Being you is a journey not a destination.

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of being yourself. In fact, “Be me” is one of my personal commandments that I strive to live by because it helps me to live my life, not the life that I think that others want me to live just so that I can please people who I really don’t need to be worrying myself about.

Many Baggage Reclaimers struggle with this concept of “being you”. Just as when I say that people unfold, so do you. If you engage in people pleasing behaviour and look for validation and in fact try to suppress who you are so that people don’t form an opinion about you that might cause them to leave / not like you, you’re not being you.

Our experiences teach us a lot about ourselves, who we really are, what we like/don’t like, what we need. When we’re willing to listen, observe, and be on a low Bullshit Diet where we don’t make what everyone else does about us, we can get a sense of who we are or whether what’s happening vibes with our own values and needs, and then act accordingly. Often, we don’t recognise this when we’re in the moment / situation and so a lot of the insights we gain from the on-the-job training of life happens with the benefit of the 20:20 vision of hindsight.

Of course it’s very easy to focus on another person’s behaviour and practically get a PhD in it but this is just distraction activity keeping us on the path of least resistance, often ensuring that we tell ourselves a story that caters to unhealthy beliefs we hold about ourselves, life, and relationships. Each of our relationships, romantic and otherwise, give us a window into understanding ourselves – we get to understand our needs, expectations and wishes including where we need to “be ourselves” and step up and meet these ourselves.

It’s not up to others to tell you who you are; it’s up to you to use your time here on earth to discover who you are and yes, sometimes it happens through discovering who you’re not. Discovering and understanding who I wasn’t comfortable being but putting my energy into finding out what was more befitting of me is what has fueled this blog.

Being you is an ongoing journey and you will always be making discoveries and evolving. It’s a journey, not a destination.

I had a light bulb moment yesterday while we sat in traffic discussing the uncomfortable Boxing Day call between my father and I. After a six and a half month silence, he called on Christmas Day. I’d briefly felt anxious about returning the call but aside from reminding myself not to make drama, Em also told me just to be cool and basically not fawn around him. I’ve been regarded by family and even Em as being too easygoing, ironically with my family, and finally by being me in this call I understand what they meant.

In times gone by, I might have intended to be cool and then quickly slipped into being jovial and conciliatory, because, you know, I’m the person who is supposed to forget and make things easy. The call was awkward but aside from the fact that it should be, it wasn’t awkward because I wasn’t brown-nosing and acting like nothing had ever happened but it was awkward because I wasn’t putting in the bulk of the effort.

As we sat there in traffic, it suddenly dawned on me: yes it wasn’t an easy conversation but just like when I was honest with him in those awful ‘discussions’ before my wedding, I truly felt like me.

I’m not truly comfortable being a People Pleaser who papers over her feelings and presses the Reset Button. That’s not me. I’m not a ‘fluffer’ there to make other people feel comfortable about who they are and their own behaviour. I spent the years before BR pretending that I don’t do getting angry and doing my best to ignore my feelings until they hurt less – this just doesn’t fly for me. I didn’t like who I was.

It’s up to me to be me, it’s up to you to be you, and it’s up to others to be who they are. If you don’t like who you are when you do inauthentic stuff it’s because you’re not being you.

Being me is not leaping in there and trying to hypothesise on what their thoughts, feelings, and intentions are and then attempting to preempt it with good (read: pleasing) behaviour. People and situations unfold.

You cannot possibly discover what the the hell unfolding means if you assume a role in each situation, as you may be assuming wrong plus you’re not being you, unless you is someone who is an actor, facilitator, mask wearer or even doormat.

I saw my amnesia based behaviour with my father so clearly replicated in my past romantic relationships. It’s why I dated (and I use that term loosely) someone for four years who would vanish, call up out of the blue after a few months, we’d go on an “amazing” date, and then The Phantom would be gone again. I didn’t want to ruin the call by asking about the absence, then I didn’t want to ruin the moment or the date. I also feared looking like a “difficult” person and was afraid of “missing out” on the phantom relationship so I stuffed down my feelings and concerns and ended up feeling and looking like a doormat. This isn’t to take away from other people’s behaviour, but it’s difficult for me to argue the case for people not walking over my feelings, if I’m going to do that.

That’s what being you involves – owning your own. When you understand what you accept, even if it’s in a passive way, you can better represent you by making more conscious choices about what you do and don’t accept or do in future.

It’s up to you to discover what you’re comfortable with and to discover what being you looks and feels like.

Sometimes you have to make a choice. I had a few pangs after that call but aside from validating what I did, I also recognise that it’s the People Pleaser within me and it passed. Fast. I’ve done my grieving over these past few months and I feel truly unburdened now. The truth hurt at the time but it’s set me free from a lifetime of what essentially amounts to sucking up and pretending. Why would I do this when I don’t act this way with others?

Yeah you might be like me and get a pang about not rolling out the people pleasing red carpet but you have to compare it with the alternative: Is selling you short and walking over your own feelings a preferable alternative?

Go on a people pleasing diet by identifying your people pleasing behaviour and reducing / replacing / eliminating it. You’d be surprised how much more you approve of you when you’re not putting you on a people pleasing street corner day after day.

Being you means letting people be who they are and allowing situations to unfold instead of trying to orchestrate and influence with what basically amounts to people pleasing behaviour. When you get caught up in being you and living your life authentically anyway, you’d be amazed at how much happier you feel but also how much clearer you see the things and people that matter and apportion your energies in the right places.

Your thoughts? Have you got some ideas for cutting down people pleasing?

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183 Responses to Is It Time For You To Go On a People Pleasing Diet? Time To Make Way For Being You

  1. tired says:

    i had this conversation with my councellor . she said she was going toput apair of scales on the table to show me . how my dish down low and opposite above me as im so guilty of the people pleasing thing . even tonight i was gonna bend over backwards for ex husband coz he was shitty when i dropped kids off . but i didnt the councellors words sprang to mind . peopl e pleasing doesnt work , others learn to play u and take advantage .

  2. phy says:

    I have no idea who I really was with my ex gf. I think we were both trying to please each other, though I think I was more resentful about it (thought I HAD to do it but didn’t want to) so I acted out and broke up with her periodically. She was more the “work harder” type. I was the “bail out until she asks me to reconcile” type. What a mess. Now on my own, kinda scared and lonely, but thinking I really have to start listening to myself. And no rebound relationships!

  3. Cameron says:

    I can attest that it feels good…its really easy to do once you get started and it eliminates regrets, what ifs, overthinking, etc. Once I began to try thinking ‘of myself’ at the encouragement of a long time friend – it became easier and easier and the clarity is amazing. It sounded selfish to me…but what is more healthy than a strong spirit of integrity in what you feel, do and say? Its really easy – just get on this train and enjoy the ride!!

  4. Magnolia says:

    Right on, Natalie. The family stuff is of course so timely.

    I’m home right now. On Christmas Eve my mother’s friend phoned, while my mother was out, and left a message on the machine inviting us and my grandmother to come to an evening church service that night. The call went to voice mail, but you could still hear the message come through, as I did (I don’t tend to answer my folks’ phone anymore). When my mom got back I was in the middle of a skype call w my sister overseas; which my mom immediately joined. I forgot to mention the friend’s call and my mother didn’t check her messages; it came up about an hour later that her friend had called.

    My mother calls her friend back immediately and subtly blames the late call-back on “not being informed” about the call – that meant me, I guessed. I was irked because no damage at all had been done by an hour of time passing, because she was with me the whole time talking to my sis, and because while it’s of course natural to say, hey, someone called while you were out, I’m not responsible for whether she checks her messages or not in her own house. I let it go, and we went to the church.

    When we got there, though, she did it again, over-apologizing to her friend (by my estimation), and again subtly implying that “no one” had given her the message. This time I felt the heat rising up my neck and was really angry.

    A couple minutes later, once we could speak privately, I immediately told her that I didn’t appreciate the subtle digs about me to her friend (in front of me, no less). At first she denied it, but since there was no one else around that “should have” given her the message, it was obvious that she had meant me.

    Then she tried, “Okay, okay, calm down,” like I was making an unpleasant scene, and when I told her I was calm but that I still didn’t appreciate her behaviour, she turned to “Fine. Just drop it,” which I refused to do again. I asked her not to make it worse by trying to dismiss me, reminded her of the difference between passive and assertive behaviour (which she’d praised me for last week, regarding saying no to an aggressive salesman). She finally took a breath and apologized.

    Boy oh boy, were the next 15 mins or so, standing next to my mom in church, singing away, ever uncomfortable! I felt all those feelings I used to feel with the AC: wanting to take it back and say, sorry for making YOU feel bad. But I didn’t. She had crossed my boundary, I let her know, and again, it was fine. I hadn’t done anything wrong by objecting to being the whipping-girl of her trying to people-please with someone else.

    Like you say, Natalie, it’s normal to not want to be “difficult” and one can certainly feel like I’m responsible for the awkwardness, but that would have meant pretending I wasn’t pissed off when I was.

    God, if my mom had known how to do this herself when I was young, my whole life would have been different. But I do think she still has this idea that “it’s not in her nature” (because her nature is ‘nice’) to tell someone they’ve angered her.

    I’m starting to actually experience the consequences of stating my anger in the moment and learning that I do have enough control to be angry without it taking me over completely. If I’ve been respectful, there is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing anger.

    I trust myself more than ever now, having stepped out on that limb a few times and seeing that the world doesn’t come toppling down when I do.

    There are still a few things that I’m doing in life that grew out of “shoulds” rather than out of solid choices, things that I have let myself feel powerless about. The great thing about letting go of being “nice” or “good” or “acceptable” or “impressive” in others’ eyes, is that I’ve really started to feel that it’s my own pleasure (rather than simply my own tenuous sense of dampening insecurity) that I can seek.

    Here is to a 2013 of much more discovery in that search!

    • dancingqueen says:

      “I felt all those feelings I used to feel with the AC: wanting to take it back and say, sorry for making YOU feel bad. But I didn’t. She had crossed my boundary, I let her know, and again, it was fine. I hadn’t done anything wrong by objecting to being the whipping-girl of her trying to people-please with someone else.”

      Wow Magnolia this could mirrored an interaction that I had with my bro on holiday just now. I felt badly in the moment, but then, I thought about how badly I would have felt later if I had not said anything. No contest; respond in the moment if it is at all possible.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:


      When I see others people pleasing whether it be family members or coworkers I cringe, because sometimes the negative effects trickle down to me. And that ‘nice is my nature’ crap is sooo frustrating. I want to say, “So you’re the first one dimensional human being that’s ever lived?” Please, I don’t buy it for a bit. It’s in our nature to be complex with varying degrees of emotion, and this includes anger.

      “I hadn’t done anything wrong by objecting to being the whipping-girl of her trying to people-please with someone else.” I love this. Beautifully said.


      “If I’ve been respectful, there is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing anger.” Nothing could be more true. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, as I very much identify with it.

    • SM says:

      Magnolia, whoa! I’ve been reading this site for 18 months and have personally witnessed your transformation, which has inspired my own. I had the best holiday ever with my family this year (and I’ve always considered them good). But this year because of family drama and awkwardness for the rest of us, the controllers stopped trying to control everything, they were out of sorts so to speak. I never realized how much their people pleasing ways, which was really to control the outcome for their wishes, were affecting my good time. It was great and I didnt even have to say or do anything, it was the first time I got to completely be myself. My sister was running around pleasing herself instead of worrying about pleasing her kids and husband for once and believe or not we all had a more enjoyable time because she was being selfish, meaning she only concerned herself with what she wanted and let everyone else worry about themselves. It made for a great holiday.

      I am happy to see that you are enjoying your family.

      • Magnolia says:

        dancingqueen, good for you in your interaction with your bro!

        jentiff, ha! I never thought nice was my nature! I guess that’s because my style of trying to control the emotions of everyone around me was by arguing rather than placating. But put me in a male-female relationship and if I didn’t want to look like an arguing b*tch, I turned into a placater! Sounds like you’ve got a healthy respect for your own anger.

        SM, I appreciate that very much. That’s too funny that everyone had a better time when your sis stopped trying to please! I wonder what would happen here if my mom did that … we’d probably have a few pains (as she does so much for us) and would have to pick our jaws up off the floor, if she was ever like, hey guys, sorry, but I can’t do x for you because I’m doing y. But I think we’d all be happy for her and would get on with fixing our own snacks!

    • Lochy says:

      Magnolia – i just wanted to say what a fantastic example of the experience of doing things differently. And standing your ground, amazing! Particularly the awkwardness that ensues…i’m sure avoiding this feeling is one of the many reasons we don’t always assert ourselves but your experience highlights that it doesn’t last forever and nobody died!! Good for you :)

  5. Robin says:

    This is so me. I used to have a pretty strong personality and sense of my values, but that was when I was a kid and way before the baggage started to pile up, lol! When I started developing a sense of self recently though, some of the friendships that I’d made started to disappear, because those friendships were contingent on me acting according to their values. As soon as I stuck to my values, I immediately outgrew them. I think being true to yourself is also understanding that we all change, other people might not agree with it, but that’s perfectly ok. You don’t have to change each other; sometimes, things just don’t work out the way you think they will. :)

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Hi Robin!

      I am going through similar situations with friends. I have changed and my current friendships haven’t been working. Oh the drama *cringe* these women bring with them. They’re not bad people. But I’m like, here we are rehashing for the umpteenth time your EUM’s crappy behavior going round and round and round in circles when we could be swinging in the park eating mangos while admiring the sunset (not the season for that now)or looking at Christmas lights, watching movies, etc. I get antsy around these women because the less baggage I have the, the less I want to unproductively dwell on it.

      • Lois Lane says:

        WOW!!!! Oh the timing….. I have had such a strange holiday! And Jennifer Tiffany and Robin called it! I’ve just reached a point where I cannot take the drama anymore. On to a happy New Year!

    • Marilyn says:

      Robin, this happened to me, too. I used to people please friends all the time. No more! I do what I want to do and nothing more.

  6. Claudia says:

    I never thought I was a people pleaser. My closest friends didn’t think I was, either. That’s how much of a people pleaser I was. Showing this appearance of assertiveness was only that: a mask that I wore to metaphorically get a pat on the back for being such a good girl, such a grown woman.

    Inside, though, and in my intimate relationships with men, it was all about them. Even the act of sleeping with someone bothered me to the point of actually not falling asleep because I was uncomfortable that by moving I would wake them up.
    Same thing with sex. I can’t believe the last time I had sex I actually faked an orgasm, and I continued to date this man who is the most boring person I have ever met, just because I didn’t want to be alone, and because he was very handsome (my friends would approve of him -people pleasing ding ding ding)

    People pleasing behavior amounts to suppressed rage and we end up all screwed up after building so much rage and so much hurt. I have back spasms that I haven’t been able to get rid of, and I know it’s the anger that comes from lying to myself.

    It would be so easy to just yank out the splinter that hurts. Even if it looks ugly.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:


      You said something in your post and I had an ‘AH. HA.’ moment. Just as obsessed with the ex as I was, I was/am obsessed with people’s perceptions of me and my involvement with this man. Still, in general I am obsessed with people’s perceptions of me. I want constant adoration from the world just as I had from the ex. Whoah. Talk about lofty expectations. And this IS people pleasing. We people please in order to illicit a predetermined, though possibly subconscious response: external approval. It’s this insatiable appetite for this approval that feeds this maddening compulsion to please those around us while consistently denying our own needs and even existence.

      A friend was recently gushing about how enthused she was that her family so loved and accepted her fiance and how much this all meant to her. First off they had met him once, so they only ‘loved’ and ‘accepted’ their first impression of him. But while I’m reading her exaggerated response to her family’s exaggerated welcome, I couldn’t shake the thought: How do you feel about it all? The focus was so on the external reactions and not near enough on her own perceptions and feelings about the situation. She skirted over her feelings and reactions and reverted to referring to those around her. All fallback girls have done this. This is our habit: negating the internal, to favor the external as to avoid deep inner pain. Take care and thanks for the insights.

      • Claudia says:

        “This is our habit: negating the internal, to favor the external as to avoid deep inner pain.”

        Exactly!!! :)

    • MagicPotion says:

      “Even the act of sleeping with someone bothered me to the point of actually not falling asleep because I was uncomfortable that by moving I would wake them up.”

      I never understood why I did that until I read your comment. I was also too afraid to get up and use the bathroom because I didn’t want to wake them. Funny how they never cared about how their snoring affected me.

  7. colororange says:

    This is still something I work on daily. I’m not perfect at it. I have heard two underhanded remarks recently from my mother and one from a co-worker. At the time it happened I was a deer in headlights. It seems only later does it hit me that what they said was not cool in the least bit. Now I do that looking back and wishing I would have said this or that. The longer I go and let nasty comments slide the more they learn that it’s okay to make unacceptable comments to me. I think there is a fear of being hit. Physically. Or not being taken seriously or being laughed at. It’s usually the loud and obnoxious and very opinionated people I shy away from and wind up taking crap from. Either way I cannot stand it anymore. I don’t say such things to people nor would I dream of saying them. It’s a daily practice to build up courage to just be me and be proud of who I am whether others agree with me or not. Thank you for this post.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      “The longer I go and let nasty comments slide the more they learn that it’s okay to make unacceptable comments to me. I think there is a fear of being hit. Physically. Or not being taken seriously or being laughed at. It’s usually the loud and obnoxious and very opinionated people I shy away from and wind up taking crap from.”

