Being kind to you and expressing your feelings to safe people, shrinks loneliness

When we stop expressing how we feel, we lose, not only that all vital connection to ourselves, but we also end up feeling lonely due to a lack of emotional connection with people who are theoretically in our Circle of Trust. We fear that if we’re honest, that they won’t want to know us, will be angry, or will tell us that we’re wrong, so we don’t express our feelings and opinions as we don’t trust them to handle them.

It’s a vicious circle.

Something similar happens when we determine that we’re not liked, which may not be a statement of fact but more a statement of our perception, which will be skewed by any unhealthy beliefs. Of course, if we believe that we’re not liked then this will stop us from forging intimate relationships, because we’ll fear allowing a person to get close enough that they might know us and find something to dislike. In turn, low intimacy results in feeling lonely and we then judge that loneliness and feel disliked and unlikeable. And round and round we go.

We forget that we’re not our emotions. Feeling sad doesn’t make us a ‘loser’ or ‘bad’, or even inadequate, and we’re not going to be in a position to feel better if we keep judging us for having feelings. Feeling sad is actually a cue to take care of ourselves – to be kinder to us, to reflect, to seek support. Severing emotional connections doesn’t help.

I remember when I was leading a very secretive life. It wasn’t just when I was with the guy with the girlfriend although that was the worst of it; I got into the habit of being secretive about what was going on in my relationships and also within me, because I was afraid that I was going to get the eye roll that said, “Here we go again” but I was even more afraid of what some of my choices and what was going on, said about me, plus I just did not know how to articulate the deep sadness and anger I felt. I wasn’t used to my feelings and opinions being valid and associated honesty and ‘being myself’, with loss and rejection.

Truth be told, this habit of being secretive had started in my teens when I would try to hide how bad things were at home and would pretend that everything was A-OK. It took me a long time to realise that I’d also subconsciously gotten into the habit of distancing myself from People Who Knew Too Much. I felt ashamed and would project this onto them – this was my lonely habits of thinking and behaviour. I had lots of friends and a number of very close friendships and yet, there was only so far that I allowed these people in. The way I felt about me as well as my romantic relationships, was casting me adrift from my relationships. I felt lonely – something that most people would not associate with me – and that only started to recede when I gradually stopped being secretive but also stopped judging me for, well, being human. My relationship with me and others dramatically improved and those fears that had dictated my life were proved wrong. It was unfair for me to base my self-esteem on past mistakes, my background, my exes etc, not least because I didn’t judge my nearest and dearest for the same.

If you don’t like you, this affects your intimate relationship with you, and then you do things that result in self-abandonment, which prompts loneliness, which can make the initial swooping attentions of a toxic person very attractive. That sense of loneliness and just feeling as if there’s something wrong with you, distorts your feelings, especially because in not giving you love, care, trust, and respect, any ‘ole person can come along and showboat with their crumbs and it will still look like more than what you’re doing for you, and so you’ll feel increasingly reliant on this person and they will appear ‘great’ because they’re out of context. If your intimate relationship with you improved, they wouldn’t have a grip on you.

When you’re treated without love, care, trust, and respect, you feel disliked and also unsafe, which leads to protective behaviour, so your intimacy shrinks further, you then feel even more lonely and respond to this with your typical thoughts and actions, and round and round The Disappointment Cycle goes.

And of course the irony is, you can’t form truly intimate relationships with people who don’t treat and regard you with love, care, trust, and respect, because being emotionally honest will leave you unsafe. Toxic people also tend to bulldoze through your existing relationships and commitments so that they can have more influence and control – it’s how you end up feeling isolated, dependent, and shamed.

Loneliness can be a vicious circle because it happens when we stop expressing our feelings, but then we may associate expressing our feelings with negative consequences. When we learn to be more self-compassionate but to also recognise unhealthy people and situations, it’s a lot easier to get a sense of who the safe people are in our lives.

Don’t express your fears and worries to people who detract from your sense of self (they leave you feeling drained and even use what you express against you), and don’t waste your time trying to convince them of your position or justifying your feelings.

If you want the loneliness to recede and to also forge deeper connections, you can’t pretend that you’re not a person in your own right and you have to start allowing you the right to have and express your feelings and opinions. Start by finding two safe people – you and one other person who you will talk honestly and openly about what you’re going through. It will help you to put things into perspective. Treat and regard you as you do others. The moment you stop judging you and allow you to be human, you’re freed of the burden of projecting your perception onto others, or taking what they do and say and seeing it as confirmation of negative beliefs.

Your thoughts?


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197 Responses to Loneliness happens when we stop expressing how we feel and lose emotional connections (The importance of self-care and safe people)

  1. overit says:

    “we are not our emotions”. Thanks Natalie.

    • Sally-Stress-Head says:

      Yep, thanks Natalie: I forget this a great deal. I need to keep a healthy distance between ME and my feelings. I identity with my feelings because it took me such of a long time to feel them, but I think Misa was correct; I have to be mindful of the feelings being triggered by my past. The feelings are mine, and I still want to release them, but, at the same time, I don’t want them to consume or confuse ME, or cause me to misdirect them at …while I’m activated– not always easy, but doable.

    • rachael says:


      when i place faith in beliefs that are frankly, sh_t ones, sh_t emotions are the result. no, they are not me.

    • Karen says:

      That was beautifully written, Natalie, almost like poetry.
      I really appreciate how you approach a topic in several different ways, so everyone eventually gets the point.

      When you wrote:

      “If you don’t like you, this affects your intimate relationship with you, and then you do things that result in self-abandonment, which prompts loneliness, which can make the initial swooping attentions of a toxic person very attractive,”

      …you managed to describe my last relationship to a tee in less than 50 words. Well done.

  2. Lauren says:

    This is all very true. I find it really hard to like myself and I’ve often felt ashamed opening up about my feelings and shut down. I have often been accused of shutting people out but when I’ve confided in them before, they try their best but I don’t feel that they get me or my situation. I have friends who are great people but I feel even more alone when I open up to them because they say things that make me feel worse. I crave emotional intimacy and I know the place to start is me. I try to look after myself and treat myself well but I still don’t like myself even though I’m not doing anything wrong and I don’t know how to change that. I’m hoping that if I keep trying, things will change eventually but it’s very lonely in this place so I hope it changes soon!

    • Sofia says:

      Lauren, do you have one close friend you can trust? One person who will take you the way you are? “Wrong” or “right”? I used to have that person, my girlfriend of 23 years… But then in the last months things changed so much. I don’t talk to her about my heartbreak anymore, what’s bothering me, and also about my spiritual journey I have been through in the last couple months. It’s sad to lose a close friend. However, I found another. I go to the church and made a new friend, and I trust her. She talks about her fears, I talk about mine.

      If you don’t have a close friend, please post here. We will listen and help you as much as we can.

    • rachael says:

      Lauren, you are perfect JUST AS YOU ARE. You don’t NEED to change, but CAN if you want to. It seems to me that nobody ever gave you a hearing and you have responded by not letting people in. That’s looking after yourself! Find someone who does not judge and gives a sh_t enough to actually listen :)

    • Sally-Stress-Head says:


      I understand what you mean. You aren’t alone. Maybe you should think about therapy or a good support group. I attended a support group, and I remember how good it felt to find people who shared similar concerns as me. Healing journeys take time, and everyone’s journey is different, so try to be patient with yourself. Hang in there; it is doable.

      Also, stick with BR. Honestly, I’ve benefited the most from this community. Natalie has been a true gift to me, and BR is amazing. …. Maybe you should check out her Self-esteem Course, or some of her other offerings. Keep trying different forms of help, don’t give up, and eventually you will find the ‘right’ type of help. Oh, one more thing, keeping a feelings journal might also help. I dunno what you’ve tried, so….

      • rachael says:


        You COULD think about therapy or a good support group. There is nothing you SHOULD do. That thinking generates guilt and shame x

        • Karen says:

          atta girl! 😉

        • Sally-Stress-Head says:

          I said “Maybe” she should think about a support group or therapy. It was a suggestion, not a proclamation.

          And as for your perspective on my thinking, how is that not the biggest “should” in the world?

          Don’t get it twisted; I really don’t like it when people put their words in my mouth.

          • rachael says:


            I see you feel uncomfortable.

            I don’t like it when people put words in my mouth either. Happens though.

            My final comment was a generalised statement about ‘shoulding on yourself’, not a comment about YOUR thinking. I have no clue what you think, Sally.

            In my opinion, the ‘maybe’ makes the should simply more subtle. I still see the word ‘should’ as containing a value judgment about the person to whom it is used.

            Was trying to help Lauren, not twist your words.

  3. A says:

    I have one very closed off parent and another very critical one. I learned pretty early that I wasn’t allowed to have conversations about anything even vaguely relating to feelings or emotions. I would either be met with silence or be yelled at. I definitely found myself trying to convince and justify my feelings to the critical parent, and re-played this scenario with the AC.

    I don’t open up to many friends, and in particular, I essentially do not tell anyone about my family of origin because I feel that I will be judged. I don’t have a relationship with one parent, and I have found that many people think this is inherently wrong, that I must want/try to “make it better”, and I assume that others will judge me as damaged for it.

    The fact that this parent drove me away by being angry, critical, spiteful, and completely lacking is empathy is not my fault and I don’t want this aspect of my life to be a basis on which others judge me. As I write this, I realize that I also don’t tend to mention my humble beginnings, even though I’m proud of the fact that what I’ve accomplished in life is the result of my own ambition, intelligence, and efforts. Again, I don’t know how many people would see it this way, and how many would use the information to categorize me in some way.

    • happy b says:

      A, I think it can happen that people think they’re being helpful by trying to look on the bright side and will glibly advise you to ‘just make more effort, just accept them, we all have difficult families’ etc, when it feels like an attack on your character and that they’re trivialising something much deeper.
      But it’s so common to come from broken homes, to find people who don’t speak to their siblings etc. No one should judge you and if they do, they’re not worth knowing.
      My problem was that my lack of family support left a huge void so I would look to others for answers and guidance, one of the loneliest things was to realise I’m no one’s priority, they all have more important people in their lives. But now I take this as a source of strength. I tell people my story if it comes up, but the important thing is that it’s not for sympathy like it used to be. Oddly, I’m surrounded by people with histories of alcoholic or abusive parents in my profession.
      I think you should open up to friends about it because not far into friendship people talk about parents etc and otherwise you’re not your true self. Don’t be defensive, stand your ground. There are so many like you and is they say something glib, just say, ‘of course I would try to make it better if I could but for some people, it sadly isn’t an option..’ It’s the effect of parents etc. telling you your feelings are wrong and shutting you down, I’ve been there and it does make us defensive but we can move past it.

      • A says:

        Thanks, happy b.

        I agree, I think most people just don’t get it.

        Interesting point about becoming defensive because our parents didn’t acknowledge our feelings. It does bother me if my bf tries to defend my parent or provide alternate explanations for various things I’ve complained about – I think because I’m accustomed to my family blaming me for refusing to accept my parent’s unacceptable behaviour. It feels like I’m being told again that I’m wrong, and it bugs me that he can’t just let it be what it is – my stories are not positive ones because that’s the reality of the situation.

        He knows the story but I feel as though I shouldn’t really discuss these things with him (mind you, it doesn’t come up often), since unfortunately I don’t think he can truly understand, and his responses upset me.

        • rachael says:


          men are not good at just listening, they are compelled to ‘solve’ things. ask him to not try to solve it… just listen. he will probably find this very weird at first

          • happy b says:

            rachael, that’s hit a nerve! One of my housemates does this, always tries to tell me what I should do if I mention something that was vexing or annoying in the ‘how was your day’ conversations. Sounds totally harmless, but considering I have more knowledge and experience than him in the things I discuss, it sounds like he thinks I’m not capable of handling things myself. It turns a light, funny anecdote, like ‘can you believe this happened?!’ into some long patronising ‘advice’ that gets me edging towards the door. It’s chauvinistic and really brings out the angry feminist in me. I’ll live alone very soon and not have to whinge about these things so much!

          • R says:

            I am a male and I share A’s experience and sentiments.

            Without going in to (severe) details I grew up in a home where I felt unwelcome and any complaint was quickly labeled as overreacting.

            What I would’ve ultimately wanted was (sympathetic) direction and coaching (what women sometimes label men as having a lack of listening) because when I hear someone express a complaint it absolutely feels like abandonment if I don’t try to help that person.

            The only times it doesn’t feel like that are when the complaint seems minor, indirect or transient such as:
            • “I can’t believe how people are driving today!”
            • “At work today John he just kept asking me question after question about stuff we already figured out two weeks ago. Was he even listening!?”

            And on the other side of it if she says “I just got a flat.” she shouldn’t have to say “will you come help?” … it’s built in.

            So if women followed Rachael’s advice that would simply solve so very much. If a women said to me “Here’s a ground rule for us having wonderful communication. If I don’t ask for help, I actually don’t want help.”

        • happy b says:

          A, I think I’d find that hard. Being positive about things is about being truthful and dealing with it properly, not about saying things are/were ok when they’re not. I had years of guilt because I tried to tell family about my mum’s nasty behaviour and they’d tell me I was wrong, I think I’d be very sensitive to getting told I’m wrong again. It left me feeling like I had to prove to everyone I’m a decent person. I don’t know why he can’t support you in this, what you write is perfectly rational. It sounds like you’re standing your ground and I hope it doesn’t have the psychological effects I’ve mentioned.

          • Penelope-Pitt's-Thoughts says:

            Happy b,

            You are so freakin’ brilliant. I’m so glad you’re here sharing your wisdom.

            I think I’m defensive. Shite. :( Some things about me are really starting to make sense, though. :)


            Thanks for sharing!!

            • happy b says:

              Penelope, wow that’s so sweet, thank you :) I learned so much from Nat and BR. Those ugh moments are important, it can be cringeworthy to start recognising our own off behaviour but it’s the only way to heal, we can learn from it and move on.

            • Antsy says:

              Wow, a Penelope PitStop reference. You must be around my age group.

        • Angry Snowball says:

          Please excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude A; I know you’re ‘talking’ to Happy b; I just want to say: Thank you for sharing A. I feel like I ‘know’ what you mean because what you’re saying is really hitting me where I live. I’ve been told by some that I get really defensive at times, but from my point of view, it feels like, the other party isn’t listening to me or they don’t get it, and sometimes I think I do get disproportionately angry when someone hits a nerve. At times, I thought my ex threw things that I shared with him about my family in my face, sometimes eerily casually, and at other times with direct malicious intent. I dont know if it was unintentional or not now, but it felt like such a betrayal, and sometimes he really hurt my feelings, and I felt like shite.

          Funny though, he accused me of doing the same thing to him. He had childhoood issues of his own. Geesh, no wonder I have this strong desire to be listened to, and when an AC comes along with fake ear crumbs, and pretends to acknowledge my feelings, ughhh, it’s all bad. I need to chew on this, thanks for the help!

          Wow, I can really see how easy it can be to misjudge /misconstrue someone or something (situation) when you aren’t mindful of ….

      • moving on says:

        happy b…..when you said “to realise I’m no one’s priority”….”But now I take this as a source of strength”. How do you take it as a source of strength? I struggle with feeling lonely and knowing that all others in my life have their more important people.

        • happy b says:

          moving on, this was definitely one of the most scarring things and I think why I chose unavailable men, I’m so used to being unimportant that it feels very familiar.

          I think the main thing is to realise there is nothing less loveable about us than other people who either have very strong family support and/ or are in relationships. It’s my family’s failings, not mine, that left me isolated. My immediate family are now all male and all found women who they put first, but have co-dependency issues and are alcoholic/ very selfish. So when you look more closely, it’s better to be alone than stuck in an unhealthy relationship.

          The source of strength is to know I’ve earned all the love and support I get from others outside the family instead of it being a given, and to recognise it’s wonderful for them to be so kind, instead of focusing on what I’m missing and what is lost. Nat’s self esteem course also helped, learning to parent ourselves and have our own back instead of looking to friends/ men to do it. This makes us stronger and not reliant on one person who may not act in our best interests.

          • teachable says:

            “learning to parent ourselves and have our own back instead of looking to friends/ men to do it. This makes us stronger and not reliant on one person who may not act in our best interests.”

            This is a profuondly true statement Happy B. Well done at knowing it and living it.

            One of the most powerful gifts during my last three years of illness has been the physical isolation I have endured away from close friends for long periods of time (I have some distant family on the outer, but they too, do not live close by although I’ve made efforts to stay in touch because I value family deeply. I have no immediate healthy family members and have deliberately avoided unhealthy family members for much of my life; a much needed practise in self love and self preservation).

            Such (comparative) isolation for a person like me, who is naturally very outgoing and sociable, has taken my ability to validate, nurture and love myself, NO MATTER WHAT, to a whole new level. Interestingly, when faced with major life dilemnas I no longer to need to phone people even to ‘worskhop’ them or talk them through. Although it is lovely to be able to do this on occassion I no longer NEED to do it. Rather, I now have a much more self contained sense of emotional equalibrium. I am my own counsel (with input from professionals where appropriate re health issues, or in one case, if push comes to shove, a mentor I have worked with for over 20 years).

            I can honestly say that this has been the greatest gift I have ever experienced. A lot of self help type groups give people the impression that they need to run off to meetings all the time to get support for this that or the other, or to phone people, at the drop of a hat, when dealing with life curveballs. Not so. Emotionally mature people can do these sorts of things if they so choose, but also, have a strong capacity to validate THEMSELVES and to know what is right for them, without needing to bother others with their problems. Truely. 😉

            • Sofia says:

              teachable, I hope I will reach this point one day when I don’t have to contact my two-three close friends immediately when go through a rocky part in my life. I didn’t think of it as validating myself through their support and attention. Interesting… Made me think.

              • happy b says:

                Teachable, Sofia,
                I’m more like teachable here, I don’t call anyone if I feel low or lost, but I think a lot of that is upbringing and circumstances. As long as we can talk through things when we really need to and don’t hide our problems, it’s ok, and I know none of us do that here! I’ll ask friends when I have a dilemma but don’t tend to turn to them to comfort, I do that myself.
                It’s fine to lean on people too. Sofia, if you support those 2 friends just as much through rocky parts, it’s something to cherish.

                • Sofia says:

                  happy b, definitely! We support each other through bad and happy times. Motivating, encouraging, calming down. All those things. It’s friendship. I think it’s normal and I am lucky to have a supportive network of people. They have helped me so much through what I have been through and other times. I help them as well. Always there to listen, to help, to talk, to give a hug, to go out, whatever they need for help! It is something to cherish. I agree!!

              • teachable says:

                We may discuss things with a close friend or two Sofia, but once we reach a certain level of self acceptance, there is no longer a ‘need’ for other people to validate us.

                At the end of the day WE know what is best for us (most of the time) and talking to others hoping they can ‘fix things’ in some way is pointless.

                That said talking through issues calms certain brain areas which impact the central nervous system which is why we tend to feel relief after doing so.

                I read somewhere once that there is no point discussing a problem with someone who cannot do anything about the problem we are discussing with them.

                Taken literally this would be a bit harsh but bearing this in mind does help me to not drone on and on about my problems to people unless they are part of either the problem or solution.

                I just have a greater sense of self containment I think. It feels awesome to no longer have any need whatsoever to seek the counsel of others unless this is in a relationship specifically designed for that purpose (such as with a therapist). It’s MY life and I alone am responsible for how I choose to live.

