It doesn’t matter if you think that they’re The Most Amazing Person That Ever Did Live™;they’re just not that special.

That means that they’re just not that special that you should resign all of your power and worth over to them.

They’re just not that special that they get a special pass on behaving in a decent manner.

They’re just not that special that you being treated in a less than manner is justifiable. It’s not and I don’t care whether they’re platinum coated with a chocolate centre with an off the charts IQ, great looks, a great lay, an amazing job, or liked by ‘everybody’ – they’re still just not that special.

They’re just not that special that you should pump them up, put them on a pedestal, and then stand beneath it looking up at them.

They’re just not that special that for however long that you’ve lived on this earth, this person has the rights, the opportunities, and the power to basically change you.

They’re just not that special that you should swap your perspective for their perspective, especially because often what you think is their perspective is actually your perspective gained from the meanings you’ve attached to their behaviour.

They’re just not that special that they get to tell you who they are while defining themselves as an expert on you – you’re the expert on you.

Rejection is a hell of a lot easier to deal with and reject the impact of, when you get your self-esteem house in order so that you can hold your own. This is as simple as operating from a basis that you will treat you with love, care, trust, and respect at all times. This means that when someone doesn’t do this, you’ll step in and opt out or distance yourself instead of taking up a vocation in trying to prove them wrong and demanding that a grown up treat you better.

The fact that someone who you are in essence blowing smoke up their arse and putting them on a pedestal, would treat you in a less than manner, isn’t down to you being a less than person and is in fact down to their character. It’s not about you.

This all goes awry from the moment that you receive the ‘feedback’ from them saying or doing something and you take it as meaning something about you, question what you’ve said, done, or been to ‘provoke’ it, and then in turn make a judgement about you.

From the moment that you’re not receiving the feedback from what someone says or does (or doesn’t say or do) and you’re not relating that information to them as a person and judging the situation and them, you’ve got problems, not least because it has a domino effect.

You make that first judgement call and after that, whatever they say or do gets the same meaning plus often unbeknownst to you, you adjust your behaviour to accommodate the judgements you’ve made. This is dangerous. Next thing you know, you don’t know who you are anymore and you’re blaming everything on the rejection that you feel wouldn’t have happened if only you’d done X,Y,Z.

Many people are under this mistaken impression that everyone has different characteristics, qualities, and values that they bring out for different people. “Oh you’re attractive enough, I’ll roll out my nicey-nice character. Oh I sense that you’re a wrong-un, I’ll bring out my using character and take advantage of you because you don’t deserve my better side. Obviously if you want to jump through hoops and run naked through fire in order to prove yourself to me, I won’t stop you but I’ll neglect to tell you that it won’t make a difference anyway.”

Aside from this giving the impression that the world is overwhelmingly populated with people that have multiple-personality disorders, it also gives the impression that lack of authenticity and character is acceptable when the recipient of it is not worthy of something better.

You are living under a premise that inappropriate, unhealthy, or even abusive behaviour can be explained or even accepted when you believe that a person’s worth is influencing it. Most people do not have a natural aptitude to read people’s mind’s, to automatically know who is trustworthy, friend worthy, or even relationship worthy, and many of us don’t even know what the hell we’re thinking half of the time – don’t you think it’s more than a little bonkers to lead with this assumption that people who treat you in a less than manner are privy to some information about your worth that is seeping out of your pores, or transmitting coded information over a hidden frequency?

Let’s say that they have gotten to know you – why assume that what someone thinks they know or how they treat you is right? The only reason you would believe this is because you are already inclined to be swayed in this direction about you anyway. It’s either that, or you’ve idolised them so much (which would only indicate that you’ve invested far too much self-esteem stock), that when they start chip-chip-chipping away at you, you’re so eager to please and restore the ‘sunshine’ that you don’t see the shady wood for what appear to be the glittering trees.

People don’t always value others or even their things. That doesn’t mean that the person or the object lacks value – it just means that the person doesn’t value it because of their own relationship with themselves and their value system.

Whatever perspective you’ve gained from being in a shady relationship or being mistreated by someone, it’s important to recognise that if you don’t have the self-esteem and the perspective to go with it, it means that you’re viewing yourself through Shady Vision. I’ve seen bad things happen to lovely people – they haven’t, for instance, invited people to commit crimes against them because their worth was being transmitted out to criminals in the area. Part of the recovery for these people is about processing what’s happened and regaining a perspective with their sense of self as opposed to the crime that happened at the centre of it.

Don’t make judgements about you based on a perspective gained from being treated in a less than manner – spend more time regaining your sense of self and nurturing you, than you do trying to legitimise crappy treatment by ripping your character apart.

You never deserve to be mistreated – don’t continue the mistreatment by mistreating yourself in the aftermath.

Your thoughts?

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253 Responses to Never Judge You Based On A Perspective Gained From Being Treated In a Less Than Manner

  1. Movingon says:

    Bravo Natalie! The bottom line is to love yourself as much, if not more than you love him. Once you love yourself, you will never ever again put up with bad actions. non-actions, or bull sh*t talk (future faking). Putting your feelings (yourself) first doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist, it just means you have self-respect and self love.

  2. Kit Kat says:

    Wow… I really needed to read this today… I will never know all the answers to my EUM’s behaviors at the end. But I do know I deserved to be treated with so much more respect. At first I kept thinking maybe I should have done this, maybe if I would have done that and I know deep down I couldnt have done anything differently …It wouldnt have mattered … He is what he is, a liar, a cheat & an EMU to the core..
    Thanks Nat, when is the wedding ???

  3. cheekie says:

    Once again, you’ve nailed it. I think this ‘problem’ of our perception of other people’s perception of us begins very early. Not to do a typical ‘blame the parents’ thing, but, it’s true. If you are raised feeling like you are constantly being judged, that you have to ‘prove’ yourself, and that nothing you ever do is good enough – well, you are going to put way too much emphasis on what others think of you. Dollars to doughnuts says that most women who feel this way, or behave this way, in relationships also do the same in work/friend/parental relationships. We take it on board. We think that somehow the other person knows something we don’t, and we don’t measure up. I’ve spent most of my adult life realising this, and it isn’t easy. 42 years old, and I’m just getting the gist. Someone once said, ‘just because you feel it, doesn’t make it reality’. So now, when I ‘feel’ less than who I really am, when I ‘feel’ like I’m not measuring up – I stop and take serious stock, and realise that it’s not always true. Constructive criticism aside, 99% of what others think about you has more to do with them, than it does with you. Their issues. Their hangups. Their feeling like they need to feel superior. Not you. I still struggle with this, and was recently told by a trusted source, that I have a very high tolerance to verbally abusive behaviour. They pointed out specifics, in a logical manner, and I suddenly realised that I do indeed have a very (ridiculously) high tolerance for it, because I honestly didn’t think there was anything wrong with what the ‘abusers’ were doing. I thought it was me. I thought it was justified, as I must have somehow caused the reaction. It became the norm. Now I know what is ‘normal’ and what isn’t. And I won’t stand for, nor spend time thinking about, anyone or anything that I, in my core values, feels unworthy. Thanks for this Nat, xxx

    • Sue says:

      I love what you said about others needing to feel superior.
      I experience this a lot with friends.