      This really resonated with me. I keep struggling with how to respond to nastiness or dismissive behavior. I tend to take the “high road” and tell myself not to let these idiots bother me. I’m not going to give them the power to decide how I’m going to act or feel, so I remain guru-like, calm and serene. And sometimes that’s the best response for that particular situation. But I also know that sometimes it would be better for me to stand up for myself in no uncertain terms, get angry in an empowered way, and not take any more crap. I’m still learning how to discern which response is best.

  8. Jennifer Tiffany says:

    I feel like giving up in the quest to be me because the former felt so much easier and less risky. But, it’s too hard to go back, so I say, “Oh, alright.” And keep trying to be myself and forge on, though I’m fucking scared as it’s new territory.

    I’m not lonely for a man anymore. I’m just lonely for my full potential and what life has to offer. Maybe I can share that with a man lover but for now I’ve got lots of healing to do.

    Ah, and this post helps because I’ve been doing so much work on myself and I’m like, “Awh, eff, when the fuck do I get to be myself???” Like I’m waiting for myself to fall out of the sky and inhabit my body. And I can go on my merry way and stop from having to reflect on, analyze and journal everything. Nope. Just as a magic man lover doesn’t fall out of the sky and heal/fix/rescue us fallback girls, neither do our true selves.

    Just how Natalie says, “Dating is a discovery phase” so is getting to know ourselves when we’ve been so disconnected for so long. I love BR!

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      * And discovering our true selves does lead to healing, fixing and rescuing ourselves(men cannot do this for us). It just doesn’t magically appear out of the sky. It takes lifelong consistent work and effort. Though I do think it gets easier.

    • Chrysalis says:

      Love it Jennifer Tiffany. Its so true, when you are been disconnected from yourself for so long it is a winding journey to find your way back. We definitely won’t fall out of the sky!!

  9. Confused123 says:

    Lately I’ve been telling myself the following to step away from the people pleasing that is so rampant in through out my entire life.

    ‘I am Me, I am Me.
    There is no one else I’d rather be’

  10. runnergirl says:

    This is such a complicated post for me. Thus, I apologize in advance since I may not be making sense. Just thinking aloud. I know that I engaged in “him” pleasing (clearly related to Daddy Issues”) and over the past two years, I’m just now working out the kinks of being twisted into a pretzel for the previous two years. However, a form of but, I really liked the things we did and it was mostly doing the things I liked doing. I was being me, albeit with a MM. Is that possible? It was really the first time I was being me, I think? In fact, a part of my healing was to continue doing the things I liked, hiking, bbqing, cooking, gardening etc without him.
    This post leaves me with so many “buts”. But of course, I sucked up and pretended. There was no other way to get those phantom moments and maybe the fantasy fairy tale ending. NOT!
    But, thanks to you Natalie and BR,I think after I stopped blaming him and my father, you are right: “This isn’t to take away from other people’s behaviour, but it’s difficult for me to argue the case for people not walking over my feelings, if I’m going to do that.” Yeah, that’s what I was doing, blaming them for walking over my feelings while I was doing it too.

    • Teddie says:

      Runner, I completely get what you’re talking about. I think this is what has gotten many a girl into an OW-situation or similar shady constellations. We think: now I’m gonna be me, not just a sum of my roles (mother, wife, daughter, diligent worker, etc), I’m just gonna be this human being that I am with my sexuality and fantasies, etc. Little do we know what slippery slope this is gonna be!

      • Marilyn says:

        Teddy, you are so right. I got completely off of online dating sites due to the sheer number of lying married men! I’m not sure I can ever go back online looking again. I was deeply in love with an AC before I learned he is very married to a great woman. Not sure I will ever trust again and right now I am the most important person in my world next to my children.

    • Lau_ra says:

      your post totally makes sense. I think its not like we are not being ourselves all the time, its just that there are some moments, when we suppress what we really think or how we really feel. And the aim is to eliminate those moments.
      Reading all the comments I actually had a thought that all of us actually started eliminating them even then, when we were still is some relationshit and the questions of what are we doing there began to rise, or else would we be here, if what we had would feel good enough?
      I would always wonder how is it possible that I don’t ever fight with my bf, if I’m in a relationship, when my girlfriends, who are in longterm relationships or married, would constantly fight with their bfs or husbands for something. I always thought it was so mature of me. But now I see I just wasn’t conscious enough to admit that at those moments when I should have stood up for something important for me, I would just brush everything off and make everything “nice” again.
      But what is really strange, I don’t have this problem anywhere else (at work, in my friendships), only in romantic relationships.
      I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that I had a strong personality since I was a child, and as I can remember my dad used to say “no man will live with you” when I would express some features which demonstrated my independant nature. I guess I took that into consideration without even realising it;/

    • Sunyata says:


      I see a r’ship like with the MM as a safe space to begin to unfold.
      Despite all of my knowledge and therapy and BR and protests I ended up in a shady relationship with an EUM and dove deep into my thoughts and feelings and triggers the whole time. I learned to finally start telling the truth to myself – so even as I was approval-seeking, I would notice, non-judgmentally, “Oh, I am approval-seeking!” I didn’t feel strong enough to NOT do it, so I stayed in curiousity about myself and slowly the pattern began to shift.

      I realized just how utterly terrified I was, at a profound level, of being beaten and raped by a man. The EUM was a safe place to unfold a little, to access those tender, playful feelings again and get to know me without a lot of risk. I had to let go of judging myself for not wanting to take a risk – a violent upbringing damages the psyche in so many ways and being anything but gentle with myself about it was counter-productive.

      Things came to a head when I snapped at him in anger, very consciously, and marinated in those feelings. I didn’t take back what I said, or try to make nice, or apologize (he was very deliberately provoking me and he learned just where my boundary is with that!) – I just let it stand and I even dreamed about alligators attacking me (feeling chewed up by my primal feelings!) and it took me all the way to childhood and crying for my mommy on a friend’s shoulder…!! Extremely vulnerable feelings!

      It was INTENSE to sit in the soup of all of those feelings without blame, but the end result so far is, I like ME a whole lot better, and I feel so grateful for the wonderful fun we’ve had together that allowed me to feel feelings I have never felt safe feeling before, in a way that felt like I had some control knowing he was EU.

      It was a stepping stone on the path of unfolding :) I feel much more trust in myself and more confidence in my ability to turn away from the red flags right away….I can’t predict what might happen but I can trust and listen to my gut better than ever before. Being with the EUM was a practice in re-calibrating my instincts. I can see where the littlest things lead to feeling terrible, like, immediately returning a phone call out of a feeling of obligation will very quickly lead to MAJOR feelings of conflict and hate.

      The general vibe I get from your posts is that you haven’t yet forgiven yourself for being vulnerable, for being human, for being imperfect, for being weak and for wanting love – that you are still trying to figure out what the heck happened with the MM because you think what you did was “bad” in some way and you need to sort it all out. I invite you to look upon yourself with gentle and compassionate eyes.

      Hugs and hugs and hugs to you <3

    • Learner says:

      runner and all who replied,
      Thank you for putting a whole new perspective on this possibility of OW-as-rediscovering-oneself. I agree that being an OW forces one to suppress some needs, and to bust ones own boundaries. However (yes runner, that is a form of “but” isn’t it?) I can see (and feel) that it’s a way of turning ones back on some of our usual people-pleasing roles and trying on a role that just MAY please us in some way. Like you runner, I rediscovered buried interests and talents while involved with the exMM. There was something about being in that fantasy relationship that seemed to facilitate a devil-may-care “I’m gonna go for it” approach. Don;t get me wrong, i do NOT think involvement with MMs is healthy, and I am so glad to be out of OW hell. At the same time, I am continuing pleasing myself with the self-discoveries during the relationshit, while refusing to be a doormat in the process. I am continuing the courses I started taking with the MM because I want to, and because they add to my life – not to please him in any way. I am continuing other mutual interests also, even though I have twinges of reminiscing at times – the memories WILL be replaced and I will reclaim the benefits as mine, not his. Thanks all for this viewpoint! Better not to walk over our feelings while complaining that EUM’s have done the same.

      Sunyata, I totally get this part you wrote: “the end result so far is, I like ME a whole lot better, and I feel so grateful for the wonderful fun we’ve had together that allowed me to feel feelings I have never felt safe feeling before, in a way that felt like I had some control knowing he was EU…It was a stepping stone on the path of unfolding :) I feel much more trust in myself”

      We are responsible for our own happiness – for pleasing ourselves while being respectful of others. Thanks Nat and BR for helping me to get to this point. xo

      • runnergirl says:

        Hi Teddie, Marilyn, Lau_ra, Sunyata, and Learner,
        Your responses and Nat’s post gave me plenty to think about lately. I hit on something today based on Learner’s comment about being in a fantasy. I’m thinking the reason I got to mostly be myself in the OW situation is because it was a fantasy. There were no joint responsibilities: No kids, no mortgage, no financial worries, no everyday trials and tribulations, like taking out the trash, grocery shopping, and cleaning, mostly no joint anything, except phantom moments which required me to stuff what I really felt. Brushing things off, like the fact he was married, and getting back to the fantasy finally took its toll.
        Sunyata and Learner,I appreciate your perspectives. It was a stepping stone, albeit a slippery one as Lau_ra points out, on the path to unfolding. And yes, I’m a sorter…analyzer. Thank you for the invite to look upon myself with gentle and compassionate eyes. Nat has been saying this as well and I think I’m getting closer.
        Thanks ladies. You are amazing.
        Sunyata, do you cook? I loved the metaphors of sitting in the soup and marinating. I’m thoroughly marinated by now.

  11. courtney says:

    It’s like Natalie is always inside our heads! :)

    I recently had a conversation with a friend and was recommending Baggage Reclaim, and I even told her, “I am just too much of a people pleaser in my relationships, so I am going to stay away from dating for now so I can be myself for a while.”

    I think I have always been a people pleaser because of my controlling parents. This past year however, I have made incredible progress. Here are some of the concrete actions I made to do this, in case anybody needs some…inspiration 😉

    1. I disabled my online dating profile because IDGAF about what other people are doing/don’t wish to check up on my dysfunctional exes/don’t wish to date—and I DON’T CARE if other people are dating/having the time of their lives, because I AM HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE being me, being happy, working on myself.
    2. I cut off a toxic friendship with a friend who pissed me off/put me down on a weekly basis. I was able to articulate what she did that made me upset and assert my boundaries/values without sugarcoating it.
    3. I stopped going on Facebook and “people-pleasing” with the photos of my oh so exciting life/status updates. IDGAF about FB anymore! I don’t have the same urges to log in or compare myself to others and keep up with their lives. Most of the “friends” on FB are not friends but simply high school/college distant people who I don’t even value in my life, so why did I care so much? It really enabled me to refocus my life BACK TO ME!

    4. I stood up to someone controlling/unfair at work, and even though it made me slightly unpopular with someone whose opinion I always respected, I also received a lot of praise for having the guts to stand up to a corporate bully. That’s when I began to realize that the person I respect so much has her own values/agenda that don’t sync in with mine, and it’s okay if she

    5. I stopped asking unreliable, flaky people to “hang out” with me all the time via text (which, by the way, I always set myself for rejection because these people were always busy). I started recognizing the value of my own company – AND STARTED ENJOYING BEING ALONE/doing things with people who MADE the time for me, wanted me to be a part of their events. I started having an even more fun life afterwards, because the company I had were people who were CONSISTENT, caring, compassionate and not flaky. They were people of substance.

    I even had the “audacity” recently to disinvite someone I didn’t want at my birthday party discreetly and conveniently after I realized I don’t actually enjoy their company. It was SO FREEING! And, I had a great time as a result. AMAZING!

    6. I turned down a job offer which wasn’t a good fit/match because I had already accepted two part-time opportunities that were perfect for ME, for who I am at this stage, and what I want. At first I was going to go the people-pleasing route and go for the more lucrative, boring offer but decided NO! I don’t want to be stuck being an assistant when I could someday be a LEADER with these opportunities I have now.

    And in January I will be starting my two new internships at big time companies which I love — and leaving a job I had where my boss usually exploited me for my ideas/took credit for my work. NO MATTER WHAT, I AM ON THE PATH TO BECOMING APPRECIATED. SO HAPPY!

    I have made so much progress, I am becoming more of myself…I hope in 2013 I pay homage to the person I am because it is a person WORTHY and deserving of consistent love, respect, and care. Especially self-care :)

    • courtney says:

      I almost forgot the *relevant* one for BR 😉

      I declined an offer of friendship from most recent EUM. I refuse to be demoted/place myself in a harem for his fried self, and he does not deserve my friendship let alone my company. :)

      • Alibi says:

        Fabulous inspiration. I am two months NC and woke up feeling a bit low and grumpy as the New Year approaches and I am alone. Your list and Nat’s original post have helped me refocus.Thanks

      • beth d says:

        Courtney I wish I had declined the offer of friendship. It is just an opportunity to play games with your head and give them an opportunity to control you. That was the worst thing I ever did was to agree to be friends after a 10 yr tumultuous relationship. I initially cut him off for 6 months and stayed strong even through the begging, and nonsense. I finally took his call and agreed that enough time had gone by that we could at least be friends. Worst move I ever made. Prevented me from moving on, allowed him to get into my head, allowed him to continue his games. I was practically bullied into being friends with the “but you are my best friend” line. With friends like these who needs enemies. I am sure they have “harems” of exes too. It took some more time to realize that I don’t want ANY kind of relationship with Mr Toxic. Keep coming on BR If I had consistently done that I wouldn’t have broken and wasted another 3 years trying to get rid of him. NC only way to go!!

        • Victorious says:

          yes I got bullied into being friends after I had ended the relationshit. I think he just wanted to play some more reindeer/mindfuck games and wasn’t happy that I had been the one to end it. He had plenty more misery tucked up his sleeve for me. Luckily I was learning every day on BR and when he played dirty again ( after friendship love bombing) I cut him off for good and have ignored all his attempted contact since. Natalie is right that with these men you just CANNOT be friends. NC is the only way to recover.

    • Robin says:

      Courtney, thanks for the advice! #6 especially hits home with me.

      A few years back in college, I picked a job with a prominent company not because the experience would benefit me, like everyone else kept saying, but because everyone else kept saying it would. Not having a direction, I wanted to please the majority, so I went with their suggestion. Then to add on to that, I could have picked whichever office I wanted to work in eventually….but of course I didn’t. My family warned me that living out on my own at my age would be hard, we’re living in a time where it’s becoming ok for people my age to live at home, so why didn’t I stay at home, save money for a couple years first? My family never conveyed this directly, but I had sensed that they were saying, “We’re doing this for you, so you better take it.” To do so otherwise would mean that I didn’t care about my family. To please them, I ended up picking a work location closer to home that I ultimately just didn’t like. I ended up disliking the experience, and I’m positive it showed. Heck, I still ended up quitting my job anyway. Later, I even realized that to ME, the emotional costs of moving out were actually greater than any financial cost.

      Lessons learned: Do what’s best for you, and if you have to do it on your own to make this happen, that’s what you have to do. Otherwise, you might resent it.

  12. runnergirl says:

    I liked your Em’s suggestion about just “being cool and basically not fawning around him”. Good advice after 6 and a half months silence from your father. Even better, you did it. I can completely identify with starting off being cool, I can handle it, and quickly jumping into the jovial, conciliatory, making things easy. This is the clearest, most simple and most complex statement: “I saw my amnesia based behaviour with my father so clearly replicated in my past romantic relationships.” Amen. I’ve seen everything about my past romantic relationships clearly replicated in my relationship with my father.
    You, unlike any therapist, have provided me with a path to let go of my childhood baggage. It is wonderful you are letting go too. We aren’t those little girls anymore. They can’t abandon us. Only we can.
    Dang, you know, I think these hot flashes are getting to me. I usually freeze to death in the winter, even in So Cal, so I’m enjoying these wonderful moments of intense warmth but I think they fiddle with my brain.

    • Marilyn says:

      runnergirl, I agree completely with you. My daddy died when I was 10. He was an alcoholic. I have always had abandonment issues, etc. with men. I’m 57 years old, widowed and STILL have the fear. I’m not in a relationship now and may never be. Since being widowed, I’ve managed to struggle through 3 awful years to go on to landing a great job and actually had my first book published in November of this year. 2013 is going to be a good year because I am answering to NO ONE but me!

      • Teddie says:

        Marilyn, you’re a published author! Take pride in this (and many other things) and may 2013 be the best year ever!

      • Victorious says:

        Way to go Marilyn. You are an inspiration. My father died this year of his alcoholism, in the middle of my relationship with a beautiful but deadly , just 2 years after splitting with my husband. I have had a lot to deal with but I have gained so much help and insight from this site and all the contributors. I have managed to get a fantastic new job that I love. This is a job I was discouraged by my family from pursuing as they all said I would never be able to do it. I am thriving and proving them all wrong. Most importantly, I am loving life again. I do not need a man to be complete.

