It's not random, a fluke, or an anomaly when a person takes advantage of or abuses you; it's a warning sign worth heeding

A few weeks back, Em and I shared the school run together. With just under twenty minutes before we were due to leave, I hopped into the shower and he was surprised when not only was I stood at the door with the kids ready to go, but that he had to go and get himself ready…. He claimed that based on “historical data”, he hadn’t expected that I would be ready on time. My ears pricked up immediately.

Historical data is something he deals with in risk software where they use the past to forecast the future including where they’re potentially exposed to risk. Based on his experiences of me getting ready, which wouldn’t necessarily be based on the school run…, he hadn’t expected me to be as ready as quickly as I was. Now of course, he could have written this off as an anomaly but instead, he’s had to adjust his understanding of the ‘data’.

This got me thinking: Aside from us using what we regard as historical data about ourselves to then predict potential negative outcomes and to cap our potential, we misuse, misread or just straight up disregard historical data that we hold on others by marking what we’re experiencing as an anomaly, or by deducing that whatever it was occurred due to a set of conditions (real or imagined) or deciding that we are that condition.

Now, when we experience something, it might be an anomaly in the sense of, this is what we perceive as being our first experience of it. We may decide that it’s an anomaly because we also think that it’s going to be our only experience of it. We may come up with all sorts of rationalisations for why whatever it was occurred and based on plans to people-please, work out that we can eliminate the possibility of it happening again. Or, we may genuinely believe that it really is anomaly. Of course if and when it happens again, that means that it wasn’t and it’s at this point where we need to heed that information.

A classic example of when a person’s behaviour is regarded as an anomaly is when we assert our ourselves with somebody who has come to expect that we’ll be compliant. When we, for instance, say that we don’t want to hang out or that it’s over or that we can’t do something or whatever it is, they may mark this occurrence as anomaly and test the waters further down the line to see if this is true. It might not even be a ‘testing’ as such – they may have blanked the information from that time and just assumed that next time around that it would be business as usual. I see this with No Contact – if the person in question has worked out that it takes a certain number of attempts or a certain level of attention to get you to respond, they’ll only start to feel as if they’re out of control and panicky when it’s passed that number or level of attempts. Some will suddenly see that you were serious and respect your wishes… and others will ramp up their efforts until they ‘win’…. and then back off or revert to their previous behaviour. Of course once they’ve done it a few times, you also realise that that wasn’t an anomaly representing a change in character and that blowing hot and cold is just part of their M.O.

But it’s also true that often, people treat similar types of data as individual items or even regard them as anomalies even when they are clearly not. When we treat items that are similar, but we regard them as being different and don’t look at the relationships between each of them and what they all mean, we don’t consider that information to be relevant.

We might think that the fact that these events occurred is based on a certain set of conditions, not on anything to do with that person.

That’s why I get so many people claiming that the reason why something happened isn’t anything to do with that person’s character or habit but to do with the fact that they’re shy, introverted, tired, stressed, The Busiest Person In The Universe TM, they just don’t understand the depth of their feelings, they’re scared by their feelings, they used up all of their decency credit on being nice to everyone else, they’re trying to find themselves, they just need to get a j.o.b., the market is bad, their mother/father/sibling/{insert person of choice} is wearing down their last nerve, they didn’t have any electricity, their car broke down, they couldn’t find a phone within a fifty mile radius, they didn’t have clean drawers… you get the gist.

We also might think that the these events occurred because we are the condition.

This means that if a person does something several times, even though that actually tells us a lot about that particular person, we might deduce that the reason why those events occurred is because something about us caused the person to act the way that they did. It’s not character or habit or anything to do with them – our worth made them do it. That thing we said or did (or didn’t) made them. If only we’d just do things exactly as they want, we wouldn’t be going through this.

We find a litany of faults with our worth, character, personality, appearance, or capabilities and deduce that if only we had done such and such or were more something or less of that, that whatever it was wouldn’t have happened.

The worst thing about this, is that using this kind of reasoning is a habit so when we look in our own historical data, we’ll think, Whoop, there it is! Check out all of this evidence that it’s me. All we’re really looking at it is evidence of all of those times when we marked ourselves as the reason for other people’s behaviour. We then feel deflated and defeated plus we will keep using this rationale to adjust our behaviour to ‘fit in’ and protect ourselves and that will of course include trying to influence and control people’s feelings and behaviour by being pleasing. The historical data just keeps getting skewed.

Now of course, we can’t know that something isn’t an anomaly until it isn’t, but when we have a healthier sense of self and so can distinguish between what’s ours and what’s someone else’s, we won’t be so quick to write off or rationalise code amber and red behaviour and situations. Instead of disregarding our own feelings and opinions as well as what’s happening, we see a bigger picture and allow ourselves to acknowledge the connection between pieces of feedback that we’re getting from a person and form healthier conclusions.

In this way, we also get to be vulnerable and experience life because we have a better understanding of risk rather then misusing data and then feeling afraid and unable to figure out our next move.

We can change our data. Not only can we change the meaning of ours but when we try to do better by ourselves, instead of writing attempts off as flukes and anomalies and so not recognising a pattern of improvement, we acknowledge progress. Sure it may seem like an anomaly the first time but if we keep repeating new healthier responses then it’s a pattern, not an anomaly. We have to adjust our expectations of ourselves as well as our predictions. If we’re trying to evolve, the same ‘ole doom we used to predict doesn’t apply.

And you know – others will have to change their predictions of us too. Sure, they might think that it’s an anomaly when we show signs of emotional backbone but they’d better watch out!

Your thoughts?

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130 Responses to It’s Time To Heed The ‘Historical Data’ Instead Of Treating Shady Treatment As An Anomaly Or Something You Caused

  1. Sandy says:

    Even though it’s in your face and he actually tells you his stories about his last relationships and how one ex took out a restraining order and another ex disappeared so he couldn’t find her, it’s amazing how it just doesn’t sink in. It’s taken 15 months to feel recovered after a five year relationship and to be able to look back and realise that it actually wasn’t me, but at the time I really, truly, thought it was.

  2. laura says:

    “Because we are the condition.” Exactly. I had a major backslide this weekend. After having a traumatic fight with my daughter followed up by finding out my STBX has not been paying our mortgage as agreed and now I face foreclosure, I called an ex EU knowing full well it would not end well. Well it ended in tears and his being more than usual insensitive and hurtful. I know that I will never see this person again, and felt I was 95% over it as it was. I know that I was just using him as a bandaid for a series of bad days, hurts and stresses but it ended up making me feel much, much worse. Not because I care for him, but because I demeaned myself like I did, for absolutely no payoff, no gain, no humanity. I know that my only option is to dust myself off and start from ground zero. I’m just so disappointed because I had made some great strides.I know it’s not my fault that he is a bad person (and I think in this case, he actually is a bad person.) It’s just my fault for knowing that and STILL making the same mistake again.

    • Pauline says:

      STBX?? Translation …

    • oona says:

      Laura the only backslide here is not focusing on the great strides you have made. Well done- you did it! Here are lyrics to some song I don’t remember…maybe frank sinatra?…

      ‘Sunshine always follows the rain
      if your castle may tumble into the sea
      no need to grumble, smile as it falls
      just remember you were King for a day
      and you will be again – be good to yourself
      and the castle will rise again.’

      And it will – I cannot remember how many castles I have lost – quite a few – but I am going to try to build a stronger one that doesn’t fall down at any bit of spray off the sea.

      • Laura says:

        Thanks Oona. I’ve completely gotten over it now. I mean I never even think of him. I was just irked at myself for going where I knew better. However, my resolve is now stronger than ever. I like the song and the analogy.I’m starting to get it now that I am the only one to build that castle (and thereby the only one that can take it down.) I just have to recognize that in my case, I now know what kind of behavior I won’t ever accept again, but I still don’t think a man exists that can or would treat me better. So for now it’s time to continue to be alone (4 yrs now, with only sporadic EU dates and friends.) I know it’s a self fufillng prophecy that if I don’t believe there is a good man for me, there won’t be, but I still would need some serious convincing they exist.

  3. renewed says:

    Nat thanks! I was just dealing with a “separated” guy that was living with his ex high school crush.he told me his living arrangement had changed (she threw his but out) and he and his soon to be ex wife (his words) were gonna stay together until she got stable.ok alarm bells we’re ringing with the first chick.I was frozen. Afraid to rock the boat.but this went against my values.my body was screaming run!! But I didn’t trust myself. He was nice. So when I did tell him I was done he made me believe I was “un suburban”(his words) I went back and fourth trying to get him to understand the understandable. He turned straight victim.after reading your post what could’ve lasted 10 months lasted 10 days! I finally trusted myself enough to use my option to opt out of his harem! ! Thank you soo much nat!

  4. Nic says:

    What I find confusing, is that all my historical data on this person was good and genuine – long relationships, great family relationships, successful own business, travel, close friendships… yet, what I got to experience was reverse psychology, manipulation, lying by omission and excuses up the wazoo. I think other people have a sense that he has a persona on top of his true self, little remarks float back to me in my memory now and again… but giving him the benefit of the doubt just got me messed around.

    • oona says:

      er Nic…some of your historical data was good and genuine – the stuff YOU FELT DIRECTLY on reverse psychology, manipulation and excuses…some of it you chose to see as a contradiction to this information and because it was a contradiction you replaced your actual real historical data with this secondary unreliable information – not historical data for you at all.
      > the long relationships (read: some other poor person took longer than you to wake up and see actual the truth) you possibly analysed as? > some person did longer therefore better than me – they were a success/ he is a success at relationships.
      How do you know? Were you there? It could have been a running nightmare for all you know. Ever heard it is not quantity but quality? Do you walk in other people’s shoes all the time?
      If you don’t then you are not personally experiencing it = not your historical data – it is secondary data and possibly from a source you cannot confirm ie you are not the source for the data.
      > Why use whether someone owns a business as a benchmark for whether they can have an honest loving relationship with you?? I don’t see the logic – how is that historical data for you?
      What you need to know is – how does he make me feel when I am with him going through the difficult tough things? Does he always make me feel really bad/ worried/ vulnerable and make me submit to his wish or need all the time or does he make me feel supported and able to be myself at my worst?
      >In my experience I have found some people using travel regularly to run away from dealing with stuff they actually would be better staying at home and dealing with…It’s the grass is greener over there syndrome. So again why is travelling your benchmark for whether someone can have an honest loving exciting relationship with you?
      You use neither experiences you can confirm from your own actual experience or information that is able to give you any true insight into whether he makes a good relationship prospect for you at all? You chose to believe inaccurate data over and above your own actual experiences – the real historical data you should be listening to. It’s historical because its your actual history.
      Don’t be harsh on yourself – from what you have said there a clues he is practised in his dark art. Thank something you know now – he is not for you – and you got out before some other woman did! Now you know what reverse psychology actually feels like… and manipulation and excuses – it is your historical data and you won’t ignore it so easily next time…

      • Nic says:

        Oona, I hear the wisdom in what you are saying about my historical data; what I directly experienced, vs the business, travel and other relationships. I guess what I wasn’t aware of at the time was a) how vulnerable I was and b) how he was one of three core people in my life that all revealed themselves to be dishonest and manipulating me. It was essentially a perfect storm with me being unable to assess easily what was happening and from what direction. Luckily the one vital person from all this proved his worth a hundred times over since that time while the AC and my ex best friend, well, they showed themselves.

        It has been thanks to Natalie and all the thousands of comments I have read that I realised, naively, I have been very generous in my own reset button pushing and easy-going, doesn’t matter attitude. There is an element of people pleasing, sure, but what I realised about ACs is that there are similarities and telling me what I should do, who I am and what I think (undermining my own sense of self and desires) is something they both did for their own gains.

        Oona, I am harsh on myself because although I handled myself with as much dignity and strength as I had, I am still having to recover from this. And it is so much harder because I know that I ALLOWED IT. Granted, he drip fed me information so I couldn’t make informed decisions and she covers her envy and competitiveness with political spin of epic proportions, but still…

  5. Bella says:

    am always blaming myself for whatever happens in my non existence relationships.I am the girl that says their shy, busy, just doesn’t want to say I love you as much as I do, etc etc etc! Never once thinking that it was his character or is worth that was on display just another relationship that I was messing up because I was weird or too quiet that’s why my world was coming apart again. I finally realize through this site that he was an EU and an assclown, but what really shocked me was that am an EU as well. I blamed everything on baby mama’s, his parents passing away at a young age anything to try to pretend like his disregard of me was not his fault.

