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2013 is drawing to a close and this means lots of reflecting on what the year has and hasn’t been, as well as looking ahead, planning, anticipating, and possibly worrying.

This is definitely a time of year when it’s all too easy to languish in the past playing scenes over and over in your mind while latching onto a few specific elements to give you a hard time over, or to even convince you that if you’d done or been such and such, that the outcome would have been oh-so-different.

You have to be careful of accepting the way it wasn’t and rejecting the way it was.

On the flip side, a new year brings fresh uncertainty and you’re either going to find this restorative with its almost blank slate appeal or, it’s going to induce anxiety – worrying about what isn’t happening yet and/or forecasting doom based on past experiences or imagined scenarios.

You can live on autopilot and carry the same baggage, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes while engaging with the same or similar types of people. From there, you can keep expecting a different result but at the same time taking comfort in the safe familiarity of your uncomfortable comfort zone and being able to predict what happens next. Sure, you reduce uncertainty by limiting vulnerability but you’re also limiting your experiences and your happiness at the same time.

I used to be terrified of uncertainty and I think that a part of me hoped that when I was ‘enough’ and being and doing certain things including having my void filled by others, that I could control uncertainty, which is a bit like trying to cup the ocean in your hands or trying to control what others think and do.

The other option is to accept uncertainty as part of the package of life.

When we accept it, we also accept possibilities instead of seeing all uncertainty as ‘bad’. We put our energies into the present because it’s where we have the power to be our best selves, to do our best work, and to do things that align with who we are and where we want to be (our values, goals, aspirations etc) instead of going off message due to operating on autopilot and being too in our own heads.

When we accept uncertainty, we’re able to focus on what we can control – who we are, what we do and the choices we make.

One of the key lessons of this year that I’ve emphasised to readers, particularly students on BR courses, plus myself, is that we can’t control how we feel or even the thoughts that pop into our head but we can choose the meaning that we apply, the judgements that we make, and basically what we feed the feelings and thoughts with.

Feelings and thoughts aren’t a statement of what is, as these can both happen instinctively without knowledge or reasoning.

Before you run to jump to conclusions that whatever you’re feeling or thinking is ‘bad’ or how you’ll always feel /be, or even predictive of what can and will happen, or a message about your capabilities or worth, breathe. Come back to earth. Don’t run your life with the BS that results from treating feelings and thoughts as facts and letting them run the show.

You are your commander. Not your thoughts, not your feelings, not even ‘everyone’ or that certain somebody that’s actually just not that special that you need to pump them up or even glorify them.

Whatever 2014 and beyond holds, there is hope. Don’t give up on you, your now and your future, do find the blessings in disguise in what may have been some painful lessons, and definitely don’t dim your light. Be you and all that it entails. Remember that we are all flawed so your flaws don’t actually distinguish you. Don’t aspire to be superhuman. Be you.

Happy new year from Freetown, Sierra Leone, where we’re holidaying with Em’s family until next week. See you in 2014! Big squeezy hugs, Nat xx

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198 Responses to Happy New Year (and of course a few words)

  1. espresso says:

    Beautifully said and just what I needed to hear today. I face a year of great change and uncertainty – I leave my home and city of over 25 years in January and have good plans afoot but they all haven’t materialized and some of them might not. I am scared sometimes because there is no guarantee and I find it hard to hold onto a future vision of happiness and light. I am still processing feelings that “pop” into my head and disturb my inner peace. Your message that we cannot control uncertainty but can only make decisions that are right for us, with the knowledge that we can handle them really speaks to me right now. I am proud that I am willing to get out of my comfort zone and vote for me. Thank you to everyone on BR for hanging in with me over the last year and for all the deeply felt posts that shared deep parts of all our lives. All best wishes to EVERYONE in 2014. Remember that, above all, to trust your gut and that you deserve, as a matter of course, respect, thoughtfulness, consideration and all good things from the people who claim to love you.

  2. Miranda says:

    Excellent post to end the year with! I look back at this past year, at both the good and bad times, and I feel content. I feel certain that everything happened the way it was supposed to, even the bad things, the disappointments, and the heartbreak. I learned so much, and experienced so much, and I’m excited for what 2014 has in store for me. I know there will be good, and I know there will be bad, and I’m 100% accepting of that. Most of all, I know that whoever 2014 brings, it will teach me a lot about myself, and life in general.

  3. Jamie says:

    Happy New Year!!
    I fully plan to embrace “uncertainty” in 2014, which, for a control freak like me will prove difficult. But certainly not impossible. I will stumble, make mistakes, be happy, sad & feel all things in-between.

    Before opening my mouth I will ask myself:
    1. Is it true?
    2. Is it necessary?
    3. Is it kind?

    I am truly excited for the new year to start!!

    I have gone full NC with the eum. My final message to him was “you don’t deserve me”. I see how half-assed I was doing the nc before, thanks to all you beautiful ladies!!

    Here’s to a blessed new year!!

    xo
    Jamie

  4. Little Star says:

    Happy New Year to you Natalie and our lovely BR community!!! Xxx

  5. Naomi says:

    Natalie your a dude. straight.
    from l8 summer 2013 when a friend put me onto you and your book mr unavalible and the fallback girl, i’ve gotten nothing but experiance strenght and hope from your writing & talk. Thank You. and for all the other dudes who read this site keep on keeping on it might just save your life or @ very least help reaquaint you with your own particular fabulousness.
    MoreLove Always.
    Naomi X

  6. Lucy says:

    Nat, I have been reading your posts for the last 2 years following a horrific breakup where I forgot who I was and the values I live by. I am slowly clawing my way back and feeling happy and fulfilled by the smallest things. A lot of that is thanks to amazing friends and family but also your wise words as well as so many who have posted on this site. You have all helped to calm my troubled soul in times of real torment. I never post but feeling hopeful and wanted to wish you and all BR readers a very very happy and fulfilled 2014.

  7. kookie says:

    happy new year, nat! enjoy freetown, half of my family is from sierra leone, and i have always wanted to go, it looks so beautiful.

  8. Angelface says:

    Happy New Year Natalie & All Friends Here!
    Love, Diana AngelFace

  9. Sandy says:

    On Natalie, how you manage to come up with this is amazing…I have been ruminating on the ex AC for the last few days, feeling a bit down, wondering if I should contact him, feeling uncertain about my future,but then bang I read this and I just instantly feel stronger, my spine straightens and I realise that you are right my feelings are just that, remnants of what was.
    I have been looking forward to a New Year, a new start…so it’s time to embrace that, get off my proverbial bum and understand that it is totally up to me to change things for the better.
    Happy New Year to all BR readers, may your wishes come true in the best way this year xoxoxo

  10. dancingqueen says:

    I am really proud of this last year!:) !!! So I am writing a little to celebrate this. I am happy for several reasons, mostly personal growth and accomplishments finished.

    Regarding latter: one, I learned to dance better (yeah!) by dealing with my over-sensitivity and fear and taking those advanced classes even when I felt klutzy. Two, I became certified to teach a foreign language and I finished my thesis and graduated with my Masters ( yahoo!).

    Re; former: I feel like something shifted and I grew but I am not sure why; in fact, nothing terrible and hard happened this year, and yet I feel like I grew more than in the years when I struggled to learn lessons from unhappy situations…must think about this.

    Specifically, what I mean by “grew” is that I noticed that, this year, I was better able to not react when around people who pushed my buttons usually. My family member ( you know “that one” who spends all their time trying to poke at you, in public, at family gatherings…the permanently negative one that most people have at least one of?) really did not piss me off at all this last X-mas. As they were going on, pooh-poohing my new little cottage business idea that I am currently building a website for ( that so many of my other family members were totally supportive and psyched about) I just felt like I was a therapist sitting back and analyzing “Why does this person always criticize this other person’s ideas? What makes her ideas so upsetting to him?”. It was really nice.

    Even cooler, my sister-in-law told me that I am intuitively a good marketeer. I was excited about this because she is in sales and very successful and I was showing her my website and some of my ideas and she said that a lot of what I am implementing intuitively, is what could be laid out in some of the hipper marketing articles. I thought that it was so great, to have someone who gets it, in my corner. But regardless of what she stated, I know what I am doing. My business is win-win because my real goal with it, is to do something creative, have a neat product with a quality ethos behind it, learn how to market it well, and basically produce something that is building on itself and adding to a community. If it does not work than fine, I will still be successful because I learned what did NOT work, and I will have learned that I had the balls to do it and make it. Plus it is cool to learn about websites.

    My take-away: one, if I tell “that” relative an idea in front of others, and they hate it, it is ABSOLUTELY a great idea lol! Two, there is ALWAYS good things to be gained with failure, it is just how you re-frame it in your heart and mind. “Failure” is…I had the balls to put myself out there and the courage to take it on the chin…I learned from this and I can use this as a way to know both what to do and what not to do next time…it is evidence that I lived, existed, fought and celebrated embracing the things that scared me, challenged me, inspired me and made my heart beat. There is not failure really, just opportunity to learn and grow.

    Happy New Year all! I am excited to read about how much we will all grow this new year:)

    • Lilly says:

      dancingqueen,

      Sounds like you had an amazing year. Congrats for all your accomplishments and I wish you continued success and learning in 2014. Thanks for all your support over the last couple of years.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Thank you Lily, you too! :) Each time that I lurk and I read your comments I see how you have grown in strength, but maintained your kindhearted nature. I know that this year will bring you what you want:)

      • dancingqueen says:

        augh! Lilly.

  11. Celeste says:

    Happy New Year Natalie! Here’s to another year of your wonderful knowledge and insight to which we are all ever so grateful.

  12. Revolution says:

    Miss Natalie,

    You look so chill in that pic. I’m glad for you, as you deserve it. It looks like the weather is nice and warm there, which is probably a nice break from what I assume is blustery London right about now. Good on you, dear girl.

    This post is amazingly on point and at the right time for me (big surprise, as we all seem to say that :)) Just two days ago, I signed up for the Zumba instructor training course at the end of this month. Kids, I’m going to be a Zumba instructor!!!! Wooohooo!!! It will be a side job, and more of a hobby, but I am astonished at the inner reaction that I had after I signed up. I mean, at first I was all excited. And then, that night, the self-doubt gremlins started at me. One, smoking in the corner, looked at me askance and said, “Who do you think YOU are?” Another jumped on my bed, up and down, taunting, “You’re not fit enough to be an instructor!!” Another one, playing Solitaire at an imaginary card table in my room, looked back at me and with a bored voice and accused, “Aren’t you supposed to be looking for REAL work right now?”

    So there you have it. Feelings aren’t facts. I’ve acknowledged these little creatures and, while they’re still there, so is little Revs. Little Revs is in a topknot ponytail with big eyes, and she’s shaking me on the shoulder and saying, “Oh man, we’re really gonna DO this, aren’t we??? Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..I’m SO EXCITED!!!!!!!”

    Roll out 2014, bitches. I’m ready to merengue. ;)

    Love to all.

    • teachable says:

      I would come to your Zumba classes Rev. If I wasn’t so far away that is. I wish you bucket loads of fun with this! Xxx

    • Lilly says:

      Rev,

      I love this. I just read an article about gremlin ass kicking where the author talks about changing your life by managing that mean and disempowering inner-critic. Good luck with the course. I’m excited for you and you’re going to be an amazing Zumba instructor.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Actually I would prefer to take a Zumba class from someone who had self-doubt at first: what better person to be empathetic with others fears of gracelessness and body-image issues? I think that your fears are just signs that you will be a good instructor!

      • Revolution says:

        Teach, Lilly, DQ:

        You ladies are always showing up in my corner, and I don’t forget a kindness. Thank you.

        Today I had a mini-meltdown due to hormones (I’m on my period) and an ill-advised step on the scale after several months of avoiding it. Ugh. Not good. Anyways, I felt my feelings. Now my tears are all dried up and I’m ready to roll again.

        Teach: I’d gladly have you in my Zumba class.

        Lilly, my dear: yes, that damn inner critic. Managing it is the key, you’re right. You can’t silence it forever, but you can definitely not make it the loudest voice in the room.

        DQ: Your point about having a little self-doubt leading to empathy is spot on. I never thought of that as a valuable asset, but you’re right.

        Sometimes I just throw myself into the deep end of the pool and then wonder why I’m thrashing about in the water. I have to remember that with risk comes uncertainty and possible failure. But also possible success. I’m damn uncomfortable right now, ladies. I guess that means I’m growing,lol. ;)

  13. Helen says:

    Happy New Year & Best Wishes to All

    I just wanted to express how “Blessed” I feel today. Although, I’m filled with just a little emotions right now.. But, today im taking my heart back.. for the last four years, I gave my all & I believed in someone who all this time was faking our future.. Sometimes I wanna kick myself so hard for being stupid. But, in reality i was just taken for granted.. Everything in life happens for a reason and I’ve accepted that and I’m moving on…its the best decision I’ve ever done for myself in a long time

    Thank you Natalie & Staff of Baggage Reclaim… May your 2014 be filled with many Blessings & lots of love!

    • Stacey says:

      Helen – I feel just as you do. I feel thankful and blessed, but have a small sadness also. I gave my all as well, and had hope in someone that never knew what he wanted. Its time to move forward, and realize that we deserve so much more. Happy New Year!

      • Soul Survivor says:

        Good luck Stacey, here’s to a much better, happier future. Lots of love and strength to you xx

    • Soul Survivor says:

      Good luck Helen, you sound strong and your words are lovely. I too have just recently started NC to move on from a relationship where I lost myself, and go I was. can’t believe it’s taken me so long but it’s all about looking forwards now xx

    • oregongirl says:

      Good for you Helen, you ROCK!!! I did the same thing, finally ditched my MM for good. It’s weird, but after trying to rid myself of him for about a year, one day something just “clicked” inside me and I knew that this was it, the real deal, the final breakup. NC 8 days now and guess what I have blocked my phone, texts, email, and I feel so much better now.

      I highly recommend Natalie’s two books. I have read them over and over. I also recommend her “self esteem” class, which taught me so much.

      Hey Natalie, would love it if you could tie together all the self esteem lessons into a book! I’d buy it for sure!

      Hugs and love from the Oregon Coast!!
      xoxoxox

  14. Janiqua says:

    Thank you so much for this post today! I have been struggling with NC during this holiday. This has definitely not been a wonderful holiday for me. I had thought I would have been spending my holidays with my boyfriend, but a huge turn of events has happened. While I sit here alone tonight with my favorite doggie by my side, your words about accepting uncertainty and living our best in each moment really ring true for me. Have a wonderful holiday in Sierra Leone and I am looking forward to reading more of your amazing and helpful posts this coming year!