                Support yes. But this can be had just by being in good company and listening to how others are truckin instead of talking about ourselves. :)

                • Sofia says:

                  teachable, I like your insight. I too notice that at a certain point I just should stop discussing a problem. I have to live it and make a decision for myself. Like now, that I made a decision to shut the door ( I did keep it ajar a bit 2,5 months past breakup, shame on me, I have to admit), I won’t discuss any of my pain with my friends anymore. I will bring up perhaps once in a while, but I am done. At a certain point, one does hit that limit where only you know what to do.

                  It is great that you have come to this conclusion that only you no longer need support of others. You are very wise! It is true, we are the only ones who drive our own lives. It’s up to us what to do, and we always do anyway. That’s why we learn on our mistakes. Otherwise, imagine, we would have to follow advice of our friends.

                  Listening more and talking less about ourselves is another wise advice from you as well.

                  I like reading your posts.

                  • Sofia says:

                    Oops, I put “only” where it doesn’t belong and doesn’t come out the right way in my sentence, “It is great that you have come to this conclusion that only you no longer need support of others.” I was thinking ahead and was about to write that we are the only ones ourselves to decide what to do. I am sure you understood me, just wanted to clarify:)

                    I need to learn to rely on myself more. I dump too much emotional stuff on other people. It’s wrong. I have to learn to change this. Just like I have been learning other things about boundaries and self-love, I have to learn to be ok by myself, to like myself, to not seek for validation from others, from feeling my feelings, explaining them to me, “making” a decision for me. Good old habits die hard. But it is true ultimately, you are the only person who is to decide what decision you are taking.

          • Sofia says:

            happy b, another perspective is to derive the source of strength from loving and giving to others. This is from a spiritual point of view and I am not quite there yet. Just learning.

            • happy b says:

              Sofia, I totally agree. When I was looking to friends to fill the void, I believed myself to be so damaged, that not only did I have nothing to offer, I somehow deserved sympathy from others, and was disappointed when I didn’t get it. I felt like life had been so unkind to me, that I was worthy of special treatment.
              The big realisation was that the world owes me nothing, and at the same time, our actions have consequences. I naturally started loving and giving more, being compassionate where before I’d been very critical of people, smiling at strangers, giving to the homeless, etc. When I texted or called friends, I’d stop hoping or expecting to get more out of them than they were willing or able to give. Sometimes I still hope for more, but I just accept when I don’t get it and don’t turn it into a judgement or them or me. It makes life so much better, I can hardly explain. Hard to get that balance, especially when we have to be so inward-looking on recovery, but I agree it’s an essential source of strength.

              • Sofia says:

                happy b, I too started to think of the balance, as I work on my boundaries I just realized that perhaps I want too much comfort and reassurance from my friends. I need to be able just to sit with my problem and pain myself too. It’s okay to share but you can’t fill your void with friends’ help. It’s great to have the help but you have to learn to cope on your own too. I am learning to do that and hopefully getting better. But the tendency to rely on others for comfort still remains. Like I can’t handle it alone. I have to share with at least one person or two. I don’t know whether it’s a problem or a good thing to be able to talk about your feelings. I think it’s good as long as there a balance. Share but don’t overwhelm them. They have their lives and problems too. I need to remember that. Balance by being supportive of them too, listen to their problems, give encouragement and help them.

                • happy b says:

                  Sofia, I gather you’re not far out of a break-up, from what I’ve seen elsewhere? I think we can allow ourselves to need people in rough times. I also know when I was leaning heavily on one friend, she didn’t think I was being half as annoying and selfish as I thought I’d been (she definitely would have told me!).
                  The key is that we don’t allow friends to define us or give us our sense of self. And we don’t see friends as people who have all the answers and don’t have their own needs and concerns. And even through this, friendships can last. The great thing about improving self esteem is that by giving more to ourselves and not losing ourselves to the wrong people, we have a lot more to give others, like happiness, experience, time, fun etc.

                  • Sofia says:

                    happy b, very true. Yes , I am just out of a relationship. 2,5 months. and he contacted me 3 days ago. I am crying and heartbroken all over because he reminded me of himself. Offered to meet if I am ready. Slap in the face. Reminding me he dumped me, let’s hang out as buddies now, if you are ready of course.

                    Yes, important to have balance. Don’t rely on your friends to help you recover from a breakup. Do lean on them, but you have to do your own work. Time will help us too. But it’s important to do your work. I have been feeling since his contact I recycled all emotions all over: Denial, bargaining, anger, rage, sadness, depression, acceptance and all over in short outbursts for three days in a row!!!! Luckily I read about grief process a lot and I see that recycling is possible at any stage of grieving especially if you get a surprise contact from them. So if any of you on the board goes through bargaining and denial again and you are NOT in the first 2-3 weeks of grieving but closer to 3rd month and the early signs come back, don’t worry. That’s normal too. Just 4 days ago I started experienced a very brief moment of acceptance after depression. I noticed that serene feeling and got so excited. But I remember reading that it comes on gradually. At first in short moments and then it will surround you more and more. But for now I have feelings all over again because of his contact.

                    I am trying to balance the time’s helping me and my own hard work. I know i need time yet I realize I have to work on my self to not spiral and recycle too long. It’s tricky, yet again, I am early still. I do think I will get better in couple – 3 months . I know I will.

                    • happy b says:

                      Sofia, sorry to hear this. What you say sounds right. It took me a long time to recover from my break-up 2.5 years ago. I’d get intensely angry at the mere mention of his name even 6 months afterwards, but when he contacted me after 9 months to test the water, I could reply with indifference and close down the dialogue without drama. Then it moved onto recovery from late childhood issues and now working on boundaries and fighting the instincts for unavailable men/crumb acceptance. But if that sounds hard, I never imagined I could be in such a great place emotionally, I thought I was simply a melancholy person and would always have periods of loneliness and emptiness, but no more.

                      I agree about that balance between time and hard work, also a balance of recognising and allowing feelings of sadness, and knowing when to push them away and distract yourself.

                    • Sofia says:

                      happy b, there was no Reply button under your post, so I am answering you by “answering” me:)

                      How long was your relationship?

                      I learned to realize that sometimes when I feel acceptance and relief and feel “wow, I am moving on,” that’s not it yet. And I calm myself down and say, it’s great I feel this way, but I might recycle all over. And that happened many times. One-two day I feel great relief. Other two days – sadness. In the last two days something great and new happened. I was finally ANGRY at him. And I am not an angry or hateful person, in fact, I read on the grieving process and realized that I hadn’t been properly angry yet. I knew it was an essential part of healing and thought that I got to express my anger somehow but I couldn’t. I figured that I buried it as my self-blame and guilt for “everything wrong I did to contribute to the breakup.” (Exactly childhood issues where I learned not to be angry at my unavailable alcoholic parents because a child can’t blame parents, he/she just blames himself/herself, so I never learned to express my anger healthily).

                      And finally yesterday ( I bet his contact triggered) I got so angry, I hit the pillow quite a few time and hit the shower wall couple times really hard and ran fast today to release my anger. I finally was able to release my anger and it was empowering. I am hoping I will be able to do more of it and feel through it all and let it go before I move to acceptance. It seems I went through all the stages almost even down to short glimpses of acceptance, but I knew anger was missing. We will see how it goes.

                      The truth is that the grieving process is not linear and doesn’t follow a predictable set of steps. It can vary and repeat itself all over several times before it’s completed. I am glad I read a lot on the subject and I recognize what I am feeling without being scared and knowing what to predict. I counsel myself!

                      He contacted you 9 months after! What did he want? What did you tell him? I see you were indifferent at that point. That’s so great. Someone told me, a friend from the church I go to, that 9 months is a commonly known period for spiritual healing. Approximately, not an exact measure of course. When the soul is healed from the worst wounds. Maybe not completely of course, but it is healed. The fresh wound is covered now with protection of time, wisdom, and suffering. It is sealed and guarded.

                      I see you moved on to recovery from late childhood issues. Very good point. Thanks to Natalie’s articles and the people on the board, and the books I have read recently, I realize that a lot of the issues we are facing when having epiphany breakups like this is that we open up our childhood issues that we buried for years and years. I noticed that when I was crying about him in all my sadness and depression, something struck me that I am crying about my unavailable parents too. That I miss them so much and feel sorry that couldn’t love me or express their love the way a child wants. When being angry, I think partially I lashed out finally at what I felt unfair was to an innocent child that the parents were not present emotionally (yet I don’t blame them, we are all human and make mistakes, but it was good to express that frustration and anger). So to me, this entire process of healing and that’s why I call this break up – epiphany breakup for me and I feel, you too, happy b, is that we are grieving our entire past and witness ourselves being transformed and remade in the process, all for the better and stronger us.

                      Interesting, you are still fighting the attraction to unavailable / crumbs. Once I am ready to date, I will see how I will do. One thing I notice but catch myself and correct myself now, how much significance I give to men noticing me. Validating myself through someone liking me. An attractive (probably AC or EU) man liking me and I feel excitement. That’s an old habit of mine and I have a feeling I still have attraction to and attract EUs or ACs. And I haven’t even started dating, but like when I am in the gym and see what kind of guys I notice and what kind of guys look at me. The good thing I recognize myself now and my validation /attention searching, and I check myself, and stay focused on myself. Of course any woman likes attention, but I know my old habits how I used to fall for flattery too easily. So now I am very well aware of it and am disciplining myself and turn the attention back to me. All thanks to Natalie and people like you, happy b.

                      You are saying you don’t think you are not a melancholic person anymore? That’s what I used to think of myself most of my life! You think you have changed after the grieving/healing process and melancholic you went away? That’s interesting. That with a healthier self esteem and self love we become happier too, not as moody and depressed. I will see if that happens with me. I don’t think some sadness is bad, it’s ok, as long as one balances it and has positive moments too. Constant brooding is not healthy.

                    • happy b says:

                      Sofia, I too didn’t get a reply button to your last post so I hope this turns up in the right place!

                      The ex AC was in and out of my life for 14 years, so most of my adulthood. He didn’t commit to me but we lived together the last 4.5 years. In this time we would share everything and act as a couple, then out of the blue (really when he got his ego boost or needed a new one, nothing to do with me or my behaviour) he’d hit the reset button and ask to bring someone from his harem home, disappear for days, or just put me in the friend zone, and refer me to his disclaimers, then the seduction would start again. He was also a great user of the outrageous principle (Nat has posts on it) and left me and other women in tatters.

                      His contacting me was to congratulate me on a new job, an attempt to reset. I replied, ‘thanks’. Funny to think I’d put all my self worth in him and looked so hard for his validation, and now this validation was meaningless. One of the last things he’d said when I ended it was ‘my door is always open’, empty words.

                      So it goes from the anger at all his tricks to asking why I allowed it, and this of course takes us to childhood. The anger is so important. I used to believe it was a negative emotion, that I was being cool by not getting angry with the AC, and I would shrug off getting angry with my parents by saying, I don’t know any different, don’t know what I’m missing, etc, and I’m fine. But I wasn’t fine. I was self destructive and lost.

                      You said you realised you missed your unavailable parents and were sorry that ‘they couldn’t love you or express their love the way a child wants’ – this is central to healing. You only have those parents so to realise what you’re missing takes expansive thinking, closeness to people outside the family, etc. There are people who can never take themselves out of that family dynamic, never question things, they accept it as normal and reproduce it. So don’t take this epiphany for granted, it’s a great thing.

                      It’s true that the grieving process isn’t linear, though when you have the ‘wow I’m moving on’ feeling, you really are even if it’s fleeting. It’s never ‘it’, it’s a very slow and gentle process.

                      I did believe I was a broody and melancholy person, what is really amazing is that I’ve even changed personality type. I retook the Myers-Briggs test and got a very different result, I’ve gone from introvert to extrovert and act on emotions and not just thoughts. But this makes complete sense when I realise I’m now mainly around people who energise me and who I can be myself with, and I do things that make me happy – so it wasn’t that I was the kind of person that is drained by others, but instead the particular people in my life drained me. I’ve gone from being an over-thinker to a go-getter. I still need and like a lot of time alone, but this is just so I can process things and stay centred. The lesson is that we shouldn’t pigeonhole ourselves, it can be limiting and it might be circumstances that make us a certain way. We have a core character that we must nurture but the way we make decisions and interact with people can change.

                    • Sofia says:

                      happy b, again, no Reply button, so I will respond it this way, replying to myself again. Aren’t we indeed answering our own questions ourselves in a way, through an epiphany relationship?

                      So true, that I am so grateful that this relationship happened although I am so hurt like never before in my life. However, so many things appeared from my past, it’s amazing. The things I suspected but was not ready to feel and accept. Like the feeling you are describing, not being able to be angry at others, thinking it’s “cool” not to be angry with AC. When I was a child of course I wouldn’t get angry at my parents. I don’t even know what I was feeling. I don’t remember and if I remembered, how a child can define that feeling? Even adults struggle. I read in psychology, that children of alcoholics typically take all the responsibility on their shoulders. They are achievers, perfectionists, critical of themselves, maybe become co-dependent, unavailable themselves, may suffer from low self-esteem and distorted perception of love. To children such family love is always associated with pain. Don’t I understand it now. The only love I knew was always mixed with pain. And here went my string of ACs and couple EUs. And the last one, the biggest of them all and the scariest because it was a fairly decent EU. Upgraded EU, like I wrote somewhere in one of my posts. At least I “progressed.” Going through nightmare to a polished version of EU.

                      Yes, I absolutely agree. Anger is a wonderful feeling. It is liberating, it is healing. I am so glad I read a lot on the grieving process and so happy I AM FINALLY releasing it after 30+ years of suppressing it and turning anger internally, which according to psychology, becomes internalized depression, self-blame, and guilt. Exactly. That MAYBE the reason I thought of myself as a melancholic and nostalgic person too, happy b. What you wrote me me almost gasp for air, “She is writing what I would say!!!” yes, I am feeling like my personality is gradually changing!! I am becoming a more extroverted person. In fact, I used to think of myself as introvert only, now I feel I need to change my career so that I can work with people, whether education or service related field. I work a typical admin job in a big corporation and all of sudden, in the last month I am almost nauseous to think about another day there. People and company are nice. My perception of them has not changed. But the way I see my job and the meaning (or rather no meaning for me) is stifling me!!! I am thinking about teaching. I have a Master degree, so I am thinking about different options, but I can no more do the job I have done for 16 years (not the same company but the type of job – administrative type). ENOUGH. So this epiphany relationship is not only cleansing me from my past and preparing the new me, bringing out the renewal, but also shaping a different personality type. I might retake Myers-Briggs too. What type are you if it’s ok for you to share? I am ISFJ – Protector. Or the “doormat” :) I shouldn’t say that. They are people who like to serve and help others. I am certainly looking into the direction to help others. Not doing numbers for corporation but by doing acts that are meaningful to people. That enhance their lives somehow.

                      Yes, grieving is a linear process. Just 3 hours ago I wanted to kill him, now I miss him again. Tomorrow I might be indifferent and accepting.

                      I continued the broken NC today. Mistake. Actually it’s not a mistake because now more than ever I am determined to never talk to him in my life. In a year or 10 years. I was wondering why he contacted me. I thought he was offering me his friendship , like he suggested at the breakup that he would in couple months. I don’t need his friendship now or ever. But I thought I would ask because obviously I hadn’t let him go yet as much moving on and grieving I did. He said that he just wanted to see if I was doing well and he understands I need more time.

                      Time for what? There is no offer of a friendship I see. So what’s the point of contacting me? I was mad at first for following up to clarify his initial breakage of NC few days ago. But now I am glad. This time I am done. I was not done prior to his breaking NC BECAUSE I knew he would show up because he promised he would. Now, that he knows I am still healing and not even close to being fine and happy like he is, he won’t contact me for some time. Perhaps ever. But it doesn’t matter. What matters that I won’t respond or write to him no matter what. The end of the story.

                      You think breaking the NC (on his part) and me continuing with a short follow-up question, sets me back? Or I am ok to pick up from where I left off? I certainly hope it’s the latter. but since he contacted me I have been in the emotional roller coaster and the good thing the ANGER, BIG UGLY BEAUTIFUL ANGER came out. Wonderful. And finally today – ” I am done” with hopes, holding on and denial came out. Finally. Amazingly, but I had been in somewhat a denial for 2,5 months. What scares me is that I hope I am not in the beginning of the grief process. But I don’t think so because I read that the steps do not necessarily happen in sequence. I went through denial already in the beginning and shock and bargaining and depression and fleeting acceptance. The biggest part I was missing was anger. Finally. But what I didn’t realize that until all that anger started coming out , I had had DENIAl sitting deeply in. Who would think??? I realized only now that finally I have accepted he is gone.

                      I am sure each of us could become a specialist on the grief process.

                      You had been with your AC for 14 years and he would do a friends zone sometimes. Wow. Happy b, I can’t imagine recovering from a 14 year relationship. I am heart broken from a year relationship. I feel turned inside out. But 14 years!!!

                      I don’t recall reading about it, I think it’s Beth d who is with someone now, but are you with someone? Do you have a man in your life? If so , how long it took before you started dating?

                      I am very new in the game, so I can’t even get interested in a man. Emotionally or physically. I even think I will never be interested. I don’t want anyone to touch me and I can’t even think about opening up to someone even a bit. I am afraid to trust now and I used to be the most trusting and naive person (read “no boundaries” – don’t i know now!). Now I guard myself. As far as sex, because I developed such strong sexual bond with my ex EU, I feel like it will never be broken. I have to be patient. It has been 2,5 months only. I am certainly in no place to date anytime soon. In months , a year, I don’t know. I was thinking about casual sex, with no obligations, when both parties know what will happen and that’s it (not with my this ex but the other ex – familiar and comfortable feeling). But then, I imagined someone else touching me (the guy I used to be temporarily crazy about for few months – but that was years ago), and it makes me sick. So I can’t at all thinking of any dating or casual sex. What I do hope is that I stop wanting my this ex EU , now that the denial went away, Anger kicked in and acceptance is settling. I want this sexual bond to be broken and my jealousy , imagining him with other women (sadistic imagination I have) , will go away. I am an over thinker, like you used to be , happy b. But yet, something is changing in me. I am becoming a different person. I know it.

                      Hugs to you.

                    • happy b says:

                      Sofia, I identify with all you write about children of alcoholics. You write “achievers, perfectionists, critical of themselves, maybe become co-dependent, unavailable themselves, may suffer from low self-esteem and distorted perception of love” – this is what I think made me INTP, or Dr Spock-like – intelligent, analytical, many great things about it but struggling with intimacy and critical of myself and others. But those break throughs in anger seemed to open up other emotions and feelings, including being more caring and compassionate towards friends and other people I’m around. Now I identify more as ENFP. It’s not only my BR journey but also physical distance from toxic people that changes me, though I still feel pain and anger. I found way before this self-awareness that when I had extended periods abroad, I would become this sociable person who would even bring people together – this would never, ever happen in my hometown! Did you retake the test yet?

