I read somewhere recently that if you want to break habits and form healthier alternatives, moving house is the way to go, which means I’m in for a shake-up soon. Of course there are other opportunities to break habits and often we forget due to wanting to cling hard to old but possibly unproductive habits, that breakups and new relationships are a wonderful opportunity to evolve.

Part of the grieving and moving forward process is creating new responses to cues and triggers where you’ve typically reached for or relied upon your ex, such as boredom, loneliness, validation seeking, stress, tiredness, desire to escape etc. You have to be more self-reliant and self-soothe in these situations, and where things go awry is where you keep looking to your ex (or a substitute) in these situations and this increases the lack of personal security you feel as well as the pain.

New relationships also offer the opportunity to go down a different path and this is much easier to do when you have the self-awareness that comes with being willing to learn from the insights gained from your prior relationships. With each relationship you get to understand you a bit more and where you also need to step up for yourself to ensure that you’re representing your needs, expectations and wishes.

New relationships are an opportunity to evolve and grow regardless of the outcome.

It’s not that you won’t be hurt and pissed off if things don’t work out, but when you know that you weren’t just trying to pick up from where you left off in a previous relationship and that you weren’t trying to be the exception to the rule and trying to right the wrongs of the past, you have the perspective to recognise where you’ve made gains instead of being loss focused. It also helps if you don’t treat being single as the prison sentence that you have to pass between shady relationships…

There won’t be this sense that you’ve lost out on somebody making you ‘whole’ at last and you’re not being caught out by stubbornness and feeling away due to having had your pattern on repeat. You won’t feel too afraid to gain new insights because once you’ve grieved the loss and the dust has settled, what you learn from the experience takes you a step closer to a more fulfilling relationship and it provides you with some self-knowledge. You may even feel proud or empowered due to how you handled a situation or just knowing that you weren’t pretending to be something that you’re not in order to fit in with somebody who was actually unfolding.

We do have an awareness of what does and doesn’t feel good and what does and doesn’t work for us – we just may not be living up to these values, possibly due to being sidetracked by fear or eagerness to please and to be seen in a certain way. Sometimes we crave the feeling of validating ourselves off of another person changing and being in our uncomfortable comfort zone more than we want the feeling of peace that comes with getting on with the business of living instead of living in the past.

When our past behaviours start showing up in present situations, it’s time to ask: What can I learn here?

This isn’t about owning other people’s behaviour but instead it’s about recognising that we’re defaulting to thinking and behaviour that we know won’t benefit us. It’s also recognising that if we want how we feel or the types of situations we typically find ourselves in to change, we have to change.

It’s also time to stop, look, and listen, because we’re either slipping into old habits due to not just repeating this pattern but also due to being with a similar person in different packaging, or we’re repeating these habits with no regard for what’s actually taking place around us. We’re having default responses that don’t give us an opportunity to do and think differently than we have previously.

We can look the similarities between a past and present situation but it’s also important to look at what’s different. Aside from the fact that they may not actually be the same beyond our reaction or surface similarities, it’s also important for us to note that we are not even the same person we were previously. We are smarter, stronger, and more self-aware… if we want to be.

When we get stuck in this cycle, we are too internally focused and may be responding to internal fears without external evidence of those said fears but still carrying on like there is. We have a duty of care to get our own house in order and to take responsibility for how we show up in each situation. We don’t need to show up perfectly because hell, that’s impossible, but we do need to show up in the present with a willingness to listen to ourselves and to judge what’s happening based on reality and merit. Anything else is just forcing us and a person into a script where we’ve already determined the outcome and will create as much drama as is needed to get the ending we’ve already predicted. The scenes may shake up a bit and there may be some plot twists but we end up acting and feeling similarly and this is disempowering.

There’s some benefit in understanding the behaviour of those we typically engage with but there’s an even greater benefit in understanding our own typical habits and where we can make adjustments to avoid relationship insanity – carrying the same baggage, beliefs, and behaviours and choosing same people different packaging but expecting a different result and then being surprised when it’s not… and then lather, rinse, repeat. If you’re tired of this cycle, you have an opportunity to break out – grab it.

Your thoughts?

Don’t forget, if you’re in Boston and would like to be involved with the pilot for my show, get in touch!

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138 Responses to Breakups and new relationships offer opportunities to break old habits

  1. Stacey says:

    Hi Natalie – I am not sure how else to contact you as I don’t have twitter of google plus but I’ve been NC for a month from my ex, who was my best friend before dating etc. He definitely is emotionally unavailable. Its been hard losing my hopes for us a couple, but also my buddy. I know that NC is what I HAVE to do…but I am having a really hard time with wanting to contact him. I don’t understand why after a month, I would want too. All I want to say is hi, I miss you. Thats it and right now I am driving myself a little batty. I think I just want to know he still cares…he told me when I asked for NC that he loves and will always love me and will miss me….(we are going to try to be friends after 6 months of NC) but … I guess, I just want to reach out and get stung. I’ve read a lot of your articles and will continue to do so…why after everything do I still want to contact him and give him an ego stroke???

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Stacey, no contact is hard and I know where you are coming from but it is for the best..I actually changed my cell phone number but ended up giving it to him after he hounded me on the landline, something I totally regret but I have decided to just bite the bullet and now ignore his texts (something I haven’t been able to do before) I finally realised this is for me, not him, for me…I refuse to feel sorry for him, he made his bed so he gets to lie in it…I am not willing to be his friend, his bit on the side or to reset any buttons with him and if no contact is how it has to be done then I am going to do it. I have told him over and over and bloody over to leave me alone and he won’t listen to what I have to say, so I am done with it all.
      Even after the last time, 9 days later I get an early morning text “How ya doing?” then when I don’t reply a “Gidday how ya going?” then two hours later a “R u not talking 2 me?” This time it’s been easy not to reply because no I am not talking to you remember I told you that I didn’t want contact!!!
      And honestly give me a break how old is he? Oh thats right 45!! :-) flush.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Sandy, I read awhile back a post you sent. At that time you didn’t sound anything like you do now. You were in the midst of the struggle of what to do. If I remember correctly you weren’t ready for NC. But Sandy why don’t you make it easier on YOU? BLOCK HIM, everywhere. Why still be available for him to call you whenever he pleases? Do you still want to know if he’s tried to reach you? That would be the only reason for not preventing him from contacting you. Plus it would mean you still care. I don’t know if it works both ways where you live, but where I am, if you block his number from your phone, you are not able to call him either. That’s perfect because it covers you if you weaken and want to call. It’s the best.

    • Marilyn says:

      Because right now it feels like you cut your arm off. One month is still very new for NC. It took me a long, long time to stop wanting to send an email or pop in on IM. When they are also your best friend, you really lose two relationships at the same time. It gets easier with time. Hang in there!

    • FinallyDidIt says:

      Stacey: please don’t put your hand back in that beeshive. You will get stung – big time. I know, I’ve been there. You really don’t want to just say “hi, I miss you”. You are looking for a response back from him – validation that you mean something to him. If he truly loved you there is no way you would be going NC right now. Stay strong and don’t contact him. You’ll regret it! Guaranteed.

    • Lilia says:

      It´s perfectly normal to want to contact him, even after a month or several months or even years. The thing is – it´s just an emotion. It´ll pass. You don´t need to act on it. So the thing with NC is, you´ll have to maintain a high level of discipline. Even when your emotions tell you to contact him, you don´t. Just look the emotion in the eye and tell yourself “oh look, I really feel like contacting him today”. That´s all. Gradually, the emotion will pass. And then you´ll be thankful that you didn´t act on it.

      Also, why are you planning on being friends after 6 months? It sounds like you´ll only be dragging things out that way.

      • Stacey says:

        Lilia – we were friends first…and he is very adamant about being friends. I am not really sure if we will be friends again. I told him that I need 6 months to move on. He has contacted me twice, but he is occupied with someone else right now….when that ends, which I know will, that is when I expect contact ‘are you ready to be friends yet? oh and to make you feel better I am not dating anyone’. The last thing he said to me (after I stupidly replied to him) was ‘ok bye again, I only say this because I need you to get better so we can hang out.’ Truth is, I have much better friends then he ever was…I think because I still have feelings for him, I plan on being his friend, but honestly not sure if it will happen or not. He is very selfish.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Stacey WHY are you leaving anything up to him ? The way you are doing NC is a waste of effort, imo. As a matter of fact, there’s very little effort on your part. If you are fed up with him, it should be up to YOU to be friends or not. Just because you were originally friends, that’s all changed if you fell in love. So don’t put a limit on NC simply because you used to be friends. Furthermore, it’s silly to have this 6 month agreement with him. He’s not going to abide by it, and how do you know what you will be feeling in 6 months? And, how do you know he’ll be finished with this other person by then? He may move on to someone else, not you. Also if you plan to be friends, you might as well count on being in bed with him as part of the “friends ” agreement. Your plan has way too many loopholes. And you’re making a lot of faulty assumptions.

          • Stacey says:

            Tinkerbell…I didn’t leave anything up to him. I initiated NC. At the time, when I said 6 months, I was just basing it on something I read…I didn’t think it through enough. I was just venting above about how selfish he is. I have changed my mindset that NC will go on forever if that is what I need. I don’t really like the tone of your message. This guy is very relentless and that is what I was trying to say in my post above…it doesn’t mean, that I am acknowledging him in anyway right now, I am not. He blocked in email and facebook…and the last text I received I did not respond. So, I feel that I am putting in effort…

            • Sarah says:

              Hey Stacey – sending some love your way. As Natalie has said – and we’ve all experienced – sometimes you listen, sometimes you fall off, sometimes your resolve isn’t as full as it might be on another day. The important thing is to find your way through it. Beginnings are fragile and sometimes the process doesn’t go in the direction you desperately want it to. Keep on keeping on. I fell a lot of times, but each time I fell – the more I learned. I’m not giving any encouragement for you to fall. But do be mindful about why you’re taking any action. Sounds like you are being mindful of you. Find ways to celebrate the good stuff along with dealing with the suffering. I came back here a lot to bash my head against Natalie’s perspective. Stuff went in eventually!

    • gyserboy says:

      Hi Stacey, it is early days yet so hang in there as you have experienced a double loss. Have a heart to heart with someone you trust as that will help ease the hurt and confusion inside. Being on this site is good and make sure you are able to vocalise the hurt with someone you trust and know will sincerely listen (the emotionally available ones don’t forget). It has worked for me and the need for the ex is no longer a stronghold.

    • Kitaly says:

      Imagine that you DO reach out to him…what are the possible outcomes? He can ignore you, he can say ‘I miss you too’, he can reply casually, he can reply right away or after a long time….WHATEVER HIS RESPONSE IS, you want to contact him because you want his response. Basically you are opening up communication again…and that’s NOT NC. I’, not sure giving NC a deadline like 6 months is a good idea, because it’s like holding your breath for 6 months and then like FINALLY you can speak again, without doing all the work that needs to be done to actually heal, it’s just postponing.

      • Stacey says:

        Kitaly – good point! I wrote above to someone else that I am not sure when/if we will become friends again. I guess I shouldn’t have said I need 6 months,but I had read that on this site and I thought it would get him off my back for longer then a month. I’ve tried NC before, but he’s always contacted me after a month and hounded me to get together and I always gave in.

    • CC says:


      Be aware. I had this expereince with my ex whom I still miss a lot! We went out for a year while he wasw going thru divorce, really bad timing. i broke up with him, then he kept wanting to stay friends, emailing calling, i had moved on and got in another relaionship, but i missed my ex even more because i didn;t have the same nice connection with the new beau, so i had to break up with thim and then i let my ex back into my life as a friend, i really enjoyed him and his daughter and after 6 mths of friednship, my feelings grew, we ended up in bed and after that i told him i am willing to try again and he said no. I was shocked, becasue i assumed his feelings grew too, but not so. I tried being friends again and found it too hard, becasue I had fallen for him (via friendship) and he just wanted friends with benefits again. sad. I am still missing him. I finally told him not to contact me at all. I’ve been NC for almost 4 mths now and I still miss him and it feels worse when I am with a man who I can;t connect with, like the friend I described in a post here that you responded to. My advice, stay NC, no matter how hard, if the guy comes back with something serious like a commitment, then you can revisist. My ex did not do that. I don’t expect it anymore, but I am still missing him and the connection we had.

  2. Nic says:

    Thank you Natalie, I had my lightbulb moment last week. I wanted to thank all of you who keep trying to help those who are in distress.
    I had a picture of the situation that was upside down. There were elements of good that I recognised, I could reason what they were there for, but really, I didn’t know what I was looking at. All my decisions were based on that.
    After a phone call, all I said over and over, was ‘I was wrong’ and he scoffed at me! The picture flipped and I realised, oh crap. That wasn’t what I had been looking at and acting on. The right-way up of reality is unjustifiable and just wrong.
    Those who can’t see the right-way up picture, I hope it comes for you. It is a revelation and a release and I give thanks everyday that I was helped along here to see it.

  3. LadyL says:

    Amen. Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to read today.

