren’t going crazy. If I may, may I suggest you are actually NOT crazy. You realize his actions don’t match his words. Welcome to reality. You are not alone.

        • runnergirl says:

          Oh yes Grizelda, I’m all ears on first dates, in fact, I leave my eyes at home, sometimes literally. I don’t know how old that dude is but he sounds “too old” for me too and I’m old!
          Yep, when they hang out their banner, I’ve learned to listen.

          Sorry to say, even your date isn’t unique…been on plenty of them. I’ve learned to enjoy the food or watch the game on TV. He needs some new Sunday-Go-To Meetin-duds.

          • Tulipa says:

            Grizelda
            I have often wanted to go back to the start and even though I heard what the last two assclowns said to me I failed miserably to take action. It is good you heard and acted accordingly.

            Runnergirl,
            Thank you for your kind words.
            I got the same deal he used my distress to his benefit.
            It is very hard to deal with everything. Six years accumulated to nothing, I don’t want to go into the details it helps for now that I am not alone.

  10. Susan L. says:

    My eyes were permanently opened the first time I found BR. Then I ordered the book and I knew that I wasn’t alone.
    It’s been 6 months NC now, it still hurts but I am improving. I have gone out some but choose to
    just be alone.
    For me, codependentcy lies at the forefront of my problems and I am working hard to correct the way I think.
    The scars that he left behind are still open wounds and I know that I must close them and love myself before I can be in a healthy relationship.
    God bless you Natalie for the strength that you freely give to each of us with your words of wisdom and encouragement.
    I look forward to the day that I feel no pain!

  11. queenofnone says:

    This is so true! Every time I come to BR I find something to ease my mind. I stumbled across this site last year because I was involved with a married man, who was married when we got together but I thought had become separated. I had my head too far up my arse to really investigate all of his lies, and BR is what finally opened my eyes. I believed our relationship was so special, and that he was my soul mate and all of that jazz, and I was so convinced of this that for years I never even had the guts to find out that all of my feelings and all of what we shared was just a textbook affair and not at all unique. It was horribly painful and I’m still working on coming to terms with it, but the moment I understood that I wasn’t living in some wonderful, once in a lifetime love story, and was really just making life easier for a total assclown, the bubble burst and the healing process began.

    • amanda says:

      Yes, queenofnone. I am with you on this, and not surprisingly, because I was an OW to a MM, and learned, over time, that there was nothing unique to the affair. It was a painful realization.

      • queenofnone says:

        It really is, to think that you were living this amazing wonderful love story, and had found “the one” only to find out that you were just being had. It’s obvious in hindsight, that a healthy relationship couldn’t possibly develop in a vacuum, but when it’s happening it seems so right. Knowing that it was typical was really awful at first, but now it kind of helps because at least I know I haven’t lost the love of my life. I only wish I would have found out sooner.

  12. Lucky_Charms says:

    I actually did think I was crazy. Even though my shrink assured me I wasn’t. It’s just like Nat said, desperately seeking an answer to a very UN unique situation, I found BR! I thank God for this site and all Nat’s sound advice. No more crazy. No more assclownitis. I think I’m 14 weeks NC. (lost count, YAY!) My youngest daughter moved out yesterday, into a home she shares with her friends. She’s on her own and so excited! She works in a stable and gives riding lessons. Now I’ve got an empty nest. For the first time, I wanted to contact the AC. I was feeling so sad walking away from my baby. It was so hard! However, I realized, I was just trying to avoid my loneliness. Instead, I sucked it up and went home and cleaned up the shit explosion my kid left behind. I figured it was better to clean up that mess, than to create a bigger mess with an EUM that just would cause more destruction and craziness, losing all the work I’ve done for months. My self esteem gets stronger everyday. What’s really weird is that now that I have boundaries, I run into situations daily that someone (especially at work) tries to bust my boundaries and take advantage of me. BR is so useful, for all kinds of situations. I feel so happy that I got through a huge milestone in my life and I didn’t need anyone to help me get through it! I went to bed missing my daughter. However, I also had the satisfaction of not dealing with any shady B.S. behavior that wouldn’t have been anything but being an ego stroke or a shoulder for him. I have come a long way since I first came here. I am so glad I did! Thank you Nat,and all the ladies here whose comments have helped me (shout out, to Auntie Griz!) Keep going NC it really does work. You won’t be sorry.

    • Rising Up says:

      Oh, Lucky, I am so there with you! My daughter is going to college in the fall, and I don’t know how I’m going to cope. My son is still home with me, and we adore each other, I have a very consuming job and lots of friends, but how do you walk away from your first baby, even when you know they are starting something wonderful in their lives?

      I know the answer is to suck it up and clean up the shit explosion (that made me laugh!) but I am anticipating a LOT of crying on my part when I walk out of her dorm and have to leave her.

      It might be off topic, and I apologize for that, but for those of you who have been through this, please tell me: will I eventually stop crying? Just thinking about her leaving is making me tear up.

  13. Wizzy says:

    “Your situation isn’t unique because we’re all creatures of habit and while the granular detail varies, the top line data doesn’t even though you’re, for instance, two unique people. There are such stark similarities in unhealthy relationships, it’s not unusual to wonder if the ‘drivers’ in these situations all read the same playbook, or are part of The Secret Society of Future Fakers or The Alliance of Aggressors.

    But they’re not – it’s just a sign that the same types of situations bring out similar responses and also that the same habits of thinking and behaviour contribute to the participation in or even the creation of similar situations.”

    I recently saw it in me. This post is so accurate and so true! I can see that my “men issues” stem from how special I perceive them to be. I can even stretch that to cover most of my interactions with people generally.

    There is something I read on BR a while back about how I am aloof and unfriendly and only respond to boundary busters, i.e those types that I don’t need in my life, those who are coming with self-centered and shady motives. They are the only ones I let in. That’s why I feel like there is a conspiracy; “the world is full of assholes”. It was me who couldn’t recognize that my “people filters” are set to only let in the assholes.

  14. Frank says:

    I would like to add that AC’s are not gender specific.. I really feel that i have only really begun to start to give care, trust and respect to myself since reading Baggage Reclaim…This post reminds me again not to put anyone on a pedastal…I don’t know if that’s something women do but its certainly something i do alot about ex girlfriends…I go for unavailables then blame myself when it doesn’t work out and put them in godess status…No one’s ‘that’ special.

    • Allison says:

      Frank,

      You are so right! There are plenty of female Assclowns!!!!

    • Grizelda says:

      Frank, based on a couple experiences I had years ago with what I now recognise as assclown-friends who were girls, I hear you. I had to stand firm and cut them out of my life. My understanding is that they continued their assclownery ways and ended up quite unhappy with their lot in life — oddly enough, having to use each other for company many years on because they eventually alienated everyone else.

      • Revolution says:

        Frank, Alison, and Griz:

        I second that emotion, re: “assclownettes.” Ironically, I have had more experience with them (as friends) than I did with the male variety.

        Also, I wanted to second Griz about the fact that they end up alienating everyone decent out of their lives and are left with fellow assclowns. My ex-best friend (whom I’ve talked about previously on this site) got married about a year and a half ago, and since she has alienated most of her decent friends (myself included) over these past several years, I was told that none of her bridesmaids were close to her and/or didn’t know her for long. As a matter of fact, a couple of them expressed confusion (to a mutual friend of ours) that they were even bridesmaids at all, considering that they weren’t close to my ex-friend. I have to admit, when I heard that news, there was a little pain in my heart for her. I wish things could have been different for her. But then I had to remind myself that she did that to herself, and that, had she decided to treat people with respect and dignity, things could have turned out much differently for her. She still has time to make a different choice, but I doubt she will.

        So yes Frank, I can most definitely vouch that these females are out there among us. In behalf of women everywhere, I apologize.

  15. Lacy says:

    Thank you Nat for Br.I felt like I have been through the ringer and these type of events only happen to me.Its good to know that so many women have overcome and made it through there heart ache and pain of whatever difficult situation they’ve had to deal with in there life.It lets me know that I will and can move on from this, I just have too!!

  16. Healing One says:

    So here’s a different perspective. Had a date last week and because I knew the authors he knew and had studied Buddhism like he had…he projected all this “stuff” on to me and kept telling me that I was Special. I knew he was projecting and tried to tell him that No, I am Not That Special. He did not hear me. I ran, screaming! What pressure! I found it repulsive. A healthy relationship is a relationship of equals–and no, not “Special” and “Special”.

    • Mymble says:

      We are ALL special. Just like everyone else. It sounds like this guy was either a) a cynical liar who was trying to flatter his way into your pants or b) a massive fast forwarder who falls in luuurve in a nanosecond .. And out of it just as fast.
      Your instinct to run screaming is spot on!

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Yep, just like Mymble says: classic Fast Forwarder move. I’ve been on the receiving end of it, myself, and it never ends well. It can feel intoxicating in the moment (if you are naive as I was, anyway); but once Reality with a capital-R kicks in, oh look out.

      You did well to get the heck out of there. Smart woman!

  17. natashya says:

    i found BR after an EUM blew really, really hot for a bit, even asked me to move in with him, then changed his mind seemingly overnight, managed down my expectations and did the slow fade on me.

    when he finally had the guts to break up with me (after i pressured him to be honest), he left me completely bewildered. i could not understand what i had ‘done’ for him to change his mind. i couldn’t understand why he suddenly lost interest in me. i had been open and honest with him and i had treated him very well. why why why???

    i remember being stuck in a hysterical panic attack and googling ‘why men blow hot then cold’ and this is how i found BR. it was incredibly comforting to know that what the EUM did, was not an exception at all. i started to understand what had happened. that he hadn’t ‘changed’, but that he’d ‘unfolded’. that it wasn’t me who did something wrong, but that he was emotional unavailable (i had never even heard of this term before).

    i wish i had been BR vaccinated before i met that EUM, it would have saved me months of confusion and even more months of heart break.

    in the past 6 months i have learnt more about myself than in the previous 40 years. thank you, NML and each and every one of you who has posted here.

    • Victorious says:

      Natashya that is exactly how I found BR, by googling “Why does he blow hot and cold?” I think the ex narc was actually The Grand Emperor of the Secret Society of Future Fakers. I was put on this lovely high pedestal and treated like I was so special and he really wanted a relationship with me and he couldn’t help wearing his heart on hs sleeve…….Heart!!!??? What fucking heart?
      Anyway, the icy behaviour started with no sane explanation and I busted my brains and heart trying to rationalise his irrational behaviour, losing my self esteem in the process. I did think it was all so odd and it was a REVELATION to me that this had happened to so many other women. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your sharing and wise words, without which I might still be stuck in that relationship. I don’t think he would have ended it ever as it worked REALLY well for him.
      No crumbs for Victorious. Never Again.

      • Discarded says:

        Crumbs are the worst. You know it’s all about THEM. Not us

        • natashya says:

          not just crumbs. it got worse. it went from crumbs to the crumbs of the crumbs. and even from these crumbs of the crumbs i was able to make glorious, luscious, delicious loaves.

          never again.

          • natashya says:

            may i add… these loaves only existed in my head. pure fantasy.

            • Discarded says:

              Likewise. No crumbs for me now. 12days, been nearly 7 weeks though. It funny how they can just cut you out of their life. It a hard pill to swallow knowing you was nothing to them

  18. Emma says:

    While normally it feels better to know we’re not alone, that’s where the pain comes in. You pick a guy you think will have a different outcome but in the end he’s like all the others. If I couldn’t trust him, how can I trust anyone else?

    • Mymble says:

      Emma
      I think perhaps you have missed to point of the post, which to me is if you keep on doing the same things then you will keep on getting the same results. Perhaps there is something going on with the way you “pick” men, even if is allowing yourself to get emotionally attached before you’ve let them unfold and seen who they really are? I have been guilty of that, because I wanted a relationship (or my fantasy of what a relationship would be) so much that I didn’t pay too much attention to what the guy was actually saying and doing. In a way the pain came from the loss of the dream of him rather than the loss of him. The common denominator in your relationships is you and clearly not all men – not even most men – are EUMs, so what are your habits that are leading you to get involved with them while other women walk on by?

      • Anon says:

        Mymble; Perhaps you missed Emma’s point? Her post was short and left a lot of room open for interpretation. What you are assuming about Emma doing the same thing and getting the same results may be right – or wrong. Is Emma a newbie or a longtime BR reader? If the latter, she probably went into this carefully & slowly armed to avoid MM, AC/EU, hot/cold guys, with eyes wide open to an honest healthy type with emotional honesty, trust, while watching and listening for actions and words. Basically, ready to find ‘the one”. Her posts states that she ‘picked a guy who she thought would have a different outcome’- showing deliberation that she was aiming for and predicting success. Perhaps she picked a shy guy, or a guy from a healthy family, or a divorcee (not a total arrogant EU longtime bachelor) who had demonstrated love and respect to his wife (not a man that other girls ‘walked on by”), thinking it would be a possible or probable out come for her as well, (Again, just a guess/example, Emma will have to tell the real story) but despite her perfect knowledge, hope and honest communication, she DIDN,T get that RESULT. She is allowed to express disappointment, because she was doing the right things- and did not get the result she wanted. Not every love story that ends has to have the woman assume blame for her ‘missing signs’. She is also rightfully dreading starting all over again, which becomes exhausting, and more stressful each time, because relationships and their outcomes are uncertain. MORE RISK. If all of her friends are successfully married, and she has another romantic failure, that will accrue more pressure in the next relationship while every one (family/friends) hope ‘will this one be it?” (some of them say this out loud!) No sense in self delusion or naively optimistic views of the real stresses of failed relationships, especially if people around you are always ready to remind you of that. Emma states “While normally it feels better to know we’re not alone, that’s where the pain comes in.” I took that to mean, yes, she can come here for some venting for some mild reprieve, but, face it, it pales in comparison to the real pain and work she will still need to start the process over, with some one new. With no guaranteed timeline. And that sucks. AND, it’s OK to say it.

        • Feistywoman says:

          Anon I couldn’t have put this better and it applies to me. Two failed marriages when I divorced both men and several no starters since. I found BR by googling why men blow hot and cold and have learnt a lot since. My gut instincts are always spot on and I will flush quickly like a toilet. I do wonder if there are any decent men around as so many are EU and never address their issues. I have even had a woman say to me that I do pick em, she being a very EU woman so is seeing a total control freak. I don’t pick men they find me, but use my antenna to weed out those I feel will be unsuitable. However you cannot factor for those who are adept at future faking, lying and being someone they are not. I know from BR that I do want a relationship not casual sex and yes there is disappointment when buds don’t come to fruition. I am soon to be 52 and it is not easy to keep picking yourself up and believing that the next time things will be different. With time I have come to a place I am content with and now cannot be bothered to keep putting myself out there and date to then have expectations and hopes dashed. It is easier not to bother. Besides most men in their 50s are looking for a cook/cleaner/nurse and many of them have gone completely to seed. Younger men may match me more as I am youthful but if they haven’t been married they are so damn selfish they don’t even make good friends. I am cursed that men find me so attractive but in many cases it is sexual attraction only. Women also tend to hate me as they see me as a threat if there are any eligible men. Yes the more you end up disappointed the harder it becomes to keep going and platonic friendships with men are impossible for me as they soon fall for me and ask me out which I had experience of when single between marriages. Better not to go there and be happy.

        • Allison says:

          Anon, I agree with Mymble.

