I’m turning 35 on Saturday (I feel very grown up all of sudden if not slightly panicky that my thirties are going by at high speed) and as I’m regularly asked by readers to share ‘rules’ or ‘principles’ I live by in my own life to continue growing my self-esteem and being happy, I thought it was a rather apt time to share my ‘personal commandments’ – these are guiding principles that I live by that help me to live by my boundaries and values, help guide me to personal growth, and keep my life low drama.

Be myself. It really isn’t all that bad being me. It’s great actually as at least I know which way is up and when I do adapt, I’m not doing it based on false information. The worst times in my life have been when I’ve tried to be who I think others want me to be and when I’ve pretended to be happier than I feel. Being myself also means that by developing boundaries and values, I have my own distinct identity instead of identifying myself as the person who is the daughter with a father who is X and a mother who is Y. Or identifying based on my work or how liked I am by others or whatever. Basically my identity is no longer displaced in others which means my whole world isn’t about to come crashing down if I experience ‘rejection’ in any of these areas. Be you.

Listen to me. I have spent a year practicing to listen with patience and compassion to my own thoughts and body after struggling with tinnitus and vertigo. Listen to you.

Passive aggression is a no-no. I’ve found that I can deal with NO or even ‘rejection’ but what will do me in is the whole actions not matching words and trying to get me to guess without that person putting themselves out. I know exactly who is passive aggressive in my life and I try to keep its impact on me to a minimum. Recognising passive aggression has actually helped me to overcome my fear of conflict because I just can’t bear the indirectness plus it’s also helped me to see that people really have their own issues and conflicts and it really isn’t about me. Cut the passive aggression.

Don’t fear NO. Is it a pain in the bum? Yes sometimes, but at least I know where I stand plus I have less and less of a problem saying NO because if I don’t, I drown in Overdoing It Central. If I didn’t say NO but really wanted to, I’d end up being passive aggressive and showing it in other ways and I don’t like it being done to me, so I don’t fear NO even though it may bring conflict. Don’t fear NO

I live by the I Don’t Give A F Principle. It doesn’t mean that I don’t give a hoot about anything but I can tell you, I don’t lose sleep over not being liked especially as it’s most likely to happen with people I don’t know, value, care about or respect, so why go there? I can’t be liked by everyone, I can’t please everyone and I can’t torture myself over so-called ‘ideals’ of what being a woman is ‘supposed’ to mean or look like. I also don’t run around telling people about themselves because guess what? I wouldn’t like it being done to me. Stop trying to be liked by ‘everyone’ and focus on being liked by you.

Own my own and let others own theirs. This leaves me free to be responsible and accountable. I refuse to take the blame for Other People’s Behaviour and I don’t get caught up in projection. This has been at its most beneficial with family but it’s also helped me make peace with my old relationships because I could get on with addressing what I could control, me, instead of absorbing the blame for ‘everything’ and feeling victimised by my own thought process. Own your own and let others own theirs.

I’m practicing gratitude. I can moan for England, something I’ve noticed recently. I’ve decided to cut down the habit – *cough* from tomorrow because Nia has played me up something else while we’ve been here in Amsterdam! Yeah moaning makes for some entertaining conversations, but it makes an actual good day look bad, or clouds out even the smallest of good, and actually, recognising even the small things can dramatically change a perspective. I’m so glad that my life has changed so much over the past 7 years but I have found myself having a need to practice being present and to even just pause and take in what’s around me. Find a couple of things to appreciate each day – we spend too much time thinking about what we don’t have. Practice gratitude.

No selling myself short – I must be proud of me and associated with my achievements. This is something recent as well and I’ve found that many of my female friends and readers are disassociated from their achievements as well. We don’t shout about what we do, we hide our lights under our bushels, and we seek perfection and are our harshest critics. I get emails and phone calls from people (as in friends, acquaintances etc) going “Er, I had no idea that you write Baggage Reclaim” or “Oh my God! I have a friend crying here in my house with a book with your name on it! WTF?” I appreciate every expression of gratitude, the big squeezy hugs from readers, the recommendations, yet, I still get nervous every time I press publish and it’s taken me 34 years to realise it (jays us I’m feckin 35 on Saturday) but I have to tame the perfectionist in me and breathe. I also have to learn to make more noise about myself. No selling yourself short.

If I can say it behind your back, I can say it to your face. I’ve lived by this for a several years now, particularly because I work primarily online, where truth be told, some people are not what they portray themselves as and they do a lot of talking out of their bottoms. I don’t mind a gossip, but actually I don’t do much of it. I don’t write things online that I can’t say to someone’s face, I don’t get involved in the bitchiness and ganging up, I don’t post my business up on Facebook or live on there, and I don’t get into slanging matches. I’m the same ‘in real life’ so it spares me a lot of drama. Be honest with respect and take the chit-chat out from behind closed doors.

I’m on a low bullshit diet. I‘m not good with fluff or lies. It’s not that I need my life to be straight no chaser, it’s just that if I engage in denial, rationalising, minimising, assumptions that haven’t been sanity checked and excuse making, I’ll be a very unhappy person and I can’t pander to other people’s BS either. Keep the BS low.

Laugh a lot. I can laugh about a lot of the things that in the past used to tear at my soul. It’s good to find the humour in life. I’m not ignoring any feelings or playing down anything, it’s just that sometimes, when you see things for what they are without putting yourself in the centre of it, they can be very funny. I don’t take myself too seriously and if I’m not laughing that much, I know that I need to chill out. If you’re not laughing, you’re not living enough.

Your thoughts? What are your personal commandments? If you don’t have any but would like to, based on your experiences and wanting to grow positively, what will yours be?

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135 Responses to Be Myself, Don’t Fear NO, Passive Aggression Is a No-No & Other Personal Commandments I Live By

  1. Magnolia says:

    35!! A spring chicklet, you. With SO much to show for your time on the planet: lots of experiences, lots of learning, lots of love. And lots of benefits for all of us because of it.

    I like your commandments: “Be me” is one I really have done a lot of headbanging trying to figure out. You emphasized “be you” in your New Year’s video and I think you’ve said it to me directly more than once. I’m like, what the eff am I if I’m not being me already? What are people saying when they say “be you”!? How can I not be being me, and what am I doing wrong if I’m somehow not being what I am? It’s like a question from Alice in Wonderland!

    The journey of trying to answer that question has been so productive. Though I think I can begin to say I know what “be me” means to me, now, it’s a very personal thing and one has to “know oneself” first before one can even judge what’s “me” and what isn’t. For example, is anticipating that I won’t like the small town I’m moving to – is that “knowing myself” or is that trying to be someone bigger, better, etc? I guess “being me” means not trying to label what is or isn’t me and just BE. Just stay open and discover. The best part of this advice has been to understand that my values, i.e. what I like and what makes me happy, and what my boundaries are, is the map of “me.”

    And, word: I give up on the guessing game involved in passive aggression!! Are those dishes that have sat in the sink for almost a week a message that is a package deal with asking me to not make a mess while I pack to move? I. give. up.!!!!! I must laugh, really! I’m trying to not even gossip in my own head because the tension of thinking one thing and trying to act another is just too much crap. I’ve been catching myself assuming the worst about people, bitching about them internally, and just correcting myself with “Live and let live.” I feel like less of a bitch – so it’s a positive for me and for whomever!

    Yes to the owning our achievements and enjoying them! No to the bullshit! And a considered and deep yes to the listening to oneself. An empowering post.

  2. Sheila S. says:

    Great points– as we should all follow these. Learning what passive aggressive (PA) meant was a huge turn in my life. Now that I can recognize the behavior, I avoid the PA types as much as I can!

    I’m still trying to acquire the “I don’t give an F attitude,” since as a woman, we are conditioned by society to play the nice girl. If you say “no,” and state your opinion (and it’s not agreeable), or you don’t “kiss up” to people, they quickly slap you with the “b-word.” It’s hard to change old habits, but yes, I’m definitely ready to like ME instead of worry if THEY like me.

  3. Joy Whitman says:

    I stinkin’ luv this woman and I hope to live my life more like how she does hers.
    I learn so much from this woman and her posts.

  4. Kerry says:

    Nat, I love your list. I’ve learned a couple more commandments in the last year:

    1. Choose your confidantes wisely. Not everybody is going to give you proper empathy. In fact, they might just make you feel ashamed for sharing. As well, a lot of people don’t have good enough boundaries to be offering advice. Their view of the world may be muddled, and their viewpoint may only further muddle yours. If you need an ear, choose a healthy, solid, confident and empathetic person you can rely on. Not everyone is worthy of being a sounding board.

    2. Trust your gut. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Don’t over analyze and intellectualize everything, because you’ll just second guess yourself and down the rabbit hole you go. If someone makes you feel bad, then that’s all the information you need. Even if you’ve jumped into a relationship and think you’ve established trust, if the picture suddenly goes crooked on you, that’s your instincts telling you something. Back away.

    • Sheila S. says:

      @Kerry: OMG, so hit the nail with “choose your confidants wisely.” I’ve made the mistake numerous times with sharing drama in my life with negative creeps, and let me tell you, there’s a difference between constructive criticism, and just being critical. My “wrong” confidant always tears me down even more when I admit my mistakes. The good ones offer words of wisdom and positive reinforcement that I can learn from. It really does matter who you vent to.

  5. Shy says:

    This was AWESOME Natalie! I’m starting my low bullshit diet right NOW! Its amazing that God has shut down all the men I’ve met this year. He’s like “nope, nope not him, nope not him either”… Lol. He’s not allowing them to get close whatsoever. Obviously, they’re not IT! All of them have shown signs of [passive aggressiveness]. Saying one thing, showing the opposite. I’ve even gave second and third chances and they fail. I hate hypocrisy, lies, and and disappointments though the world is full of it. But I’ve had enough! Thankfully and gratefully, I’m not losing anything to these jerks but time. Most don’t even get past 2 weeks before showing their colors. I’m trying to date again after having my heart broken several months ago but these fools are a mess. I know my one is out there somewhere. Lord knows I’m waiting for him. Thanks Natalie!

  6. healthyheart says:

    It is funny that you you are feeling it fly by now. I can tell you the ride becomes very fast from here on out. It is hard to grasp how quickly time passes. When we are young it seems to drag abit. But now, yes indeed you are very grown up :).
    As uncomfortable as the panic is…’s nice to know you are normal! Happy, Happy Birthday

  7. Annie says:

    Happy Birthday xxx

  8. Awakened says:

    @Shy no not him he’s not it either!! funny but TRUTH!! God definitely give us all the answers in when some one is not right fit for us. I We just fail to recognize it at times when we should be thankful. my commandments are Committment ; consistency; and balance… The next Man will certainly have to match my intellectual; emotional; physical and spiritual needs and if not he’s won’t be The “One”. I think if we start out sticking to our commandments and enforcing great boundaries in between we can form better relationships and not waste time in with illusions and fantasies…. I’ll toast to this post. cheers!!

  9. truth=freedom says:

    Happy Birthday Natalie!
    Thank you for just being you, you have helped me so much. When I first found baggage reclaim I had fallen down what seemed like an abyss that I had to crawl out of. You threw me the rope, the tools, the warm blankets, and the comforting words in your wonderful wise posts and showed me the way to dig myself out and save myself. You are amazing!

  10. Awakened says:


    Choose your confidants wisely… Thats a great one @Kerry. You can’t talk to everybody about everything and everyone is worthy not of being a sounding board and can’t give great advice especially if they don’t have great boundaries of their own in place. I would never trust anyone women’s advice who sleeps around her self or who fools around with married men. Thats just an example. You should know who your confidants are. I have a truly wonderful great friend that I confide in and we have been best friends for years. It’s funny that what I have experienced she has experienced worser and got a child out of it. She tells me all the time to look at her as an example of what not to settle for. It like she senses when I am having a low day and like God gives her discernment to just phone me to see how I am holding up and gives me great encouragement . She listens; and gives me great constructive criticism and great sound advice which makes me enforence my low tolerance for BS. I thank God for my Confidants…Priceless….

  11. Kerry says:

    I hear you about the bitchy thoughts. When I’m down on myself, I notice the negative self-talk is as brutal in intensity as my inner bitch that goes on and on about everybody else. Maybe an attempt to dull my sense of shame by (inwardly) shaming others? These are not my happiest moments, that’s for sure.
    As for “being me,” the closest I’ve come to finding that is when I face down the fear. When I’m motivated by fear… of being alone, of not being liked, of not being loved, appreciated, respected, or seen or heard… I don’t like what I am. It’s not even close to being me, because I feel my personality, values and essential self have gone into shut down mode.
    When I am free of fear and all the judgement that comes with that, I am happy, light, silly, creative, giving, confident, and powerful.
    When I got rid of the AC last year, and chose to be single, I faced my fears dead on, and it’s been the bravest and best thing I’ve done.

  12. Deirdre Gaskin says:

    Happy birthday Natalie. You’re still a young woman and smart beyond your years. I’ve had to pick myself up and dust myself off from another failed romance. But, I’m fine with it because I did nothing wrong and didn’t waste much time with the fool. He was not an AC or even and EUM, but he definitely displayed some of the many undesirable qualities you talked about in your book and on here. Yes, indeed. I’m just thankful to be wiser and I’ve finally reached the stage of learning from my mistakes and not repeating. Better to make new mistakes which may come with not have the pertaining prior experience, than to keep repeating the same one and expecting different results.

  13. Tulipa says:

    Could somebody please explain passive aggressive behaviour? A clear example would be great, Thank you

    • Magnolia says:

      – saying sweetly, “oh sure, yes, I’ll get right on that,” and then totally failing to do what what promised
      – making a huge mess right before your partner/roommate needs to have the space clean and then conveniently “forgetting” or not being around to clean it in time
      – showing up for dates with friends/dates consistently late (sometimes this is just disrespectful cluelessness, but some folks just like to make people wait as a power thing)
      – refusing to enjoy oneself at a friend’s or partner’s social event, sulking, deliberately being a lead weight to get out of having to support partner
      – promising to do something then procrastinating and procrastinating or doing a poor job so that you don’t get asked again

      Sometimes I think these behaviours, when we find ourselves doing them “not on purpose” signal a lot of hostility toward ourselves. We don’t keep promises with ourselves, and one part of us is super exasperated, and yet the other part still fights for its own resistant way, scoring subtle victories by refusing to do what the “good” part of us wants.