                      Thanks for your compassion – I will stress that the 14 years was inconsistent and not a proper relationship, we would have years apart before living together, but he was ‘always there’ as a family friend. Even when I saw other men, he was always in my heart. Now I have no one and am free, I am struggling with feelings for someone new who is unavailable, but I don’t have issues about being single, knowing so many in my position. It has taken me longer to start dating than I would hope, part of this is that I’ve never easily met men I liked romantically, but also in going straight from indifferent, unavailable family members to my ‘Mr Big’ (without the happy ending), I’m only freed of it all now and it’s kind of like a second childhood. I also relate to what you say about sex and understanding the power of the bond, I consider it now to be sacred and disgusting with the wrong person, while before I had very few boundaries. This makes the future exciting.

                      Don’t worry about breaking NC with the follow-up question. I don’t know the full story but what matters is that you don’t open up your life to him or have a dialogue, I think asking why he contacted you is pretty assertive and now you can let it go and carry on NC.

                      What you say about your work makes complete sense to me, I also made major changes in my life while processing the break-up, I think a lot of it is finding our own voice, knowing ourselves better, seeing more possibilities etc. Others may disagree, but I think it takes a leap to turn your life around, to quit certain things that are holding you back rather than cling onto everything and hope things will gradually improve. Handing in my resignation has always led me to greater things. I heard a lovely fable/proverb once about a bird that wants to fly to the top of the mountain and can’t do it without dropping a few things on the way up, though of course do the research first, see how you can use your Masters, and hedge yourself as much as poss!

                      Hugs to you too.

                    • Sofia says:

                      happy b, yes, I did retake the test, and for now, still the same, ISFJ. I have been ISFJ for at least 8 years now, the first time when I took the test. My perspective is changing more towards the type of job I would like to do. I feel I need more communication, talking to people and helping them. I seem to feel suffocated in an office/cubicle position kind of job while even a year ago I used to be absolutely fine with it.

                      Dating seems like an impossible mountain to climb to me right now. First of all, even if I want to meet new people just to talk, getting to know someone, how do you do that? Websites again? No. I am done with that. Did 8 years of single life that and can’t handle anymore. I have accepted the fact that maybe I will be single forever. Does it sound scary? Not really. If you think about a big picture from a different, spiritual perspective, we are here only temporarily. So it really doesn’t matter.

                      I wish he didn’t contact me at all. Considering he is not AC, and quite a decent guy, I would like to think,, he should have left me alone completely. For good or for a very long time. I know he wants to check on me, but he has to understand that he is the source of pain and he should not be checking on me. That’s my journey. I have been upset he disturbed me, but I have a feeling from now on, he won’t do it anymore. However, I had been saying here on this board, “Oh he will never contact me.” But he did. What I decided for myself now, even if he does, in 2-3 months – I won’t respond. I just won’t. I need to heal. This communication even if just ” I am fine, thanks” is ok to him but not ok to me. I feel like I am thrown back to Zero (of course I hope I am not and all the previous healing still applies) and have to relive everything again. A mature, adult man, breaking up, should break up for good. No traces, nothing. Just finished. Checking on a woman 2 months later is not a responsible behavior. They know they hurt you. They know you are in pain. Stay out.

                      Makes me think he is AC in a way. By 35 you should figure when you bring ruins upon someone and you know it, disappear for good or for a very long time. Reappearing very soon is not nice or helpful. It’s damaging.

                      At this point I am going to trust that if I am meant to meet someone, it will happen. If not, be it.

                      Thank you happy b, for sharing your story. We will keep in touch in other posts I am sure. We ran out of Reply buttons in this one. I am replying to mine from days ago!

              • teachable says:

                Lovely Happy B :)

    • rachael says:

      I wonder who taught you to recognise your intelligence, ambition and efforts, A.

    • Alice in Thunderland says:


      I have NC with one parent and low contact with the other one. When I was a child, I was taught to wear the family mask, the happy family routine, as my father is both quite prominent and liked in the community. After I graduated from college, and moved away from home, I foolishly told anybody who would listen all about my FOO issues because I wanted people to know the truth, and yes, I received a great deal of backlash. I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut, and eventually I put my mask back on my face; I pretended the abuse didn’t happen, only speaking of positive aspects. It was a bad idea, and the facade began to affect my relationship with myself. I felt empty, blah, blah, blah, and now I don’t discuss my FOO issues with anyone, except the people in my Circle of Trust.

      Being honest with myself is enough for me at the moment, and I don’t own nor do I take responsibility for their abusive behavior. Yes, there is still some shame there and lack of forgiveness, but I know I’ll resolve those issues one day when I’m ready.

    • R says:

      A, how many people see it that way? Well a lot I think… if it’s presented without context. This problem, one I share, is pretty much a ‘how to answer an interview’ kind of situation.

      When a women asks me about my family, an inevitable and quick question, my answer is “My mother is now 92 and we continue to get closer.” And that’s 100% true.

      Opening up in more detail? … well if they specifically ask what it was like growing up I know I have some kind of answer prepared like:

      “It wasn’t good but I don’t suspect you’d enjoy talking about past relationships that may not have worked out. It’s kinda self-flagellation. It’s not that I have any issue with trusting you about this but it’s just no longer a prevailing wind in my journey. … or however you’d like to present it. There’s just always some answer you can give that will suffice. And if they ask you something that seems out of bounds then you can always go to “What made you ask me that?” or “Why do you ask that?” or such.

      As far as “that I must want/try to “make it better” … well you do, me too. If I could snap a figure and change reality to my liking I would! (And then a whole other group would likely suffer!)

      But without question (and not many things in life are…) the people that say these things have not experienced that journey. I have never heard of a book titled “Dummies Guide to Fixing Your Family.”

      It’s like a skinny person telling a heavy person “If you really wanted it you would lose the weight.” (subtext: and because you’ve not you don’t have self-esteem) … but their set of life-skill-triggers is just, like the road mentioned above, so far distant from our ‘avoidance-behavior’ reality.

  4. Dramaseeker says:

    Sometimes I read every single word in these articles over and over again very slowly to make sure the point sinks in. I know what Nat is saying is true and find myself agreeing nearly all of the time, but I have a hard time internalising the reasoning so it affects my emotions and feelings. Rationally, it all makes perfect sense, and yet, from time to time, I do and say things that are so contrary to everything I believe in. When I am attracted to someone, it always goes one of two ways. I either get more and more drawn to that person, which means they inevitably turn out to be an asshole, or I sense that they are decent and serious about a relationship and I panic and want to run the other way as fast as I can. I feel comfortable, and very attracted to, yet unhappy, around creeps, and uncomfortable and flustered around nice guys. Even with the awareness of what is happening, the best I can do in either case is walk away. How do I connect the rational side of the brain to the emotional one so that the two can finally work in sync?

    • rachael says:

      Dramaseeker, I wonder if “uncomfortable and flustered” are mutually exclusive from “sticking in there”.

    • Allison says:


      Have you addressed what brought you to this place? Have you done any counseling?

      In a nutshell: you have big trust issues, and until you understand what brought you to this place, you will never let anyone healthy in.

      Does this also apply to friends?

      • oona says:

        I am currently trying feeling uncomfortable, embarassed, awkward, anxious and flustered around nice people – a little at a time – it’s hell but for me it is beating the other solutions of complete recluse or beat up person…Something funny is happening…the more I get to know those nice people and stop hiding myself – the more I find them and myself…less ugly…

    • Sally-Stress-Head says:

      I have the same problem sometimes. For me, sometimes the solution can be as simple as stepping outside of my uncomfortable comfort zone and finding my feet. I just needed to start using my new BR skills in the field of life.

      Or, if I feel the gravitational pull to AC-land, I run the other way, and just take my time stepping outside of my comfort zone, or sometimes, I just jump out, it depends on the circumstances.

      Other times, I just haven’t given myself enough time to implement the new habit. So, I just keep trying until it sticks. I try to form new habits by using methods I have sucessfully used in the past.

      Other times it might be a toxic pattern, so I try to figure out what the pay off is, and then I try to break the pattern.

      If it is coping mechanism, I try to replace it with something positive, or I deal with whatever is causing the stress.

      You basically have to get to know you, figure out why you do the things you do, and then decide what behaviors you want to change, and then pick what methods you think will work to accomplish that goal.

      But you have to do more than understand everything, you have to believe it, and get behind it. You have to be clear on YOUR own values, beliefs, wants, needs, desires, and then you you have to have the courage live and fulfill them with the help of enforcing your boundaries and respecting your limits.

      But that’s just my perspective; you need to develop/use your own, and if you need help of some kind maybe you should get it if you haven’t already, and you can always get more.

      Good Luck

  5. Bella says:

    Loneliness can be a powerful thing. I feel alone, but I know it is because I feel unworthy this is something that am starting to learn through this blog. I have good days and some bad days, but am starting to accept myself and trying to work on things I would like to change. My Mr. unavailable left me four months ago he just disappear and after this last relationship I finally started to notice a pattern with my relationship. After, searching the web to find out what kind of person he was I soon discover what kind of person I was to get engaging in these types of relationships. Natalie site pop up and I have been a fan every since. Change can be painful, but as Natalie stated in one of her posting if you can twist yourself like a pretzel to accommodate some of these assclowns you can change.

    • rachael says:

      You CAN change… just gotta discover a better way of being :)

    • Sally-Stress-Head says:

      Yeh, Bella, I love that saying too, especially when things get a wee bit tough.

    • R says:

      That’s absolutely right.

      It’s really about conscious behavior change. It’s a very strange thing to say but most people do not take care of themselves … mentally I mean. Not brushing your teeth? … unthinkable. But self-(mental)-care is anathema and mental health is stigmatized.

      However that change might occur for you it’s important, and not often detailed, is that personal change doesn’t happen terribly quickly. There’s just so much tolerance one has to something unfamiliar (it’s called the MAYA principle … look it up) and learning that this whole thing called ‘personal change’ is a skill that has to be developed, not some action that occurs on-demand through will-power.

  6. Sofia says:

    Amazing how Natalie posts what I am going through exactly tonight. I feel lonely, 2,5 months NC and miss him now as a person. As someone I used to know. Forget even missing as a man or a romantic interest. I just miss hearing from him, knowing he is ok. Was about to break NC.

    Opened this site and read the article. It helped me a lot. I don’t have a problem with opening my emotions and talking about feelings with the people I trust. My issue I am struggling with is loneliness. I have a daughter, full time job, church, friends, hobbies, I go to the gym, have couple close girlfriends I talk to and couple other very close friends from the church. Yet I feel I am lonely without him now. What is that I need – the validation being needed by someone? By a man? I am trying to pinpoint what I am missing this Friday night about him. Yes, going out, talking, fun conversations, laughing, great sex. Comes the morning – no real relationship. He is off to his thing on a Saturday, I am off to doing my thing. Meet for night out again and then in between the weekends it’s a kind of just formal maintaining of a relationship over the phone although exclusive, predictable and consistent but so… shallow. What I am missing then if I had never felt we had a real relationship. Loneliness is nagging, no matter how busy I am. Sometimes and actually I have started thinking that loneliness is an inevitable condition of human kind. Some manage to pack every free minute with lots of activity, whether voluntary or necessary so that they don’t even get to feel anything. Others, although busy, still feel that in the long run, we are all lonely. The perception of loneliness depends on a personality type too.

    What helped me most from this article is that you have to be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. It’s okay to feel what you are feeling. You are human. Be compassionate to yourself. I have to remind myself about this periodically and not beat myself up about why I am feeling lonely again, I do have a full life. The yearning will never go away completely. It’s normal. I have come to terms with it. It’s how we deal with loneliness. We need to accept it and treat it healthily.

    • Mike from Oztralia says:


      Approaching three months NC for me, and can empathise.

      But it is only human and normal to wish and want for a relationship. To have some one we care for, and who cares for us. Who reflects back the love we hope to give. To share life’s now and sorrow. That is a wonderful and normal thing to hope and strive for.

      The question is – who is that the right person to make that investment?

      Like you I find I’m not lacking friends, activities and social outlets. There are times when I feel the absence of Miss Unavailable. In some ways we worked – as boyfriend and girlfriend. When you subtracted the usual life stuff. Or that I have a kid. Or that I have an ex wife. Or that she worked put perhaps she didn’t want or couldn’t handle a child in her life.

      Nat wrote a post a while back I really like, about finding a partner to co-pilot the relationship and this life. I look at my life and can see with clarity Miss U would have struggled to manage being a step parent and mentor to my child.

      Yes, there is loneliness and a notable absence. But I trust, hope and am working towards a relationship worthy I what I hope to give. As a man I admit there is more I need to learn about emotional intimacy. There is more I need to understand about boundaries. My own, and even the other persons.

      We try, we sometimes fail. We love, we hope for the best. I don’t know when or if I will meet some one. All we can do is accept ourselves, work our what we want in a partner and go from there.

      I look back and now see Miss U didn’t know me – nor I her if I was honest – as she spent little time with me and my child. She never Really saw me be as a father, or see my child in all beauty. There were conversations not had on either side.

      What have I learned?

      Intimacy, trust, openness and honesty work together. These four are foundational to any relationship be it with friends or a romantic partner. The lose of one can see the whole relationship fall like a house of cars.

      Thanks again Nat for your continued wisdom expressed I. Your posts.

      • Brenda says:

        Ditto on that:

        “Intimacy, trust, openness and honesty work together. These four are foundational to any relationship be it with friends or a romantic partner.”

        Tried to explain that a few ” cough, cough” friends, sure were pals.. long as none of those things were existent. (NOT)

      • Sofia says:

        Mike, I can relate to this:

        “I look back and now see Miss U didn’t know me – nor I her if I was honest – as she spent little time with me and my child. She never Really saw me be as a father, or see my child in all beauty. There were conversations not had on either side.”

        I thought many times that my ex didn’t know me either. Neither I knew him. We didn’t spend enough time with each other. There was not enough quality time when you get to learn about each other. You don’t get to learn about each other much when hanging out at bars and restaurants once a week, do you? We did travel together once for 4 days and it was the most wonderful experience. Got close to him so well and even started feeling comfortable sleeping in the same bed. Intimacy develops when you are around each other in various circumstances. Not just during permanent dating times…

        I hear what you are saying. True, would my ex be a good step-parent and model for my child? I doubt it. I mean, he is a good person, but he has no interest in kids and doesn’t have any experience in rearing children. He has no clue what it takes to be a parent and he told me he doesn’t want the responsibility. For mine or the future ones! Or not now anyway.

        I like your comment:

        “Intimacy, trust, openness and honesty work together. These four are foundational to any relationship be it with friends or a romantic partner. ”

        Absolutely. You can’t build intimacy if the other person is withholding or wishy washy about “whether I want to be with you or not and I am not sure” for months and months and months. Not only he didn’t open up , it kept me on guard too because I was afraid to fall, yet I did gave in and fell hard for him to find out later that I am not his kind of woman he is looking for.


        So much energy waste and time, if you think about it.

        However I do believe every experience, especially the most painful ones, are the best teachers. I have learned so much like never in my life. Even though I still want to be with him, I look back and am glad it happened to me. That he and the whole experience happened to me. Otherwise I would have not been who I am now.

        You sound very hopeful, Mike. I really like your optimism. You are very wise. I like reading your posts. We are on the same schedule. I will keep in touch with you to see how you are progressing.

        I broke NC. He actually contacted me. I will post in another message.

        • Mike from Oztralia says:

          Thanks Sofia, appreciate your comments. You noted:

          “However I do believe every experience, especially the most painful ones, are the best teachers. I have learned so much like never in my life. Even though I still want to be with him, I look back and am glad it happened to me. That he and the whole experience happened to me. Otherwise I would have not been who I am now.”

          This is very much the perspective I’m seeing things. Was my time with Miss U “wasted?”

          I’d not be the man I am today. Broken hearts are teaching moments, if you pay attention to the lesson they offer (that has become one of the motto’s or affirmations I know use).

          I’m still reflective, still processing and healing – but also really considering what I can do with my future.

          I’ve been working through aspects of my love I want to change. Career? Where I live? Hot to live? This is the time I have to really focus on that. I’m single, on a dating/relationship sabbatical and very much coming to terms with it. Most importantly, ensure I invest time,love and energy in the relationship with my child.

          • Sofia says:

            Mike, I agree with you. I never thought of the time with him as a waste. Sometimes in my light moments I even feel grateful he happened and disappeared soon enough. I have learned so much about myself and like myself now much more than before.

            I am thinking about career change too! I read somewhere that epiphany relationships like that can make you undergo drastic changes. Not only internally but externally too. Moving for instance or changing career. All of sudden I feel like I woke up from a dream and am wondering, what I am doing at this job. At this type of job? It’s not even me. I am not a fit for this kind of career. Sometimes it’s scary to notice how much I changed just in two-three months, yet it’s exciting as well. Like new me is emerging and I am getting to know her!

            And I have become closer to my child, if that’s possible because we had already been very close. These positive changes in me affected our bonding and attachment in a great way.

            All the changes are for the better.

            I can’t even contemplate dating either. Or casual sex. I used to take these things lightly and had casual sex between relationships. Now I can’t. For one, I am still stuck on him, sadly, and secondly, I don’t see any meaning in casual sex. I have learned to attach emotional bonding with sex, so I can’t see sex separately now. So probably I will remain celibate for a long time if not forever. Can’t imagine seeing another man for quite some time. Another drastic change in me. Used to be quite carefree about dating and casual sex.

      • Bethd says:

        Good answer to Sofia mike. Sofia you’re feelings are very normal for this stage of the game. I’m so glad you didn’t break NC. You will have your moments of wanting to because there were good times. Those moments will be there ESP if he contacts you at a weak moment I will admit I still miss my ex once in awhile but I have someone in my life who makes me happy, secure, and who’s love touches my heart in a good way. I smile a whole lot more since I am free. I wouldn’t have that if I didn’t get away from my ex. I can tell you from experience, I didn’t have one good outcome from breaking NC. Just prolonged the agony, and hindered my healing. Remember….Freeing yourself from him opens you up to having so much better in your life. Rooting for you. Xo

        • Sofia says:

          Thank you, Bethd. He contacted me yesterday, checking to see how I am and if I want to meet some day but if I am not ready he understands and respects that. When he broke up he offered a friendship. I said I can’t do friendship right now, so he said we will try in couple months or so.

          So he contacted me as he promised seeing if I was ready to meet as a friend (I guess that’s what he meant). I didn’t know whether to respond or not at first. My gut feeling told me that if I don’t respond it will look like I am bitter and angry at him. I am not. He was not AC and had a decent, so to speak, breakup. No disappearance act and no games. Face to face. After one year he told me that he doesn’t think I am the right person for him and he is also not committed. And so not to continue it would be better to stop because it just won’t last, he said.

          So, I decided to respond to him because there is no point in playing silent games. And it made me feel a bit better actually. The e-mail from him made me feel better and worse. Better in a way, because I think he cares about me, but also this e-mail is a final confirmation that he moved on and sees us as friends only. I told him that I am not ready to meet you as a friend. I realize you have moved on and you have not changed your opinion about us, so it’s better for me not to see you as a friend for some time. I wished him all the best. Knowing him, I know this was the last communication between us. He might check in months after but the truth is when I am indifferent to him, I don’t see the point of being friends.

          However, thinking about this now, his contacting me did disturb me a lot. I did want to see whether he cares for me, but I would rather prefer no communication at all so I can move on. Now I am not back to where I was of course, but disturbed just even seeing his email in my inbox.

          I can only imagine how good it will feel to be free from him. And I know it will happen. Just don’t know when. I have to be patient with myself.

          “By breaking NC” – do you mean you met with him? For more than a friendship, I guess?

