Don't be high absorbency blame kitchen roll

When how we see the problem is the problem, finding a different way to look at something that we’ve been struggling and even tormenting ourselves with for so long can be unburdening. Take blame for instance; whether it’s that we’re like high absorbency blame kitchen roll soaking up the ‘responsibility’ for anything and everything around us or that we’re spending our lives playing responsibility dodgeball, blame and what we do with it has a knock-on effect with far reaching consequences.

To blame is to feel or state that someone or something is responsible for a bad situation or outcome.

The problem is that feelings aren’t facts. We can feel that we’re not capable of doing something but that doesn’t mean that we’re actually incapable of it. It’s the same with feeling that we’re to blame. What needs to follow is some level of exploration and while sometimes this cannot happen in the immediate aftermath of something because we’re not in the right head space, we have a duty of care to ourselves to question anything that’s going to ultimately impact our ability to treat and regard ourselves with love, care, trust, and respect. That and we also have to manage our BS levels.

Equally, just because we say something doesn’t make it so, although granted, the more that we say that we’re to blame for something is the more that we affirm this in our lives because our subsequent actions and thinking will stem from this. That said, stating that we (or someone else) is to blame for something doesn’t make it a fact.

When we assign blame to ourselves and/or others and we are not truthful about our part (or theirs), or we’re just not knowledgeable of the facts of the situation, we are taking and giving blame but what we don’t have is responsibility. In treating thoughts and what may be another person’s perception of things as facts, we hamper that knowledge and build a faulty case against us.

Blame is a decision and decision-making involves going through important stages that many of us miss – questioning, forming a conclusion and reaching a resolution. When we’re burdened with blame (or just won’t take responsibility for anything), it means that at least one of these stages is being missed. When we default to blame, we go straight to forming a conclusion and then make dodgy resolutions to follow. We decide that it’s all our fault (or none of it) without genuinely questioning and examining all of the ‘facts’ and then stubbornly maintain that position. It’s like sentencing someone without a trial and then refusing to view evidence and reopen the case.

If you’ve ever had one of those arguments where it’s ‘You’re to blame… No you are… It’s your fault… No it’s yours… You made me… No you made me…’, you will know that it leads to nowhere good. The real lessons, the real growth comes when you’ve both calmed down and are both willing to look more honestly at the situation and the chain of events that led to the conflict.

Whether you’re on your own or there’s somebody with you, you don’t move forward unless you’re willing to look more honestly at the situation. Where there’s high blame, there’s high dishonesty. You can look more honestly at a situation even if the other party involved wants to continue getting high on the BS crack pipe.

To be responsible for something or someone means that you’re accepting full control, which of course you only have control over you and something where you’re the sole person involved or the primary driver. When you accept responsibility for something, you’re also accepting that you are the cause – that you directly produce that effect in a person or situation due to __________. There are situations in life where you are responsible for something or someone where you’re not in full control (so unpredictable things will happen) but that you are still responsible due to it being your duty or legal requirement. Examples include being a parent, jobs, and having positions of authority where you may be responsible for groups, communities, or populations.

When we make ourselves solely responsible for the success or ‘failure’ of a relationship, or we take the blame for how we were treated by another person or what they did, it’s as if to say that we’ve deemed them unfit for responsibility and incapacitated. We’re saying and even agreeing with them that they have no part and that if they were going to be or do anything, it ultimately rested on whether we could provoke it with our worth or actions. It can start off in childhood where we deem any inadequate parenting on what we assume must be our own inadequacies or a ‘one false move‘ on our part and then we just roll with it.

This willingness to take the blame is why we can feel overwhelmed with shame because we keep rubbing our face in it and as a result we feel embarrassed or even humiliated over theses ‘wrongdoings’ that may not be what we think they are. We may be taking the blame for the wrong things and avoiding the responsibility on the stuff that matters, or just holding ourselves to blame for stuff that doesn’t have a damn thing to do with us. Sometimes it seems easier to say, ‘It’s my fault because I’m not good enough’ than to say, ‘You know what? I need to own my part so it’s time for me to examine why I would want to be in a relationship where I felt devalued and without a voice?’ On the flipside it can also seem easier to put it all on somebody else because if we keep up this stance, we can just keep distancing ourselves from our own actions and responsibilities. Any time reality bites a bit too close, we can just create some drama or home in on our usual scapegoat. This is why I caution people on pursuing validation or whatever from a person who is only too happy for them to take all of the blame – each time you give them the time of day and cartwheel around them, you’re saying, ‘I agree that it’s all my fault’ and then they can trot off into world with their false sense of security.

You will always know that you’re taking responsibility when you own the stuff that you can control and leave it to others to own theirs (even if they don’t necessarily do it).

  • Were you acting alone?
  • Is whatever you’re taking the blame for the sole cause of the issue?
  • Are you denying the existence of other evidence that would indicate that you weren’t acting alone or solely responsible?
  • Aside from this ‘one thing’ or however many things, are you saying that it was perfect or the outcome would have been different? On what basis? How do you know this?
  • How’s this taking the credit for other people’s behaviour working out for you? Yeah… I thought not so good….

Blame is a decision so it’s critical to sanity check your basis for taking all of it and to ensure that you know the line between blame and responsibility. One side has your self-esteem including self-compassion, empathy and respect of you and others and the other side has pain and distortion. Choose wisely.

Your thoughts?

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103 Responses to Blame is a decision – make sure you sanity check your decision to absorb all of the blame

  1. survivorgrl says:

    My ex gave me the strand of HPV that causes cervical cancer (I was a virgin before I slept with him and while we used protection, he would sometimes initiate contact without it even though I told him not to) and shortly left me afterwards. Although he promised he would follow up when I found out more about the abnormal cells they found, he never responded when I contacted him after the breakup. He knew my biopsy was coming up and he still decided not to respond.

    I had a supportive family member take me instead. So far things look ok, the doctor told me not to worry. But I wont get the definitive results until next week or so.

    I blamed myself a little for trusting someone who was so cruel and selfish. But I realize anyone could have done the same with a bf who seemed loving at first.

    I do blame him for what he did, but I wont let that hold me back from being happy. I deserve to move on and be happy (and while he deserves to rot in hell, I no longer care about getting revenge).

    The need to soak in self blame or blame towards others shifts when your priorities do, and right now my health is my priority. I did not deserve to be treated the way I was. I did not deserve to be abandoned. But I do deserve to move forward with my life and find happiness. Nothing will stop me from fighting for my life and my right to success and a happy relationship in the future.

    • petafly says:

      You are a very strong courageous woman.

      • survivorgrl says:

        Thank you so much petafly and thank you for standing up for me and all women against insensitive comments =) you and women like you are the reason that BR remains a supportive space.

    • Peanut says:

      survivorgrl,

      HPV and the strands that can cause cervical cancer are very common. In the states up to 85% of sexually active (not necessarily promiscuous) people are exposed to genital hpv viruses (there are many). For some of us, our body doesn’t fight the strand that can cause cervical cancer if left untreated.

      In high school I was diagnosed with abnormal cells on my cervix via genital hpv. My cervix was frozen and the pre cancerous cells sloughed off naturally as a result. That was over ten years ago and I am healed and healthy. That said, I don’t know if yours is pre cancer or cancer. There is a big difference.

      My advice to you is this: Hold that head of yours up high. This is not your fault. And make sure you educate yourself and ask questions at your Dr.’s. Also, yearly pap smear checkups (those check for onset of hpv related illness) are very important once you are healed.

      You know I don’t even know what they do for genital HPV now as my experience has been so long ago. Just follow the advice and procedures of a competent doctor that you trust. Also, if you are in the states the CDC has wonderful information regarding genital hpv on their web site.

      Educate yourself as much as you can without driving you crazy with fear.

      Take care of yourself.

      Also know that anything that man did to you sexually that was uninvited is NOT YOUR FUAULT. Even if we stay in bad situations, we are not responsible for the badness of the other party.

      Take care, girl, I’m saying a prayer for you and wishing you health and healing through what I’m sure is a very tough time.

      And don’t be lax on those Dr. appointments. Abnormal cervix cell causing HPV really thrives on lack of appropriate medical care, especially once you have developed abnormal cells.

      Again, take care and you can get through this.

      • survivorgrl says:

        Thank you Peanut for your support and for sharing your story. It is a welcome surprise after seeing some insensitive comments on this board and I am really glad to know you are healed now =)

        Although my biopsy results haven’t come back yet, my doctor has told me there is a good chance everything is okay based on what she saw during the colposcopy and that since I am young, my immune system will fight off this virus. I am assuming these are precancerous cells since they were mildly abnormal and I know it can take up to ten years for cancer to develop (I have spent the entire month researching – some of it scary, some of it comforting – but I know I have some control. You’re right in saying knowledge can be dangerous and overwhelming.)

        You are also so right in saying that even if we stay in bad situations we are not responsible for the errors of someone else. Unlike some other readers, you’ve gotten my point and the point of Natalie’s post completely. Thank you so much and thank you for praying for me. It really means a lot. =) You and petafly and other readers like you are the reasons BR remains a safe, supportive space.

        I will be keeping up with all my doctor’s appointments, I have changed my diet tremendously and take vitamins and supplements every day. Exercise and meditation is also involved. Thanks again for looking out for me =)

        • Peanut says:

          survivorgrl,

          I’m glad to hear you really sound informed, like you have a great head on your shoulders, and are taking care of you. Way to handle a high stress situation :)

          Saying another prayer you’re on your way to healing!