    • Lynn S. says:

      Hi Bella,
      I don’t know if you’re new to Baggage Reclaim. Natalie is smart and knows what she’s talking about, I’ve learned a LOT from her and the people here. I was EU myself too, quiet and a loner. Check out Nat’s post “Do you want to be with an emotionally available Person? Be emotionally available YOURSELF”. Then look at whatever looks interesting. It really opened my eyes.

  6. Noquay says:

    For a long time, I blamed myself for the ACs antics, then my inability to find another rship that even came close to what I want. Again, hating on myself; too old, too ugly, men hate mixed race chix, men hate educated, successful chix. Then the data started flowing; AC has had a long history of cheating during the majority of his marriage even. The local dude I tried to date has not been able to stay in a rship for extended periods; sometimes we are operating without a sense of history or are operating with incomplete or inaccurate data at first. However, given enough time, people sjow you who they are. Data is good: inquiries led me to find that very few women from this area, regardless of age, race, looks, have success on line or IRL. Last, look at my own facts; no trouble finding good men where I came from, despite having put in far less effort and second, the only rejections I get are from those that admit being attached and those unwilling to drive my way. More history. Pro actively looking at dating sites, not just those who contact me, has shown that there are very few men that would be a good match. I truly think on line is for a certain demographic/lifestyles and not others. Doesn’t seem to work well for those outside the area’s mainstream values. I think about the dudes I met since both IRL and on line and it’s me rejecting them, mainly due to flagrant red flags thanks to BR. Ran into a few of them since and man, I dodged some serious bullets. Look at the facts old girl. Need to stop hating me and hate the situation.

  7. missfake says:

    Ah perfect timing, Nat, as I struggle once again with realizing “I’m totally ok, wow I’m at ease and at peace and in the moment and have been for days, am I free?” and fear kicks in after the awareness, and I want to reach out for validation from EUAC. There’s a reason he’s listed as Turd in my addresses! The only thing I did wrong was peg him for a Turd- an error in judgment what person I chose as my mirror. He’s a funhouse mirror, totally warped! I’m ok, he’s an asshole.

  8. rosecoloredglasses says:

    I kept thinking…what’s wrong with me I’m not being needy? Why is he saying one thing and doing another? i.e. telling me he has me in his heart, cherishes me, etc. then only interested in talking to me twice a month when he wants to see me? Pretty much crickets in between and this is after a year of dating. It is like my first natural reaction to think it’s my fault what did I do to be managed down this way and be more and more kept at a distance – where is that guy the first two months that acted like I was the most wonderful woman who ever crossed his path and couldn’t get enough time with me, loved to talk on the phone, excited, interested, sharing and opening up to me. It alll started to just fade away to where I felt like an unwanted intrusion in HIS life but always just enough reassurance that he had feelings for me just “was lost after his divorce” and couldn’t give me what I want right now. It was all so confusing and I have learned that it was not me – I didn’t change that whole time, I wasn’t saying one thing and then acting like I was only willing to put a toe in the relationship or wait not relationship because he couldn’t give me that “right now” but keep being happy when I text you up to see what you are doing 2x a month so we can “get together” for a day and then not have any communication, care or interest in between. I was mind boggling!!? I finally had to step back and recognize so many red flags that came and went/overlooked/well it’s okay not that big of deal… so many time that I felt devalued, hurt or jerked around with words. The data was adding up for a year and I finally saw it was not an anomaly but habits and patterns of behavior after someone unfolded in to their true self that wanted to put as little effort towards any of it but still reap the fringe benefits of a relationship. Such a learning process for me and such an eye opener – I can’t thank Natalie, all of you and this site enough for making “sense” of it all when I blamed me all the way not realizing I wasn’t doing anything wrong, or wanting anything other than someone to put both feet in and see where it goes, have words match actions and treat me with love, care and trust as I did them.

    • oregon girl says:

      Dear Rosecoloredglasses: One super good way to note and evaluate the “history” of the relationship is to keep a diary about the relationship and your feelings. As weeks and months go by, you can reflect back and sometimes more easily see the patterns when they are written down. I did this, and after dating a jerk for two years I eventually realized that every other diary entry was about me crying because he’d hurt me. That was the pattern. Once I could see that in Black and White it was easier to kiss his ass to the curb. Not easy, but easier.

  9. Happy says:

    I definitely just experienced this. I was with a guy for three years and when we broke up but in the back of my mind I thought what if it was just because he is in a bad place right now and needs to get a job and get his life sorted out. I kept in touch and tried the friends route which was really hard work. After a year as friends we got back together to “see if we could make it work” as he’d had a job and sorted his life out but really nothing had changed. The good thing is this time around I am not clinging on to that hope of what if … now I know it was just his EU self and that’s not going to change. There will be no glimmer of hope or crumby friendship this time around.

  10. Sandra81 says:

    Long time, no hear, dear Natalie and BR readers! :)
    No source of stress in my love life at the moment, but I still pop by to read some interesting perspectives, to keep in mind for future experiences. ;)
    What caught my attention this time, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot, is that part when “we might also think that certain events occur because WE are the condition”. Throughout my life, I’ve seen various people applying differentiated treatment to different partners. For example, a male friend of mine is quite mean to his girlfriend, sometimes making borderline-hurtful jokes, placing her towards the bottom of his priorities list, etc. However, he was treating his ex like gold: admiration, support, making an effort, bragging about her qualities, etc. Their break-up was civil and mutually-agreed, because of distance, but he DID suffer afterwards. The guy is the same person, but… different girl = different treatment. How would you explain that? Somehow, I’m tempted to believe that we also have a role in gaining the other person’s respect. Or not?

    • RP says:

      Hi Sandra81,

      You raise an interesting point. It is funny that many (annoying) guys would respond to this question by assuming that he is not really in love with the woman he is treating in a lesser way compared to the ex. Perhaps this is true to some extent but it is based on a very limited expression of “love”. Loving a single person in a romantic way is not the same as being a loving person as a whole. He is not being a loving person by choosing to enter a relationship when he is not over his ex, and to use his current girlfriend as an emotional punch bag. In my opinion, your friend’s girlfriend should remove herself from this situation and find herself someone who is living in the present and is open for a loving relationship. The more she tries to please your friend the more he will yearn for his ex. Some men can be sicko’s like that..

      • Sandra81 says:

        Well, I do agree with you. The girlfriend is a very nice person, perhaps “too nice”, I’d say, even to other people. The ex was also nice, but had a stronger personality. And I would also believe my friend is staying with his current girlfriend as an “emotional airbag”, also because she’d been pining for him for almost a year before they got together, but he always preferred other girls. And after his last ex, he decided “out of the blue” to give her a chance, a couple of weeks after the break-up. All of us in our group were very surprised. Yes, she definitely loves him, and I often feel sorry for her. Remove herself… I would have done it ages ago. Now they’ve been together 8 months, and the relationship is functioning somehow by inertia. As for the ex, despite the civil break-up and wanting to “stay friends” at first, my friend severed communication with her, like in a desperate attempt to forget her, limiting it to basic stuff (birthday/Xmas wishes and the occasional FB “like” or comment). I think none of the 3 is genuinely happy in the love department. :(

    • Stephanie says:

      Sandra81,

      Don’t assume that he treated his ex so great. There is a reason why she is his ex. It’s not like he is going to tell you, hey I treated my ex like crap? Did you ever think that he treated her that way when they were together and that’s why they are not in a relationship? Don’t buy the distance crap! If he or she really wanted to be together, they would be together. He is treating his new girlfriend like crap because that is who he is. He is an a#%hole!

      A genuine nice person would treat people with respect, whether they respect themselves or not. There is no excuse for treating some people with respect while disrespecting others you deem undeserving. My belief is if you have that little respect for the person then do the right thing and leave them alone.

      • Sandra81 says:

        Stephanie, on the 1st part, I disagree because I know them well enough (inlcuding his ex) to know what I’m talking about. About the distance part, I believe he was the one who was lazy about not fighting to overcome the distance obstacle. Maybe he should have done that, instead for settling for a girl he doesn’t love to fill the void, just to treat her in a less-than manner.

        • Kriss says:

          Some people have such low self esteem that they value people who reject them more than people who love them. (I find that a lot of people who behave in an arrogant or using way have low self esteem that isn’t dealt with so it’s constantly taken out on other people in ways like this man is doing to his girlfriend.)

          His ex has rejected him therefore she’s on a pedestal. His gf loves him therefore her love has no value because he doesn’t have to work for it and it’s not at risk.

          Only thing she can really do is leave, in my experience.

          • Sandra81 says:

            Kriss, I totally agree. The thing is, nobody “rejected” the other, as far as the ex is concerned. She was here in Italy on an exchange programme, which finished, and she had to return to her country. For the time being, distance cannot be shrunk, because both of them must still finish their studies (we’re talking about people in their mid 20s). But yeah, he sees her as someone “inaccessible” and puts her on a pedestal, whereas the current girlfriend is someone who is always here and not going anywhere.

        • Stephanie says:

          With all due respect, If your friend really loved the ex enough to brag about her as you state then he would be with her regardless of where she lives. Nobody knows everything about another persons relationship and to assume that you know him and her so well that the possibility that their relationships wasn’t as great as you think is baffling. I don’t think he loved either woman!
          As a woman, I don’t know how you could be friends with a person who outright disrespects woman. You say he is settling for her, she sounds like she is settling for him because he is mean-spirited and cruel. The funny part is even if she dumped him today, he would still be a jerk with somebody else.

          • Sandra81 says:

            How can I be a friend? We are a big mixed group of friends who are like siblings, we’ve known each other for years and spend a lot of time together. As a friend, I’ve never had anything bad to say about him, and it’s not that he “disrespects women” in general. In fact, this is why I shared this story here, because I found his recent behaviour an “anomaly” compared to his former self. This is why I say that I don’t base myself on assumptions, but on visible changes in behaviour. Maybe you can’t know all the details of someone’s relationship, but you SEE differences between past and present behaviour. Me and our other friends see a changed person, a change for the worst, and we don’t know how to explain things and eventually help. I don’t think people are 100% good or 100% evil. Is it just a phase that will pass? Is it caused by being in a wrong relationship? Ok, the things he does are not highly drammatic or “cruel”, think mainly along the lines of taking his girlfriend for granted and making her a low priority, but I think indeed that breaking up would be the best solution for both. Whatever the situation, nobody deserves to feel second best. And generally, I’m not a fan of rebound relationships. As for him, maybe a one-way plane ticket should be the solution.

    • Pauline says:

      So, his old girlfriend broke up with him and he “suffered”.
      Now, new girl is getting the fallout and being “punished” in some way for the old girlfriend he loved who dumped him? I take it old girlfriend brought up the subject of distance and decided a relationship with him wasn’t worth the effort in the long run as he wasn’t quite pulling his weight? Or old girlfriend found a guy who was living a lot closer, pulling his weight and treating her a lot better?

      Either way, this guy is an assclown, and I really hope you can somehow respectfully let your friend know that she needs to let him go for her own sake. She’s not his emotional airbag.

      Guys who have grown up and are actually MEN, don’t normally act like assclowns, (nasty, spiteful little boys who aren’t getting their own way) and they don’t treat their new girlfriend like dirt because the old girlfriend moved on.

      She moved on for a reason that was valid for her and while they might have looked like an ideal couple on the surface, you don’t really know what was going on when they were alone.

      Your friend liked this guy and when he became available she made her move, that doesn’t mean she has done anything to bring his abuse and disrespect onto her.
      He could have said no thanks and got over his old girlfriend in his own time instead of taking out his spite and wasting this new girl’s time when he wasn’t interested and still hurting from the break-up.

      • Sandra81 says:

        Pauline, you pretty much nailed it! ;) As for their break-up reason, none of the scenarios were the case. I’m explaining the reason above. in a comment in reply to Kriss. It was mutually-agreed, and she didn’t dump him willingly. A long-distance relationship is hard to manage (I’ve been there myself), but I think it’s better to have a long-distance relationship which is happy and wait until distance can be shrunk, than being in an unhappy relationship with someone “local”.

    • Allison says:

      Sandra,

      Totally agree! He should not be treating this girl the way he does, but you’re right, he does not respect her, as she allows herself to be a doormat – I bet the ex didn’t put up with any crap.

      Have you spoken to him about his abusive behavior?