      • runnergirl says:

        Great Marilyn. Congratulations on being a published author and landing a great job. I’m sorry about the passing of your husband and the 3 awful years. Natalie’s books have helped me to see that a “he” can’t abandon you, only you can. I’m working on internalizing that.

        PS. Never say never! Who knows, right?

  13. Gina says:

    I grew up being a people pleaser, and hated myself because of it. Old habits due hard, but I have redirected my focus over the last few years from trying to please other people and make them happy, to pleasing myself and making myself happy.

  14. Little Star says:

    I used to be a “people pleaser” and had 15 friends, was very proud actually, everyone called me, asked advice, wanted to be in my company…BUT during for the last few years I changed and apparently I became “difficult”, I even lost my best friend after 12 years:( I miss her the most, even she let me down so many times and I kept forgiving her…Sometimes, I even regret being REAL me, as I lost almost everyone!

  15. Nobody says:

    I’ve always thought of this,keeping myself in the ‘people pleasing’mode all through my teenage years.
    My mother made me feel bad about me and I actually started believing it.

    ‘you’re arrogant’,’you need to watch your tone’ and while,constructive criticism is always welcome,it went far beyond it.
    whatever I’d do,she’d come to me and find a fault with it.

    And so,just to not make her feel bad,I’d do things that wouldn’t be ‘me’.Inauthenticity took over me,a sudden rush of ambivalence towards my mother and what not.
    Until yesterday,when I realized I need to stop pleasing her and be more of myself.
    I just can’t do it anymore so I decide to do whatever I think is best for me.

    and today,when i checked facebook,was this post of yours, waiting for me..
    I’d consider it a sign that I’m on the right path ^_^

    Thanks Nat! you’re amazing..keep up the authenticity :)

  16. Victorious says:

    “Being me is not leaping in there and trying to hypothesise on what their thoughts, feelings, and intentions are and then attempting to preempt it with ‘good’ behaviour.”
    Yes Natalie this is just what I have done, and let me tell you it is EXHAUSTING!!
    Since finding BR I have started in small ways to stop my doormat/people pleasing behaviours and I feel so much better for it. yes, it did feel really selfish at first but I am getting used to it. I am happier. I am not so overwhelmed. And nobody has dropped me/got really mad at me like I had thought they might.
    Thanks again Natalie.

  17. natashya says:

    in both my marriage and the LTR after that, i was a people pleaser. it worked. those men were thrilled to have me in their lives (though not thrilled enough to stop their damaging behaviour). on both occasions i was the one who left the relationships.

    in my last relationship, i was not going to people please. and as i stayed true to myself, i didn’t. i got dumped. mmmm… so yeah, it did make me wonder for a bit what i could have done.

    the answer is: ‘nothing’.

    the crazy things i have done to please my partners is ridiculous. for both of these men i moved to where they lived giving up my job, my friends, everything (which was my own choice, of course). one of them was a neat freak and before he came home from work, i would scrub and clean and tidy up as to not set him off. the other one was a narcissistic sex addict and i won’t even go into detail about that.

    i am learning. i am trying to be so much more aware about my reactions, my feelings… creating boundaries etc. i don’t know where and when i lost my self esteem. i thought i had it back when i started to date the last EUM, but as water seeks its own level, i was obviously still lacking something somewhere.

    the ex EUM woke me up, big time. i am excited to be working on a better me, but it sure does not come natural.

  18. Sandra81 says:

    I think it’s important to listen to yourself first, and to witness each state that you go through in certain situations, or around certain people. Make your own happiness, wellbeing and good mental state your first priority.
    At the moment, I’m also on a “mission” of being myself and trusting my own gut/heart/mind in my dating life. And I think people pleasing also has to do with relying too much on other people’s words and opinions. In the recent past, I have been disinformed by various people, regarding the guy I’m seeing. Eventually, the rumours prooved to be untrue. Perhaps some of them meant to cause a conflict between him and I, or some of them have a habit of exaggerating things, or some of them simply misunderstood some information. Therefore, I decided to focus only on *my* impressions of him, the evolution of his relationship *with me*, and what he tells and prooves directly *to me*. 😉 Am I wrong?

  19. Lexi says:

    Those that matter don’t mind.

    Those that mind don’t matter.

  20. Sandy C. says:

    You must know me personally! Lol

  21. the blog and posts have been invaluable. i feel he little voice in my head getting more confident about getting over the a-hole and being able to let go. am 21 days NC today. yahoo! thats 3 whole weeks of no new toxic memories. i take a deep breath thinking about it. i want to make it to 4 weeks. i can feel a run-in with him coming. i have avoided him at work (also just avoided work altogether). but now i need to get a sense of accomplishment at work and i don’t want to be afraid.
    1. anyone have any advice on what to do if i have a run-in? (say i’m busy and run away?)
    2. i don’t think he will confront me (he’s moving on with his dating site and he’s too arrogant)but i still fear it. if he were to ask why i have been avoiding him etc? what is agood response? when i tried NC before (lasted 1 month) the first time i saw him he was so nervous it was almost unbelievable (then the texts were relentless i was sucked back in to him his bed his torture) a part of me want him back then and i always fear running into him will tap into that weak co-dependent, validation-seeking part of me that wants a quiick high.
    i also know there is a part of me that wants so badly to see the good in him (but i know the bad is so much worse). and besides he is whoring himself around town, ignoring me.
    3. how do you rationalize the part of you that was raised to forgive and forget,solve everything with love… with the NC rule. in my head i can see that NC is the only way ( i know nothing else has worked and it may be the only way for me to give up my want to control things)
    i appreciate your struggles and triumphs and hope you can help me!

    • Lau_ra says:

      On the 3rd point –
      m saying – forgive? maybe, after some time. Forget? never. Or I’m doomed to repeat the same story again and again.
      yeah, solve everything with love, right…
      unless its self-love, other concepts of love don’t imply here. I suggest you think of NC as a self-love act, because breaking NC only leads to disappointment and more hurt for you-a guy who doesn’t care treating you with respect will not appreciate your willingness to be civil.
      Thats what I’m telling myself when I want to message the latest EUM/AC, who withdrew very fast after months of intense contact, and when I raised the question on “what is going on” he simply ignored me.

    • Victorious says:

      Can give advice on what to say if he confronts you and asks why you have been NC. Just smile briefly and say you have been busy. Then move on.
      You mention the quick high that so many of us are familiar with. Using Nats words….How much misery will your drop of happiness cost you?

      • cavewoman says:

        Oh Victorious, that is good advice indeed. When my ex-EU came back to ‘be friends’ I actually had (my end of) a frank conversation with him, as I would with a real friend. I spoke about feelings and such. I wish I’d just said I had been busy for the past six months…

        I spoke out because I did not feel like hitting reset. Well, guess EUM do not need special permission to feel like they have successfully reset and skipped all the uncomfortable soul-seeking. He even said, “I don’t want to put you through rehashing all this.” He cracked me up! It was pretty clear to me who didn’t want to be put through a rehashing!

        I have not initiated anything since he promised to get back to me about new years’ plans, and I haven’t heard back from him. Pffft. Some friend. Oh well. No big deal. There are countless people who are not clamoring to ring in the new year with me. There’s one thing they all have in common: they are not my friend.

  22. miskwa says:

    Good, timely post as we head into 2013. Funny, yesterday there was an email on my phone from one of those relationship blogs written by men. The topic was “become the woman he wants”. Wtf, what’s wrong with the women we ARE? Really frosted my a$$ as womyn in my generation were/are constantly being forced to give up who we are and be “nice”, “ladylike”, ad nauseum. My remaining relative, my dad, always wanted me to be “an ordinary housewife” and to this day being a professor, environmental activist, organic farmer, traditionalist, serious woodswoman and intellectual is not and never will be enough. Fine. Even now, my work colleagues try and throw incredibly unsuitable men at me and say “learn to like him” or tell me I should completely give up what I value in life in order to get away from here. Previous posters are spot on; playing at a role that is not who you are in order to “have a man”, fit in with others, etc. is indeed a source of much stress and resentment. Just had some house guests over for a few days and it was a great exercise in enforcing boundaries and being authentic. Some of them expected a typical American household with TV etc. and got an education about getting rid of manufactured entertainment and learning to live with silence, look within, live according to the seasons. Instead of going out to a movie, we snowshoed in the backcountry and read animal tracks, evaluated potential avalanche areas, had long discussions about peak oil, sustainable practices, the inevitable collapse of the American way of life, basically living my values.

    • dancingqueen says:


      “professor, environmental activist, organic farmer, traditionalist, serious woodswoman and intellectual” versus “ordinary housewife”; I don’t get how what you are, the former, is so horrible. It seems super interesting to me!

      In fact, I would say that it is rocking (not btw insulting any housewives out there because who is an ordinary housewife anyway, these days?)

      • cavewoman says:

        these days, an ordinary housewife is almost by definition in competition with other real or imagined ordinary housewives, trying to prove just how much more extraordinary she is, and there are entire industries fueling the flames. See also: ‘the mommy wars’. LOL

        I bet at least some of those ‘become the woman he wants’ blogs/magazine articles are written by women. They are so formulaic, anyone lacking conscience and original thought can produce them, men or women alike!

    • Lilia says:

      Miskwa, I´d love to live like you do! So far I´ve only managed to get rid of my TV but I have many more plans in that direction.

      And I absolutely hate those relationship blogs that tell you to become someone else. I think they only serve to make vulnerable women feel worse about themselves, and thus to make things even easier for the douchebags out there. The strange thing is there are lots of women who write these blogs, are they brainwashed or something? I just can´t understand what´s wrong with them, most of their advice is insane.
      We´re really lucky to have found Nat, eh?

  23. Stephxxx says:

    I don’t know. My problem with my ex was if something bothered me always having to say it. We gave things a second go in the summer was seeing eachother for a couple months it was beginning to get serious again, we added eachother on fb again and two days after he added me he updated a status perving on a girl at the gym and watching her on the machines. Instead of seeing it as a silly man status I reacted and said how do you think that makes me feel. He then said I was overreacting again like I do to everything and he thought I was secure this time round. I apologised for it but after a week of him pretty much ignoring me he said he can’t do it anymore and then cut me off.
    I now have thoughts wizzing around my mind, why do I have to make a deal out of everything. I’m never abusive and have never shouted at him but I can’t let the little things go. It is done for good as we started talking again a couple months later and that fell apart again as we had sex and started to see eachother again but he said for the time being he just wants to be friends and can we “hang out” for now. So I declined it and said I can’t be his friend and this is it now. If he doesn’t want me now then that is absolutely fine but I’m in no way hanging around in the friend territory.

    I just need to let…this….all…go. First love but no excuse for all this hanging on. What a waste of time. Even if it was all my fault it’s happened.

    • Lau_ra says:

      Emm…I don’t know…if he knew you get insecure when he is looking to other women, why did he post this, when he knows you will see it? The thing he says “OK to sex”, but “not OK to relationship” and friendzones you doesn’t sound very well. I wonder if that “overreacting” of yours could be the case he wasn’t acting appropriately before, e.g. he was flirting with other women in front of you, or comparing you to them or smth like that?

      • cavewoman says:

        Stephxxx: First of all, it is not ‘all your fault’ it’s absurd to even hypothesize like that. Please stop that kind of thinking, it is very damaging. Your emotional well-being depends on better, kinder, and more logical explanations of what happened.

        This is not a case of how much you speak up for yourself. You did not ruin anything by speaking up too much. It was never meant to be. He was not the one for you. Trust me.

        It sounds like these remarks about other women – these are not just a isolated incidents – look at the big picture. These reflect the values he lives by. He was being himself. This is his true nature. This is a case of, you actually do NOT like people like him. You do NOT like HIM. Start by admitting this to yourself! The letting go will follow naturally! Yes it’s possible to actually dislike someone and not be aware of it… but rather to have yourself convinced you care about them, even love them… I’ve surprised myself with this very realization.

        My “friend” possesses many good qualities, is well liked among people I think highly of – but they are not me, they don’t know what I know, and they haven’t been hurt by him like I have. I don’t like him. Why don’t I like him, my compulsive inner people-pleaser nags. I must get along with him and his crowd, my inner people-pleaser demands. That people-pleasing voice inside is one loud bully.

        What happened happened. Have you read Nat’s old classic Suck it and see? I just revisited it the other day, and it was very useful. You might find it applies to your recent experience, too.

        • Stephxxx says:

          Cavewoman it’s funny you should say “he’s not the one for you. Trust me”. That helped tremendously as it was something my mum said shortly after it happened and it stuck with me.
          I dont think I do like him if I’m honest. I won’t go back there again.

    • Robin says:

      Stephxxx, like you, my ex would do something I didn’t like, and I’d totally overreact to it. But it’s not your fault that you reacted the way you did. This was a behavior that violated your boundaries, and naturally, you protested. Yes, some people can naturally see your ex’s behavior as “silly,” but others, like yourself, it sounds like, just don’t like it.

      Really, though, if you take a step back and look at things from a distance, he busted a boundary you might not have known you had until he busted it, or it’s a sign of a larger issue that never got resolved and in your case should probably stay unresolved. Keep focusing on yourself first. You’ll find some answers along the way.

      • Stephxxx says:

        I guess I’m just confused really. I never had a problem with jealousy with him previously although now and again he would make jokey comments about my figure etc. it was more him not treating me properly that has eroded my self esteem and I’ve learnt an unhealthy reactive response to anything negative he does.

        Since being with him I’ve had issues with self blame and he only compounds that by totally blaming me for the “demise of our relationship”. I’m starting not to care about the ins and outs I just want to be over it all.

    • natashya says:

      a guy perving on a woman at a machine in the gym (and then bragging about it on FB) is gross. yeah, it would bother me too and furthermore, it would bother me even more that i’d have to say something about that kind of infantile behaviour.

      please, flush him and his dirty friendship card. you’re better than this assclown.

      • Mymble says:

        No that would bother me too.. whether friend, boyfriend or whatever, I don’t like that kind of sexism. I know some people feel more tolerant of that kind of thing, and at my work a lot of it gets circulated “for laughs” but I’m glad they don’t include me in it because they know I won’t laugh or pass it on. It may be a “little thing” but I feel it is demeaning to women in general and to me in particular as a woman. They can say I have no sense of humour or whatever, let them, I don’t care. So in my book, good for you for not just squashing your feelings and pretending not to mind, or even laughing along. Please don’t second guess yourself.

        • Mymble says:

          And also the “jokey comments about my figure” sounds completely unacceptable. Would he find it amusing if you made “jokey comments” about his body parts?

      • Stephxxx says:

        I did flush him and refused the friendship card and it’s been 2 months of NC but I guess as the weeks have gone on I start to question my reactions to him etc but thank you for stating that you would have done the same…I just have to remind myself that what I did wasn’t wrong and I didn’t ruin any possibility of any happy ending.

    • Victorious says:

      Steph you are making excuses for him. It was disrespectful of him to post something like that when you are supposed to be his girlfriend. I would be livid. Whatever, your values are mismatched. NEXT!

      • Stephxxx says:

        Thank you ladies for your comments. They really are appreciated.

        • sushi says:

          You reacted, not overreacted. having anybody make negative/jokey remarks about your body and perving on other women is a passive agressive attempt to destroy your confidence. Saying that you are to blame for a demise of this relationship is a mindf..k.

          • Stephxxx says:

            He just never took the blame for anything. I said to him if my overreactions were the complete cause to our breakup why are you still bothering a year after the break up! When he said things like I thought you were more secure this time, we were getting on better than ever and this still hasn’t worked out. Can really get into your head. But thank you for your comment I think he is a bit of a mindf…k.

            • Rosie says:

              Stephxxx, posters here have been quite blunt. I’m going to be blunt, too. He is an emotional abuser. The comments about your body, perving on other women and posting photos of them and then reacting as if something is wrong with you for reacting…this is unacceptable! By standing up for yourself, you ended the abuse. Yes, you are responsioble for the “demise of the [abusive]relationship”. CONGRATULATIONS on your losing the abuser! WooHoo!!! :) Don’t you see, Stephxxx? The “relationship” didn’t end because something is wrong with you; it ended because something is RIGHT with you–you no longer gave him permission to mistreat you.

    • dancingqueen says:

      stephxxx: I don’t think that you overreacted at all. I think that his post was passive-aggressive, intentional, and designed to start a fight. He clearly did not have both feet in the relationship. Furthermore, he is too immature to have a relationship: anyone who does status updates about :perving on a woman at the gym” clearly is a little boy.

      What you need to ask yourself is why you take blame for something that is clearly his manipulations, why you are validating him that you are overreacting and why you are interested in such a immature db.

      Sorry but he is a jerk; you need to know why you are interested in someone like that. Think about it…

      • Stephxxx says:

        Dancing Queen…I do ask myself why I’m still in any way invested in this man and I say to myself its because he’s the first man Ive loved or I think I’ve loved and since the break up no one has compared in the slightest. But I think that’s down to my mindset and not 100% letting go. Not giving myself a chance to be open minded accept date invitations, give men a chance.

        I must admit I have a fear deep down that I am just too opinionated open my mouth too much when I’m upset about something and worry that if I let someone else in after this guy that they may say the same. Then I’ll believe that what my ex has said to me is the truth. And that would be awful.