          I see you are saying you are with someone who is great to you. I am happy for you:) You are saying you still miss your ex sometimes. I didn’t think that could happen but I see it is possible. Some people remain in our hearts for a very long time, perhaps forever.

          Thank you for your advice and support, Beth d.

          • beth d says:

            Sofia You are headed right where I went because I fell for the pity hoover. It actually went down pretty similar. He contacted me via email, phone and text asking for at least friendship. I wouldn’t answer him for at least three months. I finally answered and spoke to him because he sounded so pathetic which wasn’t him at all. After all…according to him I was his best friend and we had so much so we had to at least be friends. He literally begged. I did not meet him for at least 5 months to talk. He lingered with a once in awhile phone call which of course when you didn’t hear from him you were wondering wtf he was doing. It kept me in the game so I finally broke to meet him for closure according to him which he needed. It was bs. I went NC again within a few months of meeting him because I knew it was preventing me from moving on. Then broke again 5 months later and rinse, repeat….Ughh Then I found BR :)

            • Sofia says:

              Beth d, my ex didn’t and won’t beg. So that makes it “easier” for me. He did what he said he would (contact in couple months to see if I am ready to meet one day). Now that he sees I am not ready to be his friend he will back off for a long time or perhaps for good. He won’t pressure or beg anything from me. In that sense sometimes I think he is decent, not AC for sure, although EU. I responded to him immediately, within 2 hours, because to not respond would be childish I guess. I mean in some cases, with ACs, you HAVE to be silent and ignore. Because it was a somewhat decent breakup and because I don’t hate or resent him, I thought I would answer him and tell him the place where I was. The sad truth though all these 2,5 months of NC I did hope he MIGHT change his mind and maybe try from Zero with me. That’s another reason I did answer. My answer was very non-emotional though, short and polite. Formal almost. No drama, no tension. Wishing well to him and his family. After I sent it I realized it was the last time I heard from him. But now, after 2,5 months NC and some doubt whether he comes back or won’t, now, this e-mail confirmed for 100% that he is gone. It’s a new point in my moving on. Not from square one, no, but still a new leap. Where I have to finally accept it is over. I have to admit I had not completely accepted up until this point. Now I have to accept because I have no choice. I know I will have some rough patches again because I felt very sad after this e-mail and the whole weekend. I cried a lot and remembered all the great times we had and wondered why feelings go away, why he stopped loving me. Was it me? No of course it was not me. I have been reading this site for 2 months almost. It is my life jacket, definitely. I just recommended it to a friend of mine who went through a breakup.
              I talked to my couple friends about his e-mail and they said it’s nonsense when a man offers to meet like nothing happened. If contacting after a long time, a year, maybe, but even then, why? Considering we were never friends really and never shared hobbies to stay friends. Our bond was physical and emotional. What friendship can we have now…So my friends suggested he just wants to have sex. Maybe I am naive, but I don’t think that’s the case. He is very attractive and can easily find a date for that. I don’t know what drives guys, decent guys, to do this and so early after the breakup. Shows he moved on immediately and perhaps shows he might miss me and wants to see me, but not for anything beyond a drink. I guess that’s what it is.Or maybe I still keep him on the pedestal and he is an AC and EU combined , pretending being nice, but having an agenda? I don’t know anymore. I think too nicely of him, but so many people on this board, even after I speak nicely of him but give all the facts, they tell me that he was an AC for sure. Strung me along although knowing that he wouldn’t have a long-term relationship with me and moreover enjoyed the benefits while he could while in his heart he knew I am not the one for months before the breakup. Although he kept telling me months he needs more time and not sure if I am the one…. I think he is AC after all. I keep giving him the benefit of the doubt. I have issues with being angry at people. I don’t get angry. Instead for two months straight I just blamed myself for “pressuring” him. I certainly have to heal myself. I have read loots of articles here about self-blame and taking responsibility for everything like it’s your fault. The articles help. Still working on myself.

              • Mymble says:

                Who knows what they want when they come back. Perhaps they fear being the bad one, fear being disliked, or worse, forgotten. It’s impossible to guess and a waste of time attempting to do so. What you might benefit from doing is to block him. You might find it helps you a lot in taking control, in that small way, and making a decision for yourself.
                Also you seem to have him very much on a pedestal. Over time you will start to remember things about him that you suppressed at the time, or discounted as unimportant. He may of may not be an AC but he isn’t all that, I promise you.

                • Sofia says:

                  Mymble, I just started thinking about it! Finally blocking him in my email account. However, he could use a different e-mail address (which I don’t know) to write to me. I am thinking about closing the account all together. Also, I am thinking about changing a phone number. I have been contemplating in the last couple weeks. (plus multiple other exes from the past bug me once in a while with texts and that reminds me what a doormat I used to be). I think I am ready. After he contacted me, it stumbled my recovery. Made me hurt and upset all over. Like a slap in the face, this offer of friendship and a reminder, ” I dumped you, I don’t love you anymore, but let’s be friends.” Who does that after barely 3 months? Leave a person alone. He knows he left me wreathing in pain.

                  The reason I haven’t blocked him yet ( I deleted him from my phone, but unfortunately I remember his phone number, meaning I will recognize if he does call or text) because sadly and shamefully to admit, I did hope 1% or so that he might change his mind… Well, he surely didn’t. He did reappear like he said he would (to see if we can meet as friends), but he has the same intention. The main question I forget to ask myself, why I need him??? It’s a habit thinking I need him. I don’t.

                  I am going to think a bit more and delete the email account and change phone number this weekend (will give me plenty of time to contact the important people about all the changes on a Saturday or Sunday). Good timing for Easter as well. Renewal and rebirth in my own way.

                  Blocking/deleting is very powerful. It is taking even more control beyond NC and moving on in a BIG LEAP. That way, even if he never contacts me, I will never know. I will never know either way. That’s just wonderful.

                  I am almost ready to do that. It will be a great help in my recovery. I know it, but I admit I had not been ready yet until he contacted me. His contact hurt me a lot. I need to take more actions than my NC alone.

                  True. Who knows why he contacted me. My guess is to see if I am alive and to smooth his guilt a bit. To show that he is a good person. Cares about me and shows his offer of friendship. That he is not such a bad guy, after all. These are my thoughts.

                  Yes, I still have him on the pedestal. Like I said, people here on the board think I do , and my friends still don’t get me why I am still nice about him. I guess it still hasn’t hit me that he is not that special, for one, and actually, he strung me along. I do recognize these things during my rare, for now, moments of clarity. My hope, I will see things more clearly very soon and more often. I hope this comes with healing. The beheading of the idol. For now, you are right, Mymble. I am suppressing and discounting! So great to hear someone’s perspective.

                  Thank you, Mymble.

              • bethd says:

                Sofia, Please stop giving him the benefit of the doubt. Damn girl you sound so much like me looking for the good in him. I know it is confusing when they didn’t treat you horribly during the relationship. You read some horror stories and they start looking good. Mine treated me like a queen for a lot of the time but not to reiterate something was radically wrong the entire time. Shady, unreliable, inconsistent, insidious knocks…I could go on and on. I know I don’t have that anymore, and feel so much more peaceful. My ex is a woman magnet but that doesn’t mean he won’t have sex with me. They obviously liked sex with us :))) So why not if we give them an opening. We are what they call secondary supply. They don’t have to do the courting thing. Half my battle and it will be yours is to stop thinking of the good times and think about the shallowness/shadiness of the relationship and the way you felt on edge so much….sometimes without knowing why. Why your confidence felt shaken…even though that isn’t your MO. Recovery is not easy especially if you reain in contact. I pray he leaves you alone to heal. Hang in there girl!

                • Sofia says:

                  Beth d, what you wrote gave me goosebumps!! Exactly how I felt with him. Yes he treated me nicely, as far as taking out, courting, being fairly consistent about permanent dating thing (but not about the status of the relationship or anything serious), predictable, never ruining plans, never silent games, no disappearance acts, YET, something always felt terrible wrong and lacking. On the edge, so true. Like he was never there. Like he was out of it all the time. One foot in, another out. Having walls up. No intimacy, like always looking for something better out there. Keeping me hanging.

                  I DO NEED to start thinking about all the shallow times. Shady, uncomfortable, tense. All his criticism of me, his lack of interest in my family, friends, my child. No desire to spend more time with me. Only on his terms during his free times for fun with me. Oh the list could go on and to summarize it’s just that he strung me along. He knew all the way what I wanted in the long term and he kept saying he was not sure if I am the one. One time he was sure he said, then he was not. He was sure then again, and then he was not. He needed more time to understand, to get “closer” to me (by permanent dating on Saturday nights I guess he thought he could get closer). He was not ready for a family, not ready to progress with me to the next step (moving in). He was never ready with anybody though! Beth d, you are so right. I need to, absolutely need to, someone advised me here to keep a list of all the negative things, and I “forgot”!! Joy it was I think who suggested this. I need to remind myself that I started feeling less of everything. Not as attractive, not as slim, not as successful, not as smart , less than anything with time. And I never felt like that with any other exes. I always felt confident and great when single and when with any of the exes. He made me feel insecure. I was not before. He made me doubt myself being critical. Long list of things. I certainly should do that instead of remembering all the things through rose tinted glasses.

                  Oh yes, he did love having sex with me, I know that, no doubt. That’s the only thing that prolonged our “relationship.” I was hooked on it too, no doubt. Natalie has great articles on the subject how we confuse amazing physical attraction with an emotional bond. Women always do. Men certainly don’t. I am sure he sleeps with someone else already and it doesn’t make any difference to him. However, for some reason, they do come back to us. For sex. I think because we, women like us, GIVE SO MUCH, men can’t resist that. Women with lower self esteem are very kind and giving. They abandon themselves in every part of the relationship and men feel like Kings. Of course. So that’s another reason why they contact us. And many of my exes keep contacting me.

                  The good thing , because exactly he was not an AC, he won’t contact me again or a very long time. Because I made it clear I am in no condition to be his friend and maybe one day. He will leave me alone. However, to empower myself and take a big, HUGE leap in my recovery, like I posted in another message, I am going to change my phone number and close my email account. That way , whether he does or doesn’t contact, I will never know. And therefore will stop to worry about /want it/being afraid of it. Period. That’s taking control of my recovery. Leaving no more place for hope, waiting, rose tinted glasses and the remaining milligrams of denial and hope, which are tiny remnants, but still are THERE.

                  Plus other exes will leave me alone too.

                  I am strong and I can do it!

                  Thank you, Beth d, for your support and sharing your story. Sounds so similar!!!I so agree, that makes it so much harder when guys are fairly decent. You read stories here and are shocked about some stories about guys who are so ACs, no doubt. And then, of course, it’s harder to remember the bad sides of our exes, who were not that bad and actually nice many times.

                  • beth d says:

                    “I was hooked on it too, no doubt. Natalie has great articles on the subject how we confuse amazing physical attraction with an emotional bond.” I cant tell you how long this kept me in the game. Even more than the nice dates, gifts etc Your story really did resonate with me because of the similarities. You go through what they call cognitive dissonance. He’s not that bad…he’s a dick…but he was good to me…why did I feel awful so often. In the end we have to be authentic and stay true to our hearts which have told us a long time there is something very wrong with this person and this relationship. I feel your pain and I can tell you with conviction it will get better. xo

                    • Sofia says:

                      Beth d, being honest to oneself – wouldn’t it make it all easier for us? :) I SO AGREE with you. To be honest with myself… Yes, I was attracted to him and “loved” him because of the strongest (so far in my life) physical bond which turn into emotional bond, but was not all that important. It was not emotional intimacy, sharing common values and caring for each other in a true, respectful way. I know you will agree with me too because I see now our stories are similar and you know what I mean. The first two months I struggle a lot and I know I still will, but that’s ok and I will take it. I know it will all pass and subside eventually. But what I have struggled with is this ( I know you can relate), “But he was nice to me: attention, taking out, planning things to do, being a gentleman, romantic on occasions, all the dating game executed perfectly and consistently almost always.” And yet, WHY DID I FEEL SO AWFUL a lot? That I wish he would spend more time on the weekend with me? And we didn’t spend every weekend together. I am with my child every other weekend ( I live with her, but her dad takes her every other weekend), and so on those weekends, he would see her and me literally for 1-2 hours and run away. When I was by myself, it was a usual plan of seeing each other Saturday night till Sunday morning, then I would leave to give him space and and leave him alone. He didn’t protest and let me go and continued sleeping and I continued sleeping at home. Inside I always knew that this will not develop into anything and I didn’t want to pressure him and stay longer than needed. I couldn’t develop intimacy with him because he wouldn’t let me by staying distant or indifferent to building a bond. Like grabbing me as I was leaving on Sunday morning , and telling me , don’t go anywhere, let’s spend the whole Sunday together!! You think that ever happened in one year? Nope. He had his things and plans to do, like he always does, and the fact that I was leaving him alone was convenient. He never stopped me.

                      Other things, besides lack of emotional intimacy, I felt awful about were his critical remarks about my weight ( and I am athletic and about 164cm/52-53kg or so and work out!), like “you are too heavy to lift (he is not big or tall himself) or he would PINCH my stomach when I sit down to indicate that I had fat!!! Although I am not even close to being called fat, it’s just normal to sit down and have some kind of layers of skin/meat/and fat, whatever, even slim people have something. Or he would criticize my taste in music, movies, clothes, hobbies, how I spend my time, my introversion level, my choice of machine in the gym. EVERYTHING. He didn’t criticize me constantly, but there was something always is not right with me. If I even showed being upset, he would tell me that “you take everything too personally, I am just expressing my opinion.” Really? A man needs to tell these things to a woman, and a woman he likes? I never criticized a single thing in him. I showed interest to his hobbies, tastes, habits and accepted him completely the way he was and even some traits slightly annoyed me, I thought those were fine. What strange, for you and me, Beth d, how could I tolerate being mistreated for so long. See, like you are saying , it was not an abuse or AC behavior, on their part, but nevertheless, why they made us feel so awful, whether it’s teasing and emotional absence on his part, or something else, I felt like something was lacking in me. I remember not wanting to share stories anymore with him about success of my daughter in something whether math or sports or success of my friends’ kids or anybody’s problems because he would not show much empathy. It would be either lukewarm approval or more frequently some caustic remark with a “big deal,so what” attitude. I found myself thinking a lot before I say anything because I knew what I say or I would be judged. He would contradict himself calling me too positive or too negative sometimes. It’s even funny. Whatever I did , however I reacted , there was still something not right with me. Whew… I got tired writing this and got out of breath just remembering all this. Oh such peace. I am so happy I dodged a bullet. Imagine having a husband like this, Beth d, your ex or mine? We are truly blessed to have escaped them. Whew…. Wiping off sweat from my forehead…

                      To summarize: yes, we knew all along something was wrong because we felt bad about ourselves with our exes. EVEN many times they treated us nicely on the surface. But the truth is the only glue that had been holding us to them was sex. And we, women, sadly, after a long -term sexual relationship, we get attached to a man and “fall in love” with him. It’s not love. It is lust named “love.” I don’t know what it is. But I have a feeling that love is when you feel happy when you are either by yourself or happy with that special someone who does love you.

                  • Nigella says:


                    In earlier posts, I’ve expressed my intense dislike of bullies. Right now, I feel compelled to slot your ex as a bully. Granted he didn’t give you a blue eye or call you names, the comments he made regarding your weight count as emotional abuse. If someone spoke to your daughter, the way he spoke to you, how would you feel? Had anyone spoken to my sister the way your ex spoke to you, I swear I would want to snap his neck – his ego – like a twig. Snap. Snap. Snap. Drawing on the power of words, I’d take him down a peg or two at the least. Even if he appeared as a flawless model in Calvin Klein ads, he still had no right to tease you about your weight. Even if you were morbidly obese like Jabba the Hut, he still had no right to tease or pinch your stomach.

                    If people cannot *accept* you physically as you are, then they should opt out of the relationship rather than subtly torment or criticize you about your looks. Good Heavens! How can people be so unkind? So devious? How? It does not matter. The point is that people can be mean, subtly or overtly. It is up to us to recognize their potshots cloaked as benign jokes – potshots that are designed to erode our self-confidence and lower our self-esteem, so that they can then feel better about themselves.

                    Self-confident and caring people don’t feel the knock others down, bit by bit, comment by comment. The success & joys of your daughter & friends may not be a “big deal” to him. But they mattered to you – and out of respect for you and them, he could have shown more appreciation of their experiences. Even if he is a Noble-prize winner, he has no right to diminish the achievements and joys of others. My goodness! How can people have such a shriveled up heart? How can they be so self-centered? So bereft of care and respect for others? Once again, it does not matter – time for us to wake up and realize that people can *appear* normal on the surface but *behave* in ways that are emotionally damaging to us and our loved ones.

                    Bullies – navel-gazing narcissists – do elevate themselves by bringing others down. Regardless of whether they admit this or not, they do derive pleasure from emotional sadism. If granted permission through *our* silence, they are going to injure us emotionally. Sofia, there is such depth in your comments. How awful that you started to doubt & censor yourself around him? I hope you never again allow anyone to dull your shine. Be you – radiant and confident. Thanks for sharing your story at BR.

                    • Sofia says:

                      Nigella, thank you so much for your encouraging and supportive words. I remember you answered me to some of my other, earlier posts, when I just started writing my experiences to BR. You helped me out a lot in my first, earlier days. It is a process, no doubt.

                      He does look like a Calvin Klein model. Almost certainly does. I am not even close to be an obese or an overweight person. In fact he admired how I looked always to the end of our relationship. Yet, paradoxically, he would still manage to criticize me! He would always find something wrong with me and gradually, my confidence about my achievements, looks, ideas, opinions were undermined. It’s really scary how a person like he, who on the surface is a “decent” person, can subtly, very subtly say and do such things that gradually and slowly erode the sense of well-being of a person, who is otherwise confident in herself.

                      Yes, another thing, discounting the achievements of my daughter and my friends, ignoring, or even teasing about or underestimating, is hurtful.

                      I have to agree with you that even he himself is beautiful, smart and successful in his career, obviously has a low self-esteem or whatever issues he has that he gets a kick out of judging and criticizing others.

                      How can a healthy person find satisfaction from finding faults in others and yet saying, “I am just expressing my opinion, why you are so sensitive about it?” Being in a relationship with someone is being supportive, kind, loving, and encouraging each other, that’s what I thought. Not being judgmental. It’s about being patient, forgiving, listening, open, and accepting. I remember a friend of mine once said about him when we were in 4-5 months of our relationship, still in a honeymoon phase, which was about to be over, yet even then he already had criticized me enough, she said, “Is he the person, to whom by the end of day, you would like to put your head on his shoulder and share all your troubles and worries of the day/week, no matter how trivial or ‘insignificant'”? My reaction was quick, “NO!!!” Of course, because I would not feel comfortable doing that knowing I have to censor and police what I am saying because I was afraid he would find my concerns unimportant or I am too negative or sentimental or worry about others’ lives (it’s their lives, why you have to worry about? – he would say). Back then it didn’t register to me. I was so in love. It did register later and especially now. This person has no empathy. I read about narcissistic term a lot and I start thinking maybe he is a narcissist. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I am so over him. I mean, I am going to go through all the feelings and processes I have to in order to heal but today is a happy day. I have been releasing anger 3rd day straight in a row, which is a new and liberating feeling for me. I feel in charge finally somewhat,not consistently, but I am overtaking his hold on me. I am not liking him that much anymore. I know there will be another day, another week of sadness, anger or depression, but that’s ok. What I know is that his future contact, if any, won’t bother me anymore. Just like his no contact at all. I am a driver now. I am truly done. Onto to the healing and a healthy healing. So glad to know how psychology works, how the grieving process works, and most of all so happy to discover BR and wonderful people like Nigella, happy b, Beth d, Tinkerbell, Allison, Mymble, Joy, Lynn, Mike, rachael, and all the other people who have helped me tremendously. Thank you, Everybody!

