wooden doll waving

Most people who have been on the crappy end of the stick of an unhealthy relationship, really struggle with forgiveness, which is unsurprising when you consider that forgiveness is often mistaken for reconciliation, or a misguided conclusion that the person who ‘wronged’ you will change, or that you’re going to get struck by some sort of emotional lightening where birds sing and unicorns come skipping through.

For a start, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that forgiveness that’s basically done under duress where you’ve been badgered and guilted into ‘letting go’ is never sincere. There’s a lack of respect for how you feel and there’s this expectation that you have to let go on the other person’s beat, when their beat may actually be “Please hurry the eff up and erase this incident so I can forget about it.”

I don’t need to forgive any of my exes, just like I don’t need to do some sort of roll call and round up everyone in my life that has pissed me off or hurt me. This doesn’t mean that I’m bearing any grudges or wishing them any ill – I’m just not that powerful. It’s not like someone does something to you and then a court order goes out that tells the other person that their life cannot proceed until you’ve granted them forgiveness. Often, as many of you have discovered, they get on with their lives regardless, and then you’re left there with this fiery ball of resentment, frustration, and anger.

Forgiveness has its most powerful effect on you, simply because whether you actively think about the fact that you haven’t forgiven them or find it difficult to forgive yourself, the greatest impact will be felt by you.

What many of us don’t realise is that when we have a pretty fragile relationship with ourselves and struggle with admitting what we consider are ‘mistakes’ or ‘failures’, plus struggle with disappointment and what we perceive as rejection, we make judgements about ourselves. This is why all it takes is for you to have one experience where you internalise negative conclusions about yourself, to change how you feel about you, your subsequent relationships, and life in general. Then imagine that you have several experiences or have long ago judged yourself as a child – each incident is then thrown into the big rejection and hurt pot and seen as further confirmation of the judgement you’ve made.

Experience has taught me, that the first step in letting go of anger, resentment, and frustration is really making an initial decision to begin to let it go and then committing to it so that your efforts are geared towards resolution and moving forward instead of throwing fat and coal on the fire. This is because much as we may like to think that saying it means it’s gone, we all know that the feeling is still there.

You have to make a choice about where you continue to put your energy – in finding more reasons to be angry and to punish you, or repairing your relationship with you. Opting for the former, is like when you take someone back after they’ve cheated on you claiming that you’ve forgiven them, and then keep reminding them at every opportunity.

A couple of days ago, I had to lay it down to my wedding dress designer. Six weeks of being passive aggressively managed by text, calls being dodged, and me already having paid, I drew my line. Firmly. The dress was either to be collected at 5pm yesterday or I’d walk away and have a refund. The dress was collected. The moment the best man said that he had my dress, drama was over.

Of course, the whole saga did mean that earlier that day, I’d wondered if I should tell her to stick my dress where the sun doesn’t shine. I don’t appreciate being mugged off and due to growing up in a high drama environment, I try to keep the drama to a minimum in my life. Would the dress mean all sorts of negative things? Would it be symbolic of me letting myself down?

Er, no. It’s just a dress. My problem was with the designer, not the dress.

Could I have done a few things differently? Due to the way that she operated, the key things would have been, 1) raised my concern about the lack of communication in that first two week period where the spidey senses were going and 2) turned off my accommodating switch around the same time.

Does me dropping the ball and her own behaviour represent me having low self-esteem or an opportunity to judge myself? No – there are things I can learn but I sure as hell am not going to internalise this experience and give a silk dress that much power over me.

And maybe this is what we need to remember about forgiveness – the judgements we’ve made about ourselves that are preventing us from moving forward, don’t have to remain in place. Your experiences don’t have to have the retain the meanings that you’ve given them.

When I stopped judging myself so harshly (which was ridiculous really because like a lot of people, I judged myself waaaaay harder than I ever judged any person I was involved with), and was actually more compassionate with me and listened, I changed the perception of myself in the context of these experiences.

You can too. You being in a relationship with someone who treated you without love, care, trust, and respect, doesn’t have to mean that you’re doomed, or that the last chance saloon has gone, or that you’re not good enough, or that you’re unlovable. It doesn’t.

I’ve spoken/corresponded with so many readers who have had similar childhood experiences, such as an absent father – so much of the resentment, frustration, anger, and grief in me faded away when the meaning of his absence stopped being “My father wasn’t around because I wasn’t good enough.” Instead, his absence is a reflection of him and his relationship with my mother. I’m just not that powerful.

If you’ve done things that leave you feeling embarrassed or even humiliated, bathing in blame and shame is not going to help you. Being compassionate and supporting yourself to overcome what brought you to this juncture in the first place is putting you on a path to forgiving you. You’ve got to start somewhere – you can keep raking over something and doing stuff that basically punishes you, but the fact that you’d do this means that you’d never really be in enough of an objective position to know where to say ‘enough’ and focus on recovery.

Should you be punishing yourself anyway? Isn’t that just repeating behaviour that keeps you stuck in a cycle from your childhood? It’s like taking on the role of being an aggressor and warden in your life. You need your love.

You also have to recognise that if and when you do forgive someone, they’re not going to change a perception that you have of you or your experiences. Just ask someone who doesn’t feel good enough that tends to blame themselves for everything – when someone tells them it’s not their fault, they just find something else to flog themselves with.

Sometimes you’ll say it out loud that you forgive you, and sometimes you’ll look up from a life that you’ve been gradually moving on from a painful experience and recognise that you’re feeling good and treating you well. What I do know is that as long as you participate in a painful situation or keep reliving it or decide that you can’t proceed until you’ve completed your self-imposed purgatory, you will continue to feel anger and resentment that’s not going anywhere, so you don’t get to give way to the lesson in your experiences and the opportunity for growth.

Your thoughts?

Oh and my assistant Kate and I finally made a trailer for Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl that went live a little while ago.

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl to change your perception of you and your relationship experiences.

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

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


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156 Responses to Can You Forgive You?

  1. Chloe says:

    “Your experiences don’t have to have the retain the meanings that you’ve given them”.
    This line says so much, Natalie. I have not been on this site for a few weeks and I do have to say that my movement forward with my life/journey as been unbelievably good and peaceful. I don’t know why or how but I have just inevitably come to a lovely place of peace and contentment. And, sister, I owe so, so much of that to you. Your words of encouragement and truth (oh man, especially truth) and reality and understanding guided my through some horribly rocky, painful times. But….I did it. It’s been just over a year and I finally, FINALLY feel like I made it to the homestretch. Huge sigh. Seriously didn’t think I’d make it. You are truly a godsend as are all the people who share themselves here. The benefit to one another is priceless. I feel such gratitude for finding this place and being able to say wholeheartedly that it has truly moved me forward and me see truth and sense in something that had blinded me for so long. Love and joy to you all

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post, Natalie and an area to which I really struggle.

  3. slow learner says:

    The “forgiving me” is the hardest part. I am still feeling stuck, almost a year later…

    • CoffeeCat says:

      I agree…..I feel so damn stuck myself….How could I be so stupid to fall for the AC , never mind that I’m no longer with him. And of course, then I beat myself up more for feeling stupid. Instead, of saying, hey, I made a mistake, I dumped him, I’m moving on….nope. Wallow in my self pity and self loathing. Sooo hard to forgive me.

      • Leatha says:

        CoffeeCat,

        Hugs to you…tray to wallow in self care even when you feel you don’t deserve it or want it, do it anyway until you understand how important you truly are. Forgive everything from the past this very second you can’t change it, just take that tiny step forward today. I will do the same.

        Leatha

    • pippa says:

      I found this article so interesting, as it is something I’ve struggled with too. I was with a man who was very selfish and in truth was emotionally very abusive and I am only just understanding how much this impacted my life. In the end, he left me, and still I torture myself with feelings of guilt and inability to express anger. Throughout our relationship he told me frequently that people who have ‘emotional outbursts’ are not normal, and would react very badly if i was ever angry. So I learn to repress it and am struggling with this even now – he is still controlling me but only I am letting him do it. I am going to do my best to stop beating myself up, and forgive myself. I am so exhausted and just want to feel like I am kind to myself. Thanks for the article, really inspiring XXX

  4. Magnolia says:

    Amen, Natalie.

    I lived so much of my life in perpetual disappointment and exasperation with myself, I am still gettning used to living self-indictment-free, which feels often like getting a free pass to be lazy or like giving up on getting out of Loserville. Hard to spend your life trying to get out of somewhere you’re not even in.

    I had some very unfortunate early experiences of being humiliated basically for just being who I am, and got signals from home that this is just what life is and that we were powerless over it. I wish I had known that I could get angry and set boundaries, but instead I was furious at the world for making me different and “causing” the hatred and abuse, and figured I could change the world, and desperate to get a protector of some kind to notice me and change the world for me. When I couldn’t do either of those things, I had failed, I confirmed that I had no power, and my inner rejection and judgment of myself began.

    So I sucked. Thus the tone was set for the rest of my life. In the past couple of years I’ve realized I have to start forgiving myself for not being someone entirely else, and for not living up to impossible expectations, and for having those expectations.

    The same feelings of judging and rejecting myself can come up when I make new mistakes, when I fail at meeting my own expectations, etc. I now go through the work of looking at what I can control and what I can’t, giving myself room to fail, and calming down into the space that realizes blaming me and punishing me for mistakes doesn’t help. I understand why a part of me wants to punish; that part of me wants its pound of flesh and wants to see someone in pain. Unfortunately, that part of me has gotten most of its satisfaction from cutting me down for my mistakes and failures.

    What I’m still a little lost about is the grief. A friend of mine recently had her brother die unexpectedly and she has been sharing a lot about her grief, particularly with posts on facebook. I have never been around someone who could talk about grief and I have been struck to notice how much her comments “touch” me very deeply, as if she is expressing how I feel about life. When I hung around her recently, and thought about how she must be feeling having lost someone and not being able to do anything about it, just move on, I suddenly felt like she and I might be the only two people on the planet who feel this way right now. It made me want to suddenly start hanging out with her and say – hey – guess what – I feel how you do, only all the time, because of …

    … and I haven’t exactly known how to finish the sentence. Of course I haven’t done that because I think it would be absurd and disrespectful to her, but for a couple of days after feeling like she “got” me, or at least, was in a position to “get” me, I daydreamed about blogging about my grief, and finally letting all the people around me “in”/panicking that no one could come “in”, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d be saying was the cause of my grief.

    A part of me would love to know how to finish the sentence, but that would involve a lot of work to figure out and then I think, I don’t want to know how to finish the sentence, because that would mean I would have to admit that something as cherished as a brother is lost to me forever. Whatever it is is never coming, or never coming back.

    Sooooo …. I have simply turned back to my work and sleeping and eating nonstop. And I’m not beating myself up about it :)

    • DayByDay says:

      Ms. Magnolia… such a pretty flower-

      I read on here often and I always enjoy your comments or take on Natalie’s posts. You, like me, are a very sensitive sole. I don’t know your story or who you are, but I see your dance with yourself and your emotions, sometimes moving a few steps forward then taking a one back.

      I’d love to hear the answer to the end of your sentence. You know how to complete the sentence, but it might embarrass you to say it out loud to your friend because you may feel petty. You may feel that your deep feelings of pain are unwarranted, for something as a relationship with a man vs. the death of a brother. But your feelings are valid and people want to know about them, especially on here. It took me a long time to realize that my feelings are worth something and that they are okay to express. That it is good to have feelings and I am worth having feelings.

      I’ll answer your sentence myself, because I feel the same. I feel the way you do, only all of the time, because I fell for a man that I trusted. He pursued me to no end and when I finally let him in and after a bit of fun together, he was gone. He moved on and left me dazed and confused. He had known me for years. Using all he knew about me he tricked me, manipulated me, pressured me, and loved me. Once I gave him the love he wanted, the ego stroke he needed, and the sex he craved- he was over me. His life continued on, with parties and other women, sometimes even right in front of me. My heart broke into 10,000 pieces and I was left alone to glue it back together.

      That may not be the same as moving on from the loss of a loved one, but it’s still very painful. Death is final and it’s not about hurting someone specifically, but a man using you and dumping you and leaving you with a broke heart feels like it’s on purpose and specifically trying to hurt you. It feels so personal because it deeply affects you personally. But Natalie spends all her time letting us know they are not out to “get us”, we just happen to be a bystander of their selfishness.

      • grace says:

        Day
        I wouldn’t let him off the hook that easily, I think he WAS out to get you. It feels personal because it IS personal. Reminds me of a line from a film that made me laugh out loud, “You can’t get more personal than killing someone” when the protagonist claimed that the hit “wasn’t personal”.
        It’s quite personal to line someone up in your sights, win their trust, seduce them and then bugger off.
        To forgive I had to register the fact that they hurt me and knew what they were doing. Saying that I was a bystander or that they couldn’t help themselves doesn’t quite hit the spot. It’s a dark place to go to, though.
        I understand Nat differently. To put it bluntly: Stop making excuses for them, don’t be a rabbit in the headlights, they ARE going to do you over – get out!

        • P. says:

          “To forgive I had to register the fact that they hurt me and knew what they were doing.”

          I agree, that is the hardest part. I believe that is what I struggle with. I can come up with many excuses about them not knowing, them meaning well, them having a cold mother, or no mother, or a difficult life, but, in the end, I will HAVE TO acknowledge they KNEW, i.e., the KNEW they were doing something if not bad, then HURTFUL. (Especially because I told them, and I do mean the plural, and I do mean other people, as well, not just men – would not this apply to ALL people in such situations?)

          Do I understand it correctly, Grace, and, why am I having such trouble reconciling this with myself?

          • grace says:

            P
            I don’t think we need to look deeply into their motivations, but we do need to stop making excuses for them.
            If you’re stuck you may still be in the excuse-making stage. For years I tried to figure out what made my mother treat us the way she did. Ironically, it was only when I accepted that it was unacceptable that I became less angry and was able to forgive her. I don’t understand how that works, but for me it did.

            • Mymble says:

              I think maybe the reason it is calming is because it is the truth. When you’re busy looking for reasons and excuses etc it’s denial, but it’s exhausting and causes inner conflicts.
              Is this cognitive dissonance? Without TMI my own mother did something terrible 5 yrs ago. I decided never to speak to her again. It was actually quite liberating, all the crap I’d struggled with from her and blamed myself for, but this made it clear to me IT WAS HER NOT ME. Was no way I brought this on. I did relent after 2 years and things are better now, she knows I can and will assert myself if she pushes her luck.

            • P. says:

              Grace and Mymble,

              I don’t feel I am stuck, but I am not sure if it is “OK” to totally cut my mother off since I assume (correctly? incorrectly?) she means well, she says she loves me etc., but in addition to her past behavior she continues to put me down (consciously? subconsciously?) every time I speak to her. So, yes, I make an excuse for her, maybe she is in pain, or does not feel well and I feel like I am supposed to be understanding but I am tired of only hearing negative things about myself – even for events and accomplishments that are positive. I feel if I do not talk to her she will be hurt and not understand; kind of like kicking a dog? Or does she know what she is doing, hurting me all the time? That is why I try to understand; I do not want be unfair, and yet I do not like being hurt, either. Does this make sense?

              • EllyB says:

                P. – I know I might stir up some feelings with other commenters in here, but no, NC with your parents is NOT a taboo. I’ve read quite a few self-help books from authors who advocate either NC or various forms of limited contact with our parents (only if we choose to do so, of course!). Alice Miller is the most famous one, I think.

                Personally, I’ve choosen to cut off my mother half a decade ago, BEFORE I’ve read any self-help books or got counseling. Back then, I felt very guilty because of this, but I knew it was my only alternative to suicide. Now I understand she was a malignant narcissist and that she ACTUALLY tried to drive me into suicide. Without NC, I would have never been able to face this truth. I would have carried the weight of this “hidden” knowledge forever.

                Imagine this: My mother horribly abused my father, too. He even became an alcolholic as a consequence. Now imagine my father came here, told his story (married to avery abusive narcissist, depressed and developed an addiction as a consequence) and asked us what to do. Wouldn’t we all recommend divorce and NC? And with good reason.

                Now imagine it was me instead, saying: I’m with a narcissistic mother, she has abused me since birth, and I have developed various compulsive disorders as a consequence. I feel suicidal. Should we now say: No, you cannot NC your mother, because she is your mother, and NC with your parents is taboo? Your father has every right to cut her off, but you as her daughter (who has suffered even more at her hands because you were so small) don’t? That doesn’t make sense to me.