          The thing that was key to me was the statement about not trusting again. I think when you get to a place of healthy boundaries and self esteem, you know that there are good guys out there, you simply chose the wrong one, again.

          I too, would assume she was the common denominator.

        • Mymble says:

          Anon
          It’s true there wasn’t much information in the original post (although you seem to have added on a backstory) but what I picked up on was that Emma said he was like all the others, (meaning she had been repeatedly hurt) and that she felt that all men were like that so she couldn’t trust again. These were things others commented on too, and in similar terms.
          My intention was to be helpful not to blame her. It was a suggestion that she might want to consider how she picked these guys and how she observed them before getting attached..it was phrased as question NOT as a statement, because I am conscious that I dont know the full story. Usually though if you are alert there are indicators that all is not well with these ACs. They just aren’t clever enough to hide their AC glaring red flags under a bush for any length of time which is why they do the fast
          forwarding etc. Picking a divorced person, or a shy one, is no indicator of anything at all.
          I have no idea why you think I say she can’t express her feelings, where did I say that? It isn’t my blog and I am not the-decider-of-who-can-say-what. Sometimes I’ve posted things and have had a trenchant comment or two in response, which may have stung but gave me food for thought and sometimes a reality check. (some really kind ones too).
          Perhaps it is just that you feel I wasn’t sympathetic to someone who had been hurt. I am, actually, and have had not a little misery myself over an AC. The thoughts that have been most helpful are that there is hope, I can get over this, the world isn’t full of narcs and ACs, I can make my life better, and MAYBE one day have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with a man, and that is what I was trying to convey.

      • Tracy says:

        ‘In a way the pain came from the loss of the dream of him rather than the loss of him’

        Mymble-EXACTLY! When I look back at some of the EUM’s I was ‘mourning’ for, I realize that I really didn’t like the guy so much as I liked being in a relationship. Man, did that take forever to figure out!

    • McKenzieM says:

      Emma,

      You have to learn to trust yourself/your gut first. Only then, once you go on a BS diet and change the patterns of boundary busting that YOU allow, will YOU be able to pick a guy that will have a different outcome. And, in the event that an EUM/AC somehow slides under the radar, you’ll be able to kick his ass right out.

    • natashya says:

      emma, when you know better, you’ll do better.

      i am on the BR self esteem course now and even though an 8 week course isn’t going to make me into this superconfident woman of the world, it’s laying down the foundation of one. i am learning about values, beliefs, boundaries and am examining mine. it’s truly eye opening to see why i did what i did in the past.

      once you shine a light on the problem, you can do something about it. can i say that i’ll never get involved with an assclown? no. however, as soon as a seemingly ‘nice guy’ unfolds into one, i know when and how to opt out.

    • Grizelda says:

      Emma, please don’t be offended, but I’m happy to say you’re wrong! It’s not that guys are all the same — it’s that patterns of bad behaviour are all the same. These bad behaviours are all overlappingly related to each other like some kind of tangled, incestuous, intergenerational freakshow family tree.

      Reality is, you encounter one kind of bad behaviour you discover holy christ this is no orphan — it’s a cousin, a sister, a father AND a stepson of a whole family of unowned impropriety, assclownery, emotional damage, inevitable hurt, and in some cases abuse.

      It’s never just that one skeevy text you saw on his phone from his ex-girlfriend. It’s never just that something happened with his kid again yesterday and so he can’t separate from his terrible wife today as he said he would. It’s never just that he says he’s allergic to latex and so can’t use condoms. It’s never just that one time he ‘called from the office’ and claimed to be working late then turned up at yours four hours later whiffing of cannabis and sweat and persuading his way into your bed by saying you’re the sexy centre of his universe. It’s never just that one time he took a swing at you. It’s never just that.

      Provided we’ve all learned here and admitted that there is no ‘fixing’ that behaviour — ever — and that any attempts to ‘fix’ are only coping with, enabling and underwriting the whole flippin carnival — there’s no turning back into doormats for us. We’ve been de-programmed. We’ve given ourselves permission to walk, no, RUN away from that soul-sucking monster the minute it rears its ugly head.

      I like to think the more readers there are of BR (and other similar resources that wake us all up to the behavioural patterns) will mean that the game-playing men, who once had an unshakeable belief that they and their famous dicks had the world and its women by the arse, find themselves left painfully alone, at home, on the bare floor, in the dark, with nothing but their red flags and ‘All By Myself’ wheezing away on the turntable for company. Too fucking bad. Me I’ll be out dancing jive with healthy and worthwhile people because I know who they are.

      • natashya says:

        awesome post, grizelda. thank you. it’s just never that one thing, indeed.

      • Chrysalis says:

        Amen to that Griz.I didnt realise the level to which I had been brainwashed to accept the unacceptable, until I de-programmed myself thanks to Nats self esteem course and this website. I will NEVER EVER again allow another person treat me with the vicious disrespect that I let the ex away with.

      • McKenzieM says:

        Amazing post.

        “Reality is, you encounter one kind of bad behaviour you discover holy christ this is no orphan — it’s a cousin, a sister, a father AND a stepson of a whole family of unowned impropriety, assclownery, emotional damage, inevitable hurt, and in some cases abuse.”

        What a lovely description!

      • Tea Cozy says:

        Sing it, sister!

      • Nancy says:

        I love your last paragraph!!! My AC once told someone that all he has to do is get a woman in his bed, and he has them hooked. Well that might have been the case when he was younger….but what you described is exactly where he’ll be!! And sooner than later…the man is in his 50s.

    • Emma says:

      When I said “all the others”, I meant men in general. I’ve actually had some great relationships, I think because I choose carefully. This bad seed was the exception for me. Thanks to those commenting to remind me of that.

      Unfortunately sometimes a liar will get close which makes it hard to trust again. There are plenty of liars/pigs/users out there but the ones posing as “good” while actually being just like the others…sometimes I really wonder if honesty is out the window for most people. I would love to be proven wrong.

      So I’m dealing with the hurt a little each day, I read a ton on how things can go well or wrong, I go out regularly to try to meet someone new, and I’m actually trying to get it that not all men are pure evil. Not the end of the world, just saying it can hurt big time…

  19. Little Star says:

    Natalie, before my friend introduced me to BR I thought my situation was unique, but after reading your posts and comments, I realised I am not alone, and it felt like I found the right place to learn about my past/current experiences and compare the “notes”. My ex AC contacted me yesterday (after almost 2 months of NC) through email with a simple message: “Hi, x”, he did not even bothered to put my name there, he probably sent this message to several ladies…BUT DO I CARE? I do not, obviously I am not going to response, it is too late now. I love myself and after five long years I started to feel that I am in PEACE, why should I gave up that now for disappointment and humiliation????
    Thanks to you my beloved Nat and wonderful BR community, I would not do this without you!

    • Victorious says:

      Wow Little Star – Talk about Crumbs!!! How on earth did you manage to ignore such a heartfelt and compelling missive? You are absolutely right. “Disappointment and Humiliation.” That is all they have to offer. There’s a much better life out there for you. Stay strong.

      • Little Star says:

        Thank you Victorious:) Finally I “got it” haha, I rather spend my time in zumba classes than with losers like him:)

      • Tea Cozy says:

        You almost have to laugh at how comically trivial some of these crumbs-messages can be. For 18 months after I kicked my last doofus to the curb, he was still sending me such heart-warming, deep, compelling tidbits as: “I’m at the local hamburger stand, wondering how you are.” Honestly, all I could do was roll my eyes, snort, and ignore.

        • Little Star says:

          Haha, at least yours had few sentences to write, my AC only “Hi”, and I put up with this loser for five years, I think I was mad:)

          • Revolution says:

            Tea Cozy,

            “I’m at the local hamburger stand wondering how you are”???

            FOR. REAL????!!!!

            What is he–hypoglycemic??? Yeesh. Darcy he is NOT.

            And Little Star: A to the MEN on Zumba-ing over spending time with these arrested-developed losers! Woot woot!!!! I’m IN! :)

            • Tea Cozy says:

              Yes, Revolution…isn’t it lovely that a slab of ground meat puts him in mind of me? Gah.

              But then, this was the guy who also used to send me cellphone pics of his Costco purchases during our dating phase. Suave!

          • stacey allam says:

            mine said to me after he found me on facebook after 33 years and wanted to be friends with me that before he left for college he was struggling with the idea of getting me a ring but he didnt want to give me the wrong idea he gave me someof his old records as i told my husband with such sweet talk who could say no and i raised my hand

        • amanda says:

          The AC in my life was fond of sending me links to YouTube videos. He once sent me a link (with no accompanying text) of someone trying to make music out of their Speak’n’Spell toy. Another good one was an all-robot “band” playing Heavy Metal music. Here’s the truth. When he sent me “speak’n’spell” (about 5 months ago), I was so accustomed to the crumb-diet, my heart melted because “Hallelujuah, he is back in touch after being absent for 2 weeks”. My goodness. Robot-Heavy-Metal was more recent, and that was totally ignored. (In both cases, I only watched 5 seconds of each videos). Crumbs!

    • nancy says:

      Mine is a master in crumbs.

      1. I miss your face.
      2. I am sad..trying to work on myself.
      3. You are so sexy, intelligent and I don’t deserve you.
      4. Tons of Oprah links, that he sends to many.
      5. Come to me.
      6. Emails with nothing in them so I will respond.
      7. You have a lovely cunt.
      8. I am so lucky to have you as a friend.
      9. Email with a picture he had taken of me when we were at some activity. (None of us together, because they don’t exist).

      Blah, blah, blah. And yes, I know he sends multiple emails to all his girls. And I can predict when he’s drinking…tons of emails and more bizarre.

      • natashya says:

        number 7… omg

        • Tea Cozy says:

          Number 7 is a corker, esp. in near juxtaposition with the Oprah links item. What the hell–?

        • nancy says:

          Thanks to this site, I just said no to a text asking me to come to his house. It was hard, because I have never said no to him. He was mad, but he’ll just ask the next person on his list. And he’ll make me pay by ignoring me for awhile. Perhaps this is what needs to happen. It hurts to know he’d never fight for me…but it’s reality. Ugh.

      • McKenzieM says:

        LOL at #7. Just… wow.

        • Lilia says:

          Yes, exactly, nr.7.
          What could you reply to that, if you´d be interested in doing so?
          “Ooh thank you, your genitals are lovely too”?

  20. Mymble says:

    I have read this through a few times and found almost every word applies to me. I haven’t had a string of AC/EUMs but I have been very EU for most of my adult life. This last thing with the MM was about the most painful experience I have had in my entire life and I am still suffering from the pain of that but I can see that it was my own fantasising and avoidance of reality that led me there. His behaviour entirely followed the script – literally. The same words came out of his mouth as I have seen written down here. The same behaviours. I really believed he was special and “The One” but of course to believe that I had to focus on a certain (actually quite superficial) things and ignore a whole lot of other things. I also had to swallow a lot of BS when he told me want loving caring person he was (why would a person EVER need to say such a thing? If they are being a callous user who has to cover up his tracks). I feel I have been BR inoculated against them. There are quite a few out there looking for something, and I know now exactly how that plays out. They are all the same. And we, if we are not
    conscious and aware of our values, and get involved, are very predictable too, so it works both ways.

  21. Tired says:

    As i read the above posts , its nice to see how many womenand guys have found help here . This post is so true . Br woke me up i could not ignore the truth staring at me from this site . I thought the same , soulmate bla bla bla . But this site woke me up to reality as i saw him for what he truly was . The pain has lessened alot , not gone by a long shot but i feel it fading away as time and i heal it . I no longer analise the whys , just know reality will take hold of his life as it unfolds for the nxt poor person he uses . I only wishid found this place 4 years ago , the stuff i could have acheived by now . Long may nat help people . I never want anyone to have the chance to control my life and happiness like that ever again . Big keep strong to you all x

  22. grace says:

    It was an eye opener to come here and see other intelligent attractive women struggling with the same problems, often recurrent. Relief to know there is a solution, starting with NC and finally hope that I might have a good relationship.
    A mutual relationship is so much better and fulfilling, I didn’t know how different it could be. I thought it might be just be the best bits of the bad relationships, but it’s even better than that! You cannot substitute sex, drama, longing, unrequited love, romance and fantasy for intimacy. If we could, none of us would have found ourselves here. I’m grateful to have learned the skills and gained the confidence to risk a real relationship. It has been worth it. I wouldn’t go back to any of my previous relationships. Even the better ones weren’t so good because I didn’t “do”intimacy. I didn’t know how to progress a relationship. I think that’s very common which is why you see people’s relationships repeatedly hitting a wall after x months or a couple of years.
    We put it down to the wrong person or biology or our age or longterm relationships being boring or monogamy being unnatural or society. I guess that’s easier to swallow than accepting that there’s an underlying problem with forming and maintaining an attachment. Until we realise it, we waste time trying to fix the wrong thing and get more discouraged and cynical, and the cycle repeats.
    Put simply, I learned to love. Yeah, I wasn’t that special I can live without it!

    • kookie says:

      well said, grace. there is a tendency for us to say something is unnatural when we really mean that something is hard. we are an emotionally lazy, lazy lazy species.

    • McKenzieM says:

      Grace,

      I don’t think I’ve ever experienced real love, but your comment makes me hope that one day I will get to do so.

    • pandora says:

      Grace,
      Thank you for remaining with BR to share your widsom and insight, even though you are now in a healthy relationship. There has been so much here for me to learn from, and like many have posted, I, too, thought I was nuts and did a search one desperate night on “unavailable men” or the like, and when I happened upon this site, it felt like a gift from God. I am not alone! I am not the only person on earth to wrestle with my self-esteem in such a perverse manner as to allow some assclown to impact my entire life, while he goes on his merry way, taking my best and dispersing crumbs.. which grew less and less, until, like Nataysha said, they were “crumbs of the crumbs of the crumbs”. I am SO THANKFUL to have found this site, and to all the beautiful, bright, strong readers who have posted to share their stories, to encourage me, to encourage each other- thank you! Natalie, thank you. I am so grateful for BR. I am NOT N.C. YET but continue to grow, learn, and process. I am almost there. It is a journey, and a painful one, but I need to get off the train. Each time I keep coming back and reading these comments, my head feels clearer and I feel empowered to change. Yes, it can be done, and I can make this happen, I can love myself. I do need to experience the pain of the “loss of the dream of a relationship” because the signs were there in the beginning, I just chose to ignore them. All of this makes perfect sense. Not only do his actions and words not match, but mine have not- I speak the truth, I know the truth, but now I must live the truth. Perhaps one day, like Grace, I will experience real love; but until then I – we- need to understand how to really love and care for ourselves. Thanks again for the support. Please wish me well on this path.
      Pandora

      • beth d says:

        Keep reading Pandora You can do this! You are worth so much more than crumbs The longer you stay in an unhealthy relationship the longer you experience pain. In order to find love, you need to get rid of the excess baggage first.

  23. kookie says:

    whatever version of events i had in my head sure feels better than reality some days. you mean i was just an ego-stroke/shag/time-pusher? i liked the fairytale version of me being the perfect person for this person and they being the perfect one for me and we would really have tried if only it were not for [insert conveniently supposedly insurmountable obstacle here]. reality is so much harder and a so much harsher view of myself that i am often tempted to drink the crazy kool-aid again and go back, but what has been seen cannot be unseen you can’t go back to living in the matrix as carefree as you had before you knew the truth. it doesn’t help that we tend to surround ourselves with other people on the delusion kool-aid who seem to be having a swimming old good time on our old habits and lifestyles while we are “missing out”. hope there is some pay off for living in the real world. it sure is harder work than fantasyland.