  7. Stephanie says:

    At the end of the day you have to not only love yourself but like yourself as well. I’ve never had problems with having people to confide in, but what I won’t do is confide in people who I don’t earn my trust. I am lucky bcuz I can talk to my hubby, but if he is the source of my problem I can talk to my sisters or work family.

    My philosophy is this if you don’t enjoy your own company nobody else will. You have to live your life regardless if you have someone to share it with. Happiness doesn’t begin with a relationship and it doesn’t end with one. Find things to challenge yourself and spend less time worry about if you have somebody to do it with. Life goes a lot smoother and you are more peaceful when u just live!! God bless

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I like your thought. I completely agree in that we have got to live our lives regardless of whether we have someone with whom we can share it or not. I’ve been in a mutually satisfying relationship for >2 years. We are compatible enough, except for the realization I’ve come to recently. I’ve always known that he doesn’t mind solitude and doesn’t have the need to go out and about like I do. Something he said to me over the phone recently hit me hard. After a few years of therapy which has helped me very much, my self esteem is MUCH improved. Because of this, instead of allowing my feelings to be hurt to the nth degree, I decided to do some research. I found at the library a book about the introvert. I’ve been reading it and in doing so have found that my guy has all the traits of this personality type. Previously, I never attributed much to this introvert personality. What I mean to say is that I had no idea that there are so many features involved in the introverted personality. As a result, I’ve not only learned a great deal, but I feel more confident in dealing with him because I understand what is going on with him. Instead of being hurt or angry, I can just back off and give him his space. After reading this book I feel as though I may have been unduly harsh and impatient with him and it occurred to me that he must see me as static electricity.

      The reason I’ve brought this issue up is because it emphasizes the importance of really knowing and understanding a person before you should consider yourself in love with him/her. It’s hard to accept the fact that our innermost needs are very different, and that I’m barking up the wrong tree in holding out hope that he will become more than he already is. I see now that although we get along marvelously well, in order for me to learn to be content with the relationship I have to accept the fact that he makes a better friend than an intimate lover. And I don’t have to be devastated by this fact. A few years ago, I would not have been able to handle this. I would not have had the emotional stability and maturity to handle it. I would be doing what I would often do when I was sad, take to my bed, stay under the covers, shut out the world and cry my eyes out. At that time I was a very unhappy individual anyway, frequently drawn to depression. I was making no attempt to take care of myself at all. But, fortunately with a good therapist and Natalie’s blog I am fine. I live my life and it does not depend on him. Sometimes I feel lonely but I’ve found, inevitably, that getting out and about, doing the things I enjoy, and spending time with good friends precludes the onset of overwhelming sadness and loneliness. He is not the end all and be all of my life and instead of trying to direct how things turn out between us, my attitude is “Whatever will be will be.” As Natalie has told us, we are “just not that powerful” to change others. We can only be responsible for ourselves and take care of ourselves well. He is a good person, very kind and generous of spirit but he will never be outgoing, exhibit all the qualities, and enjoy all the ” social activities of an extrovert. If I did not understand this now, I could be a very sad, lonely person because of him. But, no I won’t allow that. I will live my life on my own terms and he is free to do the same. Consequently, we’re lifetime friends and that is more valuable to me than anything else.

  8. Brandy says:

    Perfect timing! I’ve been sorting through my relationships trying to determine who’s safe & isn’t – i am a little bit lonely & it really hit me to learn my uncle is in hospital with lung cancer & fading fast. Despite this, I’ve gone out regularly with friends & some I trust more than others. The point is- there are lots of people that have AC ways but when you find those special few to connect with ‘in your circle of trust’ and you accept you then it doesn’t matter what else is happening in your world – you remain grounded & can deal with anything. It really puts things in perspectives & makes it even more clear for me that I have no interest or time for AC or any other BS – true emotional intimacy takes work & developing trust & knowing who you can feel safe with is a bit of trial & error but you figure it out fast & when you trust you- there’s no sentimental/loneliness reasons to stay around people that don’t truly care/ can’t be emotionally intimate or respectful. I do have to say I’ve lost quite a few ‘friends’ recently … And it feels great! I have gained one or two true friends & they are worth more than 10 or even 100 fake friends.

  9. Noquay says:

    Boy, this is sure relevant as to where I am at these past few weeks. Dealing with end of semester craziness, being chastised by administration for dropping enrollments, excoriated by my supervisor by stating that the extreme social dysfunction of the town has a lot to do with both falling enrollments among women and extreme turnover of faculty/staff, avoiding latest down and out wannabe stalker, a truly bizarre resurgence of attention from the AC. I am applying for a job at the opposite end of the continent, if I get it, my salary will be halved, and being able to buy a home because I am a farmer and woodswoman and I have a good many special needs critters that would have to be put down if I do not take them with. The local pet adoption market is already saturated and killing innocent beings because they are inconvenient to ones plans is unconscionable. The place is a smaller town with a cool arts scene, within driving distance of some of the most progressive towns in the southeast. Its also right by the smokies and the Appalachian trail. Ironically, a friend, one of the few that knows the AC situation is applying for a job a few towns over and knows the region well. I’d be growing serious tomatoes there right now instead of watching my land turning into a sea of cold mud. Asked my supervisor, the one that just two weeks ago gave a glowing recommendation, to be a reference; she said ” in the time I have known you, you have been sad and angry: you have to either get out or change your attitude, accept you are going to be alone” . Wow! None of this was stated in my evaluation, twas more stuff about my willingness to help students, compromise on classes to increase enrollment, my dogged work on my center, keeping a program going, and growing despite some serious odds. This woman is very frustrated with her own position, and in appearance very mannish to the point that she is mistaken for a man from the back, and to my knowledge, has never been in any sort of relationship. Projection?!. I stammered an apology but did say what I’ve experienced are the very factors that decrease enrollment and increase turnover among women (have survey data and exit interviews to support this), and left. Was so upset I did not go into work next day as I do not teach. The last few weeks, the AC has been offering to help with some heavy lifting stuff at my house, stuff that needs doing in order to fix it up because he knows my arm is seriously injured and I cannot lift. This is unsolicited and he never shows up anyway. Bizarre. Ironically, back in the day, we had agreed to help one another on our respective home projects and my having to carry on with my stuff solo after I found he was involved with another has a lot to do with this injury. At this weeks meeting, as he’s leaving he whispers to me “I’ll call you” which doesnt happen, and as I chair said meeting, I really could not reply right then. Then he shows up (uninvited) at a gathering I had the other night. His presence makes me sad, feeling incredibly lonely, rejected, ugly, used. Still keeping NC but really feel like telling him to stay away but he will not get it and may get off on knowing how hurtful this is. Perhaps I should tell him that as his behavior, actions are a major reason for my wanting to leave , that yep, he should actually show up, work his butt off helping me, so I can sell out and leave. A person at the gathering had asked that I give her retirement party rather than the standard workplace stuff. I am honored to do this, yet do not want him to attend but he heard. Wannabe stalker finally sent me a terse email, which I deleted, after two weeks of email/ phone bombardment to which I politely declined. However, he still drives by my house every night apparently not realizing that my road is infrequently used and I am really good at memorizing headlight patterns and license numbers. A mutual friend told me I was wrong in asking for help from someone I did not know but in the six months I’ve known him, he always came off as a hermit and had never given the slightest inclination of being attracted prior to helping me, nor have I shown him anything resembling attraction/affection beyond what I do for any friend regardless of gender. If it weren’t for record snowfall plus this blasted sore arm, I never would have asked for help. It’s impossible to find reliable paid help here to do such things. Sorry for the drawn out rant; feel very lonely, made worse because the only men interested are chock full of red flags and very unattractive, wondering how I can leave yet not loose my shirt, loose the ability to pay for my dads care, and still have my animals whose presence has been what’s kept me alive during all this.

    • Sally-Stress-Head says:


    • Tinkerbell says:


      I’m delighted to know that you are entertaining the idea of relocating. I’ve long thought this was a move you needed to make. At the same time, it upsets me to learn that you will have to part with your critters. You MUST find homes for them. No “putting them down, please”. It sounds like the place you may move to even though it’s small will offer more entertainment and a chance of meeting more culturally and economically diverse people. I see this as just what the doctor ordered for you, because I see you withering away in your present environment. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m going only on what you post.

      Noquay, please get the AC out of your life. I know it may not be as easy as it would be if you lived in a big metropolis, but you already know he is not going to make you happy. He’s making sneaky, sleazy efforts to work his way back into your life and that is way too risky for you. I don’t think you would actually resume an intimate relationship with him, but do you really need his SHITE? Is there no one else who can help you get your physically demanding tasks done? I agree that he’s probably “getting off” on the fact that you’re needing him, regardless of the reason and is probably feeling indispensable to some degree. He does not deserve to entertain these feelings where you are concerned. Whatever you do, try not to allow him to discern that he is one of the reasons you want to leave town. If you are supposed to be NC, why is he telling you he’ll telephone you. And, since he is so unreliable and does not follow up on what he promises to do for you why bother with his idiotic ass? You are more than that. You are better than that. And, God knows you deserve better treatment, and more respect. You’ve got it goin’ on, girl. So act like you know it.

      I wish all the best for you. I know you will be happier when you change your environment. I just hope that you will be able to manage with the financial sacrifices involved. Also, can you not get yourself better medical care for your arm? You need to regain better overall health. Hugs, Tink.

      • Noquay says:

        Have decided that wherever I wind up, the herd goes with. Again, most of these are special needs unadoptables, some were extremely abused in their former homes, a couple of them close to starvation. I cannot live in an apartment setting, actually have and feel like a rat in a cage, need woods, need to garden, cut firewood, etc. Like Nat has said, we need to be ourselves, be kind to us. I don’t expect AC to follow up, ever. I do not depend on him, or really anyone anymore. Why would one offer help, unsolicited, say they are going to call, etc and do neither? It is not to appear a better person because he does this very privately. I do have medical help for the arm, probably the best orthopedic clinic in the country. I am not spised The last dude that offered to help w/lifting thought that helping out meant we were in a relationship although I gave zero encouragement. Ditto with the guy who helped me calculate snow load for my building roof, ditto again for the two married dudes who helped me carry in my pellet stove. Mind you, I am not the least provocative towards these dudes, am wearing baggy, wore-out work clothes at the time. Terribly alone and stalked. No more. AC has never shown up, I have not encouraged him in any way, he was not invited to my gathering, he also, very uncharacteristically, showed up for a going away for someone and sat right across from me; got outta there early. Now the folks at the gathering want to include him in our circle and even asked him to host one at his house, which will never happen. I started these because we are all sick of the local trashy bars, want to socialize with some, but not all colleagues and like minded folk, and I have the big, cool,house and more income that makes it easier for me to do this.I carefully invite folks that get along; his presence would really throw a monkey wrench into that. I started this so I could socialize with good people without having to deal w/ AC and latest conquest, sorry wannabe stalkers, and still give of myself. This is a major violation of Noquays personal and social space. I am not just trying to bail because of him, but also, as you have so rightly stated, because my options are so few and time is indeed running out. The situation here is a combination of damaged economics, demographics, and distance and I cannot fix any of that. ACs presence is really difficult in that the memory of the one person I was attracted to on both an intellectual, emotional, and physical level horribly humiliated me, did not care, is thrown into my face every damned time I see him. He even took a woman friend away as well. His not doing his job has made me have to fight to keep a program going, which further curtails my ability to get away, look for someone suitable. The program that lost so much enrollment is his. I am tired of feeling hurt, sad, overworked, overwhelmed, while a cause of much of this gets to thrive. So yeah, I am leaving mainly due to him, and even if the older male folk in NC wind up to be something out of the movie Deliverance, and my choice is again be totally alone in the unwanted, celibate, don’t wanna be an old maid existence, a major source of pain and anger won’t be hanging over my head. My plan B here, is that if this or something similar doesn’t work as I am old for an academic looking for a new job, is to check out the feasibility of bailing in two years, at 55 instead of 60.

    • Wiser says:

      Noquay, I usually don’t recommend breaking NC but in your case, when you’re dealing with an arrogant creep who doesn’t honor your boundaries and you have to see said creep continually month after month, I think the time has come for you to make it clear that you do not want him:

      1) speaking to you,
      2) whispering to you,
      3) making little offhand remarks to you,
      4) trying to include you in jokes and banter,
      5) sitting next to you,
      6) touching you in any way,
      7) making comments to others about you in your presence,
      8) attend functions you are at unless he is required to be there for work purposes or is specifically invited,
      9) or anything else he’s done that has been hurtful (and is continuing to be hurtful) to you in the past two years. There are quite a lot of these as I recall.

      I’m not sure you’ve ever made this clear to him, but perhaps now is the time to do it. I would keep it simple, unemotional and very firm. I would absolutely NOT tell him anything personal about you or your feelings or your motivations for leaving or anything else. You owe him nothing. You don’t need to tell him that what he does is hurtful – what he thinks about it, if it feeds his ego, whatever, it doesn’t matter. You can’t control how he’ll think about it. But if you don’t do something, he’s going to think he can continue to bust your boundaries because YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING TO STOP HIM. It’s time for you to stand up for yourself and tell him to f*uck off – in a firm, unemotional way of course! If he does not “get it” and his behavior continues, make it clear that you will be forced to go to the dean, the provost, the police, whatever it takes to impress upon him that you seriously, SERIOUSLY, do not want any personal contact with him at all. Take back the power in these situations! Why should you be continually hurt and sad (and angry) month after month?? Let him be uncomfortable for once!

      • Noquay says:

        I HAVE been avoiding him if possible, he is not invited to anything social that I am involved in. I ignore him at most meetings and other work functions. Anyone else with half a brain would get it. We have a huge void in leadership right now and there is literally no one I can go to, not until July. As he never actually shows up at my home, except rather surprizingly at my gathering, the cops are not an option. We now have three weeks left in the semester, the problem may resolve itself as he will not contact me over the summer; that’d require actual effort. I may be gone by fall, no one, as far as I know, would tell him as he pretty much vanishes in summer. If that does not happen, yep, we gotta have word. I don’t need to explain squat, he’s smart and can figure it out and hopefully I can be gone by 55. He will do the “poor me, Noquay is such a b@#$%” which he has done publically before. I will be resigning the chairship my weekly meetings, where avoiding him is impossible, although not attending looks really bad. Was hoping to get my center going and that it would remove me from campus. Now, if it goes at all, the main part of it would be in a field right next to HIS building and I would have to pass right by his office several times a day. Whoops. With the colleagues retirement at my home, since this will be in summer, whoops, Ill forget to tell him. The woman who’s going is not a fan of his and the man is too oblivious to notice. Hopefully, the younger set in my circle that were so enamoured of him last week will learn that he has zero follow through and stop including him in things. I do not want to break NC, because, as a narc in need of adoration, he will blab about it, but push may come to shove. A best case scenario is that he learns that I have left when we return in fall.

        • teachable says:


          This is not intended as criticism so please don’t take it the wrong way but NC is not him coming to your home uninvited and being allowed to enter (please forgive me if I have these details incorrect).

          NC, if faced with similar scenerio, would be to open the door, see it is him, and to tell him it is totally inappropriate for him to be at your home, and then to ask him to please leave.

          Even if someone else let him into your home whilst you were busy attending to guests, NC would be to pull him aside and to ask him to leave. I’m bowled away by the nerve of this guy, and a little surprised that you didn’t do this. I can understand if you felt unable to though, for fear that doing so might raise questions amoung your crowd as to why he’d left so quickly. My response to that would be to ask yourself, are these people really your friends if you can’t tell those you trust even (and if they are at your home you must trust some of these people), that this guy is someone who has caused you pain and that therefore you wish to have no association with him, other than as may be neccessary for work?

          Similarly, NC is not him feeling comfortable enough to offer to assist you with various things, whether he follows through or not.

          NC is a very simple concept. It means NC in any shape or form (except where unavoidable re work in your situation). You may be thinking that you are NC with this guy but based on the limited information you’ve provided, you’re not. Otherwise, at the very least, you either haven’t communicated your nc position clearly enough to this guy, or he if you have, he isn’t respecting it.

          You need to communicate to the AC that he is NOT WELCOME at any events at your home, FULLSTOP, or at social outings elsewhere organised by you, with your friends. Unfortunately, you have no control over him now attempting to ingratiate himself with your crew.

          Here I’d be wording up those you trust in order to defend your patch. I’d also make it clear to them that you won’t be attending any social events he is invited to that are organised by others. They can then arrange their social events as they see fit. So too, can you.

          I understand the difficulty also that this was an involment with someone from work and that you’re needing / attempting to tread a fine line with maintaining your privacy prfessionally. This though may need to be chalked up to experience. Romantic relationships with people at work always have the potential to sour our professional lives, which is why in my case, I’ve always completely avoided them. Conversely, one of the most common ways people meet a life partner, research suggests, is in fact through their work.

          I really feel for you Noquay. I too am really glad to hear that you are now considering an exit plan; critters and all. The old saying that sometimes people need to ‘sh*t or get off the toilet seat’, crass as it may be, comes to mind here. That town sounds like it hasn’t been very kind in terms of what it has to offer you. No doubt there ARE greener pastures, all be they fraught with their own difficulties, elsewere.

          Hnag in there Noquay. These situations are never easy, and as they say, it takes what it takes. You are getting there though, so pat yourself on the back that you’ve come this far even.

          Teach x

          • Noquay says:

            There’s absolutely no way you could be harder on me than I have been on myself during this stupid mess. I never should have responded to the advances of a colleague; nor would I have had I not been horribly lonely, very vulnerable, totally lacking in support, had recently broke off a rship with a local who turned off to be hypercritical, unethical, and very Ill mannered and crude. So much for listening to all those blogs that tell us chix to date down, lower our standards. AC was, quite literally, the only male that was even close to my intellectual/educational/environmentalist equal, plus he has manners and was really good at acting as though he truly cared. Fell for it like a ton of bricks, so have many other women in our college system. But yep, this my own damned fault. I thought by my avoidance of him, my refusal to work with him on college stuff, cutting him off from my social gatherings, plus having sent him a very well crafted letter stating my view of the situation, how he had hurt me. At my gathering last week, he was already in the door, had his shoes off, was talking to our colleagues before I even knew he was there. To have thrown him out then would’ve been a very public act, and the subject of much gossip; most of these folks have no clue what happened. Had he ever actually showed up to help, I fully intended to ask him WTF! It’s like some sort of weird game: saying he plans to call, turn up, and never does, and does this totally unsolicited. Bizarre and pointless. As I have stated before, we have three weeks left in the semester, the ideal solution is that I am gone to parts unknown when he returns in fall. If not, we are gonna have word, I will have to put up with his putting himself off as innocent, misunderstood victim for two years, then I am outta there regardless. I think what needs to happen now is my precautions to make damned sure this never happens again. I have done really well spotting and getting rid of red flag bearers since but the real issue is how to avoid them in the first place if possible.