          Take care and keep treating you with love, care and respect. Xx.

      • Mymble says:

        Peanut
        Great post!

    • Maeve says:

      Survivorgirl, my thoughts are with you and I’m sure you’re going to get through this just fine and it will soon be an unpleasant memory. I had an HPV scare and what made it worse was the guy who exposed me knew beforehand and told me after we slept together. He was cavalier about it, which added insult to injury.

      You’re doing all the right things and have a great attitude. I remember the panic I felt when I first started looking up information on HPV, but it never developed into anything.

      • survivorgrl says:

        Thank you so much for your support Maeve. That is awful and I am really sorry he did that to you. That is so extremely inconsiderate and cruel for him to tell you afterwards. I am so glad you’re okay, and thanks for sharing your story. =)

        • Shattered says:

          Survivor…
          Im in the same boat as you, in a way. The day I found out that I to have what you have, I logged in here and saw your post. (Im still waiting to take my test.)I was an adult virgin, probably older then you. Spent my life alone more or less.. was so weak to have finally found myself, after so long, in the arms of intimacy.. that the first time he went without a condom, I didn’t have the courage to say no. Other times I did fight that fight, and when I’d fall under the spell, I let him have his way. I spent decades of my life making all the right decisions, being known for that. But my need to feel something from someone i too felt something for.. pushed me to the brink of cal apse. Prior to this news, I was here dealing with EUM lessons trying to get myself to let go of my fantasy of a man who made clear that he only wanted sex. A man with a laundry list of red flags that would give this board a million reasons to tell me to snap out of it but me playing the typical character described on this site. Now, because of this news, he has resurfaced and offered me his support,(which I am so grateful for) but of course, I want more. I want him to fly to me, fly me to him; I want to feel safety in the arms of someone who loves me, will be there for me, morning and night. Will be there by my side through all of this. I want a partner. I know my longing for him to be that one is a fantasy in my head, but damn me if I know how to stop that. And damn me for spending my life without ever having that experience of love. My sadness (and fears) are so deep that I have no clue how to let go of my longing and wishing and its my daily curse as I both try to ignore and anxiously cope with my fears of the consequences of the one thing he gave me that I am actually stuck with. Ive decided to just build a wall, deal with the medical in a direct ‘gotta do what you gotta do way’.. but obviously my heart wants his help thru it and I just can’t deal with that desire and with my own head.
          I send you and everyone my very best.

  2. 2Fearce says:

    After granting several chances, I closed the door on an uneven, frustrating relationshit. Its funny how easy it was this time. I had done my part. I had listened n went along with enough bs… with smone who refused to be self aware n blamed everyone else for her problems.

    Even in insulting me in off handed ways (under her breath n backwards compliments galore) she then claimed she knew i was gng to ruin her gd time. Mind u she invited a bunch of ppl n noone showed but me (red flag…2nd time!) but apparently that wasnt enogh. I’d taken everything else why was this one thing so different? she argued. I’m sorry what the what now? wait… u did that stuff on purpose? then not even 10 minutes later she was asking me if I was over it yet. Apparently me n my feelings were infringing on her good time. So I left her and her ego to spend the night together..worst punishment there is (in my humble opinion)

  3. Elgie R. says:

    Ok…elephant in the room alert…..

    “and while we used protection, he would sometimes initiate contact without it even though I told him not to”

    That is precisely the point of this post. Or one of them anyway, IMHO. The question you are asking is “Why did he do this to me?” The question you should be asking is “Why did I do this to me?”

    We blame ACs for how they treat us. The deeper blame and the REAL lesson lies in how we treat ourselves.

    My colleague at work is a widower who remarried one year after the death of his wife. His new wife is the AC in the relationship. I listen to his stories and I realize – ‘This woman is not “in love” with my friend’.

    I have to say – isn’t that what we all are really complaining about? We are angry that the AC accepts what we do for them but does not love us back – not equally and sometimes not at all.

    Not counting those of you who are with ACs who plainly treat you bad – verbal abuse and physical abuse. You’ve got plenty of evidence that you should not be in those relationships.

    But for those of us who talk about future-faking, being stood up, seeing the AC with someone else…..well, I can only speak of my case really, but haven’t they been sending us plenty of signs saying they are NOT emotionally invested in us?

    So many of us write “Why didn’t he just SAY it”. He is ”Saying” it – in his actions.

    My colleague says that all the time – “If she doesn’t want me there, why doesn’t she just SAY it?”. She IS saying it . In deeds. I told him she will never say those words. He never really responds to that. I let him think what he wants.

    I think it is a way of fobbing off responsibility for our own happiness and putting the blame onto the AC. The AC never said in words that “I don’t love you the way that you want. I will NEVER love you the way that you want. Doesn’t mean that I won’t take all the goodies that you so willingly give me, though.”

    When I listen to my colleague, I see how pitiful I look to the AC when I keep accepting the lack of love. My coworkers’ wife will never respect him. I have trouble respecting his choices – he keeps going back in for more “less than what he wants”.

    Are they really ACs simply because they don’t love us back? We are the ones who keep going back for more.

    • Wiser says:

      No, they are not ACs because they don’t love us, but because they are such assholes in how they behave in light of that truth. The mindset of the AC is, as Elgie rightly put it: “I don’t love you the way that you want. I will NEVER love you the way that you want. Doesn’t mean that I won’t take all the goodies that you so willingly give me, though.”

      A decent guy who realizes that he doesn’t love you will respectfully withdraw from the scene and not leave a trail of carnage behind. Even if he’s not acting with callous selfishness but just “confused” about his feelings, he will not leave you twisting in the wind while he works out his confusion. He will not take advantage of your vulnerability and desire to be loving and giving just because it suits his own self-centered needs.

      It’s true that WE, and no one else, are responsible to guard our precious hearts and if we willingly give our goodies to someone who is not worthy of them and repeatedly shows us who they are, then we have to own that. I wouldn’t use the word “blame” though, as blaming anyone is counterproductive. I heard a quote lately that I liked: “One definition of maturity is that you no longer blame anyone for anything.” When you blame the AC for their treatment of you, you are still giving them power and continuing your toxic dance when what you really need to do is to get FREE of them! And blaming yourself for being fooled by a trickster only keeps you stuck when you need to take a deep breath and say, ok what am I learning from this?

      ACs do their AC thing and sometimes we get caught in their net. So be it. Now, whether we stay there or not is up to us. As Elgie said, the question we have to ask ourselves, GENTLY, no blame, no shame is “why did I do this to myself?”

      • Australia says:

        “A decent guy who realizes that he doesn’t love you will respectfully withdraw from the scene and not leave a trail of carnage behind.”

        Exactly, Wiser. Well put.

        In my situation with my ex EUM, I see his faults and I see mine. No, he shouldn’t have led me on for years, coming back, saying he loves me then backing off and making excuses, lying, cheating etc. I would never do this to someone – toying with someone’s love for me. But he did. He mindfcked me like crazy. At some point though, the responsibility was mine to leave him, and I chose not to. Yes I was blinded by my love and understanding for him. I put him first before me (never again!!) I knew I was hurting myself. Deep down I knew. I ignored the red flags because I simply wasn’t strong enough, I hadn’t learnt yet what boundaries were and hadn’t experienced what I know now. Ignoring those red flags is my fault. It doesn’t justify his actions – him leading me on, telling me lies, abusing my love, manipulating situations – that was his fault and he will forever have to live with what he’s done. My ignorance and choosing to stay engaged does NOT JUSTIFY his part – it does not make it okay. I just want to emphasize that because I think alot of readers here might be confusing the two.
        By accepting your part in a relationship, you are not removing all the blame from his end or cancelling out his choices or justifying his actions. You do however empower yourself for future decisions by seeing what you could have done differently.

      • Suki says:

        Yes but. I think the whole ‘you are responsible for your feelings’ goes too far and sometimes not far enough. I think it is sometimes used very callously by people to undermine how others feel and to undermine the possibility that sometimes random crap happens to you that you did not cause. The responsibility comes in like this according to me – the first time someone does something awful, then you are not responsible for it, though you are responsible for your reaction but sometimes the thing is so out there that there are only so many ways a person can react. Fine. The next time it happens to you and the next and so on – now you are becoming more and more responsible for not only your reaction but for putting yourself in that position. The element of surprise of not knowing what someone is capable of is gone so its your responsible for putting up with what you know now is someone’s m.o.

        I think perhaps we should just avoid the words fault and blame. But the word responsibility is important and cuts both ways [you and the other person]. Hold others responsible, dont blame them. Blame is passive, it is a label. Responsibility is an active thing, something you take on, or are.

    • Allison says:

      Elgie,

      You are so right! I guess it’s much easier to blame others than accept our own poor behavior.

      We’re not victims!

      • survivorgrl says:

        Some people are victims, Allison. Like women who are subject to nonconsensual sexual acts. Like me. Please consider that before you say such insensitive things without knowing someone’s story. This victim-blaming mentality may be OK when someone breaks NC, but it’s not OK when you’re placing judgment on someone’s life regarding events you don’t know much about.

        • Asia says:

          Totally agree.

          The point of this all however, is to see how you both play a part in this behavior.