                • P. says:

                  Oh, EllyB,

                  I am so sorry for your experiences. I believe I am older than you, and I have only realized this issue about a year ago, when I sought counseling after my divorce. At first I was in denial when the therapist told me “your mother is toxic to you”. It took me months to even start considering that. Unfortunately, the therapist has since retired, or for whatever reason cannot see me or does not want to (I was on a sliding scale plan), and so I am left with an “unfinished” business. Another therapist raised her voice and accused me of “trying to be a victim”. Duh, I have to realize this to address this, no? In the meantime, any contact with m. makes me almost physically sick and definitely stirring. We only talk on the phone, but I would hesitate to quote things here; I am sure people in similar situations can imagine. I know m. is unhappy that I do not talk to her, or in a very limited way, and I guess that makes me feel guilty. It looks like she is trying to be nice and helpful (when I ask for advice), but every single time she says something very, very hurtful to me. I suppose that, as in any relationship, I should not let the nice things overshadow the hurtful ones. Also, she has some health issues, and on the surface it would look like as if I abandoned her in a bad situation. And, honestly, I am “afraid” of her; I do not know how to better put it. I suppose years and years of a certain patterns cannot be undone in a short time, no matter what the second therapist said, and I do need to talk about this and sort it out in some way. Some therapists also say that any situation can have many views to it, which is so relativist because I think when you are abused as a child there are really not all that many ways to “justify” it. So, regarding forgiveness, I do not even think in those terms, I am just trying to avoid more hurt.

                  • EllyB says:

                    P. – First, I think you should really look for another therapist. She doesn’t make you feel better. Maybe she has unresolved childhood issues herself (and it’s not your job to fix them!).

                    Second, I think it’s possible to take care of a sick person even from afar, through intermediaries if necessary, without ever speaking to her herself. It might take a lot of effort, but it could be worth it. Of course, some people will hate you for cutting off you mother anyway, which is painful, but it’s possible to live with that.

                    I think your mother is causing you a lot of pain. You deserve better.

        • DayByDay says:

          Grace- Thank you for the this. You are right, it was personal. I like the movie quote… exactly how much more personal can you get?! He was out to get me and he won the game. That was what it was for him, a game. I must admit, I was used to the full extent of the word. Gosh, that is hard to take in that I knew someone so well and he knew me and I was still used. I should remind myself I’m lucky that he is gone and moved on to probably another victim.

          And thank for the bluntness- I needed that. I wasn’t just a bystander of the whirlwind of mess he left behind, I was the mess he left behind. And he did it on purpose and he didn’t care and yes he would do it again, if I let him. I’m not going to let him, I’m going to forgive myself for playing the fool, and I’m going to forgive him for being self consumed without regard for anyone else’s feelings or life.

          I need to forgive myself for being the target of his cruelness and realize I’m not dumb. I was just trying to see the best in someone that I loved and couldn’t recognize that he would treat me badly if it suited him well.

      • Magnolia says:

        Day – Thanks for the words of commiseration, I’ve thought about what you said, but I just want to say respectfully that the grief, or whatever it is within grief, that I felt I could relate to in my friend is not simply about having lost a particular guy.

        Those feelings can be triggered by losing a guy, sure. For me, I believe it’s a more profound sense of class and racial privilege, and the loss of a sense of belonging to my Canadian brothers and sisters. Last night I was out and two guys were discussing that case of the kid who killed himself after his roommate secretly filmed him with a male date. These men agreed it was awful, horrific, etc., what this one guy did to another. This is not the first time something like one of the many incidents of bullying (almost always inflected with racial hatred) that I used to experience is in the news and I get to hear people discussing how “awful” and “terrible” these events are. Usually they come to light because the target kills himself or herself afterward.

        I did not kill myself (though in the years after, I came pretty close).

        Perhaps this was the wrong post to get into this, but Natalie mentioned grief, and having to get over punishing oneself, and I simply wanted to ask about the grieving side of things. It has taken a long time to figure out what I need to forgive myself for, what I need to forgive others for, and what was absolutely not my fault: not my mistake, not my accidentally saying I was available for abuse, not anything I did or said etc.

        Perhaps what I have been unable to forgive/grieve is that nothing I do is going to get me back into the “unbullied” club. I still fantasize about meeting a nice guy who is connected and not socially isolated, but also not spoiled, who can and will protect me from all the spoiled kids.

        It’s a bitch, getting over baggage, I know. Sometimes I get stuck in anger and weeping for having to do the work to get over all that past shit. But there are lots of us in the same position. And how much better to be working on it than not.

        • DayByDay says:

          Magnolia-

          It seems I don’t know your background enough to realize you were talking about anything bigger or deeper grief issues than about a guy. Thank you for responding to me and thank you for sharing. I wish you the best, possibly in connecting with your friend and sharing experiences of life. Grief is hard to get past. I work on this everyday.

    • Pauline says:

      Loads of love to you magnolia-
      I constantly pick up your replies, but today just resonated with me- cause that is how I have lived my life. Just unable to put my finger on what started my sad journey, always looking for the protector, still looking up to today.
      No more- I am my protector- I look after me- I am able.

      Thank you, Magnolia
      Natalie and all of the loving helpful people on this site , your such a blessing. xx

  5. “There’s a lack of respect for how you feel and there’s this expectation that you have to let go on the other person’s beat, when their beat may actually be “Please hurry the eff up and erase this incident so I can forget about it.”

    Love this statement. I totally experienced this. He wanted me to forgive him. Had treated me like a piece of trash that you throw away. It was absolutely the most degrading of experiences from which I’m still recovering. He asked for said forgiveness via IM. That’s right – Instant Message. “Can’t you just forgive me?”, said Mr. EUM. He said, “You need to let this go (insert my name) and move on. You can’t hold on to this (insert my name), it’s not healthy for you.” Such concern for my welfare was truly touching. I finally got it! I took back my power and I said, ” I move on when I’m ready to move on. I will heal when I heal and not when you tell me to!” It was a transparent case of someone who couldn’t care less about me wanting to feel less guilty and responsble for his actions.

    Thanks for this post Natalie.

    • HeartShapedNoose says:

      ohhhh Fallbacknomore!
      Until I read your comment I totally forgot that my AC did the exact same thing all three times we broke up, and then offered the friendship card, and told me that he loved me and having me in his life was a must. I have been NC for a couple weeks now, and im still up and down with it. Yesterday was really hard, I have these super guilty feelings about NC. I think because after we broke up, I accepted the friendship card, was ok with it for a couple weeks, came to here and read, and educated myself, and realized I had been downgraded to harem member, and then I just dissapeared. I decided I couldnt handle all the texts anymore and the hurtful words, and I changed my email address, and my phone number, and I stopped all contact. I struggle with that quite a bit. Did I just dissapear?..or is that No Contact?…I dunno. but I feel guilty about it. I hope it will fade. Because I know that Im doing the right thing. Anyways…point here was that until you wrote about moving on in your own time, I thought, good for you! And then I realized thats exactly what happened to me too. the assclown did that to me as well…only i was too blind at the time to see it for what it was. Now I do. Grrrrr.

      • fallback no more says:

        Dear HSN – yeah … it pretty much sucks when someone you are in love with downgrades you to “friends” and then tries to give you advice on how you should feel. But when you’re so broken up about something the “friendship card” sounds good. He still want to be friends – I can go on living! But it’s just a nice way to talk and nothing more. If we’re such swell friends then why aren’t we still lovers? Anyway – it’s nice to hear from someone else whose been through and heard the exact same B.S. I feel so supported by that so thank you for your comment. And I’m so glad that you got out of the harem situation. That is awesome! You didn’t disappear. You have simply decided to take care of you, stop the insanity and the mind effery! Why should he be permitted to have lovely you in his orbit? You have better things to do than to be around making him feel good about himself when he is unavailable for any real emotional connection. The way that I look at it is this: If the guy doesn’t want a real and honest connection with me … then why oh why am I permitting myself to interact. It ‘s all his rules and his power! F that!

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          It pretty much sucks when someone you are in love with downgrades you to “friends” and then tries to give you advice on how you should feel. But when you’re so broken up about something the “friendship card” sounds good. He still want to be friends – I can go on living!

          *Don’t* sign up to the “Friends Package” which is really “Application To Join Assclown Harem” and “Assclown Harem Cheering Squad Membership Form”.

          This happened to me – NOTHING CHANGED BUT THE TITLE which went from ‘untitled’ to ‘friends with cuddle benefits’ (read: sex got withdrawn). All the mindf*ckery continued as usual.

          After rejecting me they told me ‘not to feel bad about my booty’ and that ‘I had a great body’ and that ‘I really enjoy our cuddles’ and a few weeks later ‘that we MUST have cuddles’ again. Fair enough, I am not entitled to their love and commitment, but they’re not entitled to me *either* and if I had my time again I would have tossed this assclown out then and there!!

          • fallback no more says:

            yep – i agree with not joining the friendship harem. once i got booted from the non-relationship relationship – i got the heck out of dodge. there was no way i was gonna be in his orbit. he’s a yoga teacher and i left the class post-haste. couldn’t imagine myself sitting in class or at any of the social events (he invites all of his favorites to the social events – he’s really into community building …. spare me) with him at the alpha position trying to decide ” let’s see – should i go for her or her. the one in the pink prana top or the one in the booty shorts at the back of the room.” it made me feel sick. and as hard as it was to rip myself away (it’s like an addiction isn’t it?) … i did it. my pride and my dignity would not let me go back to class and feed his ego.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      “Can’t you just forgive me?”, said Mr. EUM. He said, “You need to let this go (insert my name) and move on. You can’t hold on to this (insert my name), it’s not healthy for you.”

      Frickn’ EUMs! It is like a case of ‘I Can’t Believe I Caused THAT Much Damage – Hurry Up And Feel Better so I Can Wash My Hands’ syndrome.

      I have to say though, why haven’t you blocked and cut this assclown yet? What are you doing on IM?

      • happy beginning says:

        TOA,
        “After rejecting me they told me ‘not to feel bad about my booty’ and that ‘I had a great body’ and that ‘I really enjoy our cuddles’ and a few weeks later ‘that we MUST have cuddles’ again.”

        It makes me feel literally nauseous to read it, honestly, so so familiar. So patronising, UGH! Add another dimension to that, hearing ‘I love hanging out with you’ when I was downgraded from a ‘friend’ to a ‘maybe see you around’.

        FNM, HSN, and others, I wish no one had to deal with this ever again, that nausea I feel now used to be there all the time. A heavy heart. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, ever. I hope we can actively forgive ourselves and FLUSH FLUSH FLUSH (might be a 3-flush job)!

        • Polly says:

          HB and TOA,

          I read your comment TOA and too felt sick – I’ve mentioned before that I went through similar sex withdrawal and relegation down the leagues. Where you really hit the nail on the head is that nothing else changes. You might expect that if you were losing physical intimacy you might at least lose the mind games too and gain some additional benefits to being friends like being seen in public, meeting their other friends, having some general visibility and validation. But no. Mind f*ckery is clearly part of the fun for them. Why would they lose that?

          I’d been feeling a little nostalgic today until I read this. Thanks for the reminder. Just off to be sick now….!

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            ~ 11 weeks passed since we slept together to when I walked out. NO intimacy during that period and very ambiguous. I didn’t realise the time whittling away because I was actively being managed by text and IM and they’d pop in every week or so in my workplace and we’d have lunch and hang out.

            I thought we could be friends, but that was soul destroying because the expectations downgrade was huge and I essentially was seeking a rejection retraction and an end to sexual rejection.

            At the end of the day, I’m not entitled to their love and intimacy, but I really failed myself there and should have hit *FULL* FLUSH.

            On the eve of me spending 4 weeks in another city for work, they started blowing REALLY REALLY HOT and even drove an hour to my city to see me, have dinner with me and work buddies, offered to drive me to the airport (weird as I was much closer to the Airport than they were – NB: This didn’t eventuate either, and they didn’t drive me LOL!).

            At the restaurant they told my work colleagues that they were a friend (infuriating as other colleages had brought bf/gf’s) and they’d be driving home after dinner, which made my heart sink, but didn’t stop them making out with me when they dropped me off home and they text me like crazy for 4 weeks while I was travelling for work.

            Oh yeah, and when I thought I’d do something special and phone for once – I heard a car indicator in the background and they were off on a hook up. :( I spent 3 days mindf*cked, unable to think and tortured by my imagination of what they got up to.

            Very hard to forgive myself for being SO foolish and being managed by TEXT and CUDDLE, but I managed to do it eventually.

            • tired_of_assanova says:

              Oh yes, and the ending, by TEXT of course, after I disappeared in the night in tears, in the rain, after being shut up in their spare guest room after having a night of cuddles and tickles on their couch, and I had even made a cake for them because we both liked cake.

              Me: “I need intimacy and I didn’t get that last night. I left because I was upset. It’s your body and choices and that’s fine, but I think I’d like to move on if tickles is all it will ever be.”

              Them: “I’m sorry I upset you. I don’t want to be more intimate with you than cuddles, so I think moving on would be best for you.”

              That, BR readers, is what I had to show after 1.5 years of knowing this person, chatting with them over IM, Facebook, going out, total fantasy, 5 months of them ‘being interested’ – untitled cr%p and I devalued myself and made HUGE MISTAKES and being in FANTASY and DENIAL for sooo long.

              That BR readers is what I had to forgive myself for – putting myself through ALL that cr%p! Ultimately I realised that I was judging myself far too harshly and if I were both the judge and the person being judged, I could let myself off the hook. So I did. Why send myself to Assclown Jail when I didn’t deserve it.

              • happy beginning says:

                TOA, thanks for sharing all this. I wonder if it’s the same assclown! It is again very, very familiar. Kind words concealing shite behaviour and ‘it’s fine if you need to move on, aren’t ok with things…’ is a flowery way of saying ‘whatever, I’m just a benevolent Jaysus doing good and get nothing out of you because you mean nothing’, and I think intended that way.

                We went in cycles, sleeping together and then him acting like nothing had ever happened between us, then it would start again. He said I had every right to take the lead, but when I tried to initiate on a ‘cold’ day, it was like I was trying to feed him cat biscuits. People think he’s guided by his organs but I think that’s his ‘beard’. It’s just a reward for the bigger buzz of successfully effing with the mind of a ‘strong’ woman and getting her devotion.

                About forgiveness- he will never ask me to forgive him because he’ll simply tell himself I wanted more than he could give and he was straight with me all along, doesn’t matter how clearly I’ve said otherwise. ‘I can’t help being so loveable’ (bleurgh). He might call in a few months to ‘see how I’m doing’. It took him 9 months after being dumped by another woman, who he supposedly *did* see a future with, to call her, and then he effed her over again and carried on effing with me at the same time.

                The hardest thing to forgive myself for is that it didn’t bring out the best in me. I neglected friends because I didn’t think they compared to him, I frustrated other friends by flogging this dead horse and going on about it, I couldn’t stand some of the women he threw me together with, lied to some of them, lied to many people, and I accepted poor treatment from others as well as him.

                But I forgive myself RIGHT NOW, this is my FORGIVING MOMENT. I give myself a blank page, but I can’t forget the lessons.

                BR, I hope these multiple comments are not irritating! It is really helping me get through it, in what feels like a safe environment. Rather here with experts than on facebook!

                • tired_of_assanova says:

                  Well as many BR readers will know, it took 9 frickn’ months to recover from this, and I practically had to rebuild myself from scratch, and use every BR resource I could get my finger on after this horrible experience.

                  I think it was about 5-6 months into NC before I started to forgive myself. I remember being down in the psych office and me saying something like ‘I made so many mistakes, I did so many things wrong, everything I ever knew about relationships was shown to be wrong’ and the psych getting almost angry at me and saying ‘You’re human! People make mistakes! Are you saying you can’t make a mistake ever?!’ that and reality slapped me when the psych said something along the lines of ‘just because that’s what it’s been like doesn’t mean that it has to keep being like that.’ So true.

                  Allow yourself to make mistakes. Fearing making mistakes is like fearing living!!

                  I’d like to see a post on No Sex Mr Unavailables :)

      • fallback no more says:

        Thanks T of A for your comments. yeah … that IM was 1 year ago. I haven’t had any interaction with him since then (except for him wishing me a happy b-day in november … so i guess technically i am not No Contact.). The IM-ing was during the last dying gasps of the non-relationship relationship. But yes … i’m still reading Baggage Reclaim and still healing from it. much stronger now.