      • Tulipa says:

        Thank you, Magnolia, that helps of course I have been on the receiving end of that kind of behaviour.

        Interesting comment that we do not keep promises to ourselves I’m a big breaker of promises to myself and understand the conflict and fight in me too well.

    • grace says:

      Event though you ask for clear examples, I think the FBG’s passive aggressiveness is quite subtle and can often be dressed up as “patience”, “longsuffering”, “femininity” even love. It’s more like outright fear and avoidance.
      If you are waiting and waiting for a man to come good, and giving yourself an ulcer in the process, and if a part of you feels a bit mad about it – that’s passive aggression. We’re afraid to ask because we can’t deal with the possible no and instead eat ourselves up with bitterness. Or we do ask, get a no or a “maybe” (which is also a “no”, and then ignore that info). It may not be aggressive but it’s certainly passive.
      Look at this list, I spy many FBG characteristics:
      Many FBG “tactics” (the hints, tips, waiting, having sex, not having sex, saying something, not saying anything, waiting to call, waiting to text, waiting to email) are manipulation to try and get what we want without actually spelling it out AND DOING SOMETHING with the info.
      I’m not saying we should be driving the relationship or bossing him about but waiting for some ordinary bloke (cause that’s what he is no matter how high you built his pedestal) to act like Bomber Command while we cross and tick our mental ticklist (he called first, he asked me out first, he paid, he didn’t pay, he texts x times a day, he wants sex, he doesn’t want sex) is NOT a mutual relationship. And if he’s EU or an AC, just give up already!

      • Learner says:

        Grace, this is an excellent article on the PA subject. The exMM displayed many of these, and now I understand why I feel like I have been emotionally abused by him. Because I was! I also emotionally abused myself in the process (and possibly assisted in emotionally abusing his wife).

        Such uncomfortable things to come to terms with…

      • PurpleLily says:

        Spot on Magnolia and Grace. I think passive aggressiveness is one of the worst form of power control.

        I grew up in a family full of passive aggressive people, so I know and recognise it like I know my English alphabets! And it IS emotional abuse, very very much so.

        Some other examples are talking to you like normal..then in a few mins not talking to you at all, denying you; walking away when you are talking; sitting next you and then just to confuse/put you down getting up and sitting somewhere else. All of this drives us INSANE when all we are trying to do is have a mature conversation with the man! Hot-cold-luke-cold-cold-hot-luke…sometimes all within a day. And the classic — withholding sex! (this one shocked me, like Nat would say “you what the f-ing whaaaat?”. You are not tired, you are trying to put me down, you piece of horse manure!).

        Like Nat mentioned in the PA post, it is about avoiding communication, denying responsibility and avoiding being direct. And you try SO hard just to get them to talk or be normal….while you watch your self-esteem just slip and slide away. It is truly one of the most horrible things I have been thru.

        • truth=freedom says:

          Dear PurpleLily,
          We must have dated the same guy! Same horse manure, same bad smell. That was my relationship in a nutshell. Hot-cold-lukewarm-icy cold-warm. You never knew what temperature you were going to receive. Dating him was like dating an unemotional reverse cycle air conditioner!LOL He would text, sometimes call and be all nice and charming and then on the date be a pompous ass. There were so many put downs, if we accidentally bumped into anyone he knew he would never introduce me….just leave me standing there…..I guess it was a power thing to let me know that I was not that important. Well guess who is IMPORTANT now…ME! This behaviour is so abusive and I swear to God I could see a smug smirk on his stupid face. Never again will I put up with this behaviour from anyone.

          • Tulipa says:

            @ Truth = Freedom

            I feel for you when you said he wouldn’t introduce you to people. I too was either not introduced or introduced to a group of people and once the introductions were done he’d be off to another group and leave me standing with a bunch of strangers which I consider RUDE.

            @Grace a great web site thank you

            It seems people can treat us with passive aggressive behaviour and we can treat ourselves that way and we can treat others with the same behaviour. I cringed a little to see I still have a few of those traits.
            I don’t know many people who wouldn’t have a few passive aggressive traits they employ I mean can we really be free ?

            • truth=freedom says:

              Dear Tulipa
              I feel your pain. I believe its a total control behaviour. I am sure they think “I” will intoduce YOU when I am good and ready and until then you can just stay unnoticed by me. I am sure the people who they are conversing with think its weird cos they often used to glance at me, back at him, glance back at me again. Finally when I had, had enough I would intoduce myself! Just in case they thought I was dial-a-date! One time we were at the movies waiting to go in and I was mid conversation when he leapt out of his chair like an olympic hurdler and went to speak to Rob. ??who is Rob…well it turns out that Rob and AC worked together twenty five years ago…..he spent the rest of the time far away from me in what seemed like a “deep” conversation with Rob. The movie was starting. Turns out poor Rob had had a stroke four years ago and could not even remember him!!! I was left sitting like a shag on a rock. Thank god I found BR!!!

          • PurpleLily says:

            @ t=f…is he German and lives in Melbourne, Australia?? If he is, might be the same horse-manure! :)

            Firstly, ‘dating him was like dating an unemotional reverse cycle air conditioner’..that is GOLD!

            Dear God, that sounds horrible! How long did you have to put up with this heartless man’s behaviour before it ended???!! ((Hugs)) it must have been the most heartbreaking experience to have to deal and put up with someone like this. And treating you like that in front of company…that is just appalling.

            With my ex EUM, I could only put up with this behaviour for a day before I pulled him up for being nasty to me. It was shocking as he was always sweet and kind until then. What really hurt is that he tried to shut me up the entire weekend..didnt take long before I realised it was talk when HE wanted, cuddles when HE wanted, sex when HE wanted.

            Of course, when he dumped me there were several reasons from him – ‘no passion’ ‘I cant see you as the mother of my kids’. Of course my brain went ‘err..3weeks and you are thinking about that?! YOU? How about being honest and telling me that you realise that your PA behaviour wont work with me because I know how to stand up for myself?’ LOL!

            They dont deserve us, truth..they dont have an ounce of integrity or decency. Or kindness. Or empathy. And sadly, they will never know how abusive they are or how to appreciate a woman with healthy and strong qualities.

            WE are the winners here!

            • truth=freedom says:

              Dear PurpleLily
              No he is not German! ha ha but he is a Tru-Blu Aussie. I am sad to say I put up with this awful behaviour for seven years! I know I know it sounds as if I am ridiculous and I felt ridiculous. If you remove the times he went travelling, the times he stopped speaking to me over some trivial detail, then it would probably amount to four years!!!! I was the classic fallback girl. He knew how to charm when he wanted to! I honestly never knew that these behaviours were PA. they send you into such a tailspin that you begin to wrongly judge yourself. When you do ‘call them on their behaviour’ they manage to turn it all around and then the silent treatment starts again. He seemed to keep everyone in separate little boxes of friendship. I guess thats their way of controlling their sad pathetic little lives. I am so happy now that I have finally moved on, you are so right as they dont acknowledge their behaviour and blame everyone else but themselves. Hugs back atcha.

      • Stephanie says:

        This is a good website I’ve used it for reference many times. The disappearing AC I dated actually told on one occasion that he was aggressive but not in a physical or verbal way. At the time I wasn’t 100% sure what he meant. I later came to realise he meant passive aggressive.

  14. button says:

    great article, awesome concepts to live by! I also wanted to ask Nat, you used to have another great list of 10 or so one-liners of dating “rules” or approaches, basically. To keep up your self esteem while dating (used to be on the main page in the previous layout, I think). I can’t find it anywhere, does anyone remember what article I’m talking about?

  15. Alice says:

    I avoid relationship triangles at all costs. When I realize I am being drawn in to a three way conversation, I step off.

    Triangulation is when a person will try to use you to communicate things to another person instead of doing it directly.

    Saves a ton of drama to recognize and avoid.

  16. runnergirl says:

    Happy, happy, happy birthday Natalie. The biggest, squeeziest hug ever and a bottle (or two) of bubbly with the new hubby. Congratulations and happy birthday. This is such a fabulous post and great summary of everything I’ve read on BR. I can absolutely relate to Nat’s Commandments (now) and love it. I really hope you are hearing me and the multitude of folks who express their gratitude for sharing your brilliance with us? There is no objective way in the world you could possibly be hiding your light under a bushel? You are a very successful published author and have folks world-wide wishing they could meet you. Count me in with the folks who would love to meet you. I cherish my autographed copy of Mr U and the FBG. Thank you. It sits prominently on my desk. I haven’t published but I can understand it would be nerve wracking. Please know, your books have changed my life. You author the best blog on the internet, hands down, by far. The BR community is amazing. (I don’t watch TV anymore because the folks on BR are so brilliant.) Reading BR is my reward for getting my work done, although sometimes I slip and read BR when I should be working! You are the mother of two darling young girls and recently married to a wonderful, available man. Dear lord, I got exhausted and exhilarated just typing that. Now, I’ve got to breathe. Happy 35th birthday Natalie, truly. Thank you so much for your personal responses when I was in a world of pain and for your encouragement. Most of all thank you for creating the BR community filled with such wonderfully talented and brilliant folks.
    You were right.

    • Fearless says:

      I second all of that runner! Happy birthday Natalie – hope you have a great one (35 years young! So young!).

      Easy for me to say but don’t ever doubt the power of your message – publish away.

      Love your commandments. My mum has always said that to be happy what we need to do is live a good life (she would emphasise the word ‘good’. ‘Good’, as in with goodness (truth and principles), I suppose she means). I think she is right. We cannot be happy when we are living with a bad conscience, when we are not living truthfulness and goodness, both with ourselves and with others.

      As I think about this now, I know that my unhappiness in the relationshit with the ex EUM was most largely down to the fact that I was not living a ‘good’ life; I was being untruthful with myself – I knew I was de-valuing myself, cheating myself, lying to myself, and, as hard as I tried to bury it, it hung on my conscience greatly. Thanks to you Natalie, I may not yet know what lies in front of me relationship wise, if anything, but I am happier as a person, calmer, more at peace with myself, happier in my own conscience (I have nothing to try to avoid reproaching myself about all the time!) and I am trying every day to live a ‘good’ life.

      So here’s my addition to your post: Always be true to yourself.

      And, again here’s my mum’s: You want to be happy? Live a good life.

      Thanks for everything, Natalie (you’ve been very patient with me at times, I know – thank you). Publish!

      • runnergirl says:

        Hey Fearless, I agree with your mum, and Natalie, and Ziggy Marley. Got to be true to myself…
        Does your mum know Ziggy Marley?
        Google utube Ziggy Marley “Got to be True to Myself” in case the link doesn’t work.

        • Fearless says:


          ha! I’m sure my mum would say “Ziggilly who?” (lol). My mum has great faith in God (and the power of prayer) which has sustained her over many difficulties that would, I suspect, have floored many other people. She’s no sour puss though, also loves music a good party; she’s taught herself to play piano (and the mouth organ, much to the chagrin of her grown children when she’s had a few glasses of wine and decides to ‘give us a tune! My brother says it’s ‘very unbecoming’ of a woman of her age (72yrs)! We laugh at that. My view is ‘You go for it mum! – but maybe in another room?!).

          I think my mum could add many useful commandments for us! Another would be – don’t let anyone or yourself tell you you are too old to do or to learn new stuff.

          Another one she often says to her family when one of us is grumbling or depressed or giving up on ourselves:

          Life is too short to be miserable. Every day is a gift from God. Live every day as another gift, no matter what.

          I got the link, runner. Yes, that’s the idea, i think, whether from God or from “Ziggilly”!

  17. runnergirl says:

    Well shoot Natalie…may I add, my life is filled with gratitude because of you and the BR community. I don’t want to think about where I’d be without the support from all of you. Thank you.

  18. jennynic says:

    Happy Birthday! You are wise beyond your 35 years! Hope you have a wonderful day Natalie! Cheers.

  19. Gina says:

    Happy 35th Birthday Nat!!! You are still a baby!! Talk to me about getting older when you hit the half century mark! Loved your commandments!! Especially the one about being PA, as I just broke up with my ex boyfriend who was being very passive-aggressive.

    Here’s a couple of commandments that I have learned to live by:

    1. NEVER get involved with anybody that needs fixing. If I purchased merchandise from the store and discovered that it was broken, I would not waste time trying to fix it. Instead, I would promptly return it for a full refund, or exchange it for a new one. Why would i behave any differently when it comes to choosing a partner?

    2. I must make sure that I am emotionally healthy before becoming romantically involved with anyone. If I am always ending up with Mr. Wrongs, that means that I need to address the reasons why I continue to make poor choices when it comes to selecting a partner.

  20. Gina says:

    Oh!! One more very important commandment that I have learned to live by:

    3. Learn to be happy with and by yourself. If I do not fear being alone, then I will not be afraid to walk away if my partner decides to do a Jekyl/Hyde act and start showing his ass. It is surprising how much b.s. people will put up with simply because they are afraid of being alone!

  21. yoghurt says:

    I love this list!

    One of mine (that I’ve discovered this week) is Nameless Fear, thy name is not eating properly for three days on the trot.

    I’m really really bad at taking proper care of myself and when my body reacts by panicking (“what the – ? Where’s my food? What’s wrong here?”), I think and think and try to justify the manky feeling by identifying all of my ‘problems’ and inadequacies instead of, say, eating a big baked potato.