      • suzanne says:

        Cheekie & Sue..
        totally agree with what you are saying… i have a `supposed friend` who I was talking to recently (I am 52 and she is 46)…and we were discussing a guy that she knew and I had seen him (he is 49) and I was very attracted to him and told her so…but I could spot who and what he was a mile off!! (EUM)! anyway we were discussing this guy and she said `oh yes he has text me and said some really nice things to me` but she said that a friend of hers had said `ooh watch him he likes them younger`! I took this as her saying `you are too old for him I like him HANDS OFF`!! This was about her not me!! and she needed to feel superior over me because she is youger…hence my words `supposed friend`. Lol its laughable when you really look at it!!!

    • Sally Webster says:

      This is a brilliant article and sums me up completely, I can identify with most of what Cheekie has said too. I am 51 now and have struggled all of my life with judging myself (badly) because of what other people say, don’t say, do or don’t to. I have faced this problem at work, in relationships, with friends and family. I feel I am quite a mess as a person. At this moment in time I am quite depressed about me and about life. I am working on it – I have given up on men (for now, maybe forever – even though I have got so much better at seeing red flags/calling on bad behaviour and walking away), I have recently distanced myself from a couple of friends who treated me badly – I was helping out but ended up in the middle as a baddie. I need to work on myself before it’s too late.

      I am a nice, good and thoughtful, caring person but do get taken advantage of – because I let people do it. Although I do like to help and quite often put others before myself.

      I didn’t have a great childhood, but don’t think you can ever blame that for everything. My dad was a controlling, agressive and a verbally abusive alcoholic. My mum was OK, but I don’t remember getting much love from her – maybe I just didn’t see it. I don’t remember her hugging me and my dad certainly never did anything like that. My dad constantly told me (and my siblings) off for things and if he was working we all had to be working too. We weren’t allowed to watch TV unless he was able to watch it – and we only watched what he wanted to watch. I spent a lot of my time as a child being quite frightened. I now feel intimidated by anyone I consider to be superior to me in anyway – be it more intelligent, older, better job, higher social class, more attractive…I told you I was a mess!

      I did go on to achieve to quite a lot in my life (science degree, arts degree, masters, own business etc.) I have been successful in most things that I have done in my life (except for relationships), maybe I push myself so that I have a face that I feel is acceptable to present to the world?

      I could go on…I won’t. This post was so good for me and I have already extracted a few paragraphs to put in my special book. Thank you x

    • rosenfire says:

      @cheekie: Your words ring so true, especially about how this kind of “esteem issue” is usually a pattern. Mine started in childhood, when I (like Nat so aptly said) made it my vocation to try to prove people wrong, try to chase them down for approval and affection, to demand they treat me better. I still catch myself doing it, but I’m learning…after all, how good can any love/attention/etc. that you had to beg for actually be?

    • Chloe says:

      Cheeky…you nailed it….as did Nat. I am fifty this year and for the first time ever I am finally seeing so clearly that I have spent my entire life seeking validation. Desperately needing the approval of others….men, parent, colleagues, bosses, the mirror! This last break up opened my eyes to all of these issues I really wasn’t aware of. And, yup, the childhood does tend to be the source of our issues with self-worth, I think. I know we don’t want to bemoan the crappy childhood over and over but it is what it is. So, now, it’s all on the table…I am probably over halfway through my human experience and I can’t change the childhood BUT I can change who I am as the adult. So, sometimes the sh***y relationship can turn out to have a been a really good thing, huh? If only for the act that we awake to our feelings of low self-worth and the necessity to make the changes to really see and feel how good and worthy we truly are.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        I’m with you Chloe. I’ll be 53 next month and it is time to put down the sword. I can’t change my childhood or my sordid past. You are spot on, I can change who I am now as an adult. I’ve got to put my big girl panties on. It’s now or never! It’s not about him. Where are my big girl panties?

  4. So much wiser says:

    The Eum’s and assclowns of the world are definitely not special and guess what they were not the ONE! I was so busy trying to make him see I was the one I lost site of the fact that he was not the one. My ex eum was self absorbed selfish and a liar these are not qualities of the one. After dealing with a EUM I got see what I didn’t want in a partner. EUM’s including my ex will never be there for you everything is about them. My ex treated me so badly of course he didn;t in the beginning and I kept believing that nice guy was still in there somewhere in the meantime my selfesteem took a beating. Whenever I think about my ex EUM and miss the good times I tell myself he was not the one and that I have not lost anything he was not a good man. I wrote a list of reasons why my ex EUM was not the one:
    1. He wanted everything on his terms
    2.He would lie to me or omit important facts
    3.Referred to his own self as a monster
    4. Was verbally and emotionally abusive
    5. Hardly ever said he was sorry
    6. Stayed friends with his exes
    7. Used other women to hurt me
    8. Said he wished he could be there for me and my daughter
    9. Always talked about gifts he bought for himself
    10. Ignored Valentines day
    11. Asked for or hinted that he needed money
    12. Would not let me move on and grieve the relationship
    13. He liked to push the reset button after horrendous behavior
    14. Was a narcissist and he had a harem to enable him.
    So when I look at this list I made a lucky escape and I am maintaining no contact almost 4 months now and there is no looking back. He was not special! Not by a long shot!

    • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

      @So much wiser, I found this hugely helpful, and it reminded me of the value of making such lists to help us keep things real.

      If your best girlfriend said to you one day, ‘Hey, I know someone I’d like to introduce you to,’ and then rolled out that list that you’ve just made above, what would you say/think?

      ‘No WAY!’
      ‘How desperate do you think I am?’
      ‘Uh-uh, no thanks’

      So why oh why do we – once we have basically constructed the list ourselves from bitter experience – keep going back? It’s not like we don’t KNOW what the guy is really like now.

      So our choice is:

      a) Hang on to the first impression, the ‘thrill’, etc, and be miserable;

      b) Print out the list and stick it on the bathroom mirror (I practically have no mirrors left now, thanks to BR) and recite it whenever necessary.

      • Little Star says:

        What a good idea:-) I bought a card recently which says: “Amazingly enough I do not give a shit”…Whatever, I feel “missing” AC, I just look at my card and smile:-)

        • A Branch says:

          Thats funny I bought a birthday card to myself from the EUM to tell me how he really fells…., on the front was a cartoon
          Of a woman on the pot.
          Inside the caption read ” I’m just pretending I give a sh!t about your birthday.
          Happy birthday anyways
          My house also has stuff taped everywhere :)

    • Beth D says:

      I made a list too!! It was the best exercise I did in getting over my EUM narcissist. I kept holding on to the old “he really is a good man but misunderstood thing” Things become muddy sometimes when you are with these kinds of people. When my ex was good there was no better and the sex was the best of my life. Of course he was always his best after a screw up and dumping. I was always on the right track in that I would dump him for bad behavior and cut him off immediately but my big mistake….allowing him to wear me down. He would always be crying how he deserved closure. Once I broke down and met him he would be bearing diamonds, promises and declarations of undying love. I was toast since I was convinced he was my soulmate. Gave him a hard time but eventually caved in. Back on the roller coaster ride. I think the most confusing part for me was he was actually great 5 of the 10 years I was with him. I have to wipe those years out of my mind since at the end he reverted back to what he was in the beginning. Your list was very similar to mine including the enabling harem that was always waiting on the breakups. Only real difference was he had money and used it to romance me to get me back. I also had subtitles under the list of examples. lol I literally obsessed about this narcissist for three years off and on. I laugh now when I think about how I thought he was my soul mate. They convince you of that!!! It is part of a narcissist plan to reel you in. They know exactly what to say to get you back. This website has been tremendously helpful for me since it was the no contact theory that finally helped me to break loose from his web. I still fight the “feeling bad” when I get the occasional text or phone call but I t hold strong since I know that I have “peace” and love it.