  15. Sanntay says:

    As always, your words ring so true, Natalie. I’m ready for a fresh start…ready to try new things, meet new people, and rid myself of the baggage of 2013. No more crying, suffering, and being negative. I need to believe in me, value me, and protect ME. I need to step out of my comfort zone and go for what I want, which includes being the best me that I can be, realizing my dreams, and steering clear of the users and losers. Thank God I lived to see another year. Love to all and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

    • Mel says:

      Gosh….That’s everything I wanted to say in a nutshell! Happy NY and I hope everything works out for you & everybody who uses the BR tools. Thank you Natalie. Any chance you’ll come to Australia any time soon?

  16. Hayley says:

    I really like this sentence. I think it sums up what goes in my head and what I spend my life thinking about. Glorifying a relationship and wishing, hoping, analyzing the what if’s, the what could have been’s instead of seeing something for what it really was.

    You have to be careful of accepting the way it wasn’t and rejecting the way it was.

    Well said.

  17. Sparkle says:

    Thank you, Natalie. Happy New Year to you and all the awesome ladies on this site. Your support, wisdom, courage and growth helped my recovery so much. xo

  18. Elgie R. says:

    Happy New Year to all!

    “You have to be careful of accepting the way it wasn’t and rejecting the way it was.”

    I had to read that line again…boy is that a meaty kernel of truth.

    I’ll adopt a present tense version – “You have to be careful of accepting the way it isn’t and rejecting the way it is.”

    No…things are not fair on the job. I’m not one of the chosen. My boss is trying to marginalize me…because he’s THREATENED by me. That is the way it is. When are people threatened? When they see you possess something that they feel outshines them.

    So I need to capitalize on MY strengths. I aim to embrace uncertainty, feel the fear and do it anyway. Open some new doors for ME.

    I pick me in 2014. I will listen to my gut, because honestly, it has never led me astray.

    I will continue to read BR and Be Real.

    Thanks to all posters here and gone who have helped me learn.

    Thank you Natalie Lue. I think this place is brilliant.

  19. Nikki says:

    Absolutely positively so! Thank you. Blessings to you and your family in the New Year!!!

  20. Tinkerbell says:

    Happy New Year Natalie, and BR readers.

    I’m feeling really great and positive about the New Year. Don’t know how much I’ll be able to post as it seems my 10 yr old Dell has decided its finished. I’ll have to purchase a laptop if it conks out on me.
    Petie and I are doing very well. He’s all hot to trot with anticipation of seeing me and I’m more relaxed about it. There will be no steering the ship and emotional drama coming from me. We both have reaffirmed out desire to always be together.
    So that’s good enough for me. I have many other issues to focus on and lots to get done for myself.
    I consider this an improved healthier outlook.

    Starting tomorrow I’m trying a modified fast of fruits and veggies ONLY to detox my system and, of course, losing a few pounds is the secondary goal.
    I’ll try to do 10 days, or as long as I can. I am not going to set myself up for failure.

    Hope you all have the best year possible. Stay focused on what will bring you peace and serenity.

    • teachable says:

      best of luck with your detox tinks and happy new year to you too. is that a new fella you are referring to here btw? if so, wow and good for you! XX

    • Little Star says:

      Dear Tink, glad that you doing well in your personal life! Good luck with diet;)
      I had c customer at work yesterday, she is 60 and looks very fit (I thought she was 40!), I was shocked to be honest, her advice was to eat plenty of fruits and veggs and to enrol to pole dancing classes! Haha, that’s what I am going to do next;) xx

    • Sanntay says:

      Hi Tink: So glad to hear that you and Petie are doing well. I’m hopeful that your computer challenges will be rectified and you’ll continue to post here on BR as I always look forward to your insightful feedback. Big hugs to you, and here’s to health and happiness in 2014 and beyond!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Teach, Little Star, and Sanntay,

        He’s the same guy. We’ve come a LONG way in the relationship. I feel so grateful that he is genuinely open and honest. No games. Not easy to find that anymore. Thank you all so much for the encouragement and I wish the same for you. LET’S MAKE 2014 A GOOD YEAR! XXX.

  21. heather says:

    thank you for this although it will be abit before I can apply it cause my situation is opposite of this. I ended a dead end marriage, I was happy & not looking back. D would be in 2 months… the year had been lovely despite spending the majority of it with someone I was clearly not in love with or suppose to have as a partner. I traveled, I laughed, I felt hurts and I picked my ass up and moved on.

    even as everybody left in Christmas day and I was suppose to spend it alone, I was HAPPY and content. No man in it. no need.

    then I got a call, my father was killed in a house fire on Christmas afternoon.
    everything I accomplished, all progress, GONE in seconds. gone just gone.
    i have bawled my head till I cant anymore.
    and I am just coming back.
    NC broken. hurts again. betrayal again to me over and over… sigh.

    Im needing to look for the future of me once again picking my ass up and moving on. im still in this hell but I at least want to survive it too. 3 days ago, i could have given it all up. i was spent.

    today, i am back to healing, trying. looking for hope. I too have a trip planned for next month. shortly after the service to just go by myself and enjoy something. wish me luck please. what a hard year or climbing so high to have fallen back to the bottom again.

    • Sanntay says:

      Heather: My deepest sympathies to you and your family on this tragic loss. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Please take care of yourself and know that others are thinking of you during this difficult time. I wish you the peace and comfort of God’s love.

    • Lilly says:

      heather,

      What can I say to you? I’m so sorry that you are suffering from the tragic loss of your father. Two years ago almost to the day I lost my unborn baby son and I have never experienced pain like it. At the time I had been trying to go NC on the baby’s father. Losing the baby put a stop to all that, NC was broken and I was back on the disastrous merry go round. I stayed on it for another painful year and 8 months before I finally got off. My advice to you would be to go gently on yourself, be kind. Of course you’ve broken NC, it’s completely understandable; you’re seeking comfort and support, but please try to seek that comfort from people who really can provide it. Look to family and friends that are and have been there for you. I spent a long, long time trying to reach out to someone who never had my interests at heart, who only ever thought about himself and it just added to all the grief. It made the grieving process that much harder. It’s good to hear you are back to healing and looking for hope. Two years ago I was looking for hope and found BR. It’s been one step forward, two steps back, but I’ve made it and so will you. Sending you lots of love and support. Have faith that no matter how painful it is you will come through.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Heather,

      I am so sorry that there is nothing anyone can say, to take away your pain. Nobody really will be able to say anything probably, but I hope that someone who might have the right words, can guide you through this very, very difficult time. Good thoughts and hugs your way.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        OMG! Heather. I am soooo sorry for this disaster that has befallen you and yours. Please know that my heart goes out to you as this is a huge catastrophic loss. Pray for strength to get you through this. I will say a pray for you, too. Hugs, Tink.

    • Rosie says:

      Heather- No, it’s not all gone in seconds. You had one weak moment. One. You’re going through an incredible loss so it’s normal to fall into “all or nothing” thinking, normal to feel a big, gaping hole in your heart where your dad used to be and, believe it or not, normal to reach out to the one who previously hurt you as the pain of your father’s death probably triggered the pain you experienced with the guy and it’s all just pain trying to relieve itself with pain.

      As others have said, now’s not the time to beat up on yourself (not that there ever is a time). Now’s the time to be extra gentle with yourself, extra forgiving, extra compassionate. In fact, don’t be surprised if you surprise yourself with even more weird decisions. Again, you’re a finite creature. A beautiful, intelligent creature, to be sure, but creature. You’re allowed to make mistakes.

    • Grizelda says:

      Heather, so sorry to hear of your tragedy. Know that we all hear your story and we care about you, yes you as an individual in the midst of a very big struggle. We’re hoping you soon feel progress in your recovery. We hope for all the best for you.

  22. teachable says:

    Grr. Internet just ate my comment.

    Happy new year to Nat and everyone at BR. May t2014 more happiness than you know what to do with. x

    Just wondering, I’m good on my new year focus but one thing is coming up I’m not sure how to do exactly.

    It’s the 2nd anniversary of the deceased ex AC’s death in two weeks and I’m finally ready to take a look at that issue and to let it go. In fact I really want to. I’m no longer in survival mode and I just want to put everything that happened with him well and truely behind me.

    It’s also the 2 &1/2 anniversary of when I finally went NC with him (successfully). His death though complicated my emotional processing of things. I’m not sure how exactly but processing the end of my involvement with him is different somehow to processing his death.

    The two issues feel intertwined because I predicted his death prior to going NC and this indeed did occur, but I didnt learn of his death until 6 mths after the fact.

    At that time and ever since I have been too busy dealing with crisis mode here to really look at any of this in any depth. I am now in a more settled place and ready to look at the death issue in more depth as I need to move on from that specifically also, not just from the relationship, if that makes sense.

    Has anyone else at BR experienced anything similar to what I am describing I wonder and if so how did you handle the death issue?

    Teach x

  23. teachable says:

    PS to clarify I went NC with the now deceased ex ac 6 mths before he died and successfully maintained this.

    I then did not learn of his death until 6 mths after the fact, so I had by then 12 mths of NC under my belt and felt quite strong.

    It is now 18 mths later and the 2nd anniversary of his death is in 2 weeks. I’ve felt this affect me over the new year period. A strange saddness feeling.

    I am clear that I did not love anything about my involvement with this man during the 3 years he was in my life before I went NC. He treated me appallingly and I allowed this due to unresolved feelings of ‘love’ based on our earlier relationship which had spanned some years 17 years prior. Back then my ex was not an AC. This time he was. This time he also had very serious addiction issues I knew nothing about until well into the situation and misled me into believing he was single when he was not. This time around he was also (at my urging) diagnosed with bi polar disorder. None of these things were issues in our relationship the first time around and so they were mitigating factors in what went on the second time around.

    Once I found out I had been misled that he was even single (which suddenly explained a lot of the AC behaviour) I cut him off NC once and for all and never spoke to him again.

    Then he died. All very weird and frankly way too drama ridden for someone like me who needs a very peaceful and quiet life in order to be happy!

    I feel like I am unresolved in some way about the death issue though. It’s still affecting me and I dont want it to.

    Please help!

    • Revolution says:

      Hey Teach,

      Oh God, I’m going to take a very clumsy stab at some help for you, so be patient with me please.

      I’m thinking that (and not based on my own experience, but on what I *think* I would be feeling in your circumstance, though I don’t know the half) your NC with the dude was on your terms. But his death sort of took any control of the situation out of your hands. Meaning: you no longer were making a decision to not talk to him; the decision was made for you because he is no longer around. And, of course, you really had no closure. I should say no *honest* closure, because any closure you had was tainted with misinformation (you not knowing he was with another woman at the same time he was with you).

      I also think that you might have a strong tendency to rescue/protect/save others, and the chance to do so with him(not that you would’ve taken it) was taken away from you, and not by your choice, but by Providence.

      *sigh* I feel like I’m preaching to the choir and telling you what you already know. Or possibly overstepping. Please forgive me if I am. These are just the things that are coming up as I consider your situation with dealing with the double loss of the guy (through betrayal and then death).I wish I could help more, darlin’.

      • Revolution says:

        Anyway, I think the “way back”, Teach, is to mourn him in both ways. Mourn him from the NC standpoint, and mourn him from the death standpoint. Yes, I can just hear you: I’ve done that already. I think you are still mourning. Granted, not as deeply as at first, but there are still residuals, I think. Plus, this is all more intense because it’s around the same time of year as when he died. Of course you’re going to feel it deeper now.

        Something I’ve noticed is that feelings that are repressed, scoffed at, minimized, ignored, or denied, WILL rear their ugly head to get the attention they deserve. God, have I learned that lesson. About 14,587 times. Let me go out on a limb here ;) and say that you and I are alike and we don’t go quietly into those softer feelings. But that seems to be the order of the day. It always comes back to that for us, eh Teach? The irony is that once we allow ourselves to well up with these feelings, they tend to dissipate quicker. We expect a tsunami, but it’s really just a big wave that ebbs just as quickly and naturally as it flows.

  24. teachable says:

    Also I should add for not familiar with my story, the ex now deceased AC lived interstate, which is how was so easily able to carry on the charade of a ‘double life’. Go figure!!!!!!

  25. Mel says:

    Happy NY Natalie and everybody who belongs to the BR community. I have been following you Natalie for a little over a year now, also on YouTube. My now NC relationship (of the worse kind – in love with a married man) led me to your words of wisdom. I am 2 weeks into NC…not even a merry Xmas or a happy new year, sad as that is, I feel stronger every day…though I do have my moments! So wish me well everyone, It’s difficult on so many levels isn’t it?, as so may of you will know! Within the relationship I lost myself & became mildly depressed which made it all the more harder to end it once and for all. These men manage to get a hold on us don’t they? I know that sounds passive however, it’s to break old habits and relationship patterns when you’re a nurturing person who is desperate for love, mainly due to never having received enough. It sometimes leads us to make poor choices in love & in life. Anyway, enough rambling…happy NY everyone xoxox

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Mel,

      You’re out of a situation in which the likelihood of it ever turning positive for you is very doubtful. It is for the best regardless of who called it off. It was SUPPOSED TO END. Remember that. Move on to a much better fulfilling life you would never have had as the OW. I know you’re hurt and it’s not easy to pick yourself up. But, at least, now you can start to gravitate toward a much healthier lifestyle. You can do it. Good luck and toasting to you for a better year in 2014.

    • oregongirl says:

      Mel,
      It’s a good thing you got out when you did. After time goes by, the depression gets worse as you keep hoping and hoping things will change, while also realizing that they won’t. My MM was also an alcoholic and verbally abusive, and I developed PTSD from staying with him so long. Whenever my phone rings, my text beeps, I see something that reminds me of him, my heart starts pounding and racing and I can’t breathe. You treated yourself with love and respect. I’m happy for you.

  26. Lacy says:

    Hey Nat u look beautiful and as usual I love this post Peace and blessings throughout the yr to u and your family.

  27. ROCKET says:

    Happy New Year ladies!

    I need some encouragement or something

    Can you believe I went to a new years eve party, saw my ex with his gf of 7 months and I came home and cried afterwards

    I live in a small area so I pretty much see them often enough…I was with my friends but felt so alone

    We were together 6 plus years, we have no communication whatsoever right now, I have been trying to heal and move on

    SHouldnt be over this? I can’t believe I am over here crying, Am I a fool or what?

    • Stacey says:

      Rocket – don’t be so hard on yourself. It takes time. Feel what your feeling, journal, and then go do something fun for yourself. I am sure I would have the same reaction if I ran into my ex with his new gf. Maybe it would be wise to avoid places you think you know they will be? I have avoided one place in my city for 3 months because that is the ONLY place he goes for movies etc. I am ok with that. Hang in there and read some of Nat’s articles and go check out gettingpastyourbreakup.com. :)

    • Peanut says:

      Rocket,

      “Should I be over this?” Gurl, I dated the ex for 2.5 months and near two years later I am still not over it. And it’s not due to a lack of trying or hard work. Here is the hard, hard truth: It takes however long it takes.