      • Sandra81 says:

        Allison, we did, but more at the beginning of the story. It definitely screamed “rebound”, because we all knew that he had never been that into her in the past, and that at that time his ex had only left the country 2-3 weeks before. His hope was to grow to love his current girlfriend with time, him being aware that she’s a good girl, and loved him, and was always there for him. But given the current state of things, I doubt that his feelings have progressed. Plus, now I see it like a relationship functioning from inertia more than anything else. Doing the same things, same dynamics, same antics. Now we’d like to make them both see sense, but be diplomatic about it at the same time, because technically it’s nobody else’s business, and we see people we care about in a bad situation and we can’t pretend to be indifferent.

  11. dancingqueen says:

    I am dealing with some “data” right now: the guy that I am dating is getting custody of his kids while his ex from 6 years ago gets help with some substance abuse issues.

    I feel horribly judgmental but…what if he is codependent and that is why they were together. He is already being a bit too close for my comfort and he barely knows me, but he seems really keen on getting close a bit too fast for my taste…I am trying to just push back a bit, claim my space, and see how he responds but this is my new uncomfortable comfortable, or comfortable uncomfortable I think…:(

    • oregon girl says:

      I would feel very glad that he was stepping up to take care of his children. He is going to need some adjustment time here…you can either jump in and help him or else hang back and just be patient till the dust settles. It’s not always about you–think what those children are going through right now.

    • So True says:

      I’d take it sllooow and see what he does. Pay attention to your feelings, and don’t let anyone tell you what to feel.

    • So True says:

      If it were me in this situation, dancingqueen, I would NOT “jump in and help” the man with his kids. A man who respects you would respect that. Don’t get guilted into the role of helpful girlfriend / babysitter. In my experience, any thing I’ve done out of guilt and because I didn’t want to be seen as selfish has blown up in my face.

  12. rewind says:

    I have stayed with my particular AC for over four years. He was honest from the get go about his treatment of women. And then I was able to witness first hand many, many times. It was almost as if he was testing me to see just how much he could push me before I’d break. His cruelty was intentional. He was certainly almost proud of it. And as is the case with many on here, I still thought that I’d be the one that was different…that he’d choose me.

    No matter how much he disrespected or humiliated, I always took the 10:00 booty call, and grasped at all the crumbs he’d throw my way. I find it interesting that it took four years…FOUR YEARS…for me to finally say “enough.”

    I always said that he would treat me better if I had never slept with him, as he seems to be so available to his other “friends.” But what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not HIS behavior that is the problem. Again, he told me and showed me who he was at the very beginning. The problem was my behavior…I never waivered no matter how awful he was, and he knew that he could always dial my number if other women weren’t available.

    So I don’t know that I “caused” the treatment, but I certainly encouraged him to continue treating me badly.

    Let’s just say that I am working every day to retreat from his gravity and am working on loving myself!

    • Stephanie says:

      Rewind,

      Been there! I didn’t stay 4 years, but hell 6 months is too long to deal with that behavior. I use to beat myself up because I felt like if I hadn’t slept with him too or been the booty call maybe he would have treated me differently. But you what, I realized that even though I may have tolerated his bad behavior, he could never say I mistreated him or disrespected. He knows I did what I did because I cared about him, while he did what he did out of selfishness. That’s the difference! The intentions of the other person matters!

      He was playing on the fact that he knew you cared for him, so instead of being a decent person and not taking advantage, he made the choice to use this for his own gain. A decent person would have said “I know she likes me and I know if I call I could get what I want, but because I’m not that kind of person, I won’t do that”. They don’t have to be in love with you to make that decision. They just have to have a conscience and empathy.

  13. Stephanie says:

    Its funny because when I was in the midst of dealing with the ex-eum there were times I use to think he acted the way he did was because I did something to make him act like an jerk. But then as I started to analyze things, I realized he was a-hole regardless of what I did. When I was nice he was jerk, when I was mean he was jerk. So it didn’t matter how I acted he was still a jerk. Then when I saw him act the same way the new girl, (i.e. lying, manipulative, dishonest), I said yep this is who he is. I can’t MAKE him do those things! While he may have done some things differently, the core things were the same just with a different woman.

    • Sandy says:

      Well said Stephanie.

    • Pauline says:

      Stephanie,

      I thought it was things I was saying and doing to make the AC I was involved with treat me so badly. The cracks appeared about 3 months into the relationship and I ignored the warning bells and his telling me there was something wrong with what I was doing and what I believed. He made me feel like I was doing something against him if I went out with friends and his hurt injured innocence was something else to hear if he wasn’t invited. Mind you, he could go anywhere with whoever he liked and once again if I said anything I was being mean.
      I swallowed everything and took it to heart. There were a few times that I wanted to end it and he guilted me into believing I was treating him badly when he loved me so much blah blah blah! Once he had his hook into me and knowing how much I liked him, he controlled and manipulated me to his hearts content.
      I fell into the trap of thinking he was my last chance after 2 failed marriages, getting older and thinking I’m just about past my use by date. That was my big mistake.
      When I realised that nothing I could ever do or say would please this totally unpleasable man who was dragging me down and turning me into a doormat and sex toy, I finally came to my senses and dumped him. That’s who he is, nothing I did or said made him that way. He will be an assclown until the day he dies.

      • Stephanie says:

        I think when you accept that they are who they are and not live under the illusion that they are different, its much easier to accept and move on. You aren’t lying to yourself anymore and living in a fantasy. You get that “what a effin minute” moment and you start to realize this person means you no good- Then you get to flushing!

  14. AngelFace says:

    I’m thinking that narcissists have a kind of ‘radar’ to read and predict their current supplier/victims’ words and behaviors and patterns, and compartmentalize them into anomalies – so that they can easily and quickly discard people and then either rotate in someone from the harem, or recruit a new victim.

    I sometimes have the thought that my ex EUM AC Narcissist is never lonely cause he always has some go-to woman who is happy to have him, but I know that this is a misconception on my part. From everything I’ve learned about this type of man I know he has predictable swings and he is not a happy balanced person. I also know that the current harem woman is not happy because he is a mean, cheating, liar and verbally and mentally abusive sadist.

    Yes, I’m sure he has read my actions as anomalies and used them to his advantage. I also know that he will try to return to me in the future and that the woman (me) that initially fell in love with him has smartened up and wont let him in for another round of destruction!

    I invested into MY LIFE. Moved, changed jobs, bought a home and renovated it, travelled, discarded some friends who were a total drain upon me, and am slowly making new friends. I no longer need that damaged man, and I screen all potential dates and friends like I’m HR (Human Resources Dept.) taking only the best candidates to fill the job! I’m also still healing from my experience with that ex and anyone who knows about narcissists know that this takes time and effort and the grace of God.

    Happy Fourth of July all my friends here! Happy Summer, and remember: Keep Calm and Carry On! PS: Don’t stalk your ex on FB, Twitter, the Internet – this will just keep you hooked up in it, and the new info generally acts as a TRIGGER which causes you pain. It takes about 21 days to break a bad habit. Delete FB from your smartphones, inactivate you FB accounts temporarily and give yourself a chance to heal and break up! Also: Treadmill, 30 min of cardio in the morning before work helps and takes away obsessive thoughts.

    • IWokeUP says:

      So many of the things you have said ring true for me. Thanks for your post. What is amazing about this blog is just how many of us women share the same experience. It has kept me sane as I am into my second week of no limited contact (limited bcuz we have to work together for another week). His antics to try to get back with me are more demeaning and hurtful than if he would just stay away. Every communication attempting to get back in my pants and life and screw me over again, has been by text. Tonight he ‘upped to ante’ n called me. I was surprised when I saw the name ASSCLOWN, as he is now saved in my phone, pop up and even more surprised that this time I didnt answer. I high fived myself all night. Every day that I get thru without him in my pants or me agreeing to see him or give him a chance is a day tht I have won.

      Eventually he will get the fact that I have moved on. He does have a new victim now I understand and knowing what I do about him its gonna be all wonderful now and then like everyone else he has been with she will go thru hell. How do I know? I have realized tht he is afraid to be by himself. He hates his own company even for a few minutes. This is a dangerous person in my opinion cuz he cant even be alone with he own thoughts and company except to sleep he constantly uses women to fill every moment he is not busy with something else.

      He is afraid if he is left with any time to think he might actually be forced to look at his sorry life and listen to his conscience, if he has one and that is in serious doubt.

      • Pauline says:

        IWokeUp

        Isn’t it funny how quickly we lose respect for these assclowns when we finally see them for who they really are.

        Pathetic texts and O.M.G. an actual PHONE call, heavens above, why aren’t you falling at his feet with gratitude, after all you know, you’re missing out on the best thing you NEVER had!

        I had the assclown I was involved with in my phone as ‘dickhead’.
        He moved to the UK a few months ago and I’ve had a few fishing texts from him since. I have his new number and I’ve blocked that from any phone calls and the new phone I bought (I checked first) has a facility to send texts from nominated numbers into a spam folder, so, out of sight, out of mind. And I haven’t bothered checking the spam folder, I just wish he would go away for good but he keeps hanging around like a bad smell.

        Just stick with NC, keep blocking and keep flushing.

        • IWokeUP says:

          I am n I am feeling myself lol. Its so exactly right. They sit thinking that they control you and it is that thought that gets them thru the night, no stress. Its that moment that they realize you are truly serious thru NC that they panic and start the no holds barred attempts to get you to let them back in, to do it all over again. I say this to myself sometimes: “The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” This is how I remind myself nothing will change.

          That, along with the lack of respect I now have for him, is how I have been able to maintain no contact.

          I cry sometimes out of anger, frustration n general sadness cuz I did love him, or the person I thought he was.

          One day at a time girl. One day at a time. One thing is for sure. I am never going down that road again. Ever.

    • Allison says:

      Angel,

      Amazing growth!!!!!

      Happy 4th!

  15. AngelFace says:

    I should have said they compartmentalize them like Cliff Notes, a brief easy summary. This is very lazy communication- makes sense that a person who doesn’t care about anyone but themselves would do this. The meaning of anomaly is confusing to me in this example.

  16. In hindsight says:

    I am just now struggling to break free from my LDR EUM after almost 4 years. I always assumed that it was me. If only I hadn’t done x, then he wouldn’t have done y. If only I had acted the way he wanted me to, he would want to spend more time with me. If only I had reminded him, he would’ve followed through on all the things he never followed through on. If only I hadn’t asked for too much of his time he wouldn’t have disappeared for two weeks. I bent every rule that I’ve ever made for myself and rationalized his behavior to an extent I never thought myself capable of. We have talked about him coming to visit me next but every time we talk about it, it’s the “we should do that” or kind of non-committal. Never fully no. After a couple of weeks of talking and feeling close, I texted him saying that I was asking him straight out if he would please come see me. Yes and we make plans, no and I stop bringing it up. His response? Silence. I sent a follow up text saying that I was taking his silence as a no but it would have been nice to get a response. More silence. That was a week ago. Of course I am now beating myself up for even sending it. I shouldn’t have pushed things, I drove him away by sending it. I recently caught myself thinking he didn’t respond because I said please in my text. That is the level of analysis and blame I am putting on myself. And for what? Talk sense into me people.

    • pinkpanther says:

      Hindsight, I know exactly how you feel. He is a coward and I have recently realized how cowards really are the most pathetic of all types. His silence means he is not even in touch enough with his own self to respond. And wanting someone who is not there is futile. I hope you find a way to move on and meet someone who is actually present in his own life, so that he can be present in yours. Best of luck to you!

    • Lilia says:

      In hindsight sweetie,

      That´s exactly the effect their mindfuck has on us, and that is how they keep their hold. Been there done that. In my case it got so bad I didn´t dare send him a text to say “hi” because I figured it would be considered too bold a move. When I was involved with this sicko EUM I got invited to two weddings by two of my closest friends. Though we were supposedly (but not really) together, I didn´t dare ask him to come to those weddings with me. I thought he would take it badly because it would sound like a marriage proposal and he is one of those guys who at 40 has never been in a LT relationship, much less married. Was I exagerating? Not really. I am pretty sure now, after a couple of years, that he would´ve brought up any excuse not to go with me, and that he would indeed have thought it too much of a commitment to go to a formal occasion like that with me (or with anyone, for that matter). The thing is, that instead of asking him and then telling him to sod off if he didn´t want to come, I fretted for weeks about this and then went alone feeling very sorry for myself. The irony was that while I was on one of those weddings, I received a call from an old boyfriend from 20 years before who had contacted me through Facebook a while ago. Instead of telling him “hey I´m at a wedding party, wanna come?” I felt so bad about sicko EUM that I got physically sick, with a stomach ache and left early. (I´m not saying I regret not pursuing something with old boyfriend because he used to be a jerk anyway, but you get the point.)