        Thank you girls for commenting!

        • dancingqueen says:

          stephxxx; if a guy after this loser says the same thing, that he has the right to post cheesy comments on his Facebook page about women and you are being dramatic to get upset about it, that only says one thing about you both: he is an immature loser, and you are attracted to a “type” of guy.

          Take a few months off, think back about your life and childhood and try to figure out where your attraction to these bad boy, little boy men comes from. Once you get to the root of it, and you really think about it, they will slowly stop being attractive. Honestly I used to love guys like that and recently I was listening to some older versions of that in bar, talking up and bragging on about themselves and it just made me want to puke. You can do it. Soon, you will have the lovely experience of wanting to puke when you hear that garbage instead of crying or getting angry.

          • Rave says:

            I agree with all who say that it’s not acceptable behaviour.
            What is wrong with this world? Why has it become the enforced norm for women to accept men watching porn,having posters of naked women in their rooms ( I had 2 boyfriends who didn’t remove them even when I was around and would ask me if I found these women beautiful). You mean now we have to accept to compete with complete strangers and fantasy women for your meager attention?

            What is this society that encourages men to collect images of women, drool over them publically and treat 3 dimensional women as 2 dimensional ones?

  24. Lilia says:

    I just had this wonderful AHA moment after reading this post and all of your replies. I have been wondering for a while now Why why why I ended up at the same situation I actively wanted to avoid with the EUM, that of being treated as just an option. I had been in that situation with two guys before him – first, my ex husband who was constantly wishy washy about staying with me and who made me feel I had pushed him into a relationship with me in the first place.
    Then, this younger guy I fell hard for and who wanted to maneouver me in between his schedule with his official gf (I thought I could take it because I still wasn´t completely done with my ex).

    So, after those experiences I promised myself I would not put myself into a position of pursuing, convincing, discussing to have any kind of relationship. If they wanted to be with me, they would have to take the initiative.
    And this suited the EUM perfectly. As I didn´t ask for clarification he could just go on keeping things ambiguous. I was actually doing him a favor!
    I was being a people pleaser!
    I didn´t express my own needs because it made me feel uncomfortable. And so I became trapped in a web of my own making.

    Now, looking at the common denominator in these situations, I realise I was the one adjusting to all these guys´wants.
    My ex husband wanted me to take all responsibility for the relationship and our family – so I was the committed one.
    Younger guy wanted just a fling that wouldn´t endanger his relationship with his gf – so I never made any scene and also didn´t break up with him.
    EUM wanted who knows what psychotic set up – I never asked any questions because I didn´t want to embarras him.

    Jeeez, talk about people pleasing.
    If I´d been more aware of pleasing myself instead, I´d have told them all Er, thanks but no thanks, hon.

    • sushi says:

      the concept of not pursuing, discussing and convincing is a good one, and followed by Flush. I`m getting more and more convinced that if there is a need for a major discussion it`s game over.

      • Sm says:

        Sushi totally agree that if there’s a need for a major discussion it is game over. The next time I feel that need (I hope I get out before then), the discussion will be that the relationship is over, the end, period.

        • Lilia says:

          Yes the thing is to pull that Flush handle. That´s what got me stuck, I never knew it existed or that I was allowed to use it.

        • FX says:

          I’ve been dating a cute, fun man I met at an event we both were working and is in a related line of work that we are both passionate about. It has ben a few months and he seems to be doing everything right so far – sets dates and picks me up exactly on time, affectionate w/o being pushy, not blowing hot, respectful of my time, already introduced me to a variety of his friends, etc. He even lives in the same neighborhood within our very large city. So, related to this post, my Christmas Day present to myself was being true to myself by having sex with him. LOL I had a lightbulb moment recently while visiting a relative in a tropical climate. I was lying on the beach under the warm sun feeling sensual and I realized how intrinsic a part of me my sexuality had always been and that I really missed it. It also made me effing furious that the ex AC – by being an AC – had made me cut myself off from the amazing sex he and I could have been having for the last many months instead of me having the longest spell of celibacy I’ve endured in the nearly 4 decades since I started having sex.

          My next date with the new man was last night and at the end of the evening – before going to bed, he initiated The Conversation about what our status is and what I want, need, expect of him/us. I’m still somewhat EU, I’m afraid… I have always loathed talking about r/s stuff. It makes me want to jump out of my skin. (Probably explains a lot of my r/s history…!) Yes, I know, after all this time reading BR, I should have gotten clear on all this before having sex with him… Anyway, after hemming and hawing, I was able to articulate that I thought that we were “Dating” but I am not OK with him having sex with other women if we are having sex. I said I was never a possessive or jealous person before the ex AC and I don’t think I am now but I want sexual exclusively. End of. I said I don’t need to know where he is or what he’s doing all the time or anything. Someone who behaves consistently in a trustworthy manner as he has so far will not arouse any trust issues leftover from the ex that are mine to own and process. (My grown D is so funny, she said to me, “Of course, it will take you a while to trust normally again. ‘AC’ gave me trust issues and I didn’t even date him!”)

          Anyway, I was so shocked that a man was so at ease with putting the subject out there and being genuinely interested in my expectations, boundaries, etc. – stuff that terrifies me to talk about. He easily says what’s on his mind and actually expects me to have expectations and for him to meet them? What a novel concept!

          I don’t think he’s “the one” whatever that means – or that I’m even looking for “the one” right now. I’m having fun, great nights out – and sex! LOL And, for who and where I am in life now and I think where he is in life, too, this arrangement seems good for both of us.

          One funny thing… He and I haven’t talked about our ages but I knew he was younger. (Ex AC was 10 years younger than me which I didn’t know right away either.) After, I ended it with AC, I figured my dating pool would be quite, ahem, more “mature” and not in only good ways. (That would likely be mostly true online which was another thing I have against it.) Anyway, I learned that the new man is a few years younger than ex AC. Life is funny (and even fun!) sometimes…

  25. Demke says:

    @Getting There.. I suggest trying to avoid a possible run-in as best you can. If you do have a run in, why do u need to say/do anything? Keep walking. If you work with him and bump into him, maybe a simple ‘hi’, like u would w/ other co-workers and,… Keep walking. Avoid as much as possible. Fake it til’ you make it. And with the idea growing up, “forgive and forget”, I get it. But in a situation where it’s hurting you to go back and entertain this loser because you’re feeling desperate for him, forgive and forget doesn’t apply. When YOU are ready to forgive… It will be when you are loving yourself and out of this crap situation, and you realize you’ll forgive them because they just can’t help being an AC… And it’s not your problem…(while you’re moving on) Then you can begin to forget and finally move on. I had the same hang-ups, …”forgive and forget” “solve everything w love”… When you apply those ideas in an AC situation, it’s a no win (for you). Those ideas apply best when you begin to forgive you for making a mistake with choosing an AC, and not loving yourself enough to realize this guy is toying with you, not treating you w love, care and respect. Yes, solve everything with love… It means love yourself. Put you first. I remember not being able to understand the concept with… ‘well, if I’m supposed to forgive and forget and treat with love… Then I need to be loving towards him! That’s what all of that must mean’. I couldn’t separate the two. I think people who don’t love themselves, and have low self esteem want to apply that concept (love and forgive even a bastard) to people who mistreat us. And that concept will make us feel guilty and blame ourselves for not forgiving these mind-effers… I don’t see it that way anymore.

    My ex AC after 2 months NC sent a “merry Christmas :( ” txt. I didn’t respond. Some may feel guilty for not responding, ‘especially’ a “merry Christmas” txt. So. Fricken. What. I didn’t respond because why should I? He was disrespectful, a cheater, and manipulated his way in for years.

    I’m pretty sure this is what those concepts mean while looking through the healthy self esteem lens: I forgive him because he is who he is. But a lying, disrespectful cheat just not my cup of tea. I deserve better. I forgive myself for not loving me and helping me see this sooner.

    I solved everything with love when I finally realized I need to change my way of thinking, love and accept ME no matter how much I didn’t at the time, love and put me, my values and boundaries above above anyone else’s. Then you can forgive and forget the messes with that person… And the love comes in where you let them go… So you are free to love fully (you cannot love fully while with a person who limits that) and they are free to be who they are (even if it’s forever being an an AC).

    I can actually recognize when I’m in people-pleasing mode and am quick to nip it in the bud.

    As for not responding to my ex, a few people said to me “aww, he misses you… He put a little sad face, you’re cold-hearted” I said. “No, Im not. That’s the devil knocking… Adding a sad face as bait.” I used to be that woman who would say “aww” at crumbs too… But not anymore”.

    • Revolution says:

      LOL Demke!!!!!!! “That’s the devil knocking.” I just about fell out of my chair with that one! Girl, you know what’s up. 😉

    • sushi says:

      I like your thoughts on this , Demke.Set yourself free, and let them be who they want to be. Amen.

      • Lilia says:

        That´s funny Demke, because a few days ago I found this website by some nuns (I think) who advised abused women based on Bible quotes and they explained that it isn´t the idea to forgive anyone randomly. They explicitly stated that one should forgive those who are truly sorry for hurting you, and who make the effort of asking for forgiveness. So that excludes any old AC or EUM.

        The other thing I found interesting is that they advised to run from narcs and abusers, and not to analyse them (according to them, God wants us to get away from bad guys, not to be their psychiatrists and sympathise with their lame excuses). Sort of like your analogy of the devil knocking.

        Not that I´m very religious myself, but I liked the common sense of it all.

        • Lau_ra says:

          Thats a nice aspect of forgiveness that they cover.
          Another interesting aspect of forgiveness is developed in Pinkola Estes book “Running with the wolves” (sorry if the name of the book is not very exact-just a direct translation from my language).It says that forgiveness comes with time, and we should not force ourselves to forgive immediately. Though my personal forgiveness for ACs/EUMs feels more like indifference towards them.

        • beth d says:

          Powerful My ex is still going crazy over the fact that I didn’t wish him Merry Christmas back. 5 days straight of texts, calls. He never even acted like this when I was with him. Not this bad. I know it is because I always did the aweee It’s Christmas or whatever holiday it was. I would think to myself… he was so generous to me on Christmas blah blah or whatever tricks my mind played on me. Always felt guilty and of course I still had feelings for the many good times we had. I see things clearly now and friendship is out of the equation. I was just annoyed this year after his text came in after months of no contact. Finally…I won’t answer, explain, and I am considering blocking his number which I have never done. If it continues I will do it. I need to run from the devil.

        • Kit-Kat says:

          Lilia… I love this:
          “They explicitly stated that one should forgive those who are truly sorry for hurting you, and who make the effort of asking for forgiveness.
          AC’s/ EUM’s dont ask for forgiveness or feel sorry for hurting anyone. With their arrogance they dont see anything wrong with what they do..Sad but true . Thanks for sharing !!!

    • Thank you. Really. I am inspired by your strength. As you can see in a post that followed I fell off the wagon and texted a pic 2 nights ago. Have resumed NC and today got a lame message that was even easier to ignore but I might have felt torn to be honest if he had reached out with a reall happy wish for me or even a sad face :( I applaud you for staying strong and true.

  26. Sarah Helen says:

    Thank you for this post! Recently I have had to disengage who I thought to be a good friend because I’ve realized I was constantly on eggshells around her. It wasn’t always like that between us (which made it more confusing), but for some reason in the past year I can never tell if she’ll be warm and friendly or short and secretive. I kept thinking if I stayed consistently there for our “friendship” she’d be nicer. It left me feeling exhausted and terribly insecure because it seemed like every other time we hung out things would be great and then the next time I’d feel awful when she’d ignore me or leave me out of things (we are in our late twenties so I was also surprised by the immaturity of it all).
    I’ve realized that I have plenty of consistently loving friends who I don’t have to play on the swings with. I continue to stay polite and friendly as we share a large social circle, but have stopped putting effort in trying for a closer friendship.
    It truly felt like a break up in the first month or so, but then something changed for me (maybe the realization that my decision didn’t bring on the end of the world or create WW III?) And I have since felt-yes, still sad, but also lighter and stronger.

  27. pinkpanther says:

    For the most part I am not a people pleaser, but there are a few people I am that way with. I find it interesting/disconcerting to watch myself with these people. None of them are family, only friends.

    I have a friend who I’ve people pleased with in the past, I had decided I wouldn’t buckle to her again.
    She recently started dating someone new. We had plans one day, and when the time came she was a no show. No call, no nothing. I left her a message. Didn’t hear from her for several days.

    Finally she called and said, oh, I was with my date, and forgot our plans, sorry, hope it was ok with you. I told her these words, “I understand how it is when you’re dating someone new, so I’ll give you a free pass this time, just don’t do it again”.

    She has not called me since, it’s been a few months. I know if I would have not said anything as I usually do with her, all would be fine, but now I’ve put it out that I have boundys (even though I gave her one free pass), it has changed things.

    I’m feeling pretty mixed about this. I’m glad I said something, but it sucks that she’s gone.

    • sushi says:

      it won`t suck for long in the same way. Once you process the disapointment of how she treats you it will evolve into acceptance of how she is as a person.
      I have that with my mother. She continually heaps a responsibility for her loneliness, happiness, my siblings problems on me and expects for me to resolve the lot. Financially and emotionally. She taught me how to be a Florence. She dishes out another rock for my back and doesn`t stop to think that it is all too much for one human to cope with. This is a mother who refused to believe me that my grandfather sexually molested me as a child. I processed that hurtful disappointment possibly as much as it can be processed ( it is unforgivable)and don`t look at what she continues to dish out with painfull disbelief anymore. I just feel distanced from her emotionally and don`t look at her as a woman who is supposed to mother me. I have put up boundaries and act accordingly. I lost the illusion of closeness that I thought I had with her when I was falling over myself to please her, nothing will please her and I am done. anymore, I am putting that energy into my children and learning to do it for me too.She is a wizz at passive – agressive but I don`t play ball anymore. I think it`s quite lucky that you can just NC someone with whom there is no hope of a real relationship, I`m kind of stuck with her the way she is, so this emotional NC is my answer. Wonder how this is going to pan out longer term, I might come to different conclusions then. Your feeling disappointed has brought this up, some people just suck. They are not worth the steam of our pee.

    • Lau_ra says:

      I live one simple rule in these matters. It says “b*****es go, friends stay”, meaning that this “prince charming” might turn into a frog, so its a bad idea to put him first, leaving aside the people you know way longer.
      Its will sound cheesy, but I guess she wasn’t a true friend then, if she only valued you when having no boundaries;/

  28. GetSmartyr says:

    I am so happy that I found this website! I just ejected a Mr. Unavailable from my life about a month ago. I could see during the last 2 months that I had gotten a lot clearer about what I wanted from a relationship, and he just wasn’t it. After recovering from a nasty divorce to an alcoholic, I was still working on unloading that baggage. Now, I see that I probably could have cut my ties with my latest Mr. Unavailable a lot sooner. I had so much going on all at once — a new job, a new boyfriend, a teenager in middle school — and I was really struggling to keep everyone happy. Over the course of the last year, I learned that I didn’t have to be everything to everyone. I was feeling increasingly depleted by my BF. He definitely managed me to stay cool and detached. I caught myself working harder and harder at being what I thought he wanted, and at the same time, feeling increasingly disgusted with him. Disgust is not sexy. I finally had a big lightbulb moment on our last date. There I was, dressed beautifully, makeup and hair looking great, chatting away animatedly, and getting lots of attention from other single men in the room. Meanwhile, my schlumpy BF was there in his faded, draggy daddy jeans, eyes all over the room, repeatedly checking out another woman. I actually stopped in the middle of a sentence, and thought, “What am I doing with this schlub? Why am I working so hard?” And it was as if I had flipped a switch, but bam, I was done.

    Since then, I have been taking great care of me. I have kept my efforts to a minimum in “working” for other relationships, reconnecting with old friends, being nice to myself and going NC with the ex-BF. I specifically told him not to call me when he was lonely and between girls. He muttered, “I won’t,” very sadly. As soon as I got home, I unfriended him, deleted his phone number from my cell, and otherwise dumped every bit of his stuff into a box that I will mail whenever I get around to it. This did me a world of good. No more mooning over lovely notes and little gifts.

    Of course, as everyone here would expect, about a month later, he did turn up by email, looking for sympathy, and probably a date for New Years. Eff that. He got no answer from me. He owed me an apology for his rotten behavior at the very least, and I am not waiting with bated breath for that either.

    I feel better and better every day. I cried my tears — a lot of them!! I leaned on good friends who supported me. I gave myself permission to feel crappy. Surprisingly, this helped me feel better faster. I realize I put too much energy into a dying relationship and ended up just setting myself back. I am back at the gym, getting lots of great sleep, resting, reading, and going out when I feel like it. I am actively avoiding dating! Nurturing myself has been a far better investment of my time and energy than fanning the itty-bitty flame that that relationship produced. I know that the silence my Ex-BF received in answer to his email spoke more eloquently than anything else I could say. Why bother expending energy on someone who really isn’t worth my time? Thank you, Natalie, for inspiring me to move forward with No Contact!!

    • dancingqueen says:

      @ Getsmartyr

      I really enjoyed reading your post.