      Sure there are things you can do; seek Natalie’s resources for that, as well as other forms of support. I’ve read books on relationships, self care, and the like. Some of them are better than others, and for some people, they just don’t work at all. That’s okay. Search to find what heals you.

      You saw him with his girlfriend (OUCH) at a party, and you went home and cried. Good for you. Keep doing that. You will be stronger for it after each cry (as long as you don’t contact him). And by “keep doing that” I DO NOT mean to suggest you ought to seek out your ex ever. I get it though. You live in a small town. Me too, pretty much (small city with a small town feel). It’s only a matter of time before I run into my ex again. And I know that if I need to leave and get myself home to a safe place to cry, I will. You must do the same for you. It’s okay to cry. A lot. It’s okay to hurt for a while. I promise. You’ll make it through. Take care xoxo.

      Peanut

      • ROCKET says:

        Stacey and Peanut,

        Thanks to both of you for taking the time out to respond! :)

        Peanut, I was at work reading this, I had to stop because I could feel the tears welling up!

        I know that time will heal, and I really do look forward to THAT DAY. Thank you again

    • Tulipa says:

      Hi Rocket,

      I saw this quote and thought of you.

      “No person has the right to condemn you on how you repair your heart or how long you to choose to grieve, because no one knows how much you’re hurting. Recovering takes time, and everyone heals at her or his own pace.”

      • LovefromNel says:

        Tulipa, what a beautiful quote. This hit a nerve for me. When I was grieving immensely for the EUM clown in August of this year, a supposed friend (now flushed because she began ignoring me) said that I shouldn’t be so upset because my relationship had only lasted for five months. My response was that she had no right to tell someone else what they should/shouldn’t be feeling, but this quote said it much more eloquently. Thank you.

        So Rocket (and Peanut), I can only echo Tulipa’s lovely quote above. Heal at your own pace, and do what you need to do for you. You will get there Rocket (coming from someone who is also still crying six months down the track!) – but I know that this alternates with (albeit haphazard) healing. We will get there.

        Love nel

  28. Lynn S. says:

    Happy New Year everyone! Thank you Natalie for all the wonderful posts this year. I’ve learned a lot from you.

  29. Elgie R. says:

    Dancing Queen, I liked your words about embracing failure as a learning device and a stepping stone. I have some internet ideas too…so I am saying to myself ‘So what if they fail/ I may learn something useful along the way’. We don’t know what we don’t know.

    Mel, you very accurately stated: it is hard to break old habits and patterns, especially when we are nurturers who need someone to give our love to. It does cause us to make bad choices when we remain unaware of our internal patterns and motivations.

    I felt “needed” by the ACMM. My internal patterns blinded me to the fact that I was actually being “used” moreso than “needed”.

    I have a work pal who is married after being a widower for 1 year, and his wife is an AC to him. Watching him endure her mistreatment, I’ve come to think the strife gives him a sense of purpose in life. He admits he was very unhappy in his 1-year bachelorhood…….too much aloneness and a sense of drifting…..nothing to do and no one to do it with. He insisted on the marriage, and now, he still has no one with whom to do things he enjoys.

    I think that is something to watch out for – letting drama give us a sense of purpose.

    BR has given me new relationship “filters”. More often now, in romantic and non-romantic situations, I ask myself ‘Do I need to invest myself in this or just let it go?”

    • L says:

      Amen to the “filters”, by the way. I feel the same way. Sometimes it’s still hard letting go, but I’m learning and I owe that new insight to BR!

    • dancingqueen says:

      @Elgie…go for it!Get those ideas out in the open and act! I jus read an email today from a very successful friend, about a woman who is a millionaire now after creating homemade nutritious dog food and selling it door to door at first. She just sold her business for several mil and ten years ago she was at farmers markets on a hay bail. Go go go!!!!

  30. Poppy says:

    Happy new year everyone, I have to be honest I’m not sure what I was expecting today. I had psyched myself up for a compete mindset change, move on completely, all thoughts of past hurts gone in a poof, no anger, no tears and some magic dust to give me the motivation to just communicate with the rest of the world. I can’t continue like this, one minute I’m ok the next flat as a pancake. Today, my friends I have only disappointed myself by setting my expectations so high for the new year only to feel the same dull pain. It’s been months of nc and I can’t seem to get out of this thick dark sticky sludge I’m wading through. Time, they say, I wasted so much time with him and now I’m wasting time without him. It’s almost like I’m still in the relationship only he is not physically here. Sorry to dampen the mood.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Poppy. Happy new year to you! I feel as if your comment could have been written by me. I feel exactly the same and quite overwhelmed with sadness. In fact, the reason I’d held back commenting is because I didn’t want to rain on everyone’s parades. I suspect we both feel similarly because we are perfectionists in a way. I had assumed that I was feeling quite a wise Nel at the end of 2013 – armed with BR knowledge, better self esteem, and aware of the concept of boundaries. But on NYE I slipped up I suppose and got up to my old tricks and all my resolutions went out the window after one too many wines. I found myself, on the first day of 2014, full of regrets and letting someone back into my life who I had flushed in 2009! Dear oh dear. So I’ve spent the first few days in a sulky mess wondering how I can jump out of pancake flatness as you say and start again. I guess tomorrow is a new day. A big cyber hug to you :) love nel

      • Rosie says:

        LovefromNel- This is in reply to your reply to me in the other post as I’ve been busy, haven’t had time to comment. I’m replying here because you quoted somebody and this quote (if I remember it right) may be a good reminder of the hope you offered:

        “Our hearts are damaged but resilient and we are too!”

        So you fell off the bandwagon. There’s a saying in my Christian denomination, “Saints are just sinners who fall down and get up.” :)

        • LovefromNel says:

          Oh Rosie – thank you so much for taking the time to reply and reminding me of that! All those pearlers (of my favourite BR words) are saved on my desktop at work, which I haven’t been able to access while on holidays. I miss those beautiful quotes. And speaking of quotes, thank you so much for yours. Although I am not religious, I absolutely adored your quote. What wisdom! And it is true, isn’t it? I hadn’t been out in my city, drinking at all, since the EUM (I knew I was far too fragile for that) and on NYE, well, I suppose to use a cliche, I let me hair down and got caught up in feeling so down about it all in a post-NYE cloud of regret and sadness. I am already feeling so much better reading all your kind words. Happy new year to you, Rosie, and I hope you are doing well. Hugs, Nel x

      • Poppy says:

        Thank you Nel, I needed that cyber hug more than you know. I’m sorry you feel that way too. It’s easy for me to say don’t be so hard on yourself when I do not follow this myself. I treat myself and speak to myself in such am awful way sometimes. It’s preposterous really but I feel nothing when I do it. Numb. Like it’s normal. Used to it.

        I was expecting a miracle. Do you ever feel like you’re climbing a mountain and never get to the top when you feel you are working hard but clearly not hard enough as we would be a the top by now? I want change so much that that hurts too. I still have faith we will get there, I hold onto that! You must too. There is one bonus to this, if we started the year at rock bottom there is only one way it can go from now on. UP!!!

        • LovefromNel says:

          Dear Poppy, thank you so much for replying. I’m so glad my cyber hug helped in some way. Having some inkling of what you may be feeling, it felt like the least I could do. How are you feeling today? Reading yours, and other beautiful BR souls’ kind words, has already got me feeling ten times better than I did three days ago.

          I too am my own worst enemy. And I am so hard on myself. Why do we do it? I wouldn’t dream of doing it to anyone else. It is like bullying to ourselves, isn’t it? And it’s the absolute opposite of what we should be doing – being kind and gentle and looking after ourselves. And being understanding when we bugger things up.

          And yes, I absolutely do feel like I’m climbing a mountain. Metaphorically, I always feel like I’m stuck halfway with aching legs and joints and wondering if the rest of the journey is worth it (that view!) or whether it’s easier just to go down again (the safer and easier option). Lets keep on walking, Poppy. I’ll hold you hand, and we’ll ignore our aching legs. Much love to you. Nel x

    • oregongirl says:

      Poppy,
      I’m sorry and I know how you feel. Do you think you might consider counseling and also trying an anti-depressant for a while? I did and it really made me feel better. Also make sure you are getting enough vitamin D because we don’t get so much sun this time of year and that can also make you feel down. Hang in there and good luck!

      • Poppy says:

        OG and DQ – thank you.

        I started counceling and I’ve had about three sessions so far. I have held this in for months as I haven’t spoken to anyone about what happened as I daren’t. He has manipulated most people around me even work colleagues and I’ve just been mute and oh so confident around people and then hiding to cry. My work is failing and I know it. He is an abusive horrid man and has brought me to my knees. I’m co dependant, no doubt about it.

        My first session was like a volcano exploding to say the least. None of what I said made sense because it was all so mixed up and unprocessed. I thought I could do this alone. It’s helping though, it has to help. I am so angry and I just feel powerless, alone and afraid. It’s horrible. This is the first time I’m opening up on here properly. I’m hanging in, I really am, there is more to life than this misery and self destruction.

        You guys are really helping me with your advice about everything.

    • dancingqueen says:

      @Poppy,
      Actually I think of the “so mad that I am stuck in my feelings” stage as a sign of progress. See now you know that your perspective was skewed but your heart is stuck still. That means that you are moving forward but your self critic is giving you a beating. Relax and stop beating yourself up. You are perfectly human.

    • Grizelda says:

      Poppy – I’m glad I visited this wonderful site tonight after many months’ hiatus.

      I promise things will get better for you. Not only better, but — and I know this sounds impossible from where you are right now — things will actually get quite normal for you. Imagine that! Normal! I promise, it’s up ahead of you.

      Don’t be fooled by the new year myth. It’s only a day further on from yesterday and a week further on from last week. It’s the same as birthdays — you’re not a ‘year older’ on your birthday, you’re just a day older than you were the day before. A year is just how we frame a bunch of days.

      But think what this new frame of days ahead of you will have in store. There will be better health, greater mental and emotional strength, better balance and peace of mind, maybe even something approximating normality, if that’s what you work towards. Tomorrow is another important step in healing. And so’s the next day, and the next day. It may not be apparent to you right now but every day there are tiny little things happening inside that are progressing your healing — it’s a natural process. The sticky sludge won’t seem so sticky or sludgy when your strength is such that you can wade out of it. And this will happen, without a doubt — just work on building your strength inside and out.

      All the best to you!

      • LovefromNel says:

        Grizelda, what beautiful words you wrote to Poppy. I adore them. Thank you for reiterating that January the first is – yep, you guessed it – just another standard day! I was telling myself that (on January first) – and why was I expecting to feel any different to the previous day (well, year – whatever!)?

        Also, can I just how much I love the way you write. I first found BR by googling why someone would ignore you when they’re the ones who’ve done something wrong (my arseclown has been going out of his way to avoid me – I won’t go into the lengths, but they are extreme). And it really got to me – I thought, hang on, it’s not ME who has done something wrong here! Why are you avoiding ME? In any case, googling that made me come across Nat’s post on why someone may avoid you out of shame. I read all of the comments and you had written a wonderful arseclown story, about throwing the hairy clown figurine into a fire and not putting your hand in because that’s hot, and it burns, and you get hurt. But after time, the figurine can change, and perhaps it becomes something more beautiful, or perhaps it’s better left in the ashes (I might’ve embellished there!).

        But what I wanted to say was that post really struck in my mind what a marvellous forum I had found, with like-minded, wonderful girls. Do you remember the hairy arseclown figurine comment by any chance?! Anyway, happy new year to you. And thank you. Nel x

        • Poppy says:

          Dear Delightful Nel and Grizelda,

          Like you Nel, I tell you I feel so much better just for reading these posts over the last few days. Just having a little support from you all and reading other posts with such positive, insightful and brilliant words has drained some of the ‘sludge’ so to speak. Grizelda, it’s great to see your name again and what you say about its just another day caused a big shift and that’s not to mention all the other beautiful words you wrote.

          I’m not naive enough to think there won’t be bad days, there are and they piss me off! Inside I boil with frustration when they appear.

          Nel, You have hit the nail on the head, total bullying and disregard for what fantastic people we are, all of us. Last night, I was sat with a friend, she was talking about one thing and another and I admit I drifted into a little thought cloud. I got to thinking about this post, the replies, what I have learned and imagined myself saying to her what I say to myself. “You are blah de de blah de dee bla bla bla and also…..(fit in horrid words) I pictured her face, her feelings, how I would dampen her confidence, how my words would eat her up, stay with her etc etc. I WILL ADD, I would not do this to anyone let alone my friend who is adorable and wouldn’t fit any words of abuse. I was reversing the situation and trying to make some sense, to see it from another angle. My strange point is, if anyone is actually still with me, why can’t I imagine what damage I do to myself? I wouldn’t do it to her so why me? I’m am determined to stop this incessant verbal diarrhoea.

          I feel I have taken two steps closer to a better place since all of your replies. In fact, you have helped me gain some strength. I read posts on here all the time and I totally understand the insightful stuff you all figure out about yourselves and experiences you have gone through and I think to myself that is exactly how I’m thinking, feeling etc but can’t put it into words like some of you do. In fact, you have kept me going. All of you. I’m going to read the post you originally googled Nel, I’m intrigued about this fireplace!

          X

          • LovefromNel says:

            Oh Poppy I am so happy to hear you are feeling slightly better too. We will have our bad days (and they piss me off no end too!) but hopefully the good ones begin to outweigh the bad.

            The beginning of 2014 has leaned more towards the bad, but yesterday’s and today’s posts have helped me so much and the year does not look so bleak. I so hope you are the same.

            I cannot say how lucky I feel to have found this site, and the lovely kind girls on here. It is such an absolute blessing. And I can’t thank you enough either.

            And I am SO HAPPY to hear that you had a bit of an ‘ahhhh-ha!’ moment (I’m even chuffed if I helped that in any way!) about the bullying of ourselves. We wouldn’t dare do it to anyone else because we are kind and gentle creatures but we do it to us. We people-please everyone else, but when it comes to looking after number one (as my mum used to say!) we just neglect, neglect, neglect.

            Time to focus on us. And be kind, most importantly.

            Did you find Grizelda’s hairy arse clown figurine post by the way?!

            Hugs to you dear Poppy. You’ve made my day hearing how much better you are feeling. xoxoxo

            • Poppy says:

              Dear Nel,

              Yes I did find it and as it happens the post was worth re reading too. I remember when it was posted it was what I needed to read at the time. Grizeldas comment was a brilliant analogy. In fact, Grizelda comes up with some corkers and are very insightful whomever she responds too. As do you.