      So yeah. These guys can mess with your head and your health. Please don´t question yourself, you´re doing the right thing. And don´t ever ever break NC with him, it´s the only way to find your sense and heal.

      • In hindsight says:

        Yep, 43 and not married, doesn’t ever want to be. There simply isn’t any reason to be in a “relationship” with someone where you have to walk on eggshells but I always rationalized everything away. I just have to be strong enough to maintain no contact. I’ve given in in the past and I do not want to start over again.

        • Elgie R. says:

          Hindsight, that EUM is a passive aggressive mind-f*kr. Bow out of his life NOW. He WILL NEVER be forthcoming, or straightforward, or WITH you. He WILL keep you off balance. I’ve known one of them for 21 years now….bowed out of FWB with him 3 ½ years ago….and am so glad I did! I think he can’t believe I really meant it, so he tries to keep his foot in the door, waiting for me to be so lonely I fall back into FWB with him. And he still tries to play with my mind..just sent me a phone text “Hey, Elgie how are u? I believe my band will be playing on your block Saturday. I’m quite sure you’ll hear the music.”

          Is there an invitation in there…?…is it a private party…?..is he saying come enjoy…?

          It’s been like that for 21 years. He is single, no kids, has a home, nice car, he’s over 50….and a total waste of time IF you want a relationship.

        • Little Star says:

          Hindsight, wow, I feel exactly the same, not even bothered;), maybe I should me more active and start daing again?! But somehow I feel more comfortable to be single, I do not need a man to feel WHOLE…

  17. pinkpanther says:

    It has been a long time since I”ve been here. And I’m glad I did come here today and got to read Natalie’s post. I needed a little help, I’ve been having a hard time the past few weeks getting over someone. We only went on a handful of dates, and I really thought I liked her a lot. I am super affectionate, and pretty easy going by nature. She was cautious by nature, and I thought that is fine by me. It was pretty obvious we both liked each other a lot. Finally, I went to her house for dinner one night, and we ended up making out, for hours. Never took our clothes off, and we nearly burned down her house.

    She called me the next day to tell me that she felt off balance, and didn’t now know how to handle it. I suggested we just take a few weeks off and that would give her time to let her hormones subside, and figure out what she was wanting from me. I also told her that while we are still getting to know each other, and I don’t want an instant relationship, that I do eventually want someone who is steady in my life for all the good things we can do and be to each other. Since we hadn’t discussed anything like that up till this point, I wanted her to clearly know I’m not in it to just mess around.

    She was pretty surprised that I suggested this couple of weeks to sort herself out, but ended up being happy about this (she’s no dummy) and we agreed to talk then.

    In all honesty, I was hoping she’d want to be with me, but when she called after the time had passed, she told me she decided to stop seeing me.

    It’s been nearly two months. I went out and slept with another woman, which made me feel better for about a week, and that was destined to fail since I knew she was all wrong for me anyway. But it was nice to have someone easy and affectionate, even someone who didn’t think anything through, just a woman driven soley by immediate impulse. She was the exact opposite of the first woman.

    So now it’s been 2 mos. and I sorely wish I could somehow get this woman back. I know it’s not going to happen. I know I shouldn’t want this since she had all that time to consider things, and she made her decision. I’m having a few hard days over here. I won’t call her or do anything about it. I was at an event this weekend and I saw her from behind. I did nothing, just walked away. Now I keep thinking I wish I had done something, talked to her. I keep thinking that if she even had seen me she would have wanted me bad. But I blew it and didn’t show myself, this whole thing is driving me crazy, and i am full of retreat for doing nothing. On the other hand, she told me in all kinds of ways through antidotal stories just how hard intimacy is for her. In the short time we knew each other, she told me several of these stories, some which went all the way back to her teenage years, and some which were as recent as the previous week. I took it all in and noted it. She was not naturally affectionate, and while super able to engage verbally, and accepted my touch, she was not the type to initiate. I know it wasn’t “just me”, I know in my bones, she has some issues, but I’ve let myself go down that road of “maybe I’m not enough of this, or too much of that” or if I made more money maybe she would have liked me more, or if I had a degree…bla bla bla.

    It’s all a mind fck, that I’m doing on myself!

    Thanks, just needed to vent
    hope all you ladies are well.

    • simple pleasures says:

      It probably wasn’t the lack of money or a degree which put her off. Perhaps she has trust issues as you suggest. Perhaps in dating you for a few times she saw red flags in what you revealed. Maybe she saw you as someone who would have meaningless casual sex with someone easy to ease your bruised ego. Perhaps she thought your character wasn’t up to her standards.

    • Pauline says:

      Pinkpanther

      She told you who she is, believe her.

      Intimacy is very hard for her and these are HER issues, they aren’t YOUR’S.
      Ask yourself why you are still pining for someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you.
      If someone loves you and wants to be with you they will be there, they don’t tell you they don’t want to take the relationship any further and let you go.
      That’s where you back right off and roll back your interest in this girl, do anything else and you are just screwing with your own head and heart.
      Don’t do this to yourself.
      Hugs

      • Allison says:

        Pink,

        I agree with Pauline.

        You did right by not approaching or contacting her. Please respect her wishes and keep yourself from hurt by reengaging.

        Now, take the focus off of her, and examine your attraction to people who are unavailable. There is a clear pattern of choosing EUs’, the only way this will change is by addressing your own issues with intimacy.

    • Nigella says:

      Pinkpanther,

      I’m glad Miss Cautious didn’t (further) lead you up the garden path only to confuse you, use you for sex, pull a slow fade, flip-flap for months, indulge in insensitive behavior to provoke you to leave her, discard you through a text, or disappear in the Bermuda Triangle. If nothing else, she had the decency to tell you early on through phone that she’s unwilling to take things further. Yes, this bare minimum act of decency doesn’t earn her a medallion. Still, it conveys some respect & care for your feelings. In turn, it’s great that you’ve shown respect & care for *both* yourself and her by not trying to make her change her mind. Please don’t be “full of regret for doing nothing”. Take pride in practicing a little restraint. Sometimes, doing nothing says a lot more about our capacity for respecting ourselves & others rather than approaching them to salvage a relationship.

      Had you tossed caution to the winds & approached her, she could have perceived you as overstepping the mark. If she likes to collect attention from jilted exes, she could have felt amused or flattered to see that you’re talking nicely to her despite her turning you down. Most likely, you approaching her isn’t going to make her desire you – it’ll simply stroke her ego. Nor does it make you appear “easy-going”. Rather, I’m afraid, it risks sending the message that you’re (unwittingly) conducting yourself as *easy to pick up-&-chuck out* of her life. Surely, this isn’t the way you want to be perceived. If she likes to have her decisions respected, she could have felt aggrieved or embarrassed by you approaching her. Far from reconsidering things, she could feel more compelled to withdraw from you. She could even pity you for struggling to *accept* her decision. In case she approaches you at an event, there’s no harm in being tersely cordial. Monosyllabic replies, paired with a poker face, often suffice: “How are you?” – “Fine.” “Did you like the caviar?” – “Yup”. “There’s an elephant in the room” – “True”. “Thinking of you, I had earth-shattering sex with someone.” – “Hm”. “I feel I’m falling in a bottomless pit.” – “Ok”. “I miss you like the deserts miss the rain” – “Thanks”. “Can you give us another chance?” – “No”. Since she chose to dissociate herself from you, the thing you owe her is this: nothing.

      Regarding her fear of intimacy, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. “Heed the historical data,” as Lady Lue says. Or, dismiss it at your peril. There is no need to chase Miss Cautious; no need to give her another chance to reject you. Your story solidifies my belief that, like your ex, many intimacy-resistant people are at least dimly, if not fully, aware of their limitations, but that doesn’t stop them from stringing along someone or dating one person after another. Usually, such people don’t change & don’t care enough about the *impact* their actions have on others. The onus is on us to focus on the impact they have on us, and act accordingly to protect ourselves. Emotionally, they’re not ready for a loving relationship, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing personal stories, inviting someone to supper, and holding snog sessions – in my opinion, all of these are low-effort things, and thus of *low value*. They count as crumbs. Trust me, I understand that trading saliva with an attractive woman can be an exciting exchange, but if she wants to put an end to such trade talks, accept her decision.

      She’s unwilling to lower her barriers to connect with you; you don’t have to lower your standards to hang onto her. Based on what you say, I sense that you’re inflating her worth in your mind due to the sexual attraction you feel existed between the two of you. Unless you’re looking for something casual, a relationship fueled by sex & by someone confessing their past episodes of emotional unavailability to you is just not special. Serving as a sex toy or therapist for someone is not going to bring you long-lasting happiness. But if you feel comfortable not raising the bar, that’s your prerogative. By confessing their distant or recent episodes of emotional unavailability, people (like your ex) think that they’re giving you a clear picture of who they are. Then, if you persist in dating them, and they act up at some point, they can tell themselves, you, and their friends, “Look, I didn’t hide anything. I said I didn’t love the people I’ve dated so far. I like you. I asked you to trust me, and I said I’m not sure what I want. Despite this disclosure, you chose to date me. How am I responsible for your heartache? I’m not.” Self-exoneration is the forte of such folk. If someone doesn’t take efforts to be with you, don’t wait around, don’t make room for her in your bed or head.

      However difficult it seems, stay strong & set yourself free from thoughts of her. Yes, shagging someone else isn’t the solution to your emotional investment in her. This, as you said, only provides a short-term fix. Perhaps, if feasible, you could consider a more long-term fix like focusing on upgrading your credentials or searching for a better-paid job. But take into account that earning more money or having a degree isn’t a precursor or guarantor of a mutually fulfilling relationship. These things hold the potential to make our lives more secure, and help us function from a position of strength rather than dependence. However, they can’t substitute for habits & values that foster loving relationships. It doesn’t matter if Miss Cautious is a billionaire or a Rhodes Scholar – there is no need to idolize her & trivialize your own achievements & attributes. If you want to earn more money or obtain a degree, please do so for your own sake, and remember that these things are only pieces of the puzzle, parts of the (unspoken) criteria that people might (understandably) use in assessing their compatibility to you. If they see a shortfall in your income & education, and can’t accept you as you are, then that’s their choice. Let them pursue the Princess or Prince of Richton. The best you can do is focus on things that make you feel better about yourself.

      In any case, I don’t know if any of what I say is of use to you. Goodness knows, it can be tough to get over some people one really, really desires. Have faith. You’re on the right track. Recently, a friend brought a beautiful music video to my attention. It was released two months ago. “The Welcome” is part of UN Human Rights initiative to promote LGBTQ rights and equality all across the world. In case it cheers you up, I thought I’d share a link. It certainly makes me happy & hopeful. The tune is uplifting. Unfortunately, I can’t understand the original lyrics of the song, but that doesn’t deter me from admiring the singer, and the message of acceptance and love. Creations of this sort remind me that I came into this world not to waste my time on half-hearted people, but to create, contribute, and care for those who care for me. Hope you enjoy: http://is.gd/9zGG5D .

  18. Igotout says:

    In hindsight, silence is his answer. That’s the best he has to offer. No more chasing/asking/begging. He’s given you his answer. Time for no contact. Block his texts and calls. Delete and block FB friends if you currently are.

    • In hindsight says:

      I know. It makes me sad but he couldn’t have said any louder how little I mean to him so it’s time to move on.

  19. Bella says:

    Thank you, Lynn S
    I have been reading baggage reclaim since last year I have learned a lot it has been painful through because in searching for why he was the way he was. I found some things out about myself. He started contacting me recently by lazy communication I have been ignoring him, but I have to admit it has been very hard trying to focus on myself I think I may need professional help to get over the obsessing about him because even though I have not contact him after he disappear I still have fears about running into him about him contact me or not contact me and it makes me scared.

  20. Teachable says:

    Sometimes if someone NQR hasn’t made an appearance in many years, it’s possible to forget details suggestive of this back then, esp if you moved on asap once something arose. This happened to me recently. I never would have spoken (even the one ph call had) to a certain ex, if I’d recalled certain info with my 45 yo wiser eye, than how I saw things at 19 yo. Lesson learned here. The past (& folks from it) should ALWAYS be left in the past. Why? Because at some point I’ve made a decision to leave them in the past for a REASON. Felling a bit red faced / embarressed I could make such a rudimentary mistake but there you go. I really learned a lot from this.

    • FX says:

      Excellent point Teachable. Not sure what NQR means but I do know that people with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) seem to have no time reference. As NML has written, they come back and act like there is a magic “reset button” and the past hurtful/disrespectful/devaluing behavior never occurred. For whatever reason – feeling flattered, sentimental rose colored glasses, etc., we let our guard down. It truly can be years later, too!