      “I specifically told him not to call me when he was lonely and between girls. He muttered, “I won’t,” very sadly. As soon as I got home, I unfriended him, deleted his phone number from my cell, and otherwise dumped every bit of his stuff into a box that I will mail whenever I get around to it. This did me a world of good.”

      Awesome move!

      ” I am back at the gym, getting lots of great sleep, resting, reading, and going out when I feel like it. I am actively avoiding dating! Nurturing myself has been a far better investment of my time and energy than fanning the itty-bitty flame that that relationship produced. I know that the silence my Ex-BF received in answer to his email spoke more eloquently than anything else I could say. Why bother expending energy on someone who really isn’t worth my time? ”

      Perfect response to AC/EUM heart and brain-drain.

      You are 2 for 2 for a new year:)

      • GetSmartyr says:

        Thanks, Dancingqueen. I just got home from a visit with a good friend of mine, who is a counselor. She heard my story, including the word-for-word language of my ex-BF’s email and said, “Oh my God. He’s really manipulative!” I’m glad I could see that now as well, but it’s something I never really saw before. Feeling more and more like I dodged a bullet. Here’s to better things in 2013 for all of us!

    • Robin says:

      Good for you, Getsmartyr. I had no sense of what I wanted out of life as well, and met my ex in that state. But as time passed (and thanks to Baggage Reclaim!), I developed a sense of self and what I wanted. I slowly realized that our existing relationship dynamic wasn’t working for me.

      Mind you, our relationship wasn’t all bad; we had good times. But I came to realize that my ex had a tough time accepting our differences in the way we problem-solved. I did speak up often about what I needed out of the relationship, and constantly defended my decisions, even if they were different from what my ex (or anyone else he knows) would have done. The problem was that, when the rough times in our relationship came (for ex. anything that’s financial-, health-, or career-related), I had to repeatedly and consistently defend each and every life decision I made that my ex tried to change my mind on. I got very tired of doing so! Needless to say, the relationship fizzled, because I finally knew what I wanted, and this wasn’t it. For me, it’s just really tiresome to have to repeatedly and constantly defend who I am and my decisions to my own ex, who chose to date me in the first place!

      • GetSmartyr says:

        @Robin, thanks for your comments. I know what you mean about things not being all bad. I actually had a lot of good times and fun with my ex-BF. It sounds like your guy was really controlling, and out and proud about it too!

        My guy was more of a subtle, underhanded manipulator. Boy, I wish I had read this book a long time ago!!! The thing is, it was all fine until things got serious or started looking like a real relationship between us. I used to feel like just being with me was giving him hives. Because I wasn’t really clued in, because I wasn’t really emotionally available either, I wasn’t even understanding where the disconnect came from.

        The more I started to really pay attention to what it is that I wanted — a healthy, mutual, committed relationship with a future — I could see why my BF got hives.

        He is terrified of commitment, has no desire to understand why. That’s really not about me. He said as much. He’s ambivalent, and girls get fed up and leave him over and over again.

        I am so proud of myself for going after the whole enchilada and not settling for crumbs. After I got that email and let my thoughts settle, I actually felt fantastic. I could really see the manipulation and it completely validated my decision to leave the relationship. I am psyched to see what I can do when I decide to road test my new mad skills!

      • Mymble says:

        That was one of the main problems with my soon to be ex husband. I felt constantly undermined and controlled. He would not take responsibility himself, or make decisions or plans, but when I did and things weren’t exactly to his liking there was heavy aggressive hurtful criticism. It wasn’t a one off, it was a constant problem.
        It is utterly draining, really made me feel alone in the “relationship”.
        The thing is I have had relationships where it wasn’t like this, and I know it isn’t necessary to like with the constant recriminations and blame. I had 14 years of it and it gets more than merely tiresome. Its soul destroying and hateful.

  29. German_Fallback_Girl says:

    It kind of scares me that i discovered that i’ve truly denied myself for such a Long Time….
    After starting to read your Book and now this post i realize your completly right. Always pleasing other People like i’ve actually done the past 2 years doesn’t get you anywhere.
    Thank you for finally showing me what i Should have realized Long before … I have to be True to myself and i don’t have to please everyone around me so that they like me and keep me Company.
    Hopefully i can finally Start to truly be and like myself and get over the shitty Fake-relationships of the past 2 years.

    Please keep Honig, becouse you’re really Helping me and a Lot of other People :))

  30. dancingqueen says:

    I had a kind of funny encounter on the plane home to CA. I was getting in my seat and the man next to me had his laptop and his books sprawled all over the overhead luggage bin. I put my bag down on the seat and went to gently move some of his things so that I could put my one correctly-sized bag in. He barked at me “Hey, DON”T touch my stuff, ASK if you want me to move it.” So I said, calmly and cooley “Okay no prob, could you PLEASE move your things, so I can get my bag in.” He proceeded to loudly get up with a great sigh, bang his stuff around ( much less gently than I had tried to move them) glared and then sat down with great pomp and more sighing. I was about to put by bag up when suddenly I had this epiphany; it was a 4 hour flight, I was stuck in the middle with this guy and I was going to have to ask him to get up when I needed to use the bathroom etc. So I just decided to assert myself ( okay it was just a tad bitchy but I am okay with that). I took my purse off the seat and said, “Never mind, you are making me a bit uncomfortable. I am going to ask for a different seat.” He replied “Oh GREAT IDEA!” and then this woman next to me actually went “Oh!”. I searched out the flight attendent, told her what happened, she went back and got my bag, asked someone if I could sit next to them and then went over and told the man that the above luggage bin was for everyone and she told me that she told him “I heard that you are having problems playing in the same sandbox with others.” and she winked at me.

    I felt really good about defending myself.

    A few years ago, sadly, I would have actually felt like the whole thing was my fault. It would not have occured to me to stand up for myself, it would not have occured to me that my expectation that someone would arrange their things so that others could also fit theirs in, was perfectly reasonable and I would have never had the nerve to move and actually to say “You are making me uncomfortable.” I would have just maybe, at best, moved. But you know I am really glad that I said that because he was making me and others uncomfortable and that needs to be verbalized sometimes. No people pleasing here anymore if I can help it, except for at work of course.

    • La Pintura Bella says:


      That. Was. Awesome. I really love the way you handled this situation. Perhaps if more of us spoke up, there wouldn’t be as many uptight, entitled, self-important idiots running around. Impressive!

    • Revolution says:

      Hooray for DQ!!!! Woot woot! Good on you for minimizing your exposure to that overgrown baby. What a douche.

      Your story was PRICELESS, thanks for sharing. It reminded me of spending the day with my mom yesterday, and something that occured to me. I am always after her, asking her how I can help her and what I can do for her (not that she’s incapable; she’s a fully functional 67-year old woman. But I’m her daughter, and I’d like to help when I can.) Anyway, she had asked me if I could help her wash the windows in her house, inside and out. I jumped at the chance, because she was FINALLY asking me to do something for her. In mid-rinse of one window, I looked back at her and said, “Did you ever notice that the people who need and deserve the most help never ask for it, while the people who don’t deserve it and feel entitled to it have no problem asking?” And my mother, who never has a bad word to say about anybody (guess I didn’t inherit that gene) said, “You are so right.”

      My point is that yes, this guy was an entitled jerk who saw no problem in his encroaching on other’s rights. Whereas someone like you, DQ (or I, myself, or many on this site) would bend over backward to make sure that others were comfortable, even at the expense of our own comfort.

    • Lilia says:

      That made me lol, dancingqueen!

      I´m going to remember your story and verbalize whenever someone makes me feel uncomfortable again, instead of letting it seethe inside me.
      When you think about it, it´s so logical, isn´t it? Just saying This is making me uncomfortable/I feel disrespected/I don´t like this.
      And then Flush move on to another seat. Brilliant!

    • natashya says:

      wow. excellent example and well done!

      • dancingqueen says:

        Thanks ladies; LPB, Rev, Lilia and Nataysha I so appreciate the affirmation!

        I gotta confess I love the word “uncomfortable” because it is so mild seeming yet a great verbal mini-grenade to throw out to get your point across. I am embarressed to admit it but I got in from reading an article on Cameron Diaz’s breakup with Matt something or other ( forget his name, a loooooong time ago which just shows how old I am lol). Someone asked her if her heart was broken after the breakup ( rumors he serial cheated etc) and she said “You know, every breakup has its degrees of discomfort, it was definitly uncomfortable.” I thought that she handled that question with such grace. So now it has become my go-to word when I need to make a point even at work at points. I agree Rev, that there is that part of it; some people never go out of their way to worry about others while some of us naturally over worry. I doubt the db changed but hopefully he felt… a bit uncomfortable after that exchange lol;)

  31. espresso says:

    I think I am a closet people pleaser. I have clear opinions and boundaries and do express them but then beat myself up when I do. I was brought up to be “the responsible one” in the family and I was in a marriage where I took too much responsibility – because my ex wasn’t really “there” emotionally. People think I am strong and I guess I am in some ways but my secret fear is that if I really WAS myself, then nobody would care for me. So I have a people pleasing mentality. I have just had a work situation where I stood up for myself very well and was proud of what I did but I am still feeling some pain……

    Right now I am having to enforce really clear boundaries with my ex in terms of our post long term marriage relationship and I struggle with feelings that I am cruel and unkind so that has been difficult. But this is part of our twisted dynamic and one that I have to leave behind.

    BTW my ex is a real people pleaser..there is never a situation or person that he either doesn’t like or a person he doesn’t think is “nice.” People pleasers may be “liked” by others but it is hard to “respect” a people pleaser because they don’t have solid values they will defend.

    At least this is my experience with my ex… I think people pleasing is not only bad for US it means that we can be emotionally untrustworthy. There were so many times in my marriage where my ex fundamentally hurt me because he was too busy trying to please people he hardly knew…like taking years and years to finish an MA thesis when our kids were babies and we had almost no income. And there were many other examples.

    • Mymble says:

      What you say about your ex – not having solid values he will defend, and being emotionally untrustworthy -is also very true of my mother. She also will run around trying to please people who are little more than acquaintances while neglecting her own interests or those of close family, will pretend to have views and religious beliefs that she doesn’t actually have etc etc. She is someone who presents a “face” to the world that isn’t hers. She pretends to have no anger and is always lady like and conflict avoidant with “outsiders”‘but can be very passive aggressive with my brother and I. She was brought up that way and I can see how stunting and damaging it is not to have the confidence and strength to be yourself and to express your feelings in the moment. In some ways I think she is very cut off from all her feelings – you can’t pick and choose and if your stifle and suppress some feelings then the rest get squashed too. I was comparing her with another woman of her age that we spent a lot of time with this Christmas – a very strong character who has no difficulty in saying if she isn’t happy about something, but who is also a warm, joyous person, and a delight to be around. She is someone who has definitely become stronger with age and has become a towering personality, whereas my mother seems to have diminished – all that suppression.. I feel sad for her.

  32. tiffrbug says:

    Once again, perfect timing! I struggle with this sometimes. The funny thing is, it seems like the people I find myself trying to please, are assholes. I find myself apologizing for their behavior to make it tolerable, otherwise I wouldn’t be okay with it.

    I think after being surrounded by emotionally unavailable people for so long, we too become emotionally numb. In my former relationship, when I would experience an emotion and share it, the ex would immediately invalidate it. A decent person CARES about your feelings. I got to a point where I was so shut down it was ridiculous.

    Now that I am free from that miserable situation, I realize the importance of feelings and emotions. When I got yuck feelings, it was because I was being wronged or going against my core values. When I accept or even apologize for shit behavior, I am invalidating myself.

    How to not be a people pleaser? Build a relationship with God and yourself. Listen to your feelings. Stay true to yourself. Stand up for what you believe. Give consequences for shitty behavior. If someone does not care how their shitty behavior affects your relationship, they are not worth one minute of your time. :)

  33. Tulipa says:

    Looks like I need to be on three diets in 2013.

    The normal food weight loss diet.

    The bullshit diet, I reread that post and was amazed that it is still normal for me to be eating it.

    The people pleaser diet. I do know I have made progress in this area, but not where it concerns the ex eum.
    I’m sure that people pleasing is the same as being “Little Miss Fix It”
    and “Little Miss Say Nothing” in spite of being incredibly angry and astounded that this person could treat me in such a way.
    If I did say something about a situation I was soon running after him taking it all back, apologizing that I’d said anything in the first place.
    I must look quite nutty swinging between anger and niceness, not knowing how to handle a situation like a normal person.
    I clearly see the people pleasing doormat trait in me and I intend to change it.
    I am worried about myself because each New Year I have made declarations and proclamations to stay away from the eum only to go back. I have also been long periods of time with no contact but once he is back in contact I give in.

    • maya says:

      Tulipa, I’ve been Miss Fix it for the longest time … is that another name for people pleasing? I still try very hard to restrain myself from trying to help. And it’s so hard teaching myself that people will just have to fix their own problems and issues. I don’t have all the answers.

      I need to start dieting too … people pleasing and the low bullshit one. In fact, I’m going to pin it up on my office door. People be warned 😉

    • eponine says:


      I can’t believe how relevant this post is to me today! I have been on BR devouring every post and read the comments.

      Tulipa, I need to go on the very same 3 diets! It is really frustrating to me and I feel your pain, b/c I am really concerned that I won’t be able to maintain NC and will go right back to this miserable man who has jerked me around so BADLY!!

      I think I am the OW. I don’t ever know. All I know is he manages me by text and disappears. He lied to me until I was in love with him. Then, he let me know I was not the only one he has been with, and he would never be in a committed relationship. I could continue in a casual way or not-take it or leave it.

      For me, it will probably take moving, which I want to do, anyway-not many people where I live speak English and it has been VERY lonely. The language here it tough, too! I can’t hear them very well.

      I want to slap this man for wasting my time and breaking my heart and making me feel and look like a fool. It drives me mad that he just gets away with it. It makes no difference to him if I stay or go…so, I kick him to the curb, he finds his way back in after a week or 2-when I am feeling vulnerable (how does he know?!!!!)
      and we go around again. More time wasted, more exhaustion, further depleted reserves and self-esteem.

      I am realizing how (literally) sick and tired this is making me. I tried to keep it casual…couldn’t do it. I feel used and rejected, which is the truth, so I just feel sick..and exhausted. I can’t even leave, b/c I am too tired. Rats. I can never understand liars, but I had better learn that they are out there and fast. He is definitely narcissist, and, oddly, exactly the same dynamic is playing out that I have had with my family, esp. my father. ‘I might love you a little, but I have more important people to spend time with’.

      Maybe we can have a chip system or something. I am NC since Boxing Day.
      I don’t know if I can do it. I guess my self esteem is so low that it doesn’t seem to matter when he finally deigns to send a text my way. But, it does matter. I mattered. This was really wrong.

      Thank you to everyone. I don’t think I would have made it through the holidays without Baggage Reclaim. Thanks, again, Natalie, from the bottom of my heart.
      I know better, thanks to you. Now, I have to take the right steps. Ouch. this is sooo hard!!!

      Happy holidays to you all. A blessed new year, too. I do see some light and blue skies ahead. I am seeing that as I work on me, these things I need to do stop looking so terrifying. Bless you all



      • grace says:

        Tulips, maya, epo
        I,ve been reading a book on eating which has very good things to say about self esteem. Eating less by Gillian Riley.
        Self esteem is not about thinking you,re a great person or you deserve x, y, or z. At it,s heart it,s understanding that you have choices.
        It took nearly a year of counselling and BR for me to understand that. In that time I realised that I was a people pleaser though none of my colleagues, friends or family would say that. I even went through agonies deciding whether to switch church because I was worried about what people would think. No one thought anything. And so what If they did? As someone said to me, you are allowed to choose what church you go to!
        I,ve been eating more junk food like cakes and biscuits as it,s around me a lot more. I need to learn to exercise my choices and not just go for it because it.s there and it,s free. But, amazingly, even acknowledging that has helped me to not want it anymore.
        You and I are free to eat junk until we are covered in spots and burst out of all our clothes. But we find that would not be a good choice and be quite happy with that. It doesnt feel like deprivation.
        You can extend this to your relationships and make choices that are better for you.

        • Claudia says:

          “Self esteem is not about thinking you,re a great person or you deserve x, y, or z. At it,s heart it,s understanding that you have choices.”

          I had never seen it quite that way.
          I have to say I love your definition of self-esteem, Grace.


        • maya says:

          Thanks for the response, Grace. The problem now is I’ve got a history of people pleasing (which I’m trying to lose), but my new boss is a narc and those who don’t please her, gets their heads figuratively whacked off. There are times I think it is just so much easier (and certainly more peaceful) to let her have her way :(

          • grace says:

            I’ve had toxic bossess too. I left. I guess that’s a choice. Some people can work with them. I choose not to anymore,
            however, if you choose to continue (yes, it’s a chocie!) there are ways to deal with it. You have to not care about their moods, put your head down and do your work, realise you won’t get any thanks or gratitude, take the money, leave at the end of the day,and don’t think about them.

            You’re not trying to please them, they are unplease-able. Know what your job is and do that. Decide for yourself how much more you are prepared to do. For instance, you may be happy to cover for them when they are late back from a boozy lunch. Maybe you won’t be so comfortable buying Christmas presents for his wife and his mistress – I’ve not done that myself but I know others who have!

