When I spoke with the owner of a restaurant about my inedible main and dessert recently, he proceeded to focus on me not having spoken to him sooner about it, at which point I had to question whether there was a statute of limitations on expressing concern or unhappiness, especially when the dessert had only been taken away minutes before. This got me thinking: Why is it that people who are in the wrong or at fault, seek to find fault with you instead of addressing the issue? Why is it that when we raise issues with certain types of people and attempt to engage them in a dialogue, do they want to focus on talking about why they take issue with you bringing up the issue?

If you had a problem with me crossing your boundaries, you should have told me before! says the wolf

It reminds me of a few people from my past. I’d raise an issue and be told that I should have brought it up sooner or at the time. I hadn’t waited months or years – it was hours, days or yes weeks if we hadn’t seen each other and in some circumstances, me not saying anything stemmed from me originally having given him/her the benefit of the doubt. I’d then go for punctual and be told that I was being oversensitive or ruining the moment… I’d try for somewhere in between and be picked up on the way in which I approached it or was told that it was difficult to address something after the event had passed. And I kid you not when one person claimed that if this was the type of thing that bothered me, I should have let them know in advance as if I was some sort of Mystic Meg or I should have known that they might insult me or do me over.  Even writing it has me feeling as if I’m going through mind effery!

The aim of discussing the fact that you’re raising a discussion or even going on the defense with you and starting a conflict over it, is to deflect from the real issue.

If no time seems like a good time and no matter when or how you approach things, the issue isn’t truly addressed or resolved, you’re dealing with somebody who’s a discussion, accountability, and responsibility dodger. They’d sooner make a victim out of themselves or pull you apart before they’d get on a level with you and own up or be curious enough to learn something from their interactions. If you see this attitude for what it is, you won’t kowtow to them but if you don’t see it, you’ll end up being riddled with self-doubt and taking ownership of their feelings and behaviour while ignoring your own feelings and thoughts on the issue.

Whether you’re complaining about food or raising the question as to the whereabouts of someone’s decency, ‘discussion dodgers’ have some weak, BS lines.

Everybody else’s meals were wonderful. This is similar to the ‘No ex girlfriend or boyfriend has ever had an issue with how I treated them.’ Or ‘It must be you because nobody else has a problem with how I _______.’

As I pointed out to the owner, that’s entirely irrelevant plus he didn’t know that what he was stating was the case, especially because neither meal was what was stated on the menu…. I happened to be the person who was speaking up but regardless, even if their meals were beyond perfection, mine wasn’t and that’s not my fault.  They had taken an almost full plate of food without question. Equally, it’s beyond shady for a person to claim that it must be you why they’ve mistreated you or to imply or state that it’s in your imagination or that you’re ‘too sensitive’. Code red alert! You can’t own their behaviour and please don’t. People say stuff like this because they hope that you’ll believe them and second guess yourself. It’s to chop at you and unseat you. The truth is very different to their version of events! Believe.

We’ve taken over this place with all of these bookings that weren’t ours. He also proceeded to say how he was essentially going to remove every trace of Greece (and no doubt the goodwill too) which as I pointed out to him, is a bit like me buying a Jerk chicken restaurant that promises live calypso music and then bitching about all of the customers who turn up expecting the Jamaican experience they’ve paid for in advance and being given pie and chips and rock music. This is similar to the ‘I’m sorry that you feel that way but you know my situation / it’s not my fault. I’ve been really busy at work, I haven’t got any clean drawers, I’ve got a lot on my mind, I told you that I wasn’t ready for a relationship…’ and yada yada yada.

I’ve heard from so many BR readers who have been perplexed by the reluctance of a person who has essentially promised them the sun, moon, and stars via Future Faking and Fast Forwarding, to not only discuss the whereabouts of the said promises but who then start claiming that it’s too hard or that they’re not over their ex, or even that surely they must have realised that they didn’t mean it or that they couldn’t provide it.

Some will even turn the tables on you and suddenly have a list of grievances so that you forget the issue that you’ve raised or convince yourself that their grievances are the reason for what they’ve done and shazam, job done. Of course we forget how ridiculous it is for them to have a grievance list while picking us about the timing or approach….

What someone who goes on the attack when you attempt to engage them on an issue and communicate concerns does, is raise a serious question mark over your freedom of expression as well as the accountability and responsibility within that relationship / interaction.  They’re also relying on you being willing to be a blame absorber and/or being intimidated by their reaction and if you decline and only own your own behaviour, they realise which way the land lies and either grudgingly own up and/or go off and find a new target.

What someone who latches onto your approach or timing about a discussion forgets is that even if there is something that you could do differently next time round (we’re all learning here after all in the on-the-job training that is life), yours is in the moment, theirs has already happened, hence your approach / timing bears no relevance to the issue at hand and they’re not going to learn a thing or improve the situation by doing what amounts to acting like there is no issue unless they say that there is. You can note what they’ve said but it doesn’t negate the necessity or validity of the raising the actual issue at hand. You’re telling them now and it’s all very well them speculating on what might have been if you’d done things in the way that they claim (distraction alert) but that’s like you speculating about them having never done it in the first place! It’s happened! Let’s get on with the business of addressing that.

Your thoughts?

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

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


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166 Responses to Discussion Dodgers: When you try to raise an issue and the person finds fault with your timing or approach instead of addressing the issue at hand

  1. Tracy says:

    I work with an idiot who constantly deflects. We are teachers, he’s on my ‘team’, and he does NOTHING with the kids. He doesn’t see them when he’s supposed to, he spent the first two months of school hunched over the computer in his room pretending to work, and when he does take kids he sits at the table, the run around the room, and he’s checking his phone.

    But when you call him on it, he immediately comes up with a list of all the accusers “transgressions” (some of which are so lame that once our assistant principal started laughing at him). After four years on staff he claims ‘no one’ will help him, so he doesn’t know what to do. WTF? They guy claims to have 15 years of experience, and he doesn’t know what to do? Then, if push comes to shove, he calls in the union.

    Point is, no matter what you do to try to make the situation better, he refuses to accept that HE is the problem and needs to make changes. He would rather blame others, claim that he gets no help, blah, blah, blah, put on the ‘poor pitiful me’ routine OR turn it around and get so nasty that people back off. Sad thing is, it has worked for him for nearly four years!

  2. gruvee says:

    Going through this with my roommate.
    It’s exhausting and frustrating to no end.
    :S

  3. Magnolia says:

    I’ve only seen my brother three or four times, for one or two days at a time, over the past couple of years because I live out West and he’s in Ontario. But on each of those times, in the past couple years, he’s said something to me in a really mean tone. Each time hurt. The first couple times I didn’t say anything. The last time happened when he came out West for my graduation.

    I am now home and yesterday I invited my brother to coffee and brought it up with him. “The last few times I’ve seen you, at least once, you’ve snapped at me and said something really mean.”

    He knew and he owned it immediately. “I know,” he said. “I’m sorry.” He did do a fair bit of explaining, blaming it on his work environment turning him into an asshole, but did not disagree with me and did not call me “too sensitive” (as both he and my dad might have done years ago when we all lived in the same house). He says he intends to leave his work. I’ll believe that when I see it. There are a lot of circumstances going into what has been turning him into a generally pissier person – work might not be the only thing – but at least he acknowledged the change in his behaviour and what the new reality was (he didn’t try to claim that because he used to treat me better before, that I needed to remember that). It was good for our relationship that he didn’t give me the all-too-common denial thing Natalie describes here.

    Every now and then we get some reinforcement about how things work between emotionally available adults. I waited until a time to be able to sit down and talk calmly to bring up this issue with my brother, and not once did he complain about the timing of me doing so. If anything, I think we both were able to discuss things better by waiting until we had a bit of time to talk and I had time to consider my approach.

    • Tracy says:

      Magnolia, I’ve been having the same kinds of issues with my brother. We are very close in age, less than a year. He has been my go-to guy most of my life. Yet in the last couple of years he has morphed into a, as we say in the US, DICK. The only time he confides in me, opens up to me, let’s me know he’s hurting, confused, etc. is when he’s drunk. I’m glad you’ve opened up some sort of gate with your brother. Siblings are invaluable…they know stuff about us no one else knows, they (sometimes) can see why you think the way you do (even if they don’t agree with it). Being on the outs with siblings is worse than breakups, I think.

      • Em says:

        I can relate! I have always confided in my brother but lately he has turned on me and throws me under the bus when I am not present.(we have always been close but had a falling out 2 years ago…but I apologized even though he attacked me) This hurts beyond hurt of any kind! I feel like I am without family and acceptance for who I am. My father is a narcissist who constantly creates division. He never approves And we are constantly walking on eggshells around him….No spiritual bonds left in our family. I refuse to go home for Christmas because of the underlying bitterness and contempt. I will spend Christmas alone :( but better in peace than in abusive conflict among a sick dynamic called Narcissism and verbal abuse.

    • Allison says:

      Magnolia,

      Good for you!

      I’m sure there will be more positive changes in your relationship.

  4. Elisabeth says:

    I do this sometimes and am trying to stop. In the moment it seems like a legitimate reaction, but when I reflect on it I understand it is me being defensive and not wanting to admit problems I have or my relationship has. It also effectively silences my partner, which is not good for him. I’m trying to change this ingrained behaviour and hope I can because I value my current relationship so much.

  5. L says:

    Oh my, I so can relate to this post. I still remember the day I raised the issue for the first time: “you see.. When I send you a text or email and you don’t answer for days or weeks and then you reappear again out of the blue and fresh as a cucumber… I feel like you’re ignoring me and I wonder if you like being treated that way, but I don’t.”

    So I was able to say this and then the wrath of her fell in me:

    “You’re so sensitive, why do you even try to analyse me? I’m so sad about this that I will not say anything else.”

    I swear she said that.
    I was so astonished. But mainly, I was silly in love (I though that was love anyway) and I kept justifying her for some months: she’s not sure, she’s never been with a girl before blablabla.

    Yes, she messed up with me for 2 years and a half, but that was because I let her. Thank goodness I woke up in time and now I have Baggage Reclaim, which is the best medicine ever!

    No more bullsh*t! No more excuses!

  6. colororange says:

    So you described most the people in my family and surroundings including work and the general public.

    • Em says:

      Self respecting boundaries will help you…peace, strength and HELL YES!!! Get mad and then stand firm with a big loving heart…you deserve love from inside your being (God’s love)! We all are unique and worthy!

  7. Tinkerbell says:

    Now, this is irony if I ever saw it. I’m currently reading “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft which deals with abuse. As we know there are MANY forms of abuse. I never knew that what Nat describes in this post is actually abuse. You are roughly criticized for bring up a topic the listener does not want to hear about. If he raises his voice he is even more abusive in that he is using your behavior (your words or perhaps a complaint) as an excuse for his own behavior. You’re feelings are not important and you’re being disrespected.

    Now, I have not dealt with this situation in many, many years, but since I bought the book ages ago I decided to read it. In doing so, I discovered that some of examples of abuse described I was able to attribute to my wonderfully kind, loving second husband as well as my first husband. Never would I have matched my second husband with abusive ways. Then I started to think that it was unconsciously a pattern as my first husband was the devil personified. Jeez! It’s scary. A woman (or man) can be a victim of abuse and not even recognize it as such especially when it is very difficult to detect. The examples definitely match some of the stories on this blog. Natalie is always on the ball, on top of her game. I think as so many of us learn to love ourselves, fewer of us will be accepting this type of behavior from our spouses, bf’s, bosses, coworkers, family members, etc. When we love ourselves we are able to find our voices to deal with being berated, and unnecesarily criticized for a minor infraction. Even if the issue is a major one, there are ways to express oneself without resorting to abuse. Years ago, I used to think I could not and would not express anything that the other person considered negative or contrary to his/her beliefs. I was very reluctant to disagree because I didn’t feel I had the right. As I’ve grown and developed more self esteem I’ve become more confident and articulate in maintaining my boundaries, and speaking up when I feel I need to do so.