      • happy beginning says:

        Hey ladies, just want to add that I once made an alphabet list (very juvenile) – ambiguous, brutal, condescending, disingenuous, disloyal, disrespectful, disregarding, dishonest (lots of disses), evasive, fake, fickle, game-playing, greedy, hopeless, insincere, jesus delusion, kafkaesque, lazy, manipulative, nebulous, ostrich, patronising, quixotic, rapacious, superficial, saccharine, tacky, underhanded, unappreciative, uncommitted, unfulfilling, unreliable, untrustworthy (lots of uns), vain, vague, wrong, Xploitative…. yes wouldn’t want to be introduced to THAT person either, but I let this person shape my opinion of myself.

  5. Natasha says:

    “Aside from this giving the impression that the world is overwhelmingly populated with people that have multiple-personality disorders, it also gives the impression that lack of authenticity and character is acceptable when the recipient of it is not worthy of something better.”

    Not only did the first half of that sentence make me giggle, the whole thing I believe is literally one of the most important things ever said on BR. Nat, you have such a gift :)

    • happy beginning says:

      Have to read that a few times, it’s so true. If I don’t think much of someone, I’m civil to them if I have to be around them, and avoid them otherwise. It would be really bizarre to think ‘that person is weak, annoying, stupid etc….I’m going to make them a part of my life’. I’ve let ‘relationships’ drag out for way too long but as soon as they come off their pedestal, I’m straight out. So if someone treats us like we are those things, either they have serious control/bullying issues or they don’t think those horrible things at all and just treat everyone like that, but either way, who wants someone like that in their life? It’s very affirming really.

      • Natasha says:

        “It would be really bizarre to think ‘that person is weak, annoying, stupid etc….I’m going to make them a part of my life’.”

        Indeed and so well said! I agree that it’s very affirming that someone who treats us less than really isn’t (For serious.) worth our time or anyone that we should WANT around us. With one ex in particular, I used to say to myself, “Since he thinks I’m not good enough to have a relationship with, he must have only been coming around when he was desperate. I must really suck.” HELLO. I mean, regardless of whether or not that’s true, that would make him an asshole. I finally figured out that since I don’t personally conduct myself like an asshole, I’d be damned if I’d judge myself based on the opinion of one.

        • happy beginning says:

          There’s never any excuse to define yourself by how someone treats you. The more I think about it, the more I realise how rational it is. I hope all of us really learn from this.

          I remember a moment of drama, finding out the AC been lying to me (nothing going on with her), another woman (nothing going on with me), and his close friends (she is the only one), and I was yelling, ‘you hate me don’t you, admit it! what other possible reason could there be for lying to me about her then pretending I don’t exist’…. well there was another reason. He is a tosser. But at the time I thought I had earned that treatment, and it didn’t help that he straight told me I wasn’t good enough for him. As I write it, I see in black and white that he treated everyone like shite but his disclaimer was always that he was ‘straight up’, so his whole basis is one big lie. Everyone buys that line from him and it invalidates getting upset.
          What is it with these people. What kind of mind does that. Why do we accept it? That same day of drama, as I saw the hard facts, I cried to a friend, ‘I’m not that woman! This is not who I am!’. She couldn’t disagree. I was but am not anymore, thanks to this amazing site.

        • jennynic says:

          ” I finally figured out that since I don’t personally conduct myself like an asshole, I’d be damned if I’d judge myself based on the opinion of one.”
          Love this! It’s a good place to be when we can finally say that to ourselves with gentle introspection instead of self judgment.

  6. sasha says:

    Your book and website have been a Godsend @ the age of 24 I’ve realised I’ve been in pseudo-relationships with EUBs since I started dating @ 18 I call them Unavailable Boys because there weren’t all fit to be called Men. I had my epiphany moment 2mnths ago when I stopped and realised wait a minute there’s a pattern here…I was so tired off going above and beyond for these guys and getting zilch but heartbreak and pain in return, but what really tipped me to question it all was when I was hit with the now not so famous line *im not ready for a relationship* I’d never got this line before it was the most mind numbing experience I ever had I ruminated and searched for answers my mind went into overdrive blaming myself thinking what if I’d done this or that. But Thank God for BR and NC I’m on the road to recovery building my self esteem up because its taken a pummeling over the years and working on me for a year no dating. Thank U Again

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Sasha, you could have written what I would have wrote:

      Your book and website have been a Godsend @ the age of 24 I’ve realised I’ve been in pseudo-relationships with EUMs since I started dating @ 18 I call them Cruisers because that’s what they did. I had my epiphany moment 12 mnths ago when I stopped and realised wait a minute there’s a pattern here…I was so tired off going above and beyond for these guys, pumping them up, and getting zilch but heartbreak, them screwing multiple other people and thinking it was fine, nothing progressing or getting off the ground and pain in return, but what really tipped me to question it all was when I was hit with the now not so famous line *Let’s just be friends* (with cuddle benefits)

      I’d never got this line before it was the most mind numbing experience I ever had I ruminated and searched for answers on Google, my mind went into overdrive blaming myself thinking what if I’d done this or that. But Thank God for BR and NC I’m on the road to recovery building my self esteem up because its taken a pummeling over the years and I’ve worked on me during a year of no dating. Thank U Again

  7. DinaStrange says:

    I think self-esteem, especially self-esteem in women should be encouraged from the childhood. It is often mothers neglect their daughters and at times even make them their “emotional trash cans”. Also, boys are encouraged to be independent and self reliant from early days and girls are often sheltered and biologically prone to take less risky paths.

    In addition, a lot of girls still rely on men as their protectors and providers and nothing is wrong with it, as long as he will not turn out to be a wolf in a sheep clothing. A girl should be independent and self reliant and taught from early childhood that it’s a character not flashy things in men, that matter.

    • Beth D says:

      Even if you have high self esteem it is easy to get into the web of an EUM especially if they are high on the narcissist spectrum. They are often charming and dynamic. I call my Eum punishment for every guy I have ever hurt in my life. I got sucked into his web and was convinced I could change him. It became a “challenge” to me. Did I? Yes temporarily He was even good for a few years running but my friend’s analyst was right when she said “they will always go back to who they are” I get mad at myself sometimes because my ego got in the way. Kept justifying things and was convinced love would conquer all. Wish I had Natalies blog during my relationship instead of finding her after I broke up but still grateful I found this website when I did! I would probaby still be on the roller coaster ride. Natalie you are a life saver.

      • Allison says:


        Sorry to contradict you, but if we had had a high self esteem, we would not have been involved with them. Period.

        • Wised Up says:

          Depends where you are in your life and circumstances….Sometimes we just get sucked in especially when you are dealing with that crazy combo of big money and hot sex. If you have high self esteem when you meet them it will take a big hit as the relationship goes on. You will feel good the first time they beg their way back with the vacations, gifts and good loving. It might even last years and that is what is confusing. Narcissists tend to go after high profile woman because the pretty, confident woman become the prize package to them. They will turn it on like no other. They are poison and dangerous men.

          • Allison says:


            Then that’s another issue.

            When we place money and sex on the top of our lists, we need to questions our values and goals. Right!