        I agree with what you say about “I can’t believe I caused that much damage – hurry up and feel better so I can wash my hands” syndrome. Right on target. He also didn’t want to deal with the emotional fallout because he wanted to share with me all of his current romantic woes – which of course involved other harem members. Bastard!

        On a different note – I totally love the name you chose for yourself. it’s fabulous~

    • Infinite Corridor says:

      Experienced the same. This one still kind of baffles me. If he cared so much about being a “nice guy”, then why not just behave like one?

      I guess it’s just a testament to the superficiality of EU-types. Words and titles are more important than what they actually represent. So short-sighted and pathetic.

      • happy beginning says:

        Infinite Corridor, ‘short-sighted and pathetic’ is damn right. I once overheard him telling a temporary colleague he loved her. The words are cheap and I enjoyed deleting the text messages that were full of this crap, it was like detoxing my phone.

        In this epiphany moment of forgiving myself, I think part of my slowness was worrying about whether the people I’ve deceived or been lame with in my years as a victim would forgive me. But how could they ever forgive me if I don’t change, and I can’t change without forgiving myself. They can get with the new programme, or I’m better off without them. All of my friends have flaws, and all have have had ‘not at their best’ phases, but I love them. I ask for the same from others who are worth their salt.

  6. Oh, the beauty of projection and narcissism – I am a master of both.

    I project my daddy-issues on to men, pick the ones who give me less than what I deserve, then, because it’s always all about me, wonder why I can’t find love – “what’s wrong with me?!”

    We may not be that powerful – but your posts certainly are.

    Hugs from California,

    Christine
    @thatgalkiki

  7. New York Girl says:

    Why do I feel so bad today? I actually did the right thing and canceled a date to receive my unavailable man friend in the afternoon for some sunbathing and a swim. I had given in to my desire to test and somehow prove my worth (aka “validation”) by inviting him for some good, clean fun and hanging out, since I had nixed the sexual part of our friendship some months ago. Then I realized I was courting disaster – semi-nude, floating in warm water, what in the world was I thinking? I advised him of the invitation retraction via a FB private message – the standard communication tool for him.

    But we here know, don’t we?, that although I denied him the sex, and he went along, I still craved his approval and held out hope for some kind of magical healing/deliverance from this obsession with an EUM. As the hour approached, I felt sick from the nerves of the encounter, so I sent him the message, and I felt relieved.

    OK, I relieved the pressure and insanity of trying to make something out of the impossible. Did that. And a nod and most of the credit to Natalie and the other commenters on this blog for that admittedly key big step.

    BUT, I still feel terrible, and this most recent posting about forgiving ourselves is right on target. This is old stuff – stubborn too – as noted in previous entries, but we can begin, can’t we? You have laid out in very clear terms my next challenge for growth and peace, Natalie. Now to work on that and turn the focus away from making things OK by somehow “winning” with him, to winning with myself.

    I hold out hope for forgiveness for myself and the self-imposed purgatory I have CHOSEN.

    By the way, like any clever EUM, he responded with silence. The ego stroke and possible seduction withdrawn did not go down well, I guess. No compassion or understanding from my friend. So I ruminate and feel like crap. Yeah, yeah, I’m a textbook example of the fallback girl, right?

    Thanks to Baggage Reclaim, I’m thinking I can move beyond this hell.

    • MF says:

      New York Girl–

      Your situation sounds so similar to a kind of similar situation I have been in the past few months with an EUM.

      The short history is that this guy and I courted each other on and off for about 6 months last year, then I went out of the country for 4 months. While I was out of the country we kept in regular contact through e-mail, gchat and weekly phone calls (that I always made…). We had both confirmed that had I not gone out of the country we probably would have moved into a relationship.

      Once I returned home he was my date to the wedding and I expected fireworks and all amazingness and basically to jump into the relationship I had been dreaming and fantasizing about for the past four months. At one point I seriously thought I was falling in love with him while I was away. WHAT?!

      He basically was ambivalent. Things got weird. There was distance. Then I went no contact for a few months to get over him. We swim in the same social circles so I have encountered him a few times the past few months.

      Basically the EUM exhibited some seriously bad behavior. i.e. getting too drunk, acting like he wanted to hook up and then bailing out a cab on me, etc.

      I am almost 100% aware of the fact that he is a bad choice and a bad road to go down. But still there lingers desire. I feel grateful that through Natalie’s posts I’ve found the strength to realize that I am fortunate to NOT be involved with this guy, but part of me still really wants to… mostly just for the sex.

      So last weekend I unfortunately got rather trashed while out with some friends and he came out to the club. I was walking with him down the street and probably sloppily hitting on him. I came to in a moment of realization that I was being so STUPID. I knew he was going to be out that night and I had set a goal for myself to NOT hook up with him. So I just walked off and walked home. I had to get away, I knew that. But the next morning I woke up and I still felt terrible, like you said you did after you canceled your date.

      I guess it is not an instant gratification type process… this standing up for ourselves. And maybe that is what we are used to in terms of pining after crumbs of attention from these silly men.

      And they are just that.. silly. We deserve full attention. Don’t put yourself in a sketchy situation with a guy that you might be tempted to…

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        @ MF – it’s relationship crack and drama crack. After a while you learn to recognise it and say ‘it’s just crack’. It will take a little while but you’ll get there!

    • grace says:

      NYG
      What do you feel bad about?
      There’s nothing to feel bad about. These man rely on us being deliberately naive. Don’t feel bad about getting your head back into reality.
      “It’s perfectly fine to go swimming with him cos we are just friends, it’s OKAY for us to sext each other cos it’s not REAL SEX, it’s acceptable to maintain this half-assed communication for months/years cos we’re not serious”.
      Bollox it is.
      MF
      You’re almost 100% aware – does it really have to be 100% before you nuke him? I figure 51% is plenty. You’re playing with fire.

      • New York Girl says:

        Right you are, grace, I’m getting my head back into reality. Glad for that. The bad feeling comes from the STILL craving validation from someone outside myself, an emotionally unavailable person. Bollux, it is. I can see, I can reason, I can feel compassion for other women in similar situations, and I hope by using all these faculties I will finally “win” this drawn-out contest. The faculty to love myself and forgive myself is very undeveloped right now – but I’m working on it!

  8. Karina says:

    I’m down with forgiveness, heck I forgive many who havd wronged me, but forgiving myself is a whole other ballpark and I have never learned that trait because at rhe end of the day my miatakes are mine and I feel responsible for being so stupid for even making them. So instead of telling us to forgive…I do ask that someone shows us and many of us will def be more willing to do so. Just a thought…some of us grew up with people telling us we’re not good enough and that still doesn’t help when those that wronged us indeed have moved on.

    • You know Karina, I was thinking about your comment this morning, because something about it bugged me, as in it just *doesn’t* make sense and there is a lesson in there for all of us.

      If you are responsible for your mistakes, why are you making yourself responsible for other people’s actions? Also, why have you anointed yourself as being responsible for forgiving another person’s behaviour that they are responsible for? By your definition, you forgiving another person is redundant – it is them who need to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

      That doesn’t make sense – you are contradicting yourself. It also means that you are double-standarding in your own life and are inauthentic. You hold yourself to a different standard – no wonder some jackass can come along and screw you over. If you held them to the same standard, they couldn’t even get close to you.

      By your assessment, let’s take the incident with my dress or my previous relationship history, I and any person that experiences things that teach them where they need to adapt a different behaviour and way of thinking, are stupid.

      Getting yourself into any of these situations is not a sign of stupidity. It is you that needs to change the meaning of what making a ‘mistake’ or misjudging a situation or person means.

      I also didn’t tell you to forgive – I *asked* if you could forgive yourself. It is your *choice* and you can’t cherry pick what you do and don’t want to be responsible for. You don’t have to call yourself stupid – you choose not to interrupt yourself when you do and be more compassionate.

      And on the subject of not having developed that trait of forgiveness, I’m going to say the same thing as I’d say to anyone who says the same thing about liking and loving themselves – you’re either bullshitting about having forgiven others or bullshitting about having loved and liked others, because if you *have* done these things, the ability exists – you choose to invest your energy externally instead of on you.

      What have you done when you’ve done these things with others? Yeah, you could then apply it to you.

      • happy beginning says:

        Natalie, I love your comment. It makes it all seem less insurmountable, to know that the capability is there.
        There are times when I’ve been kind and compassionate to others, other times, most in fact, when I’ve made excuses for them and/or put their poor behaviour down to my own shortcomings.

        One story that brings this to mind is the guy who was really my first love. We met in a club and had instant chemistry (cringe) and then went on a few ambiguous dates, trying to be friends but then ending up snogging. He went NC on me in the end, but I knew from others as well as him that he really liked me, couldn’t make up his mind what to do and was flip flapping, but just thought I was too young and at a different stage in my life for us to be together.

        I had a very skewed idea of what to expect from him. I told him my whole sorry story pretty much straight away and expected him to sort me out and ‘save’ me, what pressure! We didn’t sleep together and this is further proof that he was basically a ‘genuine guy’, who equally shared his life story with me.

        So I spent a lot of time, years later, beating myself up for being so naive and silly but now I can look at it in a different light and ‘Mr U and the FBG’ has helped me with this. I was a hurt young woman with barely a clue about relationships. It hurt me like hell when he went NC and it seemed so cruel, but I think this decision came from a very good place, that he tried to be a friend but couldn’t because he was interested in me and I in him, but if we were together it would not be a healthy relationship, therefore he had to cut contact. In other words, I forgive both of us and am at peace. And feel very lucky that my first love wasn’t an AC because I was an AC’s dream.

        Not only do I forgive us, but I will try and carry this experience into Moving On. Later relationships were equally up and down and ambiguous, but with the difference that those men treated me like dirt and were selfish, and by accepting it I treated me like dirt. And when they went tits up, I thought I wasn’t good enough and made excuses for them. There is plenty I am NOT at peace with, but I know what it looks like at least. I have the capacity for real forgiveness, have done it and just need to use it. Thanks!

        • happy beginning says:

          On the other hand, those people who treated me like dirt, not sure if I can be compassionate or have empathy, I don’t get them. Is pity forgiveness or just a type of contempt?

    • Sunshine says:

      Karina, I want to respond to this:

      “Some of us grew up with people telling us we’re not good enough.”

      Guess what? Some people are LIARS. You don’t have to believe them. Funny how we know how shitty we were treated as kids, and how bad it felt, yet we hang on to the bs they told us as if were God’s Own Truth inscribed on our very soul.

      Not that long ago, a guy at work was being very sincere with me and telling me, “You are one of the good ones, Sunshine, you really are. I mean that. You are are beautiful person, inside and out.”
      I responded, “Well…I have a few exes who would disagree with THAT!”
      He said, “That’s probably why they are exes, then.”
      Durrrrr….

    • fallback no more says:

      I wanted to share something with you Karina – that has always helped me to forgive and even laugh at myself. Someone told me when I was younger : “A mistake just means that somebody tried to do something.” If we didn’t make mistakes, we’d never get good at stuff. Part of the learning process is to bungle it up until you get it. And then after we get it … we will bungle it up in new ways and discover how to do it even better. I hope this doesn’t sound too simple-minded. But for me it’s very powerful. As an example – watch an infant learning to do something. They work and work until they get it. As an adult learning how to – i don’t know – set up my wireless router: ” mistake” after “mistake” until I finally figured it out. You aren’t “so stupid” – you just tried to do something. I will refrain from telling you not to be so hard on yourself because I know you are. Hopefully this little paradigm shift will help you to think about it in a different way.

      And one last thing: Those who act in ways to achieve their own selfish desires with no regard for the pain it will cause another human being – That isn’t A MISTAKE, that is deception and absence of good (otherwise known as evil) and that is a whole different story.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      but forgiving myself is a whole other ballpark and I have never learned that trait because at rhe end of the day my miatakes are mine and I feel responsible for being so stupid for even making them

      I learned to forgive myself out of this horrible experience.
      How? I realised that no-one was going to demand to see my relationship CV. In fact, if I didn’t tell anyone, they didn’t have to know or judge.

      I realised that I didn’t have to be perfect and that making mistakes was OK. I had to relax. There were far far more people that do far worse than I did.

      I had to give myself licence to make mistakes. These things helped me get over it – we take on FAR too much responsibility for another party’s inability to pull their own weight.

  9. BGirl says:

    Love this post! And forgiveness of our self is the hardest part because as you said forgiving that person or yourself won’t change what has been done and it definitely won’t make the EUM “see the light” and realize you are their soulmate. But it does help you deal with it an and attempt ro move on. I was in a bad situation with an EUM for 2 years and I finally had that breaking point and after trying to completely mold myself into being his “perfect girl’” I lost a big part of myself. And even after all that I still was alone. I finally ended it (for good) and I am still forgiving myself. It’s been a long road, but I am stepping into the “I dont care anymore” territory. I am making peace with myself and sleeping a whole lot better at night. I just afraid that I won’t be able to trust another guy again b/c it seems like even the nice guys have a hidden agenda. In that way, I’m still a work in process. :-)

  10. Thank God for That says:

    Thank you for this post Natalie.
    For some reason, what you say nearly always makes me cry.

    Self-love is something I’m really struggling with. Rationally, I can (kind of) come up with reasons for me to love and accept myself, it’s just obviously not internalising in the way it should. When I think about how I treat/talk to myself, I think if I treated my friends like that, I wouldn’t have any left! And there are things I do to myself that I would be very concerned about if it was someone else.

    I find it difficult to find a balance between taking responsibility, and assigning responsibility to others. I habitually get frustrated with myself for perceived incompetence (a trait I strongly recognise in my dad) and get very quickly frustrated with others for various things (only I don’t voice it). As soon as I hear the thoughts in my head, I stop them, correct them with compassion, and try to get on, but today my first thought upon entering the kitchen was “why does he (my housemate) have to do this?”…granted, I’ve really had to assert boundaries with this guy, but there’s no excuse for letting my waking thoughts be a constant barrage of complaints on repeat.

    Frankly, I don’t think I sit and appreciate things enough. That’s another balance I have problems with – idealism and defeatism. If I like something, I erase all of its faults. Or I notice a fault, and I keep on looking and turn it into a complex of faults, an “explanation” of what’s wrong with this thing or this person.

    I think because I, too, grew up in a constant dramatic environment (which I will return to this Easter – although I love my family, I have to shut a lot of things out these days…it makes me feel cold), I have no concept of the middle road. It’s always been one extreme or the other. Balance is a huge issue for me and I feel like I don’t know where or on what/whom to start modelling my behaviour.

    Your blog has really helped me realise some of these things, and for that I am extremely, extremely (ha) grateful. Had a 2nd text from 3 month NC AC today, telling me he’d just been reading my old messages and I am a sweet heart. At first, I was awash with a mixture of sadness, compassion, need for the validation. Then I read your blog for a bit, then re-read the text. Then I realised just how inconsequential and superficial the text was. It said……nothing. An empty compliment that he could have sent to anyone, much as I hate to admit it. Of course I’m not ever going to reply, but I realised in that moment how much I crave kind words, and wonder why I am incapable of giving them to myself…

  11. Bela says:

    Another wonderful, articulate and positive piece from Natalie. Some past hurt lingers, some never gets resolved even when you carry on. No amount of therapy can wipe away or resolve some inner personal pain for some individuals. Ghosts that are tolerated and ignored. I am not referring to just exes what have you. Long ago when I was younger I remember the line ‘ the secret of life is endurance’. How so true.

  12. pinkpanther says:

    A situation arose this week…it is full of confusion on so many levels. I”ve been reading this site for some time now, I have improved my boundries ten fold. I’ve said no to a handful of assclowns in recent months, holding out for one good woman (I’m gay).

    Sat. night I went for a drink with a client. We have a working relationship, but she’s had a few social gatherings which she’s included me in. She is straight, and so are all her friends that I”ve met. Nice people.

    Sat night she had a few drinks and kissed me. Yes, I was drinking too, and yes I let it happen. I knew she’s straight, and this would go nowhere. But I’m human, and I liked it and I was flattered. I think she’s great (but straight!). After quite a while of this, she says she has something to tell me. By now we’ve both had a few drinks, she then discloses the fact that she has a late stage cancer, a very serious one.

    I am now struggling with feelings of all kinds. Primarily sadness at her diagnosis, which is so serious it’s hard to fathom. I see her everyday in our working relationship. I will be watching her go through very painful days to come. BUT before she kissed me I would have had more distance. You know, a kiss isn’t just a kiss (or is it?). Even though she was drinking, on some level she must have wanted to create some kind of extra bond with me.

