I had a case of the comparison wobbles earlier. Thankfully these are few and far between; in olden times, me feeling inadequate due to how I perceived another person would have sent me into a spiral of berating me, with my inner critic piping in with, “You’re no good. You’ll never amount to anything…. you worthless, good for nothing….” Before it used to be a comparison spiral that had the potential to rumble on for weeks or even months because the way in which I responded to the conclusions I drew based on those comparisons, would have a knock-on effect on the subsequent choices and actions I undertook, which would have even more consequences. And round and round I’d go.

Today, all told, it lasted on and off for about an hour and a half. It was a wobble that reminded me to take care. I had to reassure and remind me of who I really am, which is a lot more than what I’m not.

There are times in your life when something or someone will activate a younger, insecure version of yourself, that if you don’t catch it before it takes over and has you treating the way you feel as if it’s a fact and a permanent statement of your future, it will distort reality, including your self-image.

During that period of comparison, you stop being in the present and you revert to whatever that version is, although you may not be entirely aware of it.

Of course when you reflect on this, you will realise that the way that you were thinking and feeling was comparable with a particular period of your life or certain types of situation. In my case, the fact that I felt very young, vulnerable, and as if I was back at the convent school, was the giveaway that my thirteen-year old self had been activated.

Teen Nat wanted to be liked, she wanted to fit in, she had a fear of rejection and looking stupid, and compared herself to girls who seemed so much cooler. That girl within me had ideas, hopes, and dreams, but each time she dared to think about these, she would squash them because, who was she to hope that she might amount to something? Other people had better ones than her anyway, she thought. Sometimes she would express her ideas, hopes, and feelings, but then she’d become afraid of being shot down or even worse, that she would not be able to live up to people’s expectations, so she’d squash these too. If what she said or did wasn’t perfect or was met without the response she expected, she felt deeply wounded. She responded to fear of rejection and actual rejection very similarly, which caused a great deal of anxiety.

Today, for a brief while, I felt ‘uncool’ and in hindsight, I see how silly that was because as is the case with comparison, I felt that way because in comparing myself, I made a judgement about that person which was really a projection of my insecurities in that moment, and then judged me. That wasn’t fair to either of us.

I felt inadequate but I’m not an inadequate person.

I kept dragging myself away from the comparing thoughts. Each time I stopped being truly present and my mind drifted, my inner critic popped up. After a few times of this happening, my left ear started doing its tinnitus number, and I managed to pull my thoughts back. I made a fast exit as soon as I could and I allowed my feelings of inadequacy to surface and hot tears emerged as soon as I was out the door, and then I felt OK. It’s important to acknowledge when you feel afraid or inadequate and then reassure you.

In retrospect, I realise that the situation was very much accentuated by stress and lack of sleep – my family has been going through something very difficult this week, a story maybe for another time. OK and I was a bit ‘hangry’ which had triggered a headache. Ack!

Hangry

It was a short-lived comparison binge – I had to put down the comparison junk food and wake the hell up. I could barely make out what I was thinking or hearing anymore which is like stuffing down all of that food without tasting it. Step away from the comparison. Put it down.

Admittedly eating something (not comparison…) made a big difference but an all-important lesson that I’ve learned about feelings, is that they pass and they change. Sometimes we freeze-frame our feelings and so for instance, because we felt a particular way at 10.09 am, we talk and act as if this is exactly the feeling that we’ve had all day. Of course if we focus on it and overfeed the worry, comparison, berating and any other negative ‘fish‘, then we can certainly prolong the feeling, but if we acknowledge the presence of that feeling and allow it to pass, we also notice that there are other feelings present, as well as little something known as reality.

Comparison also changes when reality and self-compassion kick in.

Friends and readers share stories with me of similar comparison binges. Weddings, christenings, parties, and other occasions where we feel like the odd one out or convince ourselves that we are lacking because we our journey isn’t looking like another person’s journey at this particular moment in time. People who make careless comments or ask intrusive questions – when I was single, my old boss used to ask me if I’d hooked up with someone every.single.Monday. It stopped when I reminded him that I didn’t ask him whether he had sex with his wife at the weekend… Same for people who ask why you’re single or why you’re not something, as if you have two horns on your head or have some ‘problem’ that must be causing it that could provide a suitable explanation.

We convince ourselves that everyone will be looking at us, judging us. We forget that we’re the one making the big judgement.

We have an idea or make something and then we show up and hear what someone else has to say or see what they’ve made, and we write off our own contribution. We work really hard at something and achieve success but because it’s not been given the seal of approval by someone whose validation we want or because we didn’t achieve it in the traditional way, we don’t value it. We take how we feel right now and determine that it’s how we feel all of the time and that it’s how we’re always going to feel.

We take a snapshot of our life at this moment and hold it up for inspection to see how many elements of other people’s lives it features and so end up not actually looking at and appreciating the detail of our lives.

And yes, sometimes we feel envious, you know that recognition that somebody has something that we want and in perceiving them to be on a similar level to us, wondering why we don’t have it too. That’s natural. We wonder what’s wrong with us. Sometimes what we really need to ask is whether we’ve done the same things that they have or even whether what they have is truly what we want. Envy can be the shake we need to step up and take action.

I temporarily lost perspective. We all lose perspective sometimes. We’ve got to catch those feelings and thoughts of insecurity instead of chasing after them with unhealthy actions and thoughts that essentially end up overfeeding our fear and giving us the sense that it’s reality. Losing perspective for a time can be helpful though, in the sense that in recognising that we’ve gone off track, we can reclaim ourselves and remind us of who we are and what really matters.

Our inner critics think that they’re helping us out. Mine popped up today because it thinks that it’s protecting me from failing or looking stupid. I had to remind my thirteen-year old and current self that I made it, it’s OK, I’m OK, and that I can handle this. Go easy on the comparison and turn those wobbles into a message to come back to base.

Take care of you.

Your thoughts?

 

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102 Responses to Lessons from a short-lived comparison binge

  1. Brenda says:

    “People who make careless comments or ask intrusive questions – when I was single.”

    I had that so much in my 30′s there was NO way to not ask myself what was wrong with me, Top that with abusive guys when I did see one, and other women bragging about their love lives in a ha ha way.. That did screw me up and yes it is intrusive and stupid, had I known then what I know now? I really THINK I should have played my single life was the greatest adveture ever!

    Because I will tell you sometimes the women that acted so happy? Thay are NOW miserable and constantly having the same issues they always DID with their husbands, It is MORE like they convenience themselves they are happier than they are and that he is MORE okay than he is just to hang on.

    Swinging back and forth between I want to leave him to Oh but he is good to me? and of course nowadays I am the one to go to when these bad time hit.

    Too bad I could not SEE all that in my 30′s though it would really helped me with all the comparisons, doubts, and questions, and just maybe.. I really would seen being single as more of an adventure.

    That wasn’t encouraged though, and really now I wonder why?

  2. Erin says:

    I really enjoy Nat’s articles about self-comparison and the damaging effects it can have. As a 23 yr old student still living at home doing my Masters via coursework I constantly see my peers succeeding in life and the job market. They get to grow up and move out. This hurts sometimes (like at Nat’s 10.09am example) because I don’t think I could get full time work like them, my city is currently suffering huge government cuts and its hard not to take a terribly negative view of your own career and life. No one I talk to can make me feel like I’m doing the right thing to further my chances. But your mood can really change when you think about all the people you are NOT and the situations you AREN’T in (even thinking about the news and crises around the world helps.) Nat’s idea of thinking about the detail of your own life is great, truly I have nothing to complain about! Also, her question of “do they have what we truly want?” is a good one. In my case my peers do have exactly what I want (work,) but no one’s life is perfect!

    • Adrienne says:

      Erin,

      Let me be the first to tell you. You are doing the right thing! You should be so very proud of yourself. I am a single mother that works full time, and goes to school part time. I have been caught up in the comparison act to many times. We all go through stages and events at our own pace. How amazing will it be when you are finished with your masters! Go out and apprentice, volunteer, or network in positions you are interested in-it might open new doors for you. It is so much easier to be adaptable to new opportunities when you are young, single, and don’t have children. Look how far you have come already, and be proud!

  3. Fancy says:

    Hello
    I so relate to this post. I have compared myself to other women and their ease to find a relationship. The first thing I do is compare myself to them and tear myself apart…from my looks to my behavior. In the end I get no where in comparing myself to others, I surely don’t get closer to finding a healthy me or relationship. I get easily side tracked from myself but I am working on it, it’s hard.

  4. Tired says:

    This was and still is me and prob the reason i learned in unhealthy relationships . As soon as i show a interest in someone i become insecure and tear myself apart . The last involvement with a ac i compared myself to the other girl i know he liked . I wasn’t young enough, blonde or fit enough etc etc . I really beat myself up . Pulled my body apart . Absolutely shocking thing to do . I am who i am . But it clicked that i could be perfect and he’d still been an ac . It was my confidence that was crippling me noty looks . I will not be ashamed of a few wrinkles . It is only till i had time out that i really thought about what mind was doing to me. I am who am take it or leave it .