            • Beth D says:

              We may not intentionally put those above our values and goals but they are powerful aphrodesiacs. Especially crazy hot sex. Many a woman has gone down a path she shouldn’t because of it. Chemistry is something you can’t explain. My ex EUM got me every time with that. The gifts were an excuse for me to hang on to with how much he cared but it was the sex that drew me back in. Too bad at the time I confused great sex with love. I didn’t get it until I got away from him.

              • Shannon says:

                So true, when it comes to sex — it’s not always the men that aren’t thinking. I think I got drawn in by the last one because I didn’t want to think that all the time I invested in a fake relationship was a waste. Spent more time trying to figure out what the hell I was doing wrong instead of walking away when I wasn’t getting what *I* needed. Next time…

  8. Lilia says:

    Thank you, this is so true!
    Looking back, I´ve actually told myself the ACs and EUMs I´ve been involved with were these wonderful utterly attractive intense one of a kind men… and then I felt miserable with the “if only they´d want to be with me, for real”… even assuming that if they are that special, it´s normal for them to keep their options open when they´re with me.
    Aargh this is so insane!
    At last, now I´m finding my own self worth, realizing I´m much much better than these *ssholes… and I´m enjoying my own company for the first time in my life.

  9. Clay says:

    I completely agree here…

    It’s far too common to fall into the trap of giving up your own self-worth to some high and mighty “other” to validate us.

    What I think is unfortunate is that so many people surrender their own self-worth or self-esteem to others. They let others define their value and their worth, and they forget that, ultimately, they must be responsible for how they are treated and valued.

    Self-esteem and self-worth always begin within and not through the validation of someone else.

    Thank you again for sharing this :)


  10. Lavender says:

    Nat, this is one of the best things I’ve read on BR. So insightful.

    “Many people are under this mistaken impression that everyone has different characteristics, qualities, and values that they bring out for different people. “Oh you’re attractive enough, I’ll roll out my nicey-nice character. Oh I sense that you’re a wrong-un, I’ll bring out my using character and take advantage of you because you don’t deserve my better side. Obviously if you want to jump through hoops and run naked through fire in order to prove yourself to me, I won’t stop you but I’ll neglect to tell you that it won’t make a difference anyway.”

    I think the latter part is really true of my Ex, I could have done anything at all, but it wouldn’t have been enough. Still, when I see him with other people he’s so nice and friendly. My question though, is what if someone has treated you badly, but with other people, really does treat them nicely. That really is about you then isn’t it. Something in me triggers him to be cruel for some reason. He just doesn’t like something about me. I don’t know why that is. He used to tell me all these things that are wrong with me and I think that is how he saw me (not saying it was right), but he saw those things and then treated me badly and the people he treats well he respects them more and doesn’t see so many flaws.

    • Teddie says:

      I think what you refer to as “treating other people nicely” is about superficial relationships, and as we know, ACs never let it become anything else than superficial. If you look though at how he ralates to other, supposedly more meaningful relationships in his life (parents, siblings, etc.), you might see a pattern there. Of course it is possible and sometimes necessary to go NC to an abusive parent, for example, but if you see that he is also NC to his other parent and not on speaking terms with his siblings as well and that the “abusive” parent probably wasn’t really that abusive beyond some unsensitive remarks, well, then, this tells you much more about the AC than superficial social interactions. Society does tend to reward narcissists and they get plenty of validation for their ways. But life is about more than that.

    • Working Hard says:

      it is or was the same with me and I have been really struggling with this one and one night recently it just hit me (Nathalie wrote about it too extensively in Mr Unavailable and Fallback Girl!).
      They ‘play’ nice with their friends or even strangers because they know they treated you badly and that is their way of covering it up.
      Or making it allright for themselves. ‘See, I’m not a bad man at all’.
      They make themselves victims of their own bad treatment of you.
      It’s not about you, it’s because you know something the outside world doesn’t (treating you in lesser manner, which is never allright, no matter what you ‘did’ or ‘said’) and this is their way of staying in sync with their own fantasy. He sees other peoples flaws, he just doesn’t connect them with his, which he does do with the flaws in the relationship. It’s about insecurity and using coverups to ignore it and push away responsibility.

      • Working Hard says:

        i ment *Nathalie wrote about it ‘also’ extensively in MR EUM and Fallback Girl *my english* tsss

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        They ‘play’ nice with their friends or even strangers because they know they treated you badly and that is their way of covering it up.
        Or making it allright for themselves. ‘See, I’m not a bad man at all’. They make themselves victims of their own bad treatment of you.

        This is so sad. I could imagine (fantasise? :-) ) a BR post similar to the ‘I’m not that woman one’, just called ‘See, I’m not that bad’. It would go like this:

        I date multiple people. But I don’t tell anyone I’m doing it. See I’m not that bad.

        When I treat someone like booty call, I make them breakfast before they leave. See I’m not that bad.

        I have a harem of friends that adore me, even though I treat and even abuse my partners. See I’m not that bad.

        I go to the gym every second day and take care of my body. In fact I see the people at the gym more often than I see my dates or partner. See I’m not that bad…

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          Oh and I just wanted to add to that – It can be so hard telling friends about someone and them looking at you like ‘what, you said he did X? That man can do no wrong!’ It is like nobody believes you.

          • sm says:

            I had an ac who had several different groups of friends due to various activities he was involved in. Some he couldnt return to because they set him up with a friend and they believed the story these ladies told. He was the one with the intimacy problem, all they had to tell was that he wasnt interested in sex, never mind the other crap he pulled, and whooaa these people think hes a weirdo. He had this big rep of being ‘sexy’ due to the way he presented himself and his harem of fb girls telling him that and flirting with him all the time. Sometimes its just best not to tell the friends anything, I’ve decided if its not going to help me I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

            • tired_of_assanova says:

              all they had to tell was that HE WASN’T INTERESTED IN SEX, never mind the other crap he pulled


              I have heard so many NO SEX MR UNAVAILABLE stories it is SCARY!! Can you believe that after my AC pulled the rug from under my feet, I was seriously contemplating whether a relationship without sex could work… CRAZY!

        • yoghurt says:

          Ha – what a genius way of looking at it.

          A few more:

          I’m ‘honest’ about it when I don’t think that someone is attractive or good enough for me, so even when I carry on hassling them or declare undying love they should really know that it’s not going to come to anything. See? I’m not that bad.

          I’m always able to get a new woman after I’ve treated the old one like shit. See? I’m not that bad.

          It isn’t my fault that other people are messed up enough to let me take advantage of them. Sometimes they’re messed up when I meet them and start messing them around. See? I’m not that bad.

          This is fun…

    • grace says:

      He doesn’t have sex with his friends. They aren’t inside his inner circle of hell. That’s reserved for you or any other woman he has sex with. With everyone else they can be oh-so-friendly and nice. My abusive ex was like that. And there’s some weird psychological thing where some men hate the women they have sex with.
      I see a very common tendency here, and I’ve done it myself, to look at the AC/EUM and all his friends/courtiers/harem members and imagine that he has amazing qualities. There is nothing wrong with being friendly but it’s not a virtue. It’s a social skill and some very good people are not friendly – they may be shy, awkward, aloof but if it came down to it, they’re the ones who would have your back.
      That your ex should be nice and friendly to others but a bastard to you shouldn’t have you doubting yourself. He’s a hypocrite. A sheep in wolf’s clothing. A conman.

      • Beth D says:

        Love the sheep in wolfs clothing!! So true. Conman is also a good one! Manipulation is a game for them until they are found out! Sad part is that there is always a new victim waiting in the wings with these types.