    • Alex says:

      xo – I sure relate to this, Kookie.

    • natashya says:

      wow, kookie. you described exactly how i sometimes feel when i’m stil sad and angry and doing all this work to get to a better, healthier me while surrounded by people hopping from rebound to rebound but seemingly having a jolly good time.

    • Grizelda says:

      Kookie that’s brilliant and so true.

      Once you step through the looking glass, the aperture closes behind you. No going back. Some people call it a higher level of consciousness, some people call it a new paradigm, or just wisdom gained. We might not be able to unlearn what we’ve learned, but living with the knowledge is better than living without it — living dangerously without it was what brought us here in the first place.

  24. Sunshine says:

    I came across BR half a year ago or so, when I was googling “Why her and not me?”:) I can honestly say BR has opened my eyes and helped me finally see things as they really were and are. It’s comforting to know that women and men all over the world have the same problems with ACs, and that in fact I’m not alone. Thank you Natalie, and all the lovely people that post here:) xxx

  25. Aileen says:

    Wow. I have read so many of your articles Natalie and your way with words & assessing the situations we have all found ourselves in is amazing. You are a gem.
    The term “analysis paralysis” describes what happens perfectly!!! Thank you.

  26. Fearless2 says:

    A break-up threw me into an extreme low point and ironically, that’s when I found BR. I was constantly beating myself up, constantly putting my hand back in the fire, convinced that treating the guy like a king would be my ticket to better treatment; I was so blind to say the least. I cannot even imagine how I’d be dong right now had I not found BR to enlighten me with new perspective, to make me understand that my situation is difficult but not insurmountable, that I will love agin. NML your work of art has changed my life. Words can’t begin to express how grateful I am for that.

  27. Anna says:

    I met someone great. He is kind, attentive, warm, direct, honest, respectful, and pursues me in a normal, easy way. It is so relaxed and open that after my Narc/EUA, I don’t know what to do with it. I find myself catching my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop, the boundary pushing to start, the disappearing, the hot/cold, the future faking, the chopping…

    I recognize so many differences, not just in him, but in the way I feel. I’m RELAXED, and after five months of being jerked around by the last one, I barely know what that means anymore. I KNOW my arse from my elbow, he makes plans, looks after me, holds my hand, compliments me, is generous in every way imaginable. He is like the polarized version of my EUA.

    So why does being relaxed feel so tense?

    • Feistywoman says:

      Because you have been conditioned to expect the game playing. Good for you finding such a man, enjoy and I wish you well. I have taken myself off the market and am sitting on the shelf as I simply can’t be bothered dating men now. Being in my 50s the pool of available men in the UK, is to be absolutely blunt, piss poor. Many are rejects for a reason and desperate I am not.

    • Feistywoman says:

      Because you have been conditioned to expect the game playing. Good for you finding such a man, enjoy and I wish you well. I have taken myself off the market and am sitting on the shelf as I simply can’t be bothered dating now. Being in my 50s the pool of available men in the UK, is to be absolutely blunt, piss poor. Many are rejects for a reason and I am not desperate. There are only so many times any woman can take disappointment.

      • Little Star says:

        @So true Feistywoman, I feel angry towards all men, I never felt loved and cared for…I just cant relate to them anymore. I do not hate them, but I try to avoid their company:)

        @Anna, you probably used to crumbs and when you “received” a loaf you got scared…Give him a chance and enjoy, do not think about future, live in present! All the best to you and your new boyfriend x

  28. Bob72 says:

    Amen

  29. Rising Up says:

    This might not exactly be the right post for this one, but here’s an essay from the Thought Catalog that I just loved:

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/how-i-know-youre-an-asshole/

  30. gemma says:

    Natalie you are the best! You’ve helped me so so much. I can’t believe someone fully understands what I’m going through.
    You’ve helped more than you can imagine
    xx

  31. Starlight says:

    Yesterday, talking with a guy friend, I told him how most of the guys in my life have had control issues & tried to control me and how I can’t handle that because I don’t need controlled. He laughed & said that he can see why they do that. He said that I am beautiful, caring, nice & so special that men want to just keep me for themselves. So they have sharing issues… like they don’t want to share their toys? Exactly.

    • Revolution says:

      Ahahaha, Starlight! True, true. One of my exes used to say I had “doe eyes.” Once I told him, “Yeah, but Bambi bites, so don’t fuck with me.”

      Now I know that wouldn’t have been the most appropriate thing to say to a decent guy, but this guy was a total controlling douche, so it makes me laugh now when I think back on it.

      • Starlight says:

        The reason it made me ponder what he said was, because he isn’t controlling. It startled me when he said he can see why. Nat says that to look within ourselves if we keep getting the same man… just different packaging, because it must be something that we are doing. I make men controlling because I’m nice?

        • runnergirl says:

          No Starlight, you don’t make men behave in a certain manner. You (we) don’t create AC’s. Controlling men are controlling without respect to you. I used to think the same thing. Then I realized I used to give controlling men the time of day and bam, they were in the door. Controlling men are just out chancing their arm and will seize on as little as a smile. While I still smile, the minute I sniff the AC controlling order, they get their stinky controlling arse kicked to the curb, with a smile, of course! It is NOT YOU. They are still controlling but not with me.

      • Feistyowman says:

        Love it “bambi bites”.

        This explains why men feel they need to control me Starlight, as I wondered why this happened to me and your friend’s comment makes sense now.

  32. Grizelda says:

    Here’s the big surprise about BR.

    Many of you, like me, found BR whilst in the midst of horrific breakups or soul-destroying relationships that strangely didn’t fit into any of the ‘standard issue’ generally accepted types of breakdown. It wasn’t like in a film script. We didn’t just — in the only chronology permitted to women by Hollywood — scuttle into a corner and cry over a bottle of wine until our mascara was sexily dishevelled (aka ‘irresistably vulnerable’), gorge ourselves on ice cream out of the carton while wearing our pyjamas (aka ‘Bridget Jones self-destructively lashing out at the system’), mope around for a couple of weeks (aka ‘doing an Aniston’), bark at our startled mothers on the phone then cry again out of guilt at barking at our startled mothers (aka ‘self-flagellation’), then return to the fold feeling relieved to be back, and spend the rest of our lives working for free in down-at-heel charity shops selling the unwanted and unvalued castaways of other, rather more successful, people. Aaand… scene! (*retch*)

    There was no script for this — the sickening realisation of the extent of his behaviour, the duplicity, the lies, the callous manipulation, the using, the control, the arrogant agenda, the potential health risks and his disordered mind, the dizzying reveal of the full picture and the total shredding of my heart. I was catatonic and desperate to find out What The Actual Fuck Is This.

    I found hundreds of sites and blogs and communities about breakups and relationships that go awry. They all sounded so facile. None of them sounded like my experience at all. It wasn’t until I braced myself and incredulously started looking for the somewhat more damaging/abusive type of relationship dynamic (how’s that for denial?) that BR emerged. There were the terrible behavioural patterns not only exposed but made predictable! There were lots of other sufferers sharing their stories and understanding each other! And there were so many good tools for future use in spotting the patterns and taking evasive action! It was like I went metal detecting in my back garden for a handful of lost coins and uncovered the holy grail.

    I’m relieved not to be unique, thanks. If I ever have the misfortune of failing health I hope I’m not unique then, either. I’d rather know what phylum, class, order, family, genus and species it belongs to, so I know how to deal with it.

    I can’t help but think there must be a certain number of assclown lurkers out there now and in the future (hello 2037, this is 2013 speaking!), chewing their knuckles and simmering with rage thinking we should just Stop All This. Stop talking about this, stop identifying their behaviour, stop pointing out the red flags they can’t help throwing up. Because it’s blowing their cover, ruining their fun and games, putting what they thought was a ‘cool casanova reputation’ right into the toilet for flushing away, and putting an end to their chances of free shags from quality women who aren’t into free shags. All I can say to them is: Thanks to Natalie, we see you.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Beautifully and humorously stated, Griz. Agreed!

    • Lilia says:

      Amen, sister!

    • beth d says:

      None of them sounded like my experience either!! I was always pretty good at figuring out why my relationships didn’t work out. My previous relationships had clear cut reasons for why they ended ie grew apart, alchohol abuse. This one had me and my friends going crazy. The disappearing, gaslighting followed by extravagant gifts, fantastic sex and vacations. The guy who pretended to be my best friend, soul mate and always knew the perfect thing to say to me. We analyzed it to death when I had problems and I think we all were addicted to “mr bigs” drama. We even came up with he loves you too much and he knows you don’t want to remarry so that is making him act weird at times. When I found BR and read Nats posts on taking them back more than once I was on a roll. I think I read for hours one night and saw my ex in so many posts and comments especially his behavior post break up. From there I went to Narcissim posts which I also learned from BR. Bingo!! They revealed with no doubt that I was involved with an insidious passive aggressive narc. The funniest thing was telling my friends and one of them said….”Omg all that analyzing and there was a one word description….. Narcissist!!! lol I thank Nat from the bottom of my heart and all the wise posters. My special shout out is to grace who laid it on the line my first post! She saw through the bs and said FLUSH!

      • Kit-Kat says:

        beth d. Your post hit so close to home for me. It is mind boggling when your caught up in the middle of a relationshit with these men. U cant make sense out of something that doesnt make sense… It was such a relief to find/read Nat’s book: Mr Unavail ..OMG page after page had my ex’s name on it…It was a godsend & I am soo very thankful for the wisdom I have gained..

        • beth d says:

          Kit Kat I read Mr Unavailable as well. I was already broken up with my Narc for over a year and I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t move on even though I had a great new boyfriend. It was an eye opener because not only did I see my ex I saw myself. It’s mind boggling because nothing does make sense. It’s crazymaking at a whole new level and you are left scarred and looking for answers.

    • Revolution says:

      Perfectly put, Griz. I just have to add to your ending:

      “I can’t help but think there must be a certain number of assclown lurkers out there now and in the future….All I can say to them is: Thanks to Natalie, we see you. *Yawn*”

    • beth d says:

      “I was catatonic and desperate to find out What The Actual Fuck Is This.”

      lmao Grizelda Great post and so true!!!

    • selkie says:

      Grizelda,

      “It was like I went metal detecting in my back garden for a handful of lost coins and uncovered the holy grail.”

      Amen to that! We are now rich in ways we never knew. We see. There’s such power in that. Giving sight to a blind man opens his world in ways he never knew existed.

    • Jule says:

      Yay Griz Yay! I’m applauding. I always love the way you write. And yes, BR is the holy grail of relationship sites.

      I’ve passed it on to others and one in particular really needs it but I don’t think she is ready to look at what is really going on and give up the assclown. Oh well. Hopefully she finds it sooner than later.

  33. Mary says:

    That last comment about what a good relationship looks and feels like really hit home. If someone’s first relationship is with an assclown MM, how does one recognise a good guy…so far making plans stands out. What other good traits helps us recognise the good man?

    • Allison says:

      Mary.

      Single!

    • Little Star says:

      Mary, he is MM, this is already a RED FLAG!!! HE belongs to his wife, not to you…run run run, plenty of single and available guys, they just hide somewhere in the forest…

    • Grizelda says:

      Mary,
      Past behaviour is as good an indicator as there ever can be. Note, he will describe his past situations and behaviour in the way that he wants you to believe it all happened. That will put his stories somewhere on the wide range between ‘pretty close to the truth’ and ‘complete fabrication’. It’s up to you to find the signs, the flags, and the ‘tells’ to reinterpret his stories for yourself. The truth is in the concrete before-and-after of his actions, not in the wordy, abstract details about what he thought, what he wanted, what he intended. That’s just obfuscation and spin.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Great question! Hope you’ll get lots of responses. In my view, a good man is synonymous with being a mature man. Not perfect, having it all together or “successful” – but mature. What is maturity? Having his words match his actions. Honoring committments. Acting with integrity in the workplace. Treating all people with respect. Setting and working towards goals. Caring about issues in the world beyond his own entertainment and comfort. Holding standards of conduct higher than just what feels good at the moment. Being able to own his own poor behavior, admit it, apologize, and actively work on himself. Ability to see another’s point of view. Willingness to be uncomfortable in order to do the right thing (i.e. break up with someone in a kind and respectful way instead of just disappearing). Not blaming others. Being happy for another’s good fortune. Staying the course when things get rough. Giving up only when everything has been tried. Being a rock that others can depend on. Someone who has made the transition from being a boy to a man. (We all know too many 50 year old “boys”.)

      You know you are in the presence of a good man when you can say “yes” to the following questions: Would you be proud to have this man as your son? As your daughter’s husband? Would you be proud introducing him to people you admire and respect? Does being around him bring out the best in you?

      • Allison says:

        Sadder,

        “You know you are in the presence of a good man when you can say “yes” to the following questions: Would you be proud to have this man as your son? As your daughter’s husband? Would you be proud introducing him to people you admire and respect? Does being around him bring out the best in you?” Great questions!

      • Revolution says:

        Wiser,

        (That’s what I’m calling you from now on, because it fits),

        EXACTLY. A perfect description of a real, mature man. Real men already know this. They could’ve written this. Manboys would have written something stupid (and most definitely grammatically incorrect) like: “Swag, 20″ rims, a kick-ass job designing logos for a tight business, tons of hotties(yo), a French bulldog, a full head of hair, Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren threads (only the latest season!), and when you die in some gnarly dirtbike explosion, all your hot exes showing up at the funeral. And Samuel L. Jackson giving the eulogy.”

        See the marked difference between what Wiser wrote and what Revolution-disguised-as-clueless-assclown-manboy wrote? Can you even SEE one from the other, as they are so far away from each other? There’s your difference between a decent, MATURE MAN and a scared, pathetic, bedwetting assclown.

        PEACE.

        • FX says:

          I just want to add, though, that plenty of AC’s (especially the Narcissistic Personality Disordered) are quite capable of impersonating a mature, even ideal, man during the idealization/love-bombing phase to suck you in and get what they want. This can even last a good while which is why it is so crucial to date with your judgment in tow and let them unfold as NML says.

          • beth d says:

            FX I agree. These are the types that you need to really look out for. They can impersonate all these qualities but there are usually red flags that come out in the beginning. His past relationships usually tell a story as well ie his psycho stalker exes. BR educated women should be able to spot them because Natalie has covered them all. You are also right on the fact they can love bomb a long time. My ex Narc was actually good for about 5 years after a particularly nasty break up a few years in when I wanted it to really be over. He eventually went back to who he is…and left me yearning for the wonderful guy I once had. Mr wonderful turned out to be the devil in disguise.

        • Jule says:

          Rev, that was beautiful. tears in my eyes. LOL.

        • Wiser says:

          Rev, you have inspired me to finally change my name. Thanks to BR and the great people here, I finally feel far wiser than I do sad. Thank God! This has been an amazing evolution for me, and I am grateful beyond words to be at this point.

      • suzy says:

        oh this is a fab list! ive sometimes struggled with thinking through what are my values, and this really helps! Thank you. What a great community here, thank you Nat, and all you posters.x

        • Revolution says:

          FX and Beth,

          Yes, these clowns CAN actually get past Security if we let them. Beth, 5 years?! Holy hell. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

          Jules, thanks. You’re laughing because we all know this type of clown, don’t we?