  5. Noquay says:

    Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. I do this all the time along with a good deal of self damnation. I see similar aged women, generally less accomplished, get the guy they want while I am both alone and warding off very unattractive wannabe stalkers, dudes in more need of a mommy / therapist than a wife. I damn myself for being ugly, for having legs too stout for my wiry build, that my dark skin shows every damn dry patch, sore, scar much more than a pale woman’s, that I haven’t found another job that fits my needs, been able to make this house perfect all on my own and get a bundle (or even break even) on it, that I am so tired all the time, that I cannot force myself to just accept my old maid fate and not feel anymore etc. Then I have to, often literally, give myself a huge dope slap. “No old girl, you are mixed race; you will always be seen as being less than a white woman regardless of who you are, especially in an uneducated region. You lost the genetic lottery, big time. Indian folks tend to have big noses and a predisposition toward obesity. The only reason you don’t weigh 250 lbs and have heart issues and diabetes is due to a lifetime of rigid self discipline plus a very high activity level. You haven’t met anyone both attractive and healthy because that animal is simply not available. How many men have you met that were seemingly healthy, available and you were actually attracted to? Five, stupid. The AC, the gun lovvin, abusive local, a dude hiding a girlfriend, the horribly wounded bird, and one other. That’s it girl. You have spent thousands (which should’ve gone to charity) on dating sites , putting yourself out there, with no success simply because the only men you met willing to date someone from a poor mountain town were impoverished locals or those tossed out of the dating pools of the cities they came from. You were getting waifs and strays with few options. Not a damn thing to do with your heritage, looks, level of accomplishment. Not a single female in your community had any more success than you and many were a lot more standard fare than you will ever be. Those that settled so they wouldnt be alone are miserable. Take heed. Even if you were an Amazon without a badly injured arm and anemia, no person is able to do major home repairs, run a small farm, work a full time responsible job, train hard to stay in shape, AND not feel tired. You outwork 99.9% of the men in your town, pay attention, eh? Senior level academic jobs for older profs like you are few and far between, especially in cool, progressive, woodsy places where you need to be. Young folks just out of grad school are who are hired because they come cheaper and stick around longer. You’ve served on many a hiring committee, you know this. You know that at least three of your colleagues in your age range, including the dude who horribly hurt you, have been looking far longer with no success. So slap yourself again, be grateful you have a job and a roof over your head at all, be grateful that you were married to a wonderful man and understand that may never happen again, your time is probably over, quit feeling sad and lonely, stop comparing yourself to others as you have a different reality, and get your sorry butt back to work”.

    • Sandy says:

      Noquay,

      I notice a similar refrain running through your posts..your heritage..which you constantly put down. You have so many accomplishments in your life but this is the one thing you seem hung up about, I am freckled and auburn haired, burn easily, wrinkle easily, have very wavy hair which doesn’t style well…it doesn’t matter what you look like I always feel that if someone is going to be attracted to you then they will be.
      You are an amazing lady who has obtained a hell of a lot in her life and I am sorry that you see yourself as less then you are because of your mixed heritage, just carry on kicking arse and being the best that you can be and just give the proverbial finger to all those people who can’t see this and who are not worth your time, energy or space in your life.

      • Noquay says:

        Sandy
        I am proud of who I am; always have been from the time I was literally spat upon and called ugly as a child, often by my own family, even before I knew exactly what that heritage was. True, the big nose and heavy hips/legs could go away; they suck. Tis others that diss/misunderstand/stereotype me based upon appearance. It has been assumed that I am a cleaning lady rather than a proff, Mexican in a region where Mexicans are often hated, an illegal immigrant, used as sort exotic eye candy, with values totally ignored, by dudes who were into dark women. I have been told to “stick to my own kind”. Guess how many single, my age (50s) Native men are out there who are healthy and have close to my level of education; I have met two in my life. One of the reasons the AC did what he did to me is probably due to my races and an assumption that I only got my job due to affirmative action. The fact that I will always be judged based upon my somewhat exotic appearance is part of my reality and something I will have to deal with daily. Many others deal with the same issue. I do not devalue myself, but yeah, many do. I flip lotsa birds, both literally and figuratively. I go to community meetings where no one will speak to me and hold myself proud, in dignity. Folks disapprove of my bright clothes, vivid colors and I walk right on by with head held high. Nothing dowdy for this chick. Yep, dudes are attracted but they have serious issues because that’s who the dating pool IS; a situation no different for any woman here. The expectations of an older educated woman here are a. Settle for being someone’s mommy/meal ticket regardless of whether you are attracted at all. b. Be alone. No family, no real cultural activities other than bars, no holidays, nothing. c. Leave although this may mean joblessness/debt/poverty and having to abandon the care of your parent or parents/children. d. Kill yourself. Yep, sounds melodramatic, but many older men and women here have done just that including a neighbor a few months ago. Couple that with our institution being kicked aside, like an unwanted dog, by our administration, my eco-program, which I worked on developing for years, being given to other, more popular campuses by that same administration, and have the only program you enjoy teaching in be taken away from you plus being reminded every day at work of the AC and his hurt while not being able to find anyone yourself. I have worked hard in this community to lift it up, conquer the culture of learned helplessness and despair, but the problem is much bigger than I. Contrast that with my old life; married to a wonderful man who loved me dearly, a huge circle of like-minded friends, being respected for my stance against mining and other forms of rape, honored with warrior status due to my strength during protests and having gotten some folks out of danger, saved their lives, done controversial research despite my own life being threatened. Hard to go from well loved warrior to unwanted, discarded old woman. Deal with that while alone, year after year, and yep, you’re gonna be a tad in the dumps and yep, you’re going to compare yourself to others and their situations at times, maybe be a tad envious. Most of us want to be loved, have a good rship, have sex, physical affection with someone we actually want. We are human. Yep, Sandy, I understand my situation is my own damned fault; somehow I should’ve known not to come here. I messed up. However, jobs were/are scarce in my fields, I was newly alone, recovering from breast cancer, poor, had serious medical bills, no one to talk to, understood my dad needed more care and that the only person who was gonna ensure my future financial security was me. Given the knowledge I had at the time, I did the best that I could.

        • Sandy says:

          Noquay, you sound like the most amazing woman, I wish I had even just a iota of your strength, what you have gone through and overcome is just uncomprehensible to me.
          I too feel that sometimes I have taken the wrong fork in the road and I have my “why me days” had one last night in fact.
          Like you I had a good marriage so I am aware that there are nice men out there but at 52 I also feel that the pool is so small that I may as well give up, I try to stay positive and I am lucky to have my two children at home with me, 18 and 21, but I know they will leave, find their own way in life and then I will be living alone…dread that day.
          Some days I feel like I am on top of the world, that I am contented, happy and not worried about going it alone then a thought crosses my mind which sends me spiraling down and I can see why people give up (like your neighbour). Now I am facing the possibility of redundancy from my job, I keep on saying to myself,come on girl, you have picked yourself before, you can do it again, but I just get so damn tired sometimes, I know there are worse off then me and I try to remember that and give thanks for what I do have but well it’s just so bloody hard sometimes.

          • Noquay says:

            Wow, we are about the same age, I am slightly older. Never really had family so I don’t miss it. Surely your children will still be a part of your life even when they’re out of the nest. So true about the dating pool although most of the single dudes in this region were doomed decades ago due to drug/alcohol abuse, poor lifestyle and very anti education/intellectual entrenched attitudes. Had a drink with a woman friend last night and saw this dude who approached us. Probably was quite good looking once, about our age. So drunk he could barely speak and was completely unaware his company was not wanted. Finally staggered out into the snowstorm, sans jacket, and did not notice. We no longer have a detox unit so even if the cop that saw him had picked him up, there’s nowhere safe to take him. Tragic waste of a life. While we women are working hard to always learn more, self improve, the men often just pour themselves down the drain. Its that way in most of the rural areas of this state. Folks adulate our mining/wild west history but fail to see the human cost of that mindset/lifestyle. Many in this town would say he was my dating “league” and my wanting anything better is a sign of my snobbishness and elitism. This is why I often start dissing myself; get that kind of feedback nearly all the time, and it will corrode the old self esteem.
            Sandy, you are far stronger than you think. You raised two kids to adulthood. Motherhood is the very hardest job there is, relentless, exhausting, 24/7, no vacation or sick time.

  6. dancingqueen says:

    Wow this hit home.
    I went through this just yesterday. I had been offered the opportunity to apply for a job a few months ago, in a city that I really want to live in, but the pay was not better and at this stage in my life, the risk-especially having to rent out my house, because to sell it at this point, when the value is going up each year-would be too much a risk.
    The other day, when my coworker announced that she was taking a job at the same place, I was so jealous! Never mind that she is in a completely different stage in her life-20 years younger than I, no house, thus she just can move-yet it made no sense. It left me with a lagging sense of lack of confidence and trapped feeling, that I am not more footloose. I felt like I am not as courageous as her, yet logically, I know that it makes NO sense at all to not stay put where I am. My retirement really depends on it.
    I had to really talk myself through the sad feelings. I called a friend, went for a jog, and in the end what I did realize is this is about me too.
    I am not happy with my work atmosphere, even though I love certain aspects of my job. Yet a few months ago, when another job opened up and I was asked to interview for it in the same school district that I am in, I said no because I did not want to appear disloyal to my boss and school…I told myself that if I moved to another city, that it would not appear so.
    The reality is, my boss is great BUT she also has her own agenda about her own career and I know for a fact that if she was pushing for her own career, she would not let her loyalty to me or my happiness at work get in her way.
    I am going to call them back and see if I can still apply.
    Really when it gets down to it, these “comparison” mirrors, are good to help us grow, and become clearer about our hidden feelings and needs.

  7. Lauren says:

    Erin, try not to let comparing yourself ruin the great thing that you are doing for yourself. You have the rest of your life to work! I’m not saying it’s not important and things would be easier if you could find work etc, just don’t make things harder for yourself by thinking it’s easier for everyone else.

    I’m 28 and only just finishing my degree. I am living with my family and desperate for independence. I’ve suffered with depression for many years and have had to quit things, take time out etc to finally get where I am. All this time I watched friends and others I knew go from strength to strength, have the relationship and babies I’ve always wanted etc.