      • Broadsided says:

        Grace, your observations are so astute. You make an important point with”There is nothing wrong with being friendly but it’s not a virtue….”. SO true. It IS simply a social skill, and may or may not reflect what lies beneath. I just learned that, big time, from Mr. Nice-Warm-Friendly who actually turned out to be a narcissist incapable of empathy and with a critical spirit. I am just not used to these split personality people, but am trying to learn.

    • Spinster says:


      You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes with these other people. The probability that this dick-wad became nice overnight, and that it was your fault that he’s a dick-wad, is about as high as me winning the lottery. The probability that the dick-wad is putting up a facade is about as high as me breathing.

      It is NOT you. (Repeat that at least 10 times.)

    • ixnay says:


      I obviously don’t know your ex, but I’ve had the same experience and thoughts.

      With some people, it’s getting close that triggers cruelty. It feels really personal and unique, because it comes out in intimate situations and is personalized to you (and me) in comments and body language that are tailored to our insecurities and capitalize on the things we’ve shared.

      BUT — and this is very hard to internally grasp — the genesis or impulse of this cruelty is a deep pattern within him, not some anomaly that only we, of anyone he’s ever met, because of our inadequacy, have created.

      Your guy (and mine) treats other people with kindness and seeming respect because he’s not in a relationship with them. Those acquaintances and friends don’t get close enough to have needs he can’t fulfill, such as constancy and mutual emotional vulnerability.

      I had the upsetting but enlightening misfortune to come across emails to my boyfriend from previous women. Their emails had the same bewildered, disempowered tone that I was feeling around him. The women were tiptoeing, trying not to antagonize him, coaxing him into giving them a tiny bit of acknowledgment. (I know you’re really busy, but I was wondering if we could talk…)

      Did my boyfriend just have a bunch of needy clones as exes? No, I am sure these were interesting, fun, strong women who initially got all the respect and attention he gives the world at large (where he is adored), and who he found compelling enough to get involved with on some level. The price, for the women, was eventually to be avoided, snowed, belittled, and discarded. But he saved their emails in a special file.

      I was appalled to see how plaintive and confused these women were. They had been bait-and-switched, and because he’s this “amazing guy” to everyone except women who get close to him, they thought that they, individually and uniquely, had done something wrong to make this wonderful man so cold and evasive.

      The horrible flip side to this is that the over-the-top courtship phase, that also feels so unique and personal, is a deep pattern as well. The thing that my ex,and maybe yours, cannot do is have an authentic, mutually created, intimate and consistent relationship with a woman.

      • Beth D says:

        They aren’t really capable of true love. They need you for their narcissistic supply. They actually think they love you to death. My ex would cry and tell me how I touched something in him noone else did blah blah blah…I just kicked his ass a little better. I remember telling him “You may love me but who needs a low capacity” love” I will never feel secure in this relationship because I will always be anticipating the next F up. It is amazing these guys have all the same traits…charming, inconsistent, lying, running hot and cold, ability to put you in a compartment, selfish…..Narcissists Just depends where on the spectrum they fall.

        • Lilia says:

          I´ve been wondering the same and I agree with all the replies you´ve received: these guys are just incapable of having a mutually fulfilling relationship with anyone. At this point I´m feeling sorry for all the other women my EUM sent through hell, and the others yet to come.

          That being said, I think there are some characteristics that do attract abusive people into our lives. This is something I´ve talked through with my mentor. The thing is, when you´re basically a good person, with no hidden agenda, who expects the best out of relationships, there is always a risk that some manipulative narcissist will try to get advantage of that to satisfy his own whims. So, what do you do about it? One thing is to have your boundaries in place, and your eyes wide open, as we´re learning here on BR. On the other hand – and this is what I´m dealing with now – not to be scared to be open and vulnerable.

          My mentor pointed out to me I behave and dress in a low-profile manner, as a defensive measure – so the abusers of the world won´t notice me. I think that´s very true, at this moment in my life I´m not too eager to risk myself out there. But anyway, defending yourself won´t necesarily mean you´re avoiding conflict. You´re only putting yourself in the role of the victim.

          So, my suggestion would be this: try to change the role you´re in. Don´t become an abuser, but just celebrate the fact that you´re a good, open, vulnerable person – don´t feel ashamed about it. I´ve started dressing differently, with a lot of red so people will notice me (and I´ve noticed they do). I´ve taken up singing in a choir and fencing (something I really enjoyed before this EUM came into my life, then I stopped doing all those things), and when faced with any choice I ask myself “what would be the best thing to do for my self esteem, to assert myself?”.

          I´ve found after these involvements with unavailable guys you start to question yourself – don´t do that! But do the complete opposite. I´m always telling myself “yes I am a loving, honest person and I do want to be loved by a man and there´s nothing wrong with that”. This is also what I try to project to the outside world. It´s a subtle change, but I find it works wonders for my self esteem and the way I relate to others.

          Of couse, this doesn´t mean I´ll only meet decent guys all the time – I´ll probably still run…

          • fifi says:

            Lovely generous comment Lilia.

            The defensive thing is so true – i know i dress to be invisible and keep slightly over-weight to control interest from others (I’m always amused to notice i can keep to a certain overweight-ness that means I can shop – just! – in normal shops and I don’t let myself exceed that).

            And i know i do it so that i don’t attract interest from certain types of men because i don’t trust my boundaries, my ability to say No at the beginning, or No at some point in the relationship, and to leave it without agonizing and basically not trusting my decision. So i can get on with my life, sort of, and not learn to deal with the boundary issue.

      • A says:

        The EU became incredibly mean after he ended things between us (but still wanted us to be ‘best friends’, of course). He said some really horrible things….I remember once asking him why he would say such a thing, and he just revised the insult, giving it to me one more time. I don’t know why he became such an a**. At the time I made some excuses for him (he said he felt like ‘the other man’, maybe he was hurt/angry). I also found the wrong blog, unfortunately, that encouraged letting the other person’s anger go in trying to get them back (if only I had found BR at the time instead!) He also seemed to be ‘nice’ to others, but not to me. I’m not sure what it is exactly, perhaps that we expect something of them whereas the ‘friends’ do not. Or maybe they see us as less-than for wanting them? Another instance that I’m just remembering: he was incredibly cheap and once complained about a friend’s event that he was going to b/c he would have to bring flowers. (More than he would ever have done for me). I ‘joked’ about how I had an event coming up and he could buy me flowers for that….he started muttering about how the only flowers I would get would be from the cemetery. Venting aside, this isn’t normal, and there’s nothing that we have done to cause it. My lesson was that even if someone *may* be hurt/mad or whatever, we can’t put up with that kind of behaviour–we just can’t. It’s not excusable and it will not get better if you try to ‘let it go’ or be the bigger person. I also think that I must have normalized bad behaviour/being confused my someone’s erratic behaviour growing up…even though it still confused me, I stuck around when I should have walked.

      • Izzybell says:

        I agree, Ixnay. For people who have deep seated fears about intimacy, as soon as someone gets close to them they seek to push them away, by any means necessary. They’d do this with anyone, but I think they choose partners who need to feel loved and validated so badly, that they’ll put up with the push/pull dynamic, even though it totally sucks.