  4. noquay says:

    The horrid situation with the at work AC taught me a lot, maybe a lot of stuff I’d have known if I’d dated more extensively before my marriage. I also understand why it is sooo hard to find anyone that even remotely works for me anywhere near here and how I really arent able to pack up and leave unless I want to declare bankruptcy, give my house back to the bank, and probably be unemployed for a long time if not for good, none of which makes one a very desirable partner unless you are targeting pretty dicey people. I’ve done a lot of emotional work, and have a good idea of what does and does not work, relationship-wise. What is frustrating is my complete inability to write myself off as an “old maid”. I still have a warped sense of entitlement of whatever that tells me I deserve someone at least as educated, good looking, intelligent, as the AC. This probably comes from the fact that my ex husband was a very accomplished, wonderful man and my attempts to “dumb down or date down” before and after my marriage, at times forcing myself to accept a person I could not feel anything for, had disasterous results such as stalking, attempted rape, disappearing, and just plain somplete incompatability. Also, the fact that AC is allowed to find someone new, which I have to witness as we live in a very small place with one grocery, two functional restaurants, and AC and I had a lot in common so we tend to go to the same environmental stuff, etc. Somehow (more entitlement here) I feel that I am the one who should’ve found someone wonderful and HE should pay for his extreme disrespect, not just to me , but to other women here, by having to be alone. I realize, given the demographics of our age group and perhaps in this entire state, the chances of my finding anyone remotely compatible are nil. Have gone up to a 200 mile radius of here and it aint a workin. Kind of like a little kid screaming “it’s not fair”, but then life isnt. He gets the woman, I get the choice of alone, or poor and probably alone because of it. Wonderful. I think 7 years total of being unmarried, and three of being alone is enough. I am glad though for BR alerting me to fixer uppers, mommys boys, on line liars etc. I have gotten really good at the practice of emotional detachment, keeping my expectations nil so a situaton like the AC never happens again.

    • Lilia says:

      Well, yes, it isn´t fair. I think it is true that men have more options relationship-wise. I don´t know if it´s a social thing, in that we women are brought up or manipulated to feel incomplete without a man or if it´s just our biological wiring, but it seems we tend to put our ego into having a relationship, whereas men don´t, so we are the ones putting up with anything to have and maintain relationships with them.
      Men have more women to pick from, it´s always been like that, but nowadays it seems to be more so. I think it´s just something we have to learn to live with.

      It makes me so sad to see perfectly wonderful women with no self-esteem simply because they don´t have a guy at their side. The other day I was talking with another mom at my kids´school, she is divorced and we were commenting on how busy we are, with working and raising a family, and she suddenly asked me “so when do you take some time for yourself, for meeting new people?”. It sounded like she was asking “so when do you go out looking for a new husband?”, which I think she was.
      I felt kind of sorry for her, putting all her time and energy into something outside of her. Her idea of taking time for herself was going to the hairdressers and checking out clothes at the mall. And go out to restaurants or bars with girlfriends in the hopes of finding a replacement for her ex. It seems like such a chore! What I do when I have some free time is go to choir practice, read some crime novel or bake a pie.

      Oh, and I´ve thought about the old maid thing too. I figured you aren´t an old maid once you´ve been married or even had sex. It´s an outdated concept, just like musketeers or ladies in waiting or whatever. Not to worry.

      • micheyl says:

        Noquay and Lilia, I am so amazed at how easy it is for men not only to move on but to start significant relationships immediately. My first ex did that to me, married the next woman and has stayed with her. My second ex has been with the same woman for 5 years and he is bi-polar! Then mr. uk is now in a new relationship only after 2 or 3 months after we broke up. It sucks to watch.

        I had a man ask me out this summer. I decided to decline because I wasn’t very physically attracted plus a friend of mine knew him and told me I most likely would not want to make that move. Anyway, I saw him at a concert with a woman that he was obviously dating seriously. I wonder, okay, if this mediocre guy (ok that sounds horrible! but you know what I mean) can have this woman all over him like he’s made of gold, wtf is wrong with me? I even reconsidered for a moment maybe I made a mistake? But probably not. It is really just so easy for men to fall into relationships when I feel like I am in the desert…

        • Rosie says:


          “wtf is wrong with me? I even reconsidered for a moment maybe I made a mistake? But probably not. It is really just so easy for men to fall into relationships when I feel like I am in the desert…”

          I’m right there with you. :(

          • Tinkerbell says:


            I think most of us feel that way. But, you shouldn’t doubt yourself by feeling that you made a mistake. You were not attracted to him. Period. Certainly, you would not want to force yourself to like someone if you didn’t, right? That wouldn’t be fair to you or him.

            • micheyl says:

              tink, yeah I know. It was very fleeting thought believe me. I wasn’t truly doubting my decision to not be with this guy; more just in wonderment at how easy it is for some people to find relationships…

    • Pauline says:

      Noquay, you sound like a very unhappy lady and I do understand where you are coming from, you feel totally stuck and you’re not sure if you want to be there. You do and you don’t.
      At the age of 54 I left my alcoholic husband, I had no job, no money, no educational qualifications and no real chance of getting a good job considering my age. Most of my friends had disappeared, social situations with a drunk is no fun for anyone, if you’ve been there you will know what I mean.
      I had to live with my mother, luckily she did take me in as I had nowhere else to go. It was pretty awful living with her, but hey, at least I had a roof over my head.
      I managed to get a job that wasn’t great but it did pay me a regular wage and I made the best of it. Fast forward a few years and I had saved a deposit for a house and got a loan as I had regular employment even though I was in my mid 50’s. I love my little house, it’s mine even though the bank owns a slice of it.
      I’m really quite proud of myself as I have got myself into a better financial position and although I’ll never be rich I’m not going to starve.
      I’m still looking for a guy to share my life with and what’s on offer in my age group (yours too by the sound of it) is enough to make me cry. God, most of them are just awful. I got involved with an AC who totally screwed me over and I let him, I thought I was in love. I’d never struck anyone like that before, at least I know better now.
      I don’t consider myself an old maid by any stretch, I’m more than competent to get a job and keep it and I had to start my life from scratch after living with an alcoholic for 20 years.
      It took me 5 years to leave him, I was really scared of starting over again with nothing, I’m too old, who will ever want me blah blah blah! Believing that load of crap was the biggest lie of all.
      Fast forward a few more years, I have friends and my married daughter recently had a lovely baby girl. I’ve also started doing two part time courses at a local college and joined a social group. Nothing earth shaking but life is more interesting, I have things to do and places to go and a beautiful baby granddaughter to watch grow up. If a nice guy turns up somewhere down the track, good, and if not …

      • Allison says:


        Good for you! Love your positive message!

        • Tinkerbell says:


          That’s the spirit. My husband died 7 years ago, and it’s only now I’ve decided that I’m alone, I’ll probably continue to be alone, so I need to stop trying to rely on a man or other people, in general to plan my life for me. I have no responsibilities to anyone. Free as a bird. So, from now on my goal is to make my own plans and follow through. I don’t have to sit up here looking at the walls and allowing life to pass me by. No more.

          I’m proud of you taking classes and joining a social group. Life is too short. We owe it to ourselves to depend in OURSELVES.

  5. Karen says:

    Wow perfect timing, Nat.

    I was highly hurt and upset by something my girlfriend failed to do this weekend.
    I was so upset, I broke up with her over it.
    Then today I was so worried about how she was taking the break up, I spent the day trying to cheer her up– even though her actions upset me so much I’d just broken it off with her over the weekend.
    What finally brought my attention back to tending to myself was my stress related vomiting
    Oh gee, maybe that was a sign I should let her sooth herself and turn my energies where they belong?
    Jesus. When you find yourself grateful for the gift of puking–it’s time to wise the hell up.

  6. Tinkerbell says:

    Tomorrow is my birthday. Not long ago, a birthday or any day would find me moping around at home, feeling sorry for myself that I don’t have any plans, and feeling utterly bored and neglected by close friends and family. I’ve scheduled a full day tomorrow where I will be with my friends all day. This is new for me and I realized this quite by accident. I made this decision because the NC from Petie is hard and not having plans on my birthday would make the NC feel even more miserable. Not too many years ago I would have wallowed in grief and despair, drank a few screwdrivers and just numb my self out in my bed. So, unconciously, I’m forming better habits for myself that are constructive instead of destructive. I just received the BD card from and want to call or email and thank him. Also, his surgical repair for a torn rotator cuff takes place tomorrow, so I have two reasons to call, but I will just hold fast and not do so. i hate this so much – forcing myself to use restraint. It’s not natural for me at all as I’m accustomed to acting on impulse. I’m finally learning to stop, pay attention to my gut, and consider repercussions. Reckless behavior never did anyone any good and I’m not the exception. I’ve come so far from when I started here. I’ve made great strides with my therapy. I just wish all this could have come years ago when I was much younger. However, it’s better that I have reached this stage at all than to never have done so.

    • noquay says:

      Happy birthday Tinks. May I suggest doing what I did on my BD nearly a month ago; spent the day in da woods, waaay in da woods. if you are lacking in woods, spend the day doing something that burns calories and that you enjoy. Then go out to eat with a small circle of folks that truly care about you. Like my BD, the reataurant service and the wine may suck (sincerely hope your choice of restaurants is greater than two), but it will be good for you to get out with others. Petey is not invited; he can stay home.

    • Sandy says:

      Happy Birthday for tomorrow Tinkerbell, really hope you have an excellent day..big hugs.

      My birthday this year was the best one I had had in 5 years after being with the ex AC, I arranged a morning tea with my sisters, nieces and my mum, something I couldn’t have done with him..he would have made sure I was at his place so I wouldn’t have been able to see family..I am also learning to listen to my gut and I am feeling alot better because of that, as you say better late then never :-)

    • Little Star says:

      Happy Birthday Tink! Wish you all the best xxx

    • Selkie says:

      Happy Birthday Tinkerbell. Hope you have a peaceful day. 😉

    • Lucky_Charms says:

      Happy Birthday Tink! Keep moving forward, keep going! My birthday was in August, it was 8 months NC. I did have impulses, but I stayed NC. I joined a gym, quit smoking, er, I also gained 10 pounds! Yikes! Nat articulated in this post exactly what I did. I was pissed off and sometimes depressed, but I knew I had to use this opportunity to be healthier mentally and physically. Like you Tink, I had an opportunity to call the ex EUM, when I saw him one day shortly after my birthday. It was a horrible impulse I had, but I didn’t do it. You are really strong Tink and I have read many of your comments and gained knowledge from your insights. You have come so far. Happy birthday!

    • Allison says:


      Embrace the coming year and celebrate your life!!!!!

      Happy Birthday!!!!!!

      No pity parties, Girl!

    • micheyl says:

      happy birthday dear tinkerbell, my fellow scorpio!
      I was considering throwing myself a get together this year too. I haven’t celebrated my birthday outside of my parents and kids since I was in 3rd grade!
      Anyway, I am glad you will take care of yourself. Age is just a number, but wisdom is timeless. You are a wise lady. Cheers to you <3

    • Rosie says:

      :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TINKERBELL!!!!!!!!!!:)

      :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • Lilly says:


      Reckless behaviour never did me any good either! When I look back I cannot believe that I was so oblivious of the danger I was in and so careless of my own heart, body and soul. Never again will I put myself is such harm’s way. From hereon I plan to always consider the consequences of my actions. It’s been a painful lesson to learn and a long time coming, but like you say it is better to have reached this stage than never having done so. You are doing the right thing Tink. Wishing you a Wonderful, Happy, Joyful Birthday tomorrow. It’s my birthday next week. I was planning to ignore it, but you’ve inspired me to maybe share it with some people who care. Love to you beautiful lady, xxx.

    • Nigella says:

      Happy Birthday, Tinkerbell.

      Hope you have a great day. May this day mark the beginning of a special year of happiness and health for you.

      Sending you my best wishes. Cheers!

    • Lilia says:

      Happy birthday Tink!!
      And have a great year!

    • MaryW says:

      Happy birthday for tomorrow, Tink. Glad you made plans to be with friends (same as me last week when it was my b’day). Do lovely things for yourself and surround yourself with positive, happy people who love Tink.

      Let Petie’s nurses nurse him – not your job!

    • DiggingDeeper says:

      Hey Happy Birthday Tink! :)

    • Maeve says:

      Happy birthday, Tink. Hope you’re having a beautiful day!

    • Pauline says:

      Happy birthday Tink, and many more of them.

      This really struck a nerve,

      “i hate this so much – forcing myself to use restraint. It’s not natural for me at all as I’m accustomed to acting on impulse. I’m finally learning to stop, pay attention to my gut, and consider repercussions. Reckless behavior never did anyone any good and I’m not the exception.”

      Impulse and reckless behaviour has been my pattern for too many years and in the last 12 or so months I’ve been turning this around. There are consequences to my behaviour and I always thought I would be the exception to the rule – I’m not and that has been a hard lesson that I’ve had to learn over and over until I finally got it! I feel I’m becoming a person that I can really like.

    • Magnolia says:

      Happy birthday Tinkerbell!

  7. Marian says:

    This is fantastic. I think I am starting to “get” it when it comes to men, but I think it is equally important to look at how our friends breach our boundaries and keep us from growing. If we are allowing devaluing behaviors in our friendships, that will reflect in our relationships also. I have been resisting partying with a certain group of friends because it brings out a trashy, sad side of everyone, including me, and I finally had enough this weekend. I set boundaries with them and will no longer be going out drinking with them. I have outgrown it and it disempowers me to force myself into a younger, dumber way of living that no longer aligns with my values. I am not responsible for protecting the egos of the people who still enjoy that. I don’t need validate that behavior by engaging in it. I don’t need to people please. I can be myself, and I have evolved beyond that and it’s time to show it. Thank you!!