            • teachable says:

              “I think what needs to happen now is my precautions to make damned sure this never happens again. I have done really well spotting and getting rid of red flag bearers since but the real issue is how to avoid them in the first place if possible.

              This is good Noquay. And try not to be too hared on yourself hey. We all make mistakes and you weren’t to know this guy was an AC. Now you do though so boundaries UP and keep moving forward, a step at a time. Xxx

      • Wiser says:

        P.S. I agree with Tink, getting out of that isolated, limited environment is what you need. Have some trust that solutions to all your moving issues WILL present themselves.

    • Lilly says:


      Re: the AC; it’s almost impossible to recover if they keep rearing their ugly heads. I’m sorry that he keeps approaching you; it sounds like he’s all talk and no action anyway(standard AC tactics). I truly hope you manage to get far away and start a new life and as for your supervisor and the comment that you should “accept that you are going to be alone” what is she a fortune teller. No one knows what’s around the corner. A new job, a new home,for you and your beloved pets, new people, new opportunities is imo the right move for you. Take a chance noquay and go see what/who is out there. I’m sending you all my love and best wishes that this comes true for you and that your dad is ok too, xxx.

      • Noquay says:

        As she is a very mannish, unattractive, physically anyway, woman, I think it is her own projection going on here and I believe she settled for being unpartnered a long time ago. As I am a good decade older, mixed race, she may be right. The dating scene has become really ugly, particularly for older, brainy chix. Before I married, if a chick took care of her appearance, was socially competent, had her act together, put herself out there, good thing happened; you met someone your equal, who you could envision a future with. Now, its as though a chick has to be rich, drive a good car, be in perfect shape, look flawless, and for all that, you are expected to settle for some dude emotionally and physically broken and financially bereft by choice. Reject them and you are picky, entitled, and generally a b@#$%. Even if I am alone for good, being freed of dealing with the AC, having to carefully orchestrate my social life, even trips to the grocery and post office, restaurants, in order to maintain NC, will be gone. There’s also the added benefit of avoiding latest wannabe stalker who seems to want to confront me about my polite rejection of him. To be rid of this sort of thing is huge.

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi Noquay, hope you do get the job – you’ll figure out something with the critters. At first I wasn’t sure that your story about your supervisor wasn’t to tell us that after all this time, there was someone who had noticed how you felt, even if she wisely didn’t put it in your recommendation. You have been unhappy with your location/situation since I ‘met’ you here, and considering the options you describe there, it does seem that the only way to be happy there would be to figure out being happy alone.

      I might not be getting the full context, but I thought you were going to say that she was telling you that it’s been impossible for you to hide your dissatisfaction and that she’s happy to support you looking for a move.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if someone here said the same to me. I’ve tried to keep my deep sense of isolation and dread about the idea of staying in this town long term to myself, but I’m sure it wears me down and it shows. Every time I think about being gone from here, despite not having work to go to, I feel lighter, like there are possibilities. It sucks to leave more because things suck where you are than because you long to be where you’re going, but I for one am happy to hear you’re actively looking. I hope you can take the critters with, even if it’s a matter of placing them on someone else’s sanctuary within easy visiting distance.

      • Noquay says:

        Many know something has been really wrong but most do not know what it is. There is the expectation here that single chix accept being alone or settle rather than all of us actively work together to fix this town and its trash reputation which is precisely what keeps good folk away. I have gotten a trusted colleague to help me revamp my CV and if I am indeed too old, as stated earlier, will look into the feasibility of very early retirement.

    • Pauline says:


      You’ve been very unhappy there for a long time and I’m glad to hear there is another choice for you on the horizon even though it means less money. Quality of life and happiness is worth much more than money although the cash can make life more comfortable materially it won’t buy love.
      Of course take your critters with you, I can’t see you doing any less.
      As for your supervisor predicting you will be alone for the rest of your life, has she seen that in her special crystal ball that tells the future? I don’t think so.
      As for the AC, who cares! You’ve got better things to do and places to go.
      You’re not old and you’ve plenty of life to live yet before you give up. An 80 year old friend has recently got herself a 73 year old boyfriend and they like each other a lot. Believe me, there is hope for us all!
      I really hope it all works out for noquay and your critters.

  10. Brenda says:

    That confirmation of negative feelings has to be the worst thing going on earth, A waste of life and like a self fulfilling prophecy kinda thing from hell.

    Like Natalie mentioned somewhere: I remember going along with a few someones way older, just weird,or even perverted.. and then later thinking things like – I cannot even get this total weirdo whatever to love me? what a joke looking back that was really.

    It is kinda odd how one thing led to another, we start out getting maybe wounded by BOYS on the prowl for sex and then wrap that all up into some other messed up thinking and it just goes on and on until it’s a big wheel of a mess, to where it even get’s to ourselves kinda rediculas looking.

    Like I never looked “down” on anyone the way I did myself and yet really I was so damn sincere and honest at the same time it was really odd, I never would have harmed a total stranger the way I was able to somehow harm myself in this life expecting something like a miracle to happen from crazies with more mental illness, issues, and lack of morals or values than I already had going myself you know?

    Most often I was actually the thinker, the doer, and more creative in some awesome ways and just had more class all around.

    It was rather self defeating in so many stupid ways.

    In the right hands and company and rid of that confirmation crap? Man life it could been so amazing really, My job ended in the security booth as I IMAGINE it now and the security girl handing out tickets of “validation” to everyone but myself, It feels great to be walking away form that damn booth where I waited and waited and waited for the right one to finally see the light.

    All that time?.. I was able to quit that job anytime that I really wanted to, LOL!

  11. Kriss says:

    it happens when we stop expressing our feelings, but then we may associate expressing our feelings with negative consequences

    So much this. For me it started as a child when having needs and having negative feelings like anger were completely unacceptable. I simply stopped saying, because it was pointless. So I became very independent, very reserved, and only very close to a few people. Much of that baggage is still with me 40 years later and it has undermined many of my friendships because I cannot do the simple thing of saying when someone has hurt me – it ends up assuming a huge importance and creating a lot of drama.

    I always used to wonder why I am not a drama queen and I don’t like or create drama, yet am surrounded by so much of it. Well, you get what you tolerate, no?

    • rachael says:


      be f_cking angry…. just don’t hurt anyone in the process

      • Kriss says:

        When you feel like expressing anger or having needs will upset someone else, or make them uncomfortable or angry, what will or won’t hurt someone becomes a very hard thing to judge.

        • rachael says:


          you could express anger without involving those you speak of… throw water bombs at a wall with their face drawn on, for example

  12. Rosie says:

    Noquay- It’s wonderful that you’re able to move from that place! :) Not so long ago you weren’t able to due to practical/financial/moral (your animals/students/program) reasons. The morality of moving may be a hardship for you right now and I’m sorry you have to go through all of this. I hope you get the job & a home where you can keep your animals. I also hope your program’s in place to keep going even though you won’t be there to clearly know what’s going on (I don’t know how these situations operate).

    • Noquay says:

      The program plus my new program will die soon as I am out the door; also 3/4 of the courses in my other field will have no one qualified to teach them. My position will not be replaced due to enrollment issues. I feel sad, guilty about all of this but perhaps the institution should hold all folks equally accountable rather than putting higher demands on those who prove competent and letting slackers be slackers.The financial stuff is still there; even with my current high salary, I am cashing out a smaller retirement account because Dad expenses have been huge yet I need to pay off credit cards, pay my deductible for work on my arm, and do serious fix up on this house. This job will be a 50% cut in pay. I am working with a realtor as to feasible options. I am scared but also understand that despite my efforts to make a life here I can live with, a lot of my unhappiness here are due to many factors out of my control, mainly, economic disparities, very redneck, anti intellectual attitudes of older men in this region, and the bad reputation of this town. These are the very factors that made me lonely enough to respond to the AC in the first place. I can leave knowing I did everything possible to try and make things better, I have discovered that many high end women here and regionally face the exact same problems, it’s not me which is good to know. I also am not the first, not by a long shot, to go thru this with the AC, and actually to be driven out by him. He’s in an ideal situation to do what he does and get away with it.

  13. rachael says:

    i FEEL grateful for Natalie and her work in keeping this site going. i FEEL comforted by the fact that others on here have similar experiences to me and i am not alone…. just expressing :)

  14. ShepN7 says:

    I read this and the one article about low self-esteem, and all the so helpful comments. It’s amazing when I read certain comments and find myself wondering if I wrote them as they sound exactly like something I’ve experienced. It’s good to know even for a nanosecond that I may be feeling lonely but am not alone in my feelings.

    I’ve been pretty miserable at work for two months. Every demon in the closet has come roaring out, to the point of paranoia and hyper-vigilance. I had felt some hits of envy and resentment before the last two months because some people at work are worshipped and others are not, including me. I managed the feelings and still felt competent and was meeting my own standards. It changed when my beloved dear cat died in February and I stayed home to say goodbye and be there for him. My boss actually called me at home and left messages (and had others leave messages) telling me I had to come to work and my absence for this reason could not be authorized. I didn’t go to work but it was terrifying to say no to her, as that was a huge punishment cue as a child. The boss acted differently and/or I felt that to be the case. A few weeks ago, I was verbally dressed down in front of someone I supervise, at a meeting called for a false pretext that supposedly all staff were being asked to do (I checked and this was not true). It was for an honest mistake, for doing something I had no idea was not allowed, or I would never have done it. I am scrupulously careful after growing up under constant scrutiny, to my own detriment. I cried afterward, pulled it together, and made contact w/ one of the two bosses who reprimanded me, asking to talk to her to clarify things, which was hard to do. She hung up on me after claiming the reception was breaking up, when I knew for a fact it was not, again I made absolutely sure by calling from a high reception location. I texted her repeatedly asking to talk in person and finally she replied saying I could have 10 minutes. I asked her if the result was a write up or formal reprimand (as the whole thing had no context, it just felt like an ambush). She said, good idea, I’ll check with HR for you and let you know by email. I felt dismissed! I asked her if this affected my option of returning to the position next year and she said, she didn’t know, and then offered me the ‘advice’ that integrity was the number one asset of a professional and that I had thrown that away, she now doubted me and wondered what else I might be doing that she doesn’t know about. Since then, I have felt poisoned by hurt and excluded- my other boss blows hot and cold, I never heard anything about a write up. I would rather be written up than be wondering and fearing every day that I am to be exiled. Every thing reads to me like a threat now and I feel terribly lonely and very down about myself. I think I had better hurry up and find a new job but how can I when feeling so badly about myself?

  15. Lilly says:

    I’m trying to learn to be more self-compassionate. I’m learning that making mistakes doesn’t mean I’m condemned for the rest of my life. I’m also trying to understand that what others do (i.e. the AC) isn’t about me and my worth. Their actions belong to them. Speaking of actions or lack of, I’ve been getting to know someone at uni. He seems nice enough, but I’m not overly attracted to him, we’ve had coffee, sent emails, worked on papers. He’s instigated most of that. Last week he asked if I would like to have dinner. Fast forward to the actual date (last night), there I was all dressed up when he called to cancel saying he was, wait for it, BUSY, but maybe we could meet the next night. I declined saying I was busy the next day (true) and maybe another time. Now I’m trying to work out my feelings. Initially, I was a little upset because it triggered thoughts of the AC and how he often let me down and left me feeling wretched and rejected. Also, because I’d made the effort to get dressed up, make-up, etc only to have to take it all off. This morning I’m feeling ok, but I’m trying not to equate him being ‘too busy’ with I’m not good enough! By busy he said he had a thesis to read, and wanted to get everything done to free himself up for Sunday. There’s something wrong here, but I’m not sure what, but it doesn’t say anything about me does it?

    • rachael says:


      • rachael says:


        this man was rude cancelling like that and even if it were genuine I would hope that he bent over backwards to make it up. NOT about you girl, at all x

        • Lilly says:

          Rachael, far from trying to make it up he seems annoyed with me now! More or less blanked me today. I think I’ve had a lucky escape, but it still doesn’t feel very nice.

          • rachael says:

            he did you a favour perhaps. nice of him to reveal his true self so early on. saves you wasted time on a d_ck and can now find a non-d_ck :)

    • Nigella says:


      Mr. Thesis is not just showing lack of respect for your time and feelings by canceling dinner at such short notice. He is also insulting your intelligence by feeding you such a lousy excuse for the cancellation. I understand that sometimes things come up at the last minute and so plans have to be changed. But the explanation he has given you is highly improbable – and insulting.

      I cannot speak for you but currently, both on professional and personal fronts, my tolerance for people not keeping their end of the deal is seriously low. If absolutely necessary, I am willing to give people three chances to redeem themselves. Ultimately, only you know what is best for you – what is acceptable to you and what is not. How many chances you are willing to give someone? How many times can they cancel on you? Only you can answer these questions.

      It is great you did not leap for the “maybe we could meet the next night” offer. Here is what I think: “Mr. Thesis, peddle your excuses to someone else. You are not Einstein and the world does not revolve around your unstable schedule. Have fun reading. You missed out on dining with a terrific person.”

      • Lilly says:


        I’m sure it was an excuse and a really bad one at that. I’m glad I picked up on it and I’m sure I wasn’t being too sensitive especially now as he seems annoyed. And you know what he did miss out on dining with a nice person even if I’m a bit messed up at the moment! I am a nice, gentle, person and they are good qualities; I’ve just got to be a bit more assertive, but I think I already showed that and that’s why he’s annoyed perhaps.

        • Nigella says:


          Reading your comment has added another ray of sunshine to my day. In my books a person with “nice” and “gentle” qualities gets high ratings, provided he or she is also able to stand up for herself while treating others with respect. This is exactly what you are doing. You are being *assertive* rather than offensive in choosing not to lap up his “next night” offer. However, as the shift in his behavior shows, not everyone is going to treat you graciously when you set boundaries on how they may treat you.

          From your other comments, I see that you are perhaps feeling slightly rejected, slightly confused about him blanking you. Even if he is well on his way to becoming a world-renowned scholar or top-paid university administrator, his professional success is *irrelevant* if he cannot treat you with respect. If he really wanted to spend time with you, he would have found a way to do so instead of bailing on you at the last minute.

          One of my close friends is a 32-year-old cardiologist who works 70-90 hours per week. Despite his demanding schedule, he makes enough time for his girlfriend who, working as a dentist, is no less professionally preoccupied than him. Both of these people are undoubtedly *busy* but they do not use that as an excuse for cancelling dates on one another at the last minute. One thing I admire in my friend is that – thanks to his excellent time-management skills – he is good at realizing when he cannot do something. The upshot is that he does not make promises he cannot keep. Simple. Plus, he is the sort of person who prefers to hear the truth – “I cannot meet on X day” or “I cannot do X” – and so does not expect his girlfriend to do or say things to meet his needs at *her* expense. Couples like them are inspiring.

          Clearly, you are picking up on orange flags before investing more of your precious time in Mr. Thesis. This shows that you are *not* thoughtlessly, hastily choosing him. It is not always under our control what sort of people enter our life. But it is up to us to decide who stays.

          Thanks for sharing your experience – it made me ask myself how would I respond if someone cancelled on me at the last minute. This is what I imagined: I see a short-notice cancellation as someone taking a step back from me. It is a distancing, pulling-away act. So instead of stepping forward or chasing after them, I see myself smiling, taking a step back, turning around, and returning to my life. I am not running away – just walking back to things that matter to me. If the person cares enough, they will catch up with me. For them, I will not stop or wait. For them, I will not sabotage my own goals and priorities. Too much time has already been spent trying to please the unpleasable, unreliable, and unavailable folk.

          If he truly values your friendship, he will make an effort to reconnect with you. In the meantime, you deserve a treat for being *true* to you.


        • Flcc says:

          By busy he said he had a thesis to read,…There’s something wrong here, but I’m not sure what…especially now as he seems annoyed…

          Congratulations, your picker is becoming active and you are allowing it to warn you of danger! What it’s warning you of is that this guy wants you for an option. People do what’s important to them. To him you weren’t a high priority. Who blows off a date with someone they’re interested in to read a thesis? No one!
          I wouldn’t worry too much about his irritation. That’s just him being a spoiled brat. You wouldn’t eat his crumby left over stale cake offer of a date the next night that would have had a high probability of being cancelled again because he “…wanted to get everything done to free himself up for Sunday” so, yes, he is irritated. Shame on you for trying to reclaim your dignity and sense of self respect by not putting up with less-than behavior!
          Kinda curious, why would you think it was you? how do you think you contributed to him cancelling the date? In what way would it have anything to do with you? If we can answer these questions and look at the answers, we are that much closer to being able to self sooth and calm ourselves and avoid repeating past patterns.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Ditto what you said to Noquay about being more forceful about getting rid of the AC. I would have said all the same as you but was not sure exactly to what extent she’s been doing so.

      Noquay, I have to agree that it does appear that you need to assert yourself in a much stronger manner with the idiot AC. If you give a function that he was not invited to, (whether it’s at your home or a public place) why can’t you call the police to have him escorted out? That would really stun him and perhaps he’d stay out of your way after that. My heart goes out to you, honey. I will be so glad for your sake when he is GONE out of your life in whatever manner ends up being necessary on his part or yours.

      Also, as Wiser said, trust and have FAITH in your higher power that there will be solutions to the problems you may face after relocating. Best wishes always, Tink.

    • Mike from Oztralia says:

      No Lilly – soooo not you. AC behavior. Nigella sums it up:

      “However I do believe every experience, especially the most painful ones, are the best teachers. I have learned so much like never in my life. Even though I still want to be with him, I look back and am glad it happened to me. That he and the whole experience happened to me. Otherwise I would have not been who I am now.”

      Don’t let anyone else define you (in word or deed).

      I made that mistake for too long a period of my life.

      • Lilly says:

        Mike from Oz, yes definitely AC behaviour or at least it seems like it. I like those words ‘Don’t let anyone else define you (in word or deed)’. I’ve made that mistake for too long as well – time to stop.

    • Camillah says:

      Hi Lilly,

      I agree with you Lilly; his last minute cancellation doesn’t say anything about YOU, that’s about HIM.

      YES, I agree: We cannot be afraid to make a mistake, and condemn ourselves for it when we make one. We have to allow ourselves the gift to try and learn and grow, and making ‘mistakes’ is a part of the process; it’s just what we humans do, and allowing ourselves to make mistakes without self-condemnation is self-compassionate, and can help us stop shaming ourselves for simply being human.

      He was a jerk; you recognized it, and honored your own values, boundaries, etc. Good for you!

      I wonder if you should be dating right now, as well, but at the same time, you seem to be trying to find your feet, and I don’t want to discourage you from trusting your own judgement, or trusting YOU. I sense you are being careful, and you are seeking support and feedback when you think you need it.

      Keep taking care of yourself, :)

      • Lilly says:


        This is exactly what I’m trying to do! Trying to find my feet. He seemed nice enough so I thought it might be ok. I was quite pleased with myself at not accepting his new plans, but now I don’t feel so good. I bumped into him today and he virtually blanked me and for some reason he seemed angry. I don’t understand why he would be angry at me. I didn’t agree with his change of plans is all! Wow, I do pick them!

        • rachael says:

          sometimes anger, Lilly, is used by men to control women. a friend said to me once, anger is likea ‘paper dragon’… looks scary, but when you get up close, you see it is just made of paper and not very scary at all. please do not allow his behaviour to second guess yourself. he could have apologised.