        I’ve been there myself. My ex future faked and lavished me with love and positive regard. Then, just when things were going well/we had gone away together for a few days/just had sex/etc. he’d pull the plug, get cold/distant, or become incredibly mean. I craved his love, because at the time I thought it meant I was finally loveable after years of being alone or in crappy relationships. Now I know better– I AM loveable, with or without him (or anyone), and he wasn’t/isn’t capable of truly loving anyone in the best sense. I’m sorry for him, and sorry for anyone who gets close to him.

        • ixnay says:

          I went out with a lovely guy who had the same pattern. He was very aware of it, though, and even explicitly told me, ‘I can’t take too much closeness,” and “I can’t be bothered with all that sex.”

          The irony being — he was an amazing lover and beautifully available for intimacy. So it was like I didn’t believe what he’d told me.

          I think it was overwhelming for him, and the way he “recharged” was to get back from a trip or a weekend of coziness and throw himself into his “stuff” to get grounded. Right at the point where I had been thinking, “Oh, good, now it’s always going to be lovely and close.”

          But that was really who he was, and he wanted a girlfriend who also would go off and do her own stuff.

          • Izzybell says:

            or who didn’t mind being drawn close, then ignored.

            I’m not sure even the most independent, secure, confident person would feel comfortable with this. Sounds like he wanted a girlfriend who would be happy with intimacy/distance on his terms alone.

            my ex was sweet and lovely in some ways too, it was just too disturbing to be with someone who would sometimes be right there with me, and then, when I felt most vulnerable, shut down and push me away.

      • Allison says:


        “But he saved their emails in a special file”
        This is disturbing!!!! Did you call him on these e-mails?

        • ixnay says:

          Nope. I thought what we had was different. I felt sorry for the women but secure that he had chosen me. Ha!

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        I had the upsetting but enlightening misfortune to come across emails to my boyfriend from previous women. Their emails had the same bewildered, disempowered tone that I was feeling around him. The women were tiptoeing, trying not to antagonize him, coaxing him into giving them a tiny bit of acknowledgment. (I know you’re really busy, but I was wondering if we could talk…)

        Yes. Natalie is right about form. They’ve done it before. I didn’t believe NML when I read this, but I do now. I’ve been able to see that there is a pattern with many people, and mutual friends which I made many years after I broke up with them tell me all about that guy who just doesn’t seem to keep their dates or partners around for very long. Yeah, and I think to myself ‘ you don’t say!’

    • Fearless says:


      Grace is absolutely right: he is not having sex with these other people; he is a hypocrite and a conman.

      I will add: He more faces than the town clock…. if the cap fits (and all that)

      But have you never wondered to yourself what these other people (who he is Mr Charming with) would do if he behaved towards them as he does to you? You are not causing his behaviour – you are allowing it. You need grow some boundaries.

      My sister says exactly the same as you about her man: why is he such a Mr Nice guy with his mates in the pub and a total shit to me? My reply:
      1. Because if he showed his nasty face to everybody he met, he would have no friends
      2. Because you let him get away with it

      Most people who know these men well, however, will know they have a very nasty and controlling side to them. Not everyone knows them well enough or long enough or are intimate enough with them to have seen their mask slip.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        My father was like this. He was a narcissist and domestic violence perpetrator. He would act like God has just descended from heaven with everyone else, but when the friends or whoever it was would leave the house, we’d be terrified, there he would be shouting, screaming, complaining, hitting my mother, throwing things, chasing us to hit us. It was horrible. And I don’t think anyone outside would believe he was such an ass behind closed doors.

        • XFBwoman says:

          And my mother was like this. A sweet face to the world; an abusive and sometimes violent person to me at home. No one knew. I learned the lack of boundaries to get love at home from an early age. Couldn’t wait to get away from her, though.
          I had a great therapist who, when I told him that everyone in our circle told me what a great guy the AC was, said: “Well, of course–everyone that he was a shit to is NOT around anymore! You’re not going to meet them.” Good point. Now I’m not around anymore.

      • NeedtoBeFree says:

        Once after my EUM had been particularly nasty to me, I said to him that he wouldn’t dream of talking to his friends like that. He replied ‘ no, but you expect more from your girlfriend don’t you’….uh????

  11. Tasha says:

    Wow. What a great post. I didn’t realize how little self worth I had until my “epiphany relationship”. I STILL struggle to validate my own opinions and judgements. I am a very decisive person UNLESS it involves having to make decisions about the people in my life. Then, I’m way too easily swayed and ready to dismiss my own feelings in favor of theirs.

    My ex had me convinced that all our relationship problems were due to my erroneous and paranoid thinking. He capitalized on my natural tendency to question myself and see the best in others. He does this with every girlfriend he has. He used to tell me stories about his exes. Whenever he did something hurtful to them…it was always somehow about them…and no reflection on him. He felt he was an honorable man. He would go on and on about his integrity. I should have ran as soon as he told me about one of his past incidents. He decided to get high on some leftover coke from the weekend on a weeknight. So there he is, high as a kite looking at porn on a Thursday. He recounted that he got carried away and called up an escort service. When the escort showed up at his door like a pizza, he said he was disappointed because he found her unattractive. This didn’t stop him though. He had sex with her and afterwards, he felt awful because it didn’t live up to his expectations I guess. He called in sick to work the next day. His live in girlfriend in another province had no idea what he was up to that night. He returned to her and never told her what he did. When I asked him why he did such a thing, he excused his behavior by saying he didn’t really love his girlfriend. He never did. He would never have done that if he was with the “right” girl. He told me I was the right girl. And then I found out he may have visited a brothel in Las Vegas while I was with him.

    Stupid me didn’t think I should judge him based on something he did in the past. He mistreated me continually…and I STILL believed what he reinforced in my dumb brain. If I had acted the way I was supposed to…I would have continued to be the “right” girl. He treated me like crap and dumped me anyway. Live and learn thanks to Baggage Reclaim!

  12. anon says:

    I really appreciate this today. I really needed it. It was like getting a hug from a supportive friend who tells you that everything is gonna be alright. I used to have friends who would reassure me that things weren’t my fault when something bad happened to me. But then I got into an abusive relationship where I was brainwashed and cut off from the people who would have told me I wasn’t to blame. That was years and years ago… but the whole thing left a legacy of never fully recovering and my low self esteem attracted more bad people to me and people who preferred for me to blame myself for everything… shady people. My Dad asked me earlier if I thought that the circumstances surrounding my ex-boyfriend beating me up were part of the reason he beat me up (it only happened once as I left immediately, luckily) and I said “no. The context is irrelevant. He beat me up because he is the type of man who is capable of beating a woman up. Under no circumstances would you ever beat Mum up, so to answer your question, no, I don’t think the circumstances come into why he did it.” I actually DO think that the circumstances triggered the attack… but these days at least I know that there are NO circumstances that could provoke some men into beating up a woman, especially one they claim to love. So that means that it’s all about the person’s qualities and character. Thanks for this. I think I might go get some more counselling.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      When my father would beat up my mother, flush her head down the toilet etc, he’d say afterwards, calm down, calm down, get her a tea and so forth. He’d say things like ‘you made me do it’, he worked her to death doing his business accounts, had a bazillion gripes about everything, told her she was just stupid and just had to learn, and even on some occasions, ‘you hit yourself’ or ‘you made me do it’.


      • Mymble says:

        Yeah my husband hit me a few times, one time beat me up badly, and for years always said I made him do it. So he never would say sorry. Then he did say he was sorry (when our marriage breaking down). Then we went to marriage counselling and he repeated the she made me do it, I never did it to anyone else so it must be her. The therapist read him the riot act about that, and said a few other things he didn’t like to hear, he refused to go back.