    I used to compare myself to people all the time and all it brought me was absolute misery. You can’t ever be doing what everyone else is doing. A friend once said to me that she doesn’t bother wishing she was someone else because she knows if she was that person, she’d still just be wishing she was someone else again.

    It is something you have to work on and when you catch yourself thinking ‘hold up, this is my life. I’m doing the best I can and the things that are right for me. If it’s right for me it will happen at the right time for me, not on someone else’s watch’. All it does is take you away from and all the joy out of living your own life. Be proud to be you and always focus on what YOU want! Even if you think it’s the same as what someone else has it isn’t, it’s just your perception of what they have and how they feel about having that.

    Love to all x

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hey Erin and Lauren

      I’m 28 too and just about to start my second degree. Of course I compare myself to friends and others my age who are engaged, married, and having families. This too is something I’ve always wanted.

      So I understand too. But be assured there are many of us out there too.

      Best wishes,
      Nel

      • Noquay says:

        Good job all of you. Education is the one thing no one can take away from you. Was just shy of 40 when I completed my Doctorate. Theo Colborn, who wrote a famous book “Our Stolen Future” got hers at 58.

    • RP says:

      Dear Lauren, Erin, Nel…

      You are certainly not alone. I am 33 with a PHD and two postdocs, currently working in my dad’s office because I can’t even get a job at Mac Donald’s, and yes, still living at home! I studied an obscure subject and always challenged the mainstream. You need to be the BEST nowadays to get a postdoc in Europe (I am not much of an intellectual). I did my postdocs in Mexico but really wanted to come home after 5 years of personal hell. On a personal level, things got much better for me once back home but I cannot say the same for my career. I applied and continue to apply for jobs but I cannot even get an interview. When I try to apply for non-academic jobs, for example, consultancy, I lack the necessary experience. I cry almost every day about my situation. It is hard not to compare myself with my successful cousin who is my age, studied the same as me (but is very mainstream), has a research post in the UK, owns a house and is married with a kid. However, valuable friends and BR common sense helps me get past the urge to compare and actually reminds me that I don’t actually want/need those things! (well except for a nice job ;))

      Love to you all!

      • LovefromNel says:

        Dear RP

        Thanks for your lovely reply. I too find it difficult to remember that the grass is not always so luscious on the other side! I try to remind myself that others may have what I think I want, but they may not be happy. And at least we are on our own paths to happiness, independent of others, because of some painful EUM/AC lessons. I think that is the true silver lining! And, I remind myself how much older, wiser, stronger I am than I was a year ago. Best wishes to you, and I really hope things improve on the job front. Nel xo

  8. Marianna says:

    This is a great post, straight to the gut. I compare all the time but am trying hard to reframe it. I like the idea of comparison as a mirror to hold up to your own needs and desires Dancing Queen. I have an annoying and destructive habit of comparing myself to the AC and EUMs who I feel reject me. They are more attractive, have sparkling lives, creative, popular, attractive, charismatic, no wonder I am not good enough I am dowdy and boring. It’s not true – but that is the spiral I tend to go down, I compare and compete with these men and I end up losing the competition in my mind. I wonder if its to do with growing up with brothers and competing with them as an entrenched family dynamic. A positive reframing would be: what is it I see in these men that I want for myself and maybe I already have it…

  9. rachael says:

    Comparisons are fine.

    I can notice “she is taller”. “She earns more money”…etc. I can even say “I would like to be younger”. It is only WHEN THE COMPARISON IS COMBINED WITH JUDGMENT that I suffer. That is when the “shoulds” creep in. “I should have a promotion by now”. “I should keep my house tidier”. “I should be getting treated better”.

    And…. It’s a tangent, but “makes me feel” is for me a sure sign the user of the phrase is stuck in the VICTIM role. We can allow ourselves to be puppets that have our emotions on strings, only to have them pulled by others. I am learning to take responsibility for my feelings.

  10. Gina says:

    Nat, I can definitely relate. Inadequacy has been one of the biggest struggles and it is so funny how special, talented, deserving and worthwhile we can easily see someone else, but when it comes to us sometimes, we feel like the odd man out. However, you definitely have a gift for what you do, and you are fab. just the way you are.

  11. jay says:

    Brilliant post nat…new style, direct, honest. love it – can relate xxx

  12. Erin says:

    Thank you Adrienne and Lauren for your kind responses, it is silly when I do compare and everything you say makes me snap out if it. You can’t have everything all at the same time. I’m very lucky really ! All the best for the both of you.

  13. J says:

    Yes comparing urself to others leads nowhere, it just causes u to questions ur self worth and tramples ur self esteem. We are good honest people of character , despite out financial, marital or social status. We need to realise that these things are separate from us as individuals even if so Irtysh judges people many time by the superficial characteristics. I compare myself to my x and to his new gf sometimes. I have to make a cencerted effort to stop this but it still pops up sometimes. I think he’s good looking, rich, nice body , has 5 kids already and a new gf who he thinks he loves . What do I have? Messed up finances, no kids yet, no higher education as my attempt to do tht while I had just broken up last year flopped, wasted all tht money. I’m 29 next month and I feel like I wasted my best years. Sigh. Lord u r helping me tho.

    J

  14. Spinster says:

    This could’ve been me writing this post. Thank you for the mental refresher; saving this for future reference.

  15. melbgrl says:

    I think we can all relate to this. Nat, thank you, this was beautifully raw and I felt very connected with you because even though I’ve come a lot way in 2 years I have to remember I’m never going to feel 100% and the key is not to dwell when we do feel down or envious.

    And let me say hangry is a very very real thing! Sometimes when I think I’m really upset about something I’m actually just really tired and/or hungry. A good nights sleep and some BR set me back on track xx

  16. Arlena says:

    I can very much relate to that feeling “hangry”. In the morning before breakfast it is even better descibes as “HANXIOUS” for me. It passes with having fuelled myself with some healthy food.

  17. Dancingqueen says:

    Hey Marianna
    Yes I think that we can pull the positive out of the “crappy comparison cycle” and let the negative part of it go. Let’s just ask ourselves what part of our lives is not complete due to our obviously feeling “lack”, and move towards that. If it is impossible to move ahead with what we want, could we just find a way to have a small piece of it?
    One area that I used to really compare myself in was dancing. It is a hobby/ passion of mine and I would always find a way to beat myself up if I thought someone’s technique was better than mine. Then I realized that I should use that person aa a mentor and ask them to help me by pointing out what they are doing. Big difference in my dancing! Speaking of., off to class!!!!

  18. Teresa says:

    I too have gone through many comparison ‘binges’ raised in a large family with too many insecure females that constantly had to gossip, one-up, compare and compete. We are all unique and need to value our traits and walk our own path. I finally stood up to the Aunt when she started another pitting my daughter against your daughter rant. I had it. Startled her but I think I got through that after 50+ years – it is time to STOP the insanity. Nobody wins the competition.

  19. Grizelda says:

    We convince ourselves that everyone will be looking at us, judging us. We forget that we’re the one making the big judgement.

    I want to frame this and hang it on my wall. It’s a great piece of reassurance.

    The cruelest thing about the thoughts of inadequacy by comparison is that it’s all about emotional vulnerability towards whatever things one holds most dear. Whatever things matter the most to someone, those are exactly the things where comparison and inadequacy hurt the most. A bit like whatever old adage goes something like ‘you can only be hurt by the people you love the most’.

    And then we say things like ‘Well what I need to do is not care so much about X or Y, and that’s my fault too, I care too much about things, and I have to stop it because it hurts too much.’ Which sets the impossible task of trying to dial down your feelings about X or Y, compress them, even scoff at them or degrade them, in the hope that any possible future ‘failures’ you assign to yourself aren’t so painful. What a tailspin.

  20. Claire says:

    Great reflection Nat. You don’t need to be told this, you need to know this, but you are cool. And eat girl eat! :) xx

  21. rachael says:

    I put a fake profile on a dating website with a very beautiful woman picture on it. Yes, very dishonest, but it is science!
    I got so much attention, I could not keep up and my page froze up several times. Men were SOOOOO nice to me. Used manners, were VERY interested in me and my interests, apologised even! These same men have been rude to me on my normal profile in the past.
    What were the results of my testing? That beautiful women must have an impossible task of sorting the nice guys from the ass holes. I have a new gratitude for my ‘plainness’ and maybe it has protected me from many of these shallow and faking players.

  22. Lilia says:

    I´ve always compared myself negatively to everyone else who seems to do so much better than me in romantic relationships. It´s just one of those things I had to learn to stop doing, because it was harming me.
    Today, about two years after the relationshit with the narc EUM who made my selfconfidence almost bleed to death (but I got saved just in time by wonderful Nat and the BR ladies!), after two years of no contact at all, I received an email from him.
    I´m completely flabbergasted.
    He sent me a picture of me, and wrote that he found it in his hard drive and changed the colors a bit and that he thinks it´s such a beautiful photo. I didn´t reply anything, though I did want to tell him to leave me alone. Now I´m feeling extremely awkward and don´t know what to do.

    This is the guy who played on all my insecurities, of whom I never knew if he was with someone else, then I heard from a girlfriend of mine that he told her he was dating someone but not me, the harem King who pulled the hot-cold treatment on me all the time, future faking, reset button and each and every one of all the terrible crap described in this blog.
    A part of me thinks Hey, I´m so much healthier now, I should engage again to show him I no longer care about him. But I don´t really want to.
    Still very confused though, it´s been TWO YEARS!
    Wouldn´t it be normal for him to assume that I´ve moved on already? And that if he wants to contact me again, he should at least ask me how I am?
    But anyway, this goes to show anyone of you who have doubts about ACs that yes, they do press the reset button after years sometimes, and no, they don´t forget about you. They just take you out of the box they stored you in whenever they feel like it.