    I don’t want to internalize this and make it into some messed up thing about me. I am mostly very concerned about her, but there is something which makes me uneasy here. I think she’s afraid for her life and she was grasping at straws, but does that make me a straw? Why did she feel she could do this?

    To all you straight women, it does matter to us gay ones when you kiss us! It’s not just nothing, it’s not just experimenting and curiosity. Now I’m wondering if I was on this ladys bucket list.

    It’s hard, I’ve been trying so hard to get it right. I have been on several dates this past month where I kept my eyes open, and now I got broad sided. I do also know for a fact if there was no alcohol involved none of this would have happened. I don’t drink often, she does.

    She is now “acting weird”, and it sucks because it’s all so tangled up. Of course she is acting weird since she told me she may die, and how do you even begin to deal…

    • Polly says:

      Hi PP,

      Just a thought – sometimes, occasionally, people do make this stuff up. I obviously have no idea whether it is true or not but just be cautious and be open to the possibility that it might not be the truth.

    • Elle says:

      Hey PP, when I was getting over a break-up, I had a close, male friend of mine who is married hit on me, and in a spectacularly persistent and intense way. When I was experiencing it, two things were going on: 1) Is this about me? Am I attracting these types in my life? Why would he be so reckless with me? and 2) This is not about me, this is about someone with their own stuff (including booze in the blood) doing whatever they are doing for whatever reason and intent.

      The reason for the former was that I felt a bit shaky and lonely after a relationship ending and because I felt like he was not being respectful as a friend; the reason for the latter was because I am feeling resilient and pretty sensible these days and I could see someone acting badly in front of me, not TO me. What I did in practice was ground the incident in what I need and want to be healthy and content: and that was definitely NOT hooking up with a married man, and letting my friend hurt his marriage.

      Point is: You kissed someone for your reasons that you should be honest about. She is straight and going through her own tragic life event, both of which seem to mean she is not someone for you. So ground it in that: not good for you or your future. But, also, very little about you. You are really not in this story (or tangled up, as you say), once you decide that you kissed a straight person while inebriated who is not relationship-material for you. That’s OK. You might want to talk to her. I found talking to my friend very helpful. He apologised profusely, and I was able to tell him that I felt disrespected by the whole thing. It was good. But I didn’t for one minute think we were tangled up in any thing. There is space between you and her.

      • Elle says:

        Oh, and I worked out that he wasn’t out to get me, he didn’t think: here’s Elle, she’s an easy target for my crappy behaviour. In his ridiculously boozed state, he found me attractive and he was feeling sentimental about our 20-years friendship and horny. In a similar way, I don’t think this woman saw you as easy prey or someone worthy of disrespect. Unless you kiss straight girls often, I think, more likely, she saw you as someone attractive and wanted to feel connected to you, and maybe even escape her reality for a while. Maybe you seemed like someone she could open up to, about her life. Not necessarily the most admirable behaviour, but I really don’t think she singled you out as someone who would take bad behaviour. From my end, she seemed desperate and wanting to feel something, even something impossible and therefore freeing.

      • pinkpanther says:

        Elle,
        Thank you so much. That was perfect. And you are correct, I am not tangled up in anything. I agree and will remind myself that “There is space between me and her”.

        Yep, you said it!
        PP

    • grace says:

      PP
      Some people just snog randomly. I’ve seen em do it.
      If you’re the kind of person who can’t do that – then don’t do it. And don’t let other people do it to you.
      Go for the simplest explanation unless you really want to torture yourself and her with a debriefing session:
      You were both drunk.
      Drunk people do and say things they don’t mean all the time. Otherwise, before every court hearing, everyone would go on a piss up cos, you know, THAT’S HOW U GET TO THE TRUTH.

      • dancingqueen says:

        LOVE THAT! “Go for the simplest explanation”

        You know that can apply to SO many things in my life that I have agonized over…..that should be a bumpersticker Grace:)

    • sm says:

      PP ugh! She just dumped her crap on you and sealed it with a kiss, beforehand. Weird, this is one of Nat’s classic situations where its all about the other person. I see you as just an innocent bystander in this, ok maybe you could have warded off her advances but none of it was your idea. If a stranger walked up to me in a bar and kissed me, I wouldnt attach anything emotional to it. But when someone you know and like, even in a platonic situation, kisses you it does mean something whatever that may be. And I’m a believer that alcohol only gives a person the courage to do what they’d been contemplating anyway. This one is all on her.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      This is the outrageous principle. You may need to distance yourself a bit for your OWN sake. Don’t let it turn into a fantasy NON-relationship!

  13. Heartache Amy says:

    Natalie, what you write about – “forgiving oneself” – makes perfect sense to me. What I struggle with is the “how” of it all. This is what I’m stuck on, I guess.

    • Sunshine says:

      Don’t worry about the “how” of it…my experience is, once I decided, “I am willing to forgive myself,”, it just started happening.
      What is funny is, I was writing out some stuff about an ex, and decided, “No, I’m not willing to forgive him right now, I don’t want to.” I put my notebook away and went on with my day.
      Several weeks later, I noticed….no more hard feelings. It just didn’t bother me anymore. I didn’t even try, didn’t even want to forgive him, I just wasn’t hurting over it anymore…maybe because I was honest about it and gave up? Who knows… But I sure don’t know the “how” of it.

    • Little Star says:

      Heartache Amy,
      I am in such a mess, I even too embarrassed to mention here. I used to feel guilty and “beat” myself about my mistakes and “how” I am going to forgive myself for that. Why cant we be like our ACs, they do not think too much about “their forgiveness” and just move on???

      • Laurie says:

        I think it’s tempting to think, “why can’t I just not experience this pain so I can move on and just hop into the next relationship.” But I think pain can be and often is a GOOD thing–it alerts us to when something is wrong, either physically or emotionally.

        If I were to place my hand on a burning stove, the nerve endings in my body would shoot messages to my brain: get your hand off the burner, this effing hurts!!! Imagine if I didn’t have these pain receptors. I could inadvertently be hurting myself and causing some real damage to my physical body

        In the same way, I believe our body alerts us to when something is emotionally damaging (unhealthy relationship, dodgy behavior, etc) Some people (including myself) continue to hold our hand over the fire, get “burned” and then complain about the pain; when what we need to do is just remove ourself from the pain source.

        After having removed ourselves, how smart is it to *hurt* ourselves for having…hurt ourselves to begin with! If someone burned themselves on a stove, and then started beating themselves up over it, we would think they were crazy. There is a simple lesson to be learned: don’t put your hand on a hot stove! Ultimately, the pain that motivated us to remove ourself in the first place will eventually subside; but self-induced pain is ongoing, and completely unproductive.

        I know it’s a bit simplistic, but thinking in these terms has really helped me to focus on what I can change, while eliminating the extra drama and emotional energy which is required for self-flagellation and unforgiveness.

  14. Here Again says:

    Forgiving ourselves is such a great post. I forgive myself for allowing him to fullfill his sexual frenzies and peep teases via skype and sext messages. I should have considered tat a RED FLAG but I thought of it as hey he’s just a man and we are miles away from eachother(haven’t physically met so its normal). What man of any normality would have a woman flunting him a boob or too on skype and him actually “in the nude squirting off to it” That is not normality so I have to forgive myself for participating in all of it just to be accepted when it was all an ILLUSION. He’s mostly likely on to the nest best internet FLING which is exactly how he met me online. Now funny that he all of a sudden picked a fight and dissapeared in 2 days. I forgive me and I am so DONE.

    • sm says:

      Here Again, there’s always more to the story isnt there. When we are in these situations we know something is wrong with what is going on but we are enjoying it even though we know it wont lead to anything good. Then why are we so surprised when it abruptly falls apart, I know, I’ve been there too.

  15. Paula says:

    Thank you so much again, for sharing your experiences with us and doing so much good..
    (Glad you got the dress! :) )…Congrats

  16. otter2 says:

    I was lived with/was married to my AC/EUM for 25 years. I can forgive myself for my stupidity and arrogance of the first 23 years — “he doesn’t understand, so I just need to explain it better, because I can explain ANYTHING.” It was easier (not easy) to hide the issues from myself because he didn’t cheat or anything obvious, we were in counseling, and I was tired. Plus some of the things he did do were so horrendous that I’d wake up the next day thinking, “did that really happen?” For example: he had a drinking buddy call me pretending to be a cop reporting that he’d been killed in an accident. (drinking buddy was so upset with himself that he quit drinking the next week, so something good came out of that one) Or walking on the roof with a leaf blower when I was trying to nap after chemo. I mean, who does this?

    What I have not forgiven myself for are the last two years of my marriage. I knew I could not stay married to him. But my pride did not let me “FAIL” for two more years. And so I put our kids through two more years of it.

    I failed my children because I wanted to prove…whatever. My daughter (26) sees me in a mutually rewarding relationship now, but she is dating an EUM. My son (24) — actually he’s a very good man. He’s told me that he thinks of what his dad would do, and then does the opposite.

    We’re not the only ones hurt when we stick with an AC or EUM.

  17. R says:

    Hi Nat. Watched your trailer and loved it. You make me laugh and remind me that I am worthy – just as I am. Thank you.

  18. Reality says:

    New York Girl… you hit on something I have been wondering about.

    Why do the EUM’s not respond to us? Why is there usually silence on the other end? Is it to punish, manipulate, what?! It drives me absolutely nuts! Is that the point of it? I’m so confused.

    If he had acted like an adult, and talked with me about how he was feeling and gave me the respect of the insight into what is actually going on in his F’ed up head a long time ago, I would have handled it like an adult as well and DRAMA BE GONE!

    Don’t these guys know that THEY create the drama they accuse us of? Is this part of their game? Do they secretely like it? Because my EUM has given me mixed messages from day one. I used to think he was just confused, but now I feel like it’s pure mind effery, it’s abusive and so destructive!!

    • Elle says:

      Reality – There is a lot of material on the ‘silent treatment’ and other forms of control in the comments of the last post – whose functions vary from punishment, manipulation, avoidance, alleviation of tension, to a last resort in a situation where one is not being heard or respected (boundary-maintenance).

      Problem is that the EU are, by definition, not prone to direct, honest and non-dramatic behaviour. I imagine there are a range of motivations and levels of consciousness, but I don’t think it matters too much. It matters how we respond and how quickly we respond. One has to learn to react to an ambiguous and upsetting situation as swiftly and decisively as one that is transparent, rational and according to a set of values. In fact, some might say more so!

    • New York Girl says:

      Reality, I’m frustrated and infuriated by the silence, but I don’t wonder about it. I believe the EUM is unavailable even to himself, and he has developed these ways over time. My drama is HIS validation – look how I affect her, look how few crumbs she will accept, am I not powerful? Remember, he is not in a fulfilling mutual relationship either. I suggest we leave off wondering about what goes on their heads and deal only with transparent, authentic men from now on. That is my goal – to look for authenticity, not sexual drama.

  19. Willa says:

    “Your experiences don’t have to have the retain the meanings that you’ve given them”.
    This was both affirming and convicting. Your post is just what I needed to hear today. I’m taking this thought, typing it out, and hanging it up around my house.
    Also the the thought “…you need your love.” tied up everything I’ve been learning about being kind & gracious to myself into a succinct admonition. I’ll be saying this to myself often. I need my love.
    Thank you Natalie!

  20. Bianca says:

    This post is so timely. I’ve been flogging myself for 6 weeks about being so stupid as to hang on to a complete assclown for a 6 years before coming to my senses and flushing him. I just couldn’t think of a way to get my mind to stop internally kicking myself for not seeing all the obvious signs. But, as they say – hindsight is 20/20 – and I see it all so clearly now that it makes me feel stupid for staying so long. Geez, I didn’t even LIKE him for the past two years, but stupid me hung in there anyway. I let him treat me awfully for way too long. Now, after six weeks of sticking to absolute No Contact, I finally feel relieved, happy, and ME again. But I still kick myself for being so stupid. I need to stop that. I realise that it’s time to rebuild my own self-esteem so that I can see more clearly next time. Thank you :)

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Yeah. Even if you spontaneously exploded into a fireball of, it would have no effect on the AC… another thing that I remembered to stop caring about making a mistake – They Don’t Care Either. So why should I ?

  21. RML says:

    Thank you Natalie, I’m more than a little positive you meant this post for me and others in my situation; as I’ve posted on more than one occasion about the fact that I’m having a hard time forgiving myself for the last encounter I had with the AC/EUM. It’s really hard for me and while I’m doing very well in my healing journey and I most definitely don’t want to be back with him, I just can’t seem to get myself over how it came to an end. It was absolutely humiliating!!! And even though I’ve been NC since then I just feel as if it really didn’t give me back control…because being NC is really what he really wanted anyway…he wanted me to go away quietly so that I would no longer be his problem and he could go about his business never having to worry about feeling guilty. I just feel like the only one suffering the consequences is me.

  22. ozeilia says:

    I’ve for a long time struggled w/forgiveness because I was wronged by so many folks. But,once I’ve realized that I wanted to be happy,I’ve chosen to forgive the violators FIRST and FOREMOST FOR MYSELF and THEY’VE CAME SECONDARY. And now I’m happy and don’t even think about the past. I’ve just re-kindled a friendship. I didn’t demand an apology or an explanation from them because I’ve truly forgiven them, When you’ve truly forgiven a person,you do not demand an apology or an explanation because you’ve truly let go of the pain,the hurt,the bitterness or any other feelings you’ve once upon a time held for that person. You forgive for the right reasons and not w/an agenda.

  23. ArtGirl says:

    Thank you for this post, Natalie! I’ve been struggling to forgive myself for my ‘weak’ posture in a bad relationship and afraid to move on because I don’t trust myself enough to stand up for myself the next time somebody crosses my boundaries. It’s about time I focus on moving on.

  24. Madison says:

    For me it is not an EUM I am struggling to forgive but my own mother.

    Around 2 months ago, I was injured by three men who tried to break into my home at 3am. I managed to scare them off but I was severely traumatised by the event and ended up having to have surgery on my hand to repair the damage that was done. Initially I decided not to tell my Mum because I didn’t think she would have the strength to support me and I had a horrible feeling she would blame me because I live alone but my brother talked me around and said he would make sure she would not upset me.

    The day after I arrived home, she started. She said I should stop behaving like a victim and that if I had been married this would never have happened. On the day of my surgery in the early hours she had a screaming tantrum and my father and brother had to comfort her for one hour. They had to talk her into coming with me for the surgery as initially she refused unless I came to her and asked her. So I did.

    She seemed to be ok for the next few weeks until I went back to work and she offered to stay with me for a few days to help settle me in. A few hours before I was due in the office she had another screaming tantrum saying that God told her I had been raped and I was lying about not having been raped. She then told me my attack was a punishment from God for annoying her and not marrying…. basically that I deserved it.

    So how do I forgive her for her cruelty? I hate being around her and I have seen a side to her that disgusts and appalls me. I feel no affection or warmth for her at all.

    • Madison, personally, I wouldn’t break your neck to prioritise forgiving her. For a start I would own your right to be absolutely *furious*. Her behaviour is disgusting and despicable.

      I hope you recognise that the timing of the tantrums isn’t coincidental? It’s like she was going to be damned if you were going to spend more than 5 minutes being the victim that you actually were. It’s like being insanely jealous of the attention, even though this is not a situation and attention that you would want or have asked for.

      You then end up being angry for trusting her not once, but twice and for also having your feelings and experience invalidated. Then you’re in the position of not knowing where to place your rightful anger.

      It is far too soon for you to be concerning yourself with forgiving your mother, not least because she is actively throwing fat on the fire and then flinging you into it.

      What you should do is accept who she is and that her actions are a reflection of who she is. She’s your mother but she is exhibiting zero empathy and she sure as hell is not behaving like a supportive mother.

      Don’t allow her to have anymore opportunities to pull this behaviour with you anymore. Of course she will moan that you’re not allowing her to get close, but you can also remind her that when you have done she’s abused it. I would also be careful of being sucked in by your brother and father who are clearly under her spell – they don’t ‘get’ her and she likely bends the truth.

      What she is doing is abusive – it’s like she is repeating the original crime of being attacked over and over again.

      I would focus on getting counselling. You’ve had a horrendous experience – that is what you should be dealing with and use the opportunity of recovering with professional support to get the help you need in managing this toxic ‘mother’ of yours.

      In time you may forgive her – not because you accept her behaviour but because you recognise that someone who acts in such a manner has a hell of a lot more going on in them than you can even begin to imagine. You may in time reduce the anger because you start to gain control over your life and don’t have to put up with her attacking you, so you can then start to see her actions for the pitiful behaviour that it is.