        • Fearless says:

          When I was 23 years old (a long time ago!) I had a boyfriend who once punched me in the face and said “Now look what you’ve made me do”. Pfft.

  13. Amelia says:

    Absolutely true. I already had low self-esteem when I met my ex-Assclown, so I didn’t have far to fall. Even worse, I continuously gave him ammo to use against me because I trusted him so much, even after he kept using my fears and weaknesses against me. I am now struggling to get my head (and esteem) back above water because I did believe everything that he said about me, and he has only known me for five years! LOL!

  14. blueberry girl says:

    “You never deserve to be mistreated – don’t continue the mistreatment by mistreating yourself in the aftermath.”

    Nat, what I love about this post is your indefatigible belief that I’m not meant to be mistreated and suffer it with a smile that I don’t even come close to feeling.
    All the misery I’ve put myself through in the past six months (ugh, that long?) trying to move past my dead-in-the-water “relationship” has been intolerable. Just feel the rejection already and move on. It can’t possibly be worse than what my mind has put me through!
    You are our constant cheerleader, waving her pompoms like mad behind us even when we’ve dropped the ball and landed facedown in the mud. This post made me cry but they’re good tears.

  15. runnergirlno1 says:

    No truer words ever been spoken Natalie. A lot of my negative self-talk is based on judgments I’ve made about me from being treated in a less than manner. That line of thinking really does feed into the self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, since I idolized him and fantasized about what could be based on my imagination of who he was, I couldn’t see the shady forest through the glittering trees (nice visual).
    This really struck a chord: “…it also gives the impression that lack of authenticity and character is acceptable when the recipient of it is not worthy of something better”. Oh, that’s so deeply embedded in my subconscious, it’s going to take a few days to work with that insight.
    So often I’ve ended my comments with WTF was I thinking that night when I signed up to be an OW and then continued through two more years of darkness. Thank you for giving me the tools to figure out what I was thinking! It really is different when I started to focus on me instead of him. Although it’s sure easier to analyze him. He’s an open and shut case of assholery. Getting to the root of why I thought deceit was going to lead to something great (great line in the new book) is a whole ‘nother matter.

  16. jenny says:

    I’ve been through something that has taken me a while to sort out in my mind, and now that I know all I need to know, i’m having a really hard time not personalizing it. I was with someone that was waffley, but was making all the sounds and actions of coming around to something more. Luckily, and unfortunately, I found out he wasn’t the single man he claimed to be, but actually had a serious girlfriend and another woman far away who thought she was his fiancee. I contacted both, some drama ensued, there was never any question of my wanting anything more to do with him. I felt I’d done one good thing – warning the other women. One never got back to me, and one thanked me, said she was happy to finally know the truth an move on. Two weeks on, and she wrote back to tell me that their relationship is stronger than ever, that they will be married soon (good luck with that, honey). The other one lives a few doors down from a relative, and I believe she’s still with him, too. He might be the most skillfully manipulative person I’ve ever met.
    Thing is, I feel so humiliated by this. I know he was the bad actor in all of this, but I find I’m taking it very personally. It was bad enough that I used to think he didn’t want a serious relationship. Now I know he had at least two, and just had me on board for extra entertainment. I do feel he read into me, anticipated my reactions, played me for a fool in a way I never even suspected. How do I not personalize some of that?

    • grace says:

      He’s a liar and a cheat. Unless you were giving him lessons in how to do that, it has nothing to do with you. The only things that’s serious about his relationships is how screwed up they are.
      I don’t read your comment and think that these women are better than you. I pity them. Have nothing more to do with them or with him.
      It’s like something you see on Jerry Springer. Two or women are fighting and arguing about some bloke, they wheel him out and everyone thinks “Are you kidding – they’re fighting over HIM?” He is so not worth it.

    • Spinster says:

      If he had 2 women at the same time before, he was CLEARLY a piece of shit when he met you. It has nothing to do with you. And even if it did (hypothetically because it did NOT), only disgusting assholes knowingly take advantage of vulnerable people. So even then, it’d still have nothing to do with you.

      Everyone makes mistakes. Wishing you the best.

    • Spinster says:

      “…and repulsed to know that he would deliberately do something based on what he knew he could could get away with…” –Happy Girl

      jenny, this is EXACTLY what I’m talking about when I say that only disgusting assholes knowingly take advantage of vulnerable people. Happy Girl said it better than me.

    • ixnay says:

      It was personal: he correctly saw you as honest and acting in good faith, and he knew from experience that women who aren’t deceitful and suspicious will assume he is also straightforward.

      The degree of deceit he practices in order to manage and juggle multiple women who believe they have an exclusive relationship with him, is simply not on your radar. It boggles the mind. It sounds exhausting, and what’s the point anyway?

      It’s not that he suddenly, and entirely circumstantially, found himself, confused and genuinely caring for 3 women at the same time. It’s that he is, deeply and for much much longer than you’ve known him, a deceptive, opportunistic user.

      That’s in him and on him. Unfortunately, 1) you met him; and 2) he found you attractive and saw you were honest. It’s not as personal as you think: he doesn’t have some amazing insight into you. He just knows that he can run his pattern more easily on trusting women.

      • jenny says:

        Ixnay, I find your comments extremely helpful. There are so many women offering useful nuggets of insight here, but you seem to understand my particular situation. Or maybe I just liked what you wrote because you don’t blame the victim! In any case, it resonated.

        I love this site, have found lots of stuff useful, but of course not all is relevant to every situation. I don’t feel I have low self-esteem. I do feel I deserve love and to be treated well. I know I made myself vulnerable to this guy, but he did a credible impression of making himself vulnerable to me. People who care about each other do that.
        If someone is really careful and experienced in deceit, you don’t get blazing red flags. I don’t think of myself as generally vulnerable or trusting beyond reason. The other two women, and his exes, are all smart, independent, very capable women. If anything, it helps me to believe he enjoys the challenge of fooling smart, happy, sharp-humored women.
        You are absolutely right that the level of deceit he practices was not something on my radar. He’s not flashy, conspicuous, or violent, is very well-mannered, calm, self-depracating, charming without being smarmy. He is very funny, but it turns out a lot of his “jokes” contained scraps of truth. And even in the midst of my discoveries, he was able to elicit my sympathy, enough to make me question my motivations. Total mindfuckery.

        When someone gifted in this way puts their mind to it, your own strengths can be used against you – I call it emotional ju-jitsu, and trying to anticipate or outwit that can be futile. I should have walked sooner, just based on a gut feeling that his reassurances couldn’t squelch. I know that now, but couldn’t have told you what the tipping point would have been. Luckily I stumbled upon concrete evidence. Without that, I could’ve been strung along for far longer.

        Smarter women have gotten into shadier situations with less encouragement, and I was lucky that he turned out to be an emotional conman, not a violent psychopath.

        Intellectually, I know I shouldn’t personalize his behavior. I guess I’m still dealing with the pain and disappointment of being fooled.
        The information and support I have found on this site have been incredibly helpful. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

        • yoghurt says:

          One of the things that really irritates me on a bad day is that I wasn’t THAT vulnerable when the eum wafted into my life. I did have issues (of course), but I was a fairly high-functioning person with issues. I gave him a chance, he blew it, I gave him another chance (when he pleaded), he blew that and then I stopped talking to him and moreorless went NC on his sorry arse.