  8. Gillian says:

    Hi Stacey,

    You will want to reach out after 30 days because in that time the pain has eased somewhat and you are starting to have goey thoughts about him and think about all the good times and forget how much you were hurting and why you had to go NC. I did the same thing on Friday night. I’ve been thirty days with MrEU who happens to live 8 ft from me across the hallway and has been sending me info on movies, his website, staining my deck for me etc. I didn’t tell him I was NC, I just did it but he didn’t get the message. So I feel off the wagon and called him after a movie that both of us had seen. We had a great conversation about movies and he made comments about wanting to buy one of my paintings, wanting to see if my balcony futniture would look good on his newly stained deck, commented on what a connection we have around music and how he loved me sitting on his lap on my balcony as we had done in the summer!! I felt my energy rise and the excitement of talking to him. I was drinking wine too, and without the wine, I don’t think I would have called him. We never mentioned “us”, we both left it at that.

    So, on Saturday I woke up – literally. I sent him an email stating that I do not want to be friends with him and would he please refrain from sending me all this stuff via email. I actually told him all the things I wanted to say in a dignified manner and I haven’t heard a word from him and I don’t want to. I just wanted to make it OK that when I see him in the carpark or the hall, I don’t feel like I have to be nice to him – you know, the nice girl problem!! I know Natalie says not to send the letter but this wasn’t about me crying it was me putting in a big, strong boundary. The way I know I am OK with this is because I don’t want a reply from him and I am relieved when there is not one in my in box. I feel empowered by what I did. I’m not suggesting you do this because sounds like you already explained to him you were going NC. Also, don’t keep hanging on to the idea that you are going to be friends after 6 months. Mostly being friends just does not work. it’s a bullshit cover up for “I wanna hang out with you”!!

    In the meantime, I have started seeing a really sweet guy and it is really tough for me to be with someone so nice. I don’t feel the old pull of sexual attraction that I feel with Mr EU but we are talking things through together and opening up slowly. I am not sure if this will amount to anything but I am prepared to be in it with him and he with me. It gives me a great opportunity to change my old habits. We are taking it so slow; something I have never done before and it feels really weird!! He even stayed over at my house because he lives over an hour away from me and he slept in the guest room. I had to get accustomed to him not hitting on me and me feeling disappointed – ha ha!

    It’s totally new and it’s not easy but I am learning through being with this sweet man….

    Best of luck. Gillian

    • Sandy says:

      Gillian, he must be as confused as you seem to be, you contact him say you have an excellent and exciting conversation then the next day you tell him you don’t want to be friends..and I’m sorry but you let him stain your deck but this was while you were no contact? Ha I am confused as well..but good luck with your new guy :-)

      • Gillian says:

        Hi Sandy,

        I hear your comments and not knowing the whole story makes it unclear. I agree the whole thing has been very confusing and doing NC is not just one straight line of saying that it’s over and then it is done. Working through is a challenge. I did this earlier in the year with a guy and it took me months but I am so totally over hime. I finally came to a conclusion with this guy though after all the drama of the deck staining (which he didn’t do) and my last conversation with him. So, breaking NC, as Natalie says can sometimes be the exact thing that was needed to make us realise what we really want and that is what happened for me. It was like a light bulb going off, finally. I now know what I want and that is absolutely no conact with him. So, even though I broke no contact, I am back on the wagon again. Before, I was all over the place with my emotions and even though I put NC in, when he contacted me, I found it extrmely difficult to stand my ground. But, I actually did stand my ground to a much greater degree than ever before, even though it was not perfect and I haven’t fallen back into the old pattern of having sex with him. Now I truly believe that I can eliminate him from my life completely despite him living just feet away from me. For me, sending the email was a great statement to myself of standing in my own power and of me getting very clear of what I want.

        • Sandy says:

          Hi Gillian,

          Sorry that I misunderstood, it certainly is something that we need to do for ourselves, I too could never stand my ground and like you I had an epiphany after the last round of contact with is extremely hard going no contact but if they have shown us no respect during the relationship and shown no respect by being asked to leave us alone then that is how it must be.
          Good luck and stay strong :-)

          • Tinkerbell says:


            Honey, it’s not you. Sometimes posters throw around the term NC carelessly and in reality that’s not what they mean or even really attempting to do.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          Can he still get in touch with you? He should be completely blocked everywhere. What’s to stop you from breaking NC again. I think most who go NC intend to stick to it, but it is VERY HARD unless you take certain actions that block either of you from contacting the other. Telling him to not contact you is not enough, because you cannot trust him to honor that forever.

  9. CC says:


    I am in this situation right now. I have developed a friendship with this man and becasue he is evidently EUM, i told him I will not pursue a romantic relationship wiht him. He has been helpful in some areas of my life, like helping me find the right vehicle and drving me around, plus he wants him to do a gig with him and he lives in a great beach house, so I enjoy going to his place to go kayaking and enjoying a fire in his wood burning fireplace, but I am not in a romantic relationship with him, which he tends to push the boundaries on and I need to affirm my boundaries, I find my negative behaviors coming out as if I was in a romantic relationship with him. I find myself being very impatient with him and I feel somewhat fragmented after spending too much time with him. I don;t like the way I behave around him, I seem to be very triggered by his EUMness, yet he is intelligent and we can have great conversations, but emotionally he is too disconnected and he even knows it. I feel like I should be taking this opportunity to correct my behaviour around this type of EUM, but maybe I’m wrong, maybe I just need to stay away or spend very limited time with this man. What do you guys think?

    • Stacey says:

      CC – honestly, this kinda sounds like how my frienship began with my EUM. He pushed the boundaries physically even has friends! Do you have feelings for him? If so, RUN! It will only lead to more hurt, confusion and pain later on. Maybe start distancing yourself from him or just cut contact completely. If he is pushing boundaries, he does not have your best interest at heart even if he says he does. Actions speak louder then words.

      • CC says:

        Hi Stacey

        Thank you for your comments. NO, I don’t have feelings for him, he annoys me and I don’t like the way I feel around him. Intersting, he says he doesn;t want sex, only affection, yet that is not good for me because I have needs and there is some chemistry that I feel, but I know it will never work and he even says he’s not into sex, so imagine i have sex with him and I have a healty appetite, then he withdraws, the whole thing would be a huge mess for me emotionally. so, no I refuse to go there, he wouldn;t even be a reliable F***buddy! Not that I want one of those, becasue I can’t handle that emotionally. I do think I will have to distance myself and I’m not sure I even want to do a gig with him, he just brings out the bitch in me and I hate it. Yet, I feel i should be able to control the bitch behaviours, isn;t that my job. The fact that I can’t control my behaviour around him is what concerns me, and I have to wonder why. This is where I see the opportunity to rein in those dysfunctional behaviours I have around men. But maybe I’m kidding myself and the job is to stay away, becaue right now those behaviours seem to be reinforced by being with him.

        • Stacey says:

          Sigh – men. If being around someone doesn’t bring the best out in you then whats the point? I have a girl friend who I had to distance myself from because she brings out the worst in me. Very selfish, always creating drama, and she was trying to fix me as she didn’t agree with me dating a guy that was divorced. Sometimes you just have to distance yourself from those people. I also read your post above, where do these men come from? Is there a club somewhere? haha I know that I will hear from my EUM, just not sure when…and I know he will try to suck me back in, as thats what he’s always done. After we broke up, I did NC as best I Could, and he kept saying ‘lets meet for a movie, its JUST a movie’…blah blah blah. What’s done is done. I just need to pick up the pieces and move on.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        You see how we can see other’s situations clearer and their mistakes but can’t see our own? You’ve just told CC to do exactly what YOU should be doing. “Do you have feelings for him? If so, RUN.” etc. etc. etc. Follow your own advise.

  10. Jo says:

    Great blog….perfect timing for me!

  11. Demke says:

    @Stacey. Its ‘okay’ to miss someone. i think its worse if we try to pretend our feelings dont exist. I remember missing my ex so badly… It would literally take my breathe away. It took him 9 months to call me. I did not contact him at all. He did contact via txt/ email, but i did not respond. I was trying to move on. We really dont know what the other person is thinking/ feeling, so i try to steer clear of ‘assumptions’. However, pay attention to actions and what they ‘do’. When i did speak to my ex, he told me during that time he was miserable/suicidal. Still unclear of ‘why’. But, its the fact that someone who supposedly ‘loved’ me could stay away and not ‘call’ for 9 months. Not love to me. So… I suggest, keep moving forward. Dont wait. Despite how much u miss him. Im sure u will hear from him again. In the meantime, build yourself up. Gain some self confidence. And just know that you can and will meet someone who will never want to let u go. Isnt that what you want? Its what we all desire. We’re just to busy looking backwards. Keep the faith and keep moving forward.

    • gyserboy says:

      Hi Demke, sounds like you had some kind of panic attack or anxiety during the vulnerable stage of the break-up, sorry to hear about that. And agree with looking at the action post break-up. Nine months later is really inexcusable and certainly not love as you say. Continue holding yourself in good stead :)

    • Stacey says:

      thank you Demke! You are right! I really appreciate everyone’s comments.

  12. EmJay says:

    I’ve been reading a book called Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick. I find it quite fascinating.

    Last night I broke the NC habit I’d been cultivating for the past seven weeks. The married man I’m no longer involved with still reaches out to me with an occasional lazy text message, even though I haven’t responded since early September. I keep hoping he’ll just give up, but so far he has not. So last night, when he texted me for the first time in several weeks, I decided to break NC and text him back, not because I was lonely, but to tell him this: “Look, we’re not seeing each other anymore. It’s over. I’ve moved on. I hope you’ll find a way to move on as well.” I still fear that I haven’t heard the last of him, but so far he has not responded to that text.

    Instead of beating myself up for breaking my seven-week NC habit, I choose to congratulate myself for starting a new habit: being straightforward. I do want my inappropriate involvement with this man to end once and for all, and I have no intention of breaking NC again.

    • Maeve says:

      EmJay–In my opinion, you did the right thing. I would’ve done the same. Just be consistent so he knows you mean it.

      • EmJay says:

        Thank you, Maeve. Consistency has definitely been a challenge for me with this guy. I always knew we had no future together, and for a while that was okay, but not anymore. I’ve gone right back to NC, and I’ll stick to it this time even if I have to sit on my hands to keep them from texting him again!

  13. anna says:

    A real woman values her independence!

  14. ShepN7 says:

    This is very timely. I have been very miserable in a strange way, as in feeling depressed, paranoid and afraid, at my new job after three months here. In actuality, despite some difficulties and painful episodes, things are not bad…. Not to the point of the aggressive paranoia/anxiety I’ve been experiencing. Wondering if I’m losing it. I have a theory that my last job of five years was so genuinely toxic that being in survival mode was normal- and survival mode habits don’t work here because they aren’t functional. Also, having a job that I enjoy makes my life outside work seem pretty bleak as I have no friends in this city, for the most part. It was the same before but I spent all my time when not at work self-soothing just to maintain equilibrium. Now I don’t need to- and life outside work seems empty.

    • Rosie says:


      Drama can get hardwired into our brains (a BR poster talked about brain chemistry a few posts back relating to the topic of adrenaline and pain relieving brain chemicals, etc.) and if we don’t have drama, we’ll find it or re-create it as it’s our brain’s equilibrium. It’s crucial that you get comfortable with normal and stay with the feelings of dullness. Normal will become your new normal (I can’t remember what the poster said about this). I’ve experienced it, though. I like calm and peace now. If your work isn’t providing you with the “high” that the toxicity in your old job provided, how about joining meetups that engage your senses like foodie meetups, hiking meetups or ziplining groups, etc?

  15. Lorna Doone says:

    I stopped a relationship pattern last week, which was a difficult, but necessary thing to do. Within days, I had a dream that I was about to remarry my ex. In the dress, ready to go, the whole bit. I stopped it in my dream. I connect it back to my conscious effort to stop the recurring, self-damaging pattern of being attracted to the same emotionally unavailable type. Do I want to keep marrying my ex? Uhm, no, thanks all the same.

  16. Heather says:

    Perfect timing on this. I have written in a few times about how to deal w a hubby that does so and so. well after under a yr of marriage, I see I chose the wrong person yet again. I saw a few flags and jumped the gun on marrying a person who would have just made a decent friend, not a lover or husband. I tried every angle to discuss things w him but his constant excuses for not getting a job, failing class, why his ex wife HATES him so much causing issues w his visitation… I just started seeing the realness of me supporting this person in every way possible as a leech. the last straw was me going into counseling and him blaming me for his wrong doings. I walked out of the session and filed for divorce. it has not been easy since, he has shown his true vengence colors now and I know this is not love. i made the right choice in walking away. Im sad for the future I saw ahead of me with him, but I realize that is NOT what was going to happen. it was my fantasy illusion and his promises without them happening. I could not wait any longer. I was drained emotionally and my money.

    I know I must continue to move forward, see the good in others and not repeat the same patterns I have in the past by picking big word flashers (sparkle throwers.) I need to see the work, the ambition in a man and that they have their own goals or I am not even going to entertain a relationship. I have no plans of dating anytime soon. but I know it will happen at some point :)

  17. Spinster says:

    Good read & mental refresher. Thanks for this food for thought.