    • Einstien says:

      Tink,

      That was a good book. I know the first step in my own healing (breaking free) was in realizing that I was being emotionally abused. What was more comforting was the fact that my emotional responses to that abuse were predictable, normal, typical and expected. I finally had the feeling that there were people out there that understood. That was such a TREMENDOUS help.

      Also an eye opener was an excerpt of George K. Simon’s book, A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing – it’s on the net. He talks about covert aggression….the kind where you get the sense you’re being had, but can’t point to anything concrete. I recommend that for everyone.

      And of course Natalie, who calls it the way it is and convinces us to do the same.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Einstein,

        I’ve read “In Sheep’s Clothing”, also. Back when I was involved with the MM I felt many times that that was who he was. When I ended that relationship I went on my own personal crusade to “get well”. This consisted of finding a therapist with whom we do CBT, avidly reading Natalie’s blog and her excellent books and lastly a host of psychological books. It all has helped me tremendously but I still have more work to do. In order to improve self esteem and end self-defeating interactions with others, it requires delving down into many layers of malfunction. It takes time. But I feel 100% better than I did 3 years ago. I really was a mess, then.I only started to read the book because my first husband was mentally and physically quite abusive. My self image took a dive from there. My second husband was kind, loving, but overprotective. He didn’t allow me to be my own person. As I’ve been learning from the book, that, too is a form of abuse when you are being subjugated from living your own life during marriage. He seemed to feel that as his wife I was supposedly to be totally selfless with no aspirations of my own, but to depend solely upon him for everything. Eventually, he passed away due to illness. Excepting the one MM experience, I’ve been pretty much on my own, living my life with freedom and very little aggravation. I never thought this could be my life. I’m enjoying making my own choices and decisions.

    • Kadija says:

      Tinkerbell
      Thanks for your reply, I have now blocked my bf from contacting my fone, I don’t understand how someone can say so much nice things yet their actions don’t match their words. yesterday he text me saying he is not feeling well, I didn’t reply as there is nothing much I can say.
      when im ill my son has to take me to the doctors, he doesn’t care and sometimes saying im just being dramatic to get attention. yet he says he loves me and cannot live wthout me…
      I have 4 grown up kids by my ex husband, none of my kids think he is a good person for me, I see the more I try to make the relationship work, the more he makes a fool of things. he will say im too controlling, too needy, too dramatic, last month he even said his mum told him I need to see a psychologist, they seem to think im crazy?? yet I run a good business, work hard, got everything in order and have raised my kids as a single mum.
      My boyfriend was married with 1 child and his wife divorced him after 10yrs, I had a chat with her a few months ago and she told me he treated her the same way, she was feeling very depressed and had to see a psychologist and she left him and shes now married someone else and is happy.
      yet my boyfriend would blame his ex wife saying she was a cheater and that he did everything for her yet she cheated on him….
      My kids and family have witness how much effort ive given to try and make the relationship work, last year I built a new house, he didn’t help me at all, he just moved in once things was ready, when I ask him for a little financial help he is always broke. we were living together yet not once did I see any of my boyfriends payslips or bank papers, he hides everything so I don’t know his financial position, I pay most of the bills and shopping.
      I have to practically beg him to contribute a little at home. our sex life has gone, I really don’t feel intimate towards him for quite sometime now, cause most of the times we are having problems and I feel tired and down.
      sorry about the long reply, I just feel better lifting these things off my chest.

      • Allison says:

        Kadija,

        Sounds like an emotionally abusive user.

        No woman should ever support a man or put up with this crap!

  8. Kadija says:

    My boyfriend of 5yrs dodges everything. the last episode was yesterday, last week I talk to him about us going xmas shopping yesterday, he was suppose to be off work, he agreed and said he will get paid this Tuesday and he will deff take time for us to go shopping, to my disappointment he didn’t tell me anything but put his name down for overtime at work on tuesday, when I said that he promised for us to spend yesterday together, he turned the table on me, said he had got paid since last week and his cash is running low, yet he said hes getting paid this week, then he turns round and blame me for not being understanding when I ask him why he lies to me, he gave me the silent treatment and has not called or text me since yesterday. he does that everytime I confront him about an issue, like he is punishing me for raising my concerns
    My boyfriend has always been like this, I get blame for being unreasonable when I discovered that he is lying to me or cant keep promises. He dodges every discussions about the relationship, anytime I try talking to him about a concern he will just stare at me blankly not say a word or shift the blame on me and walk out, like im harassing him, its come to a point that I don’t know how to handle this situation anymore, everytime I raise an issue he gets annoyed and give me the silent treatment for days or weeks, no text no calls from him. yet when we make up he wil say how much hes missed me and that he loves me so much,,,bla blah.

    its come to a point that Im scared to express how I feel, or to talk to him about any concerns, I would rather confide in a friend than in him.

    he will blame me for everything, he lies to me and when I confront him he makes joke out of me, that im too sensitive that is why my ex husband divorced me, my other exs couldn’t cope with my demands, that im too needy, the list goes on… saying im playing detective on him and so on…. we lived together but he doesn’t share any of his personal plans or details with me, now hes moved back to his mums, saying its better cause I don’t trust him??we meet once or twice a week and I don’t like this arrangement but cant say much how I feel.
    It is so frustrating and I don’t see any changes, I feel down most of the time, we are both in our 40s. I find that instead of the relationship moving forward we keep going backwards yet he keeps saying he love me and misses me?
    any advice please will be much appreciated.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Kadija,

      He’s an abuser, sorry to say. You should read the book I’ve mentioned. But, for goodness sakes don’t let him see it. It’s for YOU to learn how to either cope or leave.

      • Allison says:

        Kadija,

        I agree! He’s abusive!

        He lies, disrespects, and takes no responsibility! Why are you staying in this madness?

        Get out!

        • Lorraine says:

          Kadija,
          This sounds like such typical EUM behavior. They deflect, shut down, dodge giving answers with everything pertaining to a relationship and all that goes along with one. This is how they “train” us not to object to or question their behavior.

          Things will go smoothly as long as you do everything on their terms. Discussions about where your relationship is going, etc.will never get anywhere. They are unable to commit to anything, not even a promise to go Christmas shopping.

          I don’t want to make you feel sad, but don’t expect anything to change here. Know with certainty that five years from now, nothing will be any different than they are today if you stay with him.

          That being said, I know how damn hard it is to walk away. What is it about these men that get our hearts so tied up in knots? It was five years for me too. Same story as yours. I recently found out he was seeing the ex (baby mama) and walked away. That was two months ago and I’ve gotten calls, texts just like you… “I love you, I miss you”. I didn’t respond and thought maybe finally I was strong and wouldnt hear from him again.

          Two days ago he showed up while I was running. WEASEL! I haven’t spoken to or seen him in two months and then there he was. He caught me totally off guard. Hugged me for what seemed an eternity. Small talk about running. I finished my run with him trailing behind me. My emotions were so mixed. My head and heart twisted in knots all over again. There was no talk about us, what happened, nothing. I said goodbye and went home feeling empty…again.

          I was getting there and now I’m crying again. Is he trying to press the reset button? Slowly making his way back into my life?

          Anyway, Kadija, get rid of him, anyway you can. You’ll be writing your same story only ten years will have passed. I wish I knew how to end this torture for all of us.

          • Allison says:

            Loraine,

            Next time you see him, continue on your way.

            You make it harder on yourself by allowing hugging, convo etc….

            Ignore this man and block communication. This man has really disrespected and hurt you!

            • Lorraine says:

              Allison,
              When I saw him coming my way, my intention was to just keep running past him. He blocked me. He stopped me. You have no idea how strong I was feeling until that moment. Why do they do this? It’s like, oh I haven’t f*cked her head up enough, let me make sure… Then the small talk me about my home and is it all beautifully decorated for Christmas?

              For a second that day, I felt, oh this is it, he’s seen the light. He’s going to call and
              break my door down trying to show me how much he really loves and misses me, yada, yada…
              Haven’t seen or heard from him since Monday. So typical. And blocking won’t change a thing. We live on the same block. If he wants to run into me, he will. SUCKS!
              It’s up to me. Next time, I smile, have a nice day and keep it moving…

              You have no idea how much you and the posters on this site are giving me strength.
              Thank you all,
              Lorraine

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Lorraine,

                Blocking your physical movement is abusive, regardless of whatever else he does or does not do. Having a relationship with someone on your block is too close for comfort when it all goes south.

    • Elgie R. says:

      Oh, Kadija, you’re not crazy, or too needy, or unable to trust. Your issue is that you’ve never had anyone actually work on a relationship *with* you. It’s like you are trying to build a shed, and you show up with your planks of wood, nails, hammer, level, measuring tape….and the guy who is supposed to help you won’t even bring a saw. Then they make you think you’re crazy for asking them “Where’s the saw?”

      Please don’t be a booty call for this man.

      He also is trying to make you feel desperate by saying you “always” make men leave you because of your “demands”. That is total BS. He wants to use your fear of being ‘alone and forever unlovable’ as his hold on you.

      For some reason, your post really touched me inside. I can so feel your confusion and disappointment. You just want a partner who wants what you want, and you have not found him.

      In my twenties I dated a guy who was fun, but we had several discussions like the ones you stated. I finally said to him, “You’re nice, and fun, but I can’t seem to have a focused conversation with you, so this is not working out.”

      Stop doubting yourself, OK?

    • Einstien says:

      People that love you and miss you don’t treat you like that.

      He’s saying and doing as little as he has to say and do to keep you around.

      The guy is a user….it’s all about him. He has no more concern for your emotional well-being than a fly on the wall.

      You have two choices. Stay where you are, miserable and lonely, and learn how to suck it up – because it is NEVER going to change. Two, cut your losses and allow your life to move toward happiness.

      I started over at 52. Took a while, but I’ve got my peace of mind back. Happy and content is a wonderful place to be — just do it.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Kadija,

        Please put an end to the madness you are undergoing. There are no rewards for being a victim. There are no medals for a doormat. You need to put him out and get a restraining order because he is abusing you, for sure. You are too smart and accomplished to be sucking up his refusal to treat you as a partner and with decency. Why do you need this? Please take steps to get free from this user/abuser. Nothing good will come of it.

  9. lawrence says:

    Hi, Natalie -

    You’re raising a couple of related issues, I think. One of them is dissected in one of my favorite relationship books, Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum. She calls it “Off-the-table-itis,” which is the practice of preventing the discussion of important relationship issues through a variety of means, including the tactics you’ve outlined here.

    The other issue relates to the practice of “deflection” – the strategy of distracting from the other person’s points rather than engaging those points – which falls under the more general philosophic/rhetorical category. That’s what your ill-mannered restauranteur was employing, and I was happy to see you use the word “deflect.”

    But “deflection” – or the basic tactic of behaving dishonestly in a discussion by avoiding an engagement with the other person’s points – is, I think, the basic genus of which “off-the-table-itis” as well your “future faking/fast forwarding,” are species. The ways that we’re dishonest in a relationship can be (and probably often are) manifestations of how we’re dishonest in general life. That’s why it’s so hard to have a good relationship if you’re not basically an honest and good person. :)

  10. Glenna says:

    Have you been hiding in my living room for the last 25 years? This describes discussions at my house so well I can’t believe it! And where have I been?

  11. Dianne Levi says:

    Going through this with the man I’ve been seeing. He never answers a direction question about what my role is in his Life. Says he loves me, but keeps me at arm’s length.

    • Karen says:

      I noticed with my ex, the shittier I treated her, the nicer and more concilatory she would become.
      So I had a choice- be nice and get abused, or be a bitch and be abusive. My choice? Neither. I dumped and am now No Contact.

  12. Maeve says:

    I can relate to this. I broke off friendly relations with someone who couldn’t admit her responsibility in a situation that was bad for me. I couldn’t deal with the denial. She subsequently became defensive and hurt when I cut things off. She’s the type to put on a happy face and complain behind closed doors, so she wasn’t comfortable with the confrontation, despite my diplomacy.