            • maya says:

              Thanks for the feedback, Grace. Yup, I can leave if I want to, but I don’t want to leave because of her. She’s not that important. This post that she has now is not permanent – it’s for 2 years, and if she doesn’t perform, she’ll be back on our level. And I only have another year or so till she step down … unless the board acts crazy and reappoints her.

              I’m pretty patient, so I’ll wait it out. Don’t think she can do much to me, but we’ve all noticed, if she’s p***ed at me, she’ll take it out on the people she thinks are closest to me. And that’s what makes it so miserable foe me :(

              Maybe I should start reading the Art of War for Women.

        • eponine says:

          Thanks, Grace,

          I will read this book. There is so much helpful information on this site. I can’t believe how far I have to go in this healing process, but for the first time, I really want to do the work.
          I didn’t ever realize what I was doing wrong-thought it was bad luck.

          I have really had some epiphanies, here, lately, reading Nat’s posts and these comments.

          It is amazing for me to see why this last relationship has had such a hold on me. Being told I wasn’t important and being scapegoated by my family in so many ways, was a set up for disaster, I believe-because I internalized it. I only know right now that I don’t want to be a beggar for crumbs anymore.

          So, I have to show me that I am important, love and validate me. It’s hard, but I can’t turn back now.

          NC 6 days. I feel rotten and exhausted and hopeful.

          Thanks again, Grace, for the encouragement about making the right choices and thank you all from the bottom of my heart.


          • Tulipa says:

            Thank you Grace for the book recommendation will buy that.

            Life is about choices and making decisions that are for your benefit.

            Eponie can definately relate to been the scapegoat of the family.

            Trying to make connections as to why I kept going back to the EUM. (work in progress)
            Managed not to text Happy New Year and he has managed thus far not to say Happy Birthday, but two other EUMs from the past came out of the wood work.

            Anyway good luck to all of us on our diets. I’m pinning my diet plan next to my bed so each morning I can remember I am on a strict diet.

            • grace says:

              Ex-EUM from years ago sent me the usual Merry Christmas email that went into my Junk folder (which I only saw because I was checking for free emails that I’d signed up for on how to overcome my clothes shopping addiction.)
              I felt a) insulted that he still hasn’t got the message, b) pissed to be reminded of my EU past, c) slightly guilty for not responding.
              I wish he would leave me alone already. I will probably get an email this month for my birthday.
              These guys keep popping back up. Ignore them.

            • Eponine says:

              Hi, Tulipa,

              Well done on not texting NYE!! I managed not to, also, and it really seemed obvious that his text was probably sent to more than just me. It was pretty generic. I don’t think i would have caught that before being here on BR.

              I also really struggle with continuing to feel connected to the man I was seeing, and am beginning the HARD work of connecting to myself instead, trying to figure out what I need and meet my own needs for validation, affection, rest, etc.

              I still can’t get over how exhausted I feel!

              It was hard in my family of origin. Living very far away from them became necessary for awhile.

              I am learning that I can treat myself well and that’s all that matters. This has all been about me. I am emotionally unavailable, regardless of what they felt about me, though I am a long way from healthy. I did not know these things before.

              Hope is huge!

              I needed to believe that I am not out of time and he is not the last man on earth, too.

              I think I am more optimistic, now, that when I am ready, I will find a relationship with a decent respectful, kind, loving man.

              Happy Birthday! Congrats on not responding NYE. Happy Bday to you, too, this month, Grace. You are a real inspiration to me.

              No progress on the diet, but NC continues. I’ll congratulate myself for that.

              I hope are all doing well. Stay strong.

              Love and hugs,

              NC day…9

  34. G-Money says:

    Wow what a season this is. These last few months I have made it my business to stop look and listen to what goes on around me and its a strangely empowering feeling and also that of isolation.
    Me and my sister were always polar opposites, we have very different opinions and differ greatly when it comes to how to treat people.
    Before baggage reclaim I would have just laid there and accepted her poor behaviour but today I didnt. She pulled her rank again and wanted everyone to jump to her beat for christmas, she has the only grandchild in the family so her pull was even more enforced.
    My brother and my mam were of the same opinion as me, that they didn’t like not having a say on what they wanted to do for christmas that it was all arranged for them. The difference is they weren’t going to voice their feelings. Plus the fact that my mam told me one thing but told my sister another so my alarm bells went off.
    I texted my sister and asked for some wedge room in the arrangement and she said this was all her husbands doing, which I found odd. She rang my mam and I heard her on the phone bitching about me and telling my mam to have words with me to put me straight (yes she is in her 30’s)

    Today was horrendous, I knew exactly what she was going to do and I called it on all accounts. Pretend nothings going on, chat to me all nicey nice, act shocked when I mention that I didn’t appreciate her behaviour then scream ball and cry because her behaviour was challenged. She wouldn’t let me finish what I had to say,anything I did say she dismissed and told me I was spoilt, lazy and selfish. So she screamed the house down. I know I should have better composed myself but she was right in my face pointing her finger and I ended up yelling back. She told her husband they were leaving, grabbed her daughter and marched out. Now my brother and my mam won’t speak to me despite them feeling the same as me, only difference was I wasn’t going to pretend everything was hunky dory when it wasn’t. I cringe at myself looking back and remembering the awful things she has done in the past and not just to me, it really is deplorable.

    This is where the isolation comes in and I remember reading that in Natalies past posts about family looking to sweep drama under the carpet just in time for christmas. I know this comes with the territory of being authentic and it is very uncomfortable indeed. I know it will serve me greatly knowing I didn’t give up on me. It’s hard coming to terms with family and seeing them in a different light entirely.

    I know I will be blamed for the sham of a day that it was today and in all honesty it feels horrible even though I know deep down I did the right thing for me. I know I will never get an apology, explanation or any conversation related to what happened today, a few months will go by and she will try to press the reset button. I won’t fall for it this time though.

    • Mymble says:

      G money
      Christmas nightmare..we also have the power struggles about where we are going, who will cook, etc etc. I tend to think though, it’s just one day in the year, does it really *have* to matter so much? My bro is very mum passive aggressive..the inlaws are resentful blah blah blah BUT I am going through a divorce, my sister years of infertility treatment, inlaws recently suffered berravement, the list of sadness and difficulty goes on and on. Not people pleasing is okay but also so is being a little forgiving, we have to pick our battles too. Only you can judge if it was necessary to stand up on this occasion and it does seem hard that you are getting all the blame. In view of the things going on this year, I decided to detach a little and not sweat the small stuff (though there was the occasional raised voice, as per usual) and found I could live with it all.

      • G-Money says:

        Hi Mymble, thank you for your feedback I really appreciate it, it seems you have your hands full yourself.
        I thought about that all week, is this a necessary battle, one that I was hoping to be civil but judging on previous conflicts I should of known better. I knew in myself it would be something I would regret not saying, which would leave me just waiting around for the next one and kicking myself that I didn’t say something sooner.
        There lay the problem, so much controlling behaviour on her part and years of me backing down and enduring hurtful humilliating comments when I tried speaking up for myself before. It was a case of if not now, when!
        It made me think, if this is her reaction to me rejecting her behaviour (finally) on something this minor, imagine how it would be if it was something quite substantial. Id rather not find out and now I really and truly know where I stand with my family.

        • Mymble says:

          G money
          I just reread your original post…I realise I might have underestimated how awful it all was. Definitely some kind
          of detachment is necessary, because you need peace and sanity around
          you. Please try not to feel anxious, you get to choose whether and on what terms to have people in your life. I had some nasty rows with a certain relative who hurt me badly at times. I did detach from them a few years back, just stopped phoning or expecting anything from them, ignored them basically, though was not NC per se. It did help in terms of my feelings and also they know that if they act too shitty I’ll do the same again (none of this was ever discussed, but they knows, actions speak louder than words, and anyway that person would never admit to being anything less than 100% in the right at all times).You don’t “need” your sister – your anxious feelings may be fear of abandonment? I know my own feelings of Insecurity and not being valued in the family did make me vulnerable (easy to upset)and also sometimes I overreacted That was our dynamic. What I am saying is that if you really get to the place that you don’t feel that “need” you may find they somehow sense that and they treat you better. People can modify their behaviour if they understand there will be consequences.

          • Mymble says:

            But it won’t necessarily work, or not to a degree that is acceptable to you; either way, detaching emotionally (internally) and in terms of actual contact (externally) – will be helpful to you. All the best.

            • G-Money says:

              Thank you Mymble, I do agree that some form of NC is necessary, I do have a bit of an advantage in that I know she won’t contact me, the past has shown me that. The many times we had huge arguments was eventually initiated by me, back then I thought it was being the bigger person, now I know it’s just accepting poor behaviour.
              I understand what you’re saying about feelings of insecurity, lately though I’m at my happiest being alone, coming to terms with not being responsible for other peoples behaviour and learning to self soothe again, that peoples behaviour towards me are in no way a measure of my worth.

              The fear in which you speak of for me is fear of how people perceive me, that panic of “oh god they must think this and that about me when it’s completely untrue” where instead of letting the old habit of chasing them down and explaining every inch of my point of view, it’s now something I know I have no control over, I know in myself how I feel and I know to trust myself and they can think what they like. It’s really funny, this is so similar to my ex EUM, I was so worried all those months ago of what he was going around telling people as I knew he wasn’t telling the whole truths and I was in a frenzy worrying what people must think of me. Now I don’t give it a moments thought.

              I do need to detach emotionally and there is some work there that I need to put into doing just that, that fiasco has brought some nasty stuff I had once forgotten to the surface so it’s time to process it with a new set of eyes. Thank you again for getting back to me Mymble, sending good thoughts your way that everything goes smoothly with the divorce.

    • Anon says:

      G Money; I read your post with 100% understanding and sadness, I could have written your post LAST Christmas! I understand that isolated, sick, foggy cognitive dissonance after yet another unnecessary & exhausting drama shit storm engineered by a personality disordered family member. Your smug sister probably slept like a baby that night. At least you are the healthier sibling- you could have turned out like her. They want to sweep drama under the carpet- and get you to come to dinner, because they can’t tolerate being alone. Yet, it is an irresistible opportunity for them to create more drama, at your expense, of course. I’ve had similar scenarios with a dysfunctional family, sounds a lot like yours. Once you see the checklist of signs you become obsessed with how predicable these types are. Ugh- the manipulation; (controlling the details and using child to leverage family plans), passive-aggression (sneaky phone calls and triangulating family members), the RAGE (aggressive and hateful, sucker punch screaming nonstop to create fear, to silence and humiliate and bully others). This is really exciting for her- notice how they look really satisfied and puffed up during and after a rage-a-holic episode? This is like a shot of heroin in the arm of a drug addict. They need these rages for a few reasons- a) victim finding- to figure out who will be a non-stop target-usually the youngest, some one disabled, their kids, etc. they really have no scruples and they need a whipping post. b), to get all the ‘sheeple’ (peripheral people -acting silent as sheep) uncomfortably quiet and ignoring the behavior. These people are horrified beyond words, yet scared, and gosh- they don’t want to be the target. They rationalize into la la land “She has a temper, but she has her good times, she’s a good person” Hmmm. What they don’t see (or they do but they will not confront her) is the perfectly timed abuse the second (not minutes, since the strategy and manipulation is instant) they leave the room. C) the validation and confidence from devaluing others, and getting away with it. Then the abuser knows they are free to do it again! Plus, they deny doing it! In case you haven’t begun formalizing/quantifying and qualifying the extremely perplexing and unpredictable behavior you witnessed, here are some blogs to get you started. They say knowledge is power, but I believe that applies only if there is an actual solution? No Contact is the best game in town for all toxic relationships, but isolation brings on problems as well.

      • G-Money says:

        Hi Anon, that’s a lot of food for thought right there, I’m still letting it all sink in as you’ve given me quite a lot to think about. I never entertained the idea before that a personality disorder could be involved. My father is a bi-polar alcoholic, we all endured years of mental and emotional abuse with some physical abuse, my mam was the target for most of that. I went to counselling long ago for about three years to cope with my anger and now I’m indifferent to him, he exists and that’s the be all and end all for me.
        I would definitely read more into this with the links you left me, not so much for a solution but for the awareness of my own sanity and to better protect myself. I do believe there will never be a solution/reconciliation as in the past, it came from my initiation and I won’t be going back to break bread again for the umpteenth time.

        The puffed up satisfaction is very obvious in the attention she gets afterwards, my mother fawning over her like a sick little lamb, her husband at her beck and call to her every whim, her dramatic exit of storming off crying into the street (I’ve seen this more than I care to and not just with me – every family member who said something that she disagreed with)
        I am the youngest of the family, there’s a five year gap between myself and her. The “sheeple” is my brother and mam without a doubt, and the glaringly obvious is of them not wanting to be the next “target”. It makes painful sense, I would hear from them “oh no I’m not going to say anything as I don’t want to cause trouble” and other such variations of excuses.

        I think as time goes on the isolation won’t seem like such a bad thing, in the heat of the moment it hit me like a ton of bricks, standing on the ledge by myself, knowing full well others are seeing what I’m seeing but choosing denial instead and letting me take the full brunt. As Natalie said not completely verbatim, you’re alone anyway if you’re around people who detract from you add no value to your well being, so I’d rather be my own company as I know it’s honest and safe.

        I truly appreciate your in-depth response, I have those links saved and I’m going to read more into it for definite. Thank you!

      • Silhouette says:


        That mnmlist link? Wow, so powerful! Thank you for sharing. I’m going to print that one off and put it somewhere visible to me. I used to be able to do that, it was kind of built in to my boundaries, i’d just walk away. But for some reason, too much AC influence i suspect, i don’t do this any more. Time to begin again in 2013.

      • natashya says:

        thank you so much for the mmlist link. very inspiring stuff.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey G-Money,

      Okay you sis really sucks first of all; shaking her finger in your face was so many degrees of UN.AC.CEP.TA.BLE.

      That said, would it be possible for you to distance yourself from this very histrionic family and let them know, by your actions, that you will not engage in these type of theatrics? Could you maybe skip the next few family gatherings and, if the next one after those comes with a bunch of drama that you see ahead of time, leave at the first sign of ego issues? Just say “Excuse me, I am leaving, I wanted to spend time with you all, but not if I am going to be attacked and yelled at. Let me know when that won’t happen and I will be back.”

      Honestly, she is a pain in the tookus.

      I was a scapegoat for my family for YEARS until I literally cut them off for 3 years for my bro and 8 for my dad; that got my point across. I have a story. Bear with me and you will see how it relates to yours. It is very long but it is really very much what you are experiencing. Scapegoating.

      I had to go to my bro’s wedding years ago and act polite and kind to my former stepmother who used to beat the crap out of me and lock me in bathrooms for days. The last time I had seen her I was a teenager, she was screaming at me and leaving me in a strange city to find my way home after having served my dad with divorce papers ( yes, such a psycho that she came home, made me get in the car, told me that it was the last time that she would ever have to deal with me and my dad, took my charm bracelet that she had given me, and dropped me 10 miles from my home at a church parking lot.) I had actually never been to this new home because I was in boarding school when they moved and bought the house. That was my first vacation, and the whole area was new to me. I had had no idea that my dad and her were fighting because I was away ( she always told me that I was the cause of their problems) So my dad dropping me off from the train station to this new home, going in and having my stepmother come home, freak out that I was there ( apparently she had told my dad that she did not want me there) and telling me that she was divorcing him, screaming at me to get in the car, and driving like a maniac…it was all super frightening for a 14 year old. I will never forget the look on my stepsisters face, in the back of the car, as she waved sadly as they drove away. I never saw her again.

      So… I went to a police station, and told them that I did not know where I lived and where my dad worked but that I knew his name and he had to pick me up…nightmare. This is in the 80’s before cell phones. Years later, 14 years to be exact, I am stuck in a turquoise bridesmaid dress with matching shoes and headband ( the only funny part of this story), with my Dad ( who I wasn’t speaking with) his new wife, his old wife ( the one who left me at the church) and my brother telling me “Look I know you hate her but don’t say a thing to her because we have a relationship and it is my wedding and I will be really upset”. I had to discretely avoid her trying to pull me into happy photos on top of that… Anyhoo, my point is, at the wedding there she was, acting all nice to me as if NONE of it had ever happened.6 years of abuse whiped away and her trying to force me, and also my brother trying to force me, to just act like it never happened. It was soul killing acting polite to her but I was afraid if I did not my brother would be mad at me. He was all I had and I just could not stick up for myself.

      Honestly, what I learned from that experience is***** if you have a family that is invested in making ONE person the victim, scapegoating them and dumping all the rage and abuse on them that the whole family has and then blaming THEM for being hurt***** you will NEVER “win”.

      So just don’t play.

      After that wedding I very much distanced myself from my brother and I know he knew why. I also told him, when we started speaking again, that if he ever brought her up I would tell him in great detail everything she did and he said “Never mind” and changed the subject.

      My brother and I are not perfect as family. My dad and I aren’t either, but they do know, now, that I will protect myself from their behavior.

      My brother knows that if he brings up my old stepmother I will tell him that I am not interested about hearing about someone who was abusive and he hates hearing that because if he pushes it I go into specifics…so just hang strong. If you have to alienate your family, to get your point across that you are not their scapegoat then so be it.