  22. RANA says:

    PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE IS to be indirect about negative feelings rather than expressing them, the actions does not match with words, like taking a negative treatment other then addressing the subject. it might become a personality disorder.
    For example, a passive-aggressive person might appear to agree — perhaps even enthusiastically — with another person’s request. Rather than completing the task, however, he or she might express anger or resentment by missing deadlines, showing up late to meetings, making excuses or even working against the task. Putting off responsibilities, Carrying out responsibilities late, not at all, or inefficiently, Sulking, “Forgetting” to do things or using forgetfulness as an excuse not to do things, Being reluctant to accept others’ suggestions
    Being afraid of those in positions of authority, Having pent-up feelings of anger
    Resenting and blaming other people.

    • Learner says:


      These are wonderful additions to the commandments. Also, I can recognize many PA behaviours by my exMM. Many!

  23. rana says:

    happy b-day nat

    my commandments, is to live life in faith and surrender to god and to whatever God decided to put on my way, whether good or bad experiences, because it was planned for me before by the will of God, and the negative experiences are challenges to learn more from them and to make me stronger.

    2- Righteousness, Lead a virtuous life, do unto others as i would like them to do unto me, to be loyal to my family n friends, not to hurt anyone in my life path, and if i can do something to eliminate pain in somebody’s life i will do it, it might be a smile, a touch of kindness, any kind of sacrifice, accept people the way they are.

    3 be knowledgeable, learn, learn, learn…

    4- do not dwell on the past, live the present, hope for the future.

    5- take care of my mind, body, soul, self- esteem… honor myself because each one of us in special in his/her own way.

    6- i care not to be stressed, and i go away from toxic people.

    7- i know there is somebody there for me, i am looking for him, i am looking for the good person, his morals, ethics, way of conducting himself in life, i do not care about his money check, i do not care about his physical handsomeness, i do not look for superficial things, i do not be misguided by some silly emotional unavailable men, i do not trust easily n i m very cautious, trust is earned not given, i just let them go in their way and i have my own way in life, i keep my standards while dating, my own boundaries, my self-esteem n confidence, i do not internalise caz i can not control other behaviors, i am responsible over my own acts not theirs.

    8- have fun when i shall have fun.

  24. Learner says:

    Happy Birthday Natalie. Hard to believe you are only 35 after all you have accomplished!

    I really like your list of personal commandments, particularly “listen to myself” and “the low BS diet”. Goodness knows that following those two could have avoided a lot of strife! The commandments others have added are also excellent. I think the only other “commandment” I have for myself is:

    Live each moment with full presence, mindfulness and integrity.

    Living by the biblical commandments is also something I am striving for, as it was breaking one of these (number 7) that got me into the exMM mess, and I have certainly reaped what I have sown in terms of pain, anguish, confusion, sadness. Although I have asked God for forgiveness, I am still in the process of beating myself up over the whole thing.

    I would be interested in knowing how you follow the “low BS diet”. I get how you can ensure your own honesty and truth, but how do you avoid other people’s BS? I tend to take people at their word and even if someone lies once, I will usually give them the benefit of the doubt in future conversations (unless I have a reason not to believe them). People make mistakes. However, refusing to believe the exMM’s many, many lies could have stopped me from wasting 3 years of my life on him. It makes me so angry. I am left with *questions* as opposed to commandments. They are all “how could..?” questions:

    How could I have gone against my own beliefs for 3 years, and broken a boundary put in place by God? (the exMM’s marriage vows)

    How could I have believed the thousands of lies (i.e., BS) that the exMM told me over that time? Especially the ones where he said I was the love/centre of his life, and he stayed with his wife out of duty, and that he had no other lovers.

    How could I have been so foolish as to believe that we would have a future together as life partners when I saw no evidence of him changing his situation?

    How could the exMM’s wife not have known about him being so utterly unfaithful?

    How could the exMM not seem to have *any* principles or personal commandments to live by? I could not see evidence of him feeling guilty, no “cognitive dissonance”, no striving to be a better person.

    How could he be so careless about how he treated the (three) women who love/d him by lying to each one of us, stringing us along, giving excuse after excuse, being vague and ambiguous and avoiding making any definite decisions about any of us?

    How could he watch me suffer for 3 years, longing for him, yearning to be with him, struggling with the lying and cheating and deceptive life we were living? How could he sleep at night? (I barely could!)

    I still can’t believe all this happened. There are many other questions too. Argggh!!!

    • Fearless says:


      glad your coming to grips with the mm situation. I’d like to respond to your question about how to avoid other people’s bullshit:

      Firstly, when a married man is trying to chat you up/get you to see him/sleep with him/have a thing with him – it’s bullshit. Plain and simple. So, boundary number one: no “dating” married or attached men – no listening to their sob stories. Married is married, so whatever he thinks he’s selling, it’s no use to you.

      Secondly, sometimes we don’t spot lies because the person telling them believes their own bullshit. You may be learning to get to know yourself, to be truthful with yourself, but some people do not know themselves from Adam and can’t be truthful with themselves never mind be truthful with you (or anyone). In such cases you might have figured out that the person is bullshitting (lying perhaps) but they may not know! They think they are being honest with you and because they are full of bullshit their truth can change with the direction of the wind! In short, sometimes people do not know (or care) that they are bullshitting you because they are already bullshitting themselves.

      This, I think, is perhaps why you are having all these ‘how could…?’ questions. He could because he is full of bullshit (and may not even know it – though I suspect all cheating MM’s and EUM’s do know it, on some level; they are just kidding themselves; maybe do not want to face the reality of their own crap or bad behaviour)

      The way to spot bullshit is to listen and watch until you have enough information – bullshitters will show themselves pretty quickly – they’ll contradict themselves, actions won’t match words, they’ll brag, they’ll attempt to discredit other people very readily, they’ll blame other people for everything that goes wrong in their lives, they’ll borrow money or take favours and not want to pay back, they’ll try to unload their responsibilities on you or others, they’ll show a lack of integrity and dubious values, they’ll complain about the behaviour of others when their behaviour is as bad or worse… Simply, they will be full of shit.

      Know yourself, know your boundaries. Hold them firm, and you won’t be bullshitted! Good luck!

      • Learner says:

        Thank you for your reply. You make excellent points. I DID listen to this guy’s sob story about how cruel his wife was, and responded partly out of pity. I didn’t know how anyone could be cruel to this seemingly thoughtful, selfless man. I should have backed up and taken note of his continued marital status. He was trying to “sell” me his “love” so that I could be a supplement to his marital relationship (and his Other supplemental relationship). All the while making it seem like HE was doing ME the favour! Puke! I now have the “no dating attached men” boundary firmly in place.

        Second, you may be right about the “believing his own bullshit” part, too! When I look back, he told his lies with a complete straight face, or a sincere expression on his face. If it’s the case that he believed his own lies, it may explain the skill with which he delivered bullshit as if it were the ultimate and absolute truth! He always insisted he was a “genuine person” and likes to think of himself as a “good guy”. Even a martyr. His sister described him as “a saint”, “always doing for others and never thinking of his own needs – to the point that people take advantage of his good nature”. So apparently his sister has fallen for all his BS too! (and I thought I was getting an objective opinion!)

        You mentioned that bullshitters give themselves away pretty quickly. This is the part I beat myself up about. His webs of lies were pretty well managed. There were slips here and there, but he always used the “I have no memory” excuse. His actions *often* did not match his words, and he was pretty good at blaming others for all his problems, though. Other people, plus the fact that he is male (so therefore NEEDS frequent sex) and his genes (my dad was easily distracted and forgetful, too). His values were questionable. He seemed to think people who disapproved of affairs were “uptight”. He liked to listen to the playboy channel and read/watch porn frequently (and had email alerts from “F**kbook in his junk email folder notifying him that “Susie” thought he was “hot”– telling me he didn’t have an account but they were trying to get him “hooked”. More BS perhaps?). Not to judge him for this last point, but there did seem to be a pattern there around his attitudes. It is such a relief not to be dealing with that anymore! In future, I will pay more attention to these “bullshitter flags”.

        I like your suggestion to “know yourself, know your boundaries, and you won’t be bullshitted”. Your additional commandment about being true to yourself and your mum’s commandment to live a Good life were also helpful. Thank you Fearless!

        • Fearless says:


          this guy sounds like a ghastly, hypocritical, manipulating sleaze-bag creep of a man (my daughter’s expression ‘what a ming-mong’ was ringing in my ears as I read your post). Everything you say about him stinks to the high heavens (his sister sounds like she just wants her own bad behaviour – her own affair – validated, and who better than cheater of the year, her own brother!). The behaviour of both these people will come back to bite them one day but neither of them sound like people who will learn any lessons.

          Anyway, mainly I wanted to say that I totally agree with Grace’s comment to you below here and urge you to read it carefully and, yes, get Nat’s books and read them – as a matter of urgency! (Grace has said what I was also thinking about that, so I won’t add anything else except this: ‘for goodness sake’.)

          • Learner says:


            It’s sad, really, that the exMM is indeed a hypocritical, manipulating creep, but your description actually made me laugh. In a good way. Seeing all this in writing helps me to realize how pathetic he really is, and how pathetic *I* have been in developing strong feelings for him (probably addiction). Consistent with your “creep” moniker, he sneakily takes pictures of young girls sunbathing during his summer holidays with his family each year. How creepy is that? Of course he has some good qualities too, or I would not have bothered with him, but the negative definitely outweigh any positives. Oh, I am so relieved to be through with this sickening creature. “Cheater of the Year”. I love it! It feels so good to laugh at these words of yours. So much better than crying about the whole mess. Time to focus on me now and get *more* self awareness. Thank you!

      • runnergirl says:

        Oh, oh, oh…too good Fearless: “Know yourself, know your boundaries. Hold them firm, and you won’t be bullshitted!” I’d like to add your comment to list of Commandments if I may, although we may be exceeding 10 at this point. Is somebody keeping track? I cannot tell you how right you are. Oh, oh, oh, BSer’s are so easy to spot now. Just like you say, they contradict themselves, blatantly admit they are lying about objective facts such as their age or their hair color or having hair (geez), actions don’t match their words, always whining about how they’ve been wronged, the list is endless as to their woes. I fell for that crap with the exMM??? (He had great hair.) That is what has been so great about my new online “dating” experiences. Everysinglething I’ve read on BR has played out perfectly. There have been a few occasions where I thought I could fudge my boundaries a bit but I caught myself. “Know yourself, know your boundaries. Hold them firm, and you won’t be bullshitted!” Can we put this one at the top of the list? Wonderful, fabulous Fearless. “Hold them firm”. I am. Thank you. Had I held firm with the exMM, I would not have met you, Natalie, and BR…he, he, he. irony. I guess I can laugh a bit now! Love you all.

        • Fearless says:

          Aw runner, thanks. you hold firm, honey! I know you’re already fabulous and if some bullshitter can’t see that, well, his problem! – keep your hand on that flush handle and be fearless about using it. Keep us informed – I’m interested in how you get along.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi Learner,
      Welcome back and it sounds like you had a good time, got some rest, and distance from the double cheating exMM. A while back, Natalie posted a great article about the “BS Diet”. Just plug it in the search. You are right, if I had any clue, the first two commandments would have saved me too. They will now!
      I had the exact same “how could” questions. Have you downloaded Mr. U and the FBG and the new Dreamer book? There are many answers to your questions in Natalie’s books. I like how you started you “how could” questions with “how could I”. That’s why I said in a previous comment you are a fast learner. For me that was a turning point, when I stopped wondering how could he and focused on how could I? It helped to focus on me because that’s the only person I can control. Lordy, was I angry when my denial bubble finally burst and realized he had been lying to me. Even worse, I had been lying to me. Go gently on yourself through the anger phase. Even now, your last three questions got my blood on a low simmer…it used to boil. It was news to me when I realized he wasn’t suffering like I was. He had his cake and was eating it too, another great Nat article. He wasn’t suffering. I was. I wasn’t listening to me and failed to recognize we were two different people experiencing a very different situation. The answers to your last three questions may be “Own my own and let others own theirs”. They may never own theirs. That would be their problem. We can, however, own ours. Go gently though. We made a giant, huge mistake. We can work toward acceptance and forgiveness of ourselves. You are a fast learner! Hoover up everything on BR and Nat’s books.

      • Learner says:

        I *did* have a good holiday, thank you, and got a bit of distance (from exMM) and perspective in the process. Your positive attitude that those two commandments can still save us now is awesome!
        I did check out Natalie’s article on the low BS diet once I figured out that when you click on the blue words in her post above, they take you to the original post on that topic. You are right – it was a great article.

        You asked if I have downloaded Natalie’s books. Well, I went through the process of ordering a whole “bundle” of them, but when I was asked for my name and address in the credit card section, I canceled the transaction. I felt a bit fearful of putting all that in there. Of course, it’s not like Natalie is going to come to my house or my work and tell everyone that I had an affair with the exMM that I’m on a committee with – she is way too busy for that and what would be the point? It’s just, I don’t know, I feel a little untrusting of anything and everything right now. What if somehow the info was unintentionally leaked to a third party? Just me being paranoid I suppose. I really should just take the plunge and order the ebooks already!

        Thank you for recognizing the “how could I” questions being posed first, before the “how could he” ones – I really am striving to be accountable for my actions and my situation.

        You said “It was news to me when I realized he wasn’t suffering like I was… I wasn’t listening to me and failed to recognize we were two different people experiencing a very different situation.” Yes! I can relate. What an awful revelation that is! When I tried to break up with him in the first year, he didn’t seem very upset at all, and I almost talked *myself* back into being with him. I felt soooo in love, and thought that he must have felt the same way (I have read enough of Natalie’s material now to know that is typical FBG thinking). I don’t think it was until the last year or two that he really developed feelings for me, as we spent much more time together and communicated constantly. (yes, I really do think he has feelings for me now. But I am not staying in a relationship with him. He is not what I need. He is married). He tells me now he “has suffered a great loss”, and maybe he has suffered in his own way. But I agree with you – it’s doubtful that it’s the same way that I am suffering.