          Wiser, I’m hootin’ and hollerin’ with delight on your name change!!!! It definitely fits you, and I’m glad that you are sharing your evolution with all of us ladies here on BR.

          • beth d says:

            Rev I actually can’t regret the 5 yrs he treated me really well. They were good times. What I regret is that as soon as he started to show those weird, shady Narc behaviors again that I saw in the beginning I didn’t run for good. By not being able to do permanent NC I exposed my self to 5 years of post break up mindfukery and relationship insanity. But I did find BR and met all these great people :)

  34. lo j says:

    Natalie … Thanks to you, I see me too.
    Grace, you have learned to love… And that doesn’t just include your beau, huh? I have learned to love, really love others, my friends, family, the people I care for at job, me … And I have even allowed others to really love me. And it isn’t scary, it’s wonderful and freeing.

  35. Paula says:

    What NL’s posts have taught me is that I need to do the work on me first, get my self esteem, beliefs and my opinion of myself right before anything else happens. How to address myself and what beliefs I have and how true are they and how they are affecting me in my interactions with family and friends, not just men.
    I have found that my attitudes and beliefs don’t just go wrong with men, they also go wrong with family and friends as well. A sobering thought that I am starting to address.
    I can only change myself and the changes I am making are changing other people as well.
    The EUM’s, AC’s, guys who are just looking for a shag etc don’t get a foothold now, the ‘friends’ who just use you for their own agenda get told no, can’t help you. They flush themselves when they find they can’t get what they want from me anymore, I don’t have to do anything.
    And all because I am putting myself first, what I will and wont tolerate, what I want and need(my boundaries, my self esteem, my values) in my life now.
    I’m still a work in progress but I’m getting there.
    Power to all you ladies and guys out there who want something better for themselves.

  36. runnergirl says:

    I’m ever so grateful for google, Natalie, and the brilliant BR community. One rainy night in December 2010, I sat at my computer in tears googling “The Other Women”. I read plenty of blogs telling me how to be the best Other Women on the planet. I had already done that and it wasn’t working. Then I hit on Baggage Reclaim. Suddenly, Natalie’s incredible writing, humor and amazing insights started registering. It was through reading the comments that I realized, holy crow, my situation wasn’t unique. Folks I didn’t know were writing about what I was going through. Oh yeah, I was convinced that this was the epic love of all great novels, soap operas, and other fairy tales. Other than Chevy Chase’s Vacation, Pretty Woman used to be my favorite movie. I kept reading BR, only to discover many other OW’s got fed the exact same line as me. I started posting right away because so many of the other comments helped me to see that I was having the exact same experience. How could that be? I thought I was living a unique novel, movie, fairy tale. The usual, unusual…I was miffed that I wasn’t the only one to be a soulmate of a MM. Dang. I was tweaked for a bit to also discover that other OW’s got “Good Morning Sunshine” texts from MM’s. WFT? Can’t they figure out a new line?
    Here’s what I find so unique about Natalie and BR: Natalie’s ability to describe with such total insight, skill, humor, and deference exactly what I was experiencing. And then the comments rose to that level. So, I get the point here Natalie. However, I would also like to suggest that you are, in fact, UNIQUE! And the absolute BEST EVER!
    You have changed my life.

  37. bee says:

    It has been so liberating to know that my situation(s) with emotionally stunted men are NOT unique, and that I am not necessarily destined to always be with these types of blokes – as long as I can continue to do the work on me to spot them and most importantly, get out quickly once my gut tells me to. I love BR and all you wonderful people for being so brave and true on this site. I’m at the three month mark of NC yay! It’s been awful at times of course, but when I wake up feeling low, I log on to BR and feel comforted by NMLs wisdom and all of your comments which remind me that I’m not alive, and than goidness, not unique in dealing with the aftershock that an EUM can leave behind. All your comments show me that love is all around ( sorry to quote Hugh Grant in Love Actually) as you are all loving and supporting each other as we traverse through the grief process. Love in the romantic sense is only a branch on the love tree. There are so many other branches flowering on this site from all your comments. Thank you.

  38. bee says:

    Oops, I meant not alone ( not not alive!) And thank goodness!

  39. Magnolia says:

    I thought I was unique in having had a kind of Cinderella story. Hanging out with the exAC had me sitting down to dinner with the mayor. I felt like he had ignored a major social divide simply because he liked me, when really he sought me out across that divide so that he could have an emotional airbag who had no knowledge of his world or potential influence on his life/profile when things went south. I felt kind of like I’d won the relationship lottery (when all my friends were with guys as in debt as they are) because he whisked me around the globe on a moment’s notice. The truth was he was simply willing to pay for an expensive escort and expected me to behave like one (uncomplaining, grateful, sexually available and dependent).

    How eye-opening to come to BR and find that he was just not that special. All kinds of men with power, prestigious jobs and a sense of entitlement have sent all kinds of women fleeing and confused to BR to make sense of the power plays, future faking, outrageous testing and general mindeffery.

    How validating and healing to know that I’d found a place where I could wonder openly if he could be a pedophile and find others who had had contact with such men (rather than thinking I had run across a uniquely creepy creep).

    Most important has been coming to terms with my own personal history: yes, my particular combination of having been bullied, assaulted, racialized etc is unique but the emotional challenges those experiences have created can be made sense of.

    Nothing feels more ‘unique’ or ‘personal’ than the hurt of my experience of my family dysfunction. It has been hard trying to make sense of what, in our disconnect, really was their neglect and what was just me being immature and angsty. But even that dance is similar to so many others who have had EU parents.

    I so appreciate finding that I am not alone in these experiences!

    • Grizelda says:

      How validating and healing to know that I’d found a place where I could wonder openly if he could be a pedophile and find others who had had contact with such men (rather than thinking I had run across a uniquely creepy creep).

      I absolutely hear you. It helped me to realise more fully that no it wasn’t and isn’t necessarily just an imaginative miscalculation — and yes it’s a genuine possibility that power-and-control-obsessed man really could/might/would/will/did sink into the lowest pathological dimension of our species.

      I sincerely have no idea what to do with this suspicion but when the revolution comes and paedophiles are the first ones lined up against the wall, I wouldn’t exactly lapse into a coma from the shock and surprise to see him amongst them. And there would not be any kind of last-moment character witness appeal coming from my lips. Call it an extreme unwillingness to break NC…

    • XFBwoman says:

      May I also add, as an aside, that I love the fact that there is such diversity on this site: nationalities, colors, sexual orientations, ages, experience, etc. Almost everyone has someone here who comes from a similar background in a demographic sense, never mind the common AC factor. It’s impressive and a testament to NL’s message and the way she delivers it. This site is a literal life-saver.

    • beth d says:

      “All kinds of men with power, prestigious jobs and a sense of entitlement have sent all kinds of women fleeing and confused to BR to make sense of the power plays, future faking, outrageous testing and general mindeffery.”

      Wow you got this one right Mag!! Exactly right especially with their sense of entitlement!!!

  40. Victorious says:

    I have a nasty feeling my identity has been breached so I will be posting under a different name but I will try to identify myself sneakily as time goes on!!
    Yes, I too was so relieved to find I wasn’t unique and that I wasn’t over reacting/being too picky/losing my mind. I am 47 and have had all kinds of relationships but never anything that left me in a heap like this one. I guess I should be grateful not to have encountered it before. I have dated (and married) alcoholics, gay men, guys still in love with their exes, but none of this truly prepared me for the shocking reality of trying to make sense of the madness of a relationship with a narc. An actor, an emotionless shell of a man just saying the words he knows will get him the attention/ego strokes/supply he so urgently needs. Of course they can only keep up the act so long before the mask slips and then we get all confused, “Put the damn mask back on!” But they can’t, or can but only for a little while, just to reel you back in for another round. By the time I found BR I had started to see him for what he was but didn’t understand it and ddn’t want to believe it. Like Nat says. I wanted a remedy to put him right again. I wanted to fix it so it could all go back to how it was in the beginning.
    I nearly lost my job over this man as I was too anxious to work. I emotionally neglected my children and spent loads of money I didn’t have. He would have let this situation go on and on and on as it all suited him perfectly, me twisting myself into knots to try to please him, never daring to challenge him or ask too many questions. Well, guess what, I have come out of this Victorious, because I did dump his ass and I am now over 4 months NC despite his hoovers. More importantly, I now am equipped to recognise the red flags so if I ever am brave enough to date again, I will be bailing much earlier. Like Griz says, now “we see them.”

    • beth d says:

      No one can be prepared for a hard core Narcissist. They are the best actors in the universe. Mine even dabbled in acting as a career and did some modeling when he was younger. I didn’t want to believe it either. I suspected he was (damn I was a psyche major) but to believe it took a lot of time and reading. When the truth and reality hits you it is agonizing because you know they didn’t truly love you and you were just good supply. The worst for me was I have never in my life felt so loved by anyone like I did by my Narc. The second worst is knowing he will try again and has the money and resources to show up where I am accidentally of course. I have nightmares of believing him again and falling into his web. No worries. I will never go there again in reality.

      • anony says:

        Oh wow your response struck me so deeply, beth d. “The worst for me was I have never in my life felt so loved by anyone like I did by my Narc. The second worst is knowing he will try again and has the money and resources to show up where I am accidentally of course.”

        My inverted Narcissist made me feel more love than I have for anyone, or what I thought was love. More like addiction. And the times when he was trying to get back in my good graces made me feel very special.

        And he keeps finding ways to show up where I’m at, but it strikes me as intimidation more than anything else. The more I educate myself and learn and read others talk about these issues, the stronger I feel and the more I can embrace the truth of it all as my own.

        • beth d says:

          Anony It IS an addiction. They know how to make you addicted to them. Lots are good in bed but the drama intensifies the sex and they know it… They study you in order to keep you in the web and control you. They do as little or as much as they need to do based on their “study”. Mine always knew the right thing to say when I was sad, gave the perfect gifts, had the funniest jokes. I remember him telling me his other women “went with the program” and why did I have to be so difficult. In his warped mind he felt he was treating me the best he ever treated anyone yet “I was acting like Columbo with my interrogations” and a “spoiled bitch” because I would cut him off for bad behavior. Because I couldn’t accept his gaslighting, and hot and cold shady behavior? He also knew “disappearing and withdrawing” were a killer for me and used those tactics to punish and control me. Backfired on him cuz I would punish back for double the time and it was him who had to come back and bring something to the table. He always did and that would have been fine if the good behavior lasted but each time I took him back the good behavior lasted for shorter periods of time. I was misusing the concept of NC because I hadn’t found BR yet. Yes reading about all of their games and their mindfuckery reveals a truth we can’t deny. The biggest thing Nat and the BR community did for me was to make me know the NC had to be permanent.

          • recoveringloveaddict says:

            beth d, I remember his “disappearing”, which because I only saw him at work, meant walking away from me or leaving the room. I hated that! I would experience this vague feeling of abandonment. I hated it so much that after I started NC, along with that, I ALWAYS made sure if we were in the same place at work, that *I* was the first to walk away or out of the room, even if it was killing me to do that. I actually really began to enjoy doing that to him. It empowered me. I don’t know if it bothered him or not. I think he liked walking away from me, leaving me standing by myself. I figure since he and I were alike in some ways, he probably hated it too when I did the same to him.

            • beth d says:

              Of course he hated it lol They can’t stand when you one up their game. It makes them feel out of control. Remember they are use to winning. I use to enjoy it too because I am competitive and no way was I letting this pos get to me. I knew it would drive him crazy if I mirrored his bad behavior and felt empowered as well. That’s the thing when you are in an unhealthy relationship. You get pulled into this weird chess game and expend energy on trying to win. Too bad you only win the booby prize.

              • recoveringloveaddict says:

                beth, you’re right. It did feel like a chess game and it took a lot of energy to do NC because I literally would ignore his very presence, making no eye contact and not speaking a word to him whenever he was around. But then HE started mirroring my behavior, which really pissed me off because HE was the one who deceived ME in the first place. I’m so glad I quit that job and have had NO further contact with him since. CHECKMATE!

                • beth d says:

                  Yea RA Checkmate I love it!! Yes that was the best thing you could have done. Yes NC was more energy to expend. Mine was relentless and it was easier to give in to his repeated request to at least be friends. These are dangerous people and NC is the only way.

      • jewells says:

        Victorious and beth d, hmmm, the actor thing. I’ve been thinking recently that I would love to say to the exMM EUM Narc that he is not a professional actor (he gets barely enough work to be called an actor), but a professional liar. And I can relate to your fear beth d of falling for the crap again. In my last convo with the MM, even though the rug and the mask were pulled, the gig was up, the wife was informed, he knew I was savvy to his BS, I STILL found myself melting to his continuing BS. Thank goodness the wife made him go NC, for MY sake! Now I’ve had over 5 months to read here, process, go to therapy, get myself grounded in reality – if he shows himself again, I would like to think he won’t have the same effect. I’m definitely better informed, and if I was to find myself being sucked in, I’m sure I’ll be able to find the flush handle in a timely manner… :)

        • beth d says:

          Good one Jewells! Professional liar ha ha That’s why my ex called me Columbo. Because if I suspected he was lying, I would grill and use every weapon available including humor to break him down. We even use to laugh about it. Jewells it is normal to still melt for them because they are so damn charming when they are putting on their best performance. We loved them and still were searching to see the good in them. We also in some small way accepted they were bullshitters lol Don’t kid yourself into thinking they can’t effect you. I made that mistake way too many times but I do think you will pull the flush handle.

          • jewells says:

            OH the lies….that’s what made my head spin in the end. The penny dropped that I was being played, then the spins of ‘omg what was real and what was not’. Nothing fit together, nothing made sense. I came here because on top of the broken heart I was spinning in confusion and feeling like I was going crazy. Thank goodness for this site to put things right! Can’t make sense out of nonsense and Omg how un-unique was he. (I think I’m going to start writing for Dr Suess – the Dr Suess guide out of EU relationships haha)
            I feel better than I have for years, as I’ve started to understand my whole life’s worth of relationships and their troubles. I just chalk up the one that brought me here as the icing on the cake that got me to where I needed to be to find the relationship I truly want. Now I have the tools, now I actually have the hope of finding that relationship. I think that was his gift to me. It has been for girlfriends of his past from what he told me of a couple of his previous relationships :) Silver linings

            • beth d says:

              Jewells you will find that someone special who will treat you with the respect and love you deserve. You really can find out so much from their past relationships. One of my Narc’s exes stalked me online for over a year and another tried to contact me. That was the biggest red flag I missed. I actually believed his ex psycho gfs story. I learned in the post break up mindfuckery even more. It was like being inside the head of a Narc. He felt free to describe his current gfs off and on especially since I had a new bf. I am sure it was to make me jealous as well. They were always much younger than me but these are the kinds of things he would tell me about them
              - she is easy going
              - she gives me space without complaining
              - she goes with the program
              - I don’t have to do much. She just loves sex with me
              - she believes anything I tell her
              -if you want me back I will get RID of her/them
              As painful as the post breakup fake friendship was I learned so much more about him and I don’t regret the learning experience. Gavel slamming down. NARCISSIST

          • selkie says:

            Beth d,

            When I started connecting the dots with my ex AC and questioning him he’d say sarcastically , “Good one Sherlock.” It was belittling and it made a mockery of me but that was the plan. To keep me off balance so he could keep control. Very insidious.

            • beth d says:

              Selkie Thats nice to know you are Sherlock and I am Columbo. lol You can be sure when he called you Sherlock he said it sarcastically but you caught his ass girl so he made a mockery of it. When mine called me Columbo I knew I nailed him!