      Woo! This site brings soooo much up.

      Be strong. Know your worth and do NOT let those people force you to accept their scapegoating ways.

      ((((((Big hugs))))))))

      • G-Money says:

        Hey DancingQueen, that is one inspirational story, I really appreciate you sharing that with me. I can only imagine what something like that would feel like and how frightening it was being so young.
        I relate tremendously to your story, being subjected to such treatment and have people stand idly by and play ignorance is bliss.

        I am unfortunately not in the position to physically distance myself from my brother and mam. My sister yes as she lives far away. When I left the ex EUM I came back home, pretty much like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I am at the moment doing two college courses, business enterprise (so I can start one) and my main one of dog behaviour and training. I’m breaching on that transition of attaining my degree followed by my masters, to then moving on to making a career. I can only emotionally distance myself for the moment until I can finally leave for good. I had to turn down a job last week working with dog’s everyday which would have really opened some doors for me and would have been great experience but they mistreated the dogs in ways that I am against as a trainer and as a human being so I followed my morals and ethics, which is tricky in this climate.

        This site really does bring up so much and I thank you again for your sharing, that simple line says it all “So just don’t play”. Now more than ever I can see the lay of the land so clearly with my family, as painful as it maybe I will be working towards distancing to eventually removing myself entirely from this dynamic. So much like the ex EUM, I was in it so long and so begins the untwisting and unravelling of myself to figure out where it is I am and who it is I am and claim to be.

        I also want to kudos you on your remarkable airplane experience by the way; it was so amazingly and effortlessly handled. Just like that, no I’m not comfortable, I will make other arrangements. I love it, I’ve learned so much yet I have so much still to learn.

        Keep up the good work, you are a shining example of what we all can achieve.

      • grace says:

        This makes me realise how blessed I am that my siblings and I have always supported each other. I can vent about my mother with no judgement.
        For whatever reason, your brother doesn’t want to deal with it. I find that, as I have come to terms with my mother,s treatment of me that I don,t need other people to get it. My boyfriend doesn’t get it. It doesn’t mean he loves me any less. As my counsellor said to me, you have experienced things that most people cannot even begin to understand. I was grateful that he said that. I feel it let me off the hook from having to explain it to people. They can,t get it, it,s not personal!
        I doubt your brother gets it, I doubt even your stepmother gets it, I know my mother doesn’t get it, even though she gave it out.
        WE get it, and that truly is all the validation we need. We don’t have to appease other people by trying to get them to see our point of view.
        As I get older i realise family is important. I don’t think we should continue to engage with people who are still dangerous or toxic to us, but with good boundaries I find that I am able to have a limited relationship with my mother and a better one with my father.
        It,s not for everyone, but there can be a benefit to us in building bridges. I,m talking about your brother and father here. The stepmother seems a lost cause but, you never know, when they are old and frail you may against all your better instincts, feel compassion for them. gah!

        • dancingqueen says:

          “The stepmother seems a lost cause but, you never know, when they are old and frail you may against all your better instincts, feel compassion for them. gah!”

          Ah Grace thanks. You are really giving me too much credit though, no hatred for her but I think I will pass on that one lol;)

      • Little Star says:

        Oh Dancingqueen, I am so sorry, I feel sad after reading about your childhood experiences, I cant believe how this awful woman treated you, what a devil! Have you ever confronted her?
        Happy New Year, hope 2013 will bring us only life of joy, love and happiness!

        • dancingqueen says:

          Hey Little Star,

          As a matter of fact I did confront her years later and it was before I had understood the power of “uncomfortable” lol. I actually let loose on her ass; I asked her if she had ever felt that she had done anything egregious and she said no and I said “Okay let me list it all to remind you, when I was your child there was blah, blah, blah blah…” and I listed it all very matter-of-factly and then I said “So again did you ever do anything abusive?” and she said “If the bathroom thing was abusive I did not know it at the time.” So….then I just lost it totally and basically said something like, “Really, really? So you had no idea that locking in the bathroom for days and making me look up gross words in the dictionary like “Syphilis” and telling me to write it down because that is what I was, and boxing me in with chairs and leaving food on the floor for me was abusive. You know what. FU.” I think I even called her crazy. I was not nice. And then I hung up on her.

          I can’t say, honestly, that I wish that I had handled it more graciously. She was a nightmare, I had PTSD dreams about her for about a year after they got divorced and she still haunts my family in terms of affects my relationships. But I will say, I am so so glad I told her what I thought. Ultimately she will never admit it or see it, like Grace said, but I needed to say that. It is hard though for me to confront people who I know are full of crap and not able to admit thier stuff ( see my NY day post for this sad saga lol). I still get caught up, with lame exes in needing to pointedly say a few things. I am usually pretty good about not telling people all about themselves, but I struggle when I know that someone has gotten over on me and I can’t do anything…like at work, or in a relationship where you find out things after the fact. It is hard. I just want, more than anything, to not only be there for me but honestly someday, could I please god meet a man who is not full of denial and who owns up to his stuff! AH!:)

          • Victorious says:

            DQ that is all so awful and I really feel sad for you. Some fucked up people out there. Don’t feel guilty about not being able to feel at peace with her. I have had abuse from my narc mother all my life. Horrible things, not physical but emotional abuse. I know she is my mother and all that but I will NEVER forgive her. There will be no tears at her deathbed, unless they are hers, with the frustration that she won’t be able to torment and terrorise me any more. I am incredibly LC with her but she has access to my teenage and now triangulates and torments me via them.

  35. mat says:

    Hello all, I have been reading BR for the past
    15 months, and it has helped me tremendously
    during that time! Thank you all for posting
    your stories and insights here! This is my
    first comment here. I was both completely
    emotionally unavailable as well as a people
    pleaser and doormat when I started reading
    this site. I’m a male in my early thirties.

    Last year, I met a woman that abused me
    verbally and emotionally, and I allowed it to
    go on for many months because I was very
    attracted to her physically. I also thought
    that I do not deserve better, since I was used
    to similar treatment by my caretakers. I am
    telling you this because I want to drop in a
    quick plea for compassion and care for others
    as well, and I want you to know that I am
    saying this despite being nearly squashed and
    literally killed by my own codependency in the
    past. It is true that if I am not for myself,
    who will be for me? So you have to be for
    yourself. But on the other hand, if I am only
    for myself, then what am I?

    I have read almost every article and comment
    on this blog, and I am noticing a tendency of
    ever-increasing selfishness in the comments,
    and I mean not the kind of selfishness that
    encourages you to find your own middle and
    live according to your own values, but more
    the “I don’t care about anyone else”
    selfishness. At least that’s how it seems to
    me, and I just want you to know that while I
    may understand where you are coming from since
    I used to believe that everyone’s needs are
    more important than my own, I encourage you to
    not fall into the other extreme now, or at
    least fall into it only temporarily, on the
    way to strike a healthy balance between your
    own needs and the whole world’s. Have a great
    2013, a year of compassion for yourselves and
    for everyone else as well!

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Hi Mat.

      I’m really glad you posted today because I think you bring up a very good point. And one that I know I’ve had trouble with myself.

      I agree with you that there is a very fine line between being selfish in a good way and being selfish in a totally self-involved, emotionally unavailable way. It’s a line one needs to be aware of so it isn’t crossed, unless one wants to become an AC!

      Here is MY take on this. I think most off the people commenting on BR are in the same b oat as you…over-giving, making others’ feeling, needs, wants, desires infinitely more important than our own. However, I disagree with you that people here are moving towards being selfish in a callous, uncaring way in general.

      It is HEALTHY to put one’s self first. Meaning, you have to meet your needs and give to yourself before you are able to give anything to anyone else. If you don’t fill your own tank first, there literally will be nothing for anyone else. This “selfishness” is not negative. It’s taking care of one’s self and nurturing one’s self. No one here is advocating that you just look out for yourself and everyone else be damned.

      What I suspect you may be seeing as negative selfishness in some comments is actually directed towards a very specific person in that poster’s life. A specific person who has been very hurtful, abusive, demeaning, etc. and who will not go away because they are operating on their own agenda.

      In the latter situation, it is not only healthy, but also imperative, to be “selfish” in relation to that specific person who has harmed, and in some cases continues to harm, you.

      I know that I have had a very difficult time with the “selfish” concept. It is a loaded label, one that has deeply negative connotations in this society and is usually thrown at a person as a means to shame them into behaving in a manner that someone else wants that person to behave. So a lot of people, myself included, really try to not be selfish.

      Instead, we become selfless. As in NO SELF. We give away every part of ourselves in order to please every other person on the planet. This is not only a very bad idea, it’s incredibly damaging, self rejecting and self abusive. On the other hand, true selfishness in an emotionally and psychologically healthy way is not putting yourself above all others, but it is recognizing that you matter and you need to take care of yourself as well as giving to those who truly deserve your care and love.

      Here’s to a 2013 that is the beginning of true emotional health and availability for all of us!

    • Claudia says:

      Hi, Mat.

      Once we reach a certain level of inner peace, we are able to go on and share this peace with the world. However, in order to get there, there are many stages that one must go through, as I am sure you have.

      One of your sentences really resonated:

      “It is true that if I am not for myself,
      who will be for me? So you have to be for
      yourself. But on the other hand, if I am only
      for myself, then what am I?”

      It is a legitimate question, but I think maybe the point is prioritizing. And this is where most of us people-pleasers fail: it is not about either being for oneself or being for the others. It’s about who comes first. Putting yourself first is not selfish. It is a requirement for good relationships.

    • yoghurt says:

      Heya mat

      My personal take on this is that it’s actually MORE selfish to go on a no-holds-barred martyrdom kick with added giving. It’s dishonest (you’re pretending to be happy with things when you’re not), it gives them an unrealistic set of expectations about the world and an unrealistic sense of their own importance (ie total) and you’re really doing it to try to control some outcome of their behaviour, even if it is stupidly ineffective. Which is manipulative and unfair.

      Imo, ‘selfish’ is using and manipulating other people to bring an end result about for yourself. Handling yourself in a way that means that you’re standing up for yourself, being honest about your feelings and reactions and perhaps choosing to disengage with someone isn’t selfishness. It’s common sense.

      And it’s better for the other person’s soul. So is actually UNselfish. :)

  36. BlueSkies says:

    This has been great affirmation for what I’ve been working through up to this day.

    Recently, I finally ended a missing-man relationship that went on for almost 3 years. He wasn’t unfaithful or dishonest. He made it clear from the get-go that he wasn’t going to put any effort into a relationship, and he didn’t. He had no goals, ambitions, didn’t want anyone to tell him how to live. He even announced his adorable, long-term goal was to be a hermet and live off-the-grid someday. At the time of meeting him I was angry at the world (job issues), tired of men trying to, as it felt to me, put a pillow over my face, forcing me into saying yes to marrying them so I would become their prisoner (yeah, I am working through those issues,too). Apparently, that made me and Mr Nonchalant’s meeting a perfect tragedy.

    On the outside we seemed like a great, happy couple. It was assumed that I rescued him from his pool of despond (he, being a life-long narcissitic victim). He brought his care-free, laidback attitude into my life of being a responsible mortgage holder and great single mom who worried about too much. At first I liked the idea of slimming down of worldly posessions, thinking of crazy ways to live in places where there was no responsibilities. However, I still had responsibilities (kids, bills, a job). My life constantly reminded him of what he didn’t want. His life-long hate of his controlling mother (HA! You saw that coming!)were regurgitated onto me over and over, despite me trying to prove I was caring, supportive and loving. He used his anger, resentment, disgust at all women-kind as a way to prove, once again, I was unworthy to be loved no matter how hard I tried. It’s so perfectly clear that i was trying to fix my past through him. It was also obvious it was unfixable. A beautiful, happy relationship, right?

    For the duration, I locked up my own voice of reason and decided that our one evening a week was exactly what I wanted. Enough to appease my loneliness. However, about 4 months ago, I joined an online group of recovering people-pleasers (I grew up in a mysogynistic, controlling religious cult and family). As I began to get affirmation from other victims of the rejection we all commonly shared, I began to lose respect for his nonchalant, narcissitic ways and started to stand up for myself. This, of course, didn’t go over well with him and he began to get angrier (anger was always simmering with him anyway). In the end, I told him I decided to be kind to myself and end it. He said nothing and disappeared.

    I have to say, it makes me laugh at the obvious,yet I believe I forced this self-hate relationship on myself. I think, mostly, to see exactly what I didn’t want in my life. Almost as a way to rub my nose in it, so I never accept any part of that behavior. And to see that I am worth being loved, SEEN, known, and accepted-just the way I am.

    So, thank you, Natalie, for always reminding me that I am worth loving. 2013 will be a year of me moving forward and not getting locked in the basement of someone else’s heart.

    • Snowboard says:

      Very interesting comment, Blue Skies. I am so sorry to hear about your string of difficult relationships. If it’s any consolation, it reminds me a lot of my own!

      I was particuarly interested to hear how you ended up with Mr. Nonchalant when swinging on the pendulum from guys who had suffocated and controlled you. I have had similar swings on the pendulum, back and forth. These two poles seem to me to exemplify Natalie’s distinction between an EUM and an AC, with an EUM being an absent, coldly indifferent, flip-flapping, selfish Mr. Nonchalant, and an AC being a controlling, possessive, jealous, aggressive, suffocator. What we are looking for though is a guy who strikes the right balance: he is both warm and alive in the relationship, but at the same time respectful and treats us as an equal partner, NOT a prisoner. Remembering that we need that balance may help us from continuing to swing between destructive extremes.

      Wishing you the best with your love life and everything else in 2013 :)

  37. jewells says:

    Somewhat off topic, but I just wanted to mention a movie I just caught: “Dirty Love” made in 2005, with Jenny McCarthy. It’s a Ken and Barbie hollywood comedy about EUM EUW and how it plays out, ending with her happily finding her Available man right under her nose :)

  38. butterfly says:

    Thanks for another great post Natalie – inspiring as always.

    My favourite new year’s resolution, which I will be trying to stick to again this year is:

    ‘I am enough’

    Here’s to 2013 and believing that we are enough, without constantly having to seek validation from people who don’t care about us how they should.

  39. Demke says:

    Whoaa! Lol… Beth D. That is power! Doesn’t it feel awesome? Same happened to me, haven’t heard from my ex in months.. 1st txt I got on Xmas. I didn’t respond either, and haven’t heard from him since. Your ex must be used to you always wanting him and being nice… Prob why his ego is freaking out! Lol… I love it. Same thoughts… Just means the devil is checking up on us.. Wondering if we’re still weak. And we’re keeping strong cause we know the deal now. I have to admit, hearing from him kinda pissed me off. Took me a few days to get back to not thinking of him. Back to feeling good… Full speed ahead. And i agree, block him if he keeps it up, or just txt him and say, “merry Christmas”… If that’s what he’s so upset about. Lol… Jeez..

    • beth d says:

      Demke You hit the nail on the head. My ex was use to me playing hard ball but eventually breaking. It was a 14 year off and on cycle. If he was truly scared he would be good. He actually was good for 5 years straight of the relationship spoiling me, and treating me like a queen. He slowly went back to what he was. I agreed to the friendship after I was no contact for 6 months. Guess what? Textbook Natalie..It was all on his terms. He would be all over me then disappear for weeks…craziness, hoovering, pityparties. It all held me back from totally moving on and enjoying life. I would disappear for a few months but no matter what on holidays I would break when he sent his cutsie texts. Ya know…ahh it’s Christmas or Easter or whatever. I kept leaving the door open for him to come back and play head games. So yes…he must be at a low in his life and me not answering that text put him in a tailspin that I have never seen in all the years I know him. Today is his bday. I almost considered sending him a text so he wouldn’t go off the deep end and then I realized….here I go again. Trying to disarm him. I will stay strong and hold my power. It really does feel good. If I don’t throw the ball back the game will be over. I am taking my ball and going home. :)

  40. miskwa says:

    There are two very different kinds of “selfishness”; the first, which is what I think you are referring to is what I call “me first and f@#$ everybody else” where folks do and act any way they please with no regard for the consequences on others around them under the guise of exercising their “freedom”, alas much too prevalent here in the west to and oft demonstrated by the AC’s described in this blog. The other kind of selfishness is insisting on being yourself despite outside pressure to act otherwise within the limits of civilized behavior. I would think that my decisions to not have children, forgoe television, grow my own food, refuse to have sex on a first date, are all examples of “good” selfishness. A person cheating on their spouse with zero regard for the spouses feelings or my lovely neighbors refusal to properly store/dispose of trash thus attracting bears into the area are examples of “bad” selfishness.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:


      Thanks for sharing your ideas on selfishness. They really cleared up so much for me. If it weren’t for BR I’d still be rationalizing my ex’s terrible drinking habits and feeling guilty for not wanting to be with an alcoholic. But really, you’re comments on selfishness, spot on. Sorry about your neighbor :(

  41. miskwa says:

    Your dude is not so much a “back to the lander” as a deadbeat. It sounds as though his main motivation in life is to get thru it with as little effort as possible. True off gridders are highly ambitious folk (many are single parents with jobs and mortgages ) who also understand the value of cooperation and functional community. You are well rid of this guy. Off to cut some more logs.