    I’ve become pretty good at admitting my fault in things and apologizing, so I expect it in others. I consider it a humongous red flag when someone brushes my feelings off.

  13. Tera says:

    Thanks, Natalie, for this post. Yes, there are deflectors out there. And these deflectors can really turn on the rage if it is even suggested that they have some “splaining” to do. Readers, if you discover you have MANY people like this in your life (as there used to be in mine), it is up to you, the designated scapegoat, to do some serious homework. In my case, I grew up with family members who had narcissistic overtones. So I was used to having to earn love, taking blame, do much and expect little. Naturally, when I ventured out into the world, I would not run from people who exhibited these traits because it seemed rather “normal.” If this sounds like you, get thee hence to a therapist. Such people are since gone from my life and I am a different person today. Zero tolerance!

    • edy says:

      Tera, I can so relate to you. I am just now realizing that my mother has narcissitic traits, if not fully NPD. I was wondering why all my life I was attracting men that were also narcissists. And none of my relationships have worked out. They love deflecting and shifting blame. Never anything their fault.

      • Sophie says:

        I agree, I think that deflection and blame shifting is really a core narcissistic trait. Nothing seems to stick to them and then everything is projected back to you. I’ve also had a pattern of being attracted to men with narcissistic tendencies and feeling ok with taking the fall for other people’s bad behaviour. Easily letting myself be fooled into believing that things are my fault – I’m too inquisitive, analytical, a ‘debbie downer’, have too high expectations of people, etc etc.

        When I think back to the discussions with the ex AC, I felt like my mind had been put in a blender most of the time. It was crazy making. I raised an issue about his anger and he became self-absorbed – “I raise my voice with my child too, so don’t feel badly that I do this with you too” (maybe you should stop doing this with both of us?) and by saying this trying to make it sound like I should be happy that I was as close and important to him as his child. Important enough to be yelled at! Or he would complain that I asked too many questions which he had no answers for, or he would suddenly and out of the blue threaten to stop talking to me again and block me from his phone when a difficult conversation got too much for him. Or if I asked him about one of his harem of woman ‘friends’, he would say that he doesn’t get angry if I have male friends (um, yes, because my male friends don’t send me photos of themselves without their shirts on!)

        This nonsense went on and on, over and over for 4 years. How I wish that I had known about baggage reclaim then.

        Even in our last communication, where he happily told me about his new girlfriend – after telling me a few weeks before about his plans to move in together and try for a baby – he quickly told me that he never wants to speak to me after I expressed concern about how problematic and hurtful his actions were. He even swiftly tried to make cheating on me my fault.

        And gosh, this time did he ever get his wish not to speak to me again! I feel tons better stopping contact with him – my mind feels clear and less anxious from not having to deal with the crazy-making deflections and constant blame shifting. I didn’t realize what an irritating person he is until after going no contact. This is a huge shift too – to see his behaviour as irritating rather than blaming myself and thinking that something is wrong with me or believing that I was crazy for not understanding him properly.

        I think that blame shifting, deflection, and all the other pieces of the narcissist’s arsenal are just meant to drive people barmy. They just sound like broken records after a while. We all deserve so much better than having to take the blame for someone else’s bad behaviour.

      • Elgie R. says:

        Edy, Tera, Sophie….I read your posts and thought I had written them….it is so much my life!

        I got some thinking to do.

  14. Elgie R. says:

    Oh so true what you say, Miss Natalie. Fielding “deflecting and misdirecting behavior” has been instrumental in my self-growth.

    I knew something did not feel right when an EUM single man rejected my $12 gift of closet hangers. I told him he did not have to feel bad that he had no gift for me, he had mentioned how jammed his closet was, and me (being Queen of codependency) got him some hangers….I told him ‘You can feck me but you can’t accept hangers…?…that makes me feel bad.’ He said “I’m sorry you feel bad.” Ouch. Or when the NPD gum-popping coworker said to my request that she stop popping gum “Well, I don’t like your laugh!”.

    Both occasions left me feeling unsettled. And in a roundabout way they brought me to BR.

    Today, I would say to the EUM that “You can’t be sorry for how I feel. You can be sorry for not being gracious enough to accept a gift. You can be sorry that you are churlishly inclined.”

    Today, I would say to the NPD ….well, actually, I am happy the way I handled that at the time. I let that comment pass, I did stay on point and told her it was her choice on how considerate she wants to be of her coworkers. Since then, she and I have had a year-long cold-war going on. Just recently she and I were alone in a stairwell, passed each other without speaking…then I turned around and asked her “Jerri, is there a REASON why we do not speak to each other?” She said with irritation “You know what…YOU stopped speaking to ME!” I just looked at her, turned and walked away. I realize that NPDs never feel responsible for any part of a negative situation…and the best I can do is continue to disengage. I felt if she really wanted to end the cold war, that would have been the moment to do it.

    BR is helping me be My-Self in non-romantic relationships. I am acting as General Contractor on a work project. Coworker B is responsible for B…today I asked for an update on issue “B”, he responded with unanswered questions about issue “C”. I felt a slight miff, thinking “who’s running this show – that’s right, ME”…but I responded with, yes those “C” questions exist, but they are not showstoppers, but the answers to issue “B” are essential to know our direction….can you give me the answers to issue “B” please. Crickets. The work day has ended and I am still waiting on a response.

  15. LadyL says:

    This post hit very close to home. I’ve had this experience with two “friends” in the last three months…TOTAL deflectors. I have to realize that these people are NOT my friends. Complete narcissists. I’m done. My blood is boiling right now just thinking about it.

  16. OMG! I almost ripped ExFriend’s lungs out over “You’re the only one who has a problem, therefore there is no problem” last week. We chair a committee together (Also a teacher). His now-ex, also on the committee, was acting a damned fool in front of the whole staff, in the committee’s name, and costing us money we don’t have to boot. I didn’t realize at the time that she was also breaking the law. [Abridged version of background plus update: She continues to defame me, because now it must be my fault that he broke up with her, when previously it was my fault that he wouldn't commit, and of course at first, when I was literally curled up in a ball trying to deal with cancer and the infertility the treatment caused and his emotional abuse for breaking our best friend contract by actually needing him to be a decent human being, it was my fault she wasn't getting enough attention. I blame him for his actions, but for her lies and manipulations I hope she steps on a lego every day of her natural life.] I told him he needed to deal with it, or I would.

    He started a whole big bullshit thing about how this was personal and there’s no problem and I’m the only one with the issue, blah, blah, blah. !@#$%^&! Really? If I have a problem, and I am co-chair of the committee, and I say something isn’t right, and I give you the courtesy of letting you handle it gently, then at least one person has a problem. So, there is, by definition, a m-f-ing problem.

    Turns out she didn’t ‘have it handled,” and there was a whole kerfuffle. Laws were broken. Lies were told. When he realized that she was costing us about 4x our total annual budget he finally confronted her. Then she set other members of staff against him for picking on her, said I ambushed her by asking a question in a meeting (The question: Why does the price of this item keep changing?), and went behind his back and over both of our heads to the principal and the assistant superintendent to try to get the committee’s verdict on how to repair this issue changed. For a day, he was mad. Now, it is back to no big deal and I made a mountain of a molehill because I personally hate her, and she’s really well-meaning so I should give her some leeway and again I am the only one who ever had a problem. Dude. FEDERAL LAWS and POSSIBLE BANKRUPTCY OF THE PROGRAM.

    But, even if that had not been the case, me having a problem indicates there’s a problem. And other people failing to voice their concerns doesn’t mean they don’t have them.

    I went home and made emotional invalidation bingo cards that night. Next time he pulls this stuff, I want to throw down a bingo card, say that I have bingo and walk out. If nothing else, it will let him see how predictable he is.

  17. tiffrbug says:

    Your timing is perfect. I dealt with a situation like this over Thanksgiving! I was discussing possibly making amends with a friend who I had ended a relationship with last holidays (ironically, over boundary busting behaviors). The person I was discussing this with decided to tell the former friend I was going to call them! I told her this was unacceptable because I had never said that, and it was up to me to run my own life. She proceeded to tell me that it was my fault for mentioning the topic. Really? I then tried to make peace and she continued to place the blame on me. How ridiculous! Why do people feel the need to run other peoples’ lives and yet they take no accountability for their own? Do these people really think I would want to live my life similar to theirs? They have no ability to look in the damn mirror. It’s a bunch of toxic B.S. and it’s suffocating. Can I meet more self-aware and healthy people please?

  18. Allison says:

    “one person claimed that if this was the type of thing that bothered me, I should have let them know in advance” LOL!!!!!!

  19. Care_78 says:

    I spent 8 years in this type of relationship/situation. I’ve been no contact for almost 3-weeks now. I’m very sad and hurt, considering I did so much for him and he tossed me away like a piece of trash. I was always blamed for everything and would end up defending myself until I was blue in the face, when it should have been him feeling bad and apologizing to ME. I wrote him a letter before I moved out and actually listed what he did wrong in bullet points … yes I really did this, because the blame of everything had been shifted on me I was determined to get him to see why he was in the wrong. It didn’t work. The only thing I got was that he knows he has issues, but mine are worse … and that he accepts his contributions but not his faults. What that means I don’t even know. If he ever had to admit fault for anything he was always sure to bring something up I did, even if it was from 4 years ago. There were times he wouldn’t apologize unless I did and I wouldn’t even know what I’d be apologizing for! He has a VERY hard time with being wrong, even his friends know this. And stubborn is an understatement. During one of our breakups I passed by his brothers place b/c his girlfriend had wanted to see me. I passed by for only a short time. He had been at work so I knew I wouldn’t run into him. His family was always so nice to me. His brother once told me that I was so good to him and that he was such a jerk to me. Anyway, he ended up finding out from one of his friends that I was there and b/c his brother didn’t tell him first … and b/c his brother told him he wasn’t his parole officer and that he didn’t need to ask him who he could have over, my ex got into an argument with him and cut him off for an entire year! I felt so bad about it. I felt like it was my fault for going there. It was because his brother didn’t see things the way he did and actually stood up to him that he got cut off. He can’t, or refuses, to see anyone’s point of view besides his own. I can’t tell you how draining this was. How drained I still am for being blamed for anything and everything. I feel like he sucked the life right out of me. My best friend told me the other day that she’s sad b/c she sees me as a shell of my former self. It’s heartbreaking b/c my self-esteem took a beating, I was rejected by him, and I was left with him telling me I did all of this (the breakup) and that I really need to fix myself, that he’s never been more sure of anything in his life. So he gets to walk away without taking any responsibility or feeling any guilt for hurting someone who has ALWAYS had his back … while I’m left trying to put the pieces of my life back together again.

    • Stephanie says:

      Care_78,

      Don’t change being the person that you are, but understand that you must be careful whose back you have! Not everybody is worth you having their back and ask yourself if they would have your back in the same situation? If you say he threw you away like trash, you got your answer. It gets better and you will find someone who will appreciate you and also have your back in process. Cheer up!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Care78,

      What you should be feeling is relief. I know it must be hard to get over someone that you spent so much time with, but you must try to see the bigger picture. He was not going to change. It’s nearly impossible to have a peaceful, ongoing relationship with someone who considers themselves perfect. As soon as your mind runs onto him, remember that you don’t have to tolerate his craziness anymore.

      • Care_78 says:

        Thanks Steph & Tink! I’m still trying to navigate my way through the pain and hurt he has left me with. The way he ended things was downright awful, no communication, just blame (on me of course). I just don’t understand why he’d move me into his apartment (after I just leased my condo out for a year for us to move forward), only to not be willing to work on an issue, and want to break-up a month later. He didn’t even feel bad about it! He refused to talk to me about any of it.I went there one night (a couple days before the move actually happened) to try and get some closure, but he wouldn’t hear me out. Just kept telling me to leave him alone and would turn the volume up on the TV so that he didn’t need to listen to me. I’m having a hard time letting go. The pain is intense!