              Definitely a better day today and I feel calmer and not so panicky about the future. I do this though, I create a perfect day, week, month, future in my head and I disappoint myself because my imagination is just too enthusiastic and excited sometimes. Another thing to work on. It is what it is. Last year, in fact the last four years have been tough but an experience for learning. The lessons I will remember, the events I wish to forget.

              You are a star Nel, so caring and nice. Big hugs to you too X

              • Grizelda says:

                Nel and Poppy,

                Gosh thanks so much for your kind words — I do rely on journalling to help me progress my thoughts and feelings on so many topics, not least of all relationships. Writing stops the thought spirals and forms coherent threads out of emotionally-driven chaotic mental noise. It just ‘gets it all out’ too.

                Of course I remember the analogy of putting the hand back in the fire (that’s what I think breaking NC really is)! And when I thought about what it is we keep reaching back into the fire to save, I thought oh flipping hell we’re doing ourselves damage trying to save nothing more than our very own assclowns. How absurd is that. And analogies are so useful in visualising such absurdities for what they are. I’m so glad it’s of help to people.

                Even though I’m in a relationship now (very healthy and happy, nine months in, eyes wide open, and he’s a genuine mature beautiful and talented empath!), this site continues to be so useful for strength, attitude and perspective. It’s like the North Star. Don’t lose sight of it. Keep your orientation to it by land and sea in whichever direction you’re traveling, and you can’t go far wrong.

                • Poppy says:

                  Grizelda,

                  Another corker – “we are doing ourselves damage by saving our very own assclowns” please please consider writing a book.

                  I am so happy for you that you have now a healthy relationship. How wonderful that must feel and I look forward to when it is my turn and I can read this and be as helpful and motivational as you are.

                  DQ – I have even thought of leaving my job because of this but I would be stupid to do that and my head, thankfully takes over and I keep on going. I deserve where I am and even though he said I couldn’t do the job, that I was no good at it, that every decision I made was criticised and trodden on I will continue to fight his comments. Though, when in times of weakness I sometimes believe them and him.

                  • LovefromNel says:

                    Dear Poppy and Grizela,

                    Grizelda, I agree with Poppy – this post is brilliant too! I LOVE the North Star analogy. I will keep coming back, I promise.

                    Also, Poppy said you should write a book and I absolutely think you should too, but I was also going to ask if you are working in a writing/ publishing/ editing area? You write so wonderfully! Go you good thing!

                    And congrats on the relationship too. So pleased to hear he sounds like a beautiful keeper. But keep coming back to your North Star, too, won’t you, and keep us updated? Like Poppy, I hope my time comes too and we will also meet someone as wonderful as you describe. Best wishes to you, you amazing writer!

                    Hugs to both of you. Nel x

                    (PS, Poppy, I will reply properly to your other post above!).

              • dancingqueen says:

                @poppy
                also remember that having to work around your ex is very different than those of us who were lucky to be able to exorcise (yes in all senses of that word’s meaning lol) or hateful ex’s from our lives. Your healing is harder due to your wounds being reopened when you see them. To this end, don’t compare yourself to others:)

              • LovefromNel says:

                Hi again Poppy! Oh gosh, I do that too – our imaginations are their own little fairytale/nightmare (depending on the situation) world, aren’t they? It’s funny, I bumped into a guy on NYE who said he sees me walking a mountain nearby with my dog. Apparently I am usually walking down when he’s walking up but I have never noticed him. (By the by, this isn’t the ‘proper’ EUM but probably an EUM nonetheless!). Anyway, I said ‘oh how bizarre, I haven’t noticed you! Sorry that I haven’t said hi, you probably think i’m being rude!’ and he replied ‘no, you just look like you’re off in your own little world!’ HAHAHAHA! And there you have it, Nel, concrete proof that you need to get out of your crazy little head sometimes and notice the world around you!

                So I think the lesson is, take the imaginatively created ‘perfect days, weeks, months’ with a grain of salt. They aren’t real, and we aren’t ‘being’. I often find it hard to live in the moment (to use a cliche) because sometimes that moment is really crappy, y’know? I’d rather be elsewhere (like my imagination). But I think I just need to accept reality, feel it, live it, and move on, and help myself by making myself look forward to something?

                On a totally different note, you said Grizelda comes out with some corkers. I love this one of yours – “The lessons I will remember, the events I wish to forget.” Me too, honey, me too. But unless we go all ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ on our memories, we can’t totally erase them. We can just learn from them, learn the lessons, and accept the memory for what it was. No regretting, no reminiscing. It’s there, it happened, but it’s not anymore.

                Thank you so much for your star comment. That meant a lot!

                Love Nel x

  31. Firefly says:

    Wow! I just found this blog two days ago. Found it after my Mr. Unavailable didn’t call me for a New Year’s date. Brilliant insights! Also bought your book yesterday off Amazon. Spot on. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW! I finally see what I’VE been doing, how I’ve laid out the welcome mat for Mr. Unavailable and why I was doing it, why I’ve been so attracted to him. I could never figure that out! I’ve always seen myself as smart and savvy. Now I see the illusion I’ve been living under. Thank you for telling it like it is and not pulling any punches! Yes! Bring on 2014! It’s all about setting boundaries (I’ve done that), keeping boundaries (I haven’t done that) and standing in my power. Now I see why that is essential! Thank you so much!

  32. Firefly says:

    Oh and I LOVE, LOVe, LOVE your YouTube videos! They are a source of strength for me. I was crying and I watched one. It snapped me right out of that! Thanks for the coaching!

  33. Hope says:

    Happy 2014 Natalie and the BR community. I love what you have written and I applied what Baggage Reclaim has taught me along with my own need to step into 2014 with no connection to my ex.
    As I sat across from my ex on New Years Eve and looked her in her eyes I asked her did she see our relationship going in a different direction and hopefully becoming better. She then went on to rattle of a list of what I needed to do to improve the relationship and myself. At no time during our conversation did she have a list for her own improvements.
    It was during this time that I realized she would never change. Our “relationship” would never change and she would never be happy with who I am and the more she told me what was wrong with me I went through all the things that were wrong with her and I knew at that moment that I had to move on and never look back. Do I still love her? Of course I do and probably will always love her but I love myself more.
    I want to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy 2014. I’m looking forward to everything good that will come my way and I know 2013 has made a lot stronger and a wiser. Smooches!!

  34. Soul Survivor says:

    Hello ladies. I wish everyone strength not to look backwards but forwards to a new and truthful future where each of us values ourselves first and foremost. Over Christmas I came to the painful but necessary realization that someone who I had invested 5 years of my life with and who gave me 5 years of disappointment and emotional trauma is not worth me, yes not worth ME!! He seems such a small person now that I have forced myself to go back over our relationship in detail, remembering all the times he let me down and excuses he gave me so that I actually felt I was being too demanding on him. I too have felt the fear of the unknown “this relationship is better than having no-one right?” But it isn’t, no it damn well isn’t!! I’m on day 5 of NC and it feels good. I wish everyone else the strength to rid themselves of people that don’t love them, but use and abuse them because they are truly not worth you. Good luck to you all xxx

    • oregongirl says:

      Soul Survivor, I agree that it is better to be alone than with an AC boyfriend. Last New Year’s Eve, he drank way way too much, got verbally abusive, publicly humiliated me, called me a fu—- c— and then drove away into the night and disappeared for a week. Talk about painful!

      This year, I stayed home by myself, made myself one yummy key lime pie martini, ate chips and salsa, and watched Downton Abbey reruns. Which night do you think I enjoyed more???!!! I’m better company than he is!!!

  35. L says:

    I wish you all a very happy new year. Reading your stories I realise I’m not the only one with insecurities and suffering from uncertainty.

    BR is one of the best websites I’ve ever found and it’s really helping me move forward in life in these hard times I’m going through.

    I hope 2014 will be full of challenges and happy surprises for us all.

    xooo

  36. JGP says:

    I’ve never posted here before, but Baggage Reclaim has become a large part of my life in 2013. I endured an unpleasant breakup where, for the first time in my life, I was forced to evaluate my illusion-filled perspective, watch as the mask of somebody else’s actions and behaviour fell off rather dramatically and shockingly (isn’t it always), realise that throughout it all I was the biggest source of my pain, also realise I was the only source of salvation from it, and finally learn the importance of letting go.

    From my romantic life to other areas I have identified where I have a tendency to self-reject and over-regret, where I base my worth in someone else, where I’ve inflated them to the point that I’m crushing myself under my own false perspective, and have gained a wealth of knowledge that will arm me in the future. I have reviewed my values (after a long destructive stint of trying to alter, morph, adapt and downright demolish them), and set up some boundaries to keep them in place.

    It’s a work in progress and I’m learning as I go, but as it’s New Year I can’t help but feel proud of where I’ve come. I started off the breakup completely invested in him – I waited, I ruminated, I pathologised, I diagnosed him a narc/avoidant/trauma victim, I cried, I slept all the time, I didn’t sleep at all, I binged, I couldn’t eat, I stared at my phone, I stared at the mirror, I did damn near anything my mind would let me do without actually looking at me. When I eventually did turn it inwards there was a swamp of regret and self-flagellation, an endless sea of the coulda shoulda wouldas, there were screams of insults and accusations, there was all the evidence that I didn’t even like me much less love me. Then there was the emptiness that all of that yielded, the past was a precursor to the future, my destiny already laid out before me, a foregone conclusion, it was time to hate men in general, to hate relationships, to hate couples, to blame Facebook, to blame the internet and the media and society for a world where love was now impossible. There was no happiness and only repeated failure on the horizon.

    That victimising of me was the final point before I just couldn’t bloody take it anymore, something snapped and I saw the light glint through. I had nothing left to beat myself up over. No energy, I had thrown it all against a stone wall; I had managed to stonewall myself. The man was gone (he had been gone a long time) and I had a choice – pine and whine, cry and complain, rue and regret, numb and avoid, or make the real decision to just move the hell on. It wasn’t easy, it isn’t easy, I know the journey carries on. But finally I could thank him for the lessons he’d taught me, the mistakes I’d made that I wouldn’t make in the same way again, and for bringing me here.

    To this wonderful place, where Natalie’s deft perception, her absolute compassion and acceptance, and her engaging, entertaining style has helped me rediscover me. I can’t say how much it has been a light in the darkest moments, or the number of times an article has given me a nudge in the right direction just as I began to stray. I hope you continue to do the fantastic work you do Natalie (and that this isn’t beginning to sound sycophantic…). Relationships with others, sexual or otherwise, go to the very core of our beings, they affect us in the deepest ways, they question what we’ve always taken for granted, they show us things we’d never before considered. We only ever learn about our true selves through our interactions with others and reactions to them. We can’t hide from it but we can choose how we let it affect us. Your ability to describe those complexities Natalie, is a true gift and long may it continue! Thank you!

    • Wiser says:

      This was a great post, JGP! I hope you will continue to share your intelligent perceptions with us.

      • happy b says:

        Yes great post JGP!

        I relate to all of it. I like the way you talk of the ‘mask of somebody else’s actions and behaviour’. I’ve been thinking of this over the past few weeks. When it falls off, there is no going back. For me it was one minor action that exposed the ex-AC, nothing compared to his actions of the past (though still outrageous in hindsight!), and I knew that I would never see him the same way again. I’d known about his behaviour for a long time before then, but had managed to minimise and justify it. But then something snapped and not long after, I could look right through him and act like a polite stranger, would not even grace him with my anger.

        The reason I’m thinking of it again is because the mask fell off a family member very recently, similarly over nothing that major, but it brought so much clarity instead of the pain and confusion I used to get. This time, I won’t beat myself up over the wasted energy I put into pleasing the unpleasable and the way I let his shoddy treatment define me and make me believe I was worthless. I know my part in it. There’s no drama and I don’t need to NC him. It’s like a huge epiphany just to know that he doesn’t have my interests at heart just because he’s family, and is not that special. I feel compassion and want him to be happy, but will no longer look up to him or take his opinion of me seriously. It’s a very positive step as I think this particular relationship was the blueprint for my poor choices with men and not addressing it properly left me still partially destroyed even after I ditched the AC. I can now go into the new year knowing there is literally no one who can tell me my worth except for me, long may I keep it that way!

        • JGP says:

          The mask falling is both the horrendous event of crushing disappointment at the same time as being the warm comfort that pre-existing doubts (there are always ‘flags’) were founded. While we often feel the latter somewhat further down the road and our minds and hearts need a little time to catch up to reality, it eventually serves to increase the trust we have for ourselves. That is, if we allow it to and stop beating ourselves up for not acting on them sooner (we’re learning on the job!). We know not to ‘minimise and justify’ unjustly in the future, and that in shoddy relationships that make us feel ‘less than’ the only person who will look out for you is you.

          I think the thing about the mask falling that is so painful at first is that it always seems impossible; the people who we suspect the least are often the most adept at those illusions. It’s usual in such relationships that previous solid conflict has been rare, mainly due to their renowned ability to control the relationship and manage you. You tend to have the distinct feeling that you’re never on solid ground and you shouldn’t rock the boat. This also fits in nicely with the personality type that wants to ‘people please’, and outwardly rejects their own needs in order to subtly get them met by less-than-likely means. The ‘you owe me’ problem.

          So when those dynamics must end you go from the uneasy calm to explosive revelations to unsavoury truths. We can scarcely believe that THIS person could be THAT person and, as before, we need some time to catch up.

          It is fantastic news that you have identified a family member who has been the source of discomfort and pain. Such epiphanies teach us where to invest and where to withdraw. As you say, it is not always the more obvious actions that yield them; sometimes someone can be so blatantly awful that you think you must have missed the small-print and previously ridiculous behaviour must be acceptable. I was cheated on and completely de-prioritised, but it wasn’t until he indirectly implied I was a neurotic and over-sensitive that I could truly see him for who he was. Continue to withdraw until this person shows you any decent behaviour and reason to re-evaluate that decision – the same as considering a reconciliation within a relationship. I wish you lots of luck and a wonderful 2014!

          • happy b says:

            JGP, I thought I might have misunderstood you and that it’s a mask we wear too, that we’re concealing our own behaviour as we try to interpret that of others. I think this is also a part of it.

            Again your words resonate very strongly with me. The lack of solid ground is something I raised with the relative recently and as you say, this is about how they manage us, warm and cold. Contributing to the mask falling off, I realised when I do confront him and get a response, it is as though care and respect are in limited reserve and there is only enough for the people who really matter, not for me. This is absurd, so many of us normalise this nonsense. It’s absurd to ask people in your inner circle to care, and pointless to do so without changing our own behaviour. I’m made to feel like I’m instead demanding time and help when really I’m not, I learned not to ask for anything many years ago. It’s all too familiar.