        Your advice to “own my own” is well taken. I am trying to deal with this situation as best I can. Your support, along with that of the others at BR, has been a godsend. It has changed the course of my relationship with this man, and therefore the course of my life! I am sooo grateful!

        • grace says:

          What feelings does he have for you?
          A man who likes you would not let you down, lie to you, or have other women on the go. They do what they say they will do. You know when you will see them next. When you call them they pick up. When you text them they reply. If there is a delay they tell you why. You know how they spend their time and who they are with. Not because you’re keeping tabs on them, but because they have nothing to hide and they want to share their day. They don’t feed you lines on what men do or what women do. They don’t put you down. They want to help you. If you want a favour, you just ask. They’re protective. They support you. They encourage you. They reassure you. Time with them is happy and contented. AND THEY AREN’T MARRIED to someone else OR HAVE ANOTHER LOVER (that you know about).
          You set the bar very low when you got involved with a MM, and you still have it set very low by imagining his crumbs amount to anything. I can’t stress enough how little he cares about you.
          I’ve been involved with a couple of married men. My feelings ran high too and I guess theirs did. But looking back with the perspective of six years of singledom and having met someone who treats me well, it was garbage. And here’s the kicker, you don’t love him. You can’t because you’re not in a position to. Wanting what we can’t have is a compulsion that drives FBGs but it’s not love or even close. it’s not on the continuum of feelings that leads to love, it’s a completely different thing altogether.
          Just get the books. It’s bizarre that you would trust this man but not Nat or a secure payment system.. I doubt she even sees your address details. You can get Mr U from Amazon if that makes you feel better.You need to ask yourself why you let this go on for three years. Don’t get distracted by analysing him. Nat’s books really help you to do that in a way that reading a blog can’t. And, no, I’m not on commission!
          And NC him. You don’t need to hear his bleating about what he has lost. Seriously, the more you say about him the less I like him.
          There is so much better for you if you would see this for what it is and let it go.

          • Learner says:

            What feelings does he have for me? I had hoped for love – goodness knows he has professed his love for me ad nauseam, even stating he loves me and no other! My denial bubble has burst and collapsed enough for me to see now that the person he *truly* loves is not me, not his wife, not the OOW, but himself! He is a self-absorbed, spoiled user (and possibly a compulsive liar) disguised as a humble, selfless man who would do anything for anyone. It still feels like he has *some” feelings for me, though. Otherwise I think it would be difficult to fake crying for 3 hours straight with real tears when I told him we were through. You are right, though – he did NOT treat me in the ways you state a man who likes someone would. He did many of those things, some of the time, but there was no consistency. Bottom line – it was an uncommitted “relationship”. I see that now.

            Do I love him? It sure felt like I was in love with him for all those years. You raise a good point though – I could not have *truly* loved him, as I did not know the real him. He didn’t let me know him. After reading Howard Halpern’s “How to break your addiction to a person” I now think I am/was addicted to him. Addiction is not love.

            I am interested to see what Natalie’s books have to say about all this. I will buy the books. Btw, my fear about Natalie arriving at my work to announce my affair was tongue-in-cheek. The fear of my info being seen by a third party inadvertently was more real. You are right, if I trusted exMM, I can trust a woman who makes it her business to *help* FBG’s like us.

            Oh, and I may not have been clear – when I said “now he tells me he has had a great loss” it was actually a month ago that he said that. I have been NC with him for a full month as of today. The only contact I have had is through a couple of “group emails” for work purposes. It was one of your posts that helped to tip the balance for me – you had mentioned wanting closure in a previous relationship, and it led to more pain (for years?). I had wanted to get closure during a dinner date I had planned with the exMM, but I heeded your advice and cancelled it. And then went NC. And I haven’t regretted that for a second. Thank you so much.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey Learner,
          To borrow a phrase from dear Fearless, I hope you don’t feel like I’m stalking you! Regarding your hesitation about ordering Natalie’s books: Based on my experience of being an OW and ordering Natalie’s books with my real name and credit card info, I have NOT experienced any issues whatsoever. No inadvertent third party leaks. In fact, I have corresponded with Natalie via my home email address, she knows my name, and my home address. No issues. Is all she would have to do is google me and she’d figure out quickly the exMM as it is all over the internet. I’m thinking she has better things to do with her precious time with two young adorable daughters and a brand new hubby. When you feel ready and comfortable, I hope you will take the plunge and place the order. Nat’s books are beautifully written, tremendously funny, and totally insightful. Natalie’s Commandments (and all her posts) mean so much more when placed in context provided by her books. You are doing great and getting a clear pic of the FBG thinking. Here’s another shocker: You can’t be in a “relationship” with a married man cos he’s in a legally binding relationship with his wife. And who knows whether a cheating married man has developed “feelings” for an OW? Who knows what they mean when they say they are suffering a “great loss”. It must not be such a great loss if they don’t take any action to mitigate the ” great loss”. Stay with the first commandment, Listen To YOU. Were YOU happy, content, respected, and treated with care and honesty? Keep the focus on YOU, not HIM!

          • Lilly says:

            Learner, my denial bubble has also burst. Lesson learned – I will never, never, fall for a married man’s BS ever again. It has now been 31 days NC but I’m not feeling so good. I’ve gained some objectivity, and I’ve been working on being responsible and accountable. I’ve also realised that my relationship with the married professor is clearly related to my childhood issues. My father abandoned my mother and two younger sisters when I was five. Literally, one day he was there and the next day gone. I remember my mother’s pain very well. We never saw him again. He died when I was eight. I’m now experiencing many of the same emotions that I experienced then. I’m feeling rejected, abandoned, unloved, and uncared for. I cannot believe that I got involved with someone who I knew (deep down) would eventually leave me feeling this way.
            Runnergirl, your words “Listen to YOU” rang a bell. I so wish I’d listened to myself. I was dreadfully unhappy, and knew I wasn’t being treated with respect, care and honesty. Another lesson learned – I will never push feelings like that aside again. NC has been the best thing. Like Learner I don’t regret it for one minute. I certainly don’t want him back in my life, but why am I still in so much pain?

            • Learner says:


              It looks like we went NC on the same day! I asked my exMM not to contact me except for work related matters on June 26. So this is day 31 for for me, too. We are NC sisters!

              Like you, I also ignored my “gut” feelings that the exMM was bad for me. Although I regret it too, I am glad that we can now be more aware of what our subconscious is trying to tell us. That’s a good thing for dealing with the rest of our lives.

              Your childhood sounds quite painful and difficult. How awful for a young child to have a father just disappear like that. It is not surprising that you would have some deep-seated feelings about that whole situation. Your story made me sad just reading it. My childhood was also difficult. My parents fought all the time as they had different values. My mother is a strict Pentecostal Christian and my dad is an agnostic who abuses alcohol. The conflict was horrible to deal with (while they were married), but not as tragic as having a father literally abandon his family like you experienced. My dad moved in and out of our home for various reasons, but he was mostly in. Regardless, he is a very critical man with huge mood swings, and I never felt I could please him nor felt “good enough” for him. That feeling of abandonment was there even while he was in the house! After one therapy session (so far) I think my own involvement with the exMM was an attempt to re-live some of those childhood feelings and attempt to conquer them. Of course that backfired horribly, and now I am left with some of those horrible familiar feelings, just like you are. I think we need to resolve these earlier, deeper issues before we can get over the pain left from our “relationships” with EU/MM’s. Does that make sense?

              • Lilly says:

                Learner, yes the magic day for me was also June 26. A GREAT day for both of us! I agree with everything you said. We now have an opportunity to investigate the deep-seated issues that led us into such damaging relationships in the first place and also explain why we allowed them to treat us so badly. I suppose you could even say they did us a favour (!) by exposing areas in our life that need addressing. I’ve never really dealt with my childhood issues and now’s the time (better late than never!). I’m sorry that you had to go through that as a child, but I have no doubt you will work through it and come out on top. I’ve been following your story and I’m so impressed with how far you have come already. Here’s to the future, new understandings, new boundaries and no more AC’s.

                • Learner says:


                  Yes, here’s to the future! I love your positive attitude. Hugs to you, and “Happy Day 32”

            • runnergirl says:

              Welcome to reality Lily. It’s a painful landing. I didn’t listen to myself for two long painful years. I threw giant tantrums, pretended things were okay, justified, minimized, the whole nine yards. Then when my denial bubble burst after discovering BR, I continued the delusion/fantasy that I would be the exception. I couldn’t bury the fact that I was being treated with disrespect and dishonesty. It is painful to face it. But it was more painful for me to continue. I’ve struggled with letting my childhood abandonment issues go. I’m so sorry your father disappeared. Mine was a pervert. Natalie has a totally fabulous section in her new Dreamer book about abandonment. “When you stop fearing abandonment you can no longer be abandoned…” My all time fav is: “Ironically the chief abandoner in your life is you-you’ve deserted reality and you also keep deserting yourself in pursuit of love.” So I guess I may have some commandment to add to the list: Don’t abandon yourself. Don’t abandon reality in pursuit of love. I’m guessing the pain you are experiencing may go deeper than being involved with a MM. Explore the pain and heal. But stay totally NC. MM’s are a total nightmare.

              • Lilly says:

                Runnergirl, letting go of the lost hopes and fantasy reunion has been unbelievably painful, but I agree much more painful to continue. Thanks for the tip, I’ve purchased Natalie’s Dreamer book and will go straight to that section – no more abandoning reality. I think the ending of this disastrous ‘relationship’ has revealed how low my self-esteem is. Time to work on it.

                Natalie, I hope you had a wonderful Birthday. I honestly do not know how I would have coped without BR the last few months. Thank you and thank you to everyone who posts here.

          • Fearless says:

            hey runner and Learner:

            “Stay with the first commandment, Listen To YOU. Were YOU happy, content, respected, and treated with care and honesty? Keep the focus on YOU, not HIM!”

            I totally agree runner. This commandment of Nat’s is key in moving beyond these ‘relationshit’ situations. Learner, you’ve done really great with NC for a month; I want to say, well done to you for that; you’re heading in the right direction – now read the books!

            Runner is right, though, for your continued success you need to forget what it is that’s driving *him* or how much it is that *he* feels for you. (it’s like we want to weight it and measure it – or get a reading for it on our handy hand-held ‘how much he cares’ meter’). How much he cares/loves us/doesn’t love us is irrelevant because the relationshit is shit (as runner says you cannot have a relationship with a man who is married). i know the feeling of wanting to know that you meant something to the guy – that he wasn’t devoid of all feelings and did care for us in a genuine way. They do have feelings for us, of course, but they are most not about us – they are about themselves. And this works both ways (all of it does): your feelings for him are mostly about you, not about him; you want his validation; you want to know he loves you, that you meant something important to him – it’s all about you, really, and the same for him; all his tears and snotters are about him really, not about you. He’s weeping for himself, cos he’s not getting his cake and eat it anymore. It’s an awful display of self-pity, but he sounds like a very selfish, self-absorbed, self gratifying man, so his weeping for hours does not surprise me. is it genuine – probably; but it’s not about you! Selfish tears – ‘woe is me… woe is me… why can’t you just give me what I want at the expense of your own life and future and well-being?…’

            Focus on you and what drove you to be with this man and stick it out for so long and why you still need to believe he/the relationshit has some redeeming qualities. Listen to YOU (not him – he’s full of crap)

            • Learner says:


              Oh my goodness – yes! Of course he was crying for himself. He even said he was crying for his loss. Crying because he didn’t know if he would find someone as “special” as me again. Crying because he “blew it”. Not crying because he loves me deeply and can’t live without me. Crying because we couldn’t continue our comfortable, convenient set-up that met some of his needs. OK, I am throwing our the handy hand-held “how much he cares” meter (lol) right now!!! I already know his care for HIMSELF goes right off the scale. It doesn’t matter if/how much he cares/d about me. It matters how well *I* care for me.

          • Learner says:


            I don’t feel like you are stalking me, lol, and greatly appreciate your comments. Thank you.

            I hear you about getting Natalie’s books. I will order them tonight. And I realize now that what the exMM and I shared was not really a relationship. Or at least not a relationship that was created from any sort of mutual love or respect. To answer your closing questions: I was happy when we were one-on-one together in person (about 6 hours per week), but miserable and insecure about how he felt when we were apart, despite the constant texting and IMing. He obviously did NOT treat me with honesty or respect. Our conversations were often about him, him, him and I almost had to teach him to have a conversation where both of us got air time. Oh my. What was I thinking? As my dad used to say: Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  25. miskwa says:

    Happy Birthday Nat
    Yep, 35 was a loong time ago but I believe I was fighting a mine and plodding thru grad school (my advisor was very pro industry so I had ample opportunity to practice my debating skills ). During this time I learned to live my life MY way, according to my values and that it’s OK if some hate you because of it. It seems so many of the relationship blogs out there tell us older kicka$$ babes to be weak, super feminine, bake cookies and take whatever male will have you. Oh, and your biological clock is sposed to be ticking like mad ( at 52?!) and you’re supposed to want a family. I often chuckle about this while splitting my firewood, cleaning the henhouse that I built and listening to my fellow womyn here talk about their abusive ex’es. Kerry had two excellent points, I just got reamed by who I thought was a friend who was in almost the same boat that I am in but did bail out of here but without a plan and is now financially hurting big time. She too is a cancer survivor, now unable to afford health care. I realize a lot of her anger was due to projection but it still was pretty awful. Some folks cannot empathize or think beyond their own stuff.
    Kerrys second point not only is spot on but could be a lifesaver; if it feels wrong, it is.