          Now, to question whether someone who treated someone badly is an AC is ridiculous, because if you are treating someone badly even if they LET you, yes you are still an AC.

          However, do see the part you played, and do work on treating you better in the long run.

          But I really tire of the “you let them do it to you” trope.

        • Asia says:

          I would add its not even ok after breaking NC.

        • Elgie R. says:

          I apologize. I did not realize that the sex was non-consensual. I thought it was a case of not being strong enough to say NO….did not realize you were forced.

          Forced sex is NEVER correct and he should be punished for that.

        • Allison says:

          Survivor,

          The comment wasn’t directed at you. I’m sorry, that you contracted this horrible disease, and hopefully everything will be OK.

          I was a bit confused on your post, as you said this happened numerous times, and you’re feeling abandoned by someone who forced himself on you?

        • Yana says:

          People get victimized(the perpetrator is to blame for their actions) but making an identity out of being a victim is a choice. There’s no need to take other peoples posts personally. What they say isn’t about you..it’s based on their interpretation. Own it.

    • survivorgrl says:

      Elgie,

      That was not the point of my story, and I really don’t appreciate your response. Instead of pulling out one excerpt of my story and basically saying I should own the entire situation, perhaps you ought to look at Natalie’s post.

      It says we own what we did, he owns what he did. I own my bad judgment in dating this person. I DO not own his surprise assault on my body whenever we made out in his bed. That does NOT give him permission to do anything like that without my consent. And yes, in this case, it is like blaming the victim.

      This isn’t like going NC. This is a life-threatening situation. I take responsibility for my own health and choices, but I really do think you’re missing the bigger picture.

      Of COURSE I will have feelings of blame towards him. But my point is that I choose not to go this route. I chose to move on and move forward. THAT, my friend, which you completely missed, is the point of my story. These feelings of wanting to blame are natural, they are OKAY, but I won’t hang onto it.

      Read someone’s entire story before you judge them and generalize things. My story is very, very specific. And it does end with ME taking care of ME.

      • Maeve says:

        Wow—I’m surprised at the response you got. I didn’t read any self-pity or overwrought questioning of “why did he do this to me.” You simply told your story and what you’re doing in the aftermath.

        I don’t quite get the need for attacking someone who wrote something pretty damn vulnerable–and isn’t even trying to justify her own behavior.

        This must’ve hit a raw nerve.

    • survivorgrl says:

      “We are the ones who keep going back for more.”

      This is the only response that I agree with in this thread which stemmed from my story.

      I agree we have to own what we did in terms of going back for more, not loving ourselves enough, not leaving the first moment they disrespect us.

      I think Elgy’s post may have been trying to say that as well, but was far less sensitive to the subject matter. I can own not loving myself enough. But I will not own his actions or his mistreatment.

    • petafly says:

      Wow Elgie! You just know it all. The point of the post is taking responsibility for our part and NOT taking responsibility for theirs! Survivor Girl’s AC had a responsibility to tell her he had an STD. It is our bad if we stay in a bad relationship but it is their bad too for the way they treat us. If they don’t love us then why do they pursue us? Isn’t it their responsibility to be HONEST with us and not toy with emotions by future faking, apologies etc. We are on this site to help us see our worth and read PAST the BS. Part of seeing that worth is being able to see what we are repsonsible for (not having boundaries) and what we are not responsible for (their poor behavior)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        This was a good discussion which inadvertently seemed to go downhill. On a different note, but still within the context of this thread. My “Petie” was not an AC. He had/has ED, which lead to him feeling “less than” a man. And, because he was gradually distancing himself, for his own good reasons, and I avoided having a heart to heart discussion because I was afraid of what I would hear, I finally decided to bite the bullet. He had been showing me by his actions that I needed to back off and reduce my expectations. He was not physically or emotionally capable of being the man I wanted and needed in order to feel fulfilled. When we finally had the heart to heart he said (don’t remember exact words) something like, “You want to know if I can make you happy. No, I don’t think so”. He didn’t lead me on.He was showing me but I didn’t want to “see”. He accepted my outpouring of love and gave back as much as he was able to give. He loved me but was not “in love” as I was. I don’t blame him for taking advantage of me. He didn’t do that. I didn’t want to face the fact that his condition caused EUness which he didn’t welcome but didn’t have the tools to handle it sufficiently in a way that would afford me emotional the satisfaction I required. So, just yesterday I ended it in a mature manner with my dignity intact. Was he a bad person? Was I fantasizing? I could be wrong but this is an instance where neither of us need to accept blame for what happened. Nobody intentionally or unintentionally did harm to the other. Neither of us are feeling damaged. As Natalie has pointed out some unions are just ill-fated and not designed to last. Someone needs to have the strength and be emotionally balanced enough to end it. I still love him but I know that continuing to remain his friend would be unhealthy for me.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          I will asap be ordering Nat’s book “The Dreamer and The Fantasy”. I know I don’t have all the answers.

        • Mymble says:

          Tinkerbell
          I am so sorry to hear that. I have followed your story and I know how you have struggled with this. I had hoped that you had talked it through with him and come to some understanding that worked for both of you. He did sound like a nice guy, and it was good to read of someone forming a happy relationship later on in life.
          I hope you are okay.

        • Allison says:

          Tinker,

          You did good! You’re putting your needs first.

          Down the road, you may be able to reestablish your friendship.

          Hugs

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Thanks Mymble & Allison. Actually, I’m a lot better, less reactionary. He reached out to me the very next day expressing his sadness over losing my friendship, telling me how much respect he has for me and will always be there if I ever need anything at all because he really wants me in his life. I told him that I need “time to shift my mindset” since he feels he can never be a satisfactory lover but only a very close friend. Since I can’t accept that as being enough, I need to detach for awhile and try to lesson my passion about him. But, I admitted my vulnerability which he knows because if he wanted to get away all he had to do was NOTHING. He knows me well enough that I would not be the one to go back on what I said. Anyway, I told him I’ll contact him later. I didn’t say when, but I’m giving it at least 8 weeks. In the meantime, I’m content, being busy with a totally redirected focus. We are both feeling better because we know we will always have a friendship greater or lesser and I’m preparing myself should it still end up being the latter. He’s worth my while.

  4. noquay says:

    For a long time, I blamed myself for not being pretty enough, feminine enough, smart enough for the AC. It doesn’t matter how ugly, stupid, whatever he perceived me to be; it still doesn’t let him off the hook for his two years of deception and the subsequent humiliating way I found out about it. No matter how awful we may think a person person is, we still are obligated to practice decency and kindness. Part and parcel of being a functional, mature, adult. There have been plenty of folk who turned me off, perhaps repelled me, but I never saw the need to use or lie to them.

    • Elgie R. says:

      “A decent guy (or gal) who realizes that he doesn’t love you will respectfully withdraw from the scene and not leave a trail of carnage behind. Even if he’s not acting with callous selfishness but just “confused” about his feelings, he will not leave you twisting in the wind while he works out his confusion. He will not take advantage of your vulnerability and desire to be loving and giving just because it suits his own self-centered needs.”

      Respectfully, I disagree. I think that is projection on our part. ‘I would never do that’ does not translate into ‘HE would never do that’.

      People have different attitudes about how to live life and some people are very OK with taking and never giving back. It is the way they operate. They look at situations and quickly identify “what’s in it for me?” and are very OK with reaping the majority of the benefits. Those folks often feel it is up to each person to decide, individually, for themselves, “what’s in it for me” ……and if you stick around, then you must have decided there’s something in it for you just as it is. But if you are waiting for me-the-AC to change, that is YOUR folly.

      Noquay, your spidey senses must’ve noted that “he does not treat me well”….but you are blaming him for not saying “I won’t treat you well”….is that correct?

      I dated a guy for a short period…he and I got along…I met his family…but I could feel that he was not totally into me even though there were no “big” issues between us. He often mentioned a recent Ex. One night when we were fooling around, I brought up the fact that he talked about the ex an awful lot…maybe he was not over her? He said no, it was over, but he was very attracted to her and he started to describe her physical appearance to me….and then admitted that he liked that “type” of look…and was drawn to women with that “type” of look..and guess what…. I do not possess that “look” and it became clear why I felt a wall was between us. I said “I knew there was something that wasn’t quite right here”. He was very apologetic about having such a preference…but really…why should he apologize? He had not led me on. That was our last date and I went home understanding that I was not the woman for him…no hard feelings.

      I’ve not been in a situation where someone’s “actions” said they were 100% in to me and then they dumped me. I have been in situations where someone’s “words” said they were into me but their actions spoke otherwise.

      I have been in situations of receiving lots of attention from a man I am dating but not crazy about. I remember struggling with when to break up – before or after the End-Of-Year holidays? If I do it before, will he be mad because I left him high and dry for the holidays? If I do it after will he feel I led him on? There’s a thread about casual sex here on BR where one guy responds that he has stayed in relationships long past their expiration date just for the sake of having a sex partner. He said it was empty for both him and the woman. Yet they both hung on.

      Sometimes things just don’t work out. No one is ”confused” about their feelings. Most men want to avoid conflict and will go along to get along. Especially if sex comes with the package.

      I think I dropped out of this last AC situation because I did not want the “I am not the man for you” speech. I was kinda pretending AC was the man for me and it would hurt to hear those words.