      In my case, I was once an EU/AC/Player. Yep, I admit it but I have grown and I am not one now. However, other than one Ex, with whom I am recently friendly again – just friends – I have not bothered anyone. I do feel genuine remorse for my behavior with this man and told him so. I know he wants to know my child as an adult (he was like a step-father in her early years) and he is a decent, if embittered, man after a recent nasty divorce. I told him I felt some responsibility for his feelings about women and he said, “You should.”

      I cannot undo the past. I have some bad historical data for some men to recall that I now own. I would hot expect any man I hurt to welcome contact with open arms as if I had not done anything wrong. The difference is that I now own my shit and that is something someone like my epiphany NPD AC will never do. In fact, the way I finally stopped his random hoovers was to text him after over a year of NC that there was no point in contacting me until he was capable of genuine remorse. (I don’t recommend this tactic but it did shut him down – for some time now.) I don’t think he could even spit that word out. Lol

      Anyway, I haven’t been here in a while and it seems there are a few other familiar names who have been here less often who are coincidentally commenting on this post. It is so nice to be able to ground myself in the wisdom here when I feel the need. NML was the teacher I needed when the pupil was ready. I found BR as I navigated freeing myself from the NPD AC whom I now reference as “He Who Shall Not Be Named” or “The Evil Toddler.”

      • teachable says:

        I’m glad you learned not to be an AC yourself FX. We all make mistakes but at least you have grown and changed. Folks with NPD don’t do that of course. I have never treated a partner badly (at least not to the best of my knowledge & I think I would know if I had). It’s just not in my nature. By the time I was an adult I had been treated so terribly I knew I didn’t want to do this to others. NQR means ‘not quite right’ btw. Good to see your familiar name appear again here in the forum. Teach ;)

    • Pauline says:

      Teach,

      We forget why we broke up with someone in the past but there was always a good reason. I had an old boyfriend crop up recently and initially I was pleased as we got on well together. Funnily enough we were friends and we used to have a giggle over many things. He wasn’t a bad guy but he was a lousy boyfriend for me.
      It was fun for a few weeks of seeing him and then I started to see his old patterns of behaviour and attitude and the ‘historical data’ of why I broke up with him in the first place hadn’t changed. He was quite willing to start up the casual girlfriend relationship he wanted last time and I didn’t.

      You cant boil your cabbage twice.

  21. Tired says:

    I was wondering if anyone has got advice on when a ac pops up after radio silence . I got involved with a man whos rlship with wife had just ended . She left him and three kids after ten years . I knew him through wk. i knew it was a rebound but stupidly enough i went there to get mugged off as they say . I heard nothing for five weeks then up he pops like nothing happened suggesting i come see him as he may ring me up , i said no thanks i have no desire to be used again . Well the phone call ever came and its gone quiet . Yes i know hes a arsehole and im stupid , but its knocked me down again any way to look at it in a better way so i bounce back up quicker ?

    • Stephanie says:

      Tired,

      I got one of those phone calls after a 1 1/2!! Except he called to tell me he was getting married. This fool was sitting on the phone talking to me just like we just spoke to each other the other day! By then I didn’t care about him anymore so I let him ramble on and when he asked to see me, I thought to myself this showed me that he was the same selfish person I stopped talking to 1 1/2 prior. The best you can do is see them for who they are. I wasn’t suprised he called, because he didn’t care about me or my feelings (or his fiance). I figured if he cared about me he would not have called me in the first place. Sometimes the length of time has no effect on their behaviorr!

    • Victoria says:

      Tired, I think you handled the situation very well. He popped up, you told him to go pound sand. Good for you!

      I had a guy that kept tapping me on the should electronically (sending dopey little emails) for 18 months after I kicked him to the curb for being an AC. Even though I ignored the messages, they still threw me off a bit. So, I understand how you might be feeling a bit thrown off too with that recent contact from him. It’s intrusive and upsetting to hear from these guys.

      Stay the course…you’re doing great. If you are able to block him or send his emails to auto-delete, that might give you a little peace of mind.

  22. Teachable says:

    Noquay. I’m with you. It’s our SITUATIONS that suck, NOT us. My current challenges are different to yours (too complex to go into but related to effects of child abuse) & I am so down. I’ve relapsed smoking cigarettes (but will try again in a day or two) & wish some of my BR friends were friends IRL. Life is not easy right now. Will be starting with a reset of my mindset tomorrow. Life never seems like it’s easy for me. I’m feeling washed & worn out. Giving up is not an option but sometimes that hurts! I hope I turn out to be an extra pretty superwoman at the end of all this who can find just an ordinary decent guy (when the time is right – which it isn’t yet)! I will certainly have worked hard to deserve that! Maybe I will be a superwoman with lots of chinks n scars in my armour tho? Oh well. There’s gotta be a guy out there SOMEWHERE in similar condition for me! LOL

  23. Lynn says:

    this paragraph cracks me up…

    That’s why I get so many people claiming that the reason why something happened isn’t anything to do with that person’s character or habit but to do with the fact that they’re shy, introverted, tired, stressed, The Busiest Person In The Universe TM, they just don’t understand the depth of their feelings, they’re scared by their feelings, they used up all of their decency credit on being nice to everyone else, they’re trying to find themselves, they just need to get a j.o.b., the market is bad, their mother/father/sibling/{insert person of choice} is wearing down their last nerve, they didn’t have any electricity, their car broke down, they couldn’t find a phone within a fifty mile radius, they didn’t have clean drawers… you get the gist.

    My ex showed me time and time again who he truly is but I continued to make excuses and live in illusions. Sometimes I still think I have an illusion or two.

  24. Magpie says:

    I’ve been reading this site for a long time and it’s helped me a lot, but I’m wondering if anyone could help me out with the tendency to blind ourselves to the reality. What is really going on here, I wonder. For me, I found (find?) it difficult to compute the data, as Nat would have it.

    My ex – of three or so years, but with me constantly trying to end it – is married with a wife and two daughters in another country. The only way I could accept this situation was by thinking that since his family was elsewhere I was not being the typical OW, but of course as time went on I realised this was BS, and in fact, he was using my ‘good nature’ (not wanting to break up his marriage) against me. Now, I feel kind of degraded by this, as I have a son and it’s as if my my willingness to support his family and be ‘understanding’ – bleerk – made me seem like a doormat, someone who didn’t respect herself or her needs.

    As I keep thinking now, ok, I want your family to be respected, but what about me and my son? Who are we in all this? Why not talk about respecting my family?

    I won’t go into all the details (but he was far from honest and I’m sure cheated on me and lied constantly, even admitted this openly) but my question is why do we find it hard to see this as a reflection of their character. Why do we always take it so personally? As if it reflects on us somehow?

    Even now, after being through a kind of hell, I’m still tempted to get in touch … get in touch, as what though? A ‘friend’?

    Finally, an unrelated question. How do these men learn how to manipulate us this way? I know my need to be loved was so obvious, but it amazes me how they learn their tricks? And how the tricks are always the same.

    • Elgie R. says:

      “How do they learn to manipulate us?” They don’t do the fooling, WE do the fooling. WE make the excuses for their behavior, WE think there is a better man in there.

      I’ve been reading some blogs written by men for men, and it is often said that men are surprised at how long women hang in there waiting for a man to “change”.

      Not being a downer…not saying all men are bad. Am saying that when they show you something about them that you DON’T like…especially in terms of how they treat YOU, and they do it more than once, that behavior is NOT going to change.

      • FX says:

        I think it comes down to the boundaries that people with self-respect enforce. NML has many posts here about them. People with self-respect may observe someone cross them once but then are on notice and will act in their own best interest (flush) if it happens again. Many flush after the first transgression. They do not allow abuse. Yes, expecting intimacy from you while treating you without care, trust and respect is a form of abuse. The key is to respect yourself enough to enforce your boundaries.

        I believe I had decent boundaries when I was younger and thought more highly of myself. I think I was willing to let them be pushed when I felt more desperate due to “last chance saloon” thinking. I am mortified by what I allowed and will not make that mistake again!

        Being “agreeable” if it means betraying yourself does not make anyone more appealing and kills your soul, too.

        • Allie says:

          “Being “agreeable” if it means betraying yourself does not make anyone more appealing and kills your soul, too.”

          Amen to that :)

      • Pauline says:

        Elgie R.

        This is so true.

    • oona says:

      Speaking for myself as I can’t speak for anyone else – the answer as to why I see it as a reflection of my character is simple – early training within my close family – i found it hard to see the negative qualities of family close to me that they used on me – they were perfect – and then as a child I formed a warped coping strategy to deal with it ie it must be me/if I ignore it, it will go away – that went unchallenged for roughly 40 years until I nearly died in the process I was using and woke up finally.
      As for why the others chose their coping strategies? Who knows? How did you learn how to get what you want or not get what you want?

  25. Bea says:

    Bolt of realisation. I was involved in a terrible reelationship which embarrassingly has taken about 4 years to get over. I am only 27, yet feel like i have totally cocked up my life. I have blamed myself over and over for him being very physically and emotionally abusive towards me. It was a relationship which changed me, and not for the better. Even though i am well away from him now, its taken a while to get back on track again, and the pressure i put myself under to hurry this process is incredible. I need to stop blaming myself. I saw the red flags and ignored them. I wont miss them another time. Some friendships dissolved around this time too. These were people i distanced myself from, because i was getting nothing but hurt from these friendships too. I have blamed myself for this for 2 years now. Blame, blame blame and shame. “If its not honouring you, its not worth a place at your table”, right? Time to be kinder to ourselves i think.

  26. Teachable says:

    Dancing queen. Put the brakes on & keep them on for a while with this guy. Don’t ignore the data! He may have had a substance abuse issue himself he hasn’t yet told you about (& either secretly may still have or otherwise be in recovery from this). People can & do overcome such issues but regardless this is a discovery phase for YOU. Your unhappy face is a red flag. I.e. His level of closeness is making you uncomfortable at this early stage. You need to tell him you’re not ready for him to be so entwined in your life yet & that you need TIME to get to know him better before your lives become more blended. Part of this is to do with the kids. You need time to work out if he is still what you want if he effectively becomes a sole father. Him temporarily having the kids fulltime may become permanent. Step parenting can be fraught with difficulties. You will know in time if he is right for you or not but right now your job is to SET BOUNDARIES with this guy & to enforce them. Don’t allow this guy to zero in on you as a way of fixing his life problems. That is his job. Not yours. Teach. :)

  27. Teachable says:

    Magpie. You are having a crack craving. Married os guy was your crack..stay away! You have no business contacting him & inserting yourself in ANY capacity into his life. HE. IS. MARRIED! He doesn’t love you. He USED you. Don’t demean yourself with ideas of wanting to be his friend. That’s just your addicted brain making up an excuse to get you to start up the addiction all over again.

    As for why are these people like this, you’re asking the wrong Q. The answer is simply that’s who these people are! The Q to focus on is why were YOU vulnerable to ending up in such an unhealthy situation in the first place & more importantly, what is making you vulnerable NOW to starting it up again. Answer that & address your needs in this area. Do this & the craving for crack man will dissipate. Teach. :)

    • oona says:

      Just brilliant Teach.

      • teachable says:

        Thanks Oona. My posts are full of spelling and grammatical errors (as they are off the cuff, usually on my mobile where zero ability to review exists) but hopefully folks get the gist. Your feedback suggests this is so. I’m glad. Cheers.

  28. AngelFace says:

    Hi Magpie,
    I think they learn to manipulate us this way is because we are lonely and doing our best to survive in this system. Without us having family in the same neighborhood with regular family support we give these men permission to treat us badly. I feel very sad about the state of relationships and feel we are forced into poor enabling behavior. I Love sex and intimacy, however, in past 9 years have had sex maybe 20 times.

    Sad. I’m healthy,Smart, Good looking, and continually developed myself into a good person. I help people! I make my employers rich….Yet, I haven’t yet found love and commitment. I’d rather die a woman of…. celibacy than to give myself to These Monsters which we and society have created. Thanks to what I’m learning this all doesn’t hurt as much.

  29. Brenda says:

    Funny I was just thinking today about the times when I thought that I was proving my love how sh*ttier and s*tter I was getting treated until the damage was too much to even repair anymore. Abuse of any kind just escalates always, and no amount of your love will make anyone see Jack Squat.