    • Pauline says:


      It doesn’t say anything about you at all. Slow your roll girl, this guy isn’t the previous AC so don’t get them mixed up in your mind.

      You said you’re not overly attracted to him, this was your FIRST UP impression of him and that will be the correct one. ALWAYS go with your first impression or you will get into trouble down the track.

      So what if he cancelled your date, annoying when you’re all dressed up and ready to go I must admit, but you can cut someone a break for the first time. Anything shady after that would be a red flag alert.
      You both have been working on a project and he did try to reschedule for the next night when he realised that he couldn’t make it for that evening. You declined due to you being busy and said some other time. Put yourself in his shoes, he asked you out, tried to make the date for the next day when he couldn’t make it, you said no because you have other plans and realistically you’re not that interested or you would have said something along the line of ‘how about … are you free on that day?’ instead of maybe some other time.

      There’s nothing going on here hon except you’re not ready to date yet. You’re still in recovery mode from the AC and until you come out the other side, its best to work on your own self esteem, boundaries and getting back into reality before you start dating again. Then incidents like this won’t start a brain storm happening, you will just take it in your stride and it won’t even be a blip on the radar. Work colleagues are big red flags, I had a golden rule about work place relationships, never, never, never get romantically involved with guys at work. Friends only, that’s it!

      • Lilly says:


        It’s true I’m not overly attracted to him so I suppose I felt safer to try, but now I don’t think it was safe at all. I don’t feel good. He’s seems angry at me now and virtually blanked me today. I have absolutely no idea what’s gone wrong. I’m not ready for all this it hurts. Not because it’s not working with him, but because I’m ‘still’ in such pain. I think I’m trying to avoid it by dating when I’m not ready? As if another man can make me feel wanted and take it all away. And why do I always, always choose men where it’s their way or no way!

        • rachael says:

          maybe being the one in control is not something you are used to. you might have a habit of allowing another to hold control?

        • Pauline says:


          It seems to me that you are putting the cart before the horse here. You have no idea what he is so angry about, it could be anything and I can guarantee that it has nothing to do with you or anything you have done. This is his issue not yours so DONT take it on board, you don’t know anything about this man or his life.
          As far as your ‘man picker’ goes, yours is actually working well. It told you that you weren’t that attracted to him and nothing he has done since has put him in a better place in your estimation of his character, rather the opposite has happened.
          What does that tell you Lilly? Your own internal boundaries are up and running again, yay, you haven’t chosen this man, you feel bad about him and are rejecting him.
          There’s nothing more you have to know or do about him. What ever he’s pissed about is NOT your problem, just blank him back next time you see him and keep walking, seriously, who cares.
          Keep reading BR, it takes a while for some things Nat writes about to sink in, and especially for me, the posts about loving ourselves and treating us with love care respect first. It took me a while to understand how to do that. Still a work in progress but I’m getting there and so can you.

    • teachable says:

      HIS behaviour says nothing about YOU Lilly, and everything you need to know about HIM.

      Relationships start on the tone they will continue with. In this case, a guy wanting a first date with you has disrespected your time. He would have known much earlier than by the time that you were dressed and ready to go that he couldn’t make it, yet he chose to delay in telling you this.

      In my book, that’s a flush. See ya. Fast! This guy does not respect your time and is also thoughtless, and self centred. They are not the qualities I want to see in a guy who would be good enough for you.

      Hugs. Teach xx

      • Lilly says:


        You’re right as he won’t even speak to me now! Totally weird! If it wasn’t a flush on Saturday it definitely is now. I’m practicing spotting the red flags, but even though I spotted these before anything really developed I still feel bad!! This is too hard to make sense of, but I’m trying. I’m so happy things have improved for you Teach and I would love to meet up with you and everyone at one of Nat’s events, maybe it will come true one day. I wonder if you look like I imagine! Hugs, xxx

        • teachable says:

          “I’m practicing spotting the red flags, but even though I spotted these before anything really developed I still feel bad!!”

          Ok Lily, time for a little classtime with Teach. LOL

          Firstly, you are a PhD student yes? I think I saw this somewhere ages ago. That means you are in fact a highly intelligent woman!

          Next, you are feeling BAD because you are now learning how to protect yourself before harm occurs by spotting red flags and avoiding someone waving these?

          Lily, I have some homework for you. Please read what you have said and tell me, does that make sense to you?

          If not, why not?

          ~waits patiently~

    • Camillah says:

      Lilly, w

      What do think about dating YOU for a while?

      You can take yourself out to dinner, take yourself to the theatre, museum, whatever you want to do. It’s fun! I do it all the time. :)

      Also, why don’t you read these, and see what you think.

  16. Lauren says:

    I never realised so many people were going through similar issues to me! Sofia, I have closeish friends but none that understand me emotionally. Everyone is settling down and having children and I’m nowhere near where I want to be in life. That is another reason why I stay away – as selfish as it sounds, I don’t want to hear about people’s great lives when I’m feeling so bad about mine. I saw a friend of mine today and she was really happy telling me about her wedding. I smiled and faked enthusiasm (should be awarded an oscar) but felt like crying when I left her. I don’t blame her of course…it just makes me realise how unhappy I am and I am trying to change it but I don’t seem to get anywhere. The people on this site are so wonderful…why don’t I meet people like you in real life?!

    Rachael, thank you! I am trying to change the way I feel about myself but nothing seems to work – it’s like learning to be a different person. I don’t know where to find the people who would be safe and good for me.

    Sally – I was assessed by a therapist – all my issues were brought to the surface and she has just left me with them to wait for group therapy to start in a few months. I’ve seen several people in the past but no one has given me any strategies for long term change.

    A – I can relate to the parents thing! I still struggle with this now with my dad…complete frustration that he won’t hear/accept my feelings and that as an adult I can’t accept this and move past it! People say ridiculous things and I often think It would be better talking to a brick wall. It just makes me feel more isolated!

    Drama seeker – I completely understand what you are saying about relationships. Like Natalie says, the people we date are reflections of how we feel about ourselves – no wonder it feels alien to be with someone decent when we feel rubbish about ourselves. If we can’t date with a healthy view of ourselves and self esteem in tact we shouldn’t date. I think I will not be dating for a looonnng time considering the issues I need to work through!

    Love to all.

    • rachael says:


      maybe not learning to be a DIFFERENT person, very focusing on your preferred aspects… one i noticed is your sense of humour in adversity… “faked enthusiasm (should be awarded an oscar)”… that’s someone i like, do you?

      • rachael says:

        ps Lauren

        would you like to cease comparing yourself with others. you are YOU… unique. no one else is or EVER will be you

      • rachael says:


        maybe not learning to be a DIFFERENT person, but rather, focusing on your preferred aspects… one i noticed is your sense of humour in adversity… “faked enthusiasm (should be awarded an oscar)”… that’s someone i like, do you?

  17. Allison says:


    I’m sorry, yhst this guy canceled at the last minute. Very inconsiderate!!’

    I really wish you would take at least six more months, before you would even consider dating. The fact that you would even consider thst this is about you, says you are no where ready to date.

  18. Allison says:


    Also, you should be pissed at this guy!!! I certainly hope that you do not go out with him, or consider him as a future friend . Big red flag, here!!!! He has shown you who he is, it is your responsibility to yourself, to keep you safe.

    • Lilly says:

      Allison, I know you’re right because I’m feeling awful. Sad and hurt, but not because of him; his behaviour just triggered it all the rejection and hurt again. I keep trying to move on, only to realise I’m nowhere near over it all yet. When is this going to let up!

      • rachael says:

        how do you know you are nowhere near over it? something may gel for you this week and you may have a complete;y different outlook thereafter. could happen 😉

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Being feminine and being a “pushover” ARE NOT THE SAME. I’m surprised that your female therapist who equate the two. You’re probably reluctant to stand up for yourself because you don’t want to hurt someone and be rude. That’s where “YOU, FIRST” comes in. I’m not saying you should go around acting bitchy and quick to argue, but you must not allow people to treat you any way they want. You need to make your boundaries clear. How do you do this in the very beginning of meeting a guy you’re liking? Practice a tough exterior. Much can be gained by extended convos. You can make your boundaries known without it being very obvious that that’s what you’re doing. But most of all, taking more time to know and love YOU, taking care of YOU will help you to make BETTER CHOICES so that you don’t go through this shite. When we are depressed, we are very vulnerable, and that leads to poor decision making. We want a man in our lives so much that we overlook our own innate needs mistake him for “Prince Charming” who will solve all our problems. We have to do this for ourselves, Lilly. I’ve been where you are. I’m praying for you. Btw, do you believe in God? If so, pray for strength to overcome.

      • Flcc says:

        Please revisit some of the books here : Mr. Available and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer & the Fantasy Relationship, Curbing Your Obsession Quick Guide.
        I also suggested another book in another thread that may help you. Have you looked into it?
        Here’s another that may be of use, a workbook: The Courage to Trust: A guide to building deep and lasting relationships
        Another workbook for anxiety and worry

        It all starts and ends with you. Your picker is showing up now, you didn’t reject your picker and it was right. It saved you some problems with this guy.

        Now it’s time to go after the big stuff inside and work on that.

        Take care of yourself, the rest will take care of itself. Everyone on this board is cheering for you.

    • Allison says:


      What’s the rush? Hon, just take a year off. You will not learn, grow or heal, by bouncing from man to man. Spend time with friends, family and yourself.

      • EllyB says:

        Allison: I totally agree with you! In the past – and even fairly recently -, I used to give such people “the benefit of the doubt”, but I’ve always regretted it later. This is not the same kind of “poor time management” as forgetting a dentist appointment.

        In my experience, putting up with something like this is going to set the “tone” for the rest of the relationship. I think this is precisely why some men (and women) are behaving this way early on.

        Those people are getting enough “second chances” with new people (who don’t know them yet). They don’t need any “second chance” with us.

  19. Lauren says:

    Lilly, as Natalie would say…don’t give this guy the steam of your pee! It is not acceptable to cancel a date at the last minute due to being ‘busy’. At the very least he shows poor time management – who wants that in a partner? If he asks you out again, remember how you felt all dressed up with nowhere to go. Keep telling him you are BUSY. You deserve better. If you don’t feel worthy, act like someone who does! If that ever happens again, don’t take your makeup off…take yourself out! Treat yourself well. Just because someone shows you a flash of interest, it doesn’t mean they are right for you…I know this from the amount of ACs I’ve been out with! Instead of wondering whether you are worthy of them, instead think are they worthy of me? Treat yourself well…that is where it needs to start…so I am told :-)

    Rachael, you are right…comparing yourself only makes you unhappy and I do this a lot…need to learn how not to! I don’t know where I would be without a sense of humour. The trouble is my thoughts don’t seem to translate to feelings. I’m working on it.

    Love to all.

    • rachael says:


      start with BEING AWARE of comparing yourself… don’t judge yourself for doing it… just notice it.

      when i laugh i am never sad, infact i am very happy… keep working on focusing on parts of you, you love

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Please take more time for YOU, and put off dating for now. Allison has it right. You’re not over your pain and as a result, your judgement as far as dealing with men is concerned, is not the best. Please don’t give this jerk another chance. He’s already used them all up with this cancellation. The NERVE! Who does he think he is? But, more importantly, who does he think you are? Some poor, desperately lonely waif who needs a date more than she needs to honor her self respect? YOU ARE NOT THAT PERSON! Lilly, honey, work on your self esteem. I know you have a therapist but are you getting the proper counseling? Once you have improved your self esteem and have grown to love YOU more, you will be much better able to pick who you should give the time of day to and who you should avoid. It’s happened to me ( a much older person) and it can happen to you. Be strong. Be determined. Put Lilly FIRST!

      • Lilly says:

        Tink, here I go again! It probably is still too early, but I’m so desperate to start feeling better again. I’m going to save up and take Natalie’s Self-esteem course because mine’s just taken another hit. I thought he seemed ok, but now I think he’s angry with me! Thank goodness I didn’t get close to him. As for my therapist she said I need to work on being more assertive as men might see me as overly feminine and a bit of a pushover and that’s why I attract controlling men. I don’t see myself like that, it’s depressing,but perhaps she’s right. How do you change something like that?

        • rachael says:

          overly feminine? hmm… keep ya femininity if you like it. its not the same as being a push over. you stood up to this guy… you WERE assertive… thats how you do it. i would be proud that you stuck up for yourself and chose to not allow a man to run the show. keep it up Lill :)

    • Lilly says:

      Lauren, I won’t be giving him the steam off my pee (lol). For some reason he appears to be angry with me. He virtually stuck his nose in the air and ignored me today! It didn’t make me feel very good and I’m trying not to take it on board. I loved what you said about acting like someone who does feel worthy because that’s just what I’m trying to do. I will try to treat myself well by not buying into this ridiculous behaviour (but it’s hard!). Keep treating yourself well too and no more ACs for us.

      • rachael says:


        I like Laurens phrase too. You sound right here to me.
        “It didn’t make me feel very good”… this man is not in charge of how you feel. YOU ARE. if his actions MADE YOU FEEL crap, they would MAKE everyone feel that way. thing is, many women would think, ‘phew, dodged a bullet there.. as_ hole!’ and move on. you are in control of how you think about what happened and therefore in control of how you feel. please do not let this man control your mind, when you did so well in not allowing him to control your decisions :)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Lilly dear,

        I’ve had to learn/realize that I’m only making myself miserable and impeding my progess to being self-fullfillment, by internalizing what others do and say during interaction with me. I’m still involved in this endeavor. It’s hard to get it through my head that “It’s not all about ME”. Perhaps, this is something you need to be aware of and fully digest. You don’t know for certain if he was turning is nose up at you and harbors negativity toward you, because you are not in his head. As Pauline stated, he could be angry about anything. You don’t know, so don’t launch into self-blame. Lilly, the process you are experiencing is a very difficult one, I kid you not. But, you CAN claim victory at the end of the rocky road. I know there is all the hope in the world for you. You’re still very young. Even though you been through sheer hell on earth with the MMAC, you don’t not have to keep reliving the experience through other men. This guy is his own person, separate from the other piece of poo. Fortunately, you realize he is not your cup of tea, so please try to move on. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the game again, but with a different mindset and direction. Luv ya, Tink.

      • teachable says:

        LAUGH at him Lilly (at least to yourself). Let a tiny little raised eyebrow or something show as he makes a big deal of how he is ‘ignoring you’.

        YOU rejected him not the other way around. Remember this. Let him see (without over doing it) what a tosser you think he is for engaging in such infantile behaviour.

        I know this stuff is hard for those of us who are not naturally inclined with such socially strategic moves, but these things are important.

        Sometimes need to let others know “you’re a fool and how you are behaving makes YOU look even more pathetic – NOT me”.

        Picture him as a little boy in the school ground who is a sore loser for that is what he is. 😉

  20. teachable says:

    I felt loney tonight because I didn’t have the $ (or energy) to travel 45 mins both ways to spend time with my lifelong friends, who I knew, would have been catching up, without me. Such is the price of life in the suburbs where I have a sound proof home recording studio, & can play my drums & guitars anytime I like. I can’t afford a home that would allow me to do this back home in the inner city, where I am from. I put the feeling to use playing guitar for the night, blues in particular. I enjoyed playing & will stay put here, at least for now. :)

  21. teachable says:

    ps same thing happened friday & sat night this weekend also. I caught up w some g\friends out here sat arvo to compensate. Not much more I can do unless I want to live in a flat where I can’t even strum an acoustic guitar w.out issues. Looking forward to hopefully getting a piano here soon. Then my wonderland here will be ‘complete’ (I play piano, guit & drums) 😉

  22. Lauren says:

    Rachael, I’ve heard of this concept before…watching your thoughts come and go rather than judging them. I need to keep practising, I’m not very good at it! Thank you though :-) x

    • rachael says:


      “I need to keep practising, I’m not very good at it!”
      The word ‘need’ tells me you are thinking:
      a. you are not doing the ‘appropriate’ thing
      b. an that YOU are no good because of ‘a’
      Also, the comment that you are ‘not very good at it’ indicates self judgment too. You will never be perfect, but if you are doing a little better today than yesterday, or simply not going backwards, you are doing well if you ask me!

      Just noticing :)

  23. Lilia says:

    He cancelled you for a thesis on your first date?? Really, who does he think he is? This is at a stage when everyone tries to be on their best behaviour, imagine what would happen if you gave him another chance and things would evolve further!

    I think this is a great opportunity to learn from. You can feel sorry for yourself OR ask yourself “what is life/the universe/God trying to teach me”? Does this mean
    a) I need to exercise my flushing skills?
    b) I have to practice getting angry?
    c) maintain a good self esteem even when faced with thesis-neurotics?
    d) all of the above?

    Please take the time to look at this experience from that angle, it´s a good way to take some distance and not get carried away by bad feelings.

    • Lilly says:

      Lilia, yes reading a thesis was a more attractive option than dining with me, lol! Not the best ego boost is it! It is a great opportunity to learn from though and yes the universe is trying to teach me something, all of what you wrote in fact so thank you. The most important is how to maintain a good self-esteem! Not easy, but however long it takes I will get there!

    • noquay says:

      The problem when we have been hurt bad and are still vulnerable is that we somehow tend to “pull” problem children looking for an “in”. this dude is an ass. As an academic, preferring to read a thesis (unless he should’ve gotten thru it long ago and has procrastinated (nother red flag)) rather than date sounds like utter BS. This is a preview of things to come. I agree with other commenters in that 6 more months need to go be B4 dating again.

  24. Elgie R. says:

    Color me suspicious Lilly, but I think the break-a-date was a ploy to pique your interest. He senses your low enthusiasm for him, and decided to throw you for a loop by sending a little rejection your way. It worked in that you are spending mental energy on him now…he matters a little more than he did before he broke a date, even if it is for the negative reason of making you doubt your attractiveness.

    He’s a tosser for now. If he should – on his OWN – come clean and admit to playing a mind game, maybe you can try it again. Everyone has personal fears and doubts and we don’t always behave as an adult when we are emotionally injured. But AC/EUM – I don’t see that. It was one of those dating mind games.

    I was feeling lonely leaving work this Friday – I sighed to myself that I’ve been feeling this way for years. Not sure how to fix it, but smartened up to not reaching for familiar fixes that have never worked.

    I broke with a single EUM 3 years back…he and I never got beyond acquaintance in 20 years..and I recently stopped attending his band gigs…because I realize he never talks to me…and I think he cast me as part of his harem…which is all in his mind. I just stopped going because it wasn’t really a fun time, it was just a “time”. He’s done all the p/a contacts…email, texts of his gig dates…my unresponsiveness finally got a phone call out of him last week to invite me to a show this weekend….on my own dime of course. I toyed with it as “something to do”, but as the time approached, I realized I was happier in my own company this weekend, rather than a) go to the gig, make my own fun, and be ignored by EUM or if I actually find a person to engage with, have the EUM hover and block. That’s been the M.O. for years.

    I know his reason for asking me to show up is to prove to his band members that he has women on his “hook”….it has nothing to do with wanting to catch up, share experiences and good feelings.

    I do long for a sense of belonging.

    • Allison says:


      I totally disagree!

      If he is playing mind games, I do not think she should be dealing with someone so manipulative. She has had her fill of manipulative men.

      I’m sorry, but why would you give someone like that another chance?