  26. blueberry girl says:

    I love this list, Natalie, and the personal values that others have added. No BS is especially important as I round the bend to five weeks NC from a toxic experience with an alcoholic who I allowed to trash my values, boundaries, and self-esteem. You and many well-meaning readers tried to warn me on many occasions, Nat, but I blindly continued my pursuit of him to my detriment. It’s painful to think of the anguish I’ve willingly put myself through to ensure my self-fulfilling prophecy. I begin the hard work of building a life that I want to be a part of, of practicing gratitude for the blessings I do have, for accepting my codependence in this destructive non-relationship. My new barometer is to act in accordance with my values and boundaries! It’s really that simple.
    The EU/Alky will never hurt and humiliate me again because I’ve FINALLY gotten off the fence & consciously made the choice to end it. Today I’m so grateful for all your valuable posts, Nat, and the support of the BR readers.

  27. PurpleLily says:

    Happy birthday Natalie! I hope you get to celebrate everything wonderful and precious you have worked so hard for in your life. Plus have a beer or two and a barbie with your mates!

    I dont think I am BR-wise enough to contribute to the list. But I read this yesterday at work and the “if I can say it behind your back, I can say it to your face” inspired me to tell a friend at work that she had to do something to fix an awful work situation she was going thru. I had been talking to another friend about it almost everyday and avoided being direct with/to this person as I didnt want to hurt her. But decided that I should – I was honest but caring and empathetic and most importantly, delivered it respectfully.

    Will she ever talk to me again for being honest?…Dont know. I dont think she took it well but Ive appreciated it every single time when someone has been honest with me. Even as recent as a few weeks ago when a friend said “Stop playing the victim, you can change that position if you wanted”(I was sulking-talking-wondering about the exEUM right after he broke up). Hurt to hear it, but 2 mins later, it was indeed a brilliant realisation.

  28. Hayley says:

    I love this article, but I have a question? What if being yourself, and not being bitchy about people, are mutually exlusive?

    If I play nice and don’t say what I really think I feel like a fake. If I said what I thought all the time, people wouldn’t want to hang out with me! So it comes out as bitchy comments when people aren’t listening. It feels like a compromise: I’m saying what I really feel, but I’m not upsetting the people I’m talking about by saying it to them.

    But instead of it solving the problem, it just makes me what you advise against: bitching behind people’s backs. So what should I do? Tell them what I feel to their face (at the risk of really upsetting them), or go around with a fake smile on my face all the time, mentally rolling my eyes, and feeling like a fraud?

    • yoghurt says:

      Hayley –
      I struggle with this one, in that when it comes to ‘being myself’ I’m not sure that I’m a particularly nice person!

      I think that there’s a difference between tackling behaviour that upsets or annoys you straight out and being ‘bitchy’ – which I’d read as comments that actively put other folk down to make yourself look good.

      For example (and I still feel bad about this) a year or so ago I had a friend whose behaviour became absolutely unbearable, and she was so paranoid and aggressive that it felt impossible to discuss straight out with her. Eventually I dealt with the situation by cutting her off and avoiding anywhere that she might go.

      I did discuss her behaviour with mutual friends of ours (with whom she was also in the process of falling out) and this was helpful, in a sense, because it enabled us to see where she was being unreasonable. That was okay, I think, in that we were being supportive of each other and identifying a problem. Where it WASN’T okay – and I’m really not proud of this and have endeavoured to stop it – was when her rants and fantasies became a bit of a joke, and we’d poke fun at them behind her back and feel smug cos we were so reasonable and sane in comparison.

      With hindsight, it’s fairly clear to me that I should’ve a) recognised the issues a long time before I did (they were to do with her concocting elaborate fantasies and lies and made-up dramas) b) broached some of the issues with her (although I still think this’d be hard to do, for various reasons) c) supported anyone who was being hurt by her behaviour, possibly by sharing my own experiences but d) then drawn a line under it and stopped thinking about and discussing it. It was a difficult situation either which way but I’d feel less manky about it all if I’d pursued that course.

      Being bitchy isn’t an inherent part of anyone’s personality – it’s a behaviour and, like other behaviours it doesn’t showcase the Real You, it actually hides it. If you’ve got concerns about a situation, discuss them to get perspective but try to be compassionate of the other person’s failings. If you’re witty and good at saying clever things, don’t use that at the expense of someone else. Focus on people’s behaviours rather than their personalities. And if it’s impossible for you to deal with the effects of someone else’s behaviour on you, limit it as far as possible.

      That’s my take on it, anyroad – hope it helps

    • grace says:

      what level of bitchy are we talking about? if someone annoys me and i vent about it, but then get over it, i find that acceptable. but to go on a character assasination, to make personal attacks on their appearance and weaknesses etc is not. I’ve done it and it didn’t feel good. If it doesn’t feel good, then it’s not the real me and I need to ask why I’m doing it. Am I tired, jealous, irritated, threatened?
      The bible says gossip is a sin, I used to find that harsh, but when I was the subject of much bitching in the office it really hurt my feelings. If the thought of someone doing it to you makes you feel uncomfortable, then I say don’t do it others.
      If you have a problem with someone there are a few ways to deal with it – speak to them directly, kill them with kindness (for me this works 9 times out of 10), or ignore it. Holding your tongue and being polite is not the same as being fake. Recast it. Call it self-control.
      Complaining about them to other people doesn’t achieve much. Also, you get into that mean girls.vibe where you and your friends are just bitching about other people. It’s just not fun!

      • Allison says:

        Totally agree!!!!

        If I can’t say it to someone’s face, then I don’t say it at all.

        If someone makes you that uncomfortable, be honest, and if it doesn’t work, remove them from your life. Gossip is hurtful and unacceptable!

        • Allison says:

          I would like to add that if a new friend starts gossiping about others, they are extricated.- If they’re gossiping about others, they are surely doing the same to me.

    • Magnolia says:

      Good question, Hayley! I’m just at the point of realizing that if I want to be myself AND not be bitchy, that’s my problem. Which is good, because then I can ask myself, in ways I never have before: IS it possible to be myself and not feel so negative all the time? IS it possible to be me and not be annoyed by x, y, and z?

      I think it really is possible when we become confident that we will listen to our own negative feelings. It is possible when I can notice someone’s behaviour, notice that it doesn’t or wouldn’t work for me, but it doesn’t “hook” me into having an emotional reaction. As I develop stronger boundaries, bad behaviour doesn’t have me going “Oh my god! Do you see what she’s doing! Did you hear what she said!??” as much as “Hm. That’s a style of doing it that isn’t mine (anymore).”

      I’m working on this one. Because the people I like do seem to be ones who are genuine in their optimism and good faith. I don’t like people who are constantly cheery but hiding a seething mass of judgment underneath. You can feel that. So I know I have the mass of seething judgment. There must be a way to “be me” and honor my opinions without having to harbour all the judgment. Not only do I want to change this because I want to be liked, but because it’s really unpleasant to be riled up or even internally annoyed by people. I’d rather they not have that power over me anymore.

      • jennynic says:

        Hi Magnolia. I liked what you said here and can relate to much of it. I am very genuine, and also vulnerable because of it. I see through the fake in people pretty quickly and it does create a conflict for me. Am I a fake for remaining in contact with them? Or am I still a lesser version of a fallback girl. Am I confident when I speak up or am just angry? Am I judgmental or being true to myself? When someone tries to pull some shit or behaves in a way I find disrespectful, I DO have and emotional response to it. I react to this and either become silent (passive aggressive?) or I respond in a way that hasn’t proved to be productive. When I’ve tried to talk to these people honestly and being true to myself it hasn’t helped, they have just denied it or said I was being harsh, or blamed it on me. So, therein lies the issue. Speak up and honor myself or swallow it to keep the peace? Peace for who…..not me. I too wish I wasn’t riled up by annoying people. I wish I could just shrug my shoulders and turn away and not really give it another thought. I feel like me having such an emotional reaction (even if I hide it) still hands over so much power to them. I’m working on it too. I want to be more true to me, but also handle this with less judgment and more grace. I am proud of being genuine. I just need to learn how to be less vulnerable and reactive.

  29. katy says:

    I know this was bad , but I looked at the FB page of someone I was involved with two years ago who disappeared on me. It wasn’t a one or two time thing, it was over several months, but long story short, i didn’t take a hint and didn’t want to be rejected so I was hard to get rid of.
    Anyway, I saw some pictures of him with a group of people mostly girls. I don’t know who was who but my first thought was that I never would have fit in there. I do that all the time. I will see people from my past out or hear things, and my first thought is always , “well see, I never would have fit in that group’
    That is something I have to change because i do it alot. Even with girls. I initially wonder what I would bring to the table of a group of people having a good time or going out. I haven’t mastered this yet(obviously) but I would really like to think that one of my commandments could be that there is no reason why i couldn’t be good enough for any group of people. Not sure if anyone else ever feels this way. The man I am currently dating is very healthy and we are fine, but I feel this way around his family. Like I already don’t belong there.

    • grace says:

      meh, i wouldn’t fit in with an AC’s harem either. you’ve got a new boyfriend, out of respect for him you must stop chasing your ex.
      As for feeling left out, most people have felt that at some time. If it’s chronic you need to work on accepting yourself and liking yourself. And you have to join in not wait for others to do the socialising for you.
      It will get easier as you learn to trust again (or for the first time). And be kind to people. I am kind to the man even when he does annoying or embarrassing things (like sing along to the American national anthem at the movies) because I would like him to be kind to me when I behave like a nitwit. What you send out, and how you treat people, affects how you see yourself. It’s the circle of life!

      • katy says:

        Thank you Grace, I know its my own feelings of inadequacy at the heart of this and this nagging feeling that others are always more interesting, funny , more enjoyable than me.
        I appreciate the point about joining in, I tend to wait and then regret not having tried harder, so I will have to just dive in there, whether or not I am ready.

        • cc says:

          i know i’m always prattling on about this, but i’ve found that having some humanity, some compassion for yourself is crucial in this. have some sympathy that you feel this way, that you’re in some measure of pain, that you’re afraid. if you can do that, you can jump into social situations more easily because you will stop being so judgy of you….

          …which in turn will help you withstand others’ judgments of you. we are judged both more and less by other people than we think we are. just because someone else (your boyfriend’s family?) judges you, whether its real or imaginary, does NOT mean you have to accept it – but you can’t reject it so well if you deep down agree with it. i think this is where natalie’s “i don’t give a F” principle comes in.

          so, be nice to you. and no more FB peeking at the ex. but just for one second, imagine all those girls around him, no matter how pretty they are, suffering from crippling poor self-esteem. everybody smiles for pictures, you have no idea how they really feel. and if they are actually sucking up to an AC, they can’t feel so great.

          but the point is, who cares? love yourself out of your feelings of inadequacy. you do not have to agree with any judgment, even those you give yourself.

          p.s. grace – why are they playing the american national anthem at movies?

  30. HS says:

    Dear Natalie, my congratulations to your Birthday I wish you all the best: health, love, joy, success and happiness! You are an amazing person and I am so happy that I discovered your site in 2008! Love from HS (Happy Soul)

    I also would like to thank you for these words of wisdom: “”””I live by the I Don’t Give A F Principle. It doesn’t mean that I don’t give a hoot about anything but I can tell you, I don’t lose sleep over not being liked especially as it’s most likely to happen with people I don’t know, value, care about or respect, so why go there? “””” WOW, I will try to be LESS sensitive/people pleaser and more assertive, I have to change!

  31. Spinster says:

    These commandments sound similar to mine (although not written down [yet?]). Definitely words to live by. It’s been a long time coming; gonna keep on going.

  32. Kerry says:

    It’s really just a matter of learning to genuinely like yourself and not take on other people’s b.s. As the years go by, you learn that almost everyone, no matter how successful, suffers from imposter syndrome — this idea that they don’t fit in, they’re not good enough, they’re a big faker that’s going to be busted one day and exposed as a fraud. We all, at some level, have suffered from this. By all accounts, I’m a success in my career, and yet it’s a constant battle with self-doubt. Heck, I even spent the last year dwelling on an AC I dumped instead of focusing on the fact that I landed a book deal. Really. Where was my mind at?
    It goes back to what Nat says about learning to celebrate our accomplishments. This helps us develop a better sense of self, and self-esteem. Dwell on what you’re good at, what rocks your world.
    Btw, in social situations, I used to have next-day bouts of worry that I was too much — too overbearing, too talkative, too sarcastic… “Why did I say that?” “Did I offend that person with my joke?” On the self-talk would go until I felt like a bit of a basket case.
    Now I have learned to shut my mind off when it starts to go there.
    It’s like Nat says: I live by the I Don’t Give A F Principle.
    Not everyone is going to like you, but who cares? As long as you find your passion, live your life honestly and with integrity, and develop healthy boundaries. And for godsakes, edit out the toxic, unhealthy people! When you start to focus on your life this way, something magical happens. You draw the good people to you.

    • katy says:

      Thank you Kerry! I do the next day thing as well, and i think you are right about everyone feeling inadequate at times, its just that some are better than others at faking it and sure look happy to me. I should never have looked outside myself or compared myself, because I always feel worse.
      I still struggle with what I am good at. I am not really sure, I know that I feel better now than in the past several years, I just am embarrassed about my past.

      • cc says:

        oy, should have read kerry’s response before i wrote practically an identical one. sorry, nat!

  33. cc says:

    happy birthday to a fellow leo – reowr! i’m always shocked you’re so clear and together for one this young. brava to you, have a great birthday!

    and on this post – its an other great example of the above. by that i mean that you’re very clear and together on supporting yourself and not questioning yourself on things you can’t stand (passive aggression in others, which also makes me seize up, and well it should! i should get off my own case for that) while reining yourself in on things to which its good to hold a high standard (being grateful, honest).

    that’s a great list. i’m going to write my own.

    thank you, natalie. and happy, happy birthday.

  34. Magdalena says:

    Piling on to the personal commandments, my biggest one is to choose love over fear. Of course, the love part starts with me picking loving me over a variety of fears (leaving a bad relationship, being abandoned, being alone, feelings of inadequacy and not-good-enough, etc. etc. etc.). Choosing love over fear reminds me to reach for my better, higher, more spiritual and loving self during those moments when it would be so easy to cave in to fears.