    • Revolution says:

      You’ll always be victorious, even after you change your name. And don’t worry: we’ll “see you” too, Vic. Even when you go off the grid and come back as a “new” BR-er. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

      • beth d says:

        Sorry to hear that V Geez how the hell does that happen? Stalker?

        • McKenzieM says:

          I was wondering this, too. I am always scared to death of being found out on here. That is why I don’t follow NML on Twitter or like the BR page from my Facebook. Too risky.

          • selkie says:

            I’m pretty sure I had it happen (breach) although I can’t prove it. But I changed my name just in case. It’s a weird creepy feeling.

  41. nancy says:

    I question all the time just what a relationship is. After the first date with my AC, I received an email asking me to come in and lay with him on his couch. I said no, but that just increased his advances until I gave in and slept with him. Immediately following, he told me that he didn’t want to hurt me because he was not monogamous. Several years later and many girls later, I am still hanging on. He considers us ” just friends” while I continue to think I am the “special one.” I KNOW I am just one of his go to girls when the other “smart” women move on. I am having trouble getting in my head that he really just doesn’t care….or I should say he cares as much as he is able. It’s all about my behavior, as he will never change. I can’t believe that I give and give and get little back, but this site is making me smarter realizing that there really are a lot of men out there like my AC. I need a kick in the head, and I question myself all the time about what scares me in letting this idiot go. I’m totally a sucker for his crumbs which are nonstop, but NC is frightening. I need to keep reading.

    • McKenzieM says:

      Nancy, you need to ditch this guy ASAP! Why are you still hanging out for crumbs? Go NC and take care of YOU. NC seemed frightening to me at first. I didn’t think I could do it, and neither did the EUAC. In fact, when I told him I was going NC, he told me he didn’t think I’d be able to. Now I’m closing in on a month of NC, and as each day passes, I realize more and more how much better I am off without him. You don’t need him as a “friend” because he’s not a real friend.

  42. Allison says:

    Nancy,

    “I am having trouble getting in my head that he really just doesn’t care….or I should say he cares as much as he is able.” Does it matter? He is not there for you, and is disrespecting you. This all that matters. You should only follow people’s actions. as words mean nothing!

    What will you miss if you end this: peace of mind? BTW, you never had this guy, and I’m sorry to say that he is only using you for an ego stroke and sex.

    • nancy says:

      Allison,

      Your few words have a major impact. Hearing that I never had him…cold hard truth. BR is so helpful!!!

      • Allison says:

        Nancy,

        I know I have been tough on you, but it is so hard to see someone who knows they are with an ASSHOLE, continue to return for more mistreatment.

        What made me finally leave my unhealthy situation, were a few kicks in the ass, by friends, and folks on this site.

        I know you may think it will be hard without this guy, but you really need to address what you will be missing; I mean, what do you get from all this chaos and drama? Have you realized that you are in an unstable situation because you are scared to let anyone in- this guy is safe, as you know he will never step up to the plate and will continue to use you.

        When you decide you want to get to the root of these issues, and try to understand why you allow people to treat you poorly, you will kick him to the curb.

        I am thankful for my asshole ex, as he taught me a lot about myself, and I know I will never allow myself to be involved with someone like him again.

        Nancy, stop making excuses and complaining about this guy already! End it!!!!!!!!!!

        Hugs!!!!!

        • Nancy says:

          Again…your last sentence is powerful. I spend WAY too much time complaining about him instead of working on myself. Love this site! It truly helps!!!

  43. Shyner says:

    It’s definitely good to know that I’m not alone. I know I’m not unique and neither is the situation. I have been NC for 9 days and today is the first day that I’ve struggled. For some reason I want to contact him. Boo. Hiss. Rubbish. It was all going so well!

    • Shyner says:

      The tough bit really, right now, is that I realise I was a bit nuts, too, what with all the texting and banging on about his book. I’m working on it all, one step at a time but wonder if I behaved like a bit of an narcissist, too. I’m really not sure how to get through that thought.

      • jewells says:

        Hey Shyner, me again… having the urge to contact him is totally normal! No hiss boo, we’re proud that you’re doing NC. The urges are like getting over an addiction. I stopped smoking 2 weeks ago, I still have to stop myself from justifying going and buying a pack saying to myself :”see, I can stop anytime, just go get a pack” [picture devil on shoulder]. Then, [picturing angel on shoulder] I have to stop myself and ask “what did it REALLY feel like when I lit up?” Ahhhh, reality check – IT MADE ME FEEL ILL! That’s what these AC’s are, they’re wrapped up in a fantasy of what we’d like them to be, we’re not processing the ‘reality’ of them. I think kicking the AC habit enabled me to kick the ciggie habit – it’s the same shite…

        • jewells says:

          Oh, I’m not proud of some of my behaviours either. You were being mindf**ked, so you were going through the crazies that these appropriately monikered ‘crazy makers’ can drive us to. Pat yourself on the back that you’ve gotten to this point, and that you recognize that you exibited ‘less than’ behaviour yourself. It’s ok, now you have a better grasp of what these AC’s push us to and now have better reason to not let an AC ‘relationshit’ get that far ever again. You’ll learn to see the ACness sooner, understand what it means, where it leads and FLUSH FLUSH FLUSH – with a big ass grin on your face :D

          • beth d says:

            That’s cause their mindfuckery drives you crazy. I did crazy things too. At certain times in the relationship esp when on a break up I would look for evidence of other women by searching social websites. I would google his name and even stooped to spying on him with friends in tow. lol Just those kinds of behaviors should tell you there is something radically wrong in the relationship that you are doing things you have never done before.

      • yoghurt says:

        Shyner, we’ve all done SOMETHING that embarrasses us in hindsight – and clinging onto flimsy excuses for contact is one of the most cringeworthy (I remember telling someone – in all seriousness – that I HAD to answer the phone to the exEUM at 3am in case he’d had a car accident…d’oh!).

        You didn’t behave like a narcissist, you were put in a position where general rules of care and courtesy no longer appeared to apply and you were also left hanging in a really difficult and awkward position, wanting for an explanation, resolution and insight into whatthef…? Not your fault.

        Of course in future you’ll recognise the danger signs way waaaaaaay before it gets to that point but, really, you need the terrible mistakes to learn from :) It’s all good. Process, feel the burn and move forward.

      • Mymble says:

        Shyner
        A bit of narcissism is necessary in a healthy personality but you don’t sound at all like a narcissist. Perhaps you did make a big deal about the book issue because you wanted to keep that connection with him, but that was because you were emotionally invested. There’s a world of difference between that, and using pretexts to control someone and jerk them around, when you really couldn’t care less about them and you know (even if you wont admit it, even to yourself) that it will hurt and upset them.

      • Shyner says:

        Thanks, ladies. I went to bed last night making myself think of all the weird and weirder things that he said and did, as well as all the unacceptable stuff and well, everything. I feel ok again, today. Such a strange process but the determination to make positive changes in this area of my life has gone nowhere. It’s just about bringing the attention back to me. I was trying to normalise and minimalize a rubbish situation. I’ve read the posts about that, too. I am not alone! I would rather cringe at my behaviour, recognise it for what it is and make the changes than carry on through life thinking I’m absolutely right about everything all the time and have no work to do on myself. That’s actually quite empowering. It’s slowly getting to a point now where I see my relationship with him as a necessary lesson

        • jewells says:

          Yup Shyner, we can count ourselves lucky that we have the ability to recognize that ‘we’ have work to do. Unlike the EUM AC Narc types that merrily flounce on, seemingly without a worry in the world, onto their ‘next victim’.
          I too see the ex that brought me here as a necessary evil. He was the straw that finally broke me to get me here to educate myself to this area of my life that has been sorely neglected.
          And Yoghurt, yup ‘feel the burn’, love it! It’s so true, we have to feel the feelings no matter how uncomfortable, as they are there to tell us whats what. It’s the avoidance of the ‘bad’ feelings that gets us in trouble with addiction. It’s the feeling of feelings that gets us educated. There are messages in our emotions, they are there to tell us something, if we don’t heed it, we will repeat it. And it will be more painful the longer we put it off. Honour feelings!

          • jewells says:

            Oh yeah, and I’ve done the lying in bed review of past actions and words in the ‘relationshit’, and omg did I miss sooooo many red flags, warnings and outright boundary busters. I felt humiliated at times in hindsight of what I missed and how badly I allowed myself to be treated. It was like I was ‘love drugged’ then he could do whatever he wanted. Ugh, I’m never letting that happen again!

            • Shyner says:

              I’m really struggling with all this today. I haven’t contacted him but I’m finding it much harder to deal with than I was. All these niggling doubts. Madness. I guess this will pass but I also know that there were so many reasons not to be with him. Big important reasons. Why am I being so rubbish about it again? Boo.

    • Allison says:

      Shyner,

      What do you miss about this guy? What do your family and friends think about this loser?

      He’s a leach, addict, unreliable, disrespectful, cheat and user. Did I miss anything?

      • Shyner says:

        My friends are glad to see the back of him. There were red flags right from the off. It was all very passionate and exciting but in the stark light of reality – it was on his terms and punctuated my some lies and suspicious, odd behaviour. So, er, I don’t know what I miss and it would do me good to think about that question some more. x

        • Allison says:

          Shyner,

          This is about you, and why you want a man like this. I too, had to look within, as to why I would settle for so little.

          Can you imagine trying to raise a family with this man. He has proven he is incapable of taking care of himself, how can you expect him to be there for anyone else. This is who he is! He will never change!

          Has your family met him? If not, would they be proud of your choice? Would they want you to be a with a man who is jobless, homeless, an addict, cheat, liar and leach. Does you want to continue to support this guy?

          This guy is going nowhere!

          • Shyner says:

            No, I can’t imagine raising children with that man. He already has two he never sees. You’re right; of course you are. The lure of passion is so easily mistaken for more than it is and I know that. It is a slow and painful extrication and as the initial ‘buzz’ of getting out of it subsides and it becomes old news and ‘normal, that’s when it gets hard to deal with for a bit. I’m ok. I really don’t like ‘unfinished business’ and bad endings. I know why that is and so really, that’s the thing I need to make peace with. I’m getting there. Staring these things full in the face is really the only way to properly deal with it.

  44. anony says:

    This place has saved me. I came here a few weeks ago wanting an insanity check. Thanks in part to the ladies here, I ended my relationship of nine months with that covert abuser. Oddly, the trigger was more about increasing the commitment, and him having a weird response to that. But when that happened, I reassessed and it poked a hole in the veil of illusion I had been trying to hold over everything.

    Now I need to heal.

    We do the same hobby. I’ve had to ask him three times to leave me alone. To not text me or talk to me outside the hobby space. To not even talk to me in the hobby space because he was acting like we were still dating. I don’t think most people can understand this – but I know you folks here WILL understand – that his efforts to relate like I hadn’t dumped him were a form of covert aggression and control. His efforts to text me the day after I dumped him to “check on me” because “I heard you were going to X where there was bad weather” were some sort of abuse, even if I can’t explain why I can be so sure.

    I don’t want to give up the hobby entirely but I’m going to take a break from it to get some NC. I don’t feel safe around that man.

    I credit Natalie and the responders here with laying the foundation I needed to really see it for what it was and not what I was deluding myself about it being. Thanks everyone.

    • Mymble says:

      Anony
      Yes it is abuse and I have had that number pulled on me many times. It’s dishonest, for one thing. Pretended concern about something or other when they don’t give a shit really. Trying to reel you back in whilst avoiding at all costs any kind of honest conversation about anything. So if you ignore their “concerned” email then you are sulking, resentful and mean; whereas if you respond then they Hoover you back in to conversation which leads to ..and guess what it was all your idea.
      Alternatively, they just do that to make sure that you are still “speaking”, so that they can keep you in their back pocket as an option for
      if the need arises.
      I’ve had that number pulled on me, turning up at my office AND texting me AND writing a letter about a couple of books I’d already told him he could keep.
      Then recently a “concerned” message about a (very small) natural disaster on the other side of the world where some in -laws live. Yeah right.
      He is a burglar, rattling the doorknobs and tapping at the window pane, to see that there’s a still a way in.
      NL posted a brilliant one about that some time ago with a pic of Jack Nicholson; so funny and true!

      • beth d says:

        “He is a burglar, rattling the doorknobs and tapping at the window pane, to see that there’s a still a way in.”

        Love that myumble and loved Nats post with the Jack Nicholson picture. I actually printed that one out post break up when the real mindfuckery started up. It was called “No contact:Why yu need to keep your proverbial door closed…even when they try to break it down by any means” Nat was hysterical in that post and so spot on I have read and reread it.

    • Magnolia says:

      Yep, ignoring the fact that you’ve split up and trying to carry on as if nothing has changed between you: classic. You called it: it’s just a form of trying to keep the upper hand.

      The AC I used to date, who would have no problem driving me home when he was drunk, encouraging me to mountain bike on steep rocky inclines when I had no experience, or to risk my footing on treacherous hiking trails and then reward me for being worried but ‘not complaining,’ suddenly became the prince of concern for my health and well-being after I dumped his sadistic ass, emailing and texting that he wondered if I was ok.

      He also wanted to go for a hike (as friends) the day after we split up. He left messages that sounded as though he missed the whole fact I had broken up with him. I swear if I had caved to his pressure to ‘stay friends’ gone hiking I would have wondered the whole time if he was going to ‘accidentally’ push me off a cliff.

      Total manipulative and covertly sadistic crap. I think I understand why you use the word abuse to describe it (because it’s totally natural to want someone in your life who cares if you’re ok, and he gets off on pretending to be ‘the only one who cares’ then yanking that bone away).

      You’re not under his power anymore because you know there will always be does care that you are OK: you.

    • Allison says:

      Anony,

      Have you considered a restraining order?

  45. butterfly says:

    So many thanks to everyone who posts their experiences on here. It gives me hope that I can do this work on myself. Have signed up for the self esteem course and I know I’ve got to keep NC going. It isn’t about him, it’s about me and what I’ve projected onto him. Whenever things get tough I just use him or other things in my life for a pick me up, but it solves nothing and the lows are getting lower.

    • Grizelda says:

      Butterfly, I hope you gain what so many of us gain from BR – that it’s in you to recover yourself! I know how crazy that sounds when you’re feeling so depleted and broken, but it’s true. It’s right there, right now. It’s right in your heart and your mind and your blood, it’s all there, all this strength and energy and resource waiting for you to tap into it. Stay NC (because not staying NC will only harm you further), enjoy your course (it sounds fun), and you will not believe how much better you feel in a few weeks and a few months. This is your investment in you, for a change.

  46. miskwa says:

    Beth D and Victorious
    Yep, narcs are weapons of mass destruction in human form. Hard to suss out at first and they leave a trail of devastation whereever they go. It really was serendipity when I overheard a colleague use the term in reference to the AC and a poster on BR had mentioned her recovery from her narc AC in the same day. Even though we really shouldnt play psychologist and use our diagnoses of ACs as a way of justifying feeling like a victim, doing some serious reading on the subject helped me to understand what happened, why, and why the hurt continues. I am not guilty of turning him off, making him malicious toward me. It wasnt that I was ugly, a nasty person who deserved this. I am guilty of having been lonely, very alone, very vulnerable and therefore fair game. Nothing unique there.
    I am guilty of calling him on his behavior for which I am glad. You know ladies and gents, our society, what dating/relationship dynamics has become, is really sad; we shouldnt have to consult the DSM-IV manual every time we meet someone new.