            But then there is the ‘you owe me’ problem as you put it, which is our part in it and I know this lack of attention to my own needs did actually put an undue weight on him (a chicken and egg thing?), as I experience now from others with low self esteem. But the difference is, friends who consider my interests as well as their own either walked away or have spoken the truth, seen me through and let me grow, let our friendship grow, as I do with others, while he has no interest at all in doing that and treats just about everything I do with contempt. I just couldn’t bring myself to believe it.

            There is still a lot work to do after this major breakthrough. I caught my mind running away yesterday evening, imagining a future where I show him what a stable home I’ve built and he respects me, and I realised this is part of the problem. It was very upsetting but I know it’s necessary to go through this and from experience, I know these automatic thoughts will fade as I learn. How fortunate that I won’t go through the rest of my life like this. I feebly attempted to change in this way before, but this was clouded by anger and uncertainty and now I have clarity. I’ll write an unsent letter as I don’t need any answers anymore, or to tell him about himself.

            You’ve really helped me JGP, writing the post at the perfect time for me to channel these very recent ‘events’. Thank you and I wish you a very happy new year, with so much to be optimistic about.

        • Rosie says:

          happy b- This is in reply to your reply to me in the other thread (sorry, been busy) but it applies in this post as well. I’m just repeating your last sentence as it bears repeating. Thank you for it:

          “So, we just need to be ‘us’ with no apology, and live a full life, and chill out about it.”

          • happy b says:

            Rosie, thanks for reminding me, so much to do in the new year, and so much joy to be had after we learn from the traps of the past.

            I know many people on here are going through such sad times that this may not be in sight in the near future. My thoughts are with you all and I know this isn’t much help, but I’ve been through a lot of tragedy and hopelessness and the lightness will come if you’re good to yourself, good in the way that you would be if you were looking after a beloved child who you want health and happiness for.

    • oregongirl says:

      Oregon Girl hands JGP a key lime pie martini and welcomes her to the sistah club!!

      We grow stronger here day by day and come to realize what super foxes we are!!!

      Snap!

      • JGP says:

        I just wanted to address your chicken and egg assessment. It sounds again like self-blame – you are putting yourself at the centre of his actions and his choices. Stop trying to trace back some kind of logic or justification to his actions that can quasi-fall in line with your values and so you can start accepting the unacceptable. We need to need people on occasions, that’s what relationships are. If you can evaluate where you try and get from others what should be coming from within then great, but don’t think that spreads to all of a relationship and that they can start to treat you without LCT&R (Natalie’s awesome foursome). They don’t do it because you earned or deserve it, they do it because it better serves them and they get a whiff that you might put up with it.

        If you simply must go down the chicken and egg route and have to have some kind of genesis from which everything else uncontrollably and predictably snowballed (I hope you can recognise how that’s bullshit) then make it the point where you didn’t share the same values. Which was before the relationship, during the relationship, and will likely continue long afterwards as well.

        • JGP says:

          As far as his actions are concerned, he is the egg, chicken, and full roast dinner with all the trimmings. He conceived those shady thoughts, he followed through on them, and he continued to manage you down when it didn’t match your needs and expectations. While we don’t exist in a vacuum, we always have a choice to do the right thing.

          Own your actions and own you, but don’t think you cooked up the shady thoughts in head, you’re just not that powerful.

          • happy b says:

            Thanks again JGP. You’re so right that this is essentially about values. This dude lacks compassion and just looks out for himself. As always happens when the mask slips off, I see that he blatantly said it himself all along, is even smug about it, and I ignored it or thought he didn’t really mean it. He kicked me when I was down and tries to keep me down, and like all controlling relationships, throws in the crumbs to prevent estrangement. Whatever awful times and grief we both went through in the past, is in the past, and there is never any excuse to be that horrible or to continue using that control to build up your own ego and get your rubbish actions validated. It’s about saying ‘this is who he really is’ and dropping the illusion of who he once was.

            I worked on my values, I think the most important part of my BR journey, and stability is one of them, which means that there is consistency, the matching of words and actions, the knowledge they won’t let you down, that you know where you stand. I gave him an exemption because he’s such a close relative, and this was the mistake. Your values have to apply to EVERYONE in your inner circle (especially!) and outside it. Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees!

  37. Peanut says:

    I love the picture. You are a beauty Nat.

    The largest growth has come from my failures. I am grateful for them. Without them I would be a clueless monster.

  38. Genki says:

    Lily/Teachable/Heather – all your stories are tragic and difficult so I wish you all the very best in working through the pain, strong and compassionate ladies such as yourselves will get through – I cannot I imagine how it must feel however thru BR I have seen women coping & thriving in difficult circumstances which gives strength. All the sty best for you all.
    May 2014 be filled with ambition, strength, self compassion & understanding for everyone on BR.
    I will focus on my daughter, work, exercise & starting yoga again. I’m going to reestablish regular contact with friends & family who I kind of neglected when I was married. Life will be fun, peaceful & I’ll really apply lessons learned from BR – I simply can’t thank you enough Nat for your site it is invaluable

  39. teachable says:

    Hi Heather,

    What a terrible thing to happen at any time, let alone Xmas day. My heart goes out to you. This is a huge life changing loss, irrespective of the quality of yr r.ship w yr Dad (& I don’t know what that might have been).

    Your brain is probably floating in & out of a daze like state due to the enormous shock of such heartbreaking news. In this state we are extremely vulnerable & our defences are lowered. It’s understandable that NC was broken. Forgive yourself.

    I greatly admire your positive attitude & you returning your focus to your healing. Such wherewithall in the face of such terrible adversity is truely remarkable.

    I am sending you compassion & love from a stranger on the internet through the ether. You are not alone. Please know this.

    Hugs. Teach x

  40. Mymble says:

    Lovely message – I smiled when I read the line about rejecting the way things are.
    Some of my early childhood was spent in Freetown, Sierra Leone. I’ve got some memories, photos of us on the fabulous white beaches, and my mother has carvings and hi life dance records. Love to see it again! Have a fantastic holiday.

  41. Chutzpelady says:

    Happy New Year to Natalie and everyone on BR!

  42. teachable says:

    Hey Rev. Good analysis. I had to make a firm decision it was not my role to rescue this.nan from his predicament in order to maintain NC, & that choice was in my control. I didn’t seek out a fixer upperer though as it took quite a while (due to his deception & living interstate) for the truth of his many issues to emerge. Once they did though I kept trying to bail (unsuccessfully) as it was painful to leave someone I’d loved in the past to a terrible fate. (I was mostly ‘off with him in fact as I did maintain months of NC at a time, but always ended up.breaking this again). When I went NC the final time I was.armed w knowledge he’d been seeing someone else similtaneous to me, most if not all of the time we were involved. That broke the spell for me. I thought you rotten bastard. I’ve been through hell here trying to support you to get professional help & all along there was someone else? I was LIVID & that was that. NC successful from me after that! NO PROBLEM. (lol)

    He on the other hand reached out to me via email, I worked out in hindsight, the night before & the morning of his death. I ignored & deleted the messages (this took some strength & support of a friend to do). I was not to know he was about to.die & neither was he (heart failure. drug related I suspect).

    This is all why I just couldn’t deal with the death thing too much (I did a little, not too much though) until now. You can imagine what comes to mind. Yep. It’s MY FAULT he died. Totally irrational I know. Insane in fact!

    You pegged me right on another thing too. I don’t want to open the box with big blinking lights that say ‘You killed him teach. If only you’d done this, that or the other’. No siree! I want that sucker nailed shut nice n tight, rusting at the bottom of the deepest ocean!

    F*ck that flamin damned box! Why should I open THAT box I tell myself. This guy well & truely screwed me enough already!!!

    ~teach sits armed crossed n pouts~

  43. teachable says:

    Oh dear. Just realising I’m ‘not going quietly into those softer feelings’ am I Rev?

    Goes off & tries to untangle arms. Prolly a good start. Still pouting though. (Feeling angry strangely enough. Protecting myself from pain perhaps? I don’t ‘do’ emotional pain. Have had more than my fair share of this in life & something automatically just shuts it off. Fighting I do. Pain, not so much. Oh crap. Something I am bad at. Great. Thanks dead AC. I hate you / I loved you once but you fucked me over & now I just hate you forever! Except I don’t. I just hate how I let you treat me.)

    Ok. No more box peeking today. Too draining. Just wanna MOVE ON….

    • Revolution says:

      Teach,

      Fuck the box. I’m with you on that. I’m not saying to court the grief; I’m only saying to just try and chill with it (no fighting now, young lady ;) ) when it DOES come up. The fact that your “quiet observer” can see that you have that irrational self-blame for his death (and just because we both know it’s irrational doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a hold over you at moments) means that it will dissipate faster. The way you fight this, Teach, is by holding your ground when it does come up. Don’t avoid it, don’t deny it. Just sit there like a badass motherfucker and look at it and say, “Yeah. I see you. So?” ;)

  44. lo j says:

    Love this Natalie. After I “made a scene” at my job recently with my latest bf (who was embarrassed to say the least, though in hindsight, I think neither of us would say it was as traumatic as it initially seemed), I was kicking myself with regret/remorse/could of/should of/what if/blah blah blah/ad nauseum. My mother said to me,”People were probably just glad to see that you are human.” (Not that I’m perceived otherwise, lol!!). After a vacation and some soul searching, med changes, and the realization that my job change into management with increased hours and responsibilities and been major stress for me (I’d broke out with shingles and started having anxiety) I realized I WAS human and needed to start taking better care of me. I had put myself on the back burner.
    When I returned to work, he wasn’t as important (though I still grieve the loss), and I see nothing but support from others with my position. And not even a funny look or a mention for the oh so traumatic incident. :-)

  45. lo j says:

    Heather … So so sorry for your loss. One of the best bits of advice ever given to me, thank you Natalie, “Feel your feelings.” Just let them be. Journal, rest, be with nature- babies, old people and animals are great, hug yourself and rock and cry. Bless your heart. We’re all here for you.

  46. Firefly says:

    Your book is becoming my bf! I find myself daydreaming the illusion and wanting him because I know HE’S not done with me. He will be back! I think, omg, I know better now and I still want to play with him. What’s wrong with me? Yikes! I start to think, maybe if I set boundaries now, he’ll be a good man. That it was my fault. Ha! Then I read your book again and it sets me straight! Yep, I’ve been living in denial. I can’t believe all the insights you share. One after another after another. It helps me to think, if she could do it, find this strength, I can do it. Thanks for the inspiration and showing me the way.

  47. Phoenix says:

    I am going as anonymous as possible here but I want to thank Natalie for a wonderful website. I was with my AC for 3 years. He lost his job and proposed to me. It took him 2 years to gain employment and in that time, he stealthily moved in with me. I paid all the bills, cooked and he did some of the cleaning. In the meantime, my parent got very sick. He finally got work (after two years of mooching) and we planned our wedding. He expected me to pay for the wedding while he pays some of the deposits because he didn’t have enough money. My parent became sicker and two weeks before our wedding date, he walked away when I asked if he could help pay for the honeymoon. I felt awful at the time to ask and he flat out refused, saying that he didn’t like ultimatums. I wasn’t sure what he meant and when I asked him through tears to clarify, saying stupidly that he was making me feel vulnerable, he named all my flaws and the discussion turned into him being a victim and me always bickering with him. He then proceeded to tell me that he had been checking out of our relationship and that his parents advised him to leave me as I was very selfish for initially asking him to pay for even the deposits since he couldn’t afford it.
    Anyhow, this man walked away from me two weeks before our wedding without telling me once that he had been checking out, leaving me to make all the cancellations and deal with my dying parent. Of course, I went no contact as I have more pressing things to deal with (my energy is spent making my parent’s last days more comfortable). However, I did break the NC rule once by looking at his LinkedIn profile (how silly of me to never have looked earlier). It turns out, Mr. AC’s employment history has been rather sketchy. He is a man in his mid 30s and has only had 3 years of work experience – one year of entry-level work work followed by a two year break followed by 2 years of entry-level work followed by a 2 year break. If he can make it to the 1 year mark at his current place (another entry-level job in his field), he will have worked 4 years in his entire career. He was also living in his parents’ basement when we met.
    This site has made me see the many mistakes I made. Is it hard to watch my parent pass away instead of walk me down the aisle – heck yeah. Do I regret the breakup – not for a second.
    Anyhow, the drama continues a bit. At the two month mark of the breakup, AC left 3 red grocery store roses on my doorstep. There was no card or markings to indicate they were his (except for the unique way he handties the roses) and there would be nobody else who would leave them for me. For about an hour, I obsessed (I wondered at his motivation) then I came on here and read the post on text messages and saw the roses for what they were – just some pretty roses from the grocers. I kept the roses but never contacted him to acknowledge. He never contacted me either. Now when I look back it makes me laugh to think that after all he has put me through, he thinks he could win even a second of my time and energy by dropping $5 worth of roses on my doorstep.

  48. Elgie R. says:

    Falling out of love with someone is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. You’ll travel along at a steady uphill pace, then something happens to trigger pain and Whammo!….you spiral downward.

    It’s hard even when we know getting over it is the best thing for us.

    My parents had an empty marriage, I hardly saw any affection between them, but even still, during the period when they both agreed to divorce as the answer, my father cut up all my mother’s clothes! People still have trouble letting go even when they don’t want the person they’re letting go!

    I am on the uphill side right now, pretty content about no AC, but I still got slapped in the face with a BR post yesterday. I had a hard time accepting the AC was not in love with me. I was so in love with him, I think I will always wish he loved me.

    However, about 30 years ago I had to fall out of love with someone else I loved so much! It took a long time, two years before I could move on, and I still love him today……but not to the point that I can’t live MY life. It had it’s time and place. Getting over that lost love was a valuable lesson. It let me know that I can survive heartbreak. Since that first time, each time I’ve had to say goodbye since, I heal a lot sooner. Partly because I haven’t had “mutual” in a long time….it is harder to fall out of love when there was mutuality of caring and giving….and that first love was mutual….so I had to really dig deep to heal. Maybe that is why I have said goodbye without much drama to the subsequent EUMs and ACs I’ve known – I could see I was not in a “mutual” thing, so I just gave up the ghost.

    This holiday I vegged out and watched two reality dating shows. In one show, the woman gets wooed by 3 guys and has to pick one to accompany her on a grand prize trip. She narrowed it down to two – an AC and a good guy. She talks to the camera saying she knows she should pick the good guy, but the AC was what she is attracted to. My BR goggles said AC did not like her one bit – he just wanted the prize. Of course, the AC was more physically attractive than the good guy, so she picked the AC. The ending credits had a note that said “Five weeks later the woman called back and asked if they would put her in touch with the good guy; Good Guy declined saying he didn’t want to be the consolation prize”.