      I’m sorry that you’ve experienced what you have and I’m even more sorry that you don’t have the space and the family support system to help you. Please lean on good friends instead. Honestly, she’s lucky I don’t rock up round there and give her a piece of my mind! At least you know where you stand with her. You will get through this. Now that you see her for what she is, you can now take action to protect yourself from her. Don’t explain or justify to your brother or father either. And remember, you know the truth. That is all that matters.

      • P. says:

        Natalie,

        I tried to talk to a therapist about my mother’s behavior (I recognize some patterns from the above story, and especially from your response) and the therapist asked: “Are you choosing to be a victim?” The tone she asked this in was so aggressive and judgmental I feel I cannot go back to her. I wanted to say: “Why, yes, I am or was a victim, is there anything wrong with acknowledging that or trying to process that?”

        Sorry if this is diverting the story somewhat, but I wanted to say how grateful I am for your response to Madison.

  25. EllyB says:

    This post deeply reasonates with me. I still seem to believe if I didn’t have those “childhood issues” (around a narcissistic mother plus an entire toxic family on both sides), any narcissists/sociopaths would never “pick” me as a victim. Which means, if I ever encounter any such person, and they give me ANY kind of trouble, it is my fault entirely and it means I’m not “healthy” yet. WRONG.

    There is this married top manager (unfortunately, a really, national-level powerful person) who started pursuing me recently. I’ve met him on two more occasions, both very public business settings, but there were more than sufficient to give me the creeps. He stared at me whenever nobody seemed to be looking and overstepped a few more initial boundaries.

    Now I’m convinced I’m dealing with a narcissist/sociopath. Of course, I have ABSOLUTELY no proof, but I trust my gut instinct. I grew up with a narcissist. I know what it feels like. I know what the nightmares feel like. The nightmares I’m currently having, triggered by my brief encounters with this person.

    The problem is, until recently, I blamed myself for all of it. I know I posted about him earlier in here. I think runnergirl (sorry for bringing this up) told me how dangerous it was to have any fantasies about a married man. She was right, of course, but unfortunately, I turned it all around against me, telling myself it was all my fault that he pursued me, that it was all my fault a MM was interested me, that a MM would never pursue a decent, integer woman, that I was to blame.

    I told myself that if I was any healthy, I should be able to “control” him all on my own, that I should be able to enforce all boundaries with him without any external support. I thought that if I asked anyone else to help me keep this person at bay, it would be proof that I wasn’t healthy.

    WRONG. I couldn’t keep my mother at bay because she was my mother and nobody was willing to side with me against her when I was little. I might not be able to keep that top manager at bay all on my own either, simply because he is so powerful. I might need other people’s help (from my own superiors, for a start). That’s okay. I can ask other people to help me now. I’m not a child anymore.

    This week, I’ve started doing it by informing my team leader. I asked him to check whether this manager would be present at an event I was supposed to attend. I told my boss I thought this manager “wasn’t safe to be around for a woman”, and that I suspected him to “have me on his radar”. My boss was astonished (he knows the manager himself), but he did what I asked him to do. Apparently, the manager wouldn’t attend the event, so it should be safe for me to got.

    If this isn’t sufficient, I will get my team leader’s boss involved too. I’ve also started to document all encounters with this manager, including time, location, witnesses and topics of conversation. I’ve documented my talk with my team leader too.

    It’s okay to do ALL THIS and more. It’s not unhealthy. QUITE THE OPPOSITE. I have to stop blaming myself. It’s crucial.

    • EllyB says:

      It’s as if I still wondered why I “gave” my narcissistic mother so much power while I was a child. I seemed to believe if only I “flushed” her hard enough at the age of 8, I would have neutralized her power.

      It sounds ridiculous, written down like this, but I really clung to that belief. It was magical thinking. It was like a kind of cargo cult, “flushing” as a magic bullet against all dangers in life.

      Same with this manager. I “flushed” him after I found out he is married, but then I wondered: Why is he still able to overstep all those little boundaries (always in a way that was more or less invisible to others, of course), whenever I have to interact with him for business? Why is he still able to throw me off balance like this? Why is he still able to cause me nightmares? Shouldn’t I be immune to that? Shouldn’t I be in control?

      I had similar issues with that headhunter I met a while ago. He left me in tatters after a job interview of only an hour, because he consistently treated me like a nutcase, and I kept wondering: What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I “control” him better? Why couldn’t I “make” him treat me better? And my conclusion was (at first, before I came to my senses somehow): I’m still way too unhealthy, because otherwise I should be able to “control” a person like him.

      I could have walked out. That’s the only “healthy” option I had. I see that now more clearly than ever.

      Same with that manager. I can avoid him, I can enlist my superior’s help, but that’s all I can do.

      If a narcissist wants to detroy me and has any formal power over me, he’ll do it. No “magical thinking”, no “jedi mind tricks”, no “flushing” can help me with that. They are more astute than any healthy person. It’s impossible to understand their strategies or to predict any of their moves. The only predictable thing about them is that they don’t mean me any good. And that’s all I need to know.

      Narcissist can destroy even the most healthy people. I made it all about me (and my “issues”), but it never was.

      The only weapon I have is my own formal power – the power to stay away from such a person, the power of laws, the power of witnesses and so on. Using those powers doesn’t make me “weak”, it doesn’t “make me a loser” (although I used to believe this), it’s not embarrasing, it’s not a shame. Quite the…

      • chloe says:

        Ellie B

        I hear you. My mother and father are both narcissists. It wasn’t until I was able to protect my energy field (they are vampires) there are many meditation type courses that can help you with this that I was able to begin forgiving them. They will never change and you do have to come into their presence fully protected, which sucks especailly with your mother. I understand the ‘flushing’ thing, but I don;t think it applies as well with parents. Grieving, yes, but flushing and possibly compartmentalizing the stuck energy, NO……becasue you will continue to attract that narcissist energy into your life through a boss or BF, you don;t want that. I’d suggest you clean it outta your system. Good luck.

  26. navandro says:

    This site saved my life! I struggle on a daily basis to forgive myself for wasting 3 years with a selfish, narcissistic AC who had little to no regard for me or the affect his behavior was having on me. I took the starring role of the fallback girl each and every time…this site has provided insight at a time when I’ve needed it most. Feels as though I have fallen flat on my face…trying to find the strength to dust off get back up, heal this gaping wound and move toward peace, harmony and acceptance of myself. It wouldn’t be possible without the grace and love of this website…thank you Natalie!

  27. Trishamn says:

    I forgive me, for being too trusting, for putting on blinders to obvious red flag behavior, for letting my former two AC/EUM boyfriends (one was a year long on again off again in 2010 and part of 2011 the other was a short term in 2011) bust up my boundaries and throw me crumbs and have me accept whatever attention they gave me with few or no questions. It has been a process moving on from both of those traumatic relationships, but I have. I ran into AC from 2010 recently (he’s been sending me “random” texts about once a month for the past 6 months, I’ve ignored them all and told all of our mutual friends that discussions of him, about him or anything to do with him were not on the table, and that if I heard that they were discussing me with him, that that would be the end of me speaking to them) and I basically said “hello” back, and looked at the time and said I must be off. I felt nothing, no anger, nothing.

    I can tell you, there is power and healing in “No Contact”. It allows you to get on with your life without having them continue to mess about in it. Distance creates perspective, and I realized that all I did wrong was to not love and have respect for myself more than I wanted to have someone love me. I’m now in a very fulfilling relationship with someone who is kind and caring and sincere and who does what he says he’s going to do, and there’s no hidden agenda or flip flapping. I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, but there ARE lots of good people out there, you just have to be open to them and realize that you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and love. Pain does not equal love, a good relationship is not full of strife and drama and suspicion. It’s comforting and beautiful and makes you feel safe. Thank you Nat for helping me see that and recognizing what a healthy relationship feels like.

  28. Here Again says:

    @new york Girl

    I am on my first day of NC today… I know that there is another post for silent treatment as well but I am experiencing the same thing since Tuesday “Silent Treatment” over a “calling him out comment” that he claimed to gotten pissed over and today is Saturday. I was quickly to apologize and absolutely No response from this guy who I have been talking Long distance to for the past 6 months now. Him getting ready to finally make the first trip later this month to see me. Him cutting me off completely for the past 4 days I would have to say is the greatest form of “Manipulation” .
    The thing is he told me earlier on and I just remembered him telling me a while back was that he doesn’t handle confrontation; or being upset very well and usually when something happens that pisses him off he Goes “Silent” for a while. So right now I don’t know if he’s gone Silent or we or Just DONE. I wouldn’t have it any other way other than complete NC (FOREVER) cause the Damage is Already “DONE”.

    • RML says:

      Natalie always says, “Start out as you want to continue to go.” I think the whole lot of us could tell you that if he’s gone “silient” over something so trivial then you might find you’ve got some serious silent treatment up ahead if you stick with him. Take it as a huge red flag and jump ship. Hope you’ve stayed no contact with him!! You deserve better!

  29. somuchwiser says:

    At this point in my no contact it’s been three months! I still feel a lot of regret for allowing my assclown ex in my life for so long. Giving the time of day was my big mistake. If I don’t have sex with him or lend him money those are enough boundaries up no WRONG. I can’t be hurt if these boundaries are up but a true assclown will try to bust those boundaries down and if you don’t do things on their terms they will turn on you my ex eum was of the spiteful and mean spirted variety. I went no contact for six weeks and broke it big mistake! They don”t always blow hot when you don’t return their phone calls. They turn to another fallback girl! I regret breaking contact because the news he shared with me devastated me. Without going into too much detail seems he has reunited with his ex. If contact was not broken I would have never known. I can’t change the past be I do know that I wll not be the OW or a buffer when things go bust! He is a narcisist who thinks it’s all about him I didn’t stroke his ego enough. I can forgive myself because I have to love me and move on. I am not angry with myself the anger I feel is towards him for his actions and selfishness. I just have regrets but at least I know he is a true assclown and eum who likes to recycle old girlfriends! This man could never be trusted supposedly in a relationship but stll contacting your ex. The only ex I am in contact with is my child’s father and if it wasn’t for my child he would be history too!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Without going into too much detail seems he has reunited with his ex. If contact was not broken I would have never known. I can’t change the past be I do know that I wll not be the OW or a buffer when things go bust!

      He’s just an Assclown. You made a mistake, like many on this site have when we go back or break NC. I once dated someone briefly and they were stalling – turns out they went back to their ex. They spent 6 months trying to pump up their ex. Didn’t work, broke up again.

      I have friends who have been downgraded to booty call. I have another friend who is in a LTR with someone who lives with their ex. So many of my friends are friends with their exes, and I privately think they shouldn’t as many of them were total assholes, point blank.

      I tried to go back to my AC. Another friend of mine went back to their ex and is trying to pump them up. And another – I just look at these situations – going back to the ex is like flavour of the month in my social circle, and I think it is just insanity.

      Try to see this as a blessing in disguise. Had he not gone back to his ex, you might be tempted to start trying to get him back. He’s just not that special!

  30. Laurie says:

    I have struggled with a “guilt complex” for most of my life. I find it hard to forgive myself because it doesn’t seem *fair* to let myself off the hook for something I’ve done. I realize the hypocrisy inherent in that, because I forgive others fairly readily and am quick to give out second, fifth, and fiftieth chances to others who have wronged me.

    Somehow, I’ve convinced myself that if I were “good enough” my past two relationships would have worked out. I must be too much; too needy to get a guy to stay with me. I’m still having to work through all of this. I will say that after 15 days of no contact, I am slowly beginning to gain perspective.

    I am such a perfectionist, and I know that if I can only redirect all the time and energy that I’ve poured into punishing myself for past mistakes into actually working on me; I can be a better person with better relationships.

    • sushi says:

      Laurie, I read your earlier posts, and you sound so different in a really good way. I think you are re-directing more energy towards yourself than you realise :) and it shows. No need for perfect improvement, I think you are doing so well!

      • Laurie says:

        Aww, thanks, Sushi! That means a lot. I have absolutely no idea what I’d do without the encouragement\wisdom\admonishment I’ve found on BR. I have so far to go, and it still hurts like hell; but I’m starting to feel a little bit better about myself as I make “baby steps” toward healing.

        Thanks again for the good thoughts :)

  31. Magdalena says:

    I love these posts on forgiveness.

    I just wanted to share that I found Robert Enright’s book Forgiveness is a Choice instrumental in forgiving various people in my life, including myself. Although his point is that forgiveness is a process, he also convincingly argues that forgiveness begins with a very conscious and definitive choice.

    Cheers.

  32. teachable says:

    I am still working on forgiving myself. Serious health problems partly attributable to my xAC cost me my career (long story but, no, he wasn’t a work colleague or connected to my job) which has may ultimately result in me losing my home due to resulting $ difficulties. I’ve been NC for a little while now & have told my door is FOREVER closed to him. I’m resolute as this is my umpteenth NC attempt & the stakes (primarily my mental & physical health) are not something I’m no longer willing to risk (of course I didn’t realise I was risking them in the 1st place, or I’d never have ‘gone there’ but such is hindsight).

    Interestingly I’ve also had problems with a woman friend who befriended me 12 mths ago, whilst I was in the worst of it. She quickly manipulated her way into being my closest friend. I called her out on feeling my privacy was invaded by her & her using leading questions & deliberately prying into details of my private life I wasn’t comfortable sharing with her (eg she would ask exactly who my therapist & treating Drs are, if I had spoken to an different ppl recently who werent even friends of hers with no context for her prying other than being a nosey parker). I halted the friendship entirely 2 mths back after telling honestly why. I left things on a polite note saying we should talk (I used text initially as it was the best I was capable of at the time).

    So last week I was very lonely & reached out to her & we had ‘the talk’. I took responsibility for my part in things (pushing ppl away when I feel unsafe etc) but unlike a previous time with her, gently held her to account. She responded in a very forgiving manner as did I & I thought things were all good. I was wrong. She now sceens out my calls and only speaks to me in small measure IF she feels like it. Previously we spoke every 2nd or 3rd day (it had been EVERYDAY – we are both not working atm – but I instinctively pulled back from this earlier on).

    I’ve noticed this friend is also dishonest ie claims she didnt get my messages etc. I deleted her phone number today. It’s very hard as I AM lonely & in need of a close friend (my other friends arent really close ie all work f\t & have families & their own busy lives). I’m 42, single & dealing with a chronic illness which keeps me isolated at home most of the time. My friend knows this. I think she was just using me to…

  33. teachable says:

    I think she was just using me to ingiltrate a different circle of friends I know through a 12 step group I attend. I met her at one of those groups. I did tell her that. Perhaps I was too honest with her? OR maybe I was right? Time will I suppose as I wait & see how she responds going forward.

    I havent forgiven myself for sucking up to her in a moment of eakness though. Loneliness & vulnerability can affect us in terrible ways (ie Im mostly housebound due to illness & not fit to entertain guests so to speak) :(

    • Magnolia says:

      Teachable, I’m not sure what kind of feedback you’re looking for? Too honest by telling her why you were cutting her off? I don’t know if you were ‘right’ or not, nor do I know how you delivered the information.

      But if you cut her off for 2 months, because you genuinely didn’t like her behaviour and felt boundaries were crossed, that sounds pretty serious. I don’t go cutting off my friends and then calling them after two months because I’m lonely. If someone does something worth the bother of cutting them off, then I don’t go back. If someone does something that needs addressing, I’d try to do that without big drama. Anyway, it sounds as though you meant to just take a break and come back to the relationship.

      It also sounds as though when you came back to the relationship it still wasn’t what you expected it to be. In a good relationship, if someone hurts someone else, ideally you’d sit down, talk it out, and would resolve things so that such a hurt doesn’t happen again.

      But this doesn’t sound like the best relationship: it sounds like you’re lonely and a bit desperate for company, and reaching out to someone who you already know has crossed your boundaries. This is a common problem with many of us here and I’ve been where you are, but often we make the same kind of troubled connection with men. We don’t have enough going on in our lives, to keep us from reaching back out to an unavailable guy.

      It sounds as though you have a lot of challenges – health, social and economic – to address, and it’s no fun to address them alone. But as you alone are responsible for your life, you alone are responsible for figuring out how to build your health, social life and work situation into something strong enough that poor relationships won’t seem like all you can turn to.