    • hand_turkey says:

      Knowing what I know about these AC/EUM types, I am not at all surprised.

      We wanted to see if he still “had” you – that is why he didn’t bother to ask about your well being. Any kind of acknowledgment of him would be, in HIS eyes, affirmation that he still “has” you. It must be exhausting for these people.

      Stay strong with No Contact and count yourself lucky. Think of it like a narrow escape!

    • rachael says:

      Lillia,

      I have one that I left 10 years ago and he calls annually to see if I will come back. He has had a live in “housekeeper” for 5 years at least.

      • Sofia says:

        rachael, I have one ex like that too. He moved to another state 6 years ago and then to another country 4 years ago, yet he still contacts me once a quarter or so. Back then it bothered me a lot but about couple years ago I stopped caring. It amazes me how AC’s mind works. What do they expect from this contact. The only thing I can think is to boost their egos.

    • hand_turkey says:

      (Also, Lilia – if you want to knock the socks off of this guy and demonstrate how healthy and “over him” you are, just maintain No Contact for yourself. It’s the only thing that breaks their glass self image as a “catch, a decent and sane person who can always do better”. Hinting at how awesome you are now, or treating him less than polite sends the message that he is hoping for.

      I have been able to maintain NC for five years (I am here to get rid of the last perpetuating tendencies in myself, to move on) with one AC by not placing myself near him socially, especially where there is alcohol involved. It’s a small town and we used to have the same circle of childhood friends, but I have not seen this guys’ face in five years.

      As you have seen, Real No Contact makes these ACs a bit crazy. The AC from my past was too proud to contact me, but I quite accidentally found him and certain of his family members peering in my home windows (from afar) I guess to see what I was up to, and also following me in their vehicles to wherever I was going – to get a glimpse of me I guess. Just keep ignoring.

      They’re completely flummoxed that someone – anyone – can ever possibly get over their asses. Sadly total indifference piques their interest so it helps to stay NC for life.)

      • Lilia says:

        Hand_turkey & Rachael
        Thanks for your comments and confirming that I am on the right path! It´s really creepy, though, who would´ve thought these ACs are motivated by indifference? When a guy is indifferent towards me I don´t even notice him much.
        I´m getting a bit paranoid about EUM/AC peering into my home windows now, that´s so scary! And what do you do if you meet someone like that on the street?
        I´m so happy I got out of this awful experience, I don´t ever want to have anything to do with him again.

        Also. As for comparing ourselves to others´lucky romantic lives. Just last night I received a phone call from one of my best friends (who I always saw as one of the privileged because she has a LT, stable relationship) to tell me her husband tried to kill himself after they had an argument. She was extremely upset, of course. He seems like a very nice, normal guy but the last 4 years at his side have been hell for her. After listening to her and trying to calm her I had to take a sleeping pill myself because I got so upset just finding out about her situation.

        Life is very weird at the moment.

        • hand_turkey says:

          Lilia, sorry that’s an extreme example – I doubt it’s common for these types to go to such extremes (looking in windows, doing a u-turn and following on road, parking by me with their tinted windows in grocery store parking lot, fishing for info through family members). I just wanted to convey that there might be an avalanche of attention more… intense than you ever got while with the AC even far down the road when you go NC. These people don’t just disappear, and no way am I uprooting my life and moving!

          There are so many accounts of a woman (or man) encountering their ex EUM / AC YEARS down the road after NC and, feeling spry, the woman wants to “show” the AC how far she’s come – maybe even help him!- and accepts his offer of lunch or whatever.

          The man then cancels because he’s busy or plain doesn’t show up, and the woman is humiliated again. In some cases, a brief pseudofriendship resumes and destructs. The AC just wanted to know he “had” her in his pocket, on his shelf. These people don’t have partnerships, they have power struggles. In power struggles, the most ruthless and dirty are top dog. Because (it sounds like) you adhere to more ethics than does the AC, you can never “win” this game, you can only not play it and this confounds the dirty dog. If he can just get you to play in some small way, he knows he’s won. Pathetic yes.

        • Sofia says:

          Lilia,

          The truth is that a lot of people who have long-term, “stable” relationships go through hard times of their own. I do believe there are good strong unions out there and I am happy for those people. I am glad it worked for someone. It is possible! But I hear a lot of stories where people have been married for a long-time or have lived together, but their relationship consists of arguments, fighting, cheating, abuse, hating each other, but people don’t leave because they are too scared to be on their own, emotionally or financially. They have kids or other obligations that keep them in the relationships. To us, outsiders, it seems stable and secure, but behind the closed doors, we don’t know what is going on. My point here is not to say that a long-term stable and strong relationship is impossible, of course it is possible. I am just saying that when we feel lonely, not wanting to be single, asking why we are single or crying again because of ex AC or EUMs, we might pause a bit and think, “Aren’t we better off the way we are now? All by ourselves and to ourselves. Peaceful and quiet. Finally.” Exhale.

      • Sofia says:

        hand_turkey, that’s interesting that you remember how long NC has been with that person. I thought that at some point after 2+ years, depending on the length of the relationship and type of the relationship, people just stop thinking about the other person or noticing how much time went by since last contact. Well, I just said this and take it back because my ex from 6 years ago still contacts me once in a while. I don’t care, but I see that if there had been silence between us, I would have noticed still how much time went by. So I guess with every ex we remember how much time NC it has been or how much time went by since we talked to them last time. Unless those were one night stands or really short relationships. Those who were important to us at some point will never be forgotten.

        Strict NC is the best way to go. Sometimes I think that my ex EUM contacted me to check if he still has me, like you tell Lilia. Not because he needs me but just to see how much effect he had had on me. Of course I could think alternatively he is checking on me because he wants to make sure I didn’t cut my veins and whether I am alive and because he feels guilty because he knows how bad he hurt me ( I posted my story before and won’t repeat it). I think maybe he thinks it’s a polite thing to do. Because he said that in couple months we might meet up as friends for a drink. I wish I didn’t respond to him one month ago when he contacted me after 2,5 months NC. I know one thing for sure now, I will not respond to him if he contacts me again. I don’t think he will. I think the test whether the person is AC (if you were not sure before) is whether they contact you too soon after THEY break up with you and break your heart. Checking on me to make sure I am ok? Isn’t that considerate. A normal, confident guy who breaks up will NOT check on you in 2,5 months. Because he knows of course you are still hurt very much and would give you much more space and time and then if there is curiosity, check on you, maybe a year after. Even then, why? If there are no kids involved , what’s the point? NC all the way. Unless people had a great friendship together. But friendship is incompatible with AC/EUMness, before, during, or after a relationshit.

        • hand_turkey says:

          “hand_turkey, that’s interesting that you remember how long NC has been with that person. I thought that at some point after 2+ years, depending on the length of the relationship and type of the relationship, people just stop thinking about the other person or noticing how much time went by since last contact.”

          It may fade from your daily thought – it’s like that with another guy, an AC, that I no longer am in contact with from years ago (I don’t think about him much). I didn’t think about this man much, because it was in a big city and it was a clean break.

          Don’t despair – keep in mind that I live in a very small town now where the other AC lives part of the year as far as I know.

          • Sofia says:

            hand_turkey, I imagine it’s tough being in a small town because it’s much easier to come across him or someone he knows. I live in a fairly big city and stay clear away from the part of the city where he lives. I wouldn’t even go to a bar/restaurant area there on a Saturday night although the chance of meeting him there would be minuscule because there are many areas like that in the city where I live.

            Time and healing do amazing things. I remember this one AC who broke my heart , or I thought, at the time. I had a 2-year relationship with him and then he decided to leave to another state to pursue his academic ambitions. That was 6 years ago. I cried my head off for couple months. And continued missing him for 4 years more. Mainly because he would stay in touch with me and I hoped he would come back. I WISH I found BR 6 years ago. I don’t know if it was active already in 2008. So there was no NC and I never gave up hope he would come back. Then he finished his degree, came back only to tell me that he is leaving to another country. That was 2010. Crying my head off again for 3 months straight and suffering about him for couple more years. The reason it took so long is because I didn’t know a thing I did wrong and didn’t understand that he was a jerk. As of 2013 I am appalled at how I could even love that jerk? I can’t believe it. He still contacts me and wants to come to visit me and wants to travel with me. Once a year hook up, expenses paid. Can you believe that?

            Why I am writing this is that I know with time everything will clear. And if one has an epiphany relationship like me, with the most recent EUM, and is older and wiser at this point, and reads BR daily and other helpful books, articles, AND keep strict NC, the recovery will come much faster.

            I am sure others can relate looking at a relationship from let’s say more than 3 years ago or so and wonder and gasp , how could even drop a tear for the jerk? Time puts things in perspective so much. And so knowing that, we should remind ourselves there will be time, these jerks we are missing and crying about and wasting our precious energy and time on, will disappear and fade. They will be nonexistent. We won’t even remember when we heard from them last time or saw them or thought of them. It will happen for all of us. Different timing, but it will.

            • hand_turkey says:

              It’s true. I’m starting to forget. Being immersed in working toward true personal goals helps me SO much. Right now for me it’s not about the last guy who “done me wrong” (he really did though) – it’s about reviewing mental notes to make sure I master the material and don’t make the same mistakes. Don’t worry you likely WON’T be ruminating about the last guy five years on. I actually think mostly of the present and future due to me job which I really like – but that is not the subject of the blog.