    Best birthday wishes! :)


  35. Phoenix says:

    Happy Birthday, Natalie!

    I’m glad I’m sending YOU birthday wishes instead of breaking NO CONTACT and sending them to my ex! I was in a state of despair when I found your site months ago after being blindsided by him: We had been seeing each other nearly a year, but I sensed something was wrong between us, and when I asked him about it, instead of telling me in person or owning up to it when I called him on the phone asking if anything was wrong, he changed the subject, said he was busy, avoided me and my calls and then proceeded to dump me over text. After realizing I wouldn’t just “forget” and he couldn’t just conveniently disappear, he told me found someone he “really cared about” and was now in a serious relationship. He wouldn’t tell me when or how long this had been going on, so I found out through the grapevine that he: Just met her, but yet felt confident enough to move in right away and propose to her after “dating” her for less than 2 months. He always talked about how he wanted kids of his own and mentioned that single moms were a turn off to him, yet this woman is 10 years his senior (she’s pushing 50), has 4 grown children, and has been already divorced twice.

    I had survived on a diet of crumbs from him, and couldn’t understand why he was then building her a bakery. It’s like he DID spontaneously combust into this wonderful partner with her.

    This is when I found your site. I believe it was the “why her and not me” post. I’m still heartbroken and cry over it almost every day, but it’s been over 3 months since I’ve contacted him or looked at his Facebook page. The toughest test was a couple of weeks ago on his birthday when I did NOT break no contact. I know I wouldn’t have been strong enough to not cave in had I not had this site to read every day.

    Thank You so much!

    • truth=freedom says:

      Dear Phoenix,
      Time to rise again Phoenix! Keep reading this web site, maintain your No Contact and know that there are so many others who have been down this path. I know you are hurting and it is so painful to think he has moved on so quickly. He is not Baker’s Delight! This reeks of future faking at its finest. He is giving her the golden loaves at the moment but it will be back to the crumbs in no time. This type of guy changes his story to meet his needs at the time. You deserve so much more.

  36. teachable says:

    wow. iv just recognised what the problem is with my so called best friend. she’s been behaving passive aggressively toward me for the past couple of mths ever since we rekindled the r.ship after SHE distanced herself from ME b/c I confronted her about some inappropriate behaviour. i keep deleting her number ever since but end up giving in & either initiate contact or respobd to contact from her in this bizarre power struggle which has been going on ever since. & yet to see her or speak to her, butter would not melt in her mouth! tonight at 5pm i sent a text nviting her dinner by text ‘after if finished studyibg’ (i was studying at the time which is why i textd instead of called). i suggested we buy chinese frm local shop we sometimes go to. no biggie. fridays r occassionally a get together night for us as is the chinese. she arrived home frm a big o.seas trip a week ago & iv only spoken to her once since so in the txt id said mayb she cud bring photos of trip & tht it wud great to hear all abt it. THREE HOURS LATER, IM STARVING BECAUSE ITS NOW 8PM & STILL NO REPLY. So I text again asking just wondering if yr coming or not b/c Im starving & want to know I should eat or not. She texts bk tht she’s at a dance class w her daughter until 8.30pm!! SO WHY DID SHE NOT TELL ME THAT AT 5PM SO I COULD HAVE MADE OTHER PLANS? Thts actually the second or third time Ive invited her dinner (its usually just a few hrs b4 as we live 5 mins away frm ea other & hav a rough idea of ea other scedules, as u do) & she either hasnt let me know if she is coming or not until quite late in the evening, & once didnt let me know at all!! She then texted she was off to hed at 9.30 & I stupidly said ok well mayb we cud dinner 2moro instead? Then I thought about it, decided Im sick of her rudeness, sent a brief text saying Id changed my mind abt tomorrow night & wishing her well for the w.end. Im so sik of dealing w this persons crap. Shes SUPPOSED to be my closest friend but Iv only known her 12 mths & things changed radically after I confronted her some stuff. I noticed tht she started screening out my calls, blatently lying & claiming not have received my messages etc. Im SO over it. My self esteem feels like shit after my dealing with her. I might just not reply id she texts or whatever & wait & see if she calls at some point. IF she calls (I doubt she will btw as I’ve sat bk & observed her to see what hsppens). I might just tell her I feel a bit disrespected & raise the dinner issue as an example. I don’t need to make a big about it but for f*cks sake, if soneone can’t be bothered letting me know if they’re accepting my dinner invite or not – I’ve just decided THEY DONT DESERVE TO BE MY FRIEND!! GRRR!!!

    • truth=freedom says:

      Dear Teachable
      Hugs to you. Its really sad when so called friends treat you like this. Some people are just downright rude and its all bout them. I have had a similar recent experience with an old friend. I called her for her birthday and left a message on her answering machine. No reply, so thinking she was out celebrating, I sent a text. She replied by text SIX days later. We both have shift schedules so I let her know my availabilities. I text again to ask about which night for dinner or daytime lunch is suitable to meet up for her. No reply. Next day I leave another text. Meanwhile I am leaving things open to accomodate her. Finally, after FOUR days at 11pm she texts and says “Yeah tomorrow night is fine for me.” I was so hurt as she tells me I dont make enough effort! So….I told her she was too late in replying and I now had plans. True friends just dont keep you hanging!!!

  37. teachable says:

    ps she didnt JUST say she was at the dance class with her daughter, she said I cant come because Im at a dance class with my daughter which doesnt finish until 8.30 pm – BUT my point is, she could have told that may be on the horizon for her (even if she wasnt yet certain abt it) at 5PM so I could have not wasted my time waiting thinking she MIGHT be coming & could have made other plans instead!!!!!!

    • Allison says:


      Please don’t waste anymore time with this woman. Her actions are pretty clear.

      Also, if I don’t hear back from someone after about 15 mins., I will assume they are busy. Please focus on people who are more respectful of you and your time.

  38. teachable says:

    Sorry but can someone tell me what they make of all all that? I mean as I say, one time I invited her to dinner (by text – we live local to ea other & so will tend to send short texts ie wanna catch up 4 dinner tonight etc) she didn’t bother to reply AT ALL & WORSE – I LET HER GET AWAY WITH IT when she apologised on the phone for not replying to let me know if she was coming or not (to which I SHOULD have said well yes, that would have been the respectful thing to do) I stupidly said instead, ‘oh that’s ok – I figured when I didn’t hear back that you weren’t coming & ate on my own & was busy studying anyway (as if her behaviour was ok, when actually, IT WASN’T & although I’d very much enjoyed my own company for dinner her BEHAVIOUR HAD ACTUALLY REALLY PISSED ME OFF!! What I dont understand, is that prior to our falling out she never used to behave like this. Anyway. Who effin cares & wherefores & goodness knows what else! I AM PISSED!! AND NO IT’S NOT OK THAT SHE LIES ABOUT NOT GETTING MY MESSAGES AT TIMES & does this other bullshit carry on. For now shes on FLUSH!! Who are these friggin ppl? !! This is what happens when illness strikes. Suddenly yr real friends shrink away as they are al successful career ppl like me & ppl like this woman (err, not remotely career oriented shall we say – thts fine but basically we are quite different in some very fundemental ways) slinks on in under my radar under the guise of being a LITTERAL florence nightingale type in the sense that she’s FULL OF ADVICE about having suffered illness SIMILAR TO MINE who mysteriously appears out of thin air whilst I’m incredibly vulnerable & of serious ill health. I dont get it. I really don’t. Hopefully she will just stay away. I havent slept all night due to the STRESS of that minor upheaval which means no exam study today. Nope. This is one ‘friend’ I can’t afford. Certainly not right now thts for sure! Grr!

  39. teachable says:

    PS My real friends have of course visited but they are VERY busy professionals with full on jobs & study committments. Two are senior solicitors. Another is just completing her PhD & holding day a 4 day week teaching job at the same time. Another is a manager in the transport industry & studies at uni FULLTIME on the side. None of them are like this woman – uneducated with no career background to speak of. That’s the one prob with 12 step groups. Ppl worm their way into yr life who simply would not otherwise be there & you really have very litlle in common with them apart frm the fact that you just happen to attend a particular 12 step group. Tht’s how this woman came to be in my life. Under the guise of me supporting her. I said sorry but I’m far too ill to support anyone but I’d be happy to just be yr friend. Maybe that was not such a good idea. I’m VERY discerning with such ppl but she’s a VERY highly skilled manipulator. The nicey nice personal has given way to this passive aggressive side ever since I exposed some of her other behaviours. This column is about not taking BS. I don’t take BS. My life is VERY simple. I don’t have TIME for BS. And as much as this woman ACTS & SAYS the rights things when I talk to her & see her there is something about her behaviour that is very much about her wanting to have all of the power & control in the friendship & it would appear that I am expected to bow down to her. Worse, I’m very isolared out here & all of MY friends are a 45 drive away ie impossible for me to get to with my mobility issues. Right now I’m just gunna take a GIANT step BACK from her & OBSERVE (yet again). What’s the bet she does NOTHING. I feel like I can literally see right through her & what I see is not quite the ‘sweet nice’ person she pretends to be (I have more than TWICE her years of experience around 12 step groups than she has & she seems to have already ‘used me up’ for whatever she wanted in the early stages of approaching me). Maybe THAT’S what this passive agressive stuff is about?? She must realise I’m onto her & can see something about her is NQR. Yuk. It feels awful even just writing about it :(

    • cc says:

      you asked for advice, so i was about to reply, but then i think you answered your own questions.

      still, if it helps to get an outsider’s cut through any remaining confusion, here’s what i heard you say:
      – she made your manipulator/user alarm bells go off from the beginning
      – she went from nicey-nice (which doesn’t sound so genuine) to passive-aggressively managing communication (um…no) after a confrontation (sounds like she’s the AC and you’re the FBG in this situation)
      – there was a power struggle in the relationship – OK, i don’t think you’re seeing this for quite the red flag that it is. real friendships might have teeny, little power struggles, but then both parties see that, acknowledge it, and should naturally do whatever they can to eradicate it or work around it with humor and kindness. its not good that that power struggle has never really ended. and now she’s not even giving you crumbs.

      passive-aggressive is about addressing things INdirectly and through subterfuge and possibly manipulation. it is the chickenshit’s way out. we all do it sometimes, but really p-a people live by it and pretty much cannot do things any other way. that’s what she sounds like.

      the way i see it, you have 3 options:
      1- attempt to have an open, honest, discussion with her. i don’t think this will work, given what you say of her personality and that she’s already managing you. and, sorry, it will be difficult for you not to be angry and confrontational, which you MUST not be for this. you are both justified in your resentment of her and IMHO too unhealthily attached to her (easy for me to say, and i’m guilty of doing this too). the idea would be, if she is willing to sit down with you, to say, simply, i value our friendship and i would very much like us to interact with each other in a more open way. there seem to be things that we are each doing that are bothering the other. i’d like to reform our friendship, because i’d like a true friendship with you.

      this is the brave but vulnerable thing to do, however, given what you say of her, i also think its spittin’ in the wind, because she sounds incapable of meeting honesty with honesty.

      2- ease up and see what happens. don’t reach out to her. if she contacts you, respond if you feel like it, not if you don’t. if you respond, all your interactions have to be low-stress and friendly. this is a challenge, but less than 1, and it takes you off the hook.

      3- write her off. she kinda sounds like a bitch and a lot of work anyway. who wants a friend they can’t just be themselves with?

      either way, look at how she and your relationship with her are similar to other patterns you might have in your life. this whole thing sounds like no fun. and especially given everything else you’re going through, you deserve better.

      big hugs, teachable. hang in there.

    • Allison says:


      It doesn’t sound like you respect , trust or like this woman. Why don’t you let it all go?

  40. Fearless says:

    Aw Nat, I just joined the dots here and realised that your birthday (if it’s this Saturday – which it is!) is the same day as my darling daughter who is 23 years on 28th July!

    It’s a silly thing, and I can’t say why, but that pleases me very much!

    Happy birthday wishes, big cuddles and many happy returns of the day to two very special young women this Saturday (Yes, that’s you too Natalie – young!)

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey there Fearless, happy, happy birthday to your darling daughter. Sending big hugs to mama bear. You’ve done good. I’ll bet your daughter knows the commandments!
      BTW Natalie, love the pics as well as the commandments. Your daughters are so fortunate to have such a wonderful mom. Happy Birthday. Dear lord only 35? Face plant. I can’t remember 35!

    • Happy birthday to your daughter for today! You picked a great day to give birth 😉 Have a wonderful day and stay fabulous xxx

      • Fearless says:

        Runner and Natalie,

        thank you! (yes runner, I think she does know a good few of the commandments! She doesn’t do drama and she handles bullshitters remarkably well for one so young).

        Am so glad I am ‘BR wiser’ as I can make sure she gets the help she needs if she runs into trouble (so far she’s been way smarter than me in her choice of boyfriend!).

        I am very grateful to you both for your wonderful support these many, many months (is it ‘years’ already!)