      I am very lonely without AC for distraction. When I think of breaking NC , what stops me is I know he will “hit and run”…bang me then not contact me for a very long time, because he has the “payback mentality”. I think he likes me, but what bothers him more is that I walked away without without giving him the “I’m not the man for you “ moment. He gave me that speech 16 years ago…then kept with the lazy contact e-mails for several years. He was never offering “more”…he was just putting out feelers saying ”Hey I don’t love you, but if you’re up for a roll in the hay, I must admit I like your sex and would be happy to partake.”

      When I think about breaking NC, I have to remember it is never about giving ME pleasure, it is about the pleasure I can give him.

      So the work I have to do is avoid reaching for the quick emotional fix of AC. Find other ways to ease my loneliness.

      • Lorelie123 says:

        I disagree with your take here. Of course some people surmise a situation and make decisions based on whats in it for them. Sometimes that is an appropriate strategy. But when someone else’s emotions are involved, a decent person adjusts his behavior. He doesn’t pursue his interests at the expense of another. Are there plenty of people who operate like this? You bet. Do I try to avoid them? Yes. There is an analogy on this board or another. If you leave you door unlocked, an honest person won’t rob you even if they know about it. A crook will take advantage. It’s our job to learn to set boundaries that keep users and criminals at bay, but even with intact boundaries, I just choose avoid these types. Don’t enjoy their company.

      • Asia says:

        I think you are missing the point that people who do this are not GOOD people of character.

        ““A decent guy (or gal) who realizes that he doesn’t love you will respectfully withdraw from the scene and not leave a trail of carnage behind. Even if he’s not acting with callous selfishness but just “confused” about his feelings, he will not leave you twisting in the wind while he works out his confusion. He will not take advantage of your vulnerability and desire to be loving and giving just because it suits his own self-centered needs.”

        You honestly think people who behave like this are decent? Or am I interpreting this wrong? We know that I would never do that does not translate to HE would never do that, but the difference is PEOPLE who do that, are not of character.

        Get it?

  5. K. says:

    I have blamed myself for what happened for a very long time. it was the first relationship I was ever in, and yes it started out sexual, but I really thought he would walk out my door and I would have understood it was a hook up. But he didn’t. He said he wanted to keep talking, and then invited me out to dinner and asked me about my life and family, and then we continued to talk. We did have some physical distance between us…we met studying abroad, but when we both got back to the states we were 6 hours apart, which I didn’t think was that terrible but maybe i was too naive/hopeful/inexperienced…but then i suggested coming to visit him because he lives in Chicago and I live in a smaller city so thought that’d be more fun….and well anyway, he seemed all for it and had no hesitation in agreeing to me coming, but it wasnt long until he was acting weird…and then like 3 minutes before he dropped me off at the train station he told me he was dating someone and it wasnt anything I did, and he hadnt slept with her yet(which made me feel worse) I was so blindsided and felt so stupid….stupid for not asking him if he was dating anyone when we werent official….stupid like I did something to make him not like me anymore…stupid for thinking he actually did. And then, after I got home and then wrote him an email letting him know how badly he hurt me and i wish he had told me before I came down, he blamed it all on my age and lack of experience. But now I know for a fact he has dated 2 other girls since me who are younger than me, and he is already 6 years older than me. does it mean anything if a 30 year old guy continuously hooks up with 21 year olds?…I know I need to take responsibility for not being completely realistic about this situation, but I really think he led me on and wasn’t very sensitive because he knew it was my first time.

  6. dancingqueen says:

    Oy vey…am going through this right now with a “friend”. Long story short, she blew me off in a completely ridiculous way (not the first time) and then compounded it by 1) not apologizing, 2) complaining to everyone and sundry that I was mad at her to get attention, 3) basically trying to order me to jump to her beat by sending me an email literally ordering me to meet her to talk things out and when I did not respond because I honestly dont have time for these manipulations she tried to get a friend to intervene…I could go on. Getting this woman to admit sh ed blew me off, that it affected my weekend and my making other plans with other people and that she owes me an apology is like asking the moon and sun to set simultaneously…

    All I have learned from this is 1) I hsve lost respect for her and all this needless drama has deeply affected our friendship 2) I don’t miss her at all and really honestly don’t feel a loss and 3) self pitying crocodile tears…make.me.furious. 4) factual, curt emails stating the facts that happened don’t ” fix” anything but it is very important for me, when someone is attempting to rewrite history, to assert myself when someone is trying to victimize me and then playing the victim.

    Breathe.

  7. oc says:

    Elgie R, spot on.

  8. Josephine says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I’ve been following you for a while now. You make me feel good. Thank you very much…I have a situation.. There’s this girl in my office who is continuously talking half truth behind my back…continuously… i don’t know how to confront her because when i ask the other colleagues, they don’t want to reveal anything but every time they went for lunch or dinner, their attitude towards me change…i don’t know..it seems i will always face this problem…yes, there’s a sweet guy involved. She joined a year earlier than me. I’ve been here 6 months now…and i always seems to run from this situation….for once…just for once…i don’t want to run anymore…will you help?

    • grace says:

      Josephine
      Ignore the gossip. The only person you have to please at work is your boss. The 10% of your brainpower that you spend on this is 10% you’re not spending on your real job. These people are not dangerous, they can’t gossip you out of your job over their lunch hour.
      Of course, if she is your boss you’re screwed.

      • Josephine says:

        Dear Grace,
        Thanks… No, she’s not my boss but somehow she has almost everyone in her hands, the MD, MD’s wife…, my boss who is very sensitive, my next station colleague,…phew…I am good with my job, she’s not…but she’s good with her gossip. She knows how to turn things back to you like…oh, you make me misunderstood your blah,blah,blah….every bit of little things i said, she will sieve it, choose what she wanted to say and tell it to this guy or his trusted friend. This guy is much younger than us. All three of us are single here. I don’t think it’s worth it to fight for one guy but this guy is into me as much as i am into him and she was here first but couldn’t get his attention.

  9. survivorgrl says:

    I didnt come on here to blame myself. I own what I did wrong in terms of choosing the wrong person, but I was not able to control what an EUM does in a split moment without my consent. It really does sound like blaming the victim. No, the question in this case is not about why I did this to me. I dont deserve to deal with this. My point was actually moving forward and letting go of what he left me with and being empowered to take care of myself.

    I understand you want to always take responsibility for your own actions. But this is a situation that is extremely painful and life threatening. It is not a matter of just going NC. I find it gross that the AC would be absolved of his behavior when Natalie herself said we should own our own. I own my bad judgment in dating this person, but I wont own his surprise assault on my body. Thats that. I expected more kindness than this and I am really disturbed at this response.

    • Free voice says:

      Yes Madame : )

    • Mymble says:

      Survivorgirl
      I didn’t feel that Elgies comment was about blaming yourself. She picked up on the reference by you that the boundary busting happened on more than one occasion. Everyones story is differently nuanced and it ranges from reckless and wilfully blind (er, that would be me!) to completely duped by an accomplished liar. But there is usually some level of self neglect, and of allowing poor behaviour. Ultimately the only one we can control is ourselves.
      There are other posts Nat has written about walking back through the relationship. What did you miss?
      What did you ignore?
      Did you have feelings of unease that you tried to stifle?
      Did you feel able to state your boundaries clearly?
      When he busted those boundaries, what did you do & why?
      You must be young, and the good thing is that if you develop this kind of self awareness at your age, you will have the strength and insight to walk away from a bad situation, fast, and be able to recognise when a person is really worthy of your love. I wish I had.

      • survivorgrl says:

        Mymble, I appreciate your response and I agree with you about questioning ourselves about bad situations, but the problem is that Elgie clearly did not even read the quote she pulled out of my story carefully.

        “I was a virgin before I slept with him and while we used protection, he would sometimes initiate contact without it even though I told him not to”

        I told him not to. That’s the main point. Elgie later said “Oh I am sorry, I thought you just weren’t strong enough to say no,” but…er, it’s obvious I did. I actually said it.

        I have always followed Nat’s posts about loving yourself and establishing boundaries. I agree with all of them. However, in this specific situation, I don’t believe sensitivity or consideration was applied in the response.

        If Elgie wished to make an example about how we should love ourselves more, she should’ve used her own personal experience from the very beginning or used something that didn’t involve a nonconsensual sexual act which I made it clear from the beginning.

        • Maeve says:

          I’m glad Elgie apologized. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I have a problem with harsh finger wagging, posing as tough love, when someone opens up about something that leaves them vulnerable. I think Survivorgirl has enough on her plate right now. Her first priority is her health.

          Her story was heartwrenching and I guess that makes some people uncomfortable. I’ve seen this tendency before to jump on someone who is in a difficult place.

          On a somewhat related note, reading all these stories here and pondering my own–it seems almost criminal that most of us are brought up to be clueless about this crap. Does anybody warn you about how the high risk of running into uncaring, selfish duds? I think the societal message we get is that getting into relationships is fairly easy and most people are alright, not perfect but not demons.

          Granted, my mother DID warn me about how men could be hypocrites and won’t respect women who sleep with them early on…and I always kept that in mind. But I’m not talking about that…I’m talking about the really nasty, nasty opportunistic behavior. Why isn’t there a course for that in junior high school? ugh!

        • Elgie R. says:

          Survivorgirl, I am not blaming YOU. I was asking you “Where is your voice?” You do sound young to me. You sounded afraid to risk his displeasure by getting out of the bed and telling him to eff off – we don’t do this without a jacket. Unless you were asleep through the whole thing or drugged, my tough love does wonder…?