        • LovefromNel says:

          Care78 – I can empathise with you and your situation. When I confronted the EUM about his dodgy behaviour, I got a response saying ‘you’re making me feel like I’ve done something wrong’. Instead of saying, errr you have(!), I immediately though he was right, and it was all my fault and my overactive imagination had been thinking too much about things. So what did I do – I backtracked of course and apologised! And then sent another text in the morning! And then dropped around a present for his dog! Ridiculous! And I was just ignored, ignored, ignored. And that is the hardest part to deal with, isn’t it? It is so hurtful to be so easily discarded. The cowardly behaviour on their part compounds the issue ten-fold. All I can say is, it’s not you, it’s them. And each day that you’re NC, you’ll get stronger and realise you don’t want their pathetic cowardly spineless EUM behaviour in your precious life. Merry christmas and happy holidays to you. Most importantly, focus on you. Buy yourself gifts and eat lots of lovely food. Things will be better in 2014. Hugs to you. Nel xo

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Care78,

          That’s brutal behavior. If I were treated that way I would be so furious that there’s be no room in my heart for hurt and pain. It gets easier to let go when you get really angry. After that comes indifference.

  20. newbie866 says:

    Holy cr@p! This describes the ex perfectly. S/he would bring up an issue and I would want to deal with it but s/he got mad at having “another discussion” and I was made to feel as if I was the one with the issue. S/he even admitted to being “at least as responsible if not more so” for these discussions as I was but I was made to feel as if it was all my fault. It was maddening. Thanks for describing this phenomena.

  21. Kate says:

    This is so familiar that I thought for years that everyone did it, it was a natural part of interacting with people – having them try to dodge the issue and deflect attention from themselves and throw the blame on anyone else they could find.

    Only after discovering this blog and a lot of work did I find someone who shocked me one day when I brought something up with him, and he sat down, looked me in the eyes, and said “Your feelings about this are very important to me. Let’s talk about what is going on”. I never knew that some people didn’t squirm, pace, get up and leave, shout, get angry, sulk, cry, slam doors, give me the silent treatment or make me feel like I was entirely at fault. There are people out there who know how to take responsibility, and its not necessary for me any more to put up with the ones that don’t.

    • Wiser says:

      Kate, thanks for sharing what a mature, loving conversation on this issue SHOULD be like. We don’t get people posting enough of these positive examples – and they’re powerful because they show like nothing else how awful the crap conversations really are.

      • Lilly says:

        Kate,

        Agree with Wiser great post.

        “Your feelings about this are very important to me. Let’s talk about what is going on”

        This is what I so‘desperately’ wanted to hear from the exAC/MM. I tried and tried to get him to talk to me. No chance of a discussion though, he always backed off and I got the silent treatment or worse, followed up a few weeks later with another attempt to reel me back in. I almost always chose to take the bait. It seemed to hurt less if I did, but only for a very brief moment. I kept hoping for some understanding, some closure, something to ease this unbelievable pain I was in. The most I ever got out of him was a very un-expressive, unauthentic, resentful sounding “sorry”.

        The end to my desperate search and this whole dodgy ‘relationship’ eventually came. I’d half-heartedly accepted an offer to mark papers for him, but in what I can only describe as a sort of panic attack I pulled out explaining that I was unwell. He wasn’t happy and sent me an email with the subject heading “Marking Maniac”(wth!). Then in what I consider to be a passive aggressive attempt at hurting me he wrote a piece on his blog about the benefits of “getting dirty and making mistakes”. As an example of a mistake he mentioned unplanned pregnancy (I’d lost my baby boy). He wrote that we should all make more mistakes as they are valuable, help us worry less and enjoy ourselves more. He went on that he needs to make a greater number of and more important mistakes and that mistakes are valuable; we should all celebrate when we make a mistake. I couldn’t quite understand it, but I cried when I read it.

        A couple of weeks later he wrote asking if I was healthy again. I wrote back saying that I’d given some thought to his ‘mistakes’ blog and that it had triggered an “oh no, what was I thinking moment”. I went on that I agreed that mistakes can be valuable if we learn from them and that this might be a lesson that may help me to become wiser in the future. I wished him well and that’s it. I closed the door. I haven’t heard from him since and it’s over. Still hurts, but I accept that. I will never get closure from him.

        It is the end of the year and reflecting back has made me emotional and full of gratitude for all the help and support I’ve received here. I’ve said it before but there are really no words to convey my thanks to you all for literally holding me up. Thank you for listening to me talking about my baby and the pain of losing him. Sending much love and happiness to all and Learner if you are still out there I’m thinking of you.

        • Revolution says:

          (((HUGS AND KISSES))) Miss Lilly. We all care about you here. Thank you for adding your lovely heart and soul in your comments, for you have helped me as well. Wishing you nothing but love and joy and comfort in this new year and all of the years to come, my friend.

  22. noquay says:

    AC does this all the time from excuses as to why he was not doing his job to women to whom he did promise the moon and stars (not to mention weekends together museum touring) saying “you were mistaken, I didn’t mean that at all” after onewoman spent years with him, broke both their marriages. I didn’t get that message solely because I angrily walked away when publicly presented with the other woman. With me it’s “you need to leave if you don’t like it here, and you are only here for the paycheck, the rest of us get along here just fine” and ” you hate men, you are too negative” no real thinking about why I may actually feel that way. Gotta love it when someone criticizes you for feeling hurt and sad when they themselves are the main cause of it, eh? Am sooo looking forward to a break.

  23. HappyAgain says:

    I never replied before but always read and have been learning a lot about life and especially myself. Ive struggled w letting people flip things on me and as ive been making changes in my life (ie my boundaries, overgiving, owning my own etc) ive found myself in positions where I have to be “the bad guy”. My sons father tried to crazy make me today, make me feel guilty, press reset over and over today after an extended absence because I was sure I didnt want to be together and his threats and guilt werent working anymore because ive been changing. When todays nonsense wasnt working and I wouldnt just agree to act like what has happened (many serious things) hasnt and just “move forward” he gave his new girlfriend my number who proceeded to call and leave me a crazy message. Whats funny is im sure how she doesnt know he was begging me to “let us be a family”, telling me he wants to have more kids w me, threatening me if im w someone else etc.. there was no reason to tell her though because obviously she isnt in her right mind to call a woman she doesnt know never met and say everything she said. I just blocked her number and will call the police if I hear from her again as I told her I would when she began calling. If either of then show up at my home I will too. I dont have time for this and I will not allow myself or my child to go through nonsensical hurtful PREVENTABLE mess because it is easier to allow the other person blame u for everything because in their past experience it would shut you up and get them their way. I just want peace and I have been working alot on me so I have better opportunities for my future and my child and yes you hurt your child when you allow yourself to be mistreated by any man even their own fathers.I want to help me so even though it bothers to be made the bad guy when tbt i was way too nice ill be that “b@$!h” because im not one really and my sons father and my ex who I was w for years who brought me here only decided I was when I didnt keep taking all of the resetting, guilt, its just you, all ur fault etc so things were on their terms. Thank you everyone. Im trying.

    • Stephanie says:

      Don’t let them get you down. I like you did allow my eum to explain the unexplainable I just let it be so I could move on with my life. If making it my fault would get him to leave me alone then so be it. You have the right attitude so don’t let it get to you.

    • Allison says:

      Happy.

      Wow! Sounds like you’re dealing with a lot! Is this guy violent? Have you considered a restraining order? Tape your next convo with this nut!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Happy,

        Sorry for your troubles. Your son’s father is a real nutcase and his gf is crazier. These people are just awful. You may very well have to take extreme measures such as Allison suggested to protect yourself. I guess you can’t NC him because of the child. Plus you don’t want him coming over any old time. You need outside help to establish some structure and limitations. It looks like you need to take him to court. Is he paying child support? I bet not. I think the time has passed that you deal with him and her all alone. You need back up.

    • Karen says:

      Happy, the best new is, once you learn all about creeps like your baby daddy, you can start to predict his next crazy move and be prepared to sidestep his BS. But best of all, when you heal a bit more and want to have some fun, you can use what you’ve learned about his games to befuddle him, and there’s nothing quite as humorous as a helplessly befuddled assclown. He will back off once he realizes you won’t fall for his tricks anymore. There are plenty of sad souls who fall for his kind of BS…leave him to their open arms and you’ll start attracting men who like evolved, happy and serene women who have good boundaries and can be relied upon as equal partners. Let’s face it Happy, you outgrew this nitwit ages ago. Move on and move up! :)

  24. HappyAgain says:

    And since I made my first comment cheers to everyone on here. Life isnt easy and neither is the process of helping yourself. I wish everyone the best and many blessings.

  25. Jule says:

    What if it’s not just anybody who is doing this but your own daughter who lives with you? Then what? I recognize the behavior and tell her it’s unacceptable — and she continues to blame me and not accept responsibility for the mean things she says to me. I have a hard time with this because I have to continue to be her mom and live with her until she can finally get a job and move out. She’s 18. I don’t have anything to take from her to punish and she laughs if I try to ground her. According to her, I ruined her life because we don’t have a traditional family. Her father doesn’t come around or do things for her. I’m a single mom and can’t buy her everything she sees other kids have (like cars). When I express how I feel, she claims I’m a drama queen. I do my best to not own her behavior but it’s tough when she tells me that I’m the one to blame.

    • Stephanie says:

      Jule,

      My sister went through the same thing and many times kids that have single parents don’t understand. Its funny because the person she should have a problem with is her dad, but I bet she loves him to death even though he is not there. The good thing is she is 18 and considered an adult therefore you don’t have to take care of her.

    • Allison says:

      Jule,

      You don’t owe her an explanation, as you’re her parent.

      I think you really need to put your foot down – she knows she can walk all over you – and tell her that if her behavior does not improve, she’s out!

      No more explaining. Take control!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Jule,

        I agree with Allison. She is not giving you the respect a daughter should have for her Mom. Give her the “Get Out” if you’re so unhappy ultimatum. And while your at it you can tell her to save up and buy her own car. You’re really not obligated to kowtow to her crap.

    • Revolution says:

      Jule,

      Is it possible that you are responding to your own guilt of being the single parent, and that’s why you are allowing this behavior from your daughter? And perhaps she may be using your guilt to manipulate you further?

      Not saying that you are a perfect parent (sheesh, who is?) but I come from a single parent household where my mom raised both my brother and I alone. I can tell you that we were “poor” (at least in the eyes of the Western world). But I can also tell you that we had a home full of LOVE and TRUST and PEACE. The majority of my friends in double parent households didn’t have that. And that childhood set a great foundation for my adulthood.

      The past is the past, and your daughter can’t blame her own life’s frustrations or her moods (possibly based on a young woman’s hormone fluctuations, speaking from experience) on you. This doesn’t sound like a discussion where you need to nurture her. It sounds like some tough love needs to happen here. A discussion where you assure her of your unwavering love for her, but you also assure her that you won’t be a victim in a recurring discussion where you are being attacked. It needs to stop now.

      My two cents. Don’t throw a lamp at me. ;)

      Love,
      Revs

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Jule,

        That’s excellent advice from Revs. I was a single mother. It was tough. I do feel that I allowed my daughter to say certain things to me which I didn’t appreciate because of feeling guilty that her father was not
        present. I left him when she was 18months old. I allowed him to move in with me and her when she was 11 years old. All those years in between he was persona non grata and and she did not remember him. At the age of 11 she got to know him for the first time. He was still a rat. After I ended up kicking him out, I felt I had a lot to make up to her for my stupidity of giving him another chance. I felt she was traumatized and it was my fault. But she has turned out none the worse for wear. I hope your daughter will one day realize that you’ve not had an easy time of raising her and being antagonized by her father. I think it will happen when she becomes a mother. Good luck.

    • Einstien says:

      She’s 18, and is dealing with her own turbulent emotions. Some kids are a little less mature and have some fairly annoying coping skills (denial and aggression). I’m a single mom, and I understand ‘picking your battles’ and the need to provide both support AND a firm hand. It’s exhausting.