    The second show had a beautiful woman who was involved with a mean narcissist. He treated her with disdain and disregard and justified it by saying he treated everyone that way – that’s how he is. She was Florence Nightengale – said she wanted to show she loved him unconditionally. My BR goggles said “Honey – puh-leeze – he will treat you bad until the day you die! There’s no Pearly Gate prize for loving that man! Next time he says he treats everyone poorly, tell him “See ya. Not what I’m looking for.” The thing is, she was very attractive and could have almost anyone, he was average-looking. I felt he was just trying to keep her from shining. My BR goggles felt she had always downplayed herself and her needs, probably to keep from offending ‘girlfriends’, because she had the kind of looks that make woman envious and fearful.

    Love my BR goggles!

  49. dove says:

    Accepting uncertainty as part of the package of life…wow, that is what I’m looking at now. Seeing it as an opportunity, a positive, not a negative. I wonder sometimes, if this is normal, and how do other people seem to function so well when inside I still feel like a no confident mess at times.
    I recently was contacted by the ex eum. He was having a crisis, told me he didn’t want to live any more, what would it take to make things work, among other things. Convinced me to come see him. I get there and its same old story, you can be my friend but not my girlfriend, and we can have sex whenever I want and go out whenever I want, you have no say. You can’t talk to my other friends. You have no say in what I do. Oh and by the way, all that talk about wanting you to be my girlfriend I was just messing with you. I walked away. I told him I couldn’t be his friend and we were truly done. He says, you go out that door and I’m deleting your number, I won’t call you any more. I said good and closed the door quietly as I left, didn’t look back. That was new years eve.
    I don’t understand why he had to play such a mean trick, and know that I did the best thing by staying calm and strong and walking away, even though inside it was soul crushing to realize that he was just using me, playing with me, and for what I do not know, and probably never will.

    • A says:

      Dove,

      Good for you for walking away as you did. This guy wanted a reaction (or to feel like some kind of king if you had accepted his crap terms). He didn’t get the satisfaction of either.

      I don’t think it’s possible to understand why an f’ed up assclown is….an f’ed up assclown. They don’t think, feel, or act like normal human beings, and I think all we need to do is recognize them when we see them and walk away instead of trying to understand why they act as they do or giving them chance after chance to see if they will change.

      • happy b says:

        Dove, there is no worse uncertainty than being under the spell of an assclown, anything else is a walk in the park. Once upon a time, I accepted that contract that you were offered. Maybe I wouldn’t have done if it was put in those words, but that’s exactly what I ended up with and I renewed it many times. Like A says, we can’t understand it, we can’t stand in their shoes. We can only see the f’ed up MO and that’s enough.

        It was very strong of you to walk away when you still lack confidence. There was a period of time when I was conscious of the damage but still couldn’t walk away. After I finally quit for good, it took me a long time to restore trust and belief in myself after seeing that I’d been my own worst enemy and maybe you feel similar. I would dismiss my achievements and magnify my mistakes and regrets. I think I was afraid of being an enabler of my own destructive behaviour but was incredibly harsh and this improved when I decided to parent myself instead of kick myself, with Nat’s help. If your thoughts are all over the place, make sure you begin to *act* like you value yourself. Often I had to stop and ask myself, ‘what would a person who values herself do?’ when (re)negotiating all my day-to-day relationships and making decisions, and as the wonderful results started to seep in, I truly did start to value myself. Even in the saddest, most confused moments, I think you will look back on the times when you were wondering where he’d disappeared to or the incidents when you compromised yourself so badly it nearly destroyed you, and you will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

  50. dancingqueen says:

    Want to share best quote from movie last night “The past is just the stories that we tell ourselves”. Takeawy: there are many stories of happy times that we add to the ones that hurt, to balance the narrative”.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Can add

      • LovefromNel says:

        dancingqueen, is this from the movie/documentary ‘Stories we Tell’ by any chance? Directed by Sarah Polley? I may be way off the mark and apols if so. It is a great movie in any case, and one you may be interested in if the quote does not originate from it!

  51. ambergreen says:

    Happy new year, and I hope this one is better than the last, for all! I’m going NC once again, I don’t know how many times I’ve tried. I am in denial that he is just not a nice man.

    I was told, in his exact words, that I’m not good enough for him. I’m afraid he’s right. It’s gonna be a rough one.

    Thank you so much for this blog, and for all the comments this past year, you guys are hilarious and wise at the same time.

    • Sandy says:

      It’s the other way around Ambergreen…he isn’t good enough for you, and don’t you forget that.

    • Revolution says:

      Amber,

      That’s the adult version of the “I know you are, but what am I?” taunt. Sandy’s right. This clown KNOWS you’re the one that is too good for HIM, and he’s trying to project it onto you and hurt you in order to boost his wimpy little ego. He needs to grow a pair. And you need to have a celebratory martini with your girlfriends because this fool is no longer in your life. Salut!

      • ambergreen says:

        Not sure if my reply showed up, problems posting from my phone, but thank you both so much.

  52. bikergrl says:

    Happy New Year Nat and All!

    Thank you for all your writing, courses, videos…they helped me change my life! I did your self-esteem course in 2013 (LauraK) and your feedback to start headspace.com meditation made a great difference! As did using positive affirmations each day, and most important, now I am 7 months NC with the ex bf (3 months of that were strict NC like no Facebook stalking! :)

    I do a gratitude list each night after dinner; and have found more love and joy in the past 6 months than I had in the past 6 years.

    My life is so much better…I am single but I am happy and content; focusing on ME and getting healthy inside and loving my own life. I just hosted a New Year’s formal cocktail reception for 45 people from my work (WAY out of comfort zone) and reaffirmed that my life is only getting better.

    thank you for the wonderful work you do–you are a blessing to us all!

  53. anizajordan says:

    thanks for happy endings this new year

  54. noquay says:

    Heather
    I am so sorry for your loss. Stay on this site; there are lots of wonderful wise kicka$$ chicks that are here for you.

  55. noquay says:

    Was given a gift yesterday. Two years ago, I started on line dating again, was determined not to let the shenanigans of the at work AC leave me alone and lonely for good. Met up with one of the only professional, educated guy (most on liners in this region resemble something out of “duck dynasty”) on the site that was active on it. Sigh! Another guy lying about height, and I soon determined, health issues, and his goals for a relationship. Tried hard to force myself to overlook the physical issues, as we older chix are supposed to settle right? After four months, I let him go. Nice guy but too many red flags. Not only was he ignoring a serious, mobility-threatening physical condition which he can well afford to have surgically corrected, he wanted to stay in denial, play with his sailboat. Fine. Saw him yesterday with a woman, his physical problem much worse, he obviously can no longer exercise as he has gained a good deal of weight. Saw me, hugged me, and proceeded to yammer away about his sailboat. Glad he is happy, glad I saw the red flags, acted on them, dodged a bullet. Thank you BR!

  56. teachable says:

    Great lessons there Phoenix. Living with folks (generally speaking), don’t go there. And sketchy employment, moocher, etc? Definately don’t go there! You dodged a cannonball! All the best with your ill parent. You will look back in hindsight & be glad this tosser was no longer a distraction at this very important time making precious last memories with your parent. x

    • Phoenix says:

      Hello teachable…your response made me laugh. You too will laugh when you hear the other expectations that came about during our breakup conversation. He wanted me to continue paying all of our bills. As well, apparently his entire family (him, his parents and brother) have accumulated immense personal debts and after marriage, they wanted me (not him) to somehow find a way to pay down these debts because I have always been good with budgeting and living within my means.

      I wish I found this site sooner but having said that, I am glad to have dodged that cannonball (haha, thanks teachable) and am grateful to have these last moments with my parent without having to worry about the immense burden a marriage to a scoundrel would bring.

  57. Elgie R. says:

    You hit on a pet peeve, Noquay.

    Why do men lie about their height??? Don’t they know that’s one lie we can see through immediately?

    I learned to decipher the code back in the personal-ad days. If he says he’s 6 feet or 6’1” tall, he is under six feet, but if he says 6’2” or more, then he is probably telling the truth.

    Don’t discount the short ones. My long-ago love was way shorter than me. And cute. And sexy. And funny. And used an inhaler. He was imperfect but perfect for me.

    But I know what you mean, and I know you’d love the right imperfectly perfect man for you.

    My personal dislike is the “grey area” height – when we are so close in height that my heels can make me taller or shorter than him. I prefer CLEARLY shorter or CLEARLY taller.

  58. Gillian says:

    Happy New Year. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Natalie and everyone on this site who have helped me transform my life.

    Last year at exactly this time, I found this website and it changed me forever. It took me six months of NC with the idiot I had been involved with for 14 months, and then I had to do it again with the next idiot I became booty call for. And, late last year I founda wonderful man who was waiting for his decree absolute after two years of separation. I became another person and put my boundary in place that I would not sleep with a married man. We waited for two months and once he was legally divorced we started a beautiful heart-centered relationship with God (in a spiritual, not religious way) at the centre of it.

    I was not that physically attracted to this man in the beginning and it was hard for me to respond to an emotionally available man because my pattern was to try hard to be loved by Mr EU. I hung in there and it is getting better and better.

    A year has made a massive difference in my life AND I worked my butt of in 2013 to break those habits of a lifetime that were preventing me from having love and joy in my life. This relationship is REAL. Every day I have to work at allowing this to happen and no pushing it away because it isn’t perfect or he isn’t handsome enough or rich enough, or a million other reasons for me to unavailable!

    So, all I can say is hang in there girls and really do the work. If you do this work hand in hand with deepening your belief in something greater than ourselves whether it be God, Spirit, The Divine, our higher self, it doesn’t matter what we call it, you will cross over into new and more beautiful waters. I wish you all much love and courage for 2014 and I hopeyou find the love within yourself that will translate into a loving relationship. xxoo

    • bikergrl says:

      Gillian,
      Thanks for this!! What a wonderful example of working hard for the reward! i really liked that you held off sleeping with him till he was divorced. I know that is a sure way to determine a serious man versus a player!

    • runnergirl says:

      Good for you Gillian. Life just has a way of presenting itself, if you let it!

      On a side note: On the campaign trail, I met a seemingly nice gentleman. Come to find out, he is the dad of one of my daughter’s friends. Two thumbs up. My daughter sang his praises and he wanted to help on my campaign. Three thumbs up. Of course, you know where this is going…he picked me up (wrong move…I never allow this) and proceeded to get drunker than a skunk at dinner. I had to call a cab to get home. Then, he emailed me about how he is a good guy and my total campaign depends on how I respond. So I responded about what a great time I had and how wonderful the cab driver was. I really liked the cab driver. He was very interesting and we had a lot in common. He didn’t respond.

  59. ambergreen says:

    Thank you so much, Sandy, I hope I come to believe that.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Oh ambergreen, honey, you will believe it. It may take a little time, but NC is the first step, and you’ve already started that, so you’re well on the way there! What a cruel horrible man (oops I mean clown!) to say that to you. It is nothing other than emotional abuse – typical narc/AC behaviour really. Please believe you are too good for him, and too good for being treated any less than you deserve. Please don’t forget that. Repeat the mantra in front of the mirror. NC for this clown. Stay strong on here. Hugs. Nel x

      • ambergreen says:

        Thank you, too, Nel. It’s been 10 days of NC, sometimes it’s really hard, but most of the time it’s fine. I’ve blocked text, email, phone and fb, so unless he shows up at my door (ha.ha.) he’s dead to me. I go back and forth now, it was me, he was abusive…who knows? All I know is I felt like a turd most of the time, and now I don’t.

  60. Peanut says:

    So, I just wanted to share some strides I have been making in the way of healing.

    I have struggled to get over an ex from a couple of years ago that treated me less than. The process has been frustrating and very painful. Just when I think I’ve kicked the EU ex habit, feelings and thoughts come up that steer me to believe lies, such as he was the only one for me, and that I’ll never be as attracted to another man as much as I was him, etc.

    Today I feel like I’ve cracked the code in a sense. (Natalie lays it all out detailed and thoroughly in her resources.) Here’s my ex code.

    Basically I wanted as follows:

    1) To heal childhood wounds via a man embodying the very characteristics that bruised me as a child via toxic, sick caregivers

    2) To be lead as to not face and own the consequences of my reality and choices

    3) I surmised in my mind the “perfect” physical attributes that my ex exhibited in order to blind myself to the scary reality of who I had chosen.

    4) I chose to pursue a man who was artistic, expressive and musically inclined and somewhat accomplished as to live vicariously through his successes instead of being disciplined enough to do the work myself and vulnerable enough to put it out there.

    5) I picked a man with many, many obstacles and unavailabilities (a demanding bf, a super involved mommy, the lingering ex, and a harem to boot!) as a means of avoiding intimacy myself.

    6) I chose an immature man who was planning to move so that I could be the exception to the rule and make him stay for me and grow up. (He left).

    Yeah, physically and otherwise he has some nice qualities. But, LADIES, any time you find yourselves hung up on a man that you know isn’t good for you (and oftentimes the signs are blatant) it’s a LIE.

    YES, YOUR FEELINGS WILL LIE TO YOU.

    I have tried every logistical route to refute some if not all of Natalie’s teachings at times. I always return, because she’s right.

    I’m not saying I’m fully over the ex (I’ve done that only to be proven wrong), but time will tell. I am just going to observe my feelings and thoughts from now on, but today I feel so much freer.

    I know if I see him I will not be unaffected and that is not neutral. Neutrality is the ultimate goal and reward. I will get there.

    The pull to stay with a bad or unavailable man is not love, it’s fear of the self.

    • Peanut says:

      And also the power we have to get over the ex lies in the power we have to change ourselves.

      When we change ourselves for the better, what and who we are attracted to changes for the better. And though we can see quick strides sometimes, it can take patience and time, but it’s worth it.

      And Natalie, I love your freckles. They are beautiful!

      • Peanut says:

        Oh, and one more thing! No Contact with Snark Guy has been successful so far.

        I’m not sure how long it’s been as I keep forgetting about it.

        Onwards xx

    • NCincanada says:

      I agree with your text and can fully relate to certain areas, choosing anyone to fill the void is a dangerous thing to do and I have done this in the last few relationships with no major standards.Self Love and also have a healthy dose left for the future bf/husband when the time comes.
      I wont go on too much about Self Love bcos Nathalie does that better :-) but it does give a better grasp on things. I got a text from the ex-EU(I tried to end things maturely cos I strongly believe in treating people right its a weakness sometimes but I did what I felt was the decent thing to do and asked him politely not to engage in further contact,I agree I enabled the behaviour responded to text 1 after and the phone call which ended with me asking the reason for his call and telling him No Contact perhaps we will be friends in the future and 5months of silence). 5 months later which is last Friday is a text wishing me Happy NY, You made an impact, hope maybe we can talk this yr). I know that I need no validation but I got my closure it happened and Im moving on. I may respond to the text in my own time when I have had time to think this through and it will be on my own terms and if I dont respond still no skin of my back..Sings beyonces Grown woman for good measure..Blessings Peanut!