    • beth d says:

      Miskwa You are only guilty of looking for the good in people because you haven’t experienced this weapon of mass destruction before. There is no shame in loving and wanting to be a good friend/lover and you’re a good person for it. As far as your EU/Narc/AC (pick your choice) is concerned he can’t recognize the chaos he inflicts on people who dare to love him and that will be his demise. We have a choice to love and be loved in return. They don’t.

      • jewells says:

        Well put beth. It makes it sad for them. We can get out and find better, they can’t.

        • Revolution says:

          I hear what you lovely ladies are saying, but my tears are saved for those who are repentant for their bad actions and who spend their energies trying to be good people and treat others right. All I have for narcissists are the same crocodile tears that they use on us. Boo freakin’ hoo.

          • beth d says:

            Oh I agree Rev Those crocodile tears are a big waste of time for me. Cry me a river….

            • jewells says:

              Yeah, being sad for them translating into tears, not from these eyes. I think perhaps ‘pity’ them for what they are might be more appropriate. For we have the power to transcend, where they are left behind.

    • Grizelda says:

      Agreed Miskwa. If it looks like a personality disorder, and it walks like a personality disorder, and it quacks like a personality disorder… you can stop right there. That’s reason enough for you to respond as if he’s one of ‘em, walk away, and lock the door behind you. They are bloody dangerous people who can’t be fixed no-way no-how.

      I once read in an article someplace a quote from a psychiatrist who said something like “What do you mean, psychiatrists hate psychopaths? No, they’re no good to us and we can’t treat ‘em, but we LOVE ‘em! For every one of those assholes, we get dozens of clients all needing treatment!”

  47. selkie says:

    Finding BR soon after I broke up with an abusive EX was like finding a lifeline. The NC emails were like little gems. I found a place where others understood my pain and I understood theirs. I was not unique in being a strong woman who was reduced to losing my way by following a trail of crumbs. So many times I found Natalie’s words help me find my own. I was so scattered when I first came here over two years ago, reading other posters descriptions that fit my own made me feel like I wasn’t crazy after all. I found the truth here. I wasn’t unique in a grotesque insane way like the ex implied but found that others here felt JUST LIKE ME. He wasn’t so unique either. Learning he was a ‘type’ relieved me of the self guilt that I had somehow made him treat me like shit. He did that all on his own. My part was accepting it for four years.

  48. Nic says:

    After a rough patch with my husband, I am ashamed to say I encouraged a MU, half knowing what he was like, but really hoping for a distraction from my real relationship. It was an online ‘affair’ and I very nearly got sucked in, but after reading more and more of the comments and posts, I see that he unfolded very quickly, future faked and then faded away just as fast. I am pleased I learnt my lesson so quickly and managed to extract myself (thanks to my best friend and comments here), but I also realise that I have had a strong tendency to chose men like this. I am hoping desperately that my husband doesn’t prove to be the same.
    I will be here, just rereading to make sure.

  49. jewells says:

    I have to say I’m proud of myself at the moment. BR education working as it should. I was propositioned by a work friend the other day. He asked me to lunch, his treat as he said he really wanted to see me. Now, I’ve always known he ‘liked me’, but didn’t see any harm and just thought of him as a quirky sort and a work friend. I assumed that he wanted to take me for lunch as I have been off work for the past 3 months with a broken ankle and he missed me and wanted to take me out as a treat. Lunch itself was uneventful, just our normal chit chat, he then offered to give me a lift home, I accepted. Well, he’d bought me flowers which were in the car, and that’s when the convo unfolded into what was really awkward territory. He told me he was ‘in love with’ me. To which I responded ‘but S***, you’re married’, he responded with ‘I could be unmarried, and I’m in love with you to the level of considering stalking’. At this point we’re outside my building and I’m regretting letting him drive me home as now he knows where I live. I kept my calm and just said to him ‘you have to get out of your marriage for you, THEN you look for the next relationship’. His response: ‘yeah, yeah, I kind of knew that I guess I just had to hear it’ in a puppy dog kinda way. I wouldn’t have been interested in him anyway, but the whole scenario was interesting to navigate through now that I have been through the exMM EUM Narc and the resulting BR education. I doubt I would have handled it as calmly or tidily as I managed to do. I KNOW I am going to be fine and can hardly wait to try dating again proper to put more of it to use, I’m actually kinda looking at it like an experiment to put to practice my new found knowledge! See if I can’t make it wisdom!

    • jewells says:

      Oh, and Tink, this is a different one from the one that was ‘helping’ me while off work with the broken ankle. I’m just starting to see a real pattern with my being incapacitated and these guys coming out of the woodwork. What’s with EUM’s and rescuing?

      • beth d says:

        They prey on any kind of suspected vulnerability. Hope you heal quickly Jewells xo

        • jewells says:

          Yeah beth, it’s like ‘ok, she’s distracted and must be ‘needing’ someone, now’s the time….’
          They’re not wrong, I sure as hell wished I had someone to be there for me and take care of the things I couldn’t. But I’m not going to lower my standards and ‘have a relationship’ with someone I might not otherwise. I think I’ve made myself a rule – not get involved with anyone when I’m at a disadvantage on any level…
          Cause, I’m sure it works for these guys in many instances. For example – the exMM told me in our last convo how he and his wife got together – she had just split from her first exH and had a minivan and a ten yr old in tow and he offered her to ‘stay’ at his place as she had nowhere to go. They were married within the year.
          THAT is a prime example as to why not to get involved while at a disadvantage – now she’s tied to the EUM AC Narc legally.
          Last year I injured myself on the job, managed to stay at work though was compromised. The EUM misogynist boss I had at the time seemed to decide that that would be a good time to ramp up the sexual harassment. There were little things here and there that I dismissed, but when I was injured and my options limited, that’s when he came on strong. I could see what he was doing and all it did was make me anxious, ill and called my union and wrote a letter for his file for record keeping in case things got out of hand. Luckily they didn’t, I didn’t make a fuss, but managed to warn him off without bashing his fragile ego in… as much as I would have liked to, but I needed the job.
          I think the more I see the same stories, the stronger I get in dealing with men. Growing up I thought it was me, something was wrong with me. Now I understand, my father was EU, my mother was EU, my brother too. So, yes, there was something wrong with me too, I became EU as well, so I also repeated patterns. Now that I am better armed with this info, I can make better choices and not let the EUMs bother me anymore when they don’t add up – they’re not my fault…flush and keep on moving :) No one is that special to hang around and hope they’ll change – not going to happen…

          • jewells says:

            Oh, and thanks beth, I’m on the off ramp to recoverville. Been doing physio and prognosis is good. Left leg now stays same colour as right leg, swelling isn’t as severe, and the stitches on my ankle look like a zipper on one side and a squashed caterpiller on the other. :) I’ve got knee surgery later this year to contend with, I wonder who’ll come out of the woodwork then? Oh well, it’ll be elective, so there’ll be time to prepare this time, so maybe I can get away with no one knowing…

            • beth d says:

              Glad to hear the prognosis is good jewells. Knee surgery scheduled too? You better be prepared for the sharks to come out. They will smell blood lol
              Get well girl!

              • jewells says:

                Lol, thanks beth, I think it’s getting around that I don’t ‘play’ well, so I anticipate a quiet recovery on the next round. :)

  50. NoMore says:

    What I came away with from this post, is something I learned a long time ago.

    Humans instinctively expect other humans to have those qualities that make us ‘human’. We make the assumption that that is who we are dealing with. Even when the asses start ‘unfolding’, we think everything in the world except “this is NOT a human being”. It takes a while to really get that somebody that looks human, is anything but. I liken it to seeing pigs fly —- you absolutely can’t believe what you’re seeing. It’s inconceivable!!!

    By the time we ‘get it’, we’re beat down as hell. We’ve lost all confidence in our sense of perception, self-worth, ego, and every other damaging thing you can think of.

    I think we could take the heartbreak part….but what is harder to recover from is a) the mere fact that empty people exists and b) they’ve done a lot of damage to your psyche.

  51. Lilia says:

    I´m extremely thankful for having found BR, and after the initial shock of recognising myself in the situations described by Nat, I am quite enjoying myself doing the complete opposite of what I would´ve done as a FBgirl.

    I´ve even dreamed about encounters with ACs, in which I ask myself – while dreaming – what a BR woman would do in that scenario, and then doing it. So I suppose common sense is finally sinking in.

    I feel so much better about myself now! I don´t think I´ve ever had much self awareness, I was just so busy trying to be liked by people I didn´t even like myself. When I was in my teens there were always girls I admired because they seemed to be so together and centered. I wondered what it was that made them different, now I think I know. They cared about themselves, not to make others happy but because they wanted to feel good.

    I´ve also discovered I grew up with a narc father and I´m understanding the ways in which that affected me in other areas of my life. Living with someone like that makes you feel like you have a mirror hanging before your face, so it isn´t you they see, but always a reflection of themselves. And when they don´t like the image they see, it´s the mirror´s fault. Finally, at 41, I´ve learned how to let go of my father´s expectations and general bs. I´m discovering I just don´t like him and don´t feel guilty about that anymore.

    I just can´t believe how much energy I´ve lost in dysfunctional relationships. It´s all so clear once you see it spelled out by Nat and all the generous and honest BR ladies.

  52. Lilia says:

    Oh and I don´t know if this has been brought up before, but I just saw Skyfall and man, what a clear example of the EUM – FBgirl dynamics it shows! I just wanted to send the girl who worked with 007 to an intensive BR training.
    Which goes to show, again, how common this all is.

  53. Jule says:

    Yes, in words of Griz, this is the holy grail of relationship sites. I never forget what it has done for me when I struggled with major assclownery and I keep coming back although it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I do read but often feel overwhelmed and tired (single mom, work full time, you get the picture) but I’m happy to report no assclown drama to speak of lately and I plan to keep it that way. I’m at a point now where I feel kind of at a cross roads in my life — do I TRY something unique and unusual to meet that special someone or do I continue to live my peaceful life with my little daughter? Do I care enough to try again because we know at 45, well, the odds aren’t great. Although I am a “work in progress,” I have done a lot of work on myself. I have been single for a number of years now and I feel I am ready to try a REAL relationship again. However, like many who have written here, I don’t have trouble spotting assclowns or their red flags. My problem is this: I have trouble MEETING men in general to give them a look and observe. Like I said, I’m 45. I’ve done okay in my past. I’m not bad looking. I take care of myself and my body. It’s not perfect but it isn’t BAD. I’ve been told by male friends that I am beautiful, lovely, even a hottie. And okay, I do my best not to do the frump. But I do wonder if it’s possible to even get a glance by someone who is actually NICE. It doesn’t seem to happen. And it isn’t like I don’t get out. Oh I get out — I have many friends and we do fun things. I do meetup stuff and I go out dancing, etc but I never meet anyone. I’ve tried the online thing but I had bad experiences (assclowns, married men coming on to me, young guys in early 20s wanting a cougar, VERY OLD guys who reminded me of my dad) I began to see that even though my profile was innocent enough (no low cut shirt shots or anything like that) I was being called on for possible “hook up” even though I wasn’t purposfully giving that message.

    And guys my age were either incompatible (they didn’t want to date woman with child, he smoked or lived far away) or he was simply not interested in me.

    I can’t even get eye contact with men at the grocery store, cafes, library, mall, restaurant, etc.

    I feel invisible. Do any of you feel invisible? Like Anon said earlier I think, sometimes, it’s just easier not to put yourself out there again and be treated like you’re only good for a sex hook up or worse yet not special or that you don’t exist.

    The journey continues. I do have love at home with my little girl but some day, love from that mature man that Wiser described would be sweet.

    • natashya says:

      it’s hard to make eye contact these days as everybody is being so important doing ‘things’ on their smart phone.

      i don’t know where to find nice men. i don’t go out enough but the few i have encountered recently were assclowns. at least i’m getting better at sniffing them out.

    • Wiser says:

      Jule, your heartfelt post really moved me. I am in exactly the same position. Your words could be my words. I also don’t know where to meet these good, mature men. I do the best I can, work on myself so I have something to bring to the table, pray, hope, be positive, get out in the world as much as possible, make the effort (including some online stuff, which hasn’t been too terrible so far) – then I have to relax and let this rest in the hands of God. It releases me from the burden that it’s up to me to figure it all out and “make something happen,” because I just don’t have the power to do that. I try to stay balanced between faith and action. One of my favorite sayings is “Pray for wind, but row to shore.” So I pray a lot and take action when I can, and that’s all I can do.

      Sounds like you are already taking action and doing what you can do, so give yourself some credit. Beyond that, everything is such a mystery. But that also means that anything can happen at any time! That’s an encouraging thought. Please stay hopeful and confident!

      • recoveringloveaddict says:

        Wiser, you are wise! Love this! I always say “Move in the direction of your prayer.”

    • 30Love says:

      Jule, you sound a lot like me. I’m also 45, and a single mother of 3 with a very demanding job. I go to the gym, spend time with my girlfriends, but since I still have younger kids, I didn’t really get out much to meet people or date. So, of course, I met my exEUM at work. Ugh! I was clueless! As a result, it took a lot of effort to extract myself from that situation, since I didn’t really have a social life to distract me, and I had plenty of time on my own after the kiddos’ bedtime to obsess and ruminate. After some time and reading BR, I finally got back to the point where I was feeling better about myself, and I just happened to meet a great guy playing tennis in my own neighborhood. At first, I was in shock, because he was so open and straightforward about his interest. But we’ve been dating for over 8 months now. I’ve met a few of his single friends who seem just as down to earth and genuine. Now, I kind of think the good guys are content to ‘fly under the radar,’ so to speak. The EUMs (he was not my first, I’m afraid) tend to come at you sideways, so they can make it look like it was an accident. The ACs? Well, we should be able to identify them circling, looking for a target. But I’m afraid I’m not good at it, so I tended to avoid the single scene and lived in dread of online dating. If things don’t work out in my current relationship, I think I will still limit my scope to friend and interest based connections. The pool is definitely smaller, but I think the odds might be actually be better.

      • Magnolia says:

        Jule, Wiser and 30Love,

        Thanks for your posts, because I feel similar (almost 40 and busy at work plus self-care stuff that takes a lot of time) but I have no children and so you’d think that would mean I have time/opportunity to get out more.

        I’m always inspired to come here and read of women who have the same questions as I do; it’s so much easier to read the strength in your ‘voices’ than it is to hear it in my own in times of doubt. Thanks for being there.

  54. Tired says:

    Ihave had a email today from ex mm . He saw me at shopping centre where i live by and he works close by . He asked how i was and informed me he had handed his notice in and doing his own valenting buisness . I havent replied . But i was on quite a high just getting on with life . Its nbrought me down as it makes me think hes moving on in life , going seperate ways etc . Yet im still a bit stuck in a emmotinal bog even though life is moving on . I took some satisfaction he was stuck in a miserable job . How can i let tjis bounce of me with a different way of thinking about it ?

    • jewells says:

      Tired,
      He’s fishing. Don’t let your ability to move on hang on his unhappiness. Detach, NC, don’t read his emails text messages or anything! He is no good. That’s all you need to know. I believe you are still stuck in the fantasy to some degree, hoping he’ll come round. He won’t. You have to come round to yourself. You can do it!