  18. gyserboy says:

    This is a good self-revelation post for me. I have caught myself out a few times in reaching out to the ex, not so much reaching out but when good news arrives he normally was the first for me to want to share with. I have simply rewired my brain and heart regarding above by seeking another outlet which has become the new routine for me, it’s great! Simply put I know what works and what does not work for me as in the past it was always the latter.

  19. LostInNYC says:

    I stumbled upon this site a couple months ago and I feel less alone. I’m amazed AMAZED that I’m not the only one experiencing these feelings.

    There’s a cute guy at work and after four years of wanting to get to know him, I found out that he was interested in me too.

    At our first lunch (not a date) he told me that he’s divorced for six years and ALL his free time is devoted to his children, one of whom is autistic, that he has never introduced another women to his children and doesn’t plan on doing so, and he doesn’t date coworkers. At that point I should have turned away, but I didn’t. At the second lunch he told me that he changed his mind about dating coworkers. I was ecstatic and started dreaming of a future with him. And yes, I thought I would be the exception.

    He gave me lots of attention. Made lots of plans that never happened. Future faker much? And I accepted and forgave him every time he canceled a date. I always made excuses for him…he’s not feeling well…his kid is sick…he has soccer practice…his ex blew off the kids again…he’s busy with work… and then I lost myself.

    The attraction between us was electric, so I thought that having sexytime with him would make the “relationship” better. Hahahaha. No. He got what he wanted and went from blowing hot all the time to blowing hot and cold. Mostly cold until he wanted sex again, and sure enough, I was there to accommodate him.

    Fast forward four months later and I now have very bad anxiety. I have no appetite, I’m sad and crying, I have headaches and backaches, and I can’t sleep. I can’t tell him this because it’s partly my fault. I’m being very hard on myself and internalizing this rejection when I know that part of it really has nothing to do with me and more with his ex-wife, work commitments, and his children’s needs. What did I do wrong? Why not me? Did he meet someone else?

    I’ve been so understanding that have I become a pushover? I never demanded his time. I never asked him why someone else can’t watch his kids (and I would NEVER ask that either). I’ve become so accustomed to texting (oh yea…he’s a lazy communicator too) with him everyday that the thought of NOT doing so everyday starts a new round of anxiety. The thought of NOT being his friend? That nearly makes me hyperventilate.

    I projected and fantasized over him and now fantasy and reality aren’t meshing well. I thought he would be the first real “grown up” relationship, everyone else I dated was single and didn’t have an ex-wife and kids. He likes me, I like him. Everything else can be figured out. Right?

    Anyways, I have a feeling that we’re about to have The Talk. I really don’t want to hear it. =(

    I apologize for writing so much. I’m thankful that I found this site and I’m not alone. Reading how other women have changed their thought process gives me hope and I work everyday on trying to figure out why I am this way and how to change and put myself first.

    • Sandy says:

      LostinNyc you have anxiety and sleep problems because you are accepting crumbs, you are making excuses for a man who is treating you like crap…your body knows it and it’s trying to make you see this. I too was like this, eczema, heart palpitations, headaches, grinding my teeth, upset tummy ah good memories lol not!!!
      He doesn’t have to have a relationship with you when he gets what he needs when he wants sex, the sadness and crying is because deep down you realise that you are accepting crumbs from him.
      It took me 5 years of accepting this behaviour before I had enough, I really wish and hope that you don’t wait this long to realise that you truly do deserve more.

      • Wiser says:

        The other insidious thing here is that the more you try to please him by denigrating yourself and your needs, the less he will respect you. You know you are accepting crumbs from him – and he knows it too! Your actions are telling him “I don’t really care about myself so you don’t have to either.” From his viewpoint, he’s treating you poorly, and you are apparently ok with that! (Although your body is telling you loud and clear that you are not.)

        These crumb men show their true colors when they don’t respect you and at the same time have no problem taking what you have to offer, be it sex, money, a place to live, doing everything for them, etc. The very fact that this guy is doing this to you shows that he is not that great and not that special.

    • MaryW says:

      Lost, I went through all this with a separated man with children, and after just 6 weeks I was almost crazy emotionally, and I was sick with anxiety, upset stomach, insomnia, to name a few. The anxiety was overwhelming.

      It’s not going to get better with this guy. I’m sorry for you because you work with him and it’s going to be very hard when it comes to an end. The electric attraction between you seems to be the only thing holding it together? Sounds familiar :(

      It’s good timing for “the talk” even though you don’t feel ready – let him know how all this is making you feel. If he has any respect for you at all, he will ‘let you go’. And eventually you’ll be thankful for that, and feel more at peace. At that point, you can start to think about all that happened and how to change yourself and your choices.

    • Suki says:

      LostinNYC; I am intrigued by the word ‘hyperventilate’ used here. That something makes you hyperventilate on a regular basis (lack of response from him etc), is something to explore. I think some of us are very anxious people given to obsessive thoughts [what else is that clawing feeling of anxiety that makes you take all sorts of self-destructive actions for a few minutes of never-forthcoming emotional release?]. The sad thing is that we often also find people that further enhance our feelings of obsessive anxiety because — because they are passive aggressive withholders and users that like to play games. So you are in this dynamic of demanding from him validation (why?) because you are too anxious to do it for yourself AND he is in the business of denying you any validation because he hates commitment and doesn’t want to be held up to standards of decent behavior. And why do you keep doing it and going back? Because the anxiety itself is like a drug. Because managing the anxiety requires taking responsibility and we are not always ready to do that. It takes work. And it requires self-control. Sometimes anxiety is actually safer than the hard choices we would otherwise have to make. The anxiety is a way to rehearse the bad things that will happen, to rehearse the past bad things, to denigrate your own responsibility – and you dont trust yourself to be able to deal with life in the moment as it unfolds. In the anxious state, we are holding life at bay. Phew. It is very strange for me to see in these comments the patterns that I have engaged in, to know that I am not alone in this. I still feel anxiety and work on it, but that hyperventilation has gone away. And its gone away because I have cut toxic people out, and I have reduced massively my turning to others in moments of hyperventilation.
      Remember, feelings are not facts, you can trust yourself to deal with life by yourself, anxiety shouldn’t make you reach for the phone to anyone, talking excessively about anxiety is a way of rehearsing it and prolonging it, you dont need to convince others of what you feel, trust in your own feelings.
      And also.. you want to feel power over yourself and your life, to feel strong, to be a kickass person that doesn’t take crap from anyone. So dont pick up that phone, and definitely not when you are hyperventilating. You are letting him and others know where you are powerless and that is no way to appear with untrustworthy people.

      • MaryW says:

        What you wrote is exactly what happened with the last guy I dated. Also heavily EUM.
        I understood the anxiety to be a “flight or flight” response to a perceived danger. I fought for a bit then took flight.
        The lack of drama and anxiety does leave a hole of sorts, so I get what you say. It’s a distraction from the real issues.
        I have worked out why I have obsessive anxiety, which I suppose is half the battle. But it’s still there, rearing it’s head even in ‘safe’ (but uncomfortable) situations.
        I feel for Lost. I was honest with ex EUM about my feelings and he said “it sounds like I cause you nothing but angst” – he actually knew my emotions better than I knew my own because I was so confused and caught up/ lost in the situation.
        Lost: you’re definitely not on your own. I really hope you do have an honest talk with him, and I hope he’s a decent enough guy to recognise that he cannot make you happy and step away. It’s the right thing.

        • micheyl says:

          Wow, it is nice to read what you ladies wrote about anxiety. I never really experienced anxiety until after my divorce as a single mom. I thought a few times I was having a heart attack and went to the ER. I was having anxiety attacks! Then it died down until EUM mr. uk. I felt so much anxiety! I like what you said MaryW maybe it was fight or flight. I usually just freeze and don’t do either! Yes and Suki, I think he was a passive aggressive withholder. But you know with all the anxiety, sadness and panic really, with all that when we broke up I actually felt a sense of relief. Is that funny? I did. I put that on the back burner and shook it away in my obsession over our relationship. But not too long ago I had a dream we got back together and I felt such anxiety and in my dream I DIDN’T want to get back together! I woke up really quietly reflecting – is that true? Would I really not want to be with him anymore given the choice? I think it is. I don’t want the anxiety back. I don’t want the ambiguous guessing games with him. The lack of genuine communication. I don’t. If I really am honest I don’t. Thanks ladies. I know we all have a lot in common on here. But I haven’t read too much on other’s anxiety. I am so glad to read what you wrote as I relate very well.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        First of all, you need to realize that mixing work with romance is a very bad idea because of the closeness, constantly seeing him if you’ve broken up. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be in that humiliating situation. He told you from the beginning that he doesn’t date coworkers. Next time listen to the clue and accept it. Don’t reinterpret it as you’d like it to be. You’re making him unavailable because of his ex-wife, autistic child and a host of other excuses, which could well be legitimate or exaggerated. You don’t know. But the point is he’s EUM. The reasons don’t matter. I surmise that one of the reasons you allowed yourself to get in deeper with him is because you had fantasized about him for 4 years, and now here was your opportunity. It would have been smarter for you to have spent that time focusing on a potential love relationship elsewhere. I’m very sorry for you that you did this to yourself. This is why you are suffering physically, because the experience has been not only wrong for you, but unnecessary. I think seeing a professional would be helpful you because apparently you are a person who attaches very easily and indiscriminately. Those are signs of excessive neediness and lack of self care and protection. I hope you can break away from being involved with this guy because it will only lead to a dead end.

    • Allison says:


      Your body is screaming for you to get out.

      The thing about men, is that they usually tell you who they are, and what to expect. When he told you about the no kid/coworker rule, he meant it. This man will never allow you in, and will continue to use you, if you allow him. We are all guilty of hearing what we want to hear, and I think that that is the biggest downfall for most on this site – myself included.

      This is going no where. For your sanity: GET OUT!

    • Sanntay says:

      Sadly, I have been there. Everything you described had me nodding in agreement. It was almost as if you were telling my story, sans the ex-wife and kids. My worst experience ever. I know it’s difficult, and although you may not realize it now, those feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness, appetite loss, and sadness will pass. It just takes time. I was unbelievably miserable for about 4 months before I finally started feeling better, but of course, everyone’s recovery is different. I felt so stupid and humiliated when he rejected me and I didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of seeing me fall apart because of it. Throughout this ordeal, I never missed a day of work, although some days I may have looked like I sorely needed to rest (was rarely able to get more than 3 hours sleep). Like you, I always accommodated him, never made any demands on his time, and only once did I point out that everything is always on his terms, to which he said he would ‘try to accommodate me’ whenever possible. Didn’t happen. It ended after 5 months. He ostracized me as if I never existed and ended up moving in with an ex-girlfriend… moved on lightning fast without a word or thought. He and I never had “The Talk”, as there was really nothing to discuss. It was beyond difficult having to see him at work every day, especially when he talked with everyone else except me. I was puzzled as to why we, well he, couldn’t handle this like ‘real grown ups’ (I believe I held up my end of it at least). Now that I’ve put it behind me, he is gradually trying to resume ‘cordial’ communication at work. I’ve even noticed his number on my cell phone a few times (fortunately I have all his calls going directly to voice mail). Any work- related matters that he needs to discuss with me can be done via email or by calling the office phone. There is no other reason for us to engage.

      As for you, you will get through this, but you have to take care of yourself. Stay strong, take each day as it comes, and keep yourself busy. Try to remain social, get out and do something new, something fun. Oftentimes we just want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over our head (and I did this, as well as sitting on the floor in my closet crying until I could barely breathe), but you need to be around people who love and care for you. Those horrible feelings of sadness and rejection will fade, day by day, week by week, but you have to feel them, process them, and learn from them. There is always a lesson in life’s challenges. As others have stated, when someone tells you who they are, BELIEVE THEM. You cannot change people. All the best to you!

  20. Bella says:

    Seems there is always the expectation that a new and better relationship will eventually turn up as a reward for having endured an AC. But what happens if it doesn’t. Do we believe that life is only meaningful while we are in a relationship or waiting for the next one. What do we do if there isn’t a next one no matter how long we have been NC and have “got on” with our lives in every other sense.

    • Soozie says:


      I think the new and better relationship at the end of all this is the one we have with ourselves. That is the most important one of all.

  21. Sanntay says:

    Happy Birthday Tink! Thank you for your insightful feedback and encouragement. Celebrate the exceptional woman that you are!

  22. ReadyForChange says:

    I want to try to articulate something that has been on my mind for a long time.