    • Tee Tee says:

      Do not engage. DO NOT ENGAGE – HE’S FISHING. DON’T DO IT!

  23. Sofia says:

    I used to compare myself a lot to others and get envious of others’ appearance, financial status, etc in my early to mid-twenties. Then things gradually changed and I stopped wanting what others have, but I would still compare sometimes. Without wanting what they have but feeling inferior, a loser, or not ambitious enough or not driven enough. However, even that changed and now by 36 I don’t care anymore what others have, whether it’s a job, money, car, house, etc. I just don’t care.

    One thing though I have been shocked to realize recently is how much my ex EUM undermined my confidence in myself. I used to believe that I am attractive. I thought so whether I was single and when I was not single I was told so by men. He, my ex, told me that too, but he also, at the same time, criticized me subtly, teasingly, and jokingly a lot. That I was “old,” not thin enough, not short enough, not whatever enough and through some hints and conversation it occurred to me that he is comparing my appearance to his ex and his ideal type, which would be a miniature little girl, with a skinny teenager body, perhaps to complement himself better because he is not tall and he is slender. I am myself, although not miniature but petite and athletic. What amazing is that gradually throughout months and months, although he once in a while gave me compliments, he still had comments or hints or innuendos that I was not perfect. And it’s amazing because some of them were so subtle that you could not even accuse him of saying wrong things. It’s these little remarks that built up in me to the point where I see now, after he rejected me and decided I am not who he needs, now I catch myself noticing girls his type or his ex’s type and thinking how he might be with one of them right now or he would like to be with this kind of girl right now and I don’t measure up. I am embarrassed even to admit this pattern of thought. I find it unbelievable myself because I always thought I am attractive, have a fit body and overall, I never had any problems attracting men, so I never even thought about it and have been confident about my appearance. What scares and shocks me is that I look at my appearance and my confidence through his lens right now. This is horrible and I noticed this has not been subsiding. I need to figure out what is going inside my head. I haven’t found the topic like this to read about yet. It seems to me that I am so damaged maybe by this breakup or maybe the rejection has brought out my worst hidden fears that I can be abandoned even if I have intelligence, looks, my stable status in life, and I STILL got rejected and abandoned. What don’t I have that he wants? And so I start thinking it’s because my body type, height were not to his perfect ideal liking. This is some really crazy making in my head and I am alarmed because I had never had such a thought pattern in my head. It is maybe because this is the hardest breakup I have ever had in my life. I have never felt so rejected, betrayed and hurt. I only can pray that my confidence will be restored and I will throw out any comparison and noticing other women (that he would like them) out of my head. I hope this is just temporary and I get my sanity back. It appears I am jealous and can’t let him go. I really need to think what’s going in my head and fix it. Ultimately, when I stop caring about him, I believe the comparing will stop because I will not care. For now though, this feeling is new and overwhelming. It drags me down. I want to get rid of it. It is unhealthy and shows I am still holding on to him. I will work on stopping these comparison thoughts. Also, I hope it will pass as I go through healing.

    • hand_turkey says:

      He did that to dominate you, not because any of it was true. Who gets to say if you don’t quite measure up? As if he’s so important! It’s called “defining reality” and it’s an abuse technique. People who are good at it, are good at it naturally – they observe what makes them feel weak and insecure, and use that like a tool on others to “dominate” them.

      Strong, good men want their companions to feel good about themselves – not keep her working for his approval (instead of noticing HIS faults).

      • Sofia says:

        hand_turkey, your post helped me a lot! You are right! I never seriously thought why he acted like that. But if I think about it, he did have issues with not having an appearance of a manly man and his insecurities came out this way by picking on how I am not that little as I think I am (of course in comparison to him I was not). Never thought this could constitute an abuse but when repeated regularly and shrugged off as a joke, it does rub off on you. True, when I think about couple good men in my life I used to have and even those were not that great, I don’t remember anyone ever criticizing or picking on my appearance, tastes, life style. Quite amazing. Makes me scared to realize now I stayed in the relationship where I never felt good enough for so long and felt progressively less and less confident about myself and kept clinging even more to him. That’s probably how an abusive (even a subtle emotional one) relationship works. It’s new to me because I had never been in one. Well, then I am certainly lucky it ended after a year. Can’t imagine spending my life with a man like that who picks me apart instead of having a nurturing and mutually fulfilling relationship. Scary!!!

      • Sofia says:

        hand_turkey, I reread mine and your post and thought about it for a while. I want to help myself, so I am trying to figure out why this person has had such an impact on my self-esteem. I was a confident woman before, who believed in her abilities, intelligence and looks as well. I have read a lot of psychology on different subjects but never about emotional abuse. I never even needed to read about it because it never struck close home. I have been reading about grief, abandonment, rejection, people pleasing, etc., but abuse is an unfamiliar subject to me and now I think I am getting it! (Unless I am going crazy?). Like I wrote before he picked very lightly and subtly on any parts of my life, traits, habits, things I did, music I listened, etc. At first I dismissed all those things with a joke. Later I started saying, “Whatever you don’t like it, I like it.” Then, I would get hurt by his comments about my weight, appearance, clothes, etc, I would say something back but not strictly enough and he would joke off saying saying I am too sensitive , he was just joking. On top of that he always picked and criticized pretty much everything. He even picked on my daughter and my friends. And on his coworkers. I just found this article after typing “Emotional Abuse” in Google.

        http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/

        I am in awe…. I could say YES to quite few of these. How could I not guess that? Well, like I said it’s because this never happened to me and he always did it “gently” with humor and like expressing his opinion, not being mean. And to make it more confusing he said compliments too.

        Conversations with him were filled with debates. Like I always had to stand up for my opinion and I did. It was tense a lot of the times because he counteracted pretty much anything I said , he had to find a way to say something opposite. Oh wow. And then when breaking up he said, “Also because we argued a lot.” And another thing: I rarely remember him encouraging me. Couple times maybe , yes. He was not supportive at all. And now of course I don’t wonder why I am so hurt and my self-esteem is so bruised. I was gradually and slowly eroded to my bare bone!!! Without noticing it because it had been so slow, like dripping poison on my skin and getting inside my blood through my skin without a needle. I hope someone else will have an eye-opener with this article. Now I need to figure out how I allowed this to happen. This type of treatment had never happened to me before. Yes, I had couple ACs but they never treated me like this while we were together. However, to allow to be treated like this tells me I have a lot of work to do on myself. I will work on my recovery not that I know the source of this comparison pain that I am getting. Comparing to a girl I could never be, physically or otherwise. Pretty scary type these people are. Charming, intelligent, “gentleman”, even predictable, witty, kind and nice on the surface, yet snakey, insecure, controlling on the inside. Wow. Looks like I had a new revelation today. This discovery will help me through my recovery and NC. Thank you, hand_turkey, for helping me. Never even realized I could be abused without noticing it.

        • hand_turkey says:

          Sofia – emotional abuse does not leave visible marks, but it is sadly incredibly common, and, I think, a big contributing factor in this also common negative comparison spiral phenomenon. Men who can love don’t make “jokes” about your flaws then in turn put down your sense of humor. (I guess you’re supposed to laugh when your boyfriend cuts you down?!) I have found that reading about emotional abuse and, specifically, manipulative and abusive men has helped turn down the volume of my negative self talk.

          BEing able to recognize (in retrospect or real time) abuse / power moves meant to control has helped me move forward: the AC is the one who pushed you down, but he’s not going to help you back up and walk away – YOU are.

          I have found it to be helpful to get angry about certain AC’s treatment of me AND my tolerating it, and channel that anger (mentally: you can’t do that to me! You can’t say that to me! What a strange thing to say. What do you mean?) into workouts and getting off of my butt and making my dreams come true.

          Summary: learning how nonviolent abuse works and getting angry has helped me be and feel powerful.

          • Sofia says:

            hand_turkey, at first I was not angry at my ex AC/EUM. For first two months I was blaming myself and beating myself up. Then, anger hit really hard and I welcomed it! I read that bottling it up is no good but I was stuck – I didn’t feel any anger. I “forgave” him immediately. Nope I didn’t. I was angry for good two weeks. It subsided now. However, I need to be angry for a bit again to release all the accumulated emotions about his teasing, condescending, judging, not being empathetic, not being interested in my inner world. Not a bit. None! I do work out. I do cardio and weights and yes, sometimes I ran while crying. Ran harder and faster. Working out is a great outlet. I am going to now release my anger this way not just sadness like I used to. Mentally I will ask many questions, “Why did you pick on me, on my qualities others adore; on the flaws others didn’t notice and I even didn’t pay attention myself until YOU pointed out; on the music I listen and movies I watch in MY HOUSE when you came around? Did I ever criticize you? Never. Never said anything judging about your choice of music, your wardrobe, your hobbies, your movies. If I said anything, it was only to give you a compliment, approve, support, ask a question. ” The list can go on, I won’t get into it, but I have so many angry questions I could ask him. Thank you, hand_turkey, for suggesting this technique. Working through and releasing angry by mentally questioning him, yelling at him and releasing the emotions physically in the gym. Great idea! During the first 2-3 months post breakup I had a difficult time seeing him negatively. I remembered only good and romantic stuff. I was stuck in the honeymoon phase, so the first 3 months post breakup were the hardest. Not it’s clearing for me, day after day.

            And I will also try to be more active when I am without my daughter on some weekends. I will find activities to enjoy myself and to fulfill my life with. It looks like you have quite a lot of experience getting over your ex AC. You know what you are talking about. Wisdom. Thanks a lot for sharing.