      Hang in there, and really slam your foot down when she crosses the line.

    • Karen says:

      I had a friend who was father to a very bright, articulate 6-year-old boy who was an advanced manipulator by age 4.
      When the dad got fed up with the kid’s tantrums and refusal to mind his parents, he packed a tiny suitcase full of the kid’s clothes and told the kid, “Look, we love you but your attitude is bad and you don’t fit in around here anymore. So you have to leave now and find a place you like better.”
      The kid’s eyes got as big as saucers and he started bawling, bargaining and and begging to stay. Though your daughter is 18, she’s acting like that little kid. I suggest you do the same as the kid’s father did. Pack her bag and tell her she’s free to seek a residence that pleases her more.

  26. Little Star says:

    Thank you Nat for the work you do, without you I will be still wasting my precious time with ACs! Happy Christmas everyone, hope we all find a peace and eventually love and happiness! xxx

  27. Nic says:

    Last month I confronted the man I was ‘flinging’ with, about when he had kissed someone last NYE. Perhaps I picked the fight, but there was so much avoidance and deflection, at one point he asked if I had been drinking when he told me! I hung up on him, got the silent treatment and eventually told him to stay away. THAT WEEK he got engaged.

    Close call I say.
    Thank you Natalie with all my heart, without your clear wisdom and unfailing support this could have seen me having vodka for breakfast. Nope, I laugh at you AssClown. You are just an addition to the AC Playbook.

  28. oregongirl says:

    Oh yes, my MM did this all the time when we were together. It did not matter at all when I brought up the question of when is he going to get a divorce–it was always the wrong time. I shouldn’t ask that when we are relaxing together. I shouldn’t ask that when he is at work. I should not ask that when he is at “her” house. I should not ask that when we are having fun. I should not ask that when we are having a fight. Eventually, and it took me a while, I realized he just did not want to talk about it EVER because he was not going to do it EVER.

  29. Wiser says:

    My therapist and I had a discussion about this once. In her opinion the NUMBER ONE character trait to look for when considering someone as relationship potential was their ability to own their own issues and their willingness to work on them. She thought this was the hallmark of maturity. If they are willing to do that, then they will be more willing to work on issues you have as a couple instead of spending all their time deflecting and blaming and otherwise protecting themselves.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Wiser,

      I agree with your therapist. It’s very true. When a`person cannot see that they’re not perfect and never think they’ve done anything wrong, they’re not going to open to a difference of opinion. They’re right and that’s it. It shows a lack of maturity. One thing I love about Petie is that he is very emotionally stable. He doesn’t feel threatened by anyone or imagine assaults to his manhood. When he has upset me, he will readily mouthed the words, “I’m sorry”. Too many men will do everything on God’s green earth to avoid a verbal apology. When he says it, he means it and he REMEMBERS what pisses me off and won’t do it again. I have a lot of respect for him and he respects me also.

  30. Genki says:

    This happens when my boss gets asked a question sometimes he will go round and round so much u seriously can not remember the question !!! But my ex husband used to do it with a lot Of malice & tying to get himself out o unacceptable situations he had got himself into when he had an affair he told me all the reasons that I had given to drive I’m to that. He couldn’t spend time with his family but he had time to play video games – he was basically. Boring & bad peson. Happy now that u don’t have to worry a out taking the blame for things that not my fault. When u start to trust urself it’s easier to trust in u own decisions – the more and more u set boundaries & know what is nomal the less these people an manipulate
    Happy Chehstnws

  31. wizzy says:

    Wow! I have not posted for almost a year! I didn’t go on an extended exciting date or anything like that. I still reads as many of the posts as I can. I have been farming! amd focusing on myself, my behaviour. It been a journey for me; looking for ass clown in me that attracts all these assclowns. And yes! there is one in me! I have seen it! It makes it ok for me to hang around with shady types, whinning about how I hate them but still hanging out. I went through mega self pity about myself, my age, Why I don’t have kids/Man blah blah blah.

    I am changing everyday. I am learning to say what I mean or need. I was petrified whenever such a notion occured to me. I wpuld seriously go into a major panick sweaty palms and all. But practicing it made easier.

    I have a blocked list of around 40 people that I considered very very good close friends. I practice no contact with any shadyness I meet. I am so glad to say that I am now more often interacrting with positive people who look to the future. A good future (That’s, even how I got into organic farming).

    The little change I made have gotten rid of alot of the anger and angst I carried with me.

    Thank you so much Natelie, and all the responders on this blog. Bless you guys, I love you all.

    As for this post; Yes all my exes avoided anything that looked like anyrhing. I actually did too! I avoided the fact that I was dating an ass and kept demanding better behaviour from them. I dared to venture onto online dating, and there I met the biggest Ahole in my life. Again, The Ahole in me kept me there for 6months. Telling me that things could chane! I could get married!!!….. WRONG!! The final straw was when I asked him why he stood me up. We were in a restaurant, And he kicked the Drama in 20th dear, and thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated. I finally broke up with it. I have been alone since then, doing nice things for me, my future. I love life. I love how quetly I told the plumber that he couldn’t plan the work in my house how he wanted. I am so excited that I keep standing up for me.

    An very old AC that I knew for years fancied me and said so. Imediately I realised that this was one of those relationships I used to get into. I have always had a distant relationship with him, he is my grandfathers age; how did it get to relationship????!!!! he is now blocked after a few shady randy texts he sent me.

  32. Steelheart says:

    NML, I gotta know… What ended up happening at the restaurant?

  33. theseamstress says:

    The ex EUM and I. A common theme. I would tactfully and gently bring up the subject of why he wasn’t paying any bills but had moved in by stealth at my house, why he wasn’t having sex with me, why he wouldn’t talk to me about the future of our ‘relationship’, why he couldn’t hold down a job, why was it okay for me to pay for everything, why didn’t he see much of his daughter, when would we determine the boundaries and expectations of each other in the ‘relationship’. This was all over 2 years. His answer was always the same, eventually. “Why do you always bring this up on a weekend/weekday/tuesday/football match day/resting day/working day/sunny day/rainy day/
    depressed day/ drunk day/out of my mind with a hangover day.???” Yep, that idiot had an excuse as to why he couldn’t talk about anything on any day ever. But I was the real idiot for hoping we could relive the first three months of our blessed union. I moved out of MY OWN HOUSE to make him see that we really weren’t getting anywhere and I wanted him to leave. Then, he wanted to talk about how I had NO compassion, understanding, love or patience and that people in relationships have to see through the good and the bad. You couldn’t make this particular AC up. I went NC on his mummy boy’s arse 2 and a half years ago this month, never seen or spoken to him since and if I listen carefully I can hear choirs of angels singing the hallelujah chorus.

    What a lucky escape.

    To all struggling with this bullshit I say get out now if they ambush your efforts to have a real two way relationship. You will never make room for the good and true in your life if you stick with these un-evolved knuckle draggers.

    ? *** ?

    Happy festive sparkly goodness and light to all you BR beauties…the real day to celebrate is the winter solstice, December 21st. Make your resolutions, affirmations and promises to yourself then.

    ? *** ?

  34. michelle says:

    What a brilliant piece of writing, Nat!
    As ever, you’ve completely hit the nail on the head.
    I’ve been prey to many such BS lines in the past and have spent far too much time and effort then doubting myself and thinking that I was being unreasonable.
    Whislt I am still prone to such thinking at times, I am now better able to read between the lines and know when someone is trying to deflect something and avoid looking at their own behaviour, or accepting any responsibility for their actions. Thanks for such a brilliant post.

  35. Peanut says:

    What a character! I bet that man is making some woman (or women) very, very unhappy.

    But, alas, the ex.

    My ex did this shit to me. Makes my blood boil to recall:

    His film school friend was in town and the ex was helping him with some homework (I swear these twits acted like it was going to be considered for an Oscar or something) and suddenly became too busy for me after future faking and sending me sappy texts that read: “I need you and me time.”

    I brought it up. He started cursing at me for my bad timing, turned it all around to me. We didn’t speak for three days. I finally called him. He had said we would have broken up if I hadn’t called. What a fucking twat. Sorry, that is an insult to women’s vagina’s everywhere. But OH THE NERVE.

  36. Jamie says:

    I caved Monday night. He came over to talk about our relationship AND mostly him laughing at me reading self-help books. We sat down and he asked me about the book. I explained why I was reading the book (Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay) and what I was getting from it.

    Before I know it he is switching gears and brings up the fact that I don’t respect his wishes. What? My head began spinning!!

    A week or so ago I knew he was having a rough day at work so I went to Hallmark and bought him a card of encouragement. I drove to his house and put it under his front mat. Then sent him a text telling him to check under his mat when he got home. He thanked me the next morning….no sign of being upset by my doing this.

    So imagine my confusion when he is now upset that I did this. This summer when I drove by his house and caught him with the other woman he “requested” that I not go by his house un-announced. He said it’s creepy. So because of this he was upset that I dropped a card under his mat! He went on to tell me that his ex-stepson & ex-mother-in-law found it. My response was “so what”. He then tells me that because I didn’t seal it they read it AND he doesn’t want to have to explain anything about his personal life to anyone. Um, yes I did seal it!! It even had one of those “Hallmark gold seals” on it…..sealing it that much more. Then he said “well, they must have opened it then”. So be mad at them…..NOT ME!! I’m still not sure why exactly his ex-stepson and ex-mother-in-law just happened to be at his front door AND found the card under the mat AND opened it within the few hours of me leaving it and him getting home from work. I mean, who in their right mind opens a card addressed to someone else anyway!!??

    One other noteworthy bit of information here…..in the almost 2 years he and I have been doing this I have not met a single one of his friends or family members.

    So stupid me thinks we are going to really talk and he switched it upon me yet again. This whole “card” story seems so completely ridiculous. And he says that the reason I haven’t met any of his friends or family is because he’s just not sure that I’m going to stick around because I run from the relationship so much. UGH!! REALLY!!??

    xoxo
    Jamie

    • Allison says:

      Jaime,

      You’re missing key points here. Who cares about the card!!!

      The man is disrespectful, passive aggressive, irresponsible and an asshole!

      The fact that you have not met a family member or friend in 2.5 years, clearly shows that he has and never will let you into his life. You are a secret! Did he ever take you out, or were your dates all at home? BTW, the ex also kept me on the periphery of his life, and had no intention of letting me in.

      • Allison says:

        Jaime,

        I’m sorry, if that came off insensitive. Some of your story brings back unpleasant memories of someone who was a complete waste of time – I did learn much from the ‘relationship,’ though . I hope that you will shortly recognize that this man was/is incapable of any sort of relationship. Please focus in on the fact that he has kept you a secret and had been extremely disrespectful. He does not respect you, but he also does not respect himself.

        There is no future, here. Please understand why this type of ‘relationship’ has been OK for so long?

        • Jamie says:

          Allison,
          no worries, I didn’t take you as being insensitive at all. You are being honest and sharing your feelings. This is exactly why I have posted here!! I’ve been reading BR for some time and appreciate the honesty and experience continually shared here.
          xo
          Jamie

      • Jamie says:

        Hi Allison,
        We did go out often.

        Did you ever meet anyone in your ex’s life? Sorry that you went through the same thing.

        xo
        Jamie

        • Allison says:

          I met the friends – he had a party – right before we broke up. At the party he introduced me as someone he was dating – declared his love some months earlier. He said that one of his best friend’s eyes were big as a saucer; I know now that he didn’t tell anyone that we were even involved. I felt like a fool!!!

          Mine took me out, but I was always on the periphery of his life. Girl, if this guy has not introduced you to others in his life, then you are no more than a booty call. Don’t allow your self esteem to be further depleted. This is your responsibility, not his.

          • Allison says:

            Don’t you think you deserve more than being someone’s secret?