  30. Teachable says:

    pink panther

    although yr in a grieving / letting go phase with this woman you’re handling it well to stay away. you didn’t have ano covo about the future until decision for time out was made so you dont know what her intentions were from the outset. id say they werent to be ‘serious’ with you so she respectfully ended it. the reason/s for this may very well be ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you. in fact probably they arent b.c it didnt go deep enough for her to discover any deal breaker flaws. so what was her dealbreaker? YOUR boundary (ie telling her yr looking for something serious). I say she wasnt. its is simple as that. put the 4 x 2 away & stop beating yrself up. she just wasnt ‘the one’ that’s all. great u found out so quickly b.mo4re of yr heart & time was invested in her. keep on truckin! Teach :)

  31. oona says:

    Natalie
    ‘we have to adjust our expectations of ourselves as well as our predictions!’
    Isn’t that the truth! Thank you. My truth is that I actually believe I can’t handle or change the situation or stand up to the people I am living under positively = negativity which then actually feeds the negative result > which then also feeds my negative expectations and negative predictions of the future > which then feeds a negative result and on, and on, and on, and on, and on….
    I’m off to the police after the weekend. I am actually being harassed, its not right and I need advice and support. This situation is not going to change or magically disappear if I just weather it out one more time….I actually know it is not an anomoly/one time – but am behaving like it is – I’ve lost count how many times it has happened to me, over 4 years! And I also know its not just happened to myself either.
    Time to wake up. Thank you…

  32. Peanut says:

    Nat your site is such a big part of what keeps me going.

    I’m currently trying to give myself support while licking my wounds. My grandmother has a history of being emotionally and physically abusive with me. I guess I’ve stuck it out because it feels as though she and my grandfather are all I have. My grandfather mostly keeps to himself, though, yes, he has a rageful streak. (But I guess being in your 90s somewhat slows you down). My grandmother is unbelievably cruel to me when I do not behave how she insists.

    There had been several months behind the last time she was physically and emotionally abusive to me. I thought that was in the past for us as we were getting on quite well (though she has been toxic for all of my twenty-nine years), then tonight she let it unleash. She tried to manipulate me into seeing my father (I respectfully stood my ground). She became angry, hung up on me, and disappeared. (We had had plans tonight). My father was a violent addict to me. He made my life a living house of horrors. When I have any ongoing contact with him I mentally break down and become suicidal at times as I become trigged by countless instances of abuse and neglect.

    Instead of freaking out and begging my grandmother to treat me better and not abandon me (like I have in the past when she does this) l politely stated the facts (she hung up on me) and let it go in regard to trying to discuss it with her. I let our plans go and instead ate a nice meal, went to my favorite grocer and bought some yummy cookies, ejoyed the weather, prayed some gratitude prayers for what I do have that is fantastic, felt warm and smiled when recalling a recent accomplishment, practiced piano, sat and enjoyed the weather & trees, and came here!

    My grandmother is sick (but of sound mind so still no excuse for abuse) and I’m not entirely sure what to do. I don’t want to cut contact from her, but I know I need to emotionally distance myself from her if I want a chance at being happy. This situation was a gift as it allowed me to see the truth: I can’t/couldn’t change her and she was/will always be an abusive woman in times of conflict. Though it scares me, I have to set boundaries with her.

    Oh! and tomorrow I will be alone for holiday and I couldn’t be more excited. If my credit card works (fingers crossed/long story) I have a whole wonderous day planned!

  33. Peanut says:

    Just moments after I wrote my former comment, I saw a voicemail from my grandmother simply stating she was calling me back.

    Though she made no mention of it, I could tell she was hurting from the chemo. I broke down, gathered myself together, rushed over, held her, and tidied up a bit. Not a single one of my exes ever changed my diapers or fed me spinach as a baby.

  34. Noquay says:

    Teachable
    Please give up the cigs. Want you to be around for a long time. Yep, really talking to other, successful women here really was an eye opener. A week or so ago, a similar aged woman and resident here from birth, now spends half her time elsewhere. She related that she really now feels like she is recovering from trauma, that she did not realize how depressed she had been until she left. Two others are leaving too, one a neighbor and really good friend. Women friends are such precious gifts. All of us having trouble here are single, 40-50s, outdoorswomen, professionals, very involved in work and community, tried very hard to make this a better place. We’ve all burned out. Sane reactions to insanity. Contrast this to an event I volunteered for last week where I led folks from elsewhere over parts of our mountain race course. A great time, serioys mileage, folks were really glad I and other veterans were there. Really have been seeing who steps up to the plate, who doesn’t care lately because I have to head home and make hard decisions about my dads future. Need folks to do animal/plant/garden care in my absence. Some folks step up, volunteer without my even asking, folks I have been there for have evaporated, emotionally and physically. Character really comes through in a crisis.

    • teachable says:

      I’m sorry to hear things are getting serious with your Dad Noquay. My thoughts are with you and I know that you will make the right decision whatever this is that needs to be made.
      As for who steps up and who doesn’t in life, most people that we give to in various ways will not be there in return for us I have learned. I’m not quite sure why this is. I suspect that it might be because most other people have a mixture of family of origin support, partners, or adult children to help meet their needs in difficult times. Therefore, when we step up as friends it’s considered an extraneous adjunct to their support system (in whatever configuration this exists) and non essential. For us it’s that we not only genuinely care about others but also that we are trying to be a good a friend to them in the hope that when we need good friends someone will step up for us. I find that friends can express concern but they can only do so much. I greatly fear ever getting a life threatening illness. I already know that no-one will be there for me. People are all just too busy and the supports I might otherwise have received from family is virtually non existant. My family left me to the wolves at only 3 yo so it’s nonsensical for me to expect them to be there for me now that I’m older. After ridding myself of abusive family members I’m down to one Aunt I can contact for telephone support and that is it. She does not drive and lives far away so she can’t help with anything practical. I have cousins who live in my area who even though I’ve made efforts to attend their Xmas celebration (complete with carefully chosen gifts) or birthday (I had to call and ask was not invited for a reason to this which was frankly humiliating) don’t include me in their lives. This is because as a child I rarely had contact with them due to growing up in children’s homes. In a way they don’t consider me part of the family because shared foundational years were not fostered.
      Otherwise I will try to stop smoking again soon. I’m under a lot of pressure in relation to upcoming events in the next 12 months or so. There’s a Royal Commission going on in my neck of the woods and although I’m limiting how I interact with it I’m in it up to my neck. I’m waiting to hear back on whether or not I will be giving evidence and if I do it is on serious and disturbing issues related to my childhood. It’s no wonder I keep relapsing on ciggarettes. The stress is pretty hard to cope with but I will try again soon.
      Finally I am as depressed as all heck here. I have sorted some basic material things related to be being in crisis a couple of years ago but that doesn’t solve underlying issues which are to do with abuse issues from my childhood, a lack of family support (due to having no choice but to expel abusive family members from my life), and finally (this being perhaps the easiest of the three to change) living so far away from where the few friends I still have left after this past three years of illness are.
      I’ve been thinking about this and it’s an issue we share I think. When the environment (ie area etc) one is living in is not conducive to our needs (whatever these may be) I think it can cause depression. It can also cause us to be vulnerable to dodgy dating situations due to loneliness. I’m pretty sure this is what caused my Ex AC that died to get a toe in, in the first instance. Had I not been isolated from living in an outer suburban area with no time to visit people due to working 7 days a week at the time I think I’d have gotten rid of him completely much quicker (although I did give him the boot once and for all immediately upon discovering he’d been carrying on a relationship behind my back with someone else interstate whilst playing me).
      This post is about the past data & history to do with dating partners but I think we need to pay attention to our own history also. I’m still thinking a little more about this. I can’t easily just up and move atm due to now having to cope with ongoing illness. I cant cope with preparing the house to put it on the market (a lot needs to be done and I will lose tends of thousands if I impulsively sell it as is) and studying at the same time. Hence it would be best to wait until I’ve completed my current course before changing my environment (which would mean selling my home in the suburbs and buying / moving to an inner city apartment instead).
      I am fighting what I think is quite bravely to somehow manage but admittedly failing in some areas (smoking being the main one). I will try to quit again soon.
      What is getting me down in the meantime is the depression. My AC that died managed to trigger a cascade of events (not all related but I think I’d have coped much better with unrelated events had I not been so depleted by the situation with the ex AC who died) that have totally decimated my once highly successful life. I am wondering if things will ever end or whether I am destined to be a disabled unemployed loser forever? Even the thought of this is just too much. I miss having the capacity work desperately but also the only way of getting back to work is by finishing my education. I am so tired of these catch 22 situations. It’s like trying to live life in concrete boots! LOL

      • Noquay says:

        Yep, get that education; no one can take that from you. My mother abandoned me as an infant, in my crib, at 3 months old. I was farmed out to relatives a lot till I was about 2. Yep, the wrong person can completely derail ones life as can loosing the right person. May sound mean, but since your AC is deceased, NC is a non issue. Being able to speak your truth about your abuse may be empowering. A lot of the years of tension with my poor dad (who took a turn for the worse yesterday) is that he has been in complete denial about what happened to me and my siblings. Here I am literally making life and death decisions about him, remembering that he at least got me to a place where I was fed and clothed, but also looking in the mirror every morning, trying to even up my eyebrows because when I had a bad crash onto pavement, he and his then wife would rather drink than get dressed and take their daughter to the hospital. How many 16 year olds are made to fix their broken noses and facial bones? So many conflicting emotions and no one to talk to. My ex did tell me to not over stress, that he did bring a lot of the current situation on himself by refusing to socialize with neighbors, answer his phone, ask for and accept help. I am hoping when my time comes, that I have the wits to sing my Death Song and take that final walk into the woods. I understand that folks are not in a place to help and that one doesn’t help others with the expectation they will reciprocate even though, back home, such was expected. I cannot leave till after next week because I cannot get enough helpers for the farm until then which may be a problem. I was just kinda commenting on human nature. The folks who are in the best position to help (no spouse, no serious responsibilities) will not and folks already burdened with stuff to do (moving, difficult pregnancy, here part time) are who have stepped up. My traumatized not quite boyfriend has been less than helpful as has my supervisor who acts as through the situation doesn’t exist. Revealing. Keep plugging along, get that degree, and pat yourself on the back for doing as well as you are. You are not a loser; the losers are those with their bellies up to the bar, spending their grocery money on drink, and blaming everyone else for their situation.

  35. Allison says:

    Sandra,

    Totally agree! He should not be treating this girl the way he does, but you’re right, he does not respect her, as she allows herself to be a doormat – I bet the ex didn’t put up with any crap.

    Have you spoken to him about his abusive behavior? I wonder why he stays and what he gets out of it?

  36. Luka says:

    Hi, Natalie. Let me say Baggage Reclaim is helping me to heal from a 15 year abusive relationship. I understand I´ve been living in denial and I almost let this unstable man destruct my sanity and my trust in reality. But I´m learning to be free now – free from giving him poor excuses and blaming myself for his shady behavior. It´s a relief to know that I am not alone – everything you write makes perfect sense to me. Thank you very much.

  37. Wendy says:

    I need to vent and any comments/suggestions are welcomed…I haven’t been on here for awhile, but I have been recovering from an off and on again three year relationship with a commitment phob…It is OVER and I have been trying SO VERY HARD to move on for the past few months!!! I’ve been healing me, doing me stuff, focusing on ME, it’s been awesome, BUT…He just won’t GO AWAY! It’s like a BAD dream!!! A few weeks ago I told him ENOUGH is ENOUGH! I told him that I don’t want you to see me and try to hug me or call me pet names (he embarrassed me in public the other day by calling out a pet name towards me, so much for letting any man know I’m available, sheesh!). I told him we are not together anymore and nor do I want to be your friend! He is just not understanding it and it’s really, really strange! My therapist asked me to switch roles and how would I feel if I were the other person. I said I’d respect the person enough to give them space and let them heal and move on…I am at a place that I SOOOOOOOO want a healthy, committed relationship with a wonderful man who loves ALL of me and I got this cockroach that just won’t GO AWAY!

    • Allison says:

      Wendy,

      Have you blocked all forms of contact: phone and email?

      Also, if he becomes more of a problem, you can have a restraining order issued. Many become silent when the law is involved, or if there is a threat made.

    • lizzp says:

      Wendy,

      He may be a toddler version of Peter Pan but you don’t have to play *his* Wendy!

      Not clear on what the situation is re no contact? Reading between the lines I came up with the following: You had been in deliberate no contact for a couple of months until he saw you on the street and tried to hug you and called you aloud by a pet name.