      • tired says:

        I didnt reply ,i deleted and git on with things . I rode the feeling out ,okay now:)

        • Peanut says:

          Tired,

          Glad you’re okay and weathered the storm. I too took great delight in entertaining my thoughts with my ex’s discomfort. In that I wanted his recycled (went back to an ex) relationship to fail and I wanted him to have a miserable time in his new city. It’s fading and I’m happier for it. Even when we wish them ill, they still win: it’s taking up mental energy that could be spent on our precious selves.

          • tired says:

            Yes ,its just reminded me the value of nc . What if id done the friendship bollocx and watched him carry on ? Id be a mess feeling not good enough . Thank god for sense and br . Not knowing givesyou a chance to heal and stops you performinglike a circus seal for their attention. A very timely reminder to stay away from his shallow self . If karma catches up it does .illbe long gone .

    • Grizelda says:

      Tired, you’ve made so much progress in the last few months. Everyone here has noticed. We don’t want to see you lose any ground.

      I have no idea what makes you say “he’s moving on in life”. He’s not moving on in life. He’s skulking around, tapping your ‘supply’ meter to see if there’s any supply left in your tank.

      You know where this will go if you respond to his email. He wants you to respond so that he can think “Ha. I knew it. I knew she was still attached to me. I’m irresistable, me.” He will congratulate himself for being the most charming man in the universe and then hit you with a blast of ice-cold arctic wind again. Because that’s what he does. That’s who he is.

    • Allison says:

      Tired,

      Why haven’t you blocked????

  55. lo j says:

    Jewels … When I was off on maternity leave with my second son, unmarried, a married Co worker wanted to take me to lunch. I hardly knew this man. Now as a pregnant woman, people are generous with food, attention, kindness, and I had been spoiled at my job for sure … But that one just set off my spidey senses big time … Though as a lactating woman without an income at the time free food sure was tempting … But I declined. :)

    • jewells says:

      I don’t think he’ll ask me again. I didn’t want to believe his intentions, even though in the past a guy I work with hinted at it, so it must have been obvious to others. But, I also know him well enough to know that he is harmless, plus I do have a black belt and everyone at work knows this and it’s my favorite empty threat :)

      • jewells says:

        Lo j, he must have thought that you being pregnant and unmarried would make you a viable target on many levels. Thank goodness you were not. But also think, if they want to pay for lunch, doesn’t mean that you then ‘owe’ them anything, even if ‘they’ think it does. But you are right, to avoid being plunked in the middle of an awkward situation, best decline the opportunity.

  56. Peanut says:

    I thought my ex and I were just two wounded souls made for each other. It was us against the world and our shitty, small minded town. The thing about those types of ‘us against the word’ dynamics, is that it’s bound to turn into ‘us against each other.’ My home town is limiting and my ex was planning on moving to a diffent city. I guess I saw it as my ticket out of here and that he knew everything about life and would take care of me.

    But….he was an alcoholic who wanted someone to take care of him. I guess we thought we needed each other. What we needed was to learn how to take care of ourselves outside of codependent relationships.

    That whole ‘our love is so unique’ bullshit could have hooked me for a lifetime had I not found BR. I remember reading ‘Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl’ and going, “Oh, shit that’s me.” “That’s us.”

  57. Lisa says:

    I thought things would be different this time around. I took him back after a year of not speaking. Then a month later, he had 2 deaths in his immediate family, which really affected him. I thought, if he is ever going to change, now is the time. And he did. For about a week.

    It ended 3 weeks ago. I was drunk and threw a drink on him in front of his friends. Now, he wants nothing to do with me even though 6 weeks ago, he was on the phone crying to me every night about the deaths.

    He definitely fits the classic definition of EUM/ Narc/ AC/ possible sociopath. He is 41 and still lives at home with his mother and teenage daughter, who undoubtedly is affected by his narcissism and will probably end up dating men exactly like him.

    He is also an alcoholic/workaholic. His doctor told him recently he will be dead in 2 years if he doesn’t quit drinking and start eating right. He doesn’t care. His words “we are all going to die anyway, so I’m going to live my life for myself.”

    We work together and have many mutual friends (but they have known him longer and are much closer to him). I went off on one because he had her tell me to stop texting him. I told her not to talk to me anymore, as she has no idea what’s going on and to stay out of the relationship. Btw, they all sided with him in the matter saying he didn’t deserve the drink. They’re right. He deserved much worse.

    I’m proud that my drunk self doesn’t tolerate the bad behavior and bs. If only my sober self could say the same.

    • McKenzieM says:

      Lisa, I have to say that I’m kind of jealous you got to throw a drink on him! I kind of wish I could do that to the EUAC. He and I also work together and have a ton of mutual friends that are much closer to him/were his friends first, but they also know he can be a Grade A douchebag, so I’ve no doubt that if they knew what went down, they’d side with me. I just don’t want to tell them.

      Go NC and don’t look back. Good luck with your situation.

  58. Bob72 says:

    Haven’t written anything in awhile now, but I really enjoyed reading this post and all the comments on this strand of thought. It really made me stop and think of how much better I feel than when I first stumbled on this site months ago now.

    Men, women, it just really doesnt make much difference – people get blindsided all the time and feel like the world as we know it has ceased to exist. Certain types of people, sensitive and “deeper” ones, dig a little deeper and try to find answers.. and stop there once they feel that they have enough information to blame whatever happened on the other party and call it a day. People who really have a life changing experience look the deepest – and turn their thoughts inward – and see both the other party and more importantly the DYNAMIC, and the part they play in it. These people are changed forever, even if the rest of their lives they have to practice getting it right. This site is immeasurable, and I am so glad I fell again in my life so I could stumble here and really see for once that things arent just dumb luck, and that I am not alone and had the worlds worst relationship disaster that there will be no recovery from.

    My story is EXACTLY like Natashyas, except I am a guy lol… and I believe were even both the same age. That alone gave me the most stability I had in months before I ended up here. Then reading the posts… the comments you all made that basically told me to get my head out of my ass and quit seeing the fairytale part of the relationship and look at the ugly truth (which I didnt let go of for a long long time)… slowly starting to see that every single thing that happened that I thought was so unbelievable and unique had happened to soooo many other people in EXACTLY the same fashion. The over the top attraction, the claim that we are soulmates and she never believed in them until me, the asking me to move in (thank God I asked her to wait), the talk of marriage, meeting the kids and family so quickly… Me being awestruck and stunned at how this all fell apart so quickly, and everyone here awestruck and stunned that I dont know what happened lol

    The future faking… check. The fast forwarding.. check. Even beyond that once I learned more from here, the narc personality.. check (total lack of empathy for anyone, self centered, meeting perceived criticsm or affronts to her carefully crafted persona with extreme rage or anger – when I called her out on seeing other people I saw an angry side of her I never saw fully the whole time we were together). Was she an assclown?? No, she wasnt. Was she EU?? totally, completely, utterly. Just like most of the other peoples stories.

    More importantly than why an obviously doomed relationship went south, so dramatically in my unseeing and untrained eyes, are the things I have been doing my whole life that put me into these situations over and over. Living in fantasy and downplaying inconvenient realities.. check. Betting on potential… check. Hanging on words even though actions dont match up.. check. Being over empathetic to others and not yourself… check. Letting your self esteem dwindle to nothing using it as fuel to launch an iffy partner into the stratosphere above you.. check. shrinking your own world to pump up someone elses.. check. I do ALL this, have done it all my life.. and its part of a passive aggressive unconcious scheme to give to someone, anyone who shows me interest, until the scales finally tip in my favor and I get what I need from the relationship – the feeling of being loved.

    Its taken me 40 years to figure out real, lasting, loving, true relationships are grown naturally and dont have to be constructed like a project. 40 years to learn that sometimes things are just not going to work out just because someone has the hots for you, and you need to suck it up and flush if it doesnt fit in the boundaries and values you ALREADY HAVE. 40 years to learn that people dont change because you want them to – they change when they have their soul breaking moment, and see past it. 40 years to see that I am not the only one…

    Thanks Natalie.. thanks all of you… I am so glad I am making it through for real this time. Its different, and a whole lot harder and more hurtful and heartbreaking, but its real. Ive never given anyone up or given up on anyone before, and I finally see that is how it is supposed to be if you are truly a person living your values. Im in a different place, and its a great feeling. Anyone reading this and needing hope – you will get there too. It will be the hardest thing you ever had to do, but you can do it if you really want to.

    • beth d says:

      Bob as a female who has many male friends I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t matter what sex you are to get into these predicaments. Great post!

    • Peanut says:

      Bob72,

      Your post brought me to tears! You are right, it’s not a man vs. woman thing. Emotional unavailability transcends gender.

      And change does not come easy. It took an unfathomable amount of pain, and so many mistakes before I began to truly look at myself.

      You are an inspiration. Onwards.

    • Lois Lane says:

      Thank you Bob. That was beautifully written.

    • Revolution says:

      Bob,

      I just have to say that I always enjoy reading your comments. They are very well-thought out, insightful, and strengthening to me. Thank you. And congratulations on your very obvious growth and healing. Health and success to you!

  59. Jolene says:

    I met someone online almost 2 years ago, we have spent MANY hours on the phone communicating each day, getting really close, a LOT of laughing, BUT both saying its just friendship. I did long distance before, that man was unavailable as I am now being real with myself of what went wrong (it was wrong from the beginning lol), and I insisted never again! Anyways now I am finally realizing with this man that although I always say we are just friends, my heart has always been way more involved than I ever cared to admit…. however I am not only the one to blame. He even had one of his other lady friends call me to to tell me she was jealous of his affections for me, and how much he cares about me…. yea, slick move huh. Anyways lately I have been really angry with him, listening to him be in complete denial of the way he strings women along has become too much. I decided to search for the REAL issue. Why was I letting this man have so much power over my emotions? I had glanced at this book before but put it down in denial, NOPE thats not me (lol)…ready now to pick it up I started to read and WHAM! it all hit me. So now that I have been hit with this insight, no matter how much BS a man feeds me, it is up to me to be true to myself. I am NOT his girlfriend, no matter what he tells me, I have a choice to believe who I am… and the title of his girlfriend does not apply to me. That truth has set me free of my anger and given me the ability to love and better myself for ME. I am worth it.

  60. Wise ol owl says:

    Grizelda,

    Thanks for sharing that dreadful date. The beauty part is that because of BR, we are able to opt out a hell of a lot quicker saving us time, energy and sanity. I recently had to opt out of a female friendship as the woman was driving me mad. She works with me and was always going out of her way to be in my area, calling me before work at 5:30 am, ya know, just to chat (!) and then calling me in the evening again to chat. I asked her to stop many times, but she kept on. I finally got really curt with her and told her to refrain from doing it because I just didn’t have the time. She is married with a small child at home and wanted to chat while her baby cried in the background. I would tell her, “I think you should go tend to your baby.” Her response was, “No, my husband’s got her, this is MY time.” I finally had to cut her out of my life, we are cordial at work, but it was truly making me miserable. My mistakes were many, but the main one is this, nip it in the bud when it first happens and cut it off, save yourself a nightmare. Thanks all!

  61. sumpingrey says:

    Thanks Natalie. Each and every time I fall into the trap of memories (and we created some awesome memories together…) and ignore harsh reality – he is with someone else and doesn’t really want me except in the dog-in-a-manger sort of way…I come to your site so I can find the courage to face another day at work and life. Thanks. Keep writing.

  62. Lucy says:

    I actually tried to tell my friend what this post conveys in order to reassure her but she didn’t want to hear it and is currently ever so slightly off with me. I think some people thrive on a victim complex.

    • Peanut says:

      Lucy,

      I got a heavy dose of reality that some women do not care to get better, don’t want the truth and will continue in the drama no matter what you throw their way. Even if it’s a loving, caring, well intended toss. I realized I had to focus on me getting better and that means letting go of the hope my friends, family and even enemies will think BR is as fabulous as I do! Onwards ;)

      • Lucy says:

        Thanks! You are right. I think my fixer personality can be a bit grating even if I’m trying to help. I just don’t want anyone to feel bad on my account. And I’ve learnt recently that some people don’t want advice.

  63. Lilian Lauderdale says:

    I haven’t posted here in a really long time. I have been struggling to come to terms with the fact that I was in a situation that was not unique and that I kept hoping to all ends of earth was special. To recap briefly, I met a guy two years ago at work. We were both getting out of really bad relationships and became friends. He told me he was separated from his wife and all the things I was looking for in a relationship were what he was looking for as well (what a coincidence…I know). Fast forward with the future faker about 4-6 months and turns out he is going back to his wife because she is threatening to take away everything from him and he has to figure out a way to get out without losing everything. I bought it! All of it! And stuck around waiting…hoping…dying. He would call with stories of turmoil and disparity of how bad things are and how much he loves and misses me. I was slowly dying on the vine, my self esteem was in the gutter, I went into extreme analysis paralysis and basically have felt insanely crazy over the last year from all the hot and cold, blaming me for everything, calling me abusive and controlling because I asked for answers and outright gas lighting.

    Well last week he told me he had to go on a business trip (we work at the same company) that was last minute and we wouldn’t be able to hang out for his birthday. He claimed he was dreading the trip and for me to please be understanding of how stressful the trip will be. Turns out he is in Hawaii for 8 days on his second honeymoon with the “horrendous, abusive wife he just can’t get rid of.” I am sick to my stomach and in total shock. I take full responsibility that I didn’t get out earlier and allowed my boundaries to be abused, stomped on and disrespected. I really do get it. But it doesn’t make this any less painful. I’m disgusted that I allowed myself to be lied to for so long and that an individual is capable of bulldozing and destroying anyone in his path to get what he wants.

    Apparently it is also my fault he had to lie about where he was going – because I just couldn’t handle the truth and would just want to argue with him about it and he didn’t want to argue.

    I now have since found out that there are numerous weekends where he would call me saying how sick he is and had to rest and didn’t have anyone to take care of him – turns out he was out of town at his vacation home.

    I really let myself be fooled and now am left picking up the pieces of two years of soul destroying behavior. I’m so scared of what’s next and sick over what has happened.

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh Lillian, I am so sorry for the hurt and anguish you must be experiencing. I remember you from a while back. I don’t mean to diminish your pain in any regard and want to share a similar experience with the exMM. 5 months after the affair started, he reported that he would be gone for 10 days on a cruise with his wife. He didn’t tell me until the last minute and was filled with dread as well. According to him, he was only staying married until the youngest left for college and it was really just a business arrangement. A year later, I found out it was a celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. Yup, he was on a 10 cruise celebrating his marriage with his wife who was really just a business partner! Oh yeah, the calls of despair about how miserable he was were a regular thing. Come to find out, he was in the desert in a hotel room with his wife. The reason he didn’t tell me that he and his wife were going out of town for the weekend…wait for it…because I would get mad and he didn’t want to argue. Thus, it was my fault he lied. Christ, I’m aghast at how non-unique my situation was. Arrgh, I remember how I felt.

      Please don’t be scared of what is next. If you go NC, cut the lying MM out of your life, and stick with Natalie and BR, there are some really wonderful things ahead for you. It’s difficult at first but well worth the anguish. I got so low and sick of being the OW being NC actually felt good. It’s painful to realize you’ve been used and painful to realize that you aren’t alone. It would have been way worse for me if I was still sitting at home while he was out cruising with his wife. You’ve got to cut your losses now. I did the two-year OW stint and I’ve been out now for two years thanks to Natalie and BR. It is much better not being an OW. Try not to spend too much time beating yourself up. I spent about a year doing it, shifting from blaming me to blaming him. NC his lying, cheating ass ASAP and spend your time reading BR and getting to the bottom of why you ended up in the situation.
      Boy lying, cheating MM’s really piss me off. Natalie has some fantastic posts on cheaters. Have you read Mr. U and the FBG? Although you may not want to hear it now, things are actually looking up for you! No more dying on the vine! I hope you will continue to post…I’ll be following and sending you strength. Sorry though. Your situation isn’t unique.