            • Jamie says:

              Hi Allison,
              I’m sorry you went through that. What a cad!!
              And yes, I do think I deserve it. Thank you for pointing that out.
              Goodness…..I’m a booty call. SMH. How did it get to this??
              I’m taking my life back dammit!!
              xo
              Jamie

              • Allison says:

                Jamie,

                Good for you!!!!!!

                I no longer have feelings for that goof, I think the difficult bit is looking back at my doormat behavior.

                A lot has changed and I would never get involved with that type of individual again. I learned a lot about myself, though :)

                • Tinkerbell says:

                  Allison,

                  You’re doing fantastically well. The next dude who becomes involved with you will have to tow the line. And, that’s a good thing. LOL!

                  • Allison says:

                    Loraine,

                    It must have been very hard.

                    Remember, every time we engage with them in this manner, it shows them that their behavior was OK. What is did is not OK, and you owe him nothing. Total ego stroke for this guy.

                    Think about why you would want someone back who dumped you for another. You deserve much better than this!

                  • Allison says:

                    Tink,

                    Thanks, Gurrrl!

                    I’m confused. Are you on or off with Petie?

                    • Allison says:

                      Hit send button quickly.

                      So are you!!!!!!!!!

                    • Tinkerbell says:

                      Allison,

                      I know it’s confusing. We’re still on. I still love him very much and he is very devoted to me. But, it is more of a very close friendship that we will always share and cherish. He feels a lot of affection for me and I’m happy. I had to give up on trying to make him into what I want and need. I don’t feel like I’m missing out because we have so much fun together and he is so brilliant I learn something new everyday. So, I’m happy. Sometimes, we have to be grateful for the good and wholesome people who come into our lives and wish us well, instead of demanding more that they may not be able to give.

                • Jamie says:

                  Hi Allison,
                  I’m sure that I will also find it difficult to look back and see what a doof I was for putting up with this guy’s crap.
                  Looking forward to that day tho!!
                  xo
                  Jamie

  37. Tinkerbell says:

    Jamie,

    Why do you put up with this jerk? He is telling you that HE IS THE ONE who is not going to stay around except for a booty call. He doesn’t think enough of you to introduce you to his friends or family. He just made up a reason to be angry with you about the card and what happened after you left it. Why would you placate someone who treats you like this?

    • Jamie says:

      Hi Tinkerbell,
      I was thinking the exact same thing!! Him being mad about the card was so insanely absurd.

      I’m really trying and know what I need to do but must admit that I am frightened at the thought of the pain of withdrawing from him permanently. Wait….what? Yet I am in pain with him.

      Interesting how putting things in writing here can prove a real eye-opener.

      xo
      Jamie

      • Lorraine says:

        Jamie,
        Like all of us involved with EUMs, this is not a real relationship. I’ve been reading every post and article and the book for two months now and all these ACs sound the same.

        I’m learning every time I read a post, I am not alone, our situations are all so similar. These relationships or “non-relationships” will never fulfill us or bring us anything but emptiness and pain.

        Your story reminds me of the crap I’ve also put up with for too long. One recent memory was his birthday a few months ago. Thought we were going out. I got dressed up and looked amazing. Got to his apartment. Opened gifts with him and his kids. The calls from his friends and family kept coming in to meet for drinks, etc. He said he just wanted to stay home and celebrate with me and his boys. I was so disappointed because I thought I would finally be out with those important to him. Later I found out that he told his mother that he didn’t want to go out on his birthday because he didn’t want to leave me. Hello??? Why didn’t he want to take me? Because of BR, I’m finally starting to cringe at the crumbs and crap I was settling for!

        Keep reading and posting Jamie. We will all get there.
        Hugs…

        • Jamie says:

          Hi Lorraine,
          Ouch!! I’m so sorry he put you through that.
          My hopes are to come to the same realization that you have…..crumbs simply aren’t enough.
          Thanks so much for your reply!!
          xo
          Jamie

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Hi Lorraine,

          I’m curious. Has he taken you around his friends and family, before?

          • Lorraine says:

            Tinkerbell,
            Yes. I’ve met his entire family. His brother has been to my home many times. I’ve met a few of his closest friends but we’ve never been out together with them as a couple…
            He’s introduced me as his girlfriend or lady to acquaintances we have run into while at the gym or other places.
            Guess it shouldn’t matter anymore anyway.
            Lorraine

  38. Alf says:

    What does one do when they suddenly blow up at you (shouting, slammed doors, and throwing things the instant I do it though no comment has ever been made on the behavior before) for crossing boundaries you didn’t know you crossed? My response is very much, “Why didn’t you say something earlier? I would have stopped”, and despite what this says, I feel I’m very much in the right there.

    • Allison says:

      Alf,

      Sometimes people can take no more, then suddenly blow. Yes. Something should have been said sooner, but I’m curious to know what the issue was?

  39. Elle0412 says:

    Here’s a list of ACs dodging responses to ANY relationship discussions:
    - i don’t know how to talk about that stuff
    - i am busy
    - I don’t know what to say
    - You’ll have to make a decision, not me
    - You are so needy
    - You can’t control me
    And on and on it goes… After 4 yrs, I was thinking: true, I CAN and WILL make a decision: I am out. Assclowns will NEVER take responsibility, so I did. While very painful for couple of months it’s less painful than being misunderstood, ignored, disrespected and stonewalled. Let them simmer in their own misery! Finally, I got back to myself and love it!
    Stay strong ladies! BR and all of you helped me to stop being a doormat!

  40. Oregon Girl says:

    I just blew 18 days of NC. I got a tax bill mailed to my house and did not know what to do. My MM ass clown has two addresses, and I didn’t know where to send it. I sent a brief email to him asking him what he wanted me to do with it. Unfortunately, this opened up a 3 or 4 email exchange about he still loves me, why can’t I realize how “special” our “love” is, blah blah. Just left me feeling sick to my stomach, stressed, with a racing heart. I could not sleep for one second last night. Re-blocked him and back to NC. Lesson to self: next time just send his mail to wifey and let her figure it out. My sense of peace is not worth compromising for his stupid mail.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Oregongirl,

      Of course! You need to examine why you didn’t just do that instead of obsessing over the situation and contacting him. When you’re trying to maintain NC you have to THINK before acting.

  41. Peanut says:

    Jamie,

    This guy is so absurd, he’s plain silly.

  42. Lorraine says:

    More AC EUM dodging responses and actions:
    “you want to know what?, I’m out of here”
    “Do you want a break”?
    “Are you the phone police”? (every question police)
    “I don’t like to be controlled or dictated to”
    “I don’t know what to tell you”
    “This is some kind of bullshit”
    “I suck at relationships”
    And my all time favorite: “I love you in every way a man can love a woman”. Such crap!!!
    Ugh!!! If these ACs didn’t break our hearts, it’s all so comical, right?

    Hugs to all of you….

  43. HappyAgain says:

    Stephanie, I agree w you. Now its time to give to myself and invest in me. That makes me happy and even though the learning curve has been steep im hopeful. Today i just listened to macy gray “beauty in the world” over and over and that made me happy. I wish you all the best.

    Allison,

    It is alot. you dont know the 1/14th of it. LOL. He has never been violent towards me but he has been out of jail for less than a year after a sentence of several years so I think his mentality is off for that reason and besides that many other things. I am being careful and pray for me and my child. I appreciate your concern. I wish you the best.

    • Allison says:

      Happy,

      Very scary!

      Will it jeopardize his freedom if you threaten a R.O.? Maybe, this will get him off your back if he believes he will go back to prison. Can you move?

  44. espresson says:

    My ex knew every discussion dodging trick in the book. He used blaming , deflecting, saying what about ME and then making it all about him, playing the victim (I guess I am just a really bad person), cajoling, attacking, guilting out – everything and anything to avoid sitting down and really talking about the issue at hand. These people make sure they never take responsibility because they can’t stand to think they may not be the nice person they have convinced themselves they are and it is NOT about that…it is about sincere and direct communication to resolve issues to try to make things better for BOTH people. What really stuns me is that these antics create SO many more problems for everybody.

    It is come down to my feeling that the biggest indication of whether a person is trustworthy, empathic, honest and direct is the ability to simply and directly take responsibility..not to deflect or use language that actually blames the victim. Like this restaurant owner….as he cycled through his denial routine…causing MORE problems and MORE issues…when he could have quickly handled it by saying that he apologized for a meal that was not up to his standards and that you did not enjoy. Followed up with a “what can I do to make it right.” As it is he has lost a customer and maybe more than one and he will lose others with that attitude.
    I was at a very special birthday gathering recently at a very expensive restaurant longed planned in advance when one of us found a rather large shard of glass in a rice dish.The waiter handled it so poorly, saying that “it had never happened before.” Who cares. There were five very powerful women at the dinner which was ruined because of his non responsiveness and shirking….and we were extra mad because if we had been a bunch of men in suits we certainly would not have been treated this way.
    Lots of social networking about that restaurant after that night. We were treated very poorly.

  45. Tinkerbell says:

    Happy,

    OMG! A recent jailbird! It’s worse than I thought! I don’t know what to tell you know since I have no experience with people who’ve been in jail. he’s potentially dangerous, I ‘m sure of that. You hold more power over him than you’re realizing.

  46. Tulipa says:

    ACs are definitely discussion dodgers what kills me though is when they slide and slither out of the discussion and lack taking responsibility for their actions in hurting you they seem to land on their feet and life moves along for them. What choice did I have but to go no contact when he turned everything around me and said I was faking my emotions and playing the victim to get some compassion from him which he also told me he doesn’t do.
    I feel by doing no contact he gets away with what he did and quite frankly he why should he? I also know he is an AC narc and nothing I say or do will have an impact

  47. Tulipa says:

    anyway. Im am more emotional than normal esp since Im not too far from where he lives I have to pass through to get to a friends place feel very violent and like paying him a visit.

  48. Karen says:

    Natalie, I swear you must be spying on my shady ex and reporting back what you observe to your readers.
    This ex of mine (who was almost impossible to stay broken up with because of expert level manipulation skills and a black belt in lying, cheating and future faking) was so obvious a discussion dodger, I used that character flaw to break it off, this time for good. I demanded a conversation, put a response time limit on it and issued an ultimatum! It was perfect! Using anger to deflect my request (and especially the ultimatum!) worked out perfectly. All I had to do to break it off was send a brief e-mail that read: “Time’s up. I warned you, now I’m done. If you ever want to be friends, I advise you not to contact me. I will make that decision and contact you if I decide we should remain friends.
    You’ve made enough bad unilateral decisions for us. I will do all the deciding from now on.”

    LOL!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Karen,

      That’s great. Hope he stays away. But if he starts in again with you just remind yourself of the realizatons you’ve come to about him. Remember what you’ve just said about him in your post above. It really doesn’t what all he is in a negative sense. Just remind yourself that you’re better off staying NC. You need to block all his access to you.

      • Karen says:

        Actually, he is a she, and once I realized that “just in case” all her future faking was genuine, there is no way I’d live with or marry someone I don’t trust or respect. That means we have no future, so there is no reason to resume contact. For her, staying friends is like getting a free ball on a pinball machine. She takes friendship as a challenge to turn it back into romance. She simply loves the rush of new romance and it’s an addiction for her. I fell for it many times because I love that rush, too.
        But now I realize if I chose to love her, it would be a series of the same old dysfunctional shit over and over. If we got together, she’d be looking online for a new rush of budding romance– because for her all a committed relationship means is someone to help pay the bills and offer companionship while she continues to seek romance behind the safety of a PC screen. She’s creepy that way. No thanks.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Karen,

          I see. Well, thank goodness you can see her for who she really is and you’ll recognize anyone else of that type quickly.