    I’ve been reading Natalie’s posts and all of the contributions by other readers too, in the last few months. I have been in therapy a few times in my life. I even have a postgraduate degree in psychology. Yet, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me that there is no ‘epiphany’ moment for me. Things do not seem to become clearer at all. I can give an explanation to something, but the opposite often fits too. I’m often left with a sense of meaninglessness. I do not mean to be negative, it is just that I read a lot of people here saying ‘I’ve learned a lot about myself’, ‘I undertsnd a pattern now’, etc. and think, ‘Wow, am I the only one who is not able to put the dots together?’. It’s an awful feeling. Exacerbated by the fact that even my last therapist (I’d found him through his blog, and decided to contact him; he was seeing me monthly via skype)told me that he felt frustrated, and uninspired around me, that I was not able to put the dots together… and dropped me as a client! That was extremely hurtful, and it made me feel so damaged and beyond repair. I don’t think that I’m more stupid than the avarage, or less willing to understand. But I find that if I look and listen inside – as asked – I cannot find anything. If I try meditation, I just end up becoming impatient and restless. At times I think, if i just filled my days with action rather than trying to figure things out, maybe a bit of normality would come back into my life…

    • yoghurt says:

      Hiya RfC

      Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of you and your issues, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not an issue of stupid and I wouldn’t fret about it. Being very intelligent (which you clearly are, I don’t have a post-grad) and having a lifetime of therapy and a degree in psychology might even be an impediment.

      In any case, I found that I didn’t work much out until I got my arse into gear and started making the changes that I needed to make so that my life was happier and more comfortable. In your case, if that involves having action-filled days rather than sitting down and beating yourself up for not having ‘got it’ yet then do it!

      if I’d tried to work out what was wrong with me before I did anything then I’d still be sitting and thinking now. And, in any case, once I’d worked stuff out it was usually things like “I thought that, but I was wrong”.

      • ReadyForChange says:

        Thanks, yoghurt.

        Yes, what you say makes a lot of sense. The issue with me is that I don’t even know what changes I’m supposed to make. I have started from scratch several times (moving Country, changing jobs, going back to education, finding myself alone after a broken marriage, etc.), but I’ve always managed to bring my unhappiness with me. At 42 I have the horrible feeling that things – if anything – are getting worse, rather than better. But I really do not want to be negative. And I try to fight every day. I think what is most difficult for me (particularly at certain times) is looking after myself. I know I’m not alone in this. I can hear it from many of the readers here too. If anyone has practical suggestions which may help, I’d love to hear them (even though I know that different things work for different people).

        • Suki says:

          RfC, my suggestions are: cognitive behavioral therapy, short term works fine. Or long term with a more decent counselor than your last one. You are making a lot of the cognitive ‘mistakes’ that people with depression or anxiety can make. E.g. you compare yourself to others – others have it together you think and you minimize your own achievements – you have an advanced degree, have moved countries, got out of a bad marriage etc. Cut yourself some slack.
          CBT helps you recover some of the real estate of your mind – you realize after a few sessions how busy your mind is comparing, evaluating, criticizing, labeling, rehearsing the future, denigrating yourself or others, hankering or hyperventilating as someone said above for others’ validation of you. Good therapy helps you be non-judgmental about yourself and others because the therapist shows you over repeated sessions that he/she is non-j – that whatever you tell them they will not judge you – your therapist showed the opposite. Quite a crappy therapist so dont beat yourself up over being uninteresting – which I think is another hallmark of depression/anxiety mix. It was only 2-3 years into the relationship that my counselor started giving me direct advice about what to do or summarizing my relationships with others because he felt like he knew enough I guess and knew that I wouldn’t take it badly to get direct advice. Otherwise counselors are not meant to come in and tell you you are boring or uninspiring. Jeez. You’re not supposed to be his blo0dy muse!

          What does it mean when people say they finally understand or have changed patterns? You learn to let go of expectations, you learn to give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt (X didn’t call me? whatever they might be sick or maybe they aren’t that interested in hanging out right now and thats fine, i forgive X for being a flake and I forgive myself for apparently not being fun enough for X – hey life is short). I am calmer now, I enjoy small things more, it is a constant battle by the way so all those people saying they are all sorted out now are lying or you caught them on a good day. BUT there are definite improvements – the overall state of my life has vastly improved, there are blips and anxieties but I am better at managing, at living my life, kinder to others and myself. Good luck RfC and dont short sell yourself or others or life itself.

          • Tinkerbell says:


            What is this nonsense of therapy via skype? How ridiculous. And you actually PAY for that? NO! Get yourself a one on one in the flesh therapist. And really be committed to therapy. You may not even like the first one and it may involve making a change, but remember he/she has to get to know you and vice versa. In the meantime seeing a respectable, compassionate professional is better than not seeing anyone.

            Suki is right about CBT and has given you very good advice and a little overview of what it’s about. I can say I’ve done very well with it, along with BR and my strong belief in God.

            On another note, if you just get out and walk vigorously, you feel better, you’re uplifted and feel more ambitious. The worse is sitting around over thinking. Join a gym. You were right when you said maybe you should fill your days with action. Absolutely, and especially if you live alone.

            Wishing you all the best.

        • Rosie says:

          Ready for Change- You had a crappy therapist. First, I don’t trust one who skypes or does therapy by phone. Professionals do it in person as you can only know a person when spending real time with him/her. Also, you weren’t paying him to be HIS inspiration; you were paying him to be YOUR therapist. He had things backwards and was blaming you for it.

        • Mymble says:

          I’ve struggled with these feelings all my life – a feeling of futilty, a lot of anxiety, and difficulty in being motivated to take care of myself. Even now I notice that when my kids are with me it seems important to feed them well and make sure the house is clean, warm and inviting; on my own I tend to bother less. But I find it helps to just do things; clean a cupboard, read a book, focus on the here and now, as much as you can.
          I have to say that what has helped me a lot is medication. It seemed to turn the volume of the “voice of doom” down, and enabled me to deal with things that needed dealt with.
          My family has a very strong history of depression and other mental illness and although I always appeared to function well (friends, education, good job) in reality I was very often struggling with underlying disthymia, low mood, anger and anxiety. I have been told that talking therapy, combined with meds tends to have the best outcome. There is a big stigma around this, which is why I wouldn’t consider it before, but it can sometimes be helpful. I think anything is worth trying particularly if you (like me) have struggled for a long time.
          And, your therapist was a creep. He’s supposed to be in a caring profession, for goodness sake, and even if you aren’t well matched for any reason he has no business blaming you and being so nasty about it.

          • ReadyForChange says:

            Thanks, Mymble.
            I did take antidepressants for years, but I took the decision to come off them cause I felt I was not myself anymore, my range of emotions had shrunk. It was very hard to come off them, I made several unsuccessful attempts (with terrible effects) but I managed in the end. So if I can cope without, I’d much rather. I used to have a very empathetic psychotherapist in my Country of origin, but anyone I’ve tried since hasn’t been very helpful. Yes, this last guy’s reaction was unbelievable. In fact, it was so over the top that it made me angry at first, rather than upset. I even said to him, ‘How dare you?’. But the thought comes back at times though, and it makes me feel a bit helpless

            • Nickster says:

              Ready for Change – I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that looking after yourself is hard. Why do people not say this more often? One of the biggest moves forward for me was when I realised this was true for me.

              I see it now like a set of scales. We put all the energy, all the good stuff into one scale – the one for other people, be they EUMs, colleagues, friends, family – meanwhile our side of the scale is empty. So then, when it finally does become time to choose ourselves, there’s nothing in the scale, nothing to work with. I found that a hugely daunting thing to face. Even when I’d realise that I had to stop fantasising, drag myself to earth and start looking after myself, I didn’t want to look after myself. It didn’t have the ‘chemistry’ of the EUM relationships. There was no razzle dazzle to it …:-)

              What helped me was this. First I grieved that I didn’t know how to look after myself, or value myself or love myself. Cos that’s sad, that is. Then I got veeery tired for quite a while. Then I realised that no matter how long I waited, looking after myself was probably never going to feel like skipping thru fields with fluffy bunnies and rainbows, or at least not until I got something in that scale! So I started, tiny steps, looking after myself. Things like – actually tuning into to what I like and don’t like. Saying No to people. Prioritising my health. Being kind to myself. Exercising. Eating well. The more you do, the better it feels, but it feels like crap at first. It just does and feck it, you just got to do it anyway, because you’re taking the good stuff out of the other scale and putting it in your own, where it really should have been all along, had we all had perfect childhoods, which let’s face it, doesn’t happen very often.

              I’m still learning, but it feels different now. And, like you, I’ve been working on this stuff for a long time, with very little (tangible) progress until very recently. And maybe that only happened because i stopped trying to be ‘perfect,’ and just tried to be nice to myself.

              And, dear god, that therapist sounds like he needs a therapist! What a dick. Hopefully you can find another one, i think that’s what helped me. It’s too easy to go around and around when no-one is holding you accountable.

              Also, I love this Rumi quote; ““What you seek is seeking you.”

              So, maybe we all just need to stay still a bit more?

              This is also a great one, very BR! “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

              Amen to that.

  23. Ken says:

    Really nice article Natalie!
    I had a relationship a couple of years ago that unfortunately ended and for the longest time I just felt trapped, being single again was not something I wanted to be, but over time things started to feel better and better.
    Basically I started listening to myself and I feel that this is exactly what you are articulating in this post!

  24. Georgie says:

    ReadyForChange – I am really sorry to read what you said. I felt compelled to reply to you because aspects of your situation totally mirror my behaviour as well. I often read Natalie’s posts, and some of the reading is SO accurate and tailored 100% to my actions and behaviour that i almost get a fright when reading it, as silly as that sounds. I will note down specific quotes of Natalie’s, and KNOW what I am doing wrong in theory, and i get that near ‘epiphany’ feeling upon reading. But like you, I struggle to put it into practice and apply it to my real life, outside sitting in front of the screen and nodding enthusiastically to myself. So i really understand your frustration, as I am a proactive person who is wanting to change too. I was appalled at your situation with your therapist – anyone would feel crippled from such an experience, so i really think find the time and resources to invest in someone who would never make you end up feeling worse than when you went in. I started a form of therapy just last week, triggered by a nasty break up, and to be honest, I found more wisdom was imparted on this website. so whilst I can’t swap a great story on how i APPLIED these theories to my life, I wanted you to know that I struggle too and you are not alone – not everyone reading here is taking the knowledge, applying it to their lives, and skipping off into the sunset…

    • ReadyForChange says:

      To Sukie and Georgie,
      thank you for your kindness.
      It does help to be heard, to know I’m not the only one struggling, and that there is hope, that there are empathetic people out there.

    • Rosie says:


      ” not everyone reading here is taking the knowledge, applying it to their lives, and skipping off into the sunset…”

      Lol! Yup.

  25. noquay says:

    Nope, I don’t intend to accept alone status till I’m about 80. I don’t need a man to make me whole, but am human and want to go to events, have physical affection, celebrate holidays again, have close ties just like any human being. I give a lot to my community, help out with many things along with running a small farm and a full time academic position. No low self esteem weenie wimp here. It does drive me nuts to see not only the AC but other men in our age group barely doing their jobs (provided they can keep one), barely being emotionally there, doing nothing that no direct benefit to themselves, yet they’re the ones who get to have companionship and someone trying to be the absolute best she can be winds up alone and is often told to settle, settle, settle. It really is a mans world in many respects.

  26. Tanielle says:

    I have been on and off this website ever since I met my first and only EUM. It has been about 2.5 years. Friends, friends with benefits, and then FINALLY the relationship. I thought we had arrived but surprise surprise after less than 3 months I get the “I want to be alone” BS. I was so hurt but in a way relieved. I have never felt relaxed in this. There was always an underlying uneasiness. I never felt supported, never felt I could count on him, never felt like he could be my go to person. Now that it’s over I do feel sad mourning what we could have been but I also feel really excited about the idea of one day finding someone who I can feel at ease with. I am sad but super hopeful for the future.

  27. Sparkle says:

    I’m enjoying living in the moment and the single life right now. It’s been 4 months NC and happy I’ve made a lot of progress with moving on, but still need to work on core issues in therapy. I have made some new friends lately and tightened boundaries with others. Not ready yet for BF or dating, but the few guys who’ve shown interest are big Red Flag, separated, EU and too young. Looking for a warm bed and ego stroke. One guy texts me for dates and I HATE that. Will not accept any type of invite from a guy, via text. Especially if he’s a stranger.

    Last night, while at the gym, my imagination and quirky humor was running crazy and thinking of the exAC.

    He would say “I just don’t get it. Why are you unhappy? We have such a great connection. We enjoy doing the same things, we are clean freaks, we don’t fight, no drama, the sex is amazing. I think your beautiful and the most exciting woman I’ve ever met. I love your home, your success and how you live your life. You should be thrilled you have a young, hot, rich guy who is interested in you. I’ve dated over 100 women online and most were 1-2 dates with zero connection. It isn’t easy finding what we have. Hate always so much fighting with ex girlfriends. So, WTF are you doing running from ME?”