  34. runnergirlno1 says:

    Well Natalie, you’ve done it again. Easter isn’t a big deal in our house but apparently any holiday is open season for AC’s. Get this, my father called for the first time in five years and left a message that he would be having dinner at 3:00. It’s like nothing ever happened. It is a big move on his part because we haven’t spoken in five or so years. I was stunned. I cannot forgive him. Period. Thus, I haven’t responded. Eating ham with a ped0file on Easter isn’t on my agenda, let alone bringing my beautiful 22 year old daughter to see her pedo-grandfather.
    Pedogrampa called while I was meeting for a drink with exMM. Yup, I played in traffic one more time with the exMM. But it so wasn’t the same. I agreed to talk with him after a retirement party. I didn’t even anticipate that he’d be there but he was. I’ll never be the OW again. Period. I left him standing in the parking lot in front of his car as I flipped my long blonde hair and said good bye for good. It was really clearly the end of nothing. He may still be standing in that parking lot. I’m not at the forgiveness stage for either my father or the exMM. I am at the forgiveness stage for me. Thank you Natalie. I’m getting there.

    • Hey Runner, that must have been a shock to hear from P-dad. Pretty outrageous use of the reset button – clearly he remains in deep denial. Not your problem anymore. It’s one of those very typical family abuse situations where he is protected by people who don’t want to face the truth and would rather stick with the lie – you don’t.

      Re the ex, I don’t think you can legislate for where you’ll bump into them. I remember bumping into my ex, the attached guy. There’s a massive plaza behind Liverpool Street station and my friend and I were waiting for the boyf. We could see my ex with his girlfriend on the opposite side of the plaza. We texted and said hi and that we could see him at the spot where he was and then were killing ourselves laughing as he read it and started looking around all shifty. He waited until she went to the toilet and then came over and said hi. Some people never change. It was good that I could laugh about it.

      It’s good that you could walk away just like it’s good that you can blankety blank your father. Life tests to ensure you see things for what they are and honour your boundaries. Leave it at that.

  35. chloe says:

    This is why all it takes is for you to have one experience where you internalise negative conclusions about yourself, to change how you feel about you, your subsequent relationships, and life in general.

    Natalie, I’m a little confused about this because I’m having a hard time between distinguishing between ‘working on a relationship, ex. re: communincation’ and setting yourself up for another mistake where you internalize negative conclusions about yourself, i.e through trying to change yourself in the relationship, or change them. How do you know when to work on something and when to leave?

    • RML says:

      The difference is the evidence. Is there true evidence of honest change or just promises of change only to revert back to the assholery again? Most people know right from wrong and they also know when they are busting your boundaries. You leave when you can’t be with them and keep your self esteem intact at the same time.

  36. brenda says:

    I find forgivness of myself is the hardest thing to do..
    Somedays I feel like I am truly getting better,and than wham something happens and I am back at square one..
    Tonight for example….A Guy I have known for many years,asked me out for supper,I thought it to be strange when he said “I am forgetful so please call me and remind me”,he did call when I said I would be working,and when I returned the call,no reply..
    It tends to get me thinking about the whole not good enough box I seem to put myself in,and yet I know it has nothing to do with me.
    It kinda angers me as this Guy seeked me out.why bother???
    There are also many other factors in mylife,My son is an alcoholic and drug addict,he has been to rehab 3 times,And I feel guilt for his whole life..
    Tonight as I Type this.I have been awaked yet again,by a very drunk 19 year old and my door..Im tired of feeling this way,tired of crying,tired of taking the blame for everyones elses shit…

    • grace says:

      brenda
      forgiving yourself starts with simple practicalities – your diet, maintaining social connections, exercise.
      I’ve been punishing myself for about a month now. I stopped buying food. I stopped talking to the crush having decided he’s too good for me, I stopped talking to friends at work, and stopped talking to people at church. I was getting more and more miserable (doh) but today the crush came up to me, we had an awkward conversation and he wandered off. I though, ” sod it” and found him again. We had our usual laugh. Then I started chatting to other people and got three invitations for next week (so much for the “I’ve got no friends” drama).
      I feel 100% better. And, no, it’s not just about the boy, I’ve released myself from my self-imposed purgatory. For today anyway.
      The guy you mention sounds like an idiot, your son is acting up. There’s no need for you to punish yourself for that. You do the best for yourselves and for others when you are happy. Take care of yourself and you’ll be able to make the decisions that benefit your love life and your son. Lurching about in the bottom of the pit can feel very appropriate when we hate ourselves. And, yeah, sometimes I think we do need to do it. But not for too long, please.
      There was a series on radio called “Birds and the Battlefield” about how soldiers in WWI were cheered up by birdlife. Even in the most dire of circumstances – you’re allowed to be happy.
      No-one is saying it’s easy but the small things you do for yourself will help you grow, like tending seeds. If forgiveness seems a step too much, at least stop punishing yourself.
      And have some fun with your son. It’s underrated.

      • Izzybell says:

        Dear Grace, your post was exactly what I needed to hear today. Sometimes, I feel dissatisfied with how things are, I get angry at myself for not doing better, I think all I’m capable of is “lurching about in the bottom of the pit.” And so I do this for a while, which makes me even more unhappy and angry at myself, until I come to BR and realize I’m not alone, and abandoning/mistreating/isolating myself is not the only option.

        thank you thank you.

    • Doubtful says:

      Brenda,
      It may help you to look into attending an Al-Anon meeting. There, you can learn how to not take the blame for your son’s addictions. With him having been to rehab three times, you may have already done so, but if you haven’t or if you have not attended one for a while, you may want to consider going back. There, the emphasis is on you. I have found this helpful.
      Good luck.

    • sushi says:

      brenda, it`s the hardest thing to do to watch your child destroy themselves and I wouldn`t know where to find a cut off point where you don`t feel responsible,because it is your child. Perhaps Alan-on is best. When you don`t feel strong and confident in yourself a lot less for problems than a serious addiction can make you buckle under the stress. I have been there recently and this feeling of guilt/responsibility is suffocating and overtakes everything else. I finally ended up admitting to myself that I need help and about to embark on councelling/hypnotherapy to sort out my childhood issues. Just feel that at this point I need to go back to the root of my not good enough issue. Yes you do have to help yourself before you can help or cope with others. This guy is a thoughtless waste of space, but when you are weary from the situation with your son, of course it`ll have some power to put another dent in your confidence. Perhaps finding some help is the answer, take care of yourself.

      • Stephanie says:

        Brenda

        I would like to add that you should seek professional help with regards to your Son. I have a step brother who is a drug addict, he is 35 and has been taking drugs since he was 18. This is someone who came from a slightly privileged background and grew up wanting nothing, his parents supported and gave him everything. His Mother was going out of her mind with stress that made her ill. She sought professional help a few years ago and whilst he is still taking drugs, she no longer feels responsible, its hard for her but she copes. Its very difficult to see your child harming themselves but you need to get you right in order to be able to deal with it and not blame yourself.

        ((((hugs))))

  37. XFBwoman says:

    I have been realizing lately that forgiveness of myself is the ONLY forgiveness that matters. The rest falls into place after that. Frankly, I don’t care about forgiving those who have violated boundaries (when I was a child) or whom I have allowed to violate them (when I was grown). Most of my anger is at myself for being such a dupe, but I was not trying to hurt myself; I was trying to find love and acceptance and companionship, in however a half-assed way.
    Self-forgiveness is the ultimate forgiveness, and then we can let the rest go.
    Another great and timely post.

  38. Thank you Natalie for this article. It mirrors exactly my personal attitude towards forgiveness, especially forgiving oneself. And if you once discover what enrichment forgiving brings into your life, it will become much easier.

    I would love to add one quote of Nelson Mandela, who – after spending 27 years in prison – forgave his oppressors the moment he walked down the dusty road from the prison. He realized that if he allowed bitterness to take him over, he would never really be free. If he hadn’t forgiven his oppressors, they would have finally destroyed him. He said, ‘They’ve already had me for 27 years … I had to let it go. You do this not for other people but for yourself. If you don’t let go it continues to eat at you.”

    Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/dramalessons

    • Polly says:

      So true. This might just be the answer! Not forgiving / not letting go just keeps us in prison a bit longer. I thought that holding onto hatred and not forgiving was punishing him but actually it might be keeping me stuck…hmmm….lots to think about (sorry about the dot dot dot Natalie – but maybe there is a place for it)

      • Exactly. If you don’t forgive you remain in a self-build prison. You don’t have to go around and tell people that mistreated you, that you forgive them. They don’t deserve this free ticket to their own inner peace. But who deserves it is YOU.
        In my point of view you have always two options: You can rely only on time until it heals you. This might take you many years. Or you can USE this time and do the necessary things that will make you feel whole again. Forgiveness is one part of it.

  39. Here Again says:

    I know that I have been posting nonstop the last few days but I felt a need to post today. I feel so much at peace with this whole thing about the guy who cut me off earlier this week with no explanation. First time that we’ve gone even a day without speaking. Its amazing how the enemy wants to keep us in their BIRD CAGE and thats what my pastor spoke on today. When God sets us free we are FREE INDEED. and that is what we need to allow ourselves to be. Some of us are still stuck in the CAGE and we need to get OUT. No more hang ups; no more waiting around being bound by the reactions of others; waiting for a THE CALL; friend; foe; EUM; whoever. And going to service today allows me to forgive me even more. Forgive the last heart touching email that I sent him on Friday and never got a response to. Forgive me for leaving the apologetic message on his voicemail on Wens that I never got a return call or answer too. Today I release and let go of it all. Moving on. Refocused Mind and Renewed Joy and Spirit. I am now out of the that Cage. Yep thats me.

  40. teachable says:

    ok. so despite no-one responding to any of my posts yet (only 3 so far so j/king & not expected. btw, THANKYOU Nat – this site is saving my life & has been a tower of sanity as a quiet reader the past few mths & hello to all the regular posters also whose stories are so uplifting)… I am already improving…

    Tonight I went to a support group where I have done a lot of free volunteer wrk the past 7 mths. I’m an elder of this community of 25 yrs standing (the past 21 of these clean & sober) but this group is in the suburbs near where I live & attended by mostly new ppl with less than 6 mths 2 yrs max clean & sober. Anyway, because some of these ppl first arrive in a very unwell mental state I was recently targeted for some appalling treatment by a number of very new ppl there. So what did I do? Stick around for more? Hell no! I went there tonight, voiced my extreme disappointment, anger & dismay & then made a decision never to return to that meeting!! This is GROWTH for me as I sometimes feel over responsible for helping others (I have a 20 yr career in social work behind me & have almost completed my psych quals which I am still studying for). So how does this relate to forgiveness you may wonder? Well, I have forgiven myself for no longer being Mother Teresa incarnate & for failing to live up to my Florence Nightingale complex! Why? Because caring for & nurturing my own wellbeing is once again, back to being my NUMBER ONE priority. This again is big for me. I’ve ‘had it’ in the past but lost it again when xAC reappeared in my life after a 16 yr absence. Now I just need to work on forgiving myself for what happened w xAC also…

    • FlushMrEUM/AC says:

      Teachable, good for you. “Well, I have forgiven myself for no longer being Mother Teresa incarnate & for failing to live up to my Florence Nightingale complex!” that’s great! I’ve struggled with the whole thinking I should be/act like a Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale sort of person as I grew up with the idea that as “good Christians we should put others needs above our own” line of thinking and “girls should be sweet” so even if I was being taking advantage of or being abused in some way I was slow to push back, leave, or stand up for myself. Led to a lot of low self esteem and depression at times. I am a woman now and am learning how to weed through the muck better and stand up for myself. Feeling much better and learning to love me more which is allowing me to actually give more. It’s good to help/care about others but it should not come at the expense of our own well being and peace of mind. We are not doormats.

      I’ve had the “I hate that I was stupid enough to care for him” record in my head about my ex MrEUM/AC but decided that I choose to forgive myself about it b/c yeah it was a mistake but hey, I’m human. Do I wish I hadn’t cared so I don’t occasionally think of the “sweet” brief moments we shared and think “I wish he loved me”? Yes. And I remind myself that I can’t change him and of all the ways he disappointed and hurt me at those times. I’m choosing to forgive him as well but that being said I am moving on. And I refuse to be angry with me any longer for loving him. It was what it was and it shows that I’m not a stone, I’m a human who made a mistake. Will I do my best to choose better if/when I decided to get back out there? Yes. Forgive yourself for caring about him, things happen. Sending good thoughts your way.

  41. teachable says:

    @ Madison. As usual, lol, Nat is spot on. Yr Mother’s behaviour is TOXIC. Be KIND to YOU & minimise the time you spend with her for the sake of yr self esteem & overall wellbeing. Just b.cuz someone is family, parent or a child even, does not give them the right to be verbally or emotionally abusive. You wouldn’t put up with such behaviour from anyone else in your life so please don’t tolerate it from your Mother, because if you allow it to continue, she will destroy your confidence & belief in yourself (ie the exact opposite of what a parent’s role is supposed to be). For what it’s worth I speak with voice of experience… All the best.

  42. P. says:

    Is forgiveness not being angry? I have very little anger, but I get confused dealing with people who, according to their own words, mean “well” yet they keep hurting you by their behavior. Or they are hurting those close to you (anyone has an ex husband who does not care about the children and thus is really hurting them and you feel helpless?).

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I think forgiveness is being accountable for yourself and your part.
      And realising that with the future you DO have a clean slate, and life IS renewable.

  43. natslayer says:

    My ex AC steamrolled their way back into my life after 6 years, pressured me to forgive and take him back. he then bulldozed my boundaries -sorry for the demolition venacular- and I realised that in fact my spider sense had been humming all the way through, waiting for him to turn. He had to go. it is hard trying to love myself as i was bullied when younger, and controlled by a EU mother even now! You cant force anyone to march to your beat or change their ways. Partners, parents or friends. You define your boundaries, your values and loving yourself first. I wish I knew this 10 years ago.

  44. Working Hard says:

    What I’m finding most difficult to forgive, is putting myself through all this and not calling it quits after 2 months, or even 1 month with this man. I’m especially mad at myself for not being able to let go, for not having the strength to do other stuff but think about him, for trying and failing every day. I’m getting really frustrated that I had every reason to be very upset with him; that I’ve tried a gazillion times to make my boundaries clear, and he would say how much he loved me but how our continuing problems with intimacy (read: sex) were wearing him down therefor him doing or saying ‘stupid’ stuff. Mad because everytime he did or say something that really hurt me, be it big or small, he somehow had to make me feel responsible, and I did! When I broke it off he completely turned tables on me, and is now conducting NC with me instead of the other way around. (he still has belongings of me that he doesn’t return, that’s not NC, that’s manipulating but: fine, do your NC)
    It’s just, I know I would be so much happier moving on and seeing it for what it really was and is, but I keep getting stuck on frustration. He’s portraying hurt and fragility on the internet with various images and boehoe posts and all I can think is: you’re feeling more capable of showing off your hurt and emotions to a million strangers, than you ever did with me, he would always presume I could crawl inside his head. Well I can’t. And éverything is about him. It’s not like he’s posting a picture of ‘I miss her’ or anything like that. It’s all about ‘Me me me me’. Absolutely éverything. And it always has been like this. I can not forgive myself for even ‘tolerating’ this àfter I broke it off myself. By tolerating it I mean it still affects me daily how it’s always about him and what I did and say that ‘made’ him do or say whatever he did or said. (waw) It hurts like hell to move on from this. Relationship crack indeed. Hard to forgive I keep making excuses for him and being trapped in his mud and I feel like I can’t get out of it and I’m doing that to myself. I hurt myself the most in our relationship. I let him doubt myself or better, I let him watch me doubt myself. Every time I would do something out of sheer love and devotion he ‘saw’ something ugly in my intentions. Like saying that with ending it with him, after we both talked about this relationship being on it’s last straws and us needing to either get out or get help, he said I ‘used’ him. How did I use him? By making his latest ‘stupidity’ be the end of it all? I let him continue to do this even when he’s not around anymore. How to block somebody completely of the net. Too many social networks these days. It’s suffocating.