          • Sofia says:

            I wanted to add to this: Is it just me that seems getting this vibe from my ex AC and reading about others’ experiences that one trait for sure that these people share is lack of empathy and inability or lack of interest in the inner world of the person they are dating?

            If I don’t include one night stands and an affair with a married man, any man, even couple jerks, I was involved with, had interest in my life and had empathy whether it was about my life or my friends/family.

            This most recent ex AC/EUM – either he completely disrespected me or he was just not capable of having empathy and relating. He tried, but it came out in short shallow squirts and he retreated back as fast as those empathy attempts came out. I thought, maybe we really are incompatible and something is missing, like he said when breaking up a one-year relationship. Empathy and feeling another person, that’s what missing, in my opinion.

            • hand_turkey says:

              “one trait for sure that these people share is lack of empathy and inability or lack of interest in the inner world of the person they are dating?”

              Men, like women, aren’t in some mind meld where they all think alike – I know that so let’s get that straight. But if you find yourself here Sofia and keep recognizing an ex paramour – I’d say chances are good that yes, your ex has problems with empathy. It does not necessarily mean that they are a sociopath or belong to the DSM cluster B category. But it does sounds like he treated your unacceptably and that is all that you need to know really.

              No, he does not treat other women “better”.

              • Sofia says:

                I just saw your answer today, hand_turkey. Definitely he is not a sociopath and quite polite and normal. That’s what made it so much more confusing. Nice treatment mixed with lots of picking and joking and pointing out little things I don’t do right. Yes, I think you are right. Once the fascination, hot phase wears out for him with a new woman, it will be the same thing. He will start picking her apart, even if he thinks he loves her and she is the One, if he ever finds her. I was just not perfect enough. Good luck to him finding one.

                • no_more says:

                  “I was just not perfect enough.”

                  Sophia- Yes, yes, YES you are. He was NOT!

                  So stop thinking he’ll find the “One”. It sounds like the only “One” he will only ultimately love is the person he sees in the mirror every morning.

                  And no “Good luck” to him. I say Good riddance to bad rubbish!

                  Cheers for your determination.

                  Cheers on you for keeping up with NC.

                  You can do this!! xx

                  • Sofia says:

                    no_more, you made me smile. :) Good riddance to bad rubbish! Exactly. There is no good luck to him. I don’t care to wish him anything, good or bad. I want to purge him. In fact every day when I think of him, which still happens every hour probably unless I am immersed deeply in work or other thoughts and don’t think of him, every time I think of him, I will tell myself, “purge, purge, purge, be gone.” Chasing him away like a devil. Out, little by little, out.

                    Yes, if by 35 he never even lived with anyone, never moved in, never shared his space, and broke up with his LONGEST long-term relationship of 1,5 year when she insisted on moving in, then it tells us something. I was his second longest – one year. Pretty much bailed out when I asked “are you in or out final question because I can’t take it and wait anymore.” I kind of prebroke up myself because he didn’t have the guts to end it. I pushed towards it. It was very scary. And I got my answer. Anyways, good riddance, yes. Imagine, wasting another year on him and then being invested even more.

                    I remember telling him that, “you realize you will find no perfect One. There is no that One. You take the compatibilities, pluses, minuses and if good stuff overweighs the bad stuff, you work on a relationship. After several months the hot phase is gone. You do need to work and negotiate and compromise. No one is perfect. It takes work.” He said, ” I realize there is maybe no the One for me. I might end up alone for the rest of my life.” That’s what he said also at the breakup conversation. Earlier he confessed, ” I do have issues with compromising. I can’t do it.” Honest. Did I listen? No. Kept waiting and betting on the potential that I am the rule to exception.

                    How are you doing yourself, no_more, I hope your AC is not bothering you? Staying NC?

                    I certainly am. Strong NC as ever. So grateful for yours and Nel’s support. You are both such kind ladies!!!

                    Hugs!!!

    • hand_turkey says:

      “What don’t I have that he wants?”

      Based on your description, he doesn’t want a partnership – he wants to control a woman’s thoughts and reactions to him like a puppeteer. If this guy were dating Miss World, he’d get to work on breaking her spirit in just the same way – by checking out Miss Universe and making sure she notices etc.

      This tendency to compare yourself unfavorably sounds to me like it’s partly due to the effects of this guys’ operant conditioning. Such men move on when their manipulations don’t work so well. Take his “rejection” is a sign of health that you are resilient, no defective.

      • Sofia says:

        hand_turkey, no he didn’t want a partnership although he claimed for months he did but he still needed more time to see if I am the One, and then he found out I am not the One.

        I agree. Even Miss Universe will not be good enough eventually because he would have to work on a partnership. It takes work to adjust/compromise/relate/be patient.

        Since I hit my 30s I rarely if ever compared myself to other women. Yes, I noticed that others had this or that, but I didn’t react because I thought, so what, I have my own great qualities and I am unique. I am only one like this. That’s why it is even so more unbelievable that this person wrecked my self-esteem this much to the point where I started doubting myself. Wow. He is a quiet, intelligent, witty, charming one. Gradually, teasingly but surely eroded my confidence while telling me that I take everything too personally while he is just expressing his opinion. Take it easy, he would say. His rejection is a blessing. I do have clarification days more and more often.

        Thank you, hand_turkey. You really made my day. Helps so much to see someone’s perspective. I feel like I am going crazy sometimes.

        • hand_turkey says:

          Me too. I’m about to turn 33 and there was some shift from 30 to now where I keep feeling more and more secure. I hear you!

          You’re not going crazy. You just didn’t know that your “partner” was playing a very different game, though he did.

          • Sofia says:

            hand_turkey, that’s the thing. I just now started realizing he was playing a game. Up until just recently I believed he was innocent and just stopped loving me at some point. I even remember maybe talking to you couple months ago saying, “what if he is just not into me? ” I don’t think that anymore. Those who are NOT into you, will figure it out pretty quickly. It doesn’t take more than few dates to figure out pretty quickly that something is not clicking. It doesn’t take a year to check out saying we are incompatible.

            Yes, 30s ( I am 36) is when a lots of teenage thinking finally is being polished into mature, productive, self-loving thoughts. Drastic difference. However, now, with these changes in me in the past 4 months, I can’t even believe who I was 2 months ago or even one month ago. I feel I am changing with every week. All for the better. Great age, great timing. Thank you, Natalie and all the great people on this board.

            • hand_turkey says:

              “I can’t even believe who I was 2 months ago or even one month ago.”

              People like to say that time heals all wounds – not necessarily so.

              A person can rapidly change when they hear and understand the truth. “If the [truth] sets you free, you will be free indeed” – Jesus

              • hand_turkey says:

                … that is, when you hear the truth, whether it’s a math equation that you need to move forward with a project, or directions to the closest road when you’re lost in the woods, or the latest blog post here of Natalie’s – when you hear the truth and recognize it as such, its effect is like the opening of a cage. It undoes the lies that we or someone wanted us to believe.

                • Sofia says:

                  Absolutely. Only I wonder why there are days and even weeks I feel that I see all the truth and then there are 3-4 days like now that it hits from nowhere that I miss him and am still grieving. Maybe not enough time has gone by. 3,5 months. I do know it’s getting progressively better of course. That gives me hope that I will pass this. Just need to be patient with the process and keep on pressing forward. Hear the truth, recognize the truth and keep it in mind all the time and not let the rosy sweet although short-lived memories to take place of the reality and the truth.

              • Sofia says:

                I agree with you. Time might not heal all the wounds but it certainly changes us for the better for ourselves if we see the truth. Or choose to see the truth. Nice quote.

    • Louise says:

      It’s all games, it’s all indeed abuse and like it has been said, it’s all tactics to stop you from seeing him as he really is, which is …a very insecure, full of nothing bloke, grasping at straws x

      Loved this post Nat.

      • Sofia says:

        Thank you, Louise. Amazing how blind I was though at the time and why I didn’t see any flaws in him!!!

        You also think it was an abuse! Wow, that’s an eye-opener for me. Hand_turkey thinks so too. I must have been really blind and am seeing things more clearly now as time goes by. It’s hard to understand all at once, little by little things are becoming more clear and transparent. That he, although attractive, had major insecurity issues. Because no healthy adult in his/her right mind and good confidence, will pick on another person or point out their particular traits or features that are not “perfect.” People who have major issues with themselves pick on others. That’s so true. And what I said made me think that I must have issues with my self-worth too if I allowed this treatment for long. The tricky part was that it never felt like it was an abuse because it was not frequent and very subtle and yet mixed with his nice actions. It was not a straight-forward AC behavior.

  24. Peanut says:

    rachael,

    I love you.

    That is insanely brilliant. Today is a crap day but your shennanigans brightened my day.

    I used to put a lot of money into my appearance: tanning, blonde hair, exercise (ick), waxing (ouch), makeup, makeup…ohhh so much makeup, contacts, tight frilly clothes, etc…

    I got sooo much attention. I was constantly told how pretty I was and how I looked liked Barbie.

    The problem is I wasn’t thinking of who these compliments were coming from. I respected none of these people who gave me attention.

    The truly handsome, quality men wanted nothing to do with me.

    Now?

    I am me. I spend a lot of money on my education, bills, etc. That and my health are my top priorities. I developed severe acne a few years ago and now I simply wear makeup to cover that up.

    I acknowledged that if you put me in a dress, I might throw things (hate hate hate dresses). I refuse to get a haircut much less bleach it.

    I make weird art, watch anime and eat good food. Lots of it. If my ass grows, I get bigger pants.