    REALITY: I love it that I can always show up at your door LATE, with hardly any pushback. And, especially that I can disappear with my phone anytime/anywhere. Your so nice to do that for ME. We can have dinner/movie, sex; I get dressed, raid your fridge and hit the road. So what if I don’t want to communicate while we’re apart? Who cares what we’re doing? Just hope your having FUN. We’ll meet up again for sure. Be patient, baby! Don’t you understand? I’m busy dealing with a lot of shizz. I’m not really rich. I’ve got the IRS after me. And assorted shady others. Cuz, I lack integrity and don’t pay taxes. I didn’t really sell my business; I lost it. And you know, baby, I’m probably looking at some jail time in the near future xo. I still owe the exWife loads of money from the divorce. She hasn’t moved on and I just keep hooking up with her to keep her quiet. That always seemed to work while we were married. And I have that civil lawsuit with the exGF that is taking quality time. I’ve gotta co-parent 2 tween girls. Do you know how inconvenient that is? Oh, and I just gave up legal custody of my teenage son, cuz he’s a real Meffer – just send my sister a check each month and let her deal. I didn’t want kids, but I fake love them, cuz the neighborhood moms think I’m hot and who wouldn’t want the ego stroke. Especially the married lady next door. She’s a great babysitter too. That’s why I never invited you over. She would be real jealous of YOU. Sorry, baby, I busted out your car windows when you went NC. I know you can afford to fix them anyway. But, you surprised me and I don’t need the stress of looking for a new FAKE girlfriend. I told you I was in this for the long haul. Why can’t you believe me? Once I got my shizz together, I planned to step up. I’m still young, but with the prostatitis and my precarious health, need to sex everywhere while I can. The illegal pain meds I’m taking from my drug dealing childhood friend won’t work forever, cuz I’m addicted and he just got arrested! Always remember baby, you were at the top of the pile. The others are just backup supply and that’s why I sent you their pics. The brunette with the fake DD’s lives in another state and that’s why you’d see luggage in my car. Even though I was late and VERY tired, I managed to swing by during my return and visit you too. The blonde in the middle pic is my exGF, who lives down the street. She also went NC, but is now willing to be a supporting witness with my civil lawsuit. And that’s great for ME. I will never give up on us, baby. We have the most amazing connection. Just cuz you don’t see or hear from me right now, via stalking, cyber or otherwise, only means I’m giving you the space you need to see how great we are together. I will be in touch, baby!

  28. mekomeko says:

    Im just like Lilia ever amused by peoples idea that one must surely look for relationship. While I sucked at choosing my men wisely I Never considered being single as a bad thing. I enjoy both states. Actually I prefer being single and have realised that I can not try to push myself into husband hunting job even if I wanted to. So I took time off looking for romance, avoided guys like a plague, did not date or made friends with anyone even remotely potential as a bf. Few months into it I realised im happiest I ve ever been in my life. This website paved a way for me to learn and grow. Fast forwatd 10 months.. met this guy, who is everything but a man id normally date. And I did. Took this opportunity to reinforce New habits: listening to my gut, being honest with myself, watching like a hawk for red flags, learning how to trust, to be available, owning my boundaries, keeping them put in one place. The best thing I got out of baggage reclaim so far is realising I can owm my own and take care of myself. Because I know im a whole independent person I have no fears, no drama, no anxiety, nothing. I sleep like a log, wake up face the music and get on with my life. I happen to ve a bf in the equation. However I know fully well that he is not the crucial element for my survival. I am. Regardless ofhow things will go between the two of us im good. Strange revelation. Extremely empowering for me though.

  29. Star says:

    Great article, I laughed at the illustration on top.

    I am getting over a relationship of many years. I am very happy to say that I have past the grieving stage. I do realize that there was a pattern in my all my old relationships, definitely I was unavailable and hence attracted these unavailable men.

    My ex is harboring alot of anger towards me because he wants me to be with him even if he is with someone else. Sigh! I am praying to God that HE will tie up any lose ends between us.

    It is sad how everything turned out but now I want so better for myself but I have ways to go. It is a scary and new path. I no longer want to have these default responses. I have allowed my exes to treat me so badly and stood for crap because my self -esteem was soo low.

    Slowly I have started loving me. I don’t think I really even liked myself before. I was the bottom and everyone else were on pedestals.

    My painful breakup literally stopped me in my tracks and forced me to challenge my beliefs and what was going on around me.

    I did try to bargain at a point, I just wanted him back and wanted to numb the pain. These articles on this site literally slapped me in the face and led me to see that ‘Hey,you need to be treated with love, care and respect’

    SO yes I am going to take my single-dom to look at things with ‘new’eyes, work on being emotionally available so I can be ready if God blesses me with a better relationship.

  30. At Peace says:

    Gosh Nat,

    This post really hit home with me right now. I decided to take a step back from actively pursuing a romantic relationship for a while. Instead, I have been focusing on filling the void I felt–that created neediness and a desire to seek validation and acceptance from outside sources–from within rather than from other people.

    Change is not easy, but the first step was for me to recognizie and identify certain behaviors that I had been repeating in my previous relationships. I now listen to how I feel and when something doesn’t feel right, I act in my best interest. I am also learning to sit back and allow people to unfold. When they do, I remind myself that it’s about them–not me.

    Additionally, I have learned how to be alone, but not lonely. And most difficult of all: I am learning to accept myself–imperfections and all–as the unique and wonderful individual that I am.

    Onward and upward :-)

  31. Moving On says:

    This is so timely for me. I have been single for 4 months from the ex eum bf and am now dating someone new for about three weeks. I am trying to learn, pace things, see things for what they are, and be ready to hear red flags. Nothing yet. So far, going great.

  32. Rosie says:

    I, too, feel hopeless when it comes to changing my pattern with men. Since I’ve been job searching (even before I started and lost my last job) I’ve been hornier and more anxious than ever. Of course, now that I have no job, no car, and am presently in the boonies with my mother, you’d think I would want to call my friends who have been calling, texting, asking how I’m doing, etc. You know, the people who actually CARE for me. No. I want to call the guy who brought me here, the guy who I barely know, mind you, who isn’t anybody significant in the big picture but is the straw that broke the camel’s back. And he couldn’t care less about me. Did I mention that we barely know each other?

    See, when I first met him more than a year ago, I was new in town and stranded downtown in the middle of the night. Since I was new, I didn’t have anybody to call and the buses and trains had stopped running (I didn’t know that as I was new, which is why I was stranded). Did I mention that I was also living with a toxic roommate and she was my only “friend”? The guy who brought me here was out riding his bike, stopped to take a phone call. I thought he was cute and I asked him a couple questions about the buses and that’s when I learned that the buses had stopped running and he offered to buy me a drink and drive me home. I could have taken a taxi but that would cut into my grocery money so I accepted as I was desperate to get home. So he bought me a drink, we talked as we walked to park his bike and get his car and he drove me to my car parked by the train near my home (at the time) and we made out for the rest of the night. We had a couple more dates but it was obvious (in hindsight) that he just wanted sex and I chose not to have sex with him so he dropped me and then strung me along for a while before fading away (most of you regulars know this story).

    This past July is when things were getting really desperate for me financially and I didn’t know what the outcome would be. The guy and I haven’t had contact all this time so, when he contacted me, he had no idea of my feelings of anxiety over my future. Of course, as most of you know, I did have sex with him that night and rejected his booty call attempt a couple nights later (yeah, the futon guy) and, of course, we haven’t been in contact since.

    Now I’m in a really desperate place (jobless, carless, living with an emotionally immature/manipulative/abusive mother (I’m grateful to her, though, for taking me in!) and I’m, of course, horny, anxious, scared for my future and fantasizing about contacting the guy (For the record, I did call my friends back and have not contacted the guy).

    Yet, it’s an eye opener to childhood issues that still need to be brought out and healed, parts of my heart that I didn’t know still needed healing. See, in a weird, twisted way, I was a “daddy’s girl”. I look like him and everybody said I was a lot like him. But he was never home and, when he was home, he wasn’t home, too busy with his own interests (T.V, on the phone with his friends, etc.). He was also physically and verbally abusive, would spend a lot of money on his car and hobbies while my sister and I went to school with sewed patches on our jeans and really hungry. (My mom wasn’t selfish but has always been self-absorbed and, yes, emotionally manipulative. The anger in her has only surfaced the last 10 years or so).

    Yet, whenever something serious would go on, my dad is the one I would call and he would come running. I even remember (years ago) my car breaking down in the middle of the night. My dad was scheduled for kidney surgery the next morning but I still called him and, in the middle of the night when he had to be in the hospital early the next morning, he came to my rescue (he was an auto mechanic).

    Anyway, the guy who brought me here fits the dynamic I had with my dad: oblivious to who I am and really doesn’t care who I am, selfish, caught up in his own pursuits (satisfying his libido), yet is around during desperate periods and then promptly disappears again.

    Oh, I sooo want to stop chasing my parents! :(

    • Mymble says:

      Interesting that the guy and your father were both “rescuers”. Perhaps what you’re thinking about is not so much the sex as being rescued from your current situation.

      • Rosie says:

        Mymble- Thank you for replying! Actually, what got me thinking about the connection was your comment in the last post about these men who are there, yet not there (or something like that), but who keep coming around…”sort of like family”. What you said clicked.

        I would never have imagined myself to be the “I want to be rescued” type, but, yes, you are right. I want to be “rescued” (and have sex). Ouch. All my “relationships” involved my trying to be “rescued” (I’ll own it), whether it’s rescuing me from feeling rejected (I was on the rebound when I met the drug addict who I became pseudo-engaged to), the fwb guy rescuing me from loneliness and from feeling alienated at not ever having been in a relationship that lasted more than three months, the LDR guy rescuing me from a boring life and feeling trapped in a nowhere job in a nowhere location, and the guy who brought me here rescuing me the night I was stranded and was my escape from fears over my future and everyday stress. Boy, that’s a whole lot of rescuing and a whole lot of using! Wow!

        Well, I guess the question is, now that I know that I see myself as a “damsel in distress”, how do I change my pattern? Now that I know how I’m using men, how do I start putting my stuff back in my own scale (as someone above talked about)?

        Thank you, again, Mymble! Once again, your simple, easy-going response clicked! :)

        • Tinkerbell says:


          It must be a fairly common phenomenon in women. During my last visit with my therapist we were digging deeply into my relationship with my now deceased mother. Now we’ve recently turned a corner in my therapy. It’s about 18months since I started and I notice we are now getting further into the real essence of my issues. It came out at my last session that my relationship with Mom was not one in which I enjoyed nurturing. She worked a full time job, she’d come home fix dinner and after we ate she always had some meeting to go to. She was a community activist, and a member of several community centered organizations, involved in city politics, and she was a real estate agent. I grew up feeling that I must have been very important to her or else she would have been home to take care of me. However, whenever I had some sort of crisis she was always there for me, dropping everything,supporting me wholeheartedly, never once letting me down. She would really bend over backwards when I was in trouble. Well, I was always getting into trouble and Mom would come to my rescue, tackling whatever it was, saving me and then I would be fine. I just discovered at my therapy session that the reason why I have always loved and always thrived on drama was because that was the only way to get my mother’s attention. This has blown my mind because I could never see anything in my childhood that influenced by behavior, now. And it was simple to figure out, but I never connected the dots. I’ve only recently come to terms with accepting peace and quiet, being able to withstand it without feeling terribly bored and anxious that I have to “stir the pot” Inotherwords, create the drama and
          excitement of some kind of crisis in order to get attention. I can see where I’ve carried this over into adulthood. Interesting.

  33. espresso says:

    Your birthday is still going on here Tinkerbell so I hope you had a very good day!

    All interactions of whatever variety with my ex no matter how neutral I try to make them are driving me crazy. I was so exhausted a few days ago that I began to ask whether my ex secretly was pleased that I was dealing with so much…because he would like to see me fail and come back and say “I need you.” He has always deliberately made things much much more difficult for me..more work, more stress, more responsibility etc.
    I did have a pattern breaker last week at a major meeting which I didn’t discuss at ALL with him …before or after as I would have done in the past- maybe even a year ago. It usually would end up in a fight because I would be hurt by his lack of interest or responsiveness if I expressed my feelings. After the recent meeting I felt NO need to contact him on the business level and it felt good for me to giving myself my own validation….which was pretty realistic and then I had a good dinner and nice glass of wine. No extra sh-t to handle….even from myself. Although I think of myself of capable like a worm the man ate away at my self confidence which I have to build up again.

    I still feel guilty about not being nice..not sure how much is the placating I did in the relationship or just because it is awkward for me NOT to be concerned about people in my life. Oh he still acts as if we are married …which means my boundaries are even higher and more rigid which also makes me feel…strange..but there it is.
    I am moving forward in a lot of areas in my life and will be out of her permanently in a few months.
    I did read a good line about dealing with passive aggressive people like him. It is called the three Cs. I like it because it is EASY. You didn’t cause it, can’t cure it and can’t control it. Wish I had really learned that years ago.

  34. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi All,

    I am overcome by the flood of happy bday wishes you all sent. It’s truly a wonderful feeling, because I think you all know I care and wish each and every one of you a wonderful life during your journey and at the culmination. Although we never really reach the culmination until it’s all over.

    I had a great day, nothing too special. I saw a movie with one girlfriend, had a lovely dinner at a Mexican restaurant with a different girlfriend and ended the day at bible study, where I have some good friends. I received, of course, ecards and phone calls. It was much different and so much better from past years when I would mope around my home and n have any plans. The most important thing was that I spent the entire day with people who really love me and truly enjoy my company. Petie was NOT in the picture at all, but he did send a card which I received the day before, and then an email first thing on the morning of my bday. He’s sounding like he really wants me back in his life but, amazingly, I’ve already reached the state of mind where I wanted to be – ambivalent. I’m telling you, NC is magical, when you do it correctly, not in a half-assed manner.

    So, making this personal,I want to say “thank you’ to Noquay, Sandy, Little Star, Selkie, Allison, Lucky Charms, Micheyl, Rosie, Lilly, Nigella, Lilia, MaryW, Digging Deeper, Maeve, Pauline, Sanntay and Magnolia. I just had to make a list and thank each of you individually for your magnanimous gesture. Luv U All, xxx Tink.