  49. HappyAgain says:

    Tinkerbell,

    I am being careful and have 0% tolerance for any foolishness. Yes, I can NC him if need be. My son and I actually had a conversation about how he would feel if I had to make that choice. Yes the gf is crazier. The new gf has been w him only for the 3 weeks since hes been out of jail (after several years). Smh. I dont have to deal w either of them and certainly either of them disrespecting me makes it worse for them. I will use the power i have in this situation. He isn’t paying child support. All the best to you for the holidays also and cheers to a positive 2014 :-)

    Karen,

    Every. Single. Thing. You. Said. Its true and hahaha your hilarious. And yes onward and upward. The very best to you as well.

    Allison,

    I think telling him about law involvement of any type will help. He didnt threaten me the other day just did everything else. He hasnt made threats for months and like I said he has never been violent w me. I believe the threats were only to try to break me down to be w him when the guilt wasnt working. But yay me neither worked! :-) I will take any necessary steps I need to though because I have no tolerance for any mess from either of them. Zero. Ive learned through many tough lessons in life and really the last year and a half ive been making a lot of hard changes for me and have been given way more opportunities than I wld like (lol) to keep having my own back. Its not been easy but its improving and I keep telling myself like natalie said “change doesn’t come without change”.

  50. AmandathePanda says:

    My ex EUM was a master discussion avoider…if I talked about ANYTHING that he didn’t want to talk about (his relationship with his ex, the fact he wouldn’t acknowledge me on facebook, my feelings about him never coming to my house, my feelings about ANYTHING in fact) he would literally screw his face up like he had a bad smell under his nose and say “I don’t have these kind of conversations”.

    Well it’s been 4 weeks NC and he can go and not have them with someone else! Immature A/C.

    • Lorraine says:

      Amandathepanda,
      Sooo true! Every conversation about “us” or “feelings” was only on his terms. If I pushed the wrong button, I got the smooched up face too with, “I don’t want to talk about this”. Or he would just hang up the phone or say I’m going home! He shut down each and every time a conversation was out of his comfort zone. I would always end up emailing him my thoughts because he couldn’t have a mature, honest conversation about us.

      Something is wrong with him!

  51. noquay says:

    Tulipa
    Don’t go there. Yes “our” narc ACs DO get away with it and often because OTHER folks let them do so. We were thrown away by them precisely because we did not put up with their s@#$ behavior like an obedient dog. In one way he was right; he doesn’t do emotion, compassion, empathy. He has no ability to do so. Had I sent the angry text to AC when he paraded latest conquest on campus I would’ve been written off as “psycho, jealous, desperate old maid, even crazy menopausal” and probably would’ve jeopardized my project as well which would be bad for the entire campus. Your AC would do something very similar. They don’t give a tinker’s damn. I too have to pass by the entrance road to ACs home every time I head south, I flip it the bird every time I pass. Rather than visiting, do that, if you’re lucky, he’ll be looking out the window at the time. To quote Ed Abbey; “show the bastards not everyone approves”. I also turned away, spat on the ground when he was walking by with LC. In my culture that’s the ultimate f@#$ you. Neither could see what I did, not exactly ladylike behavior, but it was sure satisfying.

    • ReadyForChange says:

      I love you noquay :)

    • Em says:

      Spot on! Narcissists have no EMPATHY and will turn every situation back on you…Clear and defined boundaries help ward off some of the damage….stay strong…But most importantly maintain your empathy….you will put the Narcissist to shame…by way of goodwill! Merry Christmas to you!

    • Tulipa says:

      Hi Norquay,

      Deep down I know all attempts to try and make him see reason are futile. I didn’t do anything in the end except cry in the public toilet pull myself together and keep moving.

      I was relieved you did not send your text as well. I imagine he may have flaunted himself and his LC even more in front of you.

      It is a shame we look like the bitter psycho ones should we attempt anything other than no contact.

      I hope you enjoy your peace over your break.

  52. Tinkerbell says:

    Karen,

    I meant to say it really doesn’t matter.

  53. Stacey says:

    what do you think sarcasm says about a person? My ex EUM used sarcasm ALL the time!! So much so that sometimes I didn’t know if he really meant what he was saying but making it a joke etc. During emotional moments, he would use sarcasm. He didn’t do well with anything emotional. And he would bring up something that upset in the past as a joke later on.

    • oregongirl says:

      The root of the word sarcasm means “tearing the flesh.” It is very hurtful. Any man who is sarcastic is hurting you. I’d give him one warning, then set a boundary in place.

  54. Feistywoman says:

    Wow so topical just had a conversation with one such male at a social event the other night. Background is that this man is a player, chameleon, liar and anything else you wish to add to boot.Anyway got there later than planned as someone parked in the back of my car at traffic lights. I was then sat opposite a woman who buried her head in her phone texting. This man came over to speak and when I mentioned in a loud voice that I wasn’t going to get any conversation at this end he offered me the seat that was free next to him. I took as I could converse with other people and also had a score to settle. He’d taken me out on a date a year ago when I didn’t know his remit, lied about his intentions which was only a shag (he didn’t get that) and then walked, fair enough, but did it in a childish way and when I called him on his behaviour he got nasty.
    So he started with his routine of charm and flirting but I didn’t take him on. When he said he was looking for a partner I just politely but coolly said “you do surprise me”. I mentioned that I knew he had a harem, had 5 women he’d slept with present at a previous ball and on it went with him denying all of it and deflecting. When I asked him why he did on-line dating if it was so bad he admitted he was desperate so I then indicated that had been my thought!
    He’d had an on/off relationship for 18 months him being controlled by a EUA woman and amditted he’d been a doormat. I asked how many times he needed to go back before realising it wasn’t a goer. I then stated I was looking for qualities like monogamy, honesty, consideration etc. for my partner and he doesn’t know what he is looking for but if he had a massive hard on that would tell me the woman his ideal partner.
    I mentioned about men treating women like test driving cars and sleeping with them to find what they want. In short everything came back at him; he was embarrassed and clearly not in his comfort zone. A year ago what might have been charming, I saw was pathetic. He denied being a ladies man saying he was a flirt then tried to charm a young waitress who gave him a look that would have frozen the Arctic. He is a poker player but denied it was gambling even though I said it is gambling. In short he got nowhere and had to listen to me conversing with the other people around me when he likes to be the centre of attention. All that I said other overheard too. At one point I said something and he deflected the conversation so I let it go, then said he’d ignored my comment to which my response was “nothing gets past me” and he had to agree. I told him he would be all right at the Christmas ball as some of the women make cougars look tame and they’d go for him if he wanted to test drive them. There is karma after all and his was to see me as a different, poised, assured, self confident woman who wasn’t going to be taken in by him. I was in control of the conversation ( not me normally) and how it flowed which put his gas at a peep and he just withered looking the man child he is. I took advantage of the opportunities to politely but coolly get my points across and he couldn’t cope.
    I won’t cross paths with him again as I’ve left that social group and indicated to him when he asked why I was leaving, that I felt there were too many shallow people in it and a lot of odd balls. All my BR knowledge came to play and all that I’ve learnt since last year. He was clearly saying what he thought I wanted to hear again even though he hasn’t changed one bit to try and reel me in. Did I enjoy his discomfort? You bet I did and he won’t forget that in a hurry.

    • Feistywoman says:

      Sorry should read then he said.

    • grace says:

      feisty
      Sounds like an episode of Made in Chelsea.
      Many people tell the resident casanova, Spencer Matthews, what they think of him. Exes tell him, girlfriends tell him, FWBs tell him, women he’s cheated on, women he’s cheated with, women he lives with, his male friends, his male enemies, the mothers of his friends, his psychotherapist, and so on.
      I’m watching and wondering how he can be so INTERESTING that everyone feels the need to talk about him and to tell him about himself.
      He does react to the constant barrage of insults, sometimes he even gets tearful, but he never changes his behaviour.
      I can only conclude that it’s pheromones that can’t be transmitted via the tv.
      So, don’t get too close I say!

    • AfroK says:

      Feisty,

      I like how you beat him at his AC game. I image question marks in his AC brain as in “jees..I’m I talking to the same woman?..I mean, she is supposed to be flattered by my attention.”

      I had a ball watching my ex fastforwarder AC getting uncomfortable as I told him I can’t get back with him,and NO I’m not seeing anyone at the moment, and No I can’t be friends, and I believe he is still the same old self who had no respect for me and wanted to use me as his once a fortnight booty call as he used to. This guy when I was with him, he blew hot and cold and told me I was lucky that he was with me because he can’t see many would want to be with me given experience with my abusive husband! It was a pleasure watching him leave my place without even a casual hug (one year ago he would have got me with his “sorry…but I have changed”.

      My point is, It is great to have those moments where you put BR knowledge practice and knock out the self center ACs like that guy in your story. Good luck in continuing to stand up for yourself.

  55. Allison says:

    Feisty,

    I notice a pattern of getting over- emotionally invested with people you do not know- one date .

    Why did you even sit next to this guy and have this convo if you don’t like him? I don’t get it!!

    This fools do not owe you an explanation, but better yet, why fo you care?

  56. Allison says:

    One more thing: you’re coming off as an angry woman, a confident woman would not have engaged or ever have had this convo.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Feisty,

      Sorry I really have to agree with Allison. I would have declined his offer, knowing he was a turd, and sat quietly and elegantly next to the texter.

    • 22goingon23 says:

      How are comments such as these any better than the AC’s who tell us all about ourselves; what we are/are not ???

      Something I believe more people would benefit from practising – asking questions and waiting for the person to answer, before jumping to conclusions/judgements.

      Re coming off as angry – even if that were the case (I’m not confirming or denying) – anger (just like being alone), is perfectly OK. Unless I missed a mass comms to the contrary (quite possible that I did), people – women! – are allowed to feel/express themselves without being subjected to a loss of identity or ‘feminity’ or whatever (though to be honest, I’d quite happily lose my femininity if it meant a life free from bullshit). I also see this point as a part of this post on BR – being ‘allowed’ to express self without responders finding fault or deflecting/criticising.

      I’d also like to point out that emotions do not define a person. What someone says or how they act may indicate anger/sadness/whatever – however that doesn’t *make* that person any of those things. I hope for a day when that distinction is more universal. I believe it’ll allow for more constructive conversation.

  57. Yana says:

    I agree with Allison.

    • Feisty says:

      Well ladies each to their own.I didn’t fancy sitting opposite some ignorant texter who lacked social graces excluding me from conversation. Given that my mother died 6 weeks previously I was just getting back into socialising and believe me that takes a lot out of you. The point was to have some conversation with others which I did at the expense of the player who exposed himself as a pathetic figure to all and sundry.I do not emotionally invest in anyone these days and have learnt that through experience. You all think you know someone through one post and are the experts in life, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Actually I had some fun as this guy was trying it on and got nowhere, besides I retained my dignity. The fact that I saw through bullshit tells me I have moved on a lot. I am tired of the judgemental, holier than thou take some have on here and the site “police” who are quick to criticise. So I gave this guy some food for thought who the fcuk cares. I stand up for myself in life and obviously the fact that a woman can be dignified, assured, poised, self confident and polite towards someone she doesn’t care for is a flaw. I’ve had to work with many people I don’t like but have had to be professional first. I extend this to people I meet socially who I don’t like when in company as well, unless they do something offensive towards me. It is a mark of maturity, think on it.

  58. JustAGirl says:

    I am not sure I agree with the beginning of this post, or the restaurant analogy. The waiter knows he’ll have to give you some kind of compensation and talk to his supervisor if you’re dissatisfied with a meal – although it’s probably not very good customer service practice to ask someone why they couldn’t have figured out they didn’t like the meal earlier.
    However , in terms of dodging important discussions, I completely agree. I think in relationships, when someone is pressing over your boundaries and you stand up for yourself and say “Hey! Can we talk about this? This matters to me. I think we need to change something” and if it happens that they’re doing everything on their own terms – when then yes, they’ll likely reprimand you for how you brought up the issue.
    One of my exes traveled a lot for work. He and I kept breaking up and getting back together. Anyway. At one point I wanted to have a long conversation about what’s happening, be honest/open/vulnerable and he kept saying that he’s tired and just wants to “relax” …which meant have sex. He ended up dating another girl he was working with.
    Basically, when someone is not ready to acknowledge what matters to you – it is what it is.