      • Lilian Lauderdale says:

        Thanks so much runnergirl for sharing your story. It’s amazing how these MM ACs are all the same with the same exact story! As soon as he found out I knew he blocked me from all social media – which at that point didn’t matter. I knew enough. I gave him a couple chances to talk and he continued to bulldoze me and blame me and he even said at one point, let’s just talk about this when I get back. I have since blocked his calls and texts through my cell phone company. I’m now realizing the permanency of this action and even feel guilty over acting so extreme (I know). I believe he’ll never try contacting me again but I guess I’ll find out once he gets back. I’m still getting over the shock of the extent of the lies and moving past the gut wrenching images in my head of him enjoying himself on vacation while I deal with this fallout and heartache. It’s truly unbelievable how incapable he is of empathy or any feelings at all. Thanks again. I’m trying to stay strong. Xo

        • jewells says:

          I think in their head it’s harmless. They are just using words to get what they want and it’s just a game. I see them akin to the types that roofie women in bars. It’s the same mentality, they only want what they want, don’t care about the fallout for the women involved, they are covert aggressors doing covert violence and control of women. They are NOT lovers of women, in fact they completely lack respect for women. We have to respect ourselves so not to wind up in their clutches ever again. Word.

        • runnergirl says:

          Lillian,
          Good for you for blocking and deleting him. It isn’t extreme. It is the only way out for you. Yeah, recognition of the depth of the lies was heart wrenching for me too. I truly believed that when I asked him to always tell me the truth, he did. It’s akin to asking a burglar to always tell me before they steal my stuff. Try to stay as grounded as possible and remember, he is a cheater and a liar. Thus, for all you know, he could be on vaca with his wife and texting another woman, not you or his wife. That scenario has been reported on BR numerous times as well. OW’s who find out they were actually the OOW. Very sad but once again not unique. Hang in there with NC. Remember, you are not that woman anymore.

  64. Peanut says:

    I just got a hard dose of how ‘unique’ my last dalliance was not. I basically dated an identikit of my father.

    My father is incapable of empathy and thinks the world is against him. My ex is the same. They both have this uncanny way of turning the blame right around to the women in their lives.

    I thought they’d change. I held out on the hope. I was lucky I wasn’t holding my breath. These men will go on being who they are because, well, that’s who they are.

    I remember being five and questioning everything and crying over the suffering of animals. Here I am an adult woman, questioning everything and deeply concerned with animals. We are who we are. Don’t get me wrong we can change. But it must be on our own accord and there is usually a heap load of work involved.

    There is so much work involved in changing that it only makes sense to do it for ourselves.

    Sure it sounds great, I guess, that someone with serious unloaded baggage would set it all down and come running into our arms squeaky clean and ready to love us unconditionally and romp around in a field of daises.

    Field or no field, life goes on. No one escapes it; we all face the drudgeries of life whether we want to or not, and it’s just plain miserable to be with someone who offloads theirs onto you.

  65. Still Standing says:

    This is my first time sharing my story, but after having read so many of NL posts and comments, I have decided to share my story as I thought it was unique. After having not dated in years, I decided to get back in the game and met this 33 yo AC and i was 35. We dated for 5 years. Early on in our relationship he would run hot and cold but i didn’t understand at the time that was a red flag. He would go out and have great times and travel all over the country. He was a breath of fresh air as I felt my life was sort of boring. Because I was having this good time, I overlooked that his words and actions did not match. Well in 2012 we decided that we wanted to get married and set a dated for March 16, 2013. Then I started noticing that he was angry alot and would rage at the smallest of things. I also started noticing how he would make everything my fault. He took responsibility for nothing. I started putting down deposits on wedding related items. He never offered to help but promised he would. At the time we decided to get married, he had not given me a ring but he said he was saving for it, but when I asked how he was progressing he would fly into a rage simply because I asked about the ring. I tolerated much of his emotional outbursts because I felt sorry for him. He was a caretaker for his elderly father who has alzheimers and I understood that was stressful. So, I betted on potential that things would get better but they did not. Dec.2012 I went home so my family could continue to help me prepare for the wedding. He wanted me to come home withi him instead. I declined. Then my world crashed. HE sent me a text during the holidays breakin up with me because I did not go home with him and other bogus excuses. I feel devasted. People look at me and wonder how I allowed an individual like him in my life. I am intelligent, very attractivem, and kind hearted woman. I feel used and stuck. I have no closure. I do not understand how u can spend 5 years with someone and they can walk out of your life just like that. He was more of a father figure in my now 13 year old son’s life than his real father and he abandoned us both. My family purchased their flights to our destination wedding, so they lost their money too. Now, my wedding date is fast approaching and although I have been NC, I am feeling the anxiety setting in again. Although I do not want to have anything to ever do with him again, I do believe I am entititled to my money back from a wedding that will not take place and he conveniently never purchased my ring. Should I send an itemized bill for reimbursement? How do I get closure? How do I get unstuck? I feel so guilty that I accepted less than I deserve and waste 5 years of my life and now I am 40 trying to start all over again. I know i should be happy but right now I wake every moring with a feeling of heaviness. To make matters worse, I now realize he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. And if you understand that mental illness, you understand how my spirit feels broken.

    • Peanut says:

      Oh, Still Standing, a million hugs to you. Really, I get this. And I am so sorry.

      It’s becoming ever so blatantly clear that my father also suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (though it mainly if not totally appears that everyone around him suffers).

      It got to be too much. I was dying inside and he felt nothing for or toward me as his own child. He is also a dangerous man. I had to cut contact. It was the hardest thing I’ve had to to (I cut contact with my ex around the same time).

      Here’s what worked for me (keep in mind I’m still not totally out of the clear, but I am getting there):

      I read Natalie’s books. All of them. I found a reputable, ethical and very effective therapist (I did have to do a bit of searching and went in asking questions to make sure I was comfortable before proceeding), I dealt with my codependency and addiction to my ex by reading informative books on the subject, I journaled like crazy, I joined a support group, I signed up for a couple of Natalie’s classes, I consistently read and comment on Natalie’s blogs,I researched again to find effective, ethical hypnosis, and I research narcissism so that I stay educated and in reality.

      I know it sounds like a lot. But remember this:

      How much energy has gone into suffering for this man? You must match that and then some to heal.

      YOU CAN DO IT.

      If I can, you can. I was the biggest mess ever. I wouldn’t have been surprised had I been institutionalized, I was so bereft. You will get through this if you want to. You are worth it.

      • Still standing says:

        Thanks for the advice Peanut. You’re right I have spent a lot of my energy suffering. I am not against therapy, reading self-help books,etc. but I didn’t need those things before him and now I do. It doesn’t seem fair or right. How does one person come in your life and cause so much damage. I honestly did not know I was inn love with the potential or illusion of what could be instead of what was. The hardest part for me is acceptance. I really don’t want to accept that this person I was with could do this to me after 5 years. I guess I don’t want to admit I made a mistake and brought this monster in our lives. I do believe in a Higher Power and so I have been praying more and working on forgiveness. I have to forgive myself first. And I also read a lot of NL blogs too which have been helpful. My self esteem and self worth has been affected by being in a relationship that deep down inside was unfulfilling but I convinced myself that the crumbs were a loaf and he was the best I would ever get. Now I know better. Life’s a journey and I’m working on moving on and to stop hurting.

      • Lilian Lauderdale says:

        Still Standing – I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. While the unfolding of my story is completely different the reality is the same. It is so difficult for me who is capable of truly having feelings for someone to comprehend how the person I loved and cherished would say the same in return but actually have no real feelings to back it up. The hardest part for me to swallow is how a person can literally crush me with intentional actions and lies and not have any remorse. I would never want to hurt the people I love nor do I want to see them in pain. When these ACs walk away they dust off their hands and move on like nothing has happened. It makes my heart feel heavy and my stomach sick.

        If you can afford to take care of the wedding deposits yourself I would suggest not engaging with this man ever again. He is an adult and HE KNOWS he should be helping with, if not taking on the full responsibility of the costs of canceling the plans. He is cruel. And I would rather not see you give him the room to hurt you even more.

        Take care.

    • Bob72 says:

      Peanut is right… I know it hurts believe me I do, actually everyone here does. Do all those things she said – I did all of them too and it does help slowly but surely. Know in your heart even though you won’t truly feel it for awhile that this is the best possible thing that could happen to you in this situation – thank God you didn’t get married!!! Don’t look for him to pay you back or anything else either… its over, let it go and chalk it up as a loss and learning experience. Just let him go.. if he was so eager to get out of your life and run away from his “sounded great at the time” promises he isn’t deserving of you. Do your damndest not to have any contact with him, heal your poor heart, and learn everything you can from this experience. You are only 40 – I am too – life isn’t over and maybe now you have all the skills you finally need to be in a good, wonderful, loving, real realtionship this next time around. There will be a next time too, never doubt that.

      I felt your pain… yeah mine was only 8 months but I was totally sucked in even though my gut told me the whole time something wasnt right. I was all in.. sold my furniture because we didnt need it since I would be moving in with her.. moved most of my other things into her house… took over some of the bills to help her out in the meantime.. gave money for groceries and other things.. helped with medical bills and whatever else I could… hugged and kissed her little girls goodnight.. changed diapers… babysat.. everything I could do to work towards her supposed dream of us being together a reality. Then within the span of two weeks it was gone. I was out ALOT of money, had nothing left in my townhouse except a bed, small couch, and TV, and worst of all she would not give me the time of day after the day we broke up, all the while saying she didnt know what she would do without me at least being a friend in her life and that if she can get herself back together maybe we can try again someday, that she just couldnt be in a relationship right now. I hung on for another month, trying to be a friend even though it was killing me and taking what little self esteem I had left away, reaching out to her here and there and being met with nothing but coldness and disdain or indifference. Not even a month earlier telling me I was the love of her life and her begging me to please stay with her through it!! I never felt so low or rejected in my life. Finally I let go completely, even though just on the outside and not in my heart. I couldnt keep reaching out to someone and hanging around to see if she changed her mind when it was so obvious she had already moved on and was glad to be away from me. She was not looking back, no matter what she said about us, and I was not going to let myself be stuck in park forever…

      You will get there too… keep moving forward, on your own. Leave him where he is and build your life back up as you want it. You will find a good man when you are ready, and if you keep all the lessons you have learned close. You wont be fooled again. And if you are with someone who just changes their mind you will be confident enough to know they werent it and theres better for you.

      You can do it.. you are better off believe it

      • Lilian Lauderdale says:

        How do I learn to trust again when people can just “change their mind” in a heartbeat and decide they actually care nothing about me after all – while I am left in excruciating pain? This is what is the hardest part for me…sitting with all this pain and heaviness inside me. It feels unbearable.

  66. Still standing says:

    Hugs and kisses to you all. Your words of encouragement is what I need. It’s hard sometimes to talk to your family and friends. If you guys can make it through so can I. Although I am out of thousands of dollars I will remain NC. There are valuable lessons I have learned. The biggest one is to trust your gut. I felt something wasn’t right. I was constantly having stomach issues and nightmares. And now that he is gone I know longer experience either one of those issues. Right now I’m feeling a lil bruised but I’m working on believing that I will one day enjoy a healthy relationship. In the meantime, I’m trying to rediscover who I am and create the life and person I deserve and meant to have. I know each one of you have your own story and we often don’t understand why we go through things but please know your words have inspired me. Thank you soo much.

  67. I read this post. Then re-read it and read all the comments.

    Somehow my situation still feels unique. Sure, many people have been cheated on and abused, but I haven’t met anyone (on this site or otherwise) who had their heart completely broken by the first person they kissed and had a relationship with.

    I was in a relationship with a guy for a year and we spent literally 24 hours a day together. I cut out all my friends because he would get mad if I went off with other people instead of spending time with him, and I actually wanted to be with him rather than anyone else.

    However, I didn’t feel like I was ready to sleep with him yet and told him so.

    He seemed perfect in every way (and I feel like he still is, apart from the cheating and abuse). But when I was on holiday with my family over the summer he hooked up with a lot of different girls, while continuing to send me “I’m so in love with you and miss you like crazy” messages. I felt sick knowing what he was doing and I could barely eat for a month. I lost weight like crazy and went down to 39kg (I am 5feet5inches).

    I eventually confronted him a few days after my birthday and he admitted it all.

    Since then I tried NC, but kept giving him chances to prove himself. It didn’t work and finally I went NC properly in Dec (though it broke in Feb when we ran into each other).

    I have now restarted NC, but feel like I missed out on the best opportunity at love in my life and it won’t come around again. My story still feels unique because of the complete hopelessness for the future after the first time of having my heart completely shattered.

    I aim to just keep reading baggage reclaim (I can’t write/read “BR” because those were his initials) and hoping for the best.

    • grace says:

      Wish
      He’s a bog standard, nothing special AC.
      Normal rules apply. You saying he’s perfect made me laugh. It’s like this:
      This house would be perfect if it had a roof and some walls.
      This job would be perfect if they remembered to pay me.
      This million dollars would be perfect if it wasn’t counterfeit.
      Some things you just have to have. Without fidelity and trust it can never be good enough (no such thing as a perfect person or relationship).
      Neither is this your only or best relationship. I’d bet my house on it.
      What becomes of the brokenhearted? I broke my first boyfriend’s heart by cheating on him and dumping him. For seven years he continued to love me. He’s long married now with three children, and is a millionaire. Life goes on.
      Don’t wait seven years though.

  68. I fell for it says:

    Reading these articles and replys has been eye opening for me. I was involved with a married former co-worker for the past 10 months. I enjoyed talking with him while we worked together and several months after he left there, he texted me. He said he considered me a friend and it went from there. He told me how unhappy he was in his marriage, that he never loved her and only got married to have a place to live. I met him 4 times where he was working last summer. Then he changed jobs and I haven’t seen him in 6 months. During 2 of those 6 months he didn’t contact me. After he got in touch again he told me he was leaving his wife as soon as “he got his ducks in a row.” He has only called me 2 or 3 times…almost all of our contact was by text. We planned to meet 3 different times and 2 of these times he texted at the last minute with an excuse why he couldn’t meet me. The last time there wasn’t even an excuse….just “can’t escape-sorry.” That was all I could handle. I broke it off.

    I am divorced and hadn’t dated in 15 years because I knew that my “picker” was off and I always fell for the wrong man. I thought after 15 years I knew what to look for. He flattered me and made me feel like we would be together eventually. He told me he would do things which he never did. One day he told me he was mine. When he texted that is when I started waking from the fog. He wasn’t mine, he was still with his wife, and he didn’t make time to see me….not even 5 minutes. There were so many red flags in this relationship. I’m not sure what took so long to finally end it. But I did and afterward I felt like my life had ended…what if he had truly meant the things he said. I am 57 years old; what if I had thrown away the last chance I have to have a loving relationship.

    Then I found BR. It has reinforced what I already knew. Thanks for sharing your stories. I don’t feel alone in my sadness and confusion. We have to learn from our mistakes and go on. We can’t let them win.

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