  42. lo j says:

    Yoghurt … loved what you said to Mat. And selfish is also taking others hostage with repetitive complaints about the same results after doing the same thing … oy. So glad to have finally recognized the merry-go-round.

  43. Iain says:

    I found the article and video in the link below (and indeed the chap’s entire website) very useful in stopping my ‘people pleasing’ tendencies and promoting myself to ‘equal’ with other people in all sorts of relationships (not just romantic).

    • Espoir says:

      Iain, I just came back to thank you for posting that link – his Youtube Channel is FANTASTIC – everybody should go through all his videos ( I hope it’s OK with you, Nat)
      He really knows what he’s talking about. Thanks again – I’ll start 2013 on the right foot :))

      • Iain says:

        Espoir, I’m glad that you found his work useful and I think it complements BR perfectly. I came across BR about eighteen months ago after two months of dating a woman whose ‘emotional unavailability’ left me scratching my head (lots of hints about the future, then a disappearing act after two months without even a goodbye). However – and in fairness to her – I can see now that I was equally emotionally unavailable and resorted to ‘people pleasing’ and generally being overly ‘nice’ to her in an attempt to keep things alive. That left me feeling pretty empty and not respecting myself and can’t have been very alluring to her.

        Baggage Reclaim helped me start to ask some hard questions of myself and my beliefs, values and behaviour. I came across Mr Gerlach’s site a couple of months ago and found that the depth of information and practical advice on it perfectly complemented the work I’d been doing on myself through BR. Thanks to both sites, I can now see exactly how the actions of both myself and the woman I briefly dated contributed to the outcome and I’m now taking practical steps to address those elements of beliefs and behaviour that I’ve identified needed work. That’s helped me gain a new perspective on the experience and I find myself much more at peace with that situation and with life generally. Rather than blaming her or being hard on myself I now have a compassionate view of both her shortcomings and mine and a mindset now re-orientated to address those elements of my personality and behaviour that have inhibited me hitherto.

        Although this necessitated me telling some harsh truths to me about myself, I’m now at peace with the past, content with the present and optimistic about myself and the future.

        I hope you find Mr Gerlach’s work useful. I’ve found the videos and web-pages in lessons 1, 2 and 4 the most helpful but (part of lesson 3 was useful too) but you may find others more suited to your circumstances. Going through the activities on his worksheets may seem a little daunting, but – and I guess this could be the raison d’être of both his site and BR – your emotional health is worth nothing less.

  44. Feistywoman says:

    Happy new year to you all. I am re-reading Nat’s book again having had a lucky escape from a EUA. 5th man in two years to show interest in me! Met this guy via a social group and we hot it off. He was a gentleman on that occasion and walked me back to my car. I managed to get his number (1st mistake) and we were to share a table at a ball just before Xmas. he didn’t get in touch and so I tested the temperature with a playful text and he blew my phone up. Told me a lot about himself which reassured some reservations as he was a flirt in 1st meeting. We crossed paths the next night at a meal with this group and then had a drink the two of us. He kissed me and set up a date for the weekend and plans beyond. The date went well (meal and film), he was a gentleman but I got a one time in band camp story and was neutral about it wondering why he was telling me such personal information so soon as it was about illness. Apparently he felt nervous round me and was also very shy this a 55 year old man. He was to ring me over the weekend and as we both were busy I wasn’t stressed out. I got a text on the Sunday (coward) saying he didn’t want to get more involved and offering the friendship card. This was my response.

    I have considered your offer of “friendship”. You can’t kiss, caress, lead a woman on, dump her by text and expect friendship. That is an emotionally unavailable man keeping his options open for booty calls or having a fallback woman to pick up when it suits from his harem. I am worth far more than that so don’t need/want your friendship as you’ve shown your true colours and aren’t suitable friend material for me. Dumping by text is for teenagers not adults, shows a lack of manners & respect for a woman. Yet you are a man who doesn’t do text! You had your chance and blew it as there is no repeat cycle with me for men who blow hot and cold as I don’t play games. I hope you find what you want in life. Please respect my space and don’t contact me.

    At the ball I looked damn good and he was squirming as he didn’t know how to react to me. I was polite and friendly as fate put him in the last seat at a table by the door so I had to pass him to go to the ladies. He told me that I looked beautiful and the room was full of attractive women but for him I was the most sexually attractive women who pushed all his buttons (without trying!) and ticked many boxes.

    I got my explanation that he was only looking for sex with me would have bailed as soon as he got that but I wanted a relationship. He was desperate for my friendship but basically had never got over his divorce 20 years ago and is a rolling stone looking for the right woman (familiar from Nat). After the ball I set some ground rules because there was a lot of chemistry but he didn’t respond so I thought ok no contact. I then sent a text offering friendship and he replied kicking his toys out of his pram and asking me not to contact him.

    I reckon my response to his friendship card stung him deeply and I am the first woman to say no as he told me that my response aggrieved him but couldn’t connect that with him dumping me by text! I didn’t believe his friendship offer was genuine so played along at the ball, then after pushed the buttons to get the truth.He was a chameleon, charming, emotionally immature, totally messed up emotionally having never had a long term relationship in 20 years. A wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to be someone he wasn’t to reel me in. He knew I was feisty and I told him at the ball it was because I don’t take shit from men. At the end he was childish and spiteful. Thank goodness he let me go when he knew I would bust his act and there was no friendship which there can never be with chemistry going as it would have led to mind fuckery. I was storing up nuggets to ask him about anyway as some things didn’t add up. So another Cadbury man…….. comes on all strong then flakes!! I have learned that I need to be more direct and find out someone’s agenda early even though I stated mine, but he was a plausible liar so could have fooled me. It is the first time I have come across a well oiled player and no I don’t think all men are bastards. I am learning to spot signs quickly and act. He got his comeuppance and ended the friendship to retain the upper hand due to a hurt ego, but if our paths cross again then my head is still help high. I go into 2013 with a clear head and who knows what may happen as I met this guy when I least expected it. I know I am getting closer to finding what I want with a man but won’t compromise just to have a man in my life so am being true to me.

    • grace says:

      I’m pleased to hear you flushed him.
      Don,t overvalue little things and gestures. Him walking to your car is not a big deal. It,s the least a man should do.the bandcamp story is a glaring red flag.
      You went out with him a couple of times. He can,t dump you, you weren’t in a relationship. Telling him off only made this more soon as they start flapping about, let them go. After a couple of dates neither of you owes the other any kind of explanation. If you get one, then it,s a bonus. To expect to like it is too much though!
      I didn,t date for years so I understand that it’s hard to rein in our expectations. Regardless of how nice they are or the little gentlemanly gestures, for the first few weeks and maybe even months he,s basically little more than a stranger or, as Nat said to me, someone who seems nice.
      It turned out my boyfriend was a keeper but I didn’t know that until months in. Until then, it wasn’t that he was on trial, but we had to let it unfold at an appropriate pace.
      The big difference between him and the exes is that he makes plans and keeps them. If they,re not doing that from the beginning, buh-bye.

      • Feistywoman says:

        Agree. I knew that this man would keep popping up so wanted him to be sure that he didn’t. He was trying to be someone he wasn’t to get sex. I thought it strange when he said he wanted to end things before he got more involved as yes like you said I was on the page of well we are only dating. I am now allergic to bullshit and can learn lessons which is what is important. This was only the 3rd date I have been on in two years but the first proper one as the other two were managed down as not “dates”. I am giving my self a pat on the back for recognising things that weren’t fitting together and hey you learn from experience. I’d been out of the dating scene for 12 years and how it has changed now which is taking me time to adjust to. I always go by actions speaking louder than words and yes any man can make nice gestures towards a woman. For me it is all about consistency, honesty, actions/following through, shared values and beliefs. I got the better of this chameleon and exposed him very quickly. I store nuggets to come back to if I get the chance. Men underestimate me but I am filtering things as I go along.

        • Feistywoman says:

          Marriage to an EUM took me out of single life for 12 years.

        • Allison says:


          I want to say how great it was that you cut this off so quickly, as he is a waste of time.

          I would also like to comment – very gently – to your response. You only went out on a couple of dates with this guy, but your response to his offer of friendship , showed you were highly invested in him- as if you had been involved in a heavy-duty relationship. If this scenario repeats, I would suggest you either ignore the text, or simply wish him well.

          I think he also got mixed messages as you choose to speak to him and offer friendship. May have been better to simply say hi, and move along.

          Good luck in your journey.

          • Feistywoman says:

            Thanks for your comment. He was a future faker and gave me satisfactory answers to any of my probing questions. If I was invested in any way it was because he lead me to believe he was invested but was a just a chameleon. Prior to my 2nd marriage I could spot these sharks a mile off but have only been back in single life for a year and am getting my antenna retuned. I have had a lot if adjustment to cope with and have found it difficult to read men as am so rusty. But as Nat says this is a journey which we evolve in and I am getting there. I have learnt some valuable signs to watch out for and if he got mixed signals then so did I.

    • SM says:

      Feisty, why did you offer him friendship after you first declined it?

      • Feistywoman says:

        I didn’t exactly, he wanted my friendship so I tested him by setting out clear boundaries for any friendship. I knew he wasn’t going to follow through. He got his bullshit busted by that and then flaked…… again. He is a man who lives in the moment and acted on sexual attraction. I am not being hard on myself for maybe not picking up clues instantly though I did have some hmm I wonder moments, as dating is all new to me. I do know that if I get similar cues then I will question them more directly and if they flush, they flush. As Nat says life is a journey and I am learning a lot in mine!

      • Allison says:

        I didn’t understand that either!

  45. espresso says:

    Looking and expecting change from people who can’t change or won’t change is a type of dependency that hasn’t been good for me. I keep thinking of what BR says about people showing us what they ARE! So I think the decision regarding my family(for me anyway) has been do I want this person in my life and if I do how do I manage the relationship so I don’t fall into unhealthy dynamics. I didn’t have the greatest family and I realized they were incapable of changing things or even “hearing me” so I decided I would set the boundaries and not expect, wish for, advocate for …more. It just hurt me and was a total waste of my time and energy. At the same time I didn’t want to have no contact with them. It has been important for me to stay in contact with whoever I can in my family. I actually think my parents did the best job they could considering their own limitations and lack of insight. I have a limited but okay relationship with my only sibling now but I keep pretty strict boundaries and would never ever look to him for understanding in a deeper way. Still, I am glad about having contact with him when for many years I didn’t. My kids like him too. I am okay with this decision but see that I made too many excuses for my intimate relationships, particularly with my ex. Sure perhaps he “did the best he could” but it wasn’t enough for me.

    • beth d says:

      Looking and expecting change from people who can’t change or won’t change is a type of dependency that hasn’t been good for me.

      Expresso This has been most of my problem! Looking for the good in him, and feeling sorry have been additional downfalls in getting this man out of my life. When it is family you can put your boundaries in place and maintain a relationship. If it is a love situation NC is the only way to stop the madness.

  46. I heard from him yesterday morning. At 23 days NC was feeling strong and ignored him. He said ‘have a good time tonight!’ He knew I was going somewhere that he was envious about. 8 hours and a few cocktails in I texted him a picture of me and somone he idolized. Addicts relapse and clearly I am an addict. I regret it now in the light of day- not that I gave him any vulnerable piece of my soul but I gave him the attention he wanted!!!! I am getting back on the wagon today. Confessed my mistake to my friends. Some are disappointed. Going to look up some old posts you all have mentioned for more inspiration. Happy new year! Here’s to fresh starts.

    • Victorious says:

      Don’t worry getting there, it is only a minor slip. It’s not like you texted him your undying love. The only thing to watch out for is that you don’t feel that because you contacted him, you now have to respond to any contact from him, explaining that you slipped and are going back NC. Gosh I hope this makes sense! Anyway, what I mean is just jump back on teh wagon as if it had never happened. Good luck.

    • beth d says:

      Getting there I have done the same thing. Sent him pics of events when he has texted me things like that. I think we do it on spite to let them know we are happy but it backfires. It gives them satisfaction of that response and they know they have our attention and we still care. It is a journey to rid ourselves of them for sure. Keep strong and back to square one. The addictions and hooks are stronger than I ever imagined but take them for what they are….addictions and we can beat them and him!!

  47. pina says:

    Your writing has been a life raft of inspiration and sanity when I found it about 5 months ago. I’ve probably read the whole thing several times over and have worked very hard to face a painful past that has contributed to the views I hold about myself. therapy and a lot of other stuff was part of it, but it didn’t sink in until I started reading your blog regularly. Its been a beast to work through, thank you for your spirited hilarious, non nonsense writing and empowering perspective!

  48. Feistywoman says:

    I put up my 2013 calendar and it has a saying for each month. For January it is:

    “Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness”.

    It captured my thoughts exactly. I am going to hold on to that this year and just thought I’d share it with all of you. It is what we have gone through that makes us the people (men and women) we are today. Onwards and upwards for us all.

  49. lo j says:

    Oh Dancing Queen and ALL … my heart goes out to you. Ugh. It does seem like it would make it better if they would just say, “I’m sorry. I hurt you. I’m so sorry.” I cannot remember a time my mother could say that to us. When I asked her as an adult why, she said she was afraid she would lose any authority. Huh? (These were sorries over the smallest of things. Nevermind the biggees.)
    My mom has cut me off because of religious reasons, and it has truly been a blessing to me!! She did it as a manipulation to get me back into her religion (or she may have been at risk with her status in the religion for our relationship … not sure) but I have had to look into several areas in my past because of this that I am even more aware of now. She’s done me a great favor. I keep in touch w my dad and siblings, but my grandmother and mother are the only ones in this religion. I struggle with my responsibilities as a granddaughter, not the physical but the “hey granny” stuff, calls to check in etc. My grandmother has never been well, she’s definitely personality disordered, DIAGNOSED with years of medication abuse, attempted suicides, and when we were small, I think at times she was prioritized as my mom looked after her. And she still does. They are not as unhealthily enmeshed but they are. Lol.
    I guess because my grandmother and mother have “made this world” for themselves, and they have, its a choice, with their enmeshment and their religion, I wonder for me what to do. (My mother complains how no one helps out with my grandmother … imagine.) You know the phrase “don’t bite the hand that feeds you?!”

  50. Monica says:

    My therapist told me most women who are in bad relationships, have self doubt, low self worth and are people pleasers. That was a shocking realization.She was describing me to a T.I had to come to terms that I was “broken”.
    I did get to the root of these issues by facing my “abandoment issues”.Growing up I had distant relationships with both my parents but I decided I wanted to be happy at any cost. Now I am in re-pair with new hopes and dreams.
    I have been seeing a therapist and realized that NOW that I have changed,the world around me has also changed, for the better.

    It’s not easy but I have cared for so many others. It’s now time to take care of ME. I am worth it!!!

    • Robin says:

      Definitely not surprised by what your therapist told you. As Natalie says (and which I agree with), we tend to pick people who reflect us and our own viewpoints in some way. I’m not surprised that some of my previous friendships and relationships turned out badly. I had a “friend” who bullied me, another one who was actually quite unforgiving of the smallest slights and refused to hear any explanations, etc., and an ex who tried to control me (it mainly consisted of a lot of nagging, even when I already explained that I do things different, but it still bothered me). In each case, I’d met these people when I was still figuring myself out and still having negative thoughts in my head, and, of course, when I was a people-pleaser. As I started working on myself, I began to have more real friends who actually cared for my well-being.

  51. K says:

    Hello Everyone!

    Nat, I hope you’re feeling better!

    I ran across this wonderful article today and thought I’d share it with all of you. It sure put a different light on things. Hope it inspires all of you too.

    Have you read this site, Natalie? It’s raw, but pretty good!

    Happy New Year and best wiehes to all in your recovery from Assclowns and EUM’s this year!

  52. Denise says:

    I’m having a difficult time right now. Looking back, I think the best potential for a healthy relationship for me was in 2008.
    I recently got out of a very unhealthy situation with a guy who exhibited narcisistic tendencies, and emotional abuse, playing games. I had become friends (or thought I did) with his best friend whom is a female. That turned out to be falsehood too.
    So here I am by myself. I decided to look up my ex from 2008 on facebook. He looks happy, is involved with someone for over a year, they have a business together etc. I grew sad. I know I made more mistakes in that relatinship and had issues I had only just begun to deal with about myself at the time. I “wish” he was here now. He was a good guy. He made mistakes too, but I can honestly say I messed up that relationship due to my own issues.
    My question….How can I totally move on, (besides not looking him up, which was not a good idea I now see) heal myself to having a healthy relationship with myself and with someone else? I feel stuck.

    • Snowboard says:

      Hi Denise,

      We all make mistakes in relationships, and sometimes we lose the person we love because we weren’t in a place where we could be the kind of partner he needed. As FBGs, we are programmed to think of ourselves as the “good” one and the guy as the “bad” one, so when the roles seem reversed, we don’t know how to process that. You have to forgive yourself; that is the most important step and clearly the one you haven’t taken yet. We are all flawed human beings, and we are all learning as we go, and there are some lessons we can only learn the hard way. Instead of being angry at yourself, be grateful that you *did* learn, and that now you will be far more prepared when the next good guy comes along. Hang in there! He’ll be around any day now. :)


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


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