    I wear glasses now, have sleepy eyes (insomnia), and am usually cranky and itchy from bug bites (long story) and too much caffeine.

    I still get cat calls to which I reply, “Fuck Off.” (Not good-know I need to work on that).

    My point, in which I took a very narcissistic route to get there, is people who value only surface pretty are shallow and can only waste our time.

    What the general population/media outlets in the western worl generally accept as beautiful is stupid, vapid, and boring.

    I bet you are so much better than that.

    • rachael says:

      Peanut,

      I have worn a dress once in the last ten years… and on that night, the ex was so sorry he treated me as he did!
      NEVER wear make up.
      I have not been to the hairdresser in as long. My son cuts my hair!
      I just ate 10 KFC Wicked Wings and they were AMAZING. Confessed to me son and he said “you’re a fattie” :)

      • Lilia says:

        Peanut & Rachael
        Me too! I never ever wear makeup now (except when I have a choir presentation), don´t go to the hairdresser but cut my hair myself. I stopped wearing contact lenses because I developed something called blepharitis and now I just put on glasses.

        There is no way we can look the way society demands us to look. I´ve been thin for years, and I got all these comments about not having enough boobs. Then, when I put on some weigth, I get to hear I have something of a belly and a bit more but still not enough boobs. I refuse to get implants, though.

        When I was 15 orso, and upset because everyone had a boyfriend except me (or so it seemed), my parents came up with the excellent advise of Well you should wear some more makeup, then, and get a perm (this was in the 80s). It makes me really sad now, to remember this.

  25. Peanut says:

    Nat Lue,

    You are the baddest B around!! ;)Xx

  26. Mirror of My Faces says:

    Yes, “feelings do pass,”, but it’s in the passing of those feelings that I sometimes experience great pain. It’s the pain. It’s today’s pain mixed with childhood pain, mixed with …, and all of ‘it’ needs to heal, and it doesn’t heal just because it passes. No, it keeps circling back to me.

    I’ve tried to release it; I’ve released it. I’ve moved on from it…forgotten it, expressed it, but it won’t be forgotten. It wants to be remembered. It wants to be heard, understood, acknowledged, owned,….

    A couple of days ago, I was simply cleaning up my email, and something triggered something inside of me, and I became angry for no apparent reason. Someone came into the room, and I snapped at the person, and I don’t even know why, and, I said, “I feel angry, and I don’t know why,” and the person just looked at me like wtf? And, I said, “I’m not angry with you; I was just sitting here, and I started itching for
    no reason, but I don’t feel an itch anywhere on my skin, and then I felt angry, but I wasn’t angry,” and then I felt this sharp sensation of anger. It was more than just feeling angry. It hurt mentally inside my brain, actual physical pain.

    But that pain was mild compared to this deep dark pain I felt one day during an activation. I said, “Nobody ever takes my side!” and I released this deep dark pain. It was from a part of me, which rests beneath ‘myself’. It felt like the real me, the one who hides in the shadows, unmasked. And, it scared me, and I thought maybe I should be sitting in a therapist’s office right now because I don’t know if I can handle these feelings.

    But then I think, maybe this pain just feels traumatic
    because I’m new to the experience; I’ve blocked it for so long.

    I guess this is what they mean by walking through the pain. It doesn’t feel like walking, more like releasing, and lather, rinse, repeat, and praying for signs of the bottom of the bowl.

    But, pre-my healing journey, I would have been cleaning up my email, probably would have made ten trips to the kitchen, escaped into mindless TV before finally getting started on the task at hand. The same person would have walked into the room, and I would have snapped at them, and thought nothing of it, other than, sheesh, this person really gets on my nerves. I need some more pretzels. Or, I just would have been sitting around sucking on candy.

    • Tee Tee says:

      Reading part of your comment and some others up top made me think of this >> Healing occurs through testimony,through gathering together everything available to you and reconciling. —bell hooks, Sisters of the Yam <<

      But, without first testifying, we can't heal or move on.
      Of course, the testifying part, some people stay ruminating. It's the reconciling that is tricky.
      It takes time, and might take a slip or two to get the basic hang of it. Self recovery is serious work and self care should be done and stock taken to check in with our selves. Especially when going through turbulent times.

      But, it gets better i wanted to say to you! There's another apt quote on not blocking feelings by Alice Walker, it is way longer than this one ^^ I don't know it off head yet! But, i will try and come back and share it with you!

    • RP says:

      like a good friend once told me, just let it go! you are a whole different animal :)

      • Mirror of My Faces says:

        RP,

        Thank you, but I’m not sure, I know what you mean.

        I’ve tried to detach from the pain after releasing it, but it always comes back via triggers/activation, and/or free floating anxiety.

        I try not to hold back when I release it, but I have to hold back some of the intensity because it feels like a ‘psychotic’ break, whatever that feels like.

      • Star says:

        I’ve found myself comparing and beating myself over my ex’s girlfriend. I know I did the right thing by leaving the relationship when he started seeing her before we even broke up.

        What is troubling to me though, is that the same woman and I was seeing the same guy years ago, out of that relationship, she had a child with the guy I was I was also seeing and even then I stayed. I was in my twenties

        Fast forward now to last year, here it is that this woman has resurfaced. It felt like deja vu all over again and brought all my old painful feelings of the past.

        I keep thinking why her again?? I left my now ex because I didn’t want to share again. But never did I expect for this.

        I am still hurting/healing,and now have taken up with all these comparisons with her, telling myself she’s better, this is who he now loves etc etc

        I was doing ok and now have slipped into this destructive pattern.

        • Stephanie says:

          Look at it from this perspective – He is a lying, cheating jerk and you had enough sense to opt of the madness. The other woman chose to stay even though she knows he no good. Who do you think made a smarter decision? Certainly not her! Start seeing him for what he is and realize he was not prize and that there was a reason him and girl broke up int he first place! I know it doesn’t feel like now, but you made the right choice. Smile

  27. Mehelda says:

    Peanut….shouting “Fuck off” to cat calls; that’s the only thing that’s made me smile, let alone laugh today, so thank you!
    I too have almost never worn a dress in my entire life, hardly any make up…and I cut my own hair (yes..it is noticeable, especially the fringe) but I digress. My problem is aspiring to be like others emotionally, and comparing my responses within relationships to the way “healthy” women do! I despair at my inadequate strength, and core esteem, (although, since I found BR and virtually met you ladies on here, I am finding ways to work on this!)Why do I fall so hard for obvious twats? Why do I take so long to get over them? Other women I know personally don’t, and If I hear “Get a grip” or “Just forget about him” thrown at me in insensitive and flippant terms one more time….
    It feels so superficial; like no one can be bothered to feel feelings, or acknowledge that relationships run much deeper than this. I hope I’m making sense? Anyhoo I kinda think that comparisons are redundant…we are who we are, and I’m learning to accept that more everyday; THIS has been just one of the lessons from the breakup. Two weeks NC. Today has been difficult, but I know now from reading this site, that it’s NORMAL, and not everyone heals at the same speed, or feels at the same level. This has helped enormously, as I try to live in a world that seems often uncaring towards the broken hearted.
    But dammit I’m lovely…even if I’m not perceived as “successful” within the small community I live, and even if I can’t walk in heels (except like a pigeon).
    First time posting, but been reading a while. You are all so inspirational, and I don’t feel so alone anymore x

    • rachael says:

      Mehelda,

      “… comparing my responses within relationships to the way “healthy” women do!”

      Nobody has arrived… we are all a work in progress. And while you work on your progress, STRUT

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Mehelda

      I’m like you! “Why do I fall so hard for obvious twats? Why do I take so long to get over them?”.

      I’d love to know too! I give these ‘twats’ the time of day when other women would have walked far, and quickly, in the opposite direction.

      But don’t berate yourself for taking as long as you need to heal. A supposed ‘friend’ of mine said something of that sentiment to me, after the EUM last year. We now no longer talk (the “friend”). She said ‘why do you care so much? It was only a few months.’

      It’s important to remember that everyone heals at his or her own pace.

      Best of luck to you. And of course you’re lovely. You’re a BR reader!

      Nel

  28. Peanut says:

    rachael,

    Your son sounds positively awesome ;) Xx

  29. Mehelda says:

    Nel and Racheal,
    Thank you for your replies, I can’t tell you how relieved I feel to know I’m not a social “basket case” because I don’t view things/relationships/emotions as my so called “friends” do! Looking for validation?…..well..of course I am, but at least it’s not from my pain source; and I do hope eventually to provide this for myself…..never easy when you’ve never done it, but I’ve learned so much on here and from you ladies, so thank you…and I wish you all love x (also working on the strutting!!)

  30. Lioness says:

    I so needed to read this! I suspect the guy i’m interested in is with someone (he seems to be interested in me too and if he’s not single was not exactly forthcoming- can we say EUM?), and as soon as she popped up, I also had a brief spiral into insecurity and comparison land. I have come a long way since going no contact with a narcissist over a year ago, and starting to dip my toe into the dating pool again. With this guy I saw the facebook (damn you, social media), looked at the profile for a good few minutes, wondering WHY her and not me? I recently read Nat’s article that deals with that whole thing and I came back from the brink. I have now unfollowed his fb, am keeping my distance (code amber) and keep away from both of their profiles. I really don’t need to expose myself to all that for the sole purpose of tearing myself down. I don’t need to compare myself with her, and nothing good will come of it. Remembering that is stopping me from going on a downward spiral, and carrying on with my life in a happy and healthy way!

  31. Nat Attack says:

    This post is absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much. I feel like you could write an entire book about it.