  35. noquay says:

    Reassuring and sad to hear your story. Alcoholism was rampant in my family so I avoid alcoholic men like the disease that they are. Yep, I feel trapped by the need to have the salary that comes with this job so I can afford to take care of my dad, pay taxes and insurance on the house he lives in, the place I will retire to, and my current abode. I also am paying off a new car as the old one died and as I have to travel at least 100 miles one way to meet men even remotely suitable on treacherous mountain roads, I need completely reliable and safe transport. I do not know whether it was my experience withthe at work AC or something else, but I have completely lost all interest in my original fields (sciences), am trying to switch to something that more honestly reflects my values but am running into threats of the new program being cancelled. I am so close to retirement that I do not wanna screw things up. I fully intend to be a larger scale organic farmer and environmental activist and writer. Unlike you, there is no supportive family, my slowly dying dad is it and we are very different. I am the one that escaped the alcoholism, the lack of education, who openly embraces my non white side; all of those things are major thorns in his side. So I am completely solo, in a town where I cannot get away from running into the AC and his current flame (a former friend), nor are there any men even remotely suitable for a long ways. I had a very good marriage and know how things should be which makes it even harder. So yep, I stumble along with a best friend and a sort of companion, both from far away, that are not quite really there for me and that’s probably the best I am gonna get here. Luckily, there are mountains to roam around in, mountain lions to track, lots of places to escape to deep in the backcountry. For that I am very grateful. I admire you, Pauline, for escaping your situation, starting over, which is hard for us older chix, (my current gig is about my third “starting over” stint, retirement will be my fourth). I bet you are an excellent role model for your daughter.

  36. Sally-Stress-Head says:

    In certain situations, I have a difficult time completing tasks: it’s as if I have sheets of thoughts and ideas and questions, and I’m compelled to focus on entire sheets at a time, randomly hopping around from one sheet to another trying to decide where and how to start on the task at hand. Whereas, other people may be able to focus on one thought or idea at a time or one step at a time, and begin working on completing a task. My inability to narrow things down, or simplify, or basically sort through all of the thinking of my mind, confuses, overwhelms, frustrates, and… me to the point that it either takes me forever to start a project; work on; finish a project; ….

    I feel like I was born with this problem, but now my self-awareness is so far into my psyche I feel like I have no choice, but to solve the problem. You know, it’s like there is this over-sized stumbling block in my way, and now that I can ‘see’ it, and I get it, I keep trying to get over it, and right now it feels like I’m physically incapable of getting over this wall because every time I try I keep slipping and falling to the ground, bruising my hand, hurting my thigh, and I’m frustrated. And with my newly found, increased self-awareness, well, I have to go over the wall because I both know and believe the self-medicating-chips-cookies, gum-pretzels-fantasy-procrastinating-avoiding-escaping into movies, books, Internet-surfing,…–none of it works, nor, does it do it for me anymore. So I’ve put down the chips, wiped my hands off, turned the movie off, stopped talking, and ughhhhh today is another day of trying to get go over this wall!! :(

    And, God, if you’re listening, ok, I get other people need you more right now, so maybe I could talk to one of your angels. I would like to know why it has to be so uncomfortable to move out of our comfort zones, I mean, I don’t want to complain, well actually I do want to complain, but I really do appreciate the gift of life, but maybe a little less on the discomfort next time, or at least could you shorten the the time it takes to change a habit. No disrespect God, just sayin’.

    Ok, so, I’m off to try and change my perspective on this thing. I’m going to try and stop blowing it up in my mind, think outside the box…on the other side of the box, and “bring it down a thousand,” relax, relate, release. I just need to work through it. Right? Yep,…right. 😮

  37. noquay says:

    Yep, some women are desperate and will take anything so long as they have at least the appearance of a relationship. I was aghast at the tale of a well off, educated woman here who is much younger than I, obviously whiter and more middle class and therefore far more socially acceptable. She told me about her four different stalking incidents, and that her current breakup was with a married man. She needs BR, like now. I never cease to be amazed that local dudes, beset by alcoholism, chronic pot heads, over aged ski bums living off of family in their 60s snap up very accomplished ladies who apparently cannot see the veritable sea of red flags waving in the thin mountain air. In my early days of on line here, I met a dude who, annoyingly like so many of the others, clearly uses old photos and outright lied about his health and fitness levels. Apart from the BS, something was off, really off. I was honest and said I didn’t think we were a fit and thereafter he treated me as though I were a bitch. I’d see him on occasion, waiting tables, working min wage jobs, and he’d taunt me about still being single. He married an Asian woman and bragged about that. Well I found out he tired of her, went back to his ex in another state, and rather than doing the right thing by the wife, brought her up on fabricated criminal charges in an attempt to get her deported. Apparently, he had and was hiding some serious assets that he had no intention of sharing, plus he never truly cut ties with his ex. Moral of the story here, even though a couple appears happy, often they’re not, and theres usually a good reason for those creepy feelings when you meet someone. Listen to them.

  38. Tinkerbell says:


    You are just amazing. How do you do it. Thanks so much for the happy bday wish. I feel sooo comfortable here and feel that even though it’s internet communication, you all are actually my “friends”. What a warm feeling. Nat, I think you know how much I admire you. You’re such a strong and kind woman. You really have a truly altruistic quality that is rare. And, you have a family! How you do it all is a wonder. I know you’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg so far, because everything you touch turns to gold which is why I KNOW without a doubt, your tv show is going to be a success. You’re such a dedicated, hard worker, how could it be anything less?

  39. Tinkerbell says:


    Thank you so much for wishing me a happy bday. Actually I do feel like it is still going on because I am truly happy and feeling at peace.

    Look for a separate post from me to you asap.


    • Tinkerbell says:


      I unmistakeably thought you had moved out already. So you are definitely the one who will be going because he won’t leave? I don’t want to make you feel worse but your situation is absolutely horrible. What amazes me is how in the world you ended up marrying him, in the first place? Certainly, he gave some clues that he is a very disturbed person, but you had blinders on? Were you in complete denial as to the kind of person he was? Did he do a complete 180? I find it difficult to believe that a man can actually go from an angel to a devil with out showing what he could be like when the chips were down. I don’t expect you to reiterate anything about your marriage because I know you are trying to get past all the crap. I just want you to know that I’ve been reading all of your posts for a very long time and I pray for your sake that not much more time will pass before you are free. he’s had you so upset, I’ve read that you’ve had difficulties in friendships? Awhile back before you took a little trip you had posted about about a friend of yours who was a pianist or an artist and he was complaining that you talk to much about your marriage, but ironically was giving overstepping boundaries with giving you advice. Does this sound familiar. Anyway, I posted to you about that relationship, advising that because of your fragility you needed to be selective about who you take into your confidence.

      Bottom line, Espresso. Try to remain strong, and do the things that make you happy. Someday all of this will have been a nightmare. Someday. Thank God for whatever blessings you can find.

  40. Michelle says:

    Such a great and timely article/blog!

    After 4 years of full on no dating I assumed that I was fully ready to take on the excitement of a first date. Afterall, I’d licked my wounds and learned my lessons. So when the chance came to step out of my protective shell as a result of meeting a nice gal online, I proceeded with cautious optimism. We texted and talked on the phone for a few weeks while waiting on our schedules and our health (we both had colds) to line up. She was direct in what she wanted (a girlfriend, to date seriously) and was interested in hearing what I wanted. We expressed our fears, desires and such. In truth, it proved out that this was a good connection.

    So the first date came and we (I thought) had a great time. The prolonged dinner, the walking through the downtown streets, the eventual kisses and yes, even the sex. All good right? Fast forward over the next several days and she’s not as quick to respond to text messages or a voice message (due to another onset of the cold per her responses.) I got into my normal excitement mode (which apparently in 4 years didn’t seem to miraculously disappear) but tried to self-sooth as the days moved along. I finally offered to take her out once she felt better (to celebrate her return to good) and got a proverbial blank stare.

    This was my defining moment. I could revisit old behaviors (ignore the hesitation, believe the reasons given, try to win her over) or I could do something new and different. I’m glad to say that I picked the latter. I asked her again if she wanted to go out and when I got the hem and the haw (“I haven’t thought about it, I’m sick. I’m really busy with x, y, z”) I just stated the facts. We wanted different things, we were on the same page and that we weren’t a match.

    I did get a bit of the “how do you know if you like someone so soon, etc etc” but I refused to jump into a dialogue about it. Instead, I wished her well and stated that if she decided in the future that she does want to get to know me through dating that she’s free to contact me and we’ll see.

    Sure, I was disappointed. I was left wondering what happened but I’m also glad that I didn’t follow the same path that I’ve trodden so many times before.

    • Deepend says:

      That’s awesome that you had the insight to not repeat the patterns of the past. Good on you, and keep going, as you feel led of course.

  41. dove says:

    This says a lot for me:
    “We have a duty of care to get our own house in order and to take responsibility for how we show up in each situation”

    I am coming to realize that I am in control of my own destiny. The things that have happened in the past, they are in the past and although I can and have learned from them, they do not control me. Getting my house in order has been a long process, longer than I realized. I have never been a very good housekeeper…but I am learning :)

  42. MaryW says:


    Thanks for this post and good luck with your move!
    I could be the person in your cartoon, except I’m trying not to think about being single as a jail sentence, rather taking time to try and rebuild (from foundations up) my relationship with myself.

    I am also trying to build up my relationship with my therapist, which got to a point where I dreaded going to sessions. She obviously picked up on my discomfort and I knew we had to talk about it this week (because she told me last week), so I was kind of dreading that but it went OK. I am not used to baring my soul, and actually find it easier here than face to face with anyone. It’s so daunting.

    One thing I think I don’t understand is how long I should avoid forming romantic relationships for. I recognise that I’m EU at the moment and don’t want to inflict myself on any anyone. And can’t face any possible pain. But, you say in some of your posts that one doesn’t have to be perfect to embark upon relationships (of course no one is perfect, but you know …). It’s not really relevant right now because I’m not ready for dating but sometimes I wonder when the time will be right for me, because I’m lonely and feel life is passing me by.

    Also I don’t know HOW to start dating when I do feel the time is right because my method of meeting people for over ten years was online dating and I’m not going back to that. I have bad social anxiety so that hinders me a lot – I don’t go to parties and have a small circle of friends. I joined Meetup but only had the balls to go to one event (which was 95% women!). I joined a book club – all women. Yoga classes – you’ve guessed it.

    I think I will be ready to break away from my old, bad habits but have a sense of doom that even when I’m truly ready, it’ll be too late. Like learning a new language but never getting the opportunity to practice it because I’m in my social anxiety prison.

  43. espresso says:

    One thing I have noticed is how little support I have received from some friends around my separation. One friend spent the first few months telling me cautionary tales about how “I would never get another man” and how I just wouldn’t be invited to things without a man on my arm. Is that because I am older? Kinda funny because my ex never really did get invited to things- it was me that reached out all the time.
    I have many friends and colleagues who I am close to who do not even know my ex so, while I can see I will be lonely in certain ways, I certainly won’t be an outcast because he didn’t have close friends. I reach out even more than I did and I am enjoying people..more…my ex is quite socially reclusive and I see that I become more like him in the past few years.
    I even keep in more touch with his two sisters than he does although I know they love him. I am shocked, well no, that he never calls his sister who he professes to love very much and who has major health difficulties and challenges.

    My brother mentioned that when he told his peers about my separation they “were frightened” and felt threatened. I wonder if this is how my friend feels and why I feel that she is withdrawing from me. I don’t ask much from her, simply a listening ear from time to time and not really that often! I often feel lonely just for that….I don’t want to involve my adult kids in these issues..BR is very important to me for this.

  44. Tinkerbell says:


    You’re apparently going to have to be more vigilant and exercise more care in your friendships. I posted above before I saw this. So I did remember correctly, that this has been an issue for you and your marital distress has had an effect on your other relationships. How could it not? So sorry. I know it seems forever, but this horrible time WILL pass.

  45. Nigella says:


    This post could not be a more timely reminder to break out of old or new self-destructive habits. For the past five months, since the epiphany break-up, I have confronted many unsavory truths & pitfalls regarding my approach to relationships. Thanks to BR, I found an outlet for my thoughts, read many helpful posts, received excellent feedback from others, and learned important lessons. Now I want to stop hurting. I am letting go of the ex I have housed in my mind. His stay need not be extended. I am making a conscious decision to let him go. Breaking out of the habit of thinking about him is necessary for me to move forward. I am tried of carrying different shades of anger and sadness in me. Of such baggage, I want to be free. It is wearing me out. I have struggled to find satisfaction even in my work that has otherwise been an anchoring point for me. Though I never *said* this to the ex, my actions declared loud and clear: “I love you”. I take comfort in knowing that I showed care for the friend (2.5 years) & boyfriend (2.5 months) he was before Mr. Hyde came to the fore.

    I am exhausted. I am letting go.