          But you are not here to satisfy my curiosity. Did not intend to make you feel persecuted. I have fought off attempted rape by people I know 3 times in my life…but not one has been a boyfriend. A grandfather, a basement gang-bang set up by a “girlfriend” – I still remember throwing my body against her locked basement door and breaking it down to get out, and a platonic male “friend” whose knees I almost broke kicking him to get him out of my place. Homey don’t play that. Oh, I also drove home through a GHB haze, put in my drink by a guy who had a crush on me. Spidey senses told me to sip the drink and thank god I was close to home…had a sour stomach for weeks.

          Gosh! Men make this a dangerous world for women. I hate that.

          Find your voice, girl. See how angry you got at me? You can do it.

          I am sending you a very loving hug. As I said, you sound young, which means you have the advantage of learning these BR lessons early enough to find the right match and have a long love-filled life.

    • grace says:

      survivor
      It’s bloody bad luck. Unless we limit ourselves to sex with virgins we run a risk. Even if you get a certificate of clean health from the std clinic, they don’t test for everything. Some people carry viruses without knowing it. I probably have. Most sexually active adults (I think I heard 80%) have been exposed to some strain of hpv or other. That’s why they target the vaccines at young girls. It’s too late by the time they’re adults. Condoms help but aren’t a guarantee. I’ve also known them fall off.
      Friend of mine had to be treated for pre-cancerous cells when she had had only one sexual partner. It does happen.
      Some people carry the virus without mishap. Others shed it quickly. Others will be affected by it. It seems to affect young women more so than older woman, their cervixes are more delicate. I dont’ know what stage you are at but it’s highly highly treatable when caught early, and even later.
      Frankly, I would concentrate on getting well and not trouble yourself with parsing who was responsible for what at this time. You don’t need the stress. Yes, your situation does have some added traumatising factors but it could have happened to any/most of us.

      • grace says:

        survivor
        PS Don’t smoke though!

      • survivorgrl says:

        Grace, I appreciate your input but if you re-read my original post you will see at the end I said this: “The need to soak in self blame or blame towards others shifts when your priorities do, and right now my health is my priority. I did not deserve to be treated the way I was. I did not deserve to be abandoned. But I do deserve to move forward with my life and find happiness. Nothing will stop me from fighting for my life and my right to success and a happy relationship in the future.”

        My point was that regardless of who’s to blame, I am moving forward with my life. I think it was misconstrued to suggest that I somehow wasn’t or was looking to hold onto blame.

        Thank you for your comments on HPV. I am aware that this is very common – however, it doesn’t necessarily take out the individual trauma and terror out of it. I think it’s easier said than done when it comes to being completely okay. There’s a lot of panic and stress involved. I do find support in realizing I am not the only one. Don’t worry, I have never smoked in my life. But thank you for looking out for me =)

  10. Peanut says:

    Word. Blame is sooo annoying. You see it in society, and on the news constantly. I just want to say, “SHUT UP.”

    Blame is not problem solving. It astounds me that so many millions, if not billions of people think these are one in the same; they’re not.

    Solutions to problems don’t care who’s to blame; they are innovation focused and seeking.

    Just yesterday my grandparents ran into some business problems. My grandmother’s go to was to make sure they were blameless. She didn’t care about the problem or the pain and inconvenience it had caused; she just didn’t want to be blamed or have people “mad at her.”

    My grandfather on the other hand wasted no time to get angry and find someone (other than himself of course) to blame.

    It was exhausting, educational, and a bit sadly entertaining.

    Instead of getting involved, I made a smoothie and went into another room to enjoy my drink, though they were making so much ruckus, I couldn’t help but to overhear. It was circles: Blame, then anger, then blame, then blah, blah, blah. I would hate to be on the latter years of my life and so inept at dealing with life lessons that I’d been exposed to over and over, yet, chose to never HEED the lesson.

    I stayed completely out of it, as I will every time, because even though I’m writing about it and learning from it, it’s none of my business. They are free to go about life being themselves and I am free to go about life being myself.

    So this charade went on for an hour or two and resulted in a lot of wasted time, emotion and energy on their part. For me, these days, I’m more into smoothies than I am drama.

    Cheers!

  11. Elgie R. says:

    The ability to always frame things with “what’s in it for me” – that is an AC trait. Sadly, people who think like that often get along just fine in this world. They are rarely if ever taken advantage of.

    This last AC is SO similar to my high school best friend – it is scary, but it shows how we repeat mistakes when we don’t learn the lessons. My high school best friend partook of my generosity willingly and still unabashedly went after a man I was crazy about, who was a womanizer, BTW. SSDD (same $hit different day).

    I thought about another girlfriend I had when I was about 35. Here is the conversation:
    GF: Would you like to eat at Café O?
    ME: Oooh, I always wanted to eat there.
    GF: I have a coupon for buy one meal get the second one free.
    Me:OK, let’s go. (Me feeling so “cared for” that this GF is sharing her coupon with me.)

    I drive (she had no car). At the restaurant I ask her “What’s the maximum price dinner we can order? You know because these coupons usually come with a max price – say $16, which means the maximum dinner that we can order is $16 and the second meal must be less than the cost of the max. “
    GF looks at me blankly.
    I say, well if it’s $16 then we will each spend $8.
    GF looks at me blankly. Then GF says, “MY meal is free.”

    See….ACs always see things clearly – what’s in it for me. They make great businessmen….but lousy mates – if you are looking for mutual.

    My theory is ACs couple up with either doormats or people who think just like they do and know how to avoid being used.

    You know, the AC sometimes brought beer over and I realized – he has NEVER brought a 6-pack. In all the years I’ve known him. He brings four bottles – two for me and two for him. I of course kept a supply of top-shelf gin for him and the mixer.

    Thank you, God, for steering me to BR.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Wow, Elgie. Like you, it would not have occurred to me that she was going to enjoy the free meal and I would be paying for mine. After all, she did the inviting, and you drove your car. I realize this may not be a factual true to life situation, only an example, but it blows my mind how innately conniving some people can be. These situations do happen in true life all the time. For AC’s it’s perfectly normal behavior. “I’m getting mine. Screw you.”

      • Elgie R. says:

        It IS factual and true to life. I was stunned and angry and told her we can leave NOW and you can just save that coupon for some guy who wants to take you out. We ate in strained silence and split the bill…the ‘friendship’ eventually tapered off to nothing.

        She did say on the way home that she didn’t have a job like I did so she had to watch her money. My pride was hurt and she was using me, but to this day I find something admirable in her allegiance to herself.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Elgie,

          Not admirable, shameful to pull crap like that on a friend.

          In my post about apologizing to S.G., I was referring to YOU having apologized sufficiently and it was not enough for her.

          • Elgie R. says:

            Thanks for having my back, Tink. I felt it was best that I not post to the other thread.

            I’ve been following the developments in your life. I see you’ve made some very monumental decisions.

            Good for you. There was a pin it poster on this site…can’t see it now…something about “Sometimes the person is a good person, but we have to say no to the Pain”…..something like that.

            BR helps us decide that “we haven’t got time for the pain”.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Elgie,

              Monumental is right. I’m happy to say the two people closest to me in my life, my sister and daughter are very proud of me that I’m “in touch with my worth” from my daughter, and “you wouldn’t have handled things this well a year or two years ago.” from my sister. And, can see myself how I’ve grown in self-care and esteem. We’ll be friends later on because neither one of us can seriously entertain the idea of never connecting again in life. It’s been too good otherwise. That one thing was/is the only possible deal breaker. I’ve recognized that I’m the one who needs a cooling off period. Hopefully we’ll both come together mentally fresh. I just ordered two books on the subject from Amazon to help me understand better what can and cannot be done at this point. It really feels good to be mindful of your own needs first and act accordingly.

  12. Selkie says:

    Shaming a victim for being a victim is not helpful. It’s not a dirty word and to tell someone they were not a victim, when they in fact were, is shaming them into denying the reality of what happened to them, minimizing it, and suggesting they take the blame for it. It’s not helpful or that simple. It is like saying, ‘you should of know better’. Hhhmmm, so that makes someone not a victim but stupid instead? Not helpful. Instead of saying….”you should of know better”, maybe….”what can be learned from this?” is a more supportive, productive approach. I understand the ‘you are not a victim’ approach is meant to uplift and instill power but it can do the opposite and make one feel like they are at fault for being treated badly. Similar to the idea that a short skirt was the reason for the rape, not the rapist.

    • Lilia says:

      Selkie,
      Well said, I completely agree. I don´t know what´s the deal about No you´re never a victim – peptalk. It seems like some cheap cheerleader self help strategy. Because in real life, of course you´ll be a victim sometimes. There are enough stupid, irresponsible or plain evil people out there who will hurt you through no fault of yours. Thinking that you were asking for it is plain neurotic and not understanding that you aren´t the center of the universe.

      I don´t think it´s a problem to say Yes I had the bad luck to run into this AC who damaged my self-esteem/gave me a std/gave me the worst romantic experience of my life. The problem would be if you say Oh there must be something wrong with me that I attracted someone like that, perhaps I deserved it, or I wanted it to happen because I´m secretly masochistic or self destructive and I need therapy because obviously I´m the one to blame.

      That´s complete BS. There´s nothing wrong with us. The only thing we need is to heed the lessons so we limit the chances of running into someone like that again. And for this, we are here on BR.