  59. Tinkerbell says:

    Amanda & Lorraine,

    Men like that who refuse to engage in a convo about your relationship should be refused the privilege of the goodies in the bedroom. I really hope both of you are finished with these master avoiders. Please don’t give then any more chances, because they’re not going to change. You’ll be wasting more of your precious time. Strict NC, now!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      No relationship convo? = booty call.

      • Lorraine says:

        Tinkerbell,
        You give such great advice on this site. I know he’s despicable. As I’m sure most of us on here know, they have this “nice guy” persona, the amazing potential, etc…
        I’m trying very hard to move the hell on. When he continues to break NC it messes up my head because I have that “fairy tale ending” problem. There’s a 2% piece of my brain that wants this man to fall on his knees professing undying love for me and only me.
        I know it’s crazy, I know it’s never going to happen, I know he’s never going to change. Not with anyone!
        I will continue to get stronger, you’ve helped more than you know and I will open myself up eventually to meeting someone who actually deserves me.
        Thank you for your support.
        Lorraine

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Lorraine,

          I’m so happy to be of help to you.
          You will be fine if you really want it. We can go through all kinds of changes, telling ourselves this and that, but if we don’t see the forest for the trees continuing to dream and wish hopelessly, we’re not helping ourselves become better and stronger women. Thank you so much for what you’ve said. I need someone to make me feel good right now, as I’ve got the pre-Christmas blues. Have a wonderful holiday. I will try to do the same. (Hugs) Tink.

  60. Allison says:

    Ladies,

    Tink is right! They are a waste of time!

  61. Suki says:

    I think that ‘discussions’ are best avoided with anyone outside intimate relationships. This is something I have learnt. No one wants to be criticized and if isn’t an intimate relationship then dont bother. I have had ‘discussions’, and I have rarely had a friendship survive them. I feel that I was depressed, vulnerable, had no head space for tact and strategy. People used that, usually mean girls or passive aggressive men. I was picked on. The actual reaction to the things people said to me should have been ‘eff the eff off’, thats how rude and unprofessional and uncalled for some of these things were. I kept engaging and then having discussions thinking this person is my friend so they will understand my feelings, no they MUST validate them, and they MUST change. I played into their hands. As I’ve stopped being depressed I have far fewer of such situations. The waiter analogy isn’t important – thats not a consequential relationship. You won’t see him again. In some relationships, the need to have a discussion about what someone did to you means that things have got so bad that everyday relationship tending isn’t doing it anymore. If that relationship matters to you, then definitely have the talk. Even for average friends, its not worth it. Its only for people whose loss is really consequential to you. For others, get some distance, change your own attitude, tell them to eff the eff off, whatever. Dont bother with the earnest serious discussion. They will brush it off as a way to make you feel insignificant. The power to hurt you then remains with them plus now you fully told them in precise words how theyre pushing your buttons as if they didn’t know already.
    If you’re wondering how you keep relationships if you dont have discussions – I have discussions with family and when i’m seeing someone [though i'm trying to reduce that too and the ones i have with family are increasingly a give and take or just conversations without recrimination]. AND my closest friends never push my buttons. 10-20 year friendships and no major buttons pushed. Thats how you know who really deserves to be in your life/heart.

    • Elgie R. says:

      Suki, I agree with what you say about “discussions” only having benefit within intimate relationships. No one wants to be corrected. And if you are having multiple “discussions” within an intimate relationship, that relationship is in trouble. I agree that good friends don’t push buttons.

      I tried to “discuss” my annoyance with the “gum –popping” situation with the NPD coworker . She “future-faked” friendship with me, making comments about how “we” were so alike and “true” professionals – not “like so many others in the department”. I was unsettled by how fast she assumed familiarity with me and others…gut instinct said to keep her at arms length….but she said we were “friends” so I asked her to stop popping gum and then, when I asked a second time, about two months after the first time, she blew up with rage saying she WANTED to pop her gum.

      I told her that I subscribe to Dr. Phil’s theory that within a relationship, everything you do either “adds to” or “subtracts from” the relationship….there is no neutral. So her unwillingness said to me that she did not value the “friendship” she said we were forming. That’s when she went off about my laugh being annoying too, but she wasn’t asking me to change that. She said more unkind things, I saw she was in attack mode, so I just ended the convo by saying it was her choice on how considerate she wanted to be.

      A few hours later she came to my office saying she was “glad we talked”. I nodded in agreement but inside I was singed from her verbal rage. Her rage stayed with me thru the weekend, I could not get over how willing she seemed to be angry at me….liked she *wanted* to be angry. By Monday I decided I could only be cordial, not friendly. I offer “hellos” but don’t follow up with a ‘how are you’. She pulled a series of high-school hi-jinx in retaliation, not returning a hello, sometimes returning a hello, speaking to everyone in a crowd except me, speaking to me only if I was with a big-wig, not holding a door for me….things like that. That’s when I made a decision to not engage with her at all – I don’t even try to say hello anymore and I don’t make eye contact.

  62. Spinster says:

    This is great. Sharing this wherever possible; there are too many discussion dodgers in the world. :-|

  63. Gina says:

    Yeah I know what you are saying; damned if you do or damned if you don’t because I’ve realized these types of people are not capable or willing to meet your needs.

  64. AfroK says:

    Regret is what kills me at the moment. I get overwhelmed think about it and can’t bring the to write it as I will bring the emotions back to life. But regrets exhaust me at the moment and don’t even know how to move found and I feel I’m too late to do anything or to succeed at anything. I hate to admit I still feel AC ex husband has destroyed my life and I’m too tired to build it all over again. He moves on to another victim (I known what she would be experiencing by now), will destroy her then easily move to the next. I feel like ran too late :(. Oh not to mention the regret I have for trusting the friend and get in FWB arrangements only to be turned into a doormat. I regret not telling him that I know how he is a little weak man who hates himself and he treated me that way to stroke his little fragile ego.

    • HappyAgain says:

      I understand how you are feeling. I hope everything gets better for you very soon. I have days where I feel the same and hurt my own heart after everything i been through then have to pick myself back up and keep going. Its hard sometimes. I wish you the very best for your today and for your future. Be encouraged.

  65. AfroK says:

    Correcion:

    *I get overwhelmed thinking about it and can’t bring myself write it as I will bring the emotions back to life.

    *But regrets exhaust me at the moment and don’t even know how to move forward. I feel I’m too late to do anything or to succeed at anything.

    *I feel like I ran away too late.

    *(I know what she would be experiencing by now)

  66. Sue says:

    Thanks for a great article. I have just experienced something very similar (and not for the first time) from a friend/lover who turned up an hour and a half late on my birthday. We had an arrangement to meet at 6 and he arrived at 7h30. I was with a girl friend at the time that he pitched up outside my house. When I expressed my indignation he went on the offensive and actually accused me of being self-absorbed because I didn’t phone to find out where he was !!! He cannot understand his transgression – he has no remorse. The penny has f i n a l l y dropped and I realise I am dealing with a Narcisstic abuser.

  67. swg says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I SO relate to this. I am in the process of leaving a relationship with a total blame defector. He has so many manipulative tactics in his arsenal..talking to him is nothing but an exercise in frustration. I’ve learned that his ultimate goal is just to get me to shut up about any problems I have, so he can merrily keep doing whatever he wants, even if I object to it. In other words, he is NOT relationship material, and it’s unfortunately taken me almost 2 years to get to the point where I am ready to walk.

    Complaining about my timing is only ONE way he manipulates me. He also uses ridiculously irrational extrapolations. Recently, I had a problem with him hanging out with this irresponsible loser of a girl “friend” who was a jerk to me, and of course, he starts naming his other friends, who have nothing in common with this girl..as well as, telling me he won’t introduce me to any more of his “friends”, cuz..heaven forbid I should end up having a conflict with them.

    Not sure what that particular tactic is called, but it makes me want to throw things or break something.

    But yeah..he’s constantly accusing me of bringing up my issues at bad times. (I’m at work. I need to sleep now. My friend is visiting. I have a headache. I’m trying to rest on my vacation day. etc. No time is a good time!) The goal being, to get you to just swallow whatever’s bothering you and just, not make waves.

  68. misa says:

    I’ve had a similar issue with a friend.
    In this case, she complained about something I have done (per messages on Facebook…). I have refused to admit it was my fault, she then backtracked a little and said that she wanted to talk about it, I haven’t answered since.

    I feel a bit like the EUMs who dodge confrontation. I might be a bit EUM right now, and this is why I don’t want a confrontation. At the same time I don’t think the accusation was fair.

    Some weeks before XMas I asked her to go out because I was very sad and needed to dance it off. She said yes, but then made me wait before we could arrange the “where and at what time”, because she seemed to be unable to decide if she wanted to go to an “over 30″ party with another friend, and take me along.
    I told her I didn’t feel like going to such a party (as she had asked for my opinion) but she kept being indecisive, not saying yes nor no, and then asked me to wait until Friday night (we were supposed to meet on Sat), when she was meeting her other friend and deciding what she wanted to do.

    I didn’t want to risk having to stay at home (as I really needed and wanted to be distracted) and told her it wasn’t a problem, we could have dinner together and go dancing another time, and I arranged something with other friends.

    She then wrote me back, being very passive-aggressive (she made an angry joke) tones, saying that it wasn’t the first time I canceled at the last second. I answered it wasn’t true and besides I just wanted not to force her to come out with me, as she had other plans that I didn’t like, so I was basically trying to be nice.

    She got angrier and wrote that I was dodging the issue.
    I then invited her to re-read our emails so that she could see for herself what had happened.
    She then cooled off, writing “everyone is entitled to her own opinion” and asking to talk over coffee.
    This is where I disappeared.

    I feel guilty now for not talking to her but I had a feeling she wanted to fight. I also didn’t like the passive-aggression and the fact that she WROTE instead of CALLING. It’s perfectly OK to express your criticism when you most feel like it, but it’s also true that if you haven’t said anything about something for some time, you can’t “explode”. Well, you can, but not per email.
    It’s telling that she didn’t tell me directly, she had to address it using a (cranky, clearly aggressive) joke and only when I didn’t “laugh” did she admit the problem.

  69. Dharma Chick says:

    Natalie, thanks so much. Over the holidays I read many of your posts, pondered, examined my own patterns, etc.

    Lack of boundaries has been a big issue for me, gradually improving but still a little too loose for my comfort. Recently I wrote out my values and boundaries, with a lot of help from your info :-)

    This week I’ve had two dates with a man who ended busting a couple of them. I’m not sure what’s unclear about “I’m slow to move to sex” (exact words!). And a couple days ago he sent me an email (grrr!) with a sexually explicit question (double grr!). When I didn’t answer he said, what are you shy. Hello! No! Then a half-assed defensive non-apology apology saying he meant it to be “fun”.

    And he’d barely asked me anything else about myself. That seems to be the pattern with guys who try to leap to sexual whatever very early on.

    Flush! It feels good. My boundary is “I don’t rush to get sexually involved. It’s my responsibility to clearly communicate this.” Now that I look at it I’ll likely re-word it to “I take my time to get sexually involved if we get there at all, based on demonstrated care, trust, and respect”. And of course I expect the same behavior from myself.

    Also staying away from the deadly and useless overanalyzing!! :-D

    • Dharma Chick says:

      I forgot to say before that I feel so good after opting out with this person. Cheerful, radiant, empowered. Moreso than I imagined!

  70. TARA says:

    Hello. How would i go about trying to get my boyfriend to talk about a situation i need him to discuss if the timing is never correct in his eyes. I wnat to know why he wont talk to me about hvaing sex with me before we go to bed during the week. We have been together for 6 years on and off. We are doing very well but he keeps blaming me to my fault why he isnt interested in having sex with me during the week. He says its my nagging about the situation then he says youre timing is horrible and that he is going to bed. Please help me, i would like to make our relationship have more sex in it than only on Sundays mornings.

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