  45. teachable says:

    @ magnolia I perhaps didnt words things correctly by saying cutting my so called friend off. What I did is tell her I thought she had a very kind heart but that aspects of her behaviour were concerning me (as described & shared with her) & we then agreed to talk in person but take a break first as we are both studying & were quite busy with our respective private lives. It was never said who should contact who to initiate ‘the talk’ we already agreed (initially by txt but then by phone) that we needed to have. As the one who raised the issues though I didnt mind that falling to me. It was perhaps maybe only 6 weeks of not contacting each other (with her welcome to do so as we parted after a brief chat in person with smiles, a hug & agreement to talk another time) & on the 7th week I contacted her. This is the 2nd time I’ve confronted her about her behaviour. The first time, I raised smiliar issues (that time inappropriate disloyalty) but retracted my concerns & pretended ‘it must have been just me’ to smooth things over without any period of no contact. As for drama there wasnt really any as I treat people in a respectful way. She however pretends to do (esp when challenged) but then acts a bit dodgy afterward. All I can think of is that she doesnt want to be my friend anymore but wasnt comfortable to say so? No matter to me. I dont tolerate bad behaviour from friends OR romantic partners (w exception of xAC which is a hindsight thing – I was ‘drip fed’ the truth abt all sorts of BS, until I got suspicious & did some double checking. I cut off immediately upon learning he was still w another woman & had deliberately deceived me about this the whole time he had been reappeared in my life).
    I actually needed to have ‘ the talk’ w my so called friend anyway as we live around the corner from each other & mix in similar circles. I’m also a person of integrity. If I agree we will talk, then I at least, uphold my end of that agreement. I do agree that loneliness is a difficult thing to cope with though. Most of the time I do ok but just lately, I’m having a dry spell. Things are really never as bad as they seem so I’m sure I’ll be fine. As for the friend I will now just sit back & observe her behaviour. No great loss if she stays away. If I’m right about her true motives (which I don’t really know yet) with a ‘friend’ like that, I don’t need enemies! I am however really enjoying my own company & have been reconnecting with a number of friends of 20+ years standing since taking a break from the troublesome one & that at least has been lovely (although not the same as a someone to talk to regularly for which I see a counsellor weekly re my physical illness & the impact of this on my mental health) ;)

    • Magnolia says:

      Great, teachable. I did misunderstand the details; glad to hear the situation is well within your grasp.

  46. teachable says:

    @ flush. you are so right. I admire your centredness & clarity. feel similar abt my xAC. I havent completely forgiven him yet as I havent completely forgiven mysef but that will come. Right now I need my anger & indignation to fuel my determination to not only rise above the consequences here, but to (again for me, as for many of us) succeed stronger than ever before. This I am certain I WILL do. I know myself well. For now though I’m wrapping myself in cotton wool. I need it. I’ve been through hell & there’s more to come but just for today, I’m well looked after & that’s all I have to deal with right now. Thankyou for sharing. Although I understand it intellectually, I really need to hear that the tough times do pass & that full forgiveness really is possible.

  47. Here Again says:

    @ working hard

    There are definitely too many social networking sites that are very suffocating. Facebook; twitter; etc so you hit the Nail right ON ITS HEAD with that one. Its best to not even be searchable or able to be looked up on any of them especially right after a breakup and going NC. Sometimes you just need a fresh start away from the internet social sites. At some point they will usually go sniffing; Like the EUM Dogs that they are. So its best to to not be FOUND. Anyone else agree??

    • Working Hard says:

      Hi Here Again, I totaly agree! But you already knew that ;-) It’s one thing though to block them so they can’t see you or get in touch, but how do you block them out of your ‘nosy’ moments. He has a few accounts for music and such (you know, last fm, tumblr, stuff like that) and so do I, which I truely don’t want to give up for somebody I’ll (wishing) hopefully get over soon. I have put a filter in my preferences so when I try to visit his pages I get blocked from myself! (like a sort of parental control, a good tip btw although you can switch them off at any time, it makes you not ‘refresh’ their pages every weak moment of the day) It’s like I want to hurt myself, or punish myself by looking at those pages. I know it will get better, but it would get better faster if these social media weren’t pushing them in your throat in every way. It’s modern life I suppose, but ‘modern’ heartbreak has gotten worse by it. And then there’s douchebags who know this. He’s looking for comfort on the internet, but from where I’m standing, he’s looking for passive agressive ways to let me know he’s looking for every bit of comfort but my own. A grown man doesn’t portray his hurt through public, he does it IN a relationship TO his loved one. I know this will get better, and the focus will gradualy fade, but in the case of forgiving and forgetting it truely slows it down a lot. My previous LTR with the biggest AC known to womenhood ;-) was no way near his computer at that time, I realise now, that was the best gift he ever gave me.

  48. malaise says:

    My question though is WHY we knowingly enter, and continue to put ourselves in situations which cause us misery? WHY do we do this to ourselves???? Right now I’m tortured over my situation with a man who I have to face it thinks of me as no more than a booty call. I’ve been in denial and trying to idealize what we have going on, but my logical brain is telling me to face the facts. It’s been up and down between us, some nights I feel good being with him, other times I leave feeling empty, and degraded. But what’s worse is that I asked for it. I answered the call. He even asked me to get him takeout on the way once because he hadn’t eaten yet….and I did it!?! What in sam hell was I thinking. Am I a delivery girl now too???! I’m DISGUSTED with myself. I have to end it. But I don’t know HOW. The thought terrifies and nauseats me. Of never seeing him again. Of him being with someone else. Of him not giving a fuck if I do end it. Of him hating me. I’m so distraught it’s killing me. For those of you who managed to end an unhealthy relationship HOW did you do it? I have developed a serious infatuation with this man, he has a hold over me.

    • Polly says:

      He only has a hold over you if you let him. Unless he is imprisoning you or you are completely financially dependant on him he has no hold. Alot of us have been in this situation and felt that the pain of staying was less than the pain of going. But it isn’t. It absolutely isn’t. You know it is unhealthy for you and YOU can make a tough decision to get this man out of your life. This analogy has been used many times before but I found it really helpful. It is like being addicted to drugs. Seeing him just stops you feeling like shit temporarily but after you feel worse. And he is the source of feeling like shit. The longer it goes on the worse you feel. Get out, cry, and start getting to know yourself and understand why you let someone behave in that way.

      You ask HOW. Don’t contact him, don’t take his calls or read emails. Cry, talk to friends when you feel low if you can, come back to BR if you feel tempted and get support. It is bloody hard but it has to be done at some point. What is the alternative? Waiting around for him to do something outrageous. Yuck no thanks!

    • Working Hard says:

      Dated the same man, although it was more than a booty call for me, it was an ego stroke thing more than a sex thing. Me too have done those things for the sake of ‘love’, only to make me feel like a delivery girl of all sorts of goods. When did this man shop for me, inflated my ego, spend hours telling me ‘I can do it’? Hardly ever. And when he did, he would then throw it back at me, thàt he did it, I should’ve been grateful that he ‘stood by me’. Afterall ‘I was having problems’, funny thing, my ‘psychological’ problems vanished quite quickly by leaving him. I’ve got issues, yes, choosing the wrong men is one of them. But that was not what he ment I reckon haha. Anyway, it had come to an end because the boundary-pushing started to get more regular and more upfront. How do you end it? You just go ahead and to it. If you have to jump in the dark, do it, and you’ll see that there’s only light coming your way. The dark is him, get him out of the pictures, and your curtains will unfold themselve. Sounds simple, but really, it is thàt simple. Sure you’ll be hurt, you’ll even suffer, make sure you align friends and plans when you walk out. That helps. The other things, like worries about him being with someone else, or him not giving a f*ck, they will always be there, accept you’ll worry about that, accept it and work with it. Keep coming back here whenever you’re frustrated. It really helps. Take his hold over you and put it back on you.

      • d. says:

        Working Hard,

        I love what you say here. It’s always so interesting that the nicer a person is to someone, the shittier the treatment. I think a lot of it has to do with guilt from the “User.” I think Users get angy on a subconscious level for dealing with someone who is nice to them.

        Once I went NC to regain my mental clairty, the malicious things that I heard from the AC had very little value because I can now see them as things he said to keep me second guessing myself and render me powerless. I’m smarter than that!

        • Working Hard says:

          @d. (and also again @Malaise)
          Yes indeed, but knowing that, aka being smarter than that, doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how to handle it. That would be ‘easy’, we are all smarter than that, that’s the exact hard part of the forgiving yourself. Eaxactly because you’re smart and sensitive you linger on trying to figure out how to handle this so called boyfriend with love and care & you overlook the fact he isn’t treating you with love and care and respect. So you try harder and you get tangled in through time, until you have that epiphany moment. And even then, you’re too trapped to just call it quits. It’s too hard at first to see your own part in it and seeing how you can stop it yourself. By walking. Because it’s the only way to handle it. The only way. Last time I tried to walk away I had a very bad backup waiting, no real friends, friends who kept in touch with my EUM more often or even started to, a new and stressful job and scary hard brick walls everywhere. I learned my lesson and this time I made sure my friendships were nurtured, my all day rhythm was steady and my habits were sane. I do tend to judge myself every day again, but it seems a slightly bit easier because I force myself to either stay at home and not call the non caring friends who are not interested, and only try to be with emotional available people. Because I’m becoming more and more EA by the week myself, and they help me and it’s warm and comforting and they help taking the load off without even talking all that much about it. I’m hurting because it’s fresh, but I try to be confident that the hurting is normal and the pain will fade with the memory.

    • grace says:

      maliase
      Cut contact and ride out the feelings.
      The playa who downgraded me to booty call was a lawyer, sporty, a part-time model, popular, well-dressed, intelligent. I’ve come to realise HE WAS NOT THAT SPECIAL!
      Only cutting contact gives you the space to see that.
      And get Nat’s book – click the link and watch the video. He’s not that special.
      Even with the crush, I tell myself HE’S NOT THAT SPECIAL (even though he is) because no one is that great that you should be dragging yourself through the mud to appease them. You shouldn’t be telling yourself “I can’t get over it, if he meets someone else it will kill me, I’m not good enough, only his approval can make me happy” because no-one should have that much power over you.
      If they have, it’s not because they are oh-so-great and you’re oh-so-in-love, it’s because you need to kick your self-esteem up a few gears and start taking care of yourself. And that must mean kicking people out of your life who degrade you.
      As for the how, you don’t have to do anything. Just ignore his contact and don’t contact him. There’s no need for an announcement because you’re not in a relationship. He’ll know what’s up. All men who string women along like this know that eventually she’ll get a clue and disappear. They know. THEY’RE GROWN MEN.

      • happy beginning says:

        Malaise,
        It’s not good to live in fear, it shouldn’t become your ‘normal’. What’s the only way to lose the fear of “never seeing him again. Of him being with someone else. Of him not giving a fuck if I do end it. Of him hating me.”??? It’s to lose him and get yourself back. There Is No Alternative.

    • A says:

      Malaise,

      You’re not the only one on this site who has put up with crap treatment and berated herself for it. There really is no other way than to just end it. You’re worried about him being with someone else, but if he is just using you as a booty call, then he may already have someone else, or could start up with someone else at any time. I don’t say that to be hurtful, but so that you can consider whether you want to be the one to walk away now on your terms, or whether it will take things getting even worse/more painful (what if he does get involved with another woman? Do you want to be there to see it?) Summon up your pride and anger at the treatment that you’ve been receiving from this person and walk away.

      Everyone is different and this guy does not deserve an explanation, but if you think it will help you to give him a ‘heads up’ by telling him that it’s over before you cut contact, I think it’s fine to do so. I would keep it short though (i.e. this isn’t working for me, it’s over).

  49. Almost8wksNC. says:

    Certainly forgiving yourself is that hardest thing. I’m completely ashamed of how I acted towards the end of my last relationship and it was my fault because I failed to end the relationship when my gut was telling me to (at least a month and a half before it ended). I think when it gets to the stage where you feel constant anxiety regarding the relationship to the point where its crippling you, it’s time to f**king go. I knew that I was making a terrible mistake and the longer I stayed in it the more I lost who I was. And I’ll never be who I was before that again..although there are things that have changed for the worse (I never dress up anymore because it makes me feel silly, I’ve lost confidence in the way I look), I sure as hell would not allow anyone to cross my boundaries or take the piss anymore. Just recently ended things with the first guy I was dating since the AC. Got a bad feeling about him as he seemed too sexually focused. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that last year…anyhow I still think of the mess I got myself into and it is shameful. It’s hard to forgive so hard but I say to myself that ‘it was a difficult set of circumstances, I’m not perfect and I did the best I could in terms of what I was capable of’. Plus I feel I’m doing a good job at redeeming myself with NC and the work I have been doing on myself since. Still though, work in progress.

    • Lynda from L says:

      Almost,
      Your post affected me. After I left the EUM I had been seeing and living with for eighteen months, I felt so unattractive and didn’t want to dress up or put myself in a situation where I had to’do the glam bit’.
      This was because of how he had made me feel, basically that I was ‘how I looked’. I realised that despite promises and declarations, he just saw me in a sexual way or as a bit of company…that looked alright. I am in my forties and believe me, I thought I had someone who loved me with a depth. The gradual dawning of the truth was numbing.
      I too, got in a mess, or anger, self recrimination and hiding under a stone for a while. Happily, it has past, NC, rigid NC helped enormously to restore me to me.
      You are so on the button when you call out the ‘too sexually focused thang!’ Huge red flag for me these days. After all if someone is interested in you, they take time to explore all aspects of the situation. I am great at sussing that these days. Big flush for me if pressure starts. In that matter, it is my way or the high way.
      Enjoyed your post.

  50. Lynda from L says:

    I read this post in conjunction with the one about your wedding dress Natalie(so glad it turned out well, you will look stunning!).
    I identify so much with these posts…the links to longer term issues is so brilliantly described and I agree, I forgive myself for being brought up by an alcoholic. I was a child and could bring no control to the situation.
    The ex EUM is still impacting however, in that, on the periphery and because of a link to work…he can affect my career. I am trying to bypass this, I wish no contact with him whatsoever but absolutely hate the fact that he can still manipulate the situation,through testimony or by silence.
    He will be an arse about it, of that I am sure. I base this on the vitriol of his last communications to me and the suppressed anger I felt from him when I pulled the plug.
    What my dilemma is at the moment is that if I stay passive, he can wield power over my job opportunities in a particular organisation. My gut instinct is to tackle this head on,inform him that there will be consequences if he screws me over. This goes against my own moral code but given the way he operated with me and other women… I feel I have to man up, be adult and sort this out. I am going to telephone him and state what I need.
    To have been involved with such a shady ratbag is a salutary, cautionary tale. The person who said he’always wished the best for you’ turned into a threat when sex/relationship comforts are no longer on the table.
    No contact has however, made me so strong that I can be calm in any communication with him and get what I deserve professionally.
    These articles gave me the bit of oomph I needed in a difficult situation. This is no reflection on me or my worth and as an adult I can deal with this.
    Thank you.

  51. Lynda from L says:

    Here is why I forgive me. I was a child of a functional alcoholic(my Mum)and a Dad who was weak,sometimes heavy drinking, sometimes’away’.
    My emotional life as a child was chaotic, sometimes normal, even regulated…sometimes no holds barred,arguments,violence.
    I hid my life from school, friends,wanted to pretend that things were more normal. From an early age I had control issues.
    Positively, I looked after my Sis, who was four years younger, did v.well at school because it was consistent, had my grandparents who became increasingly hands on. I survived and developed skills to adulthood.
    My relationship history ‘varied’.

    • Lynda from L says:

      Sorry pressed button by mistake…cont/ I looked for attention from men to validate myself, I was eating disordered(obsessive exercise) from late teens to mid twenties. My pregnancy and birth of my son sorted that. I married a man I fancied but was incompatible with, thankfully a pretty good guy,dutiful, steadfast, older(go figure), but after a decade was dying inside. Professionally I did pretty well, I was still bookish girl. I did what I said I would do and put two fingers up to my upbringing..when my marriage ended, old stuff returned. Alkie relationship of four years, co dependency city, and a text book EUM. Not great.
      Today, I forgive myself. I analyse a bit and am gentle with other bits of my past. I am hopeful of love. I have my terms. I creep into my late forties, sometimes worrying about my age and time that has past but generally focused and positive. I have a beautiful adult son of gentle and caring ways. I work on my need for control daily. I value and love this site. I did a lot right. I know this.

      • P. says:

        Lynda,

        It seems that a lot of us after a (whatever quality) marriage fell for EU men. I wonder if it happens because we might not be ready to date at that time yet (despite thinking we are oh so ready for something better right away)?