  41. teachable says:

    Thanks for you reply Truth Freedom. I appreciate it as I’m struggling to see this clearly & one of my medications causes angry mood swings, so outsider opinions do help to get perspective. :)

    I got myself so worked up about this (as you can tell frm my posts) that I ended up dealing with the matter directly (admittedly by text b.c I was too angry to actually speak with her). I told her the reason I’d changed my mind about offering to have dinner the following night was that I felt disrespected that she did not let me know earlier that she MAY have had other plans (which she would have known when I first invited her to dinner at 5pm) & that I’d delayed eating or inviting SOMEONE ELSE to dinner as I was left waiting to hear back from her until 8 pm & even then SHE didn’t contact ME, I had to contact HER to find out if she was coming or not. I also said this was at least the THIRD time she’d done this, once not bothering to REPLY AT ALL & just apologising the following day instead for not bothering to either confirm or decline. I told her I know I said it was ‘ok’ at the time but actually it wasnt & that her behaviour was taking ppl for granted. I added that although I am ill atm I DO still have a life & require her to let me know in future by a reasonale time if she is accepting or a decling a dinner invitation as this is the polite way to treat ppl. I felt slightly like one does when dealing with an AC. You know when you’re ‘telling them about themselves’ & requesting better treatment all the while having a sneaking suspicion THEY SHOULD KNOW THIS STUFF ALREADY?! I kept my tone firm, assertive & respectful with a tinge of humour at the end so I didn’t across as bitter or over reacting. Then for the umpteenth time I deleted her number. It’s very difficult as she is basicslly the only friend I have out here. I’ve tried making new friends in the area but I’ve been here 10 years now & the ones I’ve made have either moved away, or there isn’t really anyone. I’m basically a career orientated woman who moved to the outer suburbs to afford a ‘first home buyer’ priced property which is suitable to set musical equiptment up in, as I was a professional musician in a former life. There is some musical stuff going on around here but I haven’:.t managed to really make any inroads in that area. Prior to becoming ill & unable to work, I was too busy working & studying to have much of a chance to follow those opportunities up. Anyway she texted today, admitted she was completely in the wrong, offered no real explanation other than being a bit all over the place atm (which doesnt explain why she’s done it previously also then but only AFTER our falling out where I first confronted her about some other inappropriate beh ?) & apologised. I haven’t replied. I’m not overly keen to. Tonight is a night when we would normally travel back over to my side of town for a 12 step grp I’ve been attending for 20+ years & due to my mobility issues it is helpful when she goes with me. She enjoys it as she gets to meet new ppl she hasnt met before & it’s a big meeting w a very social focus. Tonight though I’m going to force myself to either stay home or go on my own. As Nat says. No BS. Tell ppl things to their face (done – ok txt – but tht’s normal for us). And THEY’RE NOT THAT SPECIAL. Without having tickets on myself, I’m actually a kinda kick ass chick. There prolly heaps of peeps out there happy to just hang out even if I am off my game due to illness. Ones who dont cause me sleepless night due to minor BS. THAT’S tht litmus test for me. I’m with you Alison. Giving this person a miss for now. Ugh.

  42. teachable says:

    PS Truth freedom, I’m sorry to hear about what happened with your friend. It’s a very difficult one. I’ve basically told EVERYONE I’m unable to make plans atm & that I can’t confirm or deny until the actual day due to illness. Even then, they know, unless it’s something super dooper, often, I’m simply unable to make it. I try to send cards, make calls, ect instead. The demands of working, paying a mortgage, plus studying & parenting I think can be difficult to manage. I know I striluglled with that for many years. I’m sure what your friends position is though…?? Whatever it is she should have replied SONNER & said, ‘I’m not sure what my plans are yet, but I will let you know by X. Does that work ok for you? That’s my thinking at least…

    • truth=freedom says:

      Thanks Teachable, I agree with with your comment totally. If she just sent a one minute text if she was totally swamped it would be fine. Life gets busy for everyone, but it was the total lack of response that irritated me. You are doing the right thing by letting people know that its difficult for you to make plans. Hope you are doing well.

  43. Jayne says:

    I really appreciate ALL of Nats brilliant posts but this is one we must each establish for ourselves- and stick to it!I recently picked up with someone I was involved with previouslyand when they displayed code amber/ red red flags then actual abuse in a matter of a month or so I LITERALLY walked out. What was scary was that they came to my home & called 20 times & texted multiple times within the hour or so after. I’ve gotten a couple of other vms but have not returned them. I finally sent a text ( so I did not have to speak directly; keeping it one way) to request no contact. I was able to do all of this bc of what I have learned here on this site! I’m using the tools until I ” get it”! I pray to stay strong and wait for more 2 be revealed! I initially felt like “oops I did it again” when this person treated me with disrespect ( again!) I am grateful, though, to have the vision & strength to KEEP STEPPIN!!! It’s NEVER too late to salvage / build/ enforce your self esteem! Love you nat!xo
    ps: would love to see more posts on narcissists – it’s a serious issue in our society!

  44. Allison says:

    Happy Birthday, Nat!!!!!

    May this be your best year yet!

  45. teachable says:

    Truth Freedom. I agree yr friend ought to have replied much sooner. It’s no biggie to sent a text in reply saying – I’m not sure what my plans are yet – followed by a brief explanation as to why & then a conclusion as to what one is thinking of a timeframe for catching up. I think yr friend was basically either being lazy, taking you for granted or just disrespectful. Possibly all three. I also thing you did the right thing not jumping when she/ he said how high. This is similar beh to what my friend here seems to do. She has friends ABCD & I an friend E. If things FALL THROUGH with ALL OF HER OPTIONS FIRST then she MIGHT give me a crumb (or not as cc points out) & I’m expected to be ‘grateful’! Blow that! Pfft! I’ll be interested to hear things pan out with this ‘friend’…

    Cc… that’s a really great reply. Very meaty. You’ve given me a LOT to reflect on. I’ve ALREADY tried option one with her. I THOUGHT things were all resolved amicably but obviously not. Essentially I pulled her up for appropriately flirting w me when she knows I’m not a lesbian & that that part of my life ended 13 years ago. She is straight but says she would ‘consider’ a r.ship with a woman & after a few mths of knowing her I noticed started having thoughts of more than friendship with her. Having realised I’m not a lesbian in my mid 20’s (I wasnt sure before that) & not being physically attracted to her, I couldn’t for the life of me work out why I was suddenly thing these thoughts. Then it hit me. She was basically blatently leading me on with a whole raft of seductive behaviours (minus anything physical)!! I told her that given she knows I’m NOT a lesbian I thought her beh inappropriate. I also told her it was somewhat manipulative & that she was VERY intrusive of my privacy – which was true & that I have boundaries which I would appreciate her respecting future. It was one hell of a truth telling moment & of course I wrapped all of this around positive feedback about her qualities also. She took some responsibility for her beh & I thought things were ok. WRONG! That’s when the REAL trouble started & the first signs of passive agression emerged. I still don’t quite get it. Anyway. I will mull over your post & see what sticks. All I know is that right now it feels great not having her around! I went to my 12 step grp on my own tonight & saw some of my long term friends for coffee afterward & it was AWESOME. The power struggle thing u mention is definately a red flag I think too. I mean who effin needs it? It’s like a tug of war. So yeah. All I have to do is let go of the rope & walk off into my happy life w. out her in it & she will fall flat on her ass. Which of course she will. SHE initially befriended ME remember not the other way around. I might be dealing w illness but I know in my heart I have something she doesnt. Spiritual wellness. On a very deep level. You can’t buy what I have hey. So no ill will to her but gee am I glad to have let that rope go at least for now. She was literally choking me. Ugh.

    I’ve been thinking about her from another angle also… it’s quite possible she is some sort of codependent or love addict or something… I dunno… I also DO think she has undiagnosed bi polar & have thought that for a long time… anyway as long as she stays away I’m good for now… not sure what to do with her longer term but relieved to give myself permission not to tolerate being treated like crap or petty excuses for same!

    • Mymble says:

      I’ve been on the receiving end of this kind of thing too, from friends and family members. In particular my brother. I know all too well how hurtful it is. However, we do have a reasonable relationship now, and what has helped has been me focussing on myself rather than spending a lot of time & mental energy on him. Let it go. Don’t worry too much about what is wrong with her. It isnt our job to pass judgement on others.

    • cc says:

      teachable –
      wait. is she gay? like really gay? and was she really hitting on you? and is she incapable of a platonic relationship with you?

      that’s a huge missing piece of the puzzle – honey, ya shoulda said that first! that could explain so much! if she had real feelings for you, she may not be able to be friends with you. or, on the other hand, she’s got some obsessive attachment thing, or worse, she knows your not gay but decided to see if she could “turn” you – then that’s pretty twisted.

      ok, with that information, i’d advise distancing myself and paying attention to your own stuff. she sound tmth – too much to handle.

  46. teachable says:

    Peeing myself @ truth freedoms bakers delight comment!! Anyone dating a guy who OWNS the actual flour mill yet?! LOL

    • truth=freedom says:

      Teachable, I just lurve Natalie’s crumb analogy.
      Love your Flour Mill guy comment! When I started dating my EUM I got the special Golden Loaves, the HONEST brownies, the RESPECTABLE marble cake, the TRUTHFUL scones, LOVING banana bread….then slowly the ingredients shifted over time. Everything tasted so different. A really bad taste! The honest brownies became AMBIGUOUS, the marble cake could not give a $h!*, not to mention the LYING scones and the spiteful banana bread. I was left with two sheets of flaky pastry that became crumbs when I took my final bite. LOL! Be gone Baker man and take your trays of indifference with you!!!!!!

      • truth=freedom says:

        p.s Think he could have been sharing around his Rum Balls but dont have any definate proof on that! LOL

  47. teachable says:

    Happy birthday for Nat. I take it yr the big 35! It’s a great age. Then again the issue of death so close recently has reminded me if we’re still suckin air, ANY age is a great age, b.c it means we still have time to try to make a difference in this world! Hope u had an ace b/day!

    Allison, You are right. There are aspects of this womans past life choices which I dont respect. She admits she made mistakes however and in fairness her life trajectory was cemented to some degree in those mistakes whilst she was younger & had a pattern of chosining violent men as r/sip partners & fathers of her 6 children (2 fathers. 5 kids to one. 1 kid to the other). These patterns she has recognised & she no longer dates violent men. She also recently did a short course qualifying her to teach english ss a second language. She has been welfare dependent her entire adult life but recently came into an inheritance & plans (apparently) to undertake further study in the future (not sure if she will or not though. When she speaks of it I can hear that a four year degree, given she is 47 now feels daunting to her) I can see what I have that she wants to speak though. I have never been welfare dependent or lived in welfare housing (she did until she got the inheritence 12 mths ago). I am educated (& still slugging away at it) have WORKED in a PROFESSIONAL CAREER for the past 20 years & was DETERMINED to buy my own home from the get go (which is now close to being paid off). Her nett worth is ironically about 150,000 more than mine but she is slowly blowing what she didnt invest in a home for her & kids on frivolous things. I predict that within 5 years most of that $ will be gone. Why? She didn’t EARN it so she has absolutely NO IDEA of it’s value. I’ve tried to warn her about this & that certain ppl will want to date her now purely b.c she is cashed up & she ackowledges my point but given, at least in my opinion, she scammed her parents in law into giving her their ENTIRE inheritance & not leaving a single cent to their own son (ie her admittedly violent ex & father of 5 of the kids, who also has schitzophrenia) I suspect karma is gunna bite her there. That is why you are aleo right that I don’t really trust her. Lets say I WAS a lesbian for example. I have only one heir – my Son. Currently we are estranged & I am furious w him. Might this woman try to entice me into a r.ship w a view to eventually inheriting ALL of my assets also? I cannot answer that question satisfactorily enough to give me 100% peace of mind. Not that this matters though as she is not a lesbian & neither am I. Still I HAVE asked myself the Q’s you ask. I can only come up with that she does seem to be trying to better herself & we ALL make mistakes so who am I to judge? As for the inheritance issue perhaps it really was the parents in laws wishes & not her doing? (She did nurse them in their final years & their Son caused by comparison them a lot of pain & heartache)

    • Allison says:


      I’m sorry, but this sounds like a very co-dependent relationship!!! From what you have written – and the way it was written – I have to wonder why you are still friends? You don’t sound like her friend. I don’t know what you get out of this?

      There is a lot of drama and needless energy in this friendship, is this a pattern with other friends?

  48. Snowboard says:

    Happy birthday, Natalie!!!!! Many hugs!!!!

  49. teachable says:


    She wasn’t outright hitting on me & no she is NOT a lesbian. Neither am I. I had told her though that I thought I was gay in my early 20’s & had had r.ships w women, until I met my now deceased ex AC & fell in love with him. At that point I realised I was not gay. After only one final ‘holiday fling with a woman whom I told upfront I was not gay (she initiated things), when I was 29, I have never been involved with women on that level since. So THIS friend knew about that part of my history (which I RARELY tell ppl unless I’m dating them & it’s getting serious & then I discose it only so I’m not keeping it a secret) she never hit on me, but she WAS flirting like crazy with me which triggere stirring up old feelings in ME I’d long ago forgotten about. So I basically had a serious talk with her about her behaviour & how r.ships are serious & ppl get hurt etc. I explained that I am looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with & that I’m done with anything that doesnt have that potential. I explained my whole process of WHY I thought I was gay to start with & WHY I decided I wasn’t in the end (ie I fell in love with a man. Definately not gay there). I explained how heartbroken two of my g/friends were when I ended the relationships with nothing more than ‘it’s not you it’s you, it’s me’. Ahh yes. Damned straight it was me. I must have managed to do it respectfully though as one, now married with a child & living o.seas is hoping to catch up to say hello when next Aust. She sounds so happy & I’m very happy for her. She also expressed that she still cares I think she means emotionally that life is hopefully treating me well. I will keep it light when I see her. I’m hoping that though is the sign of a breakup handled ok. Many years have passed. Enough no doubt… Anyway, THIS ‘friend’ in talking had said in passing, she would ‘consider’ a r.ship w a woman… That is what I mean by leading me on. If you are straight why say that? Before her passive aggressive side came out I even thought, well, we DO share the same VALUES & isn’t that what Nat is always banging on about… And we do. And yes at first she seemed very kind. But then things went all awry & I went from friend A to E status with the down grading in treatment that goes with it! Ie screening out my calls. Taking 2, 3 4 weeks to ring me (It was unreal. This, after previous talking maybe once or twice a week as besties tend to do?). Weird b.c my talk to her was HEY – IM NOT A LESBIAN. I WANT TO MARRY A MAN & WOULD LOVE TO MAYBE EVEN HAVE ANOTHER CHILD – STOP FLIRTING W ME – ITS INAPPROPRIATE. Not hey, I think I might fancy you!! Remember, I’m not physically attracted to her either! Anyway as Mymble says. Whatev. She’s ‘too hard basket’ as a friend for now. I have other friends. I may have to dig them up a bit but I aint accepting crap treatment from anyone! End of!