      If this was the first time he had broken no contact then you might calmly tell him that his behaviour is unacceptable and reiterate that you want nothing else to do with him. Your telling him enough is enough sounds like a version of this. In the future if he sees you out again you could distance yourself enough to ensure he can’t get a hug in there, if he persists and pursues you need to be firm, tell him to piss off. Naturally you would seek the intervention of others in the vicinity if he persisted further though it doesn’t sound like that sort of thing to me. As for persisting in calling out to you in public – Do not engage, ignore, turn away or walk away. I see no point or value in repeating to him what you have already firmly told him once. *Your* actions speak louder than your words.

      On the other hand if you haven’t been direct and firm with him before about no contact (*not just about not wanting to be friends} now is the time- don’t respond to calls, ext messages, memails or unexpected visits. Blocking him should do the trick and yes I’m afraid that if he were to, for e.g., persist in rocking up to your home/work and/or approaching you in public then invoking of the authorities may get you some results.

      Whatever the situ if you want the commitment phobe out of your life then saying what’s necessary firmly and clearly *once* is enough, after that you need to let your actions speak for you.

      Re your therapist- nice response. I sincerely hope he/she was not, with that comment, asking you to empathise with the commphobe-toddler-dressed-as-a-man to the extent of suggesting your own needs to oust this dummy suckler should play second fiddle to his.

  38. Rosie says:

    Peanut- Although my familial background isn’t as bad as yours, rhere are simiarities so I really feel your confusion, guilt, and growing strength. As immature & mentally messed up as my mom is, I want to help her when she won’t be able to help herself. A lot of what I value in myself, I got from her and I’m grateful to her for the DNA and (in some respects) how she raised me. My dad was verbally & physically abusive, very selfish but there are traits and values I got fron him that I’m grateful for. I grieved a terribly long time when he died and I wish I were EA at the time he got cancer so that I could have really been present to the reality of it and what he was going through.

    Yet, I’m glad to no longer have to deal wirh my dad’s abuse and I’m glad I found a job and place to live right before I would have been forced to live with my mother.

    Anyway, this is just a feeble attempt at offering you support and empathy.To become hardened is weak because it’s easy. To stay sensitive and compassionate is badass because it’s deliberate and persevering. You’re a badass, Peanut! :)

  39. Pam says:

    Thank you Natalie and everyone on this site for your comments and advice!! I have been in the same situation as most of you for 4 years. It’s amazing how many others have gone through the same thing as me. I had no idea until I found this site a year or two ago. Your advice has helped me break free from my EUM because now I finally see him for what he is…a truly rotten to the core narcissist that could care less about me. He was my first love so I was not experienced in love or relationships. He led me to believe he cared about me. I couldn’t stop seeing him because I fell in love quickly. I didn’t want to give up on him and it was all new to me. I became addicted to the sex/him and I got more attached. I found this site because I was trying to “understand” why he was acting this way. This site opened up my eyes as to why I was in such pain and couldn’t handle the emotional roller coaster I was on. I didn’t understand why I had such strong feelings of attachment and he had none. I realized “Sex is a very intimate act but it can’t make someone love you”. He was a EUM…finally a term for what he was. He wasn’t suffering the way I was. I came to find out how he was using other women the same way and didn’t seem to have any empathy or respect for women. The last time I “saw” him was 7 months ago. I have tried to tell him so many times over the years that it’s over and that I wanted to move on. He kept trying to reach me. I knew he was only after one thing even though he tried to tell me he loved me and needed me in his life even if we could only be friends. It was all a ploy to try to get me to give in. He was a mastermind and knew all the tricks. I can’t believe I let him use me for so long. Now I see I was a doormat and allowed him to do this. I have tried NC by blocking him on my phone. Twice, I have unblocked him to see if he was still trying to get a hold of me. There will always be a part of me that cares because he was my first and I often think of him when I’m lonely. Both times I unblocked him, he did try texting me and I responded. But the good news is I didn’t give in. Then just yesterday, he tried one more time and I went back and forth with my feelings wanting to see him again and never wanting to see him again. Finally, I said I can’t handle it emotionally. He just said “OK” and that was it. I have blocked him again on my phone because I know he will still try. I don’t need the temptation always there so it’s better that I don’t see his texts/phone calls. Blocked him for good this time because today I came on this site to keep me strong. Everything that has been said here was right on and I finally know that it’s over for ME. I have no respect for him. He really doesn’t have a good heart and treats women like dirt for his own selfish needs. He will do and say anything to get me back but then drops me till the next time he is looking for who’s available. His behavior will never change which I thought might happen with time…Nope! My first love taught me alot about love/relationships. I can only be thankful for the lessons learned and have no regrets. I feel bad for his next victims because they will go through the same emotions I did. I went through such a darkness that I will never allow anyone to do that to me again. Felt like I was in hell or what hell would be like. I have been so much happier since being on NC and getting back to my old self. I just wanted to share my situation for anyone out there still going through “hell”. Please know that you don’t deserve this and will be so much happier being alone than with someone that only cares about themselves!! It will get lonely, believe me, but going back to EUM’s only makes you feel miserable, empty, and worthless. If you need help to stay strong, just come on this site. It helped save me! NC gets easier as time goes by. Thanks for listening! Happy Freedom Day and God Bless you all! :)

  40. chutzpelady says:

    This post has come right on time. For the first time in my life I look beyond the point of getting something or somebody back into my life. Now I think about the facts that were before and what would be AFTER my “victory”: the same old crap! Last week I was discussing with a former boss about coming back into the team. When I had left, he assured me that I could come back anytime. Now at our meeting he was unclear in everything. And when I left, I felt small and undervalued. Than it ocurred to me, that he had always been like this. And the situation would exactly be the same. So he got a: I am not coming back. His behaviour was not an anomaly but the rule.
    The same with love. I was always working hard to get a guy, never thougt about what would happen, if I had a relationship with him. Now I look and listen. No thanks, I am better on my own than in a bad relationship. With somebody who does not respect me!

    • Pam says:

      chutzpelady,

      You are absolutely right! I have been in the same situation at work where my boss was the same as yours and I put up with it for over a decade. Everyday, I was miserable and couldn’t wait to quit. Finally, I decided life was too short so I took control and changed jobs. I may not make as much as I did there but I am so much happier not feeling that way everyday. He made me feel small and definitely undervalued. A good example of a bad relationship when you don’t feel appreciated or respected. Same with trying to get an EUM, why try getting someone that will make you miserable, you need to “quit” and you will be so much happier without him!

    • teachable says:

      Chutzpelady

      This is key,

      “No thanks, I am better on my own than in a bad relationship. With somebody who does not respect me!”

      When things are not going so well in our lives (or as was the case at the time me – even when they ARE) we can pine for an intimate relationship thinking that if we had someone to share love with that this would make all the difference.

      It is true that psychological studies have found time and again that being in a loving relationship is a protective factor in being able to cope with life hardship well, and also that this is a major predictor of long term happiness. In this way we are not altogether off the mark to think this way.

      Similarly though, marital conflict and relationship discord is a vulnerability factor for depression as well as a host of other illnesses associated with chronic stress. A relationship that is not healthy can literally kill us through the impact this has on our bodies at the physiological level – an impact that over time can manifest in both physical or mental illnesses.

      So, the takeaway here is that we ARE better off alone than being in an unhealthy relationship. Of course most don’t know what we are dealing with when we get into such a situation ie few people wake up one day and suddenly say to themsleves, ‘gee, I think I’ll go out and get myself an unhealthy relationship to be involved in today.’ Rather, a relationship reveals itself to be healthy or unhealthy over time.

      The other takeaway then is to recognise when a situation is not healthy and to practice being able to get OUT of unhealthy relationships just as easily as some people seem to be able to get into them.

      I did the the practising of getting out (respectfully – not because the relationship was unhealthy but because I realised the people were not my ‘the one’) as an exercise in learning this specific skill in my 20′s.

      If I ever decide to start dating again (atm I am feeling so down I dont even know if I will end up doing this or not) I will returning to a practice of this important skill. Because you are dead right. No relationship is better than an unhealthy one hands down, and it is important to remember this, when we might think that the grass is greener somewhere else. The grass is greenest where we water it as they say. Sometimes time spent watering our own gardens is just what the Dr ordered! LOL

  41. Noquay says:

    Peanut
    Rosie put it well. Compassion, empathy, takes work, getting ones own s@#$ together so as to let bygones be bygones and help someone who needs us is something we do because that’s who WE are. Old folks are often terrified when they are sick and weak. Just please be on the lookout for your psycho uncle. My upbringing was some variant of yours. However, when my mom was dying, I flew out, did her nursing care, her family, who didn’t want me there, stood around, did nothing, just prayed to their Jesus (Jesus woulda been there changing her diapers, turning her, checking on her bedsores right alongside me). Now I am preparing to make tough decisions about my dads fate. It’s hard to hear him not being able to talk, that a once strong and fiercely independent person may have to be in care. However, like with you, dad changed my diapers, fed and cleaned me after a hard day at work at a time when men in his socioeconomic situation usually abandoned their kids. I owe him. Keep strong and know though she may not articulate it, your grandma really appreciated you being there for her.

  42. AlwaysLearning says:

    Has anybody here tried with their EUM any conflict resolution technique as a way of easing into No Contact? I’m talking about techniques such as Thomas Gordon Method 3 or Marshall Rosenberg Non-Violent Communication.

  43. AngelFace says:

    Gotta let you all know about this new guy I dated. He had many what I consider good qualities and I was giving him time to unfold. He was a grad from UC at Berkeley, has great federal job, is single after divorcing 2 years ago, no kids, no drug or alcohol addictions, didn’t curse, good conversations, nice home…..
    We live in same community and met walking. He told me he is looking for a woman to have a relationship. I started observing yellow flags. To make this story shorter: He is looking for a relationship with a woman, BECAUSE HE HAS GUILT ABOUT HAVING SEX WITH MEN.

    Great. (He brought one of his male lovers to a 4th July picnic that I also attended and it was like a scene from a movie when I introduced myself to the guy, who by the way, looked like a flaming transvestite- but not in full drag). What has the world come to & why are these down – low men such liars?

    Today I enjoyed my day, and maybe someday I will date a man who is not a liar or in need of repair. I am no longer in the service of helping these creeps get their lives on track. Ha, he can keep his caboose hitched right where it is. :(

  44. AngelFace says:

    To Always learning,
    The EUMS we refer to on this site are not worthy of the methods you list.(at least 99% of them is my guestimate) Read several articles and comments here and you will get an idea of what we are dealing with. By the way, Are you yourself a Florence Nightingale?

    • AlwaysLearning says:

      Yes, I read many MANY of the articles. I agree with them all and learned a lot.

      In my case guided conflict resolution before entering No Contact worked three times already. I’m not a Florence Nightingale, I didn’t do conflict resolution to “fix” them or resume contact. On the contrary I did it so No Contact would be mutually agreed and easy. I went from having to tying my hands not to write or react to their emails to not caring at all if they ever contacted me again – all in the span of 24 hours.

      Maybe I was lucky. In one case it was a current situation, an EUM but not Class A like the ones described here. The other was someone from my past who popped up as if nothing had happened – more typical of the ones described here. I proposed settling the past, he agreed, we made amends, I found peace. We’ll never date again, not even be friends, but my anger and resentment subsided and I don’t carry it around.

      Third case was not even answered by the person himself, a friend of mine role played his part in answering to me, making symbolic amends and I could let it go. Immediately.

      It may not work for every person with every EUM in every circumstance. I was interested in hearing if anybody else has done formal and guided conflict resolution, particularly NVC [non-violent communication] and how it worked for them.

  45. Noquay says:

    Chutzpelady
    As social animals, we are not meant to be alone and we are a critter that pair bonds strongly. We do tend to get through hard times better when we have supportive folk around us. However, an unsupportive/incapable/uncaring partner is a huge emotional drain and makes hard times a lot harder. True, one may not always know right away if a person is not rship material. Some folk are extremely good at hiding themselves for a long time. Also, folks tend to rush into things waaay too fast. I always have a bail out plan; separate bank account, credit cards, come into a rship with my own car, property, etc and really are using my BR Spidey senses. Will not spend a single day with someone disrespecting of myself, my values, who will not grow up, take responsibility, pull their own weight. We should be equal partners, not substitute mommies. I really hate being alone but it’s much better than settling for someone who will bleed you dry.

  46. Rosie says:

    Nigella- I don’t know if Pinkpanther has yet read your post to her but…wow! I’m grateful comments are public because you’ve encouraged and strengthened me so many times through your wise and thoughtful posts. This one to Pinkpanther was especially needed this weekend. Thank you so much!!

    • Nigella says:

      Rosie,

      Thanks for your kind words. There are parallels between our upbringing, and for this reason your story & perspective have been quite meaningful for me.