  61. teachable says:

    Thankyou Genki. All the best to you too reaching out to old & new friends..x

    Pheonix. His family is baked too! The (rotten) apple didn’t fall far from the tree with that one!!! x

  62. noquay says:

    Elgie
    Yep, this lying about stuff that the guy KNOWS his date is gonna suss out in about two
    seconds never ceases to amaze and annoy the beejeebers out of me. I love to dance and dance well, at my height, a partner would have to be 5’10″ minimum, taller if I wear heels. Otherwise I get smacked upside the head during the twirls and on occasion, my glasses get knocked off. Expensive oopsie. Plus the shorter dude spends the majority of the dance looking straight at my breasts (or lack thereof). Ironically, this guy is an expert dancer and KNEW I was too tall for him. He also knew I have serious medical training and would spot the back/respiratory stuff immediately. Why lie? Even the higher end older guys in this part of the state have a serious aversion to truth. In addition to height, our boy kinda “forgot” that he’s multiply divorced and would state that did not want marriage or a LTR UNTIL it was clear that I did. Strange, high end men here have a huge number of educated, accomplished women to choose from (most of which are within this dudes height range), most of us womens possibilities are duck dynasty types. When I do the on line thing, what you see and read is real. Dressed up or running a marathon, covered in sweat, building stuff, I don’t hide my past, marriage (one), my leftie views, farm, that I hate TV, my critters. Authentic. Truth. In my location, meeting a guy involves 100+ miles of driving and the attendant loss of time. It’s really frustrating when the dude clearly isn’t on the up and up. I am wondering whether this year it is even worth the effort and expense or should I just settle for my own weird little harem of non-physical, EU guys so I have someone to go places with. My 75 year old unhappily married best friend (shorter than I, brilliant, terrific athlete)and my version of Tinkerbells Petey (6’7″, nice guy but wounded bird, maybe I can teach him to dance) may be as good as its going to get here.

  63. ambergreen says:

    Oh Revolution, thank you too. I want to believe that’s true, but my brain is still so muddled. I am celebrating (I am currently in a beach cabin, the lake is ice, but still…) No martinis yet though, they weaken my resolve.

  64. NCincanada says:

    Happy New Year Nat and people in BR land, I hope this yr brings us all blessings and the relationships we want.The last couple of months have been rather revealing as I was able to acknowledge certain things. I was confused about my sexual preference and I relied on relationships to help me make the decision but it only got me hurt in the end because I ignored the red flags because of this and I was scared and desperate to get hitched bfr 30 but guess what, Im 30 and AB Fab lol.To keep it short and sweet. I met and fell for a separated guy who showed the signs of a rebounder and still hung up on the ex and about 4.5 months into dating he freaked triggered a breakup, makeup and I finally told him I was done with the tiresome trio and went NC.In all honesty he was sweet and a bit wounded and I admit I was going to take advantage of this but I started to read BR and realised how this could backfire In this time I signed up for relationship therapy and have become an avid fan of BR. On the 31st of Dec, I deleted his number yknow.. NY, New beginnings and Boom yesterday I get a text saying ‘he knows its been a while and wished me Happy new yr, you made a great impact in my life and I appreciate.Hope this yr maybe we can talk!Im sure you ask y I never blocked him but I thought he took the hint and honestly part of me expected a fairytale comeback, Queue the Robin thickes Lost without you.. for dramatic effect. lol. Ok but honestly a part of me wanted to know this was not a random hook up/booty call situation or something I imagined.
    The text in all honestly leads me to believe that perhaps there were some feelings there. I dont need anyones validation anymore but it feels like closure. Now the thing is this I have chosen not to reply because A) Its a text to solicit a response and perhaps get a reaction to test the waters and as my male friend said its an Ego stroke or power trip tactic Not a Marriage proposal so I will chill .. B) I thought my feelings were gone but I still care for him but not in the same blind manner I did bfr and the relationship doesnt seem all that appealing C) Mixed feelings like how do you go back to being friends with someone you are attracted to but connected with as a friend.So ladies I am tad confused that I feel compassion instead of hate, I dont want him but I feel I could be missing out on THE ONE.But then reality slaps me in the face ..So there is my rant.. if you got this far thanks for reading and do share your comments . I sorta of bared my soul so please try not to be too rough.

    • Poppy says:

      Hi NCincanada. Well it seems like you are thinking with your head on most of this post. You have healed a great amount since the break up and you started NC in the early stages of what could’ve been an even more painful relationship. If you have let him back in after the first sign he probably would’ve done it again and again and again. You didn’t you we’re strong so remain strong. If he is a nice guy and your feelings have truly gone then maybe a friendship would work but if they are lingering on any emotional level don’t go there. He could be trying to press the reset button, I can’t explain that as well at natalie. I’m not the best for advice as I have fallen for these types of contacts before in hope of THE ONE and it always ended in pain. Always, even though the signs were there.

      I would say, keep your well earned strength and don’t go back. There was a reply by Peanut on this post that said YOUR FEELINGS WILL LIE TO YOU. Ask yourself what Peanut quoted ‘Anytime you find yourself hung up on a guy you know is no good for you and often times the signs are blatant, it’s a lie.

      Like I said I’m not the best for advice but I would hate for him to hurt you again. I will admit, I understood all the rules and what natalie said and I didn’t pay enough attention. It ended exactly how she said it would so learn from her. She knows the score!

      Best to you.

    • Peanut says:

      NC,

      There is no “ONE”. There are just a bunch of people on the planet and it is our job to choose to keep the ones (friends, family, a partner, etc.) that treat us well near and the ones that treat us poorly far, far away via No Contact.

      • Furry White Dogs says:

        Well said Peanut – ‘there is no ONE’.

        Whenever I start thinking like that I quote myself a line from a Whitlams song – “She was one a million, so there’s five more just in New South Wales.”

        As soon as we think there’s only ‘ONE’ we are telling ourselves a story not based in rationality but in our own hopes/fears/assumptions.

        Tim Minchin says it better than anyone in ‘If I didn’t have you’ – http://www.lyricsbay.com/if_i_didnt_have_you_lyrics-tim_minchin.html

        • Peanut says:

          Furry White Dogs,

          Oh I loved this! Made me laugh, smile, and warmed my heart. Thanks!

          • Furry White Dogs says:

            Hey Peanut :-) I’m delighted you enjoyed. I had a feeling you would appreciate Tim Minchin. He’s my touchstone rational realist that also makes me laugh my arse off.

            It’s funny how things converge with a different viewpoint/attitude. Nat speaks so much about being in reality, my counselor is on the same page, and Tim Minchin’s work has a greater depth of meaning for me :-)

            Search for Tim Minchin vs the Sydney Symphony Orchestra if you’d like a bunch more :-)

    • Peanut says:

      NC,

      The hard truth is that if this man was involved with you while not over his ex, he did not treat you well.

      The decent thing to do is be 100% over all exes before engaging in dating. And it is totally doable. For the last two years I have turned down advances while I heal the hurts of my last relationship ending. I’m not missing out either; I’m just getting ready for the good life has in store for me.

      • NCincanada says:

        It takes two and I realise my part in the mess as well, I want to tell him I cant be friends till you are at least divorced but it will send the wrong msg so I have to show compassion from a distance!

  65. runnergirl says:

    Oh my, it never fails Natalie…you have that way of knowing. I’m facing so much uncertainty. If only my uncertainty involved whether or not he was going to text! I could be certain about that. He would only text when it was convenient for him. That seems so simple in comparison and it used to consume me? Now my uncertainty revolves around raising $150,000 and getting 1500 signatures. Your message of accepting uncertainty as a part of life is spot on. I’ve been running hard, thinking I can control everything by being the perfect candidate and doing everything perfectly. Nope. Same lesson different venue. Come back to earth. I’m still being the perfect me, assuming that everyone will recognize it. Still trying to be superhuman! Thank you Nat for allowing me to come back to earth and just be a human. I have 200 signatures out of 1500. I raised 15k out of $150k so far. So I’m just a human! My daughter will graduate in May, that took superhuman strength and super money. Now I try to remember why I spent so much time dwelling on “him”???

  66. teachable says:

    Well here’s to my dose of new year uncertainty.

    1. I have just completed day 1 with no smoking (teeny yay)

    2. I have made a profile on a dating site. Not paying m.ship yet (free trial ran for a week, now expired) but when I feel confident as non smoker (a month perhaps) will consider this.

    3. I think dating again (once I start) will qualify as ‘moving on’ (grins)

    tiny yays… all for me this time. :)

    • LovefromNel says:

      teachable, they sound like big yays to me! Good on you and good luck! And a great idea listing the achievements (whatever size you feel they may be!). Nel x

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      Congratulations on beginning to give up smoking! I gave up nearly twenty years ago because my young daughter hassled me and I’m so grateful she did.

      It did take me four attempts which is the average number of times most smokers take to quit. So if you falter just resolve to try again!

      As for dating again, it is just one small part of ‘moving on’. I’ve posted before about Online Introductions and it is a minefield without a healthy attitude and all the BR skills you can muster. I find it useful to do something fun so you don’t feel your time is wasted, and view it as a chance to hone your BR skills, if someone doesn’t come up to snuff congratulate yourself on having good boundaries and your own back!

      Good luck!

      An appropriate quote for the day: The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time – Abraham Lincoln

    • Sanntay says:

      Teachable:
      Congrats on quitting smoking! That is a big deal. I know because I resolved to give up the cancer sticks as of January 1. I smoked through my depression last year, and even after the depression began to dissipate, I just didn’t possess the willpower I needed to give them up sooner. It’s been 6 days, and I’m doing really good. I get a craving for a cigarette, and then I think about the negative effects, the most serious of which is that I’m slowly killing myself, so then I move on to something else. I’m proud of myself (and you) for letting it go.

      Good luck with the dating site. I also,(at a trusted friend’s suggestion), entered a profile on a free dating site. My BR knowledge is certainly in full force, so at the slightest hint of assclownery, FLUSH!

    • Peanut says:

      Hey Teach,

      Congrats on day one of no smoking (I hear that can be the hardest).

      And

      P.S. (YOU ARE STILL WORTHY OF A GOOD RELATIONSHIP EVEN IF YOU SMOKE).

      Take care XX

      Peanut

  67. noquay says:

    NC in Canada
    Feelings of uncertainty about people/situations is your gut telling you something is wrong. You feel compassion instead of hate because you are an emotionally present adult. Total NC, no texts, etc is the way to go. One can only be friends with someone they were attracted to when that attraction is dead.

    • NCincanada says:

      You are quite right.. Thanks for pointing that out, I know this this and this is why I initiated NC, I told him I cant be friends with you cos I got feelings and Its hard for me to be around you or be firends .. he clearly isnt emotionally capable to understand this and it sad cos he is a good person deep down but like sweet brown said Aint nobody gat time for that !

      • Rosie says:

        NCincanada-

        ” he is a good person deep down” This is a good reason for staying NC. True good is obvious; it isn’t hidden somewhere “deep down”. I mean, if you have to search for the good…

  68. Peanut says:

    Last night I accompanied a friend to see her musician friend play in a band. The musician friend is a pretty decent friend of my ex as my ex performed with him before he moved.

    I appreciated the band’s skill and performance, yet I wasn’t attracted to, idolizing, or swooning over a single member (the ex was a musician). This just doesn’t have the same pull or appeal to me. (Now I work on my own musical talents that include genres unfound in my tiny Texas city.) I appreciate other musicians male and female, but that’s about it. Why should someone get special treatment because of a vocational choice?

    All in all it was a good night, though I did have to tell a drunken stranger not to touch me (he tried to hug me because I was cold). I maintained my ground and he let up. (I saw people around me were keeping an eye on him with me too).

    Anyway, one of my biggest lessons to be learned in regard to the ex was to stop idolizing other humans. We all breathe, eat, shit, and die.Yeah, some of us are more pleasant than others, but none of us escape our own humanness no matter what we choose to do with our lives.

  69. proudofprogress says:

    This really resonates – “You have to be careful of accepting the way it wasn’t and rejecting the way it was.”

    Thank you, Natalie, for being there. You are a lifesaver. And, thank you to all the readers that share your stories. So comforting to know you are in good company.

    Onward, though not easy, and cheers!

    POP

  70. Peanut says:

    Rosie,

    I am so glad you brought up that point in your last comment. If you find yourself saying things like, “Deep down he’s good, he has a good heart,” or “He really is a nice/good person,” RUN. These are red flags. We should never have to justify someone’s merit.

    In the most unhealthy of dynamics, I always here the women utter at least one of these responses. I had a friend say the, “He really has a sweet heart,” about an abusive guy who is anything short of a complete monster.

    It’s like Rosie said, good people are good in the surface too, the don’t have to cause an excavation site in order to be found out as “good.”

  71. Peanut says:

    Also, our spiritual and philosophical beliefs can trip us up in the dating world.

    I have a friend who believes people are mostly good. I do not. I believe maybe, at best, half of the human population is pretty decent and the rest are bad to the core or pure evil or just plain insensitive and ignorant.

    That said, I must healthily gauge and investigate the actions of everyone I interact with over time before I can get an idea of their character.

    Thinking people are generally good can leave you with a dud (or worse, a sociopath/narc) while you desperately try and pry the good out of them. (Not gonna happen. Some people just don’t have it in ‘em). It’s like eating a plain Hershee bar and being like, “Why the fuck isn’t there caramel in this Hershee bar?” And then trying to talk it into spontaneously generating caramel when it physically cannot; it’s a plain milk chocolate Hershey bar.

    And the funny thing is, to get what you really want (chocolate with caramel) all you have to do is walk over to Walgreens and pick up a bag of the Ghirardelli chocolates with the caramel in the middle. And wah lah: satisfaction.

  72. Able says:

    I’ve decided not to think about dating or pursuing a relationship with anyone. NC is surprisingly easy now that I see how much I ignored that was really not good for me. I am still angry about how I went back into it but feel much better now being free of her drama vortex. It was exhausting.

  73. Lisa says:

    What if you are trying desperately to change, yet continue to be attracted to the same unavailable messes? I am trying to change starting with my diet and eating better.