  50. teachable says:

    Wow. Nat you are working wonders here! I did this by text so not perfect but still very direct & straight up. I replied to the apology (which came by text). I said this has happened a number of times over past few mths b.4 she went overseas so unles she means shes ‘all over the place’ for the last few mthsthe her apology didnt make sense to me. I then stated Id noticed tht our friendship had changed for the worse after we had ‘the talk’ & that I’d felt since, that I was supposed to grovel to her or be ‘oh so grateful’ whenever she decided to bestow her attent upon me. I explained I understood she had been busy studying b4 going o.seas but SO HAVE I! I further stated that I struggled to understand what I had done to cause the f.ship to change or to offend or perhaps upset her as I had asked her directly if there was anything unresolved for her previpusly & she had said no. I then said that I felt a power struggle had emerged & tht I felt it was unhealthy beh & tht I needed it to stop. I said I valued her friendship but that if she didn’t value what I have to offer as a friend that I was ok with that, & let her go with well wishes. I also explained tht it was not as simple as her making just an apology & explained tht due to my ill health I had reverted to a night of zero sleep & lost an entire day of sleep as a result of her beh. I explained tht although it is not her fault I am ill I just cant afford to have ppl or things which cause those sorts of outcomes in my life! And I left it at that. I dont expect to hear anything now. Perhsps not a bad thing. As many have pointed out, I have my hands full here focusing on me! :)

  51. teachable says:

    * lost an entire day of studying for my exams I meant…

  52. teachable says:

    LMAO Truth Freedom! It sounds to me like what you actually got was a FIGGIN FRUITCAKE!!! Sounds like it’s a good thing that flakey pastry flaked right on off!!!! Some peeps!!!! It beggers belief doesn’t it? But worse, once you get out & look back & see the gammit of BAD FOOD you were eating it’s AWFUL!!! I, for one, demand a full refund!!! In fact, I’m undergoing a total REBAKE as we speak!!! LOL

  53. Arti says:

    Happy Birthday Natalie! you’ve been an inspiration to me over the last year. I love your blog, it’s helped me a lot! Thank you so much and wish you happiness..

  54. titi says:

    Teachable, sorry, but according to your posts, you seem like a person who creates a lot of drama. Learn to let it go. You’re wasting your time trying to “explain things”, but actually you’re trying to make this “friend” validate you by admitting she’s wrong and you’re right. If someone mistreats you, ditch him/her, it’s simple as that. You don’t need her approval and you certainly don’t need her telling you she’s wrong.

  55. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes my lovelies! It’s very much appreciated! I’m having a low key day before I head off to a night out in Amsterdam, then back to London tomorrow. Have a great weekend, hugs xxx

    • Learner says:

      Have a wonderful day Natalie – hope you have some time to relax, and hope you get spoiled!

      Thanks for all you do :)

  56. Learner says:

    Fearless, Grace and Runnergirl

    Just wanted to let you know that I have purchased a big bundle of ebooks written by Natalie the birthday girl!

    I have read half of the NCR book already (felt I needed that one first). You are right – well written, humourous, and she so seems to “get” what I have just been through with the MM – very insightful!

    Thank you for encouraging me to go ahead and order them already!

  57. blueberry girl says:

    Happy birthday Nat! And thanks for your infinite wisdom! Btw, your daughters are so adorable; the pic of them splashing in the pool is precious. Enjoy your day!

  58. lo j says:

    Thinking of you Natalie as I watch the Olympics!! Is it crazy there??!! Have a great birthday and what a place to celebrate! 😉

  59. teachable says:

    You welcome Nat. Hope it was a good one. :)

    Titi, Most of the time with this person was no drama AT ALL untill recently when I decided to inform her that I was not comfortable with her flirtatious beh toward me & repeatedly invading my privacy in general conversation in very subtle but distinct ways (i.e I prefer to keep details of who my therapist is, who my treating health professionals are etc private. Thus when ppl ask, I politely decline to share & simply state I’d rather not say. She however would hear that, drop the probing for that conversation & RETURN TO THE EXACT SAME LINE OF QUESTIONING REPEATEDLY in different subtle ways until I finally slipped up, & she ‘tricked’ the info she wanted out of me with what was on part my a slip of the toungue. When I tell ppl I don’t share certain info I just expect tht will be respected. I don’t except to re-package the Q a few diff ways & slip it into the conversation again weeks later trying to get information out of which is not their business & I’ve already stated I prefer to keep private. Until I raised these two simple issues (ie stop flirting w me & stop invading privacy there WERE NO ISSUES. I dont think that having the courage to work through issues w someone means something is ‘all drama’. Sometimes waltzing off like that is just taking the easy way out. ALL friendships have issues & as I’ve only known this person for approx 16 mths I don’t have a lot of ‘what is normal for her’ to compare anything to. I would say 93% of the friendship with her has been fine. It’s the 7% which has only been in the last 3 mths or so that there’s been a problem. As it turns out she replied & said she’s been very busy all day but just wanted me to know she realises the problem has been with her (which I supposed shouldn’t surprise me too much. She has over a decade of 12 step recovery & in the past when I’ve confronted her about things has admitted them. It was afterward that things went awry. Anyway, I replied saying I am happy to talk but she will have to wait untill after my exam as sorry but I have more important things to focus on atm. She seems to be ok w that.

    Allison I’m aware I’ve only talked here about her down side so she must sould terrible but actually she’s not. She has a VERY kind heart & do think it’s genuine (I have trust issues too btw). She also would go out of her way to help anyone & often does. I’m not religious but she enjoys going to church b.c it helps to keep her mind positive & unlike me (I’m a atheist) she has this incredible belief in God. I mean she REALLY BELIEVES. Although she made terrible decisions when younger she’s also VERY INTELLIGENT. Possibly more than myself even except I am the one with the schooling & career behind me so I am by no means a dummy. She’s sharp! VERY sharp! She speaks SEVEN different languages fluently for example… She’s a staunch FEMINIST & has learned to see through the crap women were sold about our roles & station in life… She UNDERSTANDS ptsd & depression & being survivor of male violence b.c she is a survivor too… she UNDERSTANDS parental abandonment & how this impacts our development as her parents abandoned her too…

    I don’t know I do feel a little confused by her beh. Always good to step back when feel that way to see more clearly. So now I’m just sitting back & observing. Oh yes & quit smoking today. Very happy about that. More focusing on me to done :)

  60. teachable says:

    PS Allison. To answer your question no I havent had this problem in any other friendship. That’s why I’m a bit confused by it. I’ve never come accross someone who behaves like this before. Otherwise, all that has happened is that after 12 mths of friendship during which things were fine I decided to address some issues which werent ok. After that the friendship was never quite the same. She seems to be admitting this. I wonder why things went awry after I addressed my concerns abt some issues w her? No matter I guess. I have study to do now. Stranger things have happened. LOL Cc what do you make of these updates I wonder?

  61. lo j says:

    Teachable … why you call yourself that I’ll never know, you are anything but. You are so far from your 12 step program I question if you are abusing your medication. I’ve seen you blame everyone and make excuses for your own behavior, failing to take responsibility for a lot or MOST of your actions. If you aren’t using, you aren’t far off. Work your program and cut out the bullshit.

    • Fearless says:


      I don’t know what a 12 step program is all about but I do agree with this:

      “I’ve seen you blame everyone and make excuses for your own behavior, failing to take responsibility for a lot or MOST of your actions.”

      Teachable, I don’t know how you cope with what to me seems like an unremitting amount of largely self-inflicted off the scale drama in your life. Not everything has to be that big a deal. You seem to contradict yourself a lot of the time and to throw yourself from one great “crisis” to another; and while you complain about it, you also seem to feed your drama monster with great gusto and relish. Stop feeding the monster? Way less drama would equal more peace in your life. I think you are right that you should focus on your studies – it may settle and focus the mind on what is really important.

  62. teachable says:

    There is one more thing LoJ. I came to BR as I was letting go of a situation with an ex from many years ago. I did not break NC once I got to BR & instead, I steadfastly KEPT MY RESOLVE & STUCK TO IT, until sadly the person I was in NC with, (much as I feared would happen), died (I did eventually reply to the email he sent me just before he died that was in brief & six mths after he was already dead – obviously I hadn’t heard the news yet at the time. Very sad. For him I mean, that he lost his life).

    As such I don’t know what you’re talking about as I have nothing to blame anyone for ie things have gone actually as well as can be expected & frankly, given your comments, I now don’t care to know. I have over two and a half decade of exp around 12 step groups, a sponsor of similar vintage, & two OCMS with 30 years of recovery EACH – one of whom is my counsellor on my treatment support team, while I’m dealing with serious physical health issues. Between the four of us, we have a total of approx 110 years of solid recovery under of collective belts!! They have all been FANTASTIC.

    Moreover, I have been most fortunate, to have some of the leading specialists in the state as my treating Drs. As such, all combined, I’m in GREAT hands. Not sure why a stranger like you would see fit to attack me in such a way but save it for your 12 step groups hey. Thankfully I’m experienced enough to realise your behaviour reflects only on yourself. Cheers.

  63. teachable says:

    LoJ, You’re out of line. You don’t know me & have no idea what you’re talking about. Otherwise, my medication is not mood or mind altering – it’s epilepsy medication!!!! I shall decline further speak with you as you clearly have issues which are nothing to do with me. Otherwise things are going really well here – steadily improving as they have been slowly over time. Funny that!! LOL :)

  64. happy b says:

    “If you’re not laughing, you’re not living enough.”
    I do measure my life by how much I laugh. I see the humour in everything and certain people can bring out my well-concealed hilarious side. I am very independent and can be amused by many things on my own, can even get into good banter with strangers, but it really takes good company to laugh. I miss it :( I hate to say it, but the ex-AC made me laugh a lot. Then I realised I was never laughing, I had lost my sense of humour. I’ll know I’ve recovered when I laugh as much as I used to. I know what the answer is, ‘get a life’, and I am doing exciting stuff, but very, very few people have that funny connection with me, and then good, available people with that funny connection? I’m digging for gold dust here.

    Hmm on that beefy note…warm birthday wishes Natalie!

  65. julie says:

    Happy Birthday Natalie. And thank you for your very special writing. Never have I found so much sense and support in one place. You are amazing. A big hug to you and all the folks who post and read.

  66. teachable says:

    I dont mean to be rude fearless, but if you were up with the times you would realise there isnt any drama here – AT ALL. I don’t have TIME for drama. My tolerance level for it is oh,… 24 hrs ABSOLUTE MAX!! (After which time things are basically either repaired or jettisoned)! lol

    Otherwise, I have been through only ONE event since coming to BR which some might describe as dramatic (I didn’t but I guess it was a serious event shall we say) which is that somebody died. Thats it. Nothing else has been dramatic at all (apart from genuine health issues although I dont really go into too much detail about here as that is not my purpose for coming to BR) but merely different parts of ordinary life as it unfolds from day to day…

    Please keep negative critcism to yourself in future! Rather than ‘relish’ these things as you put it, I live alone, all of my friends have jobs & so are not available for me to call during the day, & it is HELPFUL post some things on BR where I can ‘park’ it so I can then focus & get on with my day elsewhere, before checking if I might have heard back from a particular respondent before going to bed. I also have a LOT of professional support but not a huge amount of (day to day) personal support as I am isolated due to mobility issues. You perhaps can call & chat with a friend. At times I have had mostly only my sister & BR (plus perhaps a couple of ppl) to tide me over for a few weeks until I am mobile enough to actually make it out of the house again & re-establish myself amoung my support network FACE to FACE. Thus, I find your presumptions about my so called ‘relishing’ of ‘drama making’ rude, offensive & inaccurate. Remember also that you see only a TINY SLIVER of my overall life. In your case, not even that (obviously for you to have formed such an opinion)…

    Although I ‘hear the message’ & myself have thought ‘oh goodness – surely there can’t be another wave of something coming’ & so in fact I have ALREADY been very much aware of your point & questioned myself about it (to which my answer was, hey, I’m probably NOT handling everything with perfect aplomb right now, but that’s really ok, because I’m damned well doing the very best I can!), I find nothing redeeming about your post to me as it shows no EMPATHY, no COMPASSION, no KINDNESS & damned well no RESPECT for who I am as a person & what I have been through (which you wouldn’t know of course, because you have never spoken to me before or EVER ASKED ME A SINGLE QUESTION ABOUT MYSELF TO FIND OUT!

    Thus, whilst I WELCOME constructive feedback, even though it may be at times hard to hear, what you have just offered was anything but & nothing more than a jump on the old bandwagon scenerio. THIS I am familar with & THIS, I CAN handle!

    Due to your negative tone & lack of anything positive to say about me (which tells me only that you are very judgemental & perhaps also vision impaired, lol, because in your assessment of me, you seem to have coveniently missed the fact that I have come along in LEAPS & BOUNDS over the past few mths, lol), frankly, I don’t give a rats what your opinion of me is! 😉

    Hence, I repeat,please refrain from sharing it with me ever again. Thanks. Cheers.

    • Ladies, I have been patient but enough. This ‘conversation’ has gone on now for a couple of days and it’s now off topic. You’ve all said your piece and I appreciate where you are all coming from, but I don’t want to see anymore comments about it. Points have been made on all sides and this is just too much drama. Ironically.

      It is uncomfortable for me and every other person who comes here and reads. This is my site – please abide by the rules and wind in the aggression and the tone. It has now escalated and you know what? This is just not that kind of place. This conversation does not contribute to the subject at hand, it is a highly personal conversation and it’s long-winded.

      Let me say it for what might be the 1000th time – this is not a forum. I will also be putting the comment length limiter back on.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.