      Survivorgrl,
      Sending you a big hug, you´re doing the right thing.

      • survivorgrl says:

        Thank you so much Lilia and Selkie. I am glad to know there are amazing and sensible people like you out there! =)

      • Selkie says:

        Yes Lilia, recognizing that we could of handled things differently ( this is learning!), but also being kind to ourselves and admitting maybe we just didn’t know how or didn’t have the emotional tools at the time, it wasn’t always that we simply brushed it under the rug or had our head in the sand. Now that I do have the tools, red flags DO set off alarms. I will probably still mess up from time to time, but feel way more confident in my own ability to take care of myself and make better choices.

      • Tanzanite says:

        Lilia and Selkie

        Great comments .

    • Allison says:

      Selkie,

      I would never blame a person for being raped or abused, as they are clearly a victim!

      I can say that in my case, my ex demonstrated much dodgy behavior and showed me who he was. I choose to ignore the red flags – denial – and hope things would change. Not wise, but a good lesson. I believe if I choose to simply see him as the problem, then I would continue the pattern of choosing creeps, and asking why I am repeatedly being hurt- no growth. It is now my responsibility to act when I see bad behavior and not ignore, or will live a lifetime of unhealthy relationships.

      We have to love ourselves first!!!!! My doormat days are over!

      • Selkie says:

        Hi Allison,
        My doormat days are over too (whew!). I learned from my bad experiences, but going into it, I had no measuring stick of what decent behavior looked like. I grew up with a really misguided sense of love and what was acceptable in relationships from watching my role models….dysfunctional parents in a completely dysfunctional relationship. For me, to just wake up and stop taking shitty treatment and disrespect, recognize red flags, and develop some boundaries, I had to learn what these even were. I was raised in a red flag environment, so it wasn’t as simple as just seeing red flags and acting on them. I was immersed in them from infanthood, so they were not considered red flags, but more like normal day to day interactions. In this sense, I am gentle on myself about how I was in ‘denial’. I was misguided and steering with a bad map, so denial is relative. I’m not defined by it, but forgive myself for not knowing what I didn’t know. To be told I should of known what I didn’t know, whether it’s from myself (self blame) or from a well intentioned person, only compounded my feeling helpless, confused, and beating myself up. I’m seeing clear now, and this is my own personal take on it, for me. Everyone has a different experience and a different set of blue prints. For me, I didn’t recognize the red flags the way someone who grew up with sane guidance would of. This was pivotal for me to understand. You may have been able to see red flags as abnormal and ignored them. I had to learn that a red flag was a red flag. Pain was my guide. For me, learning started with unlearning and revising my blue prints. I had to learn how to love myself. So yeah, I’m okay saying I was a victim. I don’t find it demeaning but more of a candid statement and self forgiving observation. I’m happy to say that it isn’t a permanent diagnosis. Life evolves, as do we.

        • Allison says:

          Selkie,

          Wow! It must have been difficult, but you have come a long way.

          The experience has brought much knowledge and strength to us both. Upward and onward!

  13. Magnolia says:

    Some thoughts on how to respond to, and be a responsible person in the face of, being taken advantage of:

    Yesterday I was interviewed by a young journalist who I have talked to before about my work. At first we spoke about things quite appropriate to my work, but he then led me into questions that became more and more about my personal traumas, what kinds of experience make me interested in writing about race and identity, etc. I answered his questions even though they made me feel uncomfortable. In fact, the more uncomfortable I was, the more he would press into that area with questions. I didn’t know how violated I felt until it was all over, when I realized I felt kind of sick, like I had been used and like it was my fault for not saying no.

    Of course this is not a case of “I am responsible for what happened because I said yes to the interview; I answered the questions, etc.” I could not foresee what I could not foresee.

    Taking responsibility means saying: “I have the power to do things in the future to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” Taking responsibility means asking myself what those precautions might be. It could range from never doing another interview, to asking to see the questions beforehand, to simply asking some questions of my own before agreeing to an interview.

    But wow, it was really something; I haven’t felt so violated since I would drive back from the AC’s house, knowing he was lying to me, but not having any proof, and feeling just so used.

    I’ve started writing about some of my childhood experiences, finally. He made me realize how much so many years of my life have been spent trying to verbally make sense of those experiences, often talking to men about them. When what I really want is to see ME make sense of them myself, in my own words, in my own time.

  14. Learningnow says:

    I’m 23..I made a mess out of my love life, and consequently academic life :( I will be making the most out of this website, and I hope I learn..anyone know where to start?

    • Australia says:

      Hi LearningNow,

      Welcome to the site! You are so young and this is the best time to be learning big life lessons. Try to see these struggles you are going through as blessings. Read every post on this site and look into Natalie’s books and courses. Journal and write down your feelings and progress. If there are things you want to change in your life, make short and long term, realistic goals. Things don’t happen overnight, but you would be amazed how fast a year goes by and YOU have the power to amaze yourself.

      Amongst all the chaos in life when we go through hard emotional times, search for the glimpses of clarity that practices such as loving yourself, trusting your gut, going No contact on an exEUM/AC – give you. These practices of self love and actively learning about yourself offer moments of amazing clarity where everything makes sense. Learning to listen to your gut and put yourself first and soon you will be in such a healthy spot in your life, that only could have come from learning the lessons you were meant to learn. :)

  15. noquay says:

    Elgie
    Nope, my Spidey senses were tingling toward the very end but at the time he was going thru some bad family stuff and I attributed it to that. This was a dude who in essence, lived a double life. As part of his job, he is out in the field, far away, so this was easy for him. I found out later that he had been doing this with his wife and another female colleague prior to me. He had years of practice. What tripped him up was that hidden girlfriend decided to show up at our conference with little prior warning. He literally was inviting me to spend a weekend with him in the nearest big city to go to museums and showed up with her that evening. From her behavior, it was obvious she knew nothing about “us”. This occurred in front of a colleague; incredibly humiliating. Walking away with dignity was all I could do. I went through months of self hate, of self blame. Yep, I was stupid at the end to mistake his distraction, hot/cold behavior, as the result of family issues rather than something far more horrible. I blame myself for getting involved with a colleague. Had I had/have options here other than very broken, down and out men or total aloneness, this would’ve never happened. This is how he hooks in his women, an incredibly handsome intelligent guy in a large region where the older men are unhealthy, unemployed and downright scary. Options on line in mountain towns aren’t much better. He has his pick; we have nothing. I now realize I am very vulnerable and really have the Spidey senses on high alert. This happened small scale this summer with OK one of the visiting racers. Girlfriend showed up, Noquay was out ta there fast, invite to stay at her house for the next race retracted. This will happen again as the racers are my only opportunity to meet healthy, functional older men. Not ready for the old maids life just yet. Mymbles quote was spot on; yes Elgie, people do pull this stuff; DECENT people do not. I am approached by many men I see no future with; I keep boundaries while treating them the respect that all deserve. No touching, no invites to my home, no invites for weekends together, no complementing them on their looks, clothes, no showing up at their home, no asking for help building mine. No using anyone, at any time, for attention. And above all, no stringing someone along for years and no living a double life with another person.

    • Selkie says:

      Noquay,

      “Yep, I was stupid at the end to mistake his distraction, hot/cold behavior, as the result of family issues rather than something far more horrible.”

      You weren’t stupid. People with good character and intact ethics, like you, don’t think the same as those who don’t possess those qualities. Example: My car was stolen once from my carport, and another time my purse, wallet, and phone were stolen out of my car ( different car, different occurrence). My very first thought was; “Where did I park my car?” and “Did I leave my purse at home?” I am not a thief, so my first thought was not that someone stole from me. It only took a few minutes to figure out that yes, I had been robbed but my mind is not wired that way, so my first thoughts were not of bad things. It’s good to see the world with some hope underneath. Of course there are probably things you can learn from your unfortunate encounter with this guy, but don’t let it change your spirit of good will. That is what separates us from them, not stupidity.

    • Anon says:

      did you know he was married?

  16. noquay says:

    Whoops, that was Wiser that posted that quote.
    Learning now; first get into the list of previous posts and read, read, read. A lot of times we are taken for a loop because a person is behaving in a way that we, as reasonably decent folk, would never consider behaving. Good to get a feel for the permutations ofbad behavior that are out there so can recognize them and act accordingly.

    • Selkie says:

      “A lot of times we are taken for a loop because a person is behaving in a way that we, as reasonably decent folk, would never consider behaving.”

      Didn’t see this part of your comment until after I commented up above. This is basically what I was getting at. This doesn’t make you stupid, Noquay. It makes you human. A caring, good at heart human.

  17. Little Star says:

    I have this issue different from others, I do blame everyone but dear ME! I need to take a responsibility for my own choice and actions, no one forced me to have booty call relationships with both ACs! I even started to miss these idiots, what is wrong with me?!

  18. Selkie says:

    My last commet for the day. I just read an article on trust ( by Miranda Macpherson ). I want to share a sentence that stuck with me and touches on some of the comments about owning responsibility.

    “Trust invites us to remember that both joyful and difficult experiences can birth deeper wisdom if we can inquire sincerely and open into the invitations they contain.”

    I think blame only delays this and keeps us stuck. Like Sushi said, blame is passive. Look inward with kindness. The act of an AC treating us badly shouldn’t result in treating ourselves badly by beating ourselves up. Haven’t we had enough of that already?