          That was it, until he turned up the night after I’d suffered a bereavement. My resolve was weak, I ended up pregnant and then it was open season on messing me around. For a long time, the circumstances and the sheer BAD LUCK of it stopped me from taking any responsibility for ending up in that situation. How unfair! I didn’t do anything wrong! I was perfectly dignified and then I was only human!!! Etc.

          Now I think of it as cracks in the wall of my psyche… they weren’t massive but they were there, and they made me vulnerable to a certain sort of person and a certain set of circumstances. When I’m unhappy, for example, I’ll happily sacrifice my boundaries and integrity because I feel ‘entitled’ to (I can’t help myself! I’m so upset! Actually yeah I can) and then I’ll chuck in all of my dignity in an attempt to bluff away the fact that I made a mistake in the first place.

          None of us is perfect and none of us is invulnerable. All we can do is learn from the mistakes, cement over the cracks once we’ve recognised them and keep going. From your story, maybe you’ll be more aware of waffley people who promise more than they deliver and need ‘persuading’, but then again maybe you were just unlucky and met someone who was very very good at being very very sneaky and dishonest. They exist, unfortunately.

          • yoghurt says:

            Meant to add also:
            He made himself very very vulnerable to me and told me all manner of highly personal and emotional details of his life, as well. It didn’t mean anything, other than that he was looking for a free therapist and was sufficiently nihilist not to care whether or not I made a mess of his life. Not healthy, but meant that I trusted him more than I should’ve.

            • LisaLise says:

              Yes Yoghurt. My married ex-AC told me a lot of personal issues he was going through and he said that he had never shared so much info. with anyone else. Oh, he was frustrated at work, the kids’ mom wanting more money, his small business struggling to get off the ground, and on and on and on. OF COURSE, I felt ‘special’ to be the one that he was sharing his trials and tribulations with! Jeez!

          • yoghurt says:

            Grrr! Oh dear, I miss the edit button, I made fewer mistakes in my self-expression.

            The point of what I’ve written above (there is one! Honest!) is that I don’t think it’s so much a culture of ‘blaming the victim’ – sometimes your mistakes are tiny and non-existent and it most certainly doesn’t excuse someone else treating ANYONE like something on the sole of their shoe.

            It’s more that, in the situation you find yourself in now (ACless, praise the Lord and well done), your only responsibility is to yourself and to making sure that you can proceed in your life without hang-ups or fears based on the fairly emotionally traumatic experience that you’ve just had.

            Before I identified where *I’d* gone wrong (which only happened a few months ago) I spent a year being frightened to leave the house in case I got manked up by someone else who seemed perfectly plausible but was only interested in what they could squeeze out of me. I feel far more empowered now that I can say “If I end up in that situation again I’ll recognise a, b and c and then do x”.

            (Honesty compels me to admit, as well, that my ‘cracks’ did hide a mass of issues and that my experiences well and truly brought the facade of okayness and healthy self-esteemness crumbling down. That’s not to say that it’s the same for you, however).

            I hope I’ve made myself a bit clearer! But either way, that’s the last response, I promise.

            • jenny says:

              Oh wow, I didn’t mean to imply that I’m some kind of issue-free superwoman! :) Of course I’m as flawed as anyone, I just don’t think I brought all of it on by looking like the weakest gazelle in the herd! I know I’ve learned a lot about myself, how I got to this point, and do have a better idea of what I’ll do and see next time. But taking responsibility has also taken me down a road where i’ve personalized too much, you know? It’s like my house was robbed and while I could’ve installed more locks or gotten a snarling watchdog, if someone wants to rob a house, it’s not necessarily my fault chose mine. I think maybe I’m just too upset over what was stolen or destroyed. Does that make sense?
              I’m vulnerable in that I want authentic connection. I opened up to the wrong person, had reasonable expectations from someone who turned out to be a fraud. Maybe I don’t have the self-esteem I think I have, because if I did, maybe I’d be bouncing back faster. I don’t know. But I can’t think about that today. I’m pretty tired from going down rabbit holes like that one. But thanks for your responses. They are thoughtful and kind. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, too.

              • Polly says:

                Having your house robbed is a really good analogy and one that has helped me explain things to myself. My initial feelings after I was done over was one of absolute indignation that someone could rob me. But when I started to move along a bit I realised that not only did I not fit security locks but I did leave the windows and doors open. This still does not entitle someone to rob you and most people wouldn’t. But it makes it much much easier for these sorts of people to get in and wreck the place (and you). I think what I have learned is to up my personal security until I am SURE that it is safe to give someone a key. Apologies for too much analogy!

              • yoghurt says:

                That is an ace analogy. I think that as a society we’re exceptionally bad at drawing the line between the victim and the criminal – rape cases spring to mind but it applies across the board. It sounds like you’ve got it right, though, in that you’re angry at the burglar BUT you’re also checking your own locks so that you can leave the house without worrying in future.

                It must be bloody frustrating to know that he’s escaped with all your stuff and is running riot in someone else’s house with no consequences (hey, where are the emotional police?) But that’s the way of it – life isn’t fair and I cling to the idea that eventually they’ll be old, feeble, surrounded by double-padlocked doors and miserable. Anyway, living off illegal gains can’t be as satisfying as having your own house full of stuff that you’ve honestly earned. (Think I’ve officially flogged that analogy to death now!) By the way, I wouldn’t worry about how long it’s taking you to bounce back – I get incredibly frustrated because I’ve been able to see the destination (in that I know how I SHOULD feel and want to act) for a long time, it’s just taking ages to get there! Hurry up! I did read recently, though, that the pain of rejection equates to the physical pain of a broken leg, so I suppose that it just takes time to heal.

              • yoghurt says:

                Incidentally, whilst I don’t agree with the “he did x so I must be y” school of thought, I DO think that, going off the incredibly wise and sensitive comments on BR, a lot of the people on here are after a higher level of intimacy and authencity than most people would be able to recognise. It makes you vulnerable in that there’s a lot more at stake when you put yourself at risk and you need to be very strong about policing your boundaries in order to find it (stands to reason that many people just aren’t capable of it) BUT I think that the rewards are greater when you get it.

                You’ll be okay, I think – you sound like you’ve handled it incredibly well and with a lot of dignity. It sucks that it had to happen but when you’re in a genuinely authentic and fulfilling relationship you’ll be glad that it happened, because it’ll have helped you get to where you were meant to go. Good luck x

            • Lo J says:

              Well put Yoghurt!! EMPOWERED!!

          • Allison says:


            Totally agree!

            If we don’t recognize our participation, we will end up with another AC!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      One never got back to me, and one thanked me, said she was happy to finally know the truth an move on. Two weeks on, and she wrote back to tell me that their relationship is stronger than ever, that they will be married soon (good luck with that, honey). The other one lives a few doors down from a relative, and I believe she’s still with him, too. He might be the most skillfully manipulative person I’ve ever met.

      Oh dear oh dear. Sometimes I find telling someone just puts up the denial barrier. Wow, she’s going to be married TO AN ASS-CLOWN. Marriage is not a magic potion or cure all – marriage didn’t prevent the abuse between my parents from happening, didn’t stop the monitoring, controlling and violence. Be glad you’re gone.

      From time to time I’ll share BR with my facebook friends. I look on FB and, honey, so many of my friends are in EU relationships it is not funny. I wish I could save them all, but I can’t and ultimately I’m not a florence. So all I do is share BR on facebook regularly. Some of my friends have picked up on it, and one of