  52. teachable says:

    No probs Magnolia. I didn’t explain things well at the outset so I understand where your reply was coming from. I myself was wondering if I was acting inappropriately as a result of feeling lonely! After writing about it I don’t think I was though. I have since had contact initiated to me by my ‘friend’. I missed the call & left a message in return but am leaning toward her being standoffish due to being busy with study? Otherwise perhaps it’s a bit of both? Still observing here (& quite a long way from forgiving myself fully re xAC but accepting this is ok for now)…

  53. Nemo says:

    Pls Natalie, help me out on here. This post is sooo written for me. My ex has been saying he is busy with new job and dont want to see me since oct 2011. I understand the fact that he doesnt want to be with me due to in the past I been going back and fourth with my actions and he had given me a lot of chances but I blew them away. Ever since then, I been living in guilt and hate myself every minute for it. I did some self reflection, which I know what my mistakes are and I swear wont do that again.
    Secretly I been praying that my ex will contact me again. I know I m pathetic, but I am afraid if I call him, I will some cold answers and prob start crying again. Please help me.

    • grace says:

      Nemo
      If you haven’t seen him for four months (or even four weeks) it’s over. I don’t know the full story of your relationship but I don’t need to know it. Even if you had been the perfect girlfriend (whatever that is), he can still finish it if that’s what he wants, and you need to respect that.
      If you made mistakes you need to learn from them and get on with YOUR life, not pursue someone who has been avoiding you since October. Pursuing him is another mistake.
      If you’re too scared to phone him, what do you have anyway?
      I made some bad mistakes in a previous relationship too. Sometimes I want to find him to apologise but it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s about making myself feel better rather than making him feel better – I hope he has moved on. Sure, if I bumped into him in the street I would say my piece (provided he was on his own) but I’m not going to HUNT HIM DOWN.
      Also, I question whether you have progressed as much as you think you have. Your comment indicates a high level of obsession, guilt, and self-hatred. None of those things are conducive to a good relationship. If you do re-establish contact, it’s going to blow up in your face because you are bringing TOO MUCH BAGGAGE.
      The only thing you can do right now is concentrate on yourself. Get yourself to a place where you could call him and NOT cry. That’s if you still want to call him by then. You may find that you don’t.
      And be careful of constantly revisiting the past. That’s how I spent years in relationships I should have just walked from, including the one I mentioned above. I should have just left it the first time we split up.

      • Nemo says:

        thank you Grace, wt does that mean by revisiting the past? like thinking about old memories, happy times?

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Nemo,
        I’m sorry that you are experiencing these feelings. I’ve been there too and can still go there. I agree with Grace. Give yourself some space, distance, and time to sort through your feelings. You are experiencing really important feelings.
        In addition to Grace’s comments, give a few moments to think about the possibility that he may be blaming you. It’s taken me over a year to move from blaming myself to becoming accountable for my mistakes and moving out of the blame-shame cycle . Our situations may not be similar because I don’t know your background. However, Natalie’s post speaks volumes about taking responsibility for yourself, being accountable to yourself, and moving toward forgiveness of yourself.
        I did the secretly hoping he’d contact me thing too. Then when he did, I’d eagerly respond. I would break down and initiate contact and he’d eagerly respond. Same story, different day, every time. I’m afraid to actually add up the years but I think it’s been upwards of three and a half years in this push-me-pull-you boom-a-rang situation.
        No matter what you think you did wrong (you’ll have to address that with you) or what he thinks you did wrong, it may be time to cut the cord, wipe the slate clean, forgive yourself, and move on.
        Like Grace, I’ve spent too many years revisiting the past and staying in relationships/marriages I should have never entered. I don’t want to pull the age card but at 52, almost 53, I’m left wondering what I was thinking at 20, 30 and 40 something. Take the parachute now and jump now. Jump into your own life.
        Trust me, I’m still trying and I have good days and some bad ones. I know, after reading BR and all the comments, it is possible to turn things around. Nat’s the perfect example as are so many others. It takes a ton of work and a tremendous focus on YOU. So, I’ll read my comment to you in the morning and wonder if I was writing to you or to me! Give yourself a three month break at a minimum to focus on you. In 90 days, it’ll be a bit different. I had to do it in 90 day increments. Every 90 days or so, I had to see if I was still going to get burned by the fire, yup, I did. I think after over a year and half of getting burned, I get it. I hope you can hear what Natalie, Grace, and I, and the other are saying. Focus on you. I know I need to do this too.

        • Nemo says:

          thank you Runnergirlno1 !
          that is so enlightening , while i am reading it, I am trying to absorb as much as possible so I can remind myself that. My father passed last sept during first week of school and I had this break up on Oct. It was a lot to go through and I can say it was the worst time period of my life.

  54. TJ says:

    Thank you for this article Natalie. I am a recovering assclown addict and am in the final stages of a long 2 year recovery. You have touched me with this article because I feel that this is pretty much the most important thing about the whole process – forgiveness and not forgiving the married EU/AC but forgiving me for being the silly woman that I was. My experience, like so many others, was a present father in the physical sense, but extremely EU. In fact both my parents were EU, mostly because of a semi-fanatical religion they belonged to that took over their whole lives. The experience with the latest AC was the straw that broke the camel’s back and like you said just another “rejection” to add to the pile of rejection poop I had gathered in my backyard. I finally realized, after much soul searching and reading this blog that the common denominator in all of it was ME. I was choosing to stay a victim, I blamed myself for the relationship’s demise, it was ALL my fault that my ex AC was gone. I must have done something because everything I touch turns to poop. That was wrongheaded thinking. Just so wrong. I am beautiful in my own way & a valuable person in society and by forgiving ME for making the mistakes I made it freed me up to realize all the good things about me, I was able to let go of the ex AC in every way, and I got my self esteem back – well it’s a work in progress, but I am 99% there. Thanks so much Natalie. Your posts are timely and so relatible. Bless you for helping me see that I am stronger than any one or thing, as long as I let it be so.

  55. little mouse says:

    I would just like to say thankyou to all the women and nat for this website, basicsally i haven drifting along in a dream world for some time. I was married for 18 yrs to a mental bully who squished my spirit and confidence , i was a mouse and in the last years i started to fight back, i grew unhappy with my marriage , i saw my friend have a affair and wanted the excitment so i to started one even tho i knew it would end badly. This man was due to be married and had cheated before , he was a friend and worked his way in , i sucked up the warmth and attention , yes thinking i was a exception . It got heavy and intense for 6 months then he ended it came back and ended it again , i fell apart , tried to make a go of my marriage. I went no contact for 8 weeks but sent a closure email , i wanted him to see the hurt he’d caused (but i had as well). he got back in touch and there its been ever seen , wed meet once a week for coffee he’d text id hope he’d come back. when i moved to my own place it got physical again a lunch booty call for him and because he knows id crawl on the floor for him he could take it or leave it , its been 4 odd yrs of me living from week to week .But these last few months i’ve been trying to get away like a bird on a gluey branch not quite making it till i got wind from another women and my gut instinct that there’s a new women, i called him on and hes deneid it but he forgets i see the signs. so every time i feel like texting i know hes texting her i stop. he actually took me out two weeks ago and i said these 5 hrs are the longest i spent in your company , oh hed still shag me ,and that in itself drives home the fact he don’t care bout me ,her or anyone else. PLEASE PLEASE help me with this , i’m trying so hard but its the constant thinking bout him day after day, its like after all these yrs i’ve trained my brain and i cant stop, its knowing i mean fuck all to him and yet he meant everything, i know that 6 month man long gone , and really being totally on my own no contact i don’t want to do , but if any of you out there that can help i really like your advice.x

    • grace says:

      mouse
      remember how you feel now. right it down in a feelings diary and when you get the urge to contact him, read it back and tell yourself I WILL ONLY GET MORE OF THE SAME. Delete his number, block him on FB.
      The obsession I am familiar with. At it’s worse I had to take ADs for a few months. That may not be for you but counselling (for you, not couples counselling) will be beneficial IF you look for a counsellor you hit it off with and are willing to be helped and to help yourself. You’re wasting your time and money if you just complain about how you can’t do this and can’t do that (I say that with love having done the very same myself).
      14 years of being bullied is not going to leave you feeling your best (to say the least). Cut yourself a break.
      NC doesn’t mean you will be totally alone. Aren’t you alone already? NC is a time to make new friends, reconnect with old friends, see your family, take up exercise, sort out your diet, look after yourself. You make NC harder for yourself if you stay home crying and telling yourself you’ll never get over it. I cried in my sleep. The sound of it woke me up. I more than got over it and so will you.
      Sure, cry, but limit it. Put “crying time” in your calendar and spend the rest of the day doing more positive stuff.

      • Sunshine says:

        >>You make NC harder for yourself if you stay home crying and telling yourself you’ll never get over it.<<

        Yes. Tell yourself you CAN do this, you CAN accept that it's over, you CAN move on, it's totally possible, you CAN be strong.
        As a doula, one of the things I was taught is how important a mindset during birthing can be, and if a woman starts falling into, "I can't do this…" it is SO vital to redirect her mind to, "I CAN do this, I AM doing this," because it's TRUE and important to notice the REALITY of it!

        • happy beginning says:

          I take another part of Grace’s reply- “NC is a time to make new friends, reconnect with old friends, see your family, take up exercise, sort out your diet, look after yourself.”
          I’ve even moved bank accounts as part of NC and trying to love myself. I didn’t like my old irresponsible, dirty-dealing and exploitative bank but thought that i was locked in it for life and deserved no better because of my wasteful spending and poor financial management in the past. Well, I chose a better bank and it accepted me and my debts and didn’t care about my dodgy history, the point was I’d worked hard and got things in a good enough order and that was all that mattered. Sound familiar? ;) I need urgently to take that lesson into relationships.

          Mouse, I can’t add anything to the brilliant comments you have already, except to say I’ve gone to pieces with the same kind of thinking about him constantly, to the point where I walked 5 miles, came home and felt no different, still couldn’t function normally on that day. But without trying to sound glib, tomorrow is another day and a new page, and that new chapter will come as you steadily redirect your thought patterns.

  56. little mouse says:

    thankyou so much for your kind words . I have as ive tried to break free wrote a list of things i want to do to help my confidence, like sing at karoke , silly things but things id not do becauseim to scared. I go out and have made new friends and still seee my old ones ,the one thing i did do rallies and that help but hes in a band and he has started to get gigs at some of these things , i ignored him at the last one and was actually quite calm and at peace i was in my element ,he look out of place . I will not give up what i have done and love not over some ac. I have left a note on my fridge and in the mornings when the urge is strongest i read the note , it says “dont go begging from crumbs when someone eles gets the cake , stop i mean stop making a plum of yourself .YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THAT. i was under the exstreme fantasy that because he still here years later was because he cared , WRONG due to this site i woke up it was because im a option , a causaul aquaintence he can get his ego stroke and being in a band its all bout him… thankyou once again and i wish all of you happy happy lives living for you and anyone lucky to find you girls.x

  57. little mouse says:

    I had counselling when he left. and it helped she was a lovely lady and she said i choose to go there. I beeen a doormat all my life with fellas and friends i never get over breaks up well i cling on. he made sure he kept his toe in door , wed meet for coffee and kiss and cuddle he said cant do anymore im married now , what was the diff! but as soon as i got aplace of my own it got phsyical tbh i moved out thinking hed come back if i got a place of my own , and he paniced thinking fresh start for me new life so he paid me attention again he blows hot and cold. but he told me a vauge story but two women at his gigs and i smelled a rat i asked him and he said nothing . Then one of these women got in touch via fb and said she sure he seeing her mate it was like a punch in the stomach so i called him on it, he said yeh i like her i wanted somthing to happen it didnt as it not the answer , dont no why as i like her so ther was my big round hard slapp in the face for me , hes not on my fb his is open so i blocked him and went no contact for a two days . i got a text you not talking and then i take it thats a no then and then nothing. i went off for a weekend and his band there i could see him watching me and i just acted like he wernt there , but to my shame i crumbled and text him he bumped into me outside and cuddled me saying sorry for being so grumpy and i asked are you seeeing this women no he replied. well i got back and he s text but hes back to norm and bang he asks me to go away with him and he took me out one morning , im like why your not interested in me why you suddenly after all this time want me to go to gigs away, i think it was future mate faking coz he feels guilt coz he knows hes hurt me and feels bad . i know this is all bullshit , he also meant to buying a guitar of me for atiny amount of money hes got loads but hes given me a tiny amount ob so he can text me up to say he got rest, or he thinks like i know he does shell come crawling along soon enough with a hello how are you or do you still want this guitar. i hope this nxt women is the boiler type and when he gets bored she wont go quietly . I got what i derserved so read mine and take it as a warning , doing deciet you get deciet back in the end . sorry for my bad english love to you all.

    • ixnay says:

      little mouse,

      If I am following this story right, it sounds like you were married when you met him and had an affair, in part to ease getting out of your marriage. Meanwhile, he *got* married, and is still married.

      Forget about which woman on facebook might be coming to his gigs and getting his attention — he is married! He’s a serial cheater and he’s using you and anyone else he wants for ego strokes and nookie on the side and because having a secret life is fun for him and is a little “eff you” to his wife for expecting honesty and commitment.

      Can you get some counseling (there are a lot of free or low-cost options)? You have to see who he is, really. It’s not just that he hasn’t and won’t give you a real relationship, it’s that he is not a good person or a mature man. Maybe obsessing about this has protected you from feeling and dealing with all of the emotional abuse and disappointment from your marriage.

  58. little mouse says:

    Inxay
    yes you are right. i started dating when i was about 18 and the two or three relationships i had before my husband were with moody or disinterested men i chased and became a doormat the last one bf my husband i was a fwb for 6 months after he kicked me in to touch. I met my husband and moved in after a month i thought this man actually wanted me as a proper girlfriend , i was a very mellow girl travelling about the country and time with him soon reduced me to a lack off self confidence. he was very critical and i was a mousey looking dumpling, he knew how to upset , with comments like “run along little girl” or the silent treatment after a row or when i bought stuff up. i got angry and when we row i would shout to stop a row he spat in my face on two occasions and the resentment inside burned , he is a very strong man and used to fight alot in his youth but stopped all that when he met me . he ha spushed me over a couple of times , i had two children with him but nothing i did was good enough i worked and worked part time , i kept a clean house and stayed at home , the last straw was during a row he knelt on my arms in front of the kids , i hid behind a curtain in front room as i didnt want the kids to see me cry , it was little while after , i got talking to mm. he had been having a affair with my friend it had eneded and he talke d to me about it i just then saw him as a friend but over the months he text all day every day he got to me he cracked the nut and the affair started even tho i see him dump my friend , i make no exscuses for my behaviour i hated my husband and i was angry and i wanted loving so i threw it all out window, the mm decalred he loved me said i was the only girl he cried over all the usually suck u in and spit u out stuff and because this was all new to me i sucked it all in. but of course he tired of keeping this up and got shot of me and demoted me to MATE gradually over the years he knows how i feel . all that the girls above have replied is THE TRUTH and i must act abone it , i have got slighty better i did meet a single man a yr ago but he wwanted a hook up and i cut contact quick as i didnt want to go chasing down same path , i got over him real quick and am now friends with him and the girl he wont admit to seeing.lol so where am i , well im waking up as i read the advice here and all the questions my crazy…

  59. little mouse says:

    mind had been answered. i havent heard from him since fri , he doesnt even bother to finish a text conversation with me, i never text him he texts me . but normally i start to wobble is it me have i done somthing to upset him no cynth hes found some one new to chase and get his ego stroke she to has now left her marraige or so i told so thats three broken marragiges to his credit whilst his carries on. but if i look at it im just pissed he rather be with her than me , at least now im admitting the truth and looking at my part in it. i cant do friends with him it hurts to much. i hate the fact i go week to week if i hear , whilst he doesnt even give me time of day what with work bands etc asy for him to forget. im trying to fill my life up with other stuff im scared ill never feel what i did with him ever again with someone eles . But im clinging on to a big nothing and i gotta let go , i know i should block him on fb but does that look like it bothers me or just carry on like he nothing to me.

  60. Lisa Jo says:

    Why is it that some men are so good at what they do? I went from being a stable classy woman with a good self esteem and morals to having something short of a breakdown over this one man. I still shake my head wondering what happened. Baggage Reclaim is “always” right about my” responsibility in this whole thing. I should have not had SEX with him!!! That is the mistake and always is always the mistake with these guys! Sex is the power and it is what we give them sometimes so easily, or even if not once the prize is taken or we fall for them they are done with the challenge of it all. Then it becomes either a fallback girl for his lonely days or NEXT!!. To me giving him sex was like giving him my soul and that is what killed me and will ALWAYS kill me, because he took it and used it and it mean NOTHING to him except power and games. I played don’t get me wrong, but my motives were love, not sex. It was never sex. Sex is special, sex is precious and sex is supposed to be love. I will never make that mistake again. Never! I love you Nat

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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