  19. espresso says:

    I am a bit confused about blaming and seeing that one has the responsibility for something and not doing it. I think my ex was responsible for pretending to but not dealing with his issues if he wanted to be (as he often said) an active, empathic and caring partner. He always talked about his intentions and trying but I honestly think he really did any hard work. It was WAY to threatening to him and he has never wanted to risk his comfort zone of personal isolation. He also feels quite entitled which I never saw at ALL but I “sensed.” He relied on being passive aggressive and often confused me and eventually it was crazy making.
    Do I blame him for that? I guess I do because he always said that I was the most important person to him in the whole world and even after the separation would be my “greatest friend.”
    I think congruency is important.
    I think he actually made choices about whether he would remember things I said and/or that were important to me and follow up on them.
    Do I blame me for staying in the relationship? I shared in the responsibility and wasn’t aware of the myriad of ways I actually placated him and didn’t act when I said I would. I wasn’t congruent either! I was fearful in a lot of ways, lacked self confidence (although I thoughts I had a LOT of self confidence, worried a lot about separating with kids ( a legitimate concern!) and didn’t string everything together. At the same time I think I became really mind controlled by being in this environment. I am still seeing things that I did, do or said/say that actually horrify me and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say…my god so that was what it was all about.
    I guess my main take away thought from this is…what can I learn from where I have been without feeling so bad about myself that it stops me from acting and how can I become more of the stronger more self reliant person with insight that I strive to be? Oh, and reclaim my happiness which I have a GREAT capacity for.

  20. survivorgrl says:

    Elgie,

    I am young, but your age does not justify a lack of sensitivity, empathy or understanding. Although I explicitly said no to this person, please realize that a girl of ANY age can be intimidated by violence and not speak, and she can also never say a word but her not giving explicit consent to something makes the interaction nonconsensual (in example, imagine a girl who is paralyzed in her own body but her gestures or emotions show resistance). She does not have to be drugged in order to have an excuse for not kicking someone out of bed; she can be traumatized, confused and ambivalent until hindsight kicks in, especially if she has experienced it before. That is the reality of most situations I read on BR and everyone reacts to trauma differently. But why should I ever have to JUSTIFY my behavior during a nonconsensual act? You do not have the right to judge how someone acts with “you should have”. Do you think rape or assault victims need to be revictimized with “you should have”s? I do not think so. You have personal experience of attempted assaults, but everyone has a different experience.

    Even though I told you a number of times that I said no and THAT is indeed enough, feminists these days do not just see consent in light of the absence of no but in the presence of a strong yes. Does the man then have no responsibility to check in with the partner, if the woman, in your perspective, has an obligation to kick his ass out? Why isnt consent a collaborative process? The terror or uncertainty of a woman to fight as aggressively especially when you do not know her past (ex. Sexual abuse in childhood, then assault in adulthood) should not be invalidated or dismissed as weakness.

    Maybe you really do mean well but you come off sounding condescending rather than compassionate in your posts a lot of the time. Maybe I can benefit from tough love and maybe in turn you can benefit from getting off your high horse and accepting you could learn a thing or two from “young girls” too. Everyone can always learn more. I am very sorry for the experiences you went through and glad you were able to fight off those horrible men, but unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. Not everyone fights. That doesnt make them weak.

    Instead of focusing on my story and giving me tough love, focus on your own growth because BR is for you too and realize my first post said it all about how I was moving on from the need to blame. You chose to take a quote out of context and paint me as someone who is focusing on what her ex did rather than stating a story, accepting my anger but working on healing which is what my post actually says if you read it. And yes it did feel like persecution and even saying I had to be drugged if I didnt kick someone out is disturbing on so many levels. You just did not pay attention to the strength I have like the other users that supported me did nor did you see my health as the main issue. That says something about you, not me. I have always had a strong voice in and outside of these forums. Age has nothing to do with it.

    Thank you for the loving hug and thoughts about my growth. I am sure you do have good intentions but I do want to let you know that I read BR on a daily basis and do work on my own stuff. I comment not to be singled out for what was in the past but to share my story with people going through similar things, work on the future and to give other people hope too. After this post,I do not wish to continue to engage in justifying myself to someone who doesnt realize why her posts might come off as insensitive. Any time you make an apology, you seem to give another backhanded slap that still questions my behavior and discretely undermines my experience. I refuse to give any more energy than I already have. I thank you for motivating me to continue using my voice which I wish you well.

    • FX says:

      survivorgirl, I’m sorry your first r/s experience was so hurtful in so many ways. I’m glad you are focussing forward and addressing your health issue which is of the most importance.

      Also looking forward, I hope you don’t completely dismiss the comments that rankled you… I have learned from BR in context of my own situation that I did not act in my own best interest even after I had plenty of information to do so. Most of what transpired from which I am still healing happened AFTER he had shown me who he was and how he would show up in my life. Now, I would know better than to return to “the scene of the crime” so to speak. (In my case it was lying, etc., not sexual misconduct.) I take responsibility for acting out of fear of losing him and the fantasy rather than taking a firm stand out of self love. I think you are saying you did the same thing? I do not “blame” myself for his lying to me, etc. I do take responsibility, however, for sticking around for it to happen more than once. Self love isn’t about using words to communicate and then being surprised when a snake acts like a snake, it’s about taking actual, often painful, action to eliminate the opportunity for a repeat performance. This lesson is something valuable I can use to improve myself and my life going forward. As the oft quoted saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

      I have also put my own twist on the quote attributed to Einstein. Insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing knowing you will get the same result.

      • Allison says:

        FX,

        Well said.

        We have to protect ourselves from dangerous situations. If someone has shown themselves to be harmful, we must remove ourselves from the relationship. Immediately!

  21. AzureOne says:

    I normally never go to the trouble of commenting, but wanted to commend Survivor for her strength, both in dealing with her ongoing situation, prioritising her health, but also for standing up and speaking out against Elgie’s insensitive, patronising comments.

    How you can continue to question her experience and attempt to justify your judgement, on a situation where rape was clearly involved, in what is meant to be a supportive forum, baffles me frankly. Survivor is right, you do come off as condescending. Why bring her age into it? Age has nothing to do with it.

  22. survivorgrl says:

    Shattered,

    I will pray for you. I am so sorry you are in the same boat as I am. Know that HPV can be transmitted with or without a condom as it is spread through skin to skin genital contact. A condom does not protect the entire area, but of course reduces the risk of transmission.

    Please do not blame yourself or allow anyone to blame you. You were in a tough place, still are, and you are STRONG. Do not call yourself weak for anything you did or felt pressured to do and do not let anyone convince you that you should stew in shame about it. You are human. You are precious. And you deserve love, respect and empathy. I am glad your ex partner was better than mine in supporting you, but remain cautious about his intentions and keep your distance if possible. Pull the focus back to you as much as you can.

    You are strong. You will fight this. Give yourself compassion and love every day. You are precious.

    Love,
    Survivorgrl

  23. Elgie R. says:

    Insensitive. Patronizing. Condescending.

    Wow.

    Well, I would certainly appreciate any tips on how to apologize to Survivorgirl.

    None of those things were my intention. Those things are so far from my intention that I am a little discombobbled.
    ..

    I am truly sorry I offended you, SurvivorGirl. BR is about support, and support was my intention. I do not know what to say to convey my very real regret at causing you more distress.

    So I, too, will bow out of your discussion Survivorgirl. If you should want to talk more, rest assured that I will voice no thoughts. You seem to find others thoughts helpful, so don’t let me spoil that.

    About age…..haven’t you guys ever heard the saying “The older I get, the smarter my parents get?” Simply means perspective changes as we get older. I am an old lady and something in the writing said to me that I was talking to a young girl….that is all that was meant by my reference to age.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Elgie,

      I’m so sorry about this bitter misunderstanding between you and Survivorgirl. I didn’t want to say anything, but since it’s still bothering you and you asked for advice, I just want to say that I, too, interpreted that she had indicated that she had difficulty saying “No” to the jerk. It would be very helpful if when we post our experience we give all of the critical components of the story upfront and not add in important details later on after other posters have assumed certain info which turns out to be false. Survivorgirl. I am not accusing you of doing this. But a very similar misunderstanding has occurred on BR before. It happened to me, also. You did apologize adequately, I thought, but it was not enough because the anger continued past what was necessary. I do hope you feel a better. Don’t beat yourself up. It was unfortunate that his happened.

      Survivorgirl, I am not taking any sides here. All I’m saying is that I read your initial post the same way Elgie did. Apparently, we are the only two who misunderstood, so please don’t get angry all over again. Others posters have well supported you. I am very sorry for what you went through and having to deal with a horrendous aftermath. I wish you well.

      • Mymble says:

        Tinkerbell,
        I agree with all of what you wrote.
        Sometimes I have had responses to comments I have made that did not altogether sit well with me. But that’s the thing about posting here, there are different perspectives, and Natalie does allow a range of views to be expressed. If someone is telling someone else that they shouldn’t say x or y, I tend to think that’s really up to the Head Blogger to decide!

      • Furry White Dogs says:

        I don’t often post but felt I had to as Tinkerbell you can add me to the list of folks who read Suvivorgirl’s initial post the same way as Elgie. Her comments were simple and ambiguous and certainly didn’t communicate any context that made Elgie’s comment unreasonable.