      Have a great week and all the best for the GRE.

  47. Mirror of My Faces says:

    A business associate called me early this morning and apologized for calling me on Sunday about business, but, then, proceeded to tell my answering service he wanted to talk to me, today, regarding a business matter that–clearly–could’ve been stated in an email to me tomorrow.

    Mind you, I’m still learning how to enforce my boundaries; don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problem with calling this man back, and saying, “Don’t call me on Sundays; I don’t conduct business on Sundays, especially during holiday weekends.” But, then I laughed with ME: If I don’t conduct business on Sundays, then why call him back on Sunday? Ha!

    No, that situation doesn’t take a rocket scientist to resolve, but it does take some mindfulness on my part because just last month I ‘woman-splained’ to him how uncomfortable I am with him pressuring me into making business decisions before I’ve had a chance to consider all the options. Now, I’m thinking I could’ve responded by exploring other options and presenting them to him, which is what I ended up doing anyway. His initial response to my ‘woman-splaining’ seemed positive, but shortly thereafter his response became patronizing and condescending, and now he merely checks in with me to apologize before he proceeds to try to bust a boundary. I’ve noticed this behavior from others as well; it’s as if they are saying, “I’m so sorry I’m causing you to be uncomfortable or stressed, but, guess what, I’m still going to bust your boundaries and/or f–k you over by ….” And, here I was just trying to respectfully communicate with them–teach them how to treat me, assert myself with others, instead of making Natalie’s analogous birds fly, as per usual.

    I’ve reflected on my own controlling, stubborn nature, and I’m watching ME, reminding myself that the goal isn’t to control other people.

    It’s a tough, slow-going process, as I discern policing my boundaries versus teaching people how to treat me versus begging people for respect versus enforcing my boundaries in a healthy way, but when I decided not to call this dude back today, I started to make sense of it all: These people are some cut throat, conniving bast*rds who mean business, and I’m not going to covince them of anything because they have an agenda/goal, and they will do whatever it takes to ‘win.’ So, although I dont want my shadow side to get down on their level and figuratively kick their a$$es on the regular, I don’t want to swing into whimp-girl either.

    I still have to engage with them, but I can still decide moments when I can disengage, and yes, I’ll have to be on guard at all times in their presence.

    People get one chance to cross my boundaries from now on; I’ll only tell them once, and yes, they’ve gotta do a helluva lot better than just not bust my boundaries–all signs of impropriety will be appropriately flagged and duly noted.

    I’m finding a different type of confidence and strength, as I face my fears. It’s my fears that have caused me to run out of buildings like a helpless child, or to spin into an aggressive activated state.

    Natalie, I’d say facing my fears has been “the one thing I’ve refused to do I need to do.” Fear can be a real b**ch sometimes. It’s scary, and it doesn’t necessarily get easier for me, anymore than “being with my feelings,” but at least after I face it, and allow it to pass, I can think. And on a good day, I feel so freakin’ empowered by the positive actions I take.

    Happy Independence Day Everyone! ~~ :o)

    • Pauline says:

      Mirror of My Faces

      ‘woman-splaining’

      Men just don’t get this, all they hear is blah blah blah, what’s this stupid cow on about now!
      Been there, done that so many times and now I’ve finally learnt to stop wasting my time. It is like talking to an amoeba.
      Having good boundaries and knowing your own worth is key. You sound like you have their measure, more power to you girl.

  48. wendy says:

    Guess I’m not moving on as great as I thought. I didn’t contact him over the holiday weekend, but he didn’t contact me either and it’s a first for him during a holiday. I was single so long before I had met him, now I’m back to singledom and I’m starting to feel so unlovable and lonely. I’m just having a really low day…my job is not good and I was reprimanded by my boss that I don’t take initiative and I’m not enthusiastic and I thought I was? I just feel like everything lately, I’m rubbing the wrong way. My ex bf, whom I loved like no man ever, never would sleep with me and that’s really done a number on me too. It’s been 5 years since I’ve had sex and I don’t feel like any man wants to love me. But I’m confused because I am not unattractive and I’ve been told I have a great personality, so what gives? I’m just feeling…sigh

    • Pam says:

      Wendy,
      I am feeling the same way today. Having a hard time moving on. I haven’t had sex for almost 8 months. It gets lonely. I wish I could just see my EUM for sex without attachment but I know it’s not possible. How do some men just do it and it doesn’t mean anything? And the question is why do I want to see someone that doesn’t care about me and sleeps with other women. I’ve always been afraid of catching a STD from him. I know my self worth is low and I should be working on ME, loving myself. A friend tells me to try dating but it’s hard when you don’t feel good about yourself. Also, some good advice of hers was to KEEP BUSY. Wish I could just have sex with that person for my needs but can’t handle the emotional pain that goes with it. I know he isn’t good relationship material so why do I care so much?

  49. JH says:

    This was a great article. It feels very coherent and makes perfect sense to me. I keep writing off habitual behaviours of avoidance from the man as ‘anomalies’, but I didn’t really see that clearly till I read this. I keep hoping it’s an anomaly, keep wishing it’s an anomaly despite all evidence to the contrary. Classic case of denial.
    What is interesting to me is that I’m no fool. I’m a highly intelligent, attractive and capable woman, and perceptive to boot, however, in this case I always turn the blind eye.
    Take, for example, the past week. I’ve been promised a phone call, ‘speak tomorrow’, ‘speak later’ etc etc all week. This sets up an expectation in me and as the day goes on an anxiety. Honestly, it’s laughable the drama of making this phonecall, it’s this, it’s that, because of this meeting, that meeting…and so on and so forth. Because of a part of myself that has low self worth, I will forgive and hope that maybe he really is telling the truth. But the fact is IF HE WANTED TO CALL ME HE WOULD….no if’s no but’s no drama….bottom line. This is not an anomaly but I believe a unconscious way to keep me hooked in.

  50. Dancingqueen says:

    Okay I am just here to vent… More data being collected. The guy who I mentioned above with the ex who is a substance abuser and just got custody of the kids… Is seriously getting too needy. I am feeling really overwhelmed. I stupidly met his kids early, at his initiative, and they are so sweet and needy themselves that it is just breaking my heart. This man needs to focus on his kids right now but instead every time we are not together he is sending me guilt producing texts ” the kids miss you. They want to see you too. Just come over and nap here” etc.

    I empathize with this man- he just got custody and is obviously really wanting a relationship- but we have only been together a month! This is way too much neediness: it is like he is not keeping any of it conversational: it is all about his ex, wanting to know really serious things about my past, and constantly telling me how much he “adores” me when, honestly, we are still in the very early stages if getting to know each other.

    Thank god I have not slept with him yet.

    This is so shitty but he needs to take a serious step back and create his own life with his kids and stop focusing on trying to slot me in as a mom replacement. It is not good for any of us…

    He and I need to talk. I just don’t have the words yet:(

  51. Dancingqueen says:

    @noquay: can’t reply on reply button as on phone but…agree! We must always be equals: no relationship is good for either party if it is imbalanced.

    You know, the hard part is that, as we get older, there is a smaller pool to draw from. At the same time, being with somebody out of fear-fear of not being loved OR fear of being at the “last chance saloon”-is not the reason to be in a relationship.

    That is codependency.

    • Noquay says:

      Dancingqueen
      Had an interesting experience last night. Went to a restaurant to get a bite before some late night lab stuff. Older, fit looking gent was sitting across the courtyard from me, reading but looking at me often. I finally got asked him about his e reader, as I have super long flyovers on my way to deal with my dad. He eagerly showed me how the thing worked and wound up joining me at my table. He was looking at me cause he is a retired BIA administrator and I am Native. We talked about everything from water and treaty rights, Lake Superior, and he paid for my meal after asking if that’s OK. I was treated with respect, my weird, highly varied life experiences admired rather than denegrated. Alas, he is from very far away, here only to support some folks on a long distance hike. However, the contrast between this true gentleman and most same aged men in the area was a huge contrast. This is what meeting someone new is SUPPOSED to be like. Sadly, you’re right, our pool is diminishing, even ACs get rarer let alone gems like this guy. Still had a smile on my face this morning.

      • Nic says:

        Noquay, I would say that he enjoyed spending time with you and was pleased to simply be appreciated (probably has a smile on his face too). It is supposed to be like that – enjoyable.

  52. Dancingqueen says:

    @wendy

    Tell your ex that you are no longer interested in interacting with him, to not touch you, and don’t hang out where he is.

    Direct really does get results, unless they are a stalker, then a restraint order works better.

  53. Dancingqueen says:

    @@teachable: I just saw your message: thanks!
    I. I agree, boundaries are being set! He offered today to give me some of his airmiles to fly a friend out that I wanted to see and I was like “thanks but no thanks”. I feel much better: I was feeling really claustrophobic and dulled down and today I remembered that I am a woman and I have words and skills to deal with this

    No codependent relations for me:) ((((hugs))))) @Teach!

    I

  54. […] and got to work. I sent stories to two contests and six or seven journals. If I’m going by historical data, I expect a round of rejection letters punctuated by an acceptance here and there. Which is fine. […]

  55. William says:

    As a man who recently endured (and still suffer from) a pseudo- relationship with an unavailable woman/asswclown I would like to say three things:

    - This website and books have been a tremendous help for me, in order to explain clearly what I’ve been through. Their value is tremendous. I thank from all my heart Natalie Lue.

    - The whole concepts are directed from men (Mr unavailable) to women (Fallback Girl), but let me tell you the opposite situation do exist and I am a pure example of that. Telling my story would be too long. I spoke about it so much with my friends (who have been an amazing help) that now I realize it doesn’t help me anymore to talk about it, my healing process is now purely internal. She used all the tricks from the book: Lazy communication, fast forwarding, hot and cold…
    After being so angry and depressed, I’ve forgave her and I don’t have any revenge thoughts or grudges, but I still suffer by wanting some stupid validation from her. I am amazed by how I can be that stupid.

    - I would like to focus on the importance of the consequences the emotional manipulation can have on the “Fallback” person. As it is very nicely written in the article “Casual Relationships: All The Fringe Benefits of a Relationship… Without The Actual Relationship”, the assclowns don’t come only for sex and amusement, they come for the soul of the person, they want their feelings, time, mental energy, everything they can take. It’s like a spider sucking the soul and only leaving the carcass.
    So, the consequences could be, at worst be suicide, but even less, it could for example be an car accident caused by taking some calming pills. I know that during the early days after my breakup, I couldn’t see time pass as my brain tried to process everything that happened to me. It could lead to imprudence with bad consequences.

    About historical data (to stay in the topic of this post ;-)): My EUW explained to me past experiences where her previous BFF cried during two months after she broke up with him… And I guess the way she treats her husband by simply leaving the domicile *and the country* for a new job less than one year after their wedding is another.

    At least I know that charming persons in appearance can be poisonous and I will be much more careful in the future.

    Thanks,

  56. Noquay says:

    William
    Yep, there’s lots of EU women out there too. My best friend is married to one and yep, his soul is being sucked dry. You recognize her for what she is; the first step. Charming/attractiveness levels have nothing to do with their toxicity. Plenty of socially inept/unattractive folk can be toxic too. However, if someone with good social skills and attractive is chronically breaking up/single, it’s generally for good reason.

  57. Elgie R. says:

    “the assclowns don’t come only for sex and amusement, they come for the soul of the person, they want their feelings, time, mental energy, everything they can take. It’s like a spider sucking the soul and only leaving the carcass.”

    Love that line because it helps me understand why I still ache…

    I put so much energy into ACMM, and his accepting it meant he cared, right? WRONG.

    Harsh reality, but now I understand. I do my best to avoid wallowing in the wave of humiliation that sometimes washes over me….. Most days are good, but sometimes I do have lost weekends…lots of sleeping. I avoid abusing myself.

  58. Peanut says:

    One of the reasons I don’t date is because I have constantly been labeled ‘weird,’ ‘strange,’ ‘odd’, etc… I try and isolate myself as much as possible. So, of course I don’t meet many men. I mean I am different, quirky, yes, but I’m just tired of it costing me social opportunities and perhaps dating ones, as well. But as of now there is no turning back to not being myself.

    I see myself in a sad family situation (like many), sincere, and eager to share social experiences. I’m just bad at it. I am bad at all things dating, too. So I don’t for long stretches of time, then end up feeling ultra needy about everything.

    I’m scared to put myself out there because of my past, but I want a different future. I wish I didn’t feel so much shame about who I am; it just spills into the dating front and makes a mess.

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My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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