    I have had difficulty with this issue on and off for years. It’s something that I really struggle with, and I keep trying to find ways to deal with it. I compare myself most often to friends. My comparisons start to take on a nearly paranoid, irrational, and nutty quality. For example, if I hear that a good friend has achieved success in a project similar to mine, than I think, “Well, that means I won’t now.” Somehow, in my mind, if they “win” then I will inevitably “lose.” However, the logic doesn’t work the other way around. If I “win”, i.e. achieve some sort of success, I in no way think that that precludes my friend from also succeeding in his/her own endeavors.

    I have been a little bit worried lately that a friend of mine, who is working on a project similar to mine, will publish his work first, which is likely, because he doesn’t have a day job, and that will mean people won’t be interested in mine if I ever get around to completing it. I know that I must stop this type of thinking, because it is damaging to myself and to my relationships. I know that the real fear isn’t about my friend, but about myself. I am scared that I will fail. I am scared that all my effort and the sacrifices I made will come to nothing. I am scared that I am not capable of completing my project. I am scared that people will not appreciate it/me. I know that until I address my underlying fears, my envy will keep surfacing. It’s not enough to say, “Stop it, Nat Attack, don’t be jealous. That’s awful.” I need to confront the fear directly. How to do that is the main issue…

    I need to approach my project out of love for the work itself, and not as a means to success. Whenever I approach the work out of love, I remember why I do this in the first place, I believe in the work again, it becomes a pleasure. It makes me feel connected to the world and who I am. It’s a form of prayer. I’ve worked this way before…

    • rachael says:

      Nat Attack,

      I appreciate your insights. Perhaps the ‘fear’ is protecting you. For example fear of failure can be about protecting yourself from shame/embarrassment/criticism… . That you use fear to achieve these ends may not be helpful, but appreciating ‘fears’ efforts to achieve that end may be a way to move forward?

      And yes, life isn’t about the goal… process is where the experience lays

      • Nat Attack says:

        Rachael,
        Thank you for your response, and I think you’re on to something here. Yes, fear of the unknown is something I’ve grappled with for years. Lately, I’ve just been trying to be more comfortable saying I don’t know what’s going to happen, as opposed to reaching for my “I will fail” security blanket. This applies to absolutely everything. Instead of saying, “I’m going to be alone forever and turn into a crazy nutty cat lady,” I say, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, and it’s exciting!” It’s a fun process, but I’m prone to relapses into old patterns, since I’m new to this type of thinking that embraces uncertainty.
        Oh well, I’ll just try to enjoy the ride as best as I can.
        Thanks again for your response. It’s always wonderful and insightful to get feedback on my thoughts.

        • Mirror of My Faces says:

          Nat Attack and Rachael,

          Thanks for sharing. I think fear is protecting me. I have a fear of the outcome too. When I was a child, I always had to fear the outcome.

          Sometimes, I design a solid action plan, and then refuse to implement it out of fear of the outcome, and then I double back and implement it when things start to go ‘bad,’ waiting until the last minute when I feel as if I have no choice, so I’m more confident in the decision. Hmmm, I guess that’s why I sometimes procrastinate. I can see how I’m cushioning failure as well. I hate putting months and months of work into something, and then watching it fail. If I do it at the last minute, I can always shame ME for waiting until the last minute; thus, I cushion the failure because I can always say, “Well, I didn’t do my best work because I waited until the last minute. If I’d started on time, ….”

          (I used to use fear as motivation, but I stopped trying to scare myself into getting started on my work, not a very nice thing to do to me, especially when I have anxiety issues, lol…catastrophizing….)

          On the other hand, I usually over prepare, way ahead of time, staying ten steps ahead, because it lowers my anxiety, and I can be quite meticulous, intense, dedicated, and obsessive when I work; no mistakes–perfection…again focusing on the outcome…not always a ‘bad’ thing, but at some point I think I need to let go of it.

          …and….

          • rachael says:

            In primary school, Mirror, I had a couple of wonderful male teachers, who implemented a report system that was better than the old A, B, C, D system. The old system focused on results. Rewarded success. It fell down in acknowledging the process. The new system gave credit in two areas “A” and “E”. So in Math, I would receive a B in Achievement (“A”) and an A in Effort (“E”). I felt proud of my efforts after this and the system never left me.

            • rachael says:

              and THANK YOU Nat Attack, Mirror and Natalie, for enabling me to share and relive this experience because in the telling I get to feel the positive effects of said experience more strongly. Thank you x

              • rachael says:

                both of you, SELF SABOTAGE is in my opinion a way to control the emotional situation. It puts the power into YOUR hands. If you try your best and ‘fail’, it is due to YOUR choices, not your worth. It seems you both make it about your worth due to past experience.

                • Nat Attack says:

                  Yes, Rachel. I internalized too much criticism from my mother when I was a child. And I internalized too much negativity from my last relationship. It’s sad, but I can’t go on living my life reacting to the past. (And my mother isn’t the same mother anymore; she’s done a good job of addressing her issues and living a positive life.)
                  I want to give myself freedom to make mistakes and fail. I am happiest and do my best work when I live this way…Tonight I feel a nice distance from my comparison binge of a few days ago…It’s a happy feeling…

                  Mirror, I think meticulousness and obsessive planning can be positive attributes, totally. And it means that you care about your work. But I can also identify with your desire to let go. Sometimes being spontaneous and flexible can also lead to very good work. Pleasure is so important! I’m trying to add pleasure to every aspect of my life. So far, so good.

  32. Lauren says:

    “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde.

  33. Mirror of My Faces says:

    Judging oneself and others is not a good idea, OK Natalie, I’m starting to get the wisdom in only “judging the situation.”

    When I hear other people judging other people, I deem them arrogant, or …, …, but then I’ve just judged them instead of judging the situation.

    When I judge and shame ME, I’m not showing myself any compassion. Yes, I think I’m trying to protect ME, but it’s a really harsh, twisted ‘parenting’ of self…, which leads to a feeling of both conditional ‘like’ and ‘love,’ which leads to “not good enough”…”not worthy.” And of course, this method is the same method used by my parents, siblings, and ….

    … old tapes….

    And when I judge other people, I’m doing the same thing.

    OK, got it. :)

    Hmmmm, so if I’m always judging ME and others in every situation, I’m making it about the people instead of the situation; thus, I could be taking things personally, and delivering things personally to others, … er, making it about ME or them, instead of understanding what is really happening in the present.
    …clouding my judgment…affecting my ability to think clearly,…take effective action….

  34. Mirror of My Faces says:

    Natalie,

    You seem to have mastered a level of conciousness or mindfulness, where you can release the feelings of your younger self; observe what is happening; enforce boundaries with your inner critic (ego programming); treat yourself with compassion, and try to understand why you do the things you do; and reach some type of resolve. And when I first read this article, you made it sound so easy, almost like, although it required some effort, you could do it while chewing gum, and “hopping on one leg and doing the bad thang.”

    I couldn’t relate to your process because at the time I hadn’t owned my ability to control my own mind. Nor did I recognize the different parts of me, and how these parts interact with one another–my internal conflict.

    When I’m activated, I still can’t always create the necessary headspace to intervene; I’m being overwhelmed by super quick thoughts, and floods of emotion. I usually only muster hindsight.

    But, I think the other day, when, I told that guy I wasn’t angry with him, but, I felt angry, but I wasn’t angry, well, it was a start in the right direction. I felt the feelings, and released them, and I knew it didn’t have anything to do with the present. I was controlling my mind–ha! But that made me feel ‘out of sorts.’ I got confused, er, growing pains. Sheesh. The only thing is I couldn’t figure out where those feelings were coming from: I don’t know what younger self; I don’t know what situation.

    That’s a lie; I do know: I’m ashamed to say I was beating myself up for not practing the piano last week, which is something I’ve been trying to do, so much so that I put it on my Google calendar, and it sends me reminders. The shame comes from my perceived inability to stick to anything. I don’t want anybody to know how much I struggle with sticking to something, practicing. I feel like I don’t succeed in that area, but it isn’t true. I’m super busy in my professional and personal life, and it is utterly ridiculous for me to feel bad about the fact that I can’t squeeze my piano lessons in, but as I write this my younger self still feels bad, and now my inner critic is telling me
    I need to manage my time better, and I’m sitting here thinking there is some truth to that, OK, gotta go breathe….

    Thank you for sharing Natalie! :) :) :)

    • rachael says:

      Again, Mirror, brilliant reflections. I appreciate you sharing. Love your honesty. Keep it up :)

      • rachael says:

        Mirror,

        You might see comment to Nat Attack, above. Possibly ‘shame’ is protecting you?

        • Mirror of My Faces says:

          Rachael,

          Thank you.

          Yes, you are correct; shame is protecting me.
          That makes perfect sense. Hmmm….

          • rachael says:

            Mirror,

            I know a girl who was so criticised by her father as a child, she learned to do it herself so that he couldn’t hurt her anymore. Today she struggles with hating herself due to self criticism. Her coping tool has become her enemy. Shame too, could operate this way.
            Also, shame can be used as a nasty sort of motivator. Her purpose being to get you to do what it is in order to gain the approval of others. Sometimes logically we know we are cutting it in life, but the “younger you” (as you call her) still believes you are not good enough. She relies on controlling the opinions of others about her value to convince herself she IS good enough. Shame of self is used to achieve that end.

            • rachael says:

              correction

              Her purpose being to get you to do what is “needed” in order to gain the approval of others.

  35. […] time last week, I shared that I was coming out of a meltdown of sorts. I’d listened to the opening keynote speaker at my friend’s conference and in my […]

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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!