        In fact I thouroughly agreed with Elgie’s post in general. I know in my own situation it was very important for me to face my own part in the toxic relationship and own my own actions without absolving the arseface of his part. It made me resolve to learn from the experience and not repeat those mistakes.

        I for one have found the continuing campaign of comments in reponse to Elgie over the top and drama laden, which is unfortunate because I feel Elgie makes caring insightful posts and I would hate for her, or indeed anyone here, to feel she/he shouldn’t post anymore.

  24. noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    Am in a similar situation that you were in. Guy with a combination of past trauma and same health issues. He comes off as really emotionally distant but yet wants to see me and is frustrated with the 100 mile distance between us and my life of both working and running a farm. He is a very nice person, intelligent and respectfulbut gives an uunderlying feeling of disapproving of much of my lifestyle. He doesn’t want to discuss his health issues, so I relate to him as kind of a close friend. For now, I have a person who wants to hike mountains with me, go to movies, dinner, hold my hand and give the occasional hug. It’s now snowing here, between bad weather and teaching, there is little time to do the on line thing and try and find someone new. After the first time having him stay overnight, I felt really humiliated but got over it. Not sure if I could learn to love him, don’t want to use him for attention, but he does appreciate that I listen to him, help him with stuff at his home. Tricky situation.

  25. Joy says:

    I still really struggle with the idea that I can’t blame anyone but myself. I’d really like to think he has some responsibility but I always explain it away. And I do so with one simple phrase he said: he doesn’t want to string me along. Well then, he isn’t and potentially didn’t for a very short amount of time, therefore I have no one but myself to blame for all this pain. Which means basically that I am pathetic. At least, those are what I tell myself to be true. I’d really like just someone to honestly attribute some bad faults to him but no one has, not even my friends.

    • Allison says:

      Joy,

      We’ve all been there, may it be through their words or actions. We relate!!!!

      Ask yourself, will it really make a difference if he can be considered a bad guy? Probably not – If he knew of your feelings, he should have moved on, as it would of been the decent thing. The only important thing is to understand and focus on why you choose to ignore. One thing I have learned, is to listen to what people say, not act on what I’m hoping to hear. This self-sabotage!

      Focus on you!

      • Allison says:

        BTW, you’re not pathetic.

        Be kind to yourself!

        • Joy says:

          Thank you for responding.

          The thing is, he did move on. Quite quickly. His overall happiness seemed to skyrocket after he broke up with me. And he DID break up with me. He did the right thing, yet I still can’t get over the idea that he should have some responsibility in the failure of the relationship.

          I know what most people would say, because my friends said it… It just wasn’t meant to be. Then what exactly is all the pain for? I like to think it’s because I seriously messed up somewhere. I just don’t know how exactly.

          • Allison says:

            Joy,

            The two of you went into this with different objections.

            I think he said he didn’t want a relationship, you did, hoping he would change his mind. This never works! It’s hard enough to make a relationship work when you’re on the same page, much less when one of the parties does not see a future.

            Please take to heart what people say, or you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery.

  26. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Noquay,

    I started answering you but then had to start over when I realized you are talking about two different men. For the first guy, I would strongly suggest you find out asap what is the nature of his “health issues”. If it is the same as what I just went through I would say enjoy him and just see how it goes, because the most important thing is what kind of person is he. But the hesitancy I have in your seeing him is his opposition to your lifestyle and it sounds as though the 100 mile traveling may be something he’s not really up for. The second guy sounds more compatible since he happily shared activities that you enjoy. But, I’m curious to know why you were “humilated”. I presume you had sex. Was it not up to par? Or you felt you should have waited longer before the sexual connection?

    As for online dating, I’ve had a lot of experience in that area, also. I knew when I was doing it that I was EU but I was telling myself that I really wanted a relationship. But, having extended email convos with a man on the west coast and I live on the east coast doesn’t indicate looking for a relationship. I had recently kicked the MM to the curb and was looking for a distraction to “get over” that colossal waste of my time and healthy judgement. I know you’re still affected (seem to be) by the at work AC so you could use OLD for the same reason that I did. But, I think you’ve learned already not to expect much using that method to meet someone. You can spend a lot of time when you could be doing something that would reap more personal benefit and satisfaction. Those are my thoughts pertaining to what you have written so far. But, I will be happy to continue a dialogue with you as I read all your posts and am sensitive to your plight as far as meeting eligible men is concerned.

  27. Moving on says:

    Just so that you all know men can’t get tested for HPV, at least in the United States. And like someone else mentioned, condoms don’t prevent it because there’s still skin on skin contact. It’s unfortunate that even when you try to be preventative there’s only so much you can do with the tests available out there. All you can do survivor is keep up with your appointments so they can freeze any cells off that have the virus. I work in the medical field and it is extremely common, the 80% statistic is about right.

  28. noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    It’s the same guy, loves hiking in the mountains, hates that it is cold in the mountains, chickens crow early in the morning, loves my garden produce, my hot fire in the stove but not these things require me to cut wood, dig around in dirt, shovel manure rather than spend more time with him. Common with city/convenience life oriented guys who have never done these things. The physical issue is permanent. Felt humiliated because we tried to have sex, after seeing one another for months and it didn’t work, literally. I felt like somehow I was not attractive enough then thought about how humiliated he must feel and what it must be like to deal with this with every woman he meets. I do have a healthy sex drive but since I have been doing without for a long time and can continue to do so. He has a real need to talk about some tough stuff he’s going through and I think he appreciates my ability to shaddup and listen. It is nice to companionably sit by the fire and read together, have someone to spend your birthday with, go to social stuff with. I’ve really missed that. I think a major difference between your situation and mine is that at this point, I am very fond of but not passionately in love with at this point. Yep, the AC and his betrayal will be a source of pain for a long time as physically and intellectually, but not ethically, he was my ideal and one of the few folks that understood my enviro/farmer/anti mining activist side. Even during my birthday gathering Sunday, someone was discussing how genetically blessed his new conquest is. I though exotic and striking in appearance, am definitely not. Not something a chick wants to hear on her bday. As to the online thing, I am through with doing so, maybe forever. Even if am EU myself (I see myself more as hyper aware, reluctant to invest emotionally until I am sure what I am dealing with, and yep, having pretty high standards), online wouldn’t be a distraction, more like yet another source of anger. I really do think even the chance of meeting folk dries up here about September and there’s no point till next March or so. For now with this dude, I think the best course for now is to see where it goes, continue to be supportive without being a Florence, and if I get to a point where there’s too much unsaid, too much tension due to his issues, and my emotional needs aren’t being met, it’s time to say goodbye.

  29. Sparkle says:

    I was reminded of a recent talk with my brother. He said, you were too passive with that guy. When I met him and from what you told me about his behavior, I could see he wasn’t serious. When a guy isn’t inviting you to his home, never calls, mysterious, always late, he’s playing. You need to be more direct and ask WHY am I not invited to your home; demand answers and kick to the curb when you hear BS. I hate this guy for how he treated you, but as my sister I respected your wishes to keep making up with him. It had me worried, becuz that’s a lot of stress for you. I thanked my bro for his honesty and directness. I told him yes, I was passive. Intellectually I was aware of his shady behavior, but because I cared so much, emotionally in denial. Strong lesson learned!

    Love my bro! He has my back and non-judgmental.

  30. Tinkerbell says:

    Noquay.

    What a healthy outlook you have! Finally, someone who really understands from current experience, not just being supportive/sympathetic. Even though you and I may have a healthy sex drive we older women definitely value a kind, sincere man who isn’t inclined to incite drama in our lives. Like my situation, the lives of you and he are quite different. For this reason I fully condone maintaining separate habitats. Of, course you’re not at that point now, but I’m sure you would feel the same way. Doing your own thing in your own way becomes increasingly important, but at the same time we must have peace and harmony without being judged. (Probably, it’s his desire to “take care and protect you from such a hard life”). These requirements that I just mentioned are not easy to experience all at once with a man. I fell in love with him because he treats me so well with utmost respect and is a genuinely kind person who has my back without question. Plus, good looking for his age and athletic? He meets all my requirements and then some in everything else except THAT. So, one has to decide. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship.

    It sounds like you might have an “all systems go” situation for now. But, just prepare for the eventual tension and discomfort if his situation is not resolved. It’s take a great deal of maturity and patience on your part. If you’re not in love you may not want to stay. But, do you have anything to lose, if he can be a close friend?

    I’m currently taking a break focusing on ME and my life. I’ve spent an entire year dealing with this, so it’s time for me to redirect my focus. It’s a temporary NC. We’ll resume dialogue and see where it goes again at a later date, but we’ll be friends for life. Haven’t made any promises to him when I’ll contact him, but I expect in another 6-8 weeks.

    Btw, during my “break” I’ve ordered two books on male sexual dysfuction from Amazon to help me better understand his plight, and also take care of myself adequately.

    Let me know what develops with you, and vice versa. I’d hate to see you give him the boot for that one reason.

    Hugs,Tink.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Noquay,

      Happy Birthday! Mine is Oct. 29. Don’t have any plans yet and they won’t be with him. Oh well, such is life.

  31. AR says:

    Thank you so much for the blog and all your advice Natalie. It really helps to pull oneself out of denial and has given me so much confidence to do better and move on from assclowns. You are really amazing and once again thank you, congrats and good luck for your new show!! xoxo

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!