    I have also made the decision not to date for as long as necessary. Until I feel I can recover with relative ease and speed from disappointment & deception, I am not going to date. Emotionally or socially, I feel no desire for a romantic companion – I need to feel more secure in being single. People value & prioritize different things: at the end of the day, I have realized that my independence is of utmost importance to me. For now, my desire for sex is the *only* thing that makes feel the slightest interest in men. The desire for sex – as an escape, a salve, a tool for revenge – has burdened my mind since the break-up. This baggage too has to be dropped. Given that casual sex does not interest me, I do not want to be ruled by this desire anymore. I feel exhausted by this desire – and after digging deeper, I have realized what I really want is to *reclaim* my power. If anything, sex is only going to be a sham compensation for the defeat & loss I have felt. Sex is not going to give me back my power.

    Ultimately, what I am really wrestling with is my fear of dependence, deception, and defeat. I am not sure what this says about me. But nothing bothers me more than feeling dependent on another and feeling duped & defeated. Regardless of whether or not I find myself in a mutually fulfilling relationship, I want to feel independent. To unshackle myself from my desire for sex, I asked “what do I value more than sex?” Success is more important to me and self-respect is more important to me than sex. Success & self-respect add to my sense of independence and happiness. Regarding this post, what experience has shown me is that in order to break out of some habits one has to confront & consciously choose to break free of harmful attachments. One has to detach from things that are debilitating. Keeping this in mind, I am letting go of my attachment to the ex and attachment to the desire for sex. I am going to focus instead on my career goals and build better professional & platonic relationships.

    No more looking back. No more hungering for sex as a quick fix.


    • Tinkerbell says:


      I LOVE what you have said. It sounds exactly like me talking to myself. Like you, I want sex badly. But, when you’re having sex it involves vulnerability and giving up your power, as evidenced by the way the average man treats you afterwards. Deep, deep down I think one of the reasons I could accept my r/l with Petie was because I wasn’t going to have to be vulnerable and give up my power. I feel like you that I value success and self-respect moreso and they are more important to me than sex. Thus, I wasn’t having sex so I’ve walked away with my self-respect and at the same time feeling successful that I handled a VERY difficult situation like the strong, independent, self caring woman I’m striving to be. Whew! Yay!

      • Nigella says:


        Glad to hear my thoughts resonate with you. I am so glad you did not lie to yourself about what you want in an attempt to continue a relationship that did not really fulfill you. Surely, walking away was difficult. But you made the right decision. Unlike you, I did not have the sense to walk away from someone unwilling & unable to fulfill me. So your example is inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

        Perhaps I am setting unachievable standards for myself but I have decided not to convince myself to stay in any situation – professional or personal – in which I am not really satisfied. If feelings of confusion, frustration, dissatisfaction persist for more than 2-3 months in any scenario, I will start planning an exit strategy. If necessary, I will work around the clock to get out but refuse to settle for crumbs or pretend to be content.

        Living a lie is excruciatingly draining. Instead of pretending to be content, I would rather invest my time and energy into opening new doors & improving myself. On this note, somewhere I recently read a line that struck a cord with me: “Don’t be bitter. Be better.”

        Such a powerful line!

        It is odd the extent to which the desire for sex *ruled* me in the past few months. Now I am feeling much better after excavating my deeper desires & values. Having realized that my happiness is inextricably linked to my success and self-respect, I feel *liberated*.

        Tinkerbell, I am going after my goals with renewed determination, however big or small my goals might seem to others. I refuse to allow or extend the stay of anything in my life that detracts from my success & self-respect. Simple.

        Your helpful feedback has enabled me to focus on the positives. Thank you so much. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best.

  46. espresso says:

    Hi Tinkerbell..
    Thank you for your good thoughts. I really appreciate your looking out for me and hearing my story and your concern for my well being.

    Definitely feel fragile from time to time but am working on a lot of other fronts that are very positive. So it is just the ex who is the central problem in my life and I know things will improve a lot when I get out of here which will be soon. The friend I mentioned is going through things herself so I will talk to her about my issue when I can.
    Please keep sending good wishes my way. I am going to making some big changes in the next couple of months which are scary..including moving out of the town I have lived in for over 20 years and perhaps even a sideways career change. Sometimes I do feel overwhelmed and I definitely am overtired with everything that I am doing including demanding work.

  47. noquay says:

    I really feel that it is our peer, nor ourselves that stuff us in Nats cage and light up the “single” sign. Some other signs are “man hater”, “picky” and “b@#$%”. Widows put up with the same crap. Many do feel we are a threat. We are supposed to give up all human feeling for love and companionship and obediently (don’t know about you but I do NOT do obedience) play the old maid type who does all the work then be relegated to the socially broken guy drowning in his sea of red flags and be perfectly happy with it all. This is a time when you find out who your true friends are, which family members truly give a damn. Your ex sounds like my dad; very emotionally closed and probably tries to get his way thru the silent treatment and other forms of passive aggression. You’ll feel relieved when you’re outta there.

  48. Tinkerbell says:


    Good luck in your new ventures and everything else you do.

  49. MJ says:

    When will women stop fooling themselves into thinking that any other way aside from abstinence until marriage will get the collective behavior we want from men. As long as they can move on to the next vagina they will. Giving them the benefit of the doubt or thinking the next man will be different is setting oneself up for a world of pain. Ladies – close your legs!

  50. teachable says:

    Well, no doubt you all saw this coming.

    I did too but not so spectacularly.

    My mother & sister re-entered my life at the time of my’s death. This was due to days of us all gathered together at her bedside supporting her in the dying process. It was me in fact who enabled my mother to spend the night w my on the night she died. If I had not intervened to facilitate this occurring, it would not have happened. No thanks frm my mother to me for it tho.

    I had previously been NC with both my mother & sister for many years due to abusive behaviour frm them both. My’s death clouded my judgement. I felt obligated to give them ‘another chance’. Life is too short for grudge holding was the reasoning (didn’t realise protecting myself frm abuse was not grudge holding, as again,’s death skewed my logical thought processes)

    So, sister was first to be exiled bk to NC land. The transgressions? Twice used emotional abuse to try to passively incite me to suicide (knowing I was suffering serious depression at the time). This I believe is.b.c she is very jelous of me & my achievements. I am the only member of my core family (mother, sister & I) with zero history of organic mental illness. Both my mother & sister have had histories of psych hospitalisations etc. I NEVER have & have NEVER had ANY history of mental illness or psych issues either! My depression is reactive depression ie a normal response to undue distress in my case workplace bullying, serious illness, job loss etc. More accurately it’s in fact a psychiatric INJURY. Illness & job loss does not make me feel depressed. My experiences of repeated run ins with workplace bullying HAVE however & actually they dont make me want to kill myself either. On a bad day they did however make me have some very dark thoughts as to what I’d like to do to those responsible! ( Again normal, given the substantial losses I incurred as a result)

    Anyway, as if tht wasnt bad enough (it was) nxt my sister commented (unsolicited) with regards to child abuse (of me) that I was partly to blame b.c it was ‘my way or the highway’ as a child. This comment was in fact inaccurate with regards to the portion of my childhood during which I lived w my sister, which is only part she would know anything abt as I have never disclosed what became of me after tht (we were seperated mid way through my childhood. At 13 I could no longer tolerate the abuse of me where I was located w her any longer & once she joined in w participating in this, I pulled out all stops to make my escape frm the childrens home we were in together at the time. My sister was not abused in that childrens home like I was. As the baby of the place she was the favourite.) I hit the roof in retaliating to this comment as not only was it incorrect but also I told my sister OF COURSE I had some behavioural problems as a child BECAUSE I’d been systematically abused frm 3 & 1/2 onward. That was the end of my r.ship w my sister. Good bloody riddance. No more 1000th ‘chances’ for her…

    It’s with my mother tht things get even MORE brutal. Someone in my family gave my mother my mobile number w.out my permission. As I’m currently dealing with taking a man who violently raped me 3 times as an underage teenage girl, violently assaulted me many times & willfully murdered an unborn child I was pregnant w at the time through the legal system, I accidently spewed out via text, to my mother, tht she had done a woeful job of parenting me, & tht I did not appreciate her latest BS (other crapola) given I’m only now THIRTY YEARS AFTER THE FACT getting around to trying to fix some of her screw ups in the first place (these assaults happened b.c of my mothers neglect & abandonment. she ran off interstate w some fly by nighter guy when I was 14 leaving me at the mercy of disgusting peadophiles). I also mentioned tht I was coverted sexually abused by TWO of her ‘boyfriends’ b4 she left & did not appreciate being physically her on arriving home after having also been molested by a member of my sisters fathers family! This was the first time I’d ever disclosed any of these particular abuses to my mother. Her response? Empathy? A request for more details? Care, concern or respect? Nope. All I got was a series of text messages where my mother showed a COMPLETE LACK OF EMPATHY & REMORSE for her part in ANY of what happened to me & then (wait for it, this will blow u away, it did me) I was told she ‘did not believe’ I’d been abused by her boyfriends! SHE DID NOT EVEN ASK WHICH ONES (She had many). I was then told explicitly, I was LYING. I was GOBSMACKED.

    I am FORTY FOUR YEARS OLD with NOTHING to gain by such a thing. There is more but I wont go on.

    My mother has borderline personality disorder w anti social traits, & I now realise just how toxic she is. I was so stunned I spent hours writing a letter to her ‘telling her all about herself’. My BR training came flooding into my head & I recognised a familiar pattern. This is what I used to do w my ex now deceased AC. I stopped writing. I picked phone. I sent one final text to put a stop to the maddness. It read something like, Do not contact me ever again. I hope u rot in hell for the abuse & neglect & abuse u have subjected me to throughout my entire life. I will most certainly NOT be there for you ever in life in yr times of need. Why would I b? You have NEVER been there for me in mine. You do not deserve a good daughter like me. Good riddance’

    I spent the next couple of hrs on the phone to a crisis counseeling line for sexual assault victims. It was weird having counselled so many in my position (with paremts who blame a child or disbelieve them) & now needing to apply all my know how to myself. As I picked up the ph to make the call I realised this is as good as it’s ever gunna get. This IS it. This is HER. Yr mother will NEVER change teach & it’s time to move on FOR GOOD & give yrself the gift of peace u have longed for all these yrs.

    I am so relieved. I have now encountered every eventuality. I know how to handle funerals, death & dying even when it comes to these two. Stand my ground. Do not waver. These ppl DO mean me harm. Why? To acknowledge MY truth they acknowledge THEIR culpability (my mother moreso).

    UNBELIVEABLE. Thankyou so much to Nat for starting BR & the community here. I’m not around often but I’m stil here, doing the work. It hurts like a giant big band aid just ripped off half my skin. Much rather tht tho than the slow death of those two literally trying to rewrite history & thereby slowly skin me alive. Yikes!!!!

  51. teachable says:

    PS And the ‘opportunity’ for ‘new r.ship’ for me now? That would be with MYSELF! Teach on her own two feet, with a life COMPLETELY FREE OF ALL ABUSERS! It has taken FOUR yrs for me to get to this place (ie it’s tht long now since the ex now deceased AC first reappeared in my life. My mother & sister were in exile at the time & got bk in under the radar after I b.came ill & isolated ie sis, my’s death ie mother).

    I wrote a list of goals 3 yrs ago & it said get ex now deceased out of my life (I did manage this b4 he died) & ALSO to rid my life of all forms of abuse such as abusive workplaces etc.

    Hard to believe but here I am now, & this has finally come to pass. I still have other goals I’m working on (getting bk to being a non smoker) but I can see progress & it is substantial. This is my epiphany ‘time’ of my life. All wreakage of past abuse is being CLEARED as best as I’m able in any event. I just want it all to be over. I am a decent person (goodness knows how after all I’ve endured) & I deserve a good life. I am willing to fight for it. Mark my words, I WILL prevail. Come what may, even if tht means I am left the last one standing on an empty battlefeild, alone amoung the bodies of my vanquished abusers!

  52. teachable says:

    I want to cry but there are no tears. Obviously still too many important battles to be fought & won so I can’t yet let myself. One day I will though. One day…

  53. Blue Bird says:

    Reading these comments has been a tremendous comfort and learning experience. I see myself in so many of these stories. I am about to start NC. There is a part of me that wants to share my story, but I know it all boils down to the same thing. My story is no different, same cycle, same outcome. I know it is time to take the plunge and just go NC. I am nervous and afraid, and clinging to the familiar misery that I have grown so comfortable with. Glad to have this community….grateful for the wisdom here.

  54. Dharma Chick says:

    Thanks for your wisdom NML. It seems to me when we start applying what we’ve learned that at first, even if the old patterns start up, they can blast through quickly.

    Recently I ended it with latest EUM and am determined: no more. Have had a couple dates with a couple new men who quickly showed by their behavior that they are probably also EUM.

    I chose to show up as authentic me, not trying to impress, just be curious, and know in advance what my boundaries are. And their interest evaporated quickly *poof*: one disappearing after second date, one snarkily declining when I followed up on his suggestion that we get together again.

    I won’t lie, I’ve had some “what did I do wrong and OMG why am I still attracting this type?” moments – hard to shake that habit. But I haven’t acted on them and so these dramas that normally would take weeks or months to play out when I chose to ignore my values and boundaries literally played out in just a few days because this time I chose to play by the self-respect and self-care rules. I’ve kept myself intact. It’s pretty freaking amazing to directly experience the rapidity of the change instead of just intellectualizing it!

    Hallelujah! And Merry Christmas.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.