      • Tinkerbell says:

        AMEN, a thousand times over. Allison, you are so right! The last thing Lilly needs is to become involved with a manipulative, person who uses mind games when she needs to seek TRUTH in all her associations with others, especially men.

    • Lilly says:

      Elgie R, I think you may have a point. I wasn’t that interested and he seemed keener than me (how wrong can someone be!), and it’s certainly worked that I’m spending far too much mental energy on him now. He virtually blanked me today and seemed angry, so weird and that’s made me waste even more energy!

      Congratulations on not reaching for familiar fixes because it’s so ridiculously hard when you’re feeling lonely. I think it’s amazing that you have worked out where he is coming from and found the strength to turn away from it all. I understand your need for a sense of belonging. Me too.

      • Allison says:


        This guy sounds like an immature fool.

        Please do not give this idiot another thought. So many more important things going on in your precious life!!!

  25. Tinkerbell says:


    Wow. I envy you. I’m a former musician, piano and string instruments, and singer. I’d love to spend time with you if that were possible. The Blues is just about my favorite type of music, and I adore acoustic guitar. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Be thankful for what you DO have because there is always someone out there who would trade places with you.

    Btw, Ms. retired RN (me) inquires about your health. Are you doing better overall?

  26. Peanut says:

    Often times when I put myself out there authentically and it is not well received, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness and wish I never existed.

    • teachable says:

      Hi Peanut,

      Instead of telling yourself something that then causes you to feel like you wish you never existed, try reminding yourself of what a wonderfully insightful and mature young lady you are. Then, your sadness will be for the for the other party (or parties) that they were not open to all the great things you could have shared with them ie YOU, instead of feeling down about yourself. Put away the four by two plank of wood and refuse to beat yourself emotionally with it. With your self esteem in tow, you will realise that rather than others rejecting you being a reflection on you in any way, that this is THEIR loss, not yours.

      I learned somewhere along the way in my journey of life that our greatest responsibility in life is to care for our thoughts. It is hard to change ‘negative old tapes’ implanted often in childhood, and I know that yours was very difficult, but this is indeed possible. I see this in you already, far more than you perhaps realise.

      Remember too, that not everyone in life is going to like us, just as we too, don’t like everyone. This is completely normal and OK.

      Chin up Peanut!

      Teach x

  27. teachable says:

    Hey Tink.

    I’m with you in that I’m trying to focus on what I do have & to be grateful for it. I mostly play electric guit & sing, but started out on piano as a kid, then picked up drums (just for fun) along the way. I’ve worked in bands as a guitarist, as a guitarist / vocalist & with a solo show also. If I return to my music career (even in more of a hobby context rather than professionally which I did for over a decade) it will be as a guitarist / vocalist so I need a place where I can crank my guit at least a little, b.c the techniques I’m working on need volume to practise (ie palm muted riffing etc).

    Otherwise, my health is a little better in that after losing 20 kilos I’ve now regained 10, which is about right, b.c working 2 & sometimes 3 jobs 7 days a week for a decade to buy my home, meant I’d put a little weight on over my normal weight range, before getting ill.

    That said, I’ve just had to drop out of uni for this semester, for health reasons. Not great but no choice. I’m told that what I’m dealing with is incurable (although certainly not fatal – unless I was not careful with the depression that has resulted from chronic physical illness, but I’m dealing with tht much better now). True, so far everything I’ve tried so far has not cured me but I WILL cure myself in time. I truely believe (or at least hope) this is so.

    For example, whereas at my worst I needed to take a combination of four different meds to manage my health conditions, I’m now down to ONE, taken at HALF the minimum possible dose (& I intend to come off this in the coming few months depending on how my health progresses). I was also very fortunate in that I had no dependency or withdrawal probs (except very minor once which was tolerable b.c I HATED taking meds, lol) with any of the medications, I think b.c I was so terrified of taking meds at all, I always took the lowest doses possible & used medication as sparingly as I could. (Much to the frustration of Drs & my support team at times, but I couldn’t help this. With a history of substance dependency in my youth I will forever be too frightened to take any medication unless I absolutely must).

    Thus, all in all, very slowly, I am starting to recover. Snail pace but better than nothing. The biggest thing is that I have finally ACCEPTED that I am no longer the person I used to be & adjusting to my ‘new normal’ as I’ve heard this referred to. Once I did this I allowed myself permission to actually be ill. This had been a huge stumbling block. Now, I approach not so good days, accepting this is just my lot (for now) & try to stay positive regardless.

    Much love to you Tink & thankyou for asking. Loneliness is a big part of the journey dealing with chronic illness & I’m getting better at coping with this too. I just accept things more now, instead of railing against everything & fighting my predicament. I still fight but save this for the little battles I can win along the way. This helps. xx

  28. teachable says:

    PS Tink, IRL it would be great to jam huh? My piano very rusty now as I haven’t played this since I was a kid but I’ll take guit if u handle keys. Maybe one day when I have $ from being bk to work, I could go to one of Nats event & meet u & Rev, & some of the others here like Lilly, Magnolia & Noquay & CC. Not to mention of course Nat herself! Wouldn’t that be just so fantastic? I can but dream. LOL

    • noquay says:

      I’ll bring my tin whistles, clarinet, bassoon, and fiddle :)

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Yes, indeed. We could have one helluva jam session.
        Also, just wanted to say, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis(which is autoimmune) and the two things that cause exacerbation or remission are diet/nutrition and mood, overall depression or contentment. In spite of the fact that it is progressive, I’m a fighter to be as well as I possible can be. We are our own best doctors. The docs can give you meds but if you don’t take them as prescribed, are non-compliant, neglect your body in order to retain optimal health, and if you have to deal with difficult people, you won’t see yourself as doing very well with your disease. I wish you’d spell out what it is, but I don’t want to pry. Furthermore, we don’t want to go off on a medical diagnosis tangent. LOL! But, if you said what it was we don’t have to pursue the topic. Please take care of yourself, Teach. Hugs, Tink.

    • Revolution says:

      I’ll bring my punk rock voice, kids. That’s about all I can contribute to the musical scene. But I’d be over the moon to hang with the likes of Miss Nat, Teach, Lily, and Noquay, to name a few…. :)

  29. Peanut says:


    Your first sentence to me made me cry–in a good way. I really can’t express to you how grateful I am for your words.

    I really tried to put myself out there truthfully in some ways today and even when I felt like blade toothed piranhas were gnawing at my insides, I politely expressed who I am.

    I then poured myself into a three hour long project. And now, about to go to bed, I am reflecting: though everyone does not like me, I am proud of myself and better off for being me.

  30. overit says:

    @ Rachael “sh_t emotions come from sh_t beliefs”. Thank you. That’s a quote to frame. X

  31. Brandy says:

    Thanks Rachael- watching a close family member go through the stages of grief/death really puts everything into perspective. Your kind words are most appreciated.
    I have to say I am in a similar place as Noquay- do we live in the same town? Everything she describes about the lack of character of those in her town fits the description of where I live. I am also contemplating a move but I also have a house I have to fix up and I need to find another job before I move after dealing with all my family issues. In the meantime I don’t have AC contacting which I am most thankful for but everytime I go out someplace I see his friends & the looks on their faces – I don’t say anything I keep a neutral face but Christ – everytime I go out my door…I think I need a different car cause they all know what I drive too. This town is so small I met a guy & he has a mutual friend with AC – seriously. I’m not dating, just meeting people but honestly I just keep thinking I’ve got a million reasons to leave but one big one to stay – which is my job. If I could find another job someplace else I’d be gone. It’s like the blindfold has come off and I see all the crap around me – yes, there are some gems- few & far between but there is just too much crap here.

    • noquay says:

      If Brandy is your real name, nope, we do not live in the same town but yep, the having to look over ones shoulder to avoid AC, his conquest, the latest wannabe stalker who is a wishin to confront, grows tiresome. I will never, ever, date or maybe even befriend any dude that lives in the same town I do. What I find really weird here are the numbers of folks that bemoan the loss of population, inability to keep employees, the “brain drain” as the educated and youth leave and are replaced by the financially desperate and mentally ill/addicted. Everyone in power knows what the problems are, yet no one will state them out loud and try and make things better. A lot of these problems could be ameliorated by just enforcing the da!@#$ law about zoning, property upkeep, behaviors in public, stalking, or other forms of harassment.

    • rachael says:

      yw, Brandy

  32. teachable says:

    Dear Peanut.

    You are on the path towrad healing & have been for some time now. This is very evident in your posts.

    In my minds eye, I see you as an incredibly creative, brave & inspiring woman. My wish for you is that you eventually see yourself, as not just I, but I’m sure many others here (& elsewhere also no doubt) do too.

    PS I know one of your dreams is to become a professional musician. This feedback is coming to you from someone who was exactly that & very successful at it, for many years.

    Brace yrself now b.c I know yr not a ‘huggy’ person.

    Hugs Peanut. Let your tears flow as a result of seeing the beauty & intelligence in yourself, that we all see. xx

  33. Yana says:


    Do you feel like most people are critical and rejecting towards you?

  34. Brandy says:

    Yup same socio-economic problems here- the educated leave & the financially desperate & drug addicts have all moved here- this town has gone from a relatively safe place to grow up to one I don’t care to say I’m from and that had nothing to do with my dating experience ha! It’s just my sense of my own personal security & what I’ve seen in around town.
    The people in power here are just in it to make money while they can…I’d just like to leave before the bubble bursts.
    Yes, looking over ones shoulder or ensuring I ‘don’t look’ or atleast wear sunglasses to hide any emotion in my eyes’ is getting tiresome. I’ve only seen most people from a distance but it’s getting warmer & one of these times someone someplace is going to say something…to which I’ll probably say: it was just ridiculous & pointless…just like this conversation…and leave.

  35. Elgie R. says:

    Peanut, I share that feeling you wrote: “when I put myself out there authentically and it is not well received, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness”. I’ve felt that sadness too. But I don’t share the feeling of wishing I never existed.

    I accept that right now my tribe is “me”. That is OK. I don’t think there is anything so fundamentally wrong with me that I don’t deserve to exist! To think that is to let your loneliness and perhaps self-imposed isolation take over your thoughts. Reach for comforting things when you feel like that. Reach for things that make you laugh. Things you like to do. For me, I find organizing my clothes closet is fun for me – I like playing with my clothes. I like reading the jokes in Readers Digest. The things that cheer you up don’t have to be expensive. Think about past moments of personal glory, when someone gave you a real compliment. When you felt really good about yourself. Don’t give in to the gloom.

    Alli-“dumphim blockhim”-son, you disagreeing with me is as surprising as one plus one equals two. Not advising to give him another chance. Am saying that people sometimes behave immaturely, despite their age. If he checks himself, without engagement with Lilly, and behaves maturely toward her in the future, who knows what can happen. He is dealing with rejection too, you know. Lilly said she was not that into him – you think he didn’t know that? His behavior to me is all emotional self-defense.

  36. Peanut says:


    Today a friend texted me, “How are you today,” and I replied, “want to drive off a bridge.” (Sometimes I just get in these moods.)

    I didn’t. I took myself to a nature park, explored and took a short rest on top of my car in the sun at a camp site.

    Then I drank espresso, smoked some cigs, drank a bit, and chatted with a fellow full of bad choices while making sure to tell him how needy and sad I am.

    Now I am resting at home after cleaning my place top to bottom.

    I am going about things very imperfectly, but I am learning.

    I wanted to Fb message the ex and say, Why haven’t you returned my earings? Are you wearing them?

    I didn’t.

  37. Peanut says:


    Again, your words=warmed heart.


    What an interesting question in that it really made me think; I like it! Well, generally, nobody treats me badly except me. My personality isn’t for everyone, but the only person doing the major rejecting of my core self is me. Quite a pickle.


    All of that sounds really healthy; being vulnerable isn’t necessarily fun.
    I really watch my suicidal tendencies (lost my mom to suicide). I can almost predict them now. I feel when one is coming on and take action (similar to what you described). Sometimes I dig deep and have to get real creative to pull me out of a funk; sometimes it’s as simple as a bath. And I am no stranger to the suicide hotline here in the states and have had positive experiences with it. Plus I’m
    in therapy.

  38. teachable says:

    Good you didn’t send that FB message & remember to be kind to yourself. Remember the name of the game is progress not perfection. You are undertaking your journey with imperfect progress. We ALL are 😉

    PS, I forgot to include you in the BR ‘virtual band’! You’re IN Peanut. Please contribute by playing whatever instruments you like and your vox too if you sing! :)

  39. Ninny says:

    This site offers good insight, maybe you’d like to comment on it sometime:

    My favourite part of the text: “Don’t fall victim to being told you’re too dependent or needy. Assess people you date more on the compatibility of YOUR [emphasis mine] relationship needs and less on your ability to change yourself to please and accommodate to them. If you feel you are, in fact, too needy, meaning you feel overly dependent on another person to be able to live your life, that would be an important issue to work on in your own therapy. However, that is different than being told by an avoidant person that normal needs for connecting are “too needy”.

    Powerful stuff.

  40. Marian says:

    Preface: Narcissistic, critical dad and codependent mother.

    Me: 27, just reached my dream job but during the transition had to live with my parents. Incredibly difficult experience, where I found out the toxic dynamic and had to live with it.

    “If you don’t like you, this affects your intimate relationship with you, and then you do things that result in self-abandonment, which prompts loneliness, which can make the initial swooping attentions of a toxic person very attractive. That sense of loneliness and just feeling as if there’s something wrong with you, distorts your feelings, especially because in not giving you love, care, trust, and respect, any ‘ole person can come along and showboat with their crumbs and it will still look like more than what you’re doing for you, and so you’ll feel increasingly reliant on this person and they will appear ‘great’ because they’re out of context. If your intimate relationship with you improved, they wouldn’t have a grip on you.”

    THIS JUST HAPPENED TO ME! I like myself, and I am working on feeling my feelings and being an advocate. So I had some really great boundaries in place and I journal AND video journal, which are both incredibly helpful.

    But the week I moved out, I obviously had a lot of feelings brewing that I did not want to feel (and haven’t felt the extent of yet). I went on a date with a guy who seemed cold and overly complimentary and kind of creeped me out. At the same time, he was charismatic, stocky, successful, and just so very tempting. So I accepted a second date.

    On the second date, at one point he moved to my side of the booth and said “I really like you.” That seems nice, but it was off-putting. It was like he needed to be in my personal space and impress upon me his feelings as if they somehow obligated me. I imagine a well-adjusted man would be nervous to share such a feeling and would maybe do so at the end of the night in a way that felt more like a conversation than a proclamation.

    Despite my incredible gut clench for the entire day after our first date, I kept saying to myself not to sabotage, to ease my anxiety, to go along as long as he was consistent, yaddy yadda just forcing myself into this situation. This was prefaced on the concept that there was something wrong with me, and there couldn’t possibly be something wrong with him.

    5 weeks later, I am writing in my journal with a crushing pressure on my chest, forcing myself to write down the feelings I have been stifling. I kept writing things like “___ is dangerous” “I want to get away from ___” these things had been cropping up in my journal for weeks but I ignored them! Why?!?! Self-abandonment. I did not trust my intuition feelings, and I knew I had a wave of emotions impending because I was moving away from my dad finally. My escape was this guy and his swooping attention. He was over-the-top, the dating was on his terms, the physical aspect often felt like a power trip.

    Through all of this, some of my fundamental boundaries could not be shaken. I wouldn’t have sex with him without a monogamous commitment, I wouldn’t have sex without emotional openness, I fought to kept my feelings online, and I analyzed his past, including a codependent sitution in which his ex girlfriend all but self-destructed by leaving her education and job behind, and he took absolutely NO responsibility for any of it.

    It all came to an end when I told him I felt like my emotions were being stifled and I felt like we needed to make a better effort to open up to each other. That did it! Manipulators, self-absorbed people, narcissists, all of those types cannot abide by emotional needs. And I have emotional needs and I have the RIGHT to have them met!

    It is sad because he had some aspects to him that were appealing and enjoyable and I will miss those things. But he was not relationship material and he was part of my hurt cycle because I have hurt about my dad that I haven’t fully felt and let go of and until I do I will keep returning to that place. Part of me feels discouraged and frustrated, but part of me acknowledges that nothing good comes from seeking salvation from yourself.

    My biggest piece of advice from all this would be that while you’re dating, keep reminding yourself on paper that you are going to find someone wonderful, and list the qualities of the relationship and what you deserve. Don’t think about the guy you’re dating while you’re doing it. Just have the attitude of maybe it’s this guy, maybe it isn’t. That sets up a standard by which to measure the relationship you’re in and so when the guy starts “putting you on ice,” which is what I can emotional blowing cold, you’ll see it RIGHT away because you’ll be listing the things that are lacking.

    I am not sure how to proceed as far as working through my pain, but I will try my best to address it. I am in therapy and have a good support system. I just hope I get to that healthy place and I do feel sort of like I am groping through the dark.

    Love you Leu and thank you so much!

    • rachael says:


      “My biggest piece of advice from all this would be that while you’re dating, … list the qualities of the relationship and what you deserve. Don’t think about the guy you’re dating while you’re doing it. Just have the attitude of maybe it’s this guy, maybe it isn’t. That sets up a standard by which to measure the relationship you’re in and so when the guy starts “putting you on ice,” …, you’ll see it RIGHT away …”

      Yep, that is how you know EXACTLY HOW YOU WANT TO BE TREATED.

  41. A.A. says:

    I find it very difficult to express how I feel. Sometimes because I am so worried to be judged, worried to be taken advantage of, worried of not expressing it correctly, worried of people reaction, worried of rejection. I am basically worried.. I am sad and lonely, because I can’t open up to anyone. I tried, but I quickly run back to my shell.. because the moment I open up about how I feel.. my feelings get rejected. I used to have a friend, was so easy to talk to, never judged me. I lost that friend. And now I have my partner, who I can’t express myself with.. I came to realize that’s a partner is not a friend, cause friends just take you as you are, with relationships there are different sort of expectations.

    I do feel lonely, because everything I say to my partner, is calculated. I make sure I use the correct words. Because I don’t want to cause problems. I am a very complex person, and sometimes all what I need is patience to get my feeling together and expressing them correctly… I get so frustrated when I don’t… and then my partner says things that makes me close back to my shell deeper.

    I need a friend, but every time I get closer.. and try harder, people don’t want to invest .. cause they have their own job, life, children, that they need to focus on. It’s not easy to go to a support group .. cause its so hard for me to be in a group, I need to feel protected and private with one person only… or else I feel exposed.

    I just feel suffocated.. I don’t know how to express myself without being judged.. I have so much anger and pain. I need therapy, but then again, my partner will think I am just wasting my time.. my partner don’t understand how I feel at all.. I just need a friend.

    I have been through rough things, my family want nothing to do with me, all my siblings don’t talk to me, because I chose to be myself. I received a lot of hate from my family, the family name is above it all, and if I did something to shake their position in that society, then I am the devil. I am an outcast.

    Am I not trying harder? I think the environment I am in, is pretty new to me.. I don’t understand the culture, I am an immigrant. I feel pain, all the time, and sometimes I just let it happen.

    I don’t want a pep talk. I am tired of people saying “tough it up” well we are human we are not machines, we’ll break if people beats us hard. I don’t want to tough it up.. because toughing it up means DON’T talk about your feelings. I just want to be understood and heard…


30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.