    I joined online dating about 5 months ago and have met quite a few guys. The ones that seem to be interested in me, I don’t feel we have not much in common other than them being attracted to me. The ones I like, I give up fairly quickly at any sign of red flag. I’m pretty terrified of getting hurt again. Most recently, a guy I met that seemed cool said he just got out of a 4 yr relationship one month ago. Cue me running the other way.

    Seems like no matter what I do, the timing is off, or they just want sex, or I am not attracted to them. Meanwhile, everyone around me seems happy and in love. I am a pretty, smart, fun girl that has been single most of her 28 years.

    I’m a fighter, but at what point do I give up? ? I’ve had a really difficult life (in childhood up till now). I’m so tired of fighting. I knew I hated my corporate job from day one, over a year ago. How do people find happiness when they despise the place they spend most of their time (work)?

    • Peanut says:

      Lisa,

      Gurl, you remind me of myself so much.

      I am twenty-nine. I have had only one boyfriend in the past seven years and that lasted 2.5 months. (He’s the a-clown that brought me here). Near two years later, I’m still not completely over it or healed. The answer?

      LIFE IS REALLY FUCKED UP SOMETIMES AND IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, BUT YOU DO HAVE TO POWER ON AND LEARN (AS EXCRUCIATING AND AKWARD AS IT MAY BE, TO VALUE YOU THROUGH IT ALL, I.E., LOVE YOURSELF). Oh, and you will get frustrated and downtrodden.

      Life will throw you many twists and turns. That never stops; think of it as an adventure. You may never find a suitable partner. So what? You have you. That is enough, I can assure you.

      Several months ago I left a shit corporate-type job. Now I am a broke art student living with my grandparents.

      AND I’VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER.

      • Peanut says:

        And Lisa,

        Not to say you won’t grieve if you don’t find that romantic relationship that you want, but take that pain and nurse it, heal it all the while knowing that it has value because you have value. Then let it color your life to inspire you to seek new, adventurous and exciting things to fill that void.

        You are so young and capable. Really, do what you want and be prepared to fall because you know, you CAN pick yourself up again. You are that strong, I promise :) Xx

        Peanut

        • LovefromNel says:

          Dear Peanut and Lisa

          This is also me! I’m 28 in two weeks’ time and am nearly at the point of giving up. I’ve had four relationships but all but the first did not involve love, care, kindness and respect. The last brought me here. Even though the one before that was a typical sociopath/narcissist.

          Anyhoo, Peanut, it has also occurred to me to do something I love. I have recently applied for graduate entry into nursing in another state in Australia. I need to get out of my current town, be a poor student again, do something I love and which I find meaningful.

          We are enough girlies. Just as we are. Biggest hugs x

  74. Peanut says:

    Able,

    Since my ex, I have needed to go No Contact with a few characters. When you become privy to bullshit and its ways, it’s much easier to keep walking away.

    Plus, when you like yourself, it becomes apparent how too much is placed on finding a romantic partner.

    The messages we “need” someone romantically via media are way worse than being alone.

  75. noquay says:

    Peanut
    Spot on. I think the vast majority are more ignorant/insensitive rather than truly evil. Most of those seen as evil, are just very damaged. Very few folks deliberately cause harm to others. Very few of us would be able to spot a true sociopath right away as such folk are really good at playing the role of a normal person. Unfortunately, users do seek out the genuinely good, the trusting. All the more reason to keep our BR senses on high alert.

  76. DeepBreath says:

    The MM AC continues to contact me via text while he’s out picking up lunch for his family or when his wife is in the shower. He’s trying to get me to meet up at night for a drink once his kids are in bed. He’s in love with his wife, so why does he continue to contact, flirt outrageously and try to get together with me? Maybe because I turn him down and he loves the chase because he is bored with being happy and balanced at home? I don’t get it.

    • Elgie R. says:

      Yup…boredom. Examples from my life: ACMM is fond of booty calling just before the in-laws visit on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and before he and wifey go on extended trips together.

  77. Ellie says:

    Hello. What a lovely website this is ,let me say. Natalie gives such great advice and I have ordered her book from Amazon today. I had to leave a comment as I am feeling like the biggest ever fool right now. Back in may 2013 I met this guy on a course. I wasn’t attracted at first he wasn’t my type and I was not looking for a relationship at all. Well after the course, he added me on Facebook and we began talking regularly there. He gave me constant compliments and told me I was sexy and beautiful and that he wished I was his..etc. we became close friends and I found myself getting very attracted to him and over time we got close. We used to meet up for hugs and kisses. We never slept together though as I don’t sleep with guys until I really know them. At first it was texts every day telling me how much he wants me how sexy I am etc,. Regrettably I sent him some rather intimate pictures as well which he promised he wouldn’t show to anyone. I believed him so I kept on sending more and more. I’m a mum with a little girl and should of known better i know…fast forward to Xmas 2013 and he is hardly texting at all, no emails like before and no fb contact from him whatsoever. I know he has this close female friend from way back when and last time I looked on his fb he had liked a lot of her activity. She recently became single after dumping her long term bf and since then this guy I was seeing has become very distant. I confronted him with this but he denied it saying they’re just friends best friends etc but I didn’t really buy it. The last time we went out together for drinks he was very attentive but as soon as Xmas came that was it all contact from him seemed to fizzle out leaving me bewildered and quite upset. He even told me he loved me once or twice. I emailed him on Saturday but its now Tuesday and still no reply. And it was a nice email. I think I best move on but am very very hurt indeed.

    • Sanntay says:

      Ellie: I am so sorry you had to go through this and that you’re hurting. Don’t beat yourself up too badly. We all make mistakes. This guy has shown himself to be a selfish, uncaring individual, and he is not worth your time or energy. I know that you feel duped, as you were growing close to him and even shared revealing photos, but be thankful you never slept with him. Just pull yourself together and keep it moving. You will gain nothing by chasing after him. It’s clear that you don’t trust him (as it relates to his female ‘friend’), and if he really wanted to be with you, nothing would stop him from doing so. This cat and mouse game is for the birds. Let him go. Cut off all communication with him, and don’t follow him on Facebook. If he ever decides to return Saturday’s message, I’m sure he’ll have some creative excuse, but IGNORE IT!! Don’t set yourself up for further pain and anguish. Take good care of yourself, be an example for your little girl, and stop letting this guy cause you anxiety and confusion. Don’t let anyone steal your joy. Take your power back. No Contact begins now!

      • Ellie says:

        Thanks Sanntay for replying :) this morning I checked my mails and still nothing, so that’s it. I’m cutting contact! Wish me luck lol .. Did I mention that I did not want to send those pics at first but he kept begging me to send them and send him raunchy videos too? I’m not that kind of girl normally. Honestly I dunno what I was thinking…

        • Sanntay says:

          Ellie: If a guy is begging you to engage in ‘sexting’ knowing that you’re apprehensive about it shows a lack of respect for your boundaries. Unless you’re planning to run for political office in the near future, don’t give it another thought. What’s done is done, and he probably wanted those risque pics/videos for his ‘collection’, translation: ‘spank bank’ (sorry). Don’t worry yourself about this jerk. As Natalie says, “He’s just not that special”, and so worth it. Just don’t forget how valuable YOU are. Good luck.

          • Sanntay says:

            I meant he’s ‘so NOT worth it’.

            • Ellie says:

              Thanks.. I really need this,site right now. Am devastated. Turns out he IS seeing that girl,”friend” of his and he was with her when he was dating me. Now he has dumped me he is broadcasting his new relationship all over Facebook. Confronted him today about it and he turned it right back on me saying it was my fault because I went “cold” on him. Well yeah I did because he was ignoring me and telling me he was busy when I tried to talk to him. I told him to,delete my damn pics and he went silent. Like he wouldn’t. Told him I regretted ever sending them. He then tells me he wants to see me face to face to talk. I’m not going to as I don’t feel like it. Am hurt very much. We discussed this girl when we went out together before Xmas and he said she was a good friend who he’d never date because he didn’t want too ruin the friendship and he didn’t see her in that way..So basically ..LIES. God..am so,hurt. Been crying all the day. Ellie x

              • Ellie says:

                I meant too add what do you think? Assclown or just weird?

                • Sanntay says:

                  I’m sorry Ellie. As I said, this guy is so not worth your time or energy. His actions spoke clearly about his intentions, and at least your intuition was validated concerning his “friend”. So, how did you end up finding out? Did he finally respond to your email? As for him trying to turn things around on you, that’s just a sign of his guilt. Sounds like he was playing both sides against the middle, and I guess he got what he wanted. It is clear now that you cannot trust him and he is not someone who has your best interests at heart. Time to really MOVE ON. Pay attention to those feelings that you’re experiencing now and learn from them. Again, I consider it a blessing that you didn’t sleep with him, but that in no way minimizes the hurt he has caused you.

                  Please take care of yourself and don’t meet up with this guy in person. I can’t imagine what he wants to see you about, but don’t waste your time, as he will only cause you further grief. I know it sounds easier said than done, but you have to cut him off COLD TURKEY. Stay strong!!

                  P.S. …and Yes, he is an ASSCLOWN!!

                  • Sanntay says:

                    Ellie: I just re-read your post, and it sucks that you had to find out via Facebook. The only words that come to mind now are “Unfriend” and/or “Block”. Do not continue to follow him or read his newsfeed on FB because it will only make you feel worse. I deactivated my FB page a year ago, because I was turning into a bit of a stalker. Although I admit I have had at least two lapses since last January 10, 2013, I realized that looking at the ex AC’s page as well as the quick-to-move-in girlfriend’s page was like driving a knife into my own heart. Don’t let him get under your skin. Just keep pressing forward and don’t look back. You’ll get over this jerk and you will be just fine. Hugs to you.

                    • Ellie says:

                      Thanks so much Sanntay for replying, it is getting a little better now for me but I’m still pretty hurt and I think I am more hurt by the fact I was used rather than his having a new girlfriend. Seems you have been there as well in this situation. It’s horrible isn’t it? These guys are heartless. It did hurt finding out on Facebook. A lot. Did I mention I texted him about this and he said it was my fault? He also got angry because I found out! I have un friended him already and I will be blocking his number. He asked if we could be “friends” I said yeah, but in my heart I don’t want to. In fact, I don’t want to see him ever again. If he and her split up he may come crawling back and I will then get the satisfaction of saying “no way”!! :) I am not bragging but I am quite an attractive woman in that i make the best of what i have, and I am caring by nature too. I gave him a lot I even gave him money and paid for dates and drinks. I gave him a lovely Xmas present too. There is a lot more i could say but I am probably taking up to much space on here (sorry Natalie!)..once again thanks Sanntay x Ellie

  78. ChiTownKitty says:

    First of all a very Happy New Year from a very frozen ChiTown! You guys have been my life line and good counsel so many times, I don’t know what to do without you!

    Here’s my situation. A few months ago I ended a relationship with a loser/user. Made one attempt at friendship but the dinner turned out he just wanted the benefits and I told him to buzz off! I was really proud of myself.

    Anyway, feeling all good and empowered I went on my way. A few weeks ago a man started coming into my job. I have to admit I noticed him since he was so attractive. We started to say hi to each other each time he came in, and I could tell he was looking at me when I was working with other people. Then last week he introduced him and we talked for a few minutes. That night, I went home and was thinking about him. Curious, I went online and found some very big, for me, red flags. He is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me (the word I would use is reactionary) and I found what I consider to be an inappropriate racial comment on a discussion board.
    So, I thought to myself, nice looking guy but….
    Then, two things happened. First, several people still encouraged me to encourage him. They said I shouldn’t judge him by what he posted or liked on FaceBook.
    Even more troubling was that when he came in today, I still wanted him to notice me. Even though I have written him off, I still wanted the damn attention. What is wrong with me????? And how can I stop this???? I was so proud of how far I have come but now think I haven’t come very far at all.
    Thanks!
    ChiTownKitty

  79. simple pleasures says:

    Nothing is wrong with you. Nothing. We all want attention and approval from someone good looking. We
    all seek validation. But people reveal themselves early on an tell you who they are, and then proceed to unfold. He’s a reactionary with racist undertones. Sounds like you are incompatible.

  80. cheerful01 says:

    Happy new year to everybody. This site changed and shaped my thought patterns wonderfully. I am so grateful. All the best,be strong!

  81. Able says:

    Putting more time and energy into improving my health and helping my sister are my main concerns right now. I’ve been derailed (my own doing I know) too often just so I could be with someone– and miserable as a result. Now, I like having all of this time to re-prioritize. I highly recommend it along with stopping the social media habit.

  82. Sophie says:

    Happy new year everyone!

    I’m hurting today and can’t shake things off. I was doing no contact really well since the last time the ex-AC and I talked in early november (when he discarded me for another woman). Yesterday I was feeling lonely, the weather was freezing so I was inside on the computer a lot, and so I caved and checked out his facebook profile. I have been reading a lot over the holidays about narcissistic men and their need for supply, and one story mentioned that having any contact with narcissists is like sticking your hand in a snake pit. That’s how it felt when I looked at his awful facebook profile. Requisite shirt off photo as profile pic (check), sexy self photos with his harem women liking them (check). I randomly clicked on one of the women’s links which led me to her page – and the first thing that I saw was a post saying what a great time she had visiting with him and his family over christmas in his home country. She lived on another continent and had flown thousands of miles to do this. This hurt for so many reasons – I was invited to visit his family last christmas but I couldn’t go because of timing and my work schedule. He made me feel badly about this even though he did not offer to help me try to organize possible travel dates. He used to say that I was the only woman he ever wanted to invite to his family for christmas and that he has never invited a woman there -obviously another lie to add to the already huge list. Also because this was a different woman than the one he said was his new girlfriend. Different from the one he said that he wanted to move on with after four drama filled years of being his girlfriend, fallback girl, friend with benefits, and then girlfriend. Ugh.

    What hurts most is just solidifying how much of a player, user, liar, and all around douchebag AC this guy was. I don’t see myself as a naive woman but I let myself be played around by this guy for 4 years that I will never get back. Where I pushed away nice guys because I thought that it was true love with AC. I’m angry because I was doing so well and was generally feeling good and positive about the future and comfortable with NC. I’m mad at myself for slipping and checking his facebook. I guess I should look for silver linings though because I’ve only heard from him once since he discarded me – one of those phony group “happy new year” texts – which i did NOT reply to. So maybe checking his facebook was like a little bit of contact but not bad contact – like actually getting in touch with him.

    Feeling a bit anxious and hard on myself right now and clearly dealing with a set back where I had felt like I was moving forward and even starting to go days without thinking about him/hurting.

    I think that it’s time to go full blocking so nothing that he sends, on anything, can get through. Thanks for reading, I’m just feeling so down now after feeling so positive at the very start of the new year.

    As Nat says, must not write off this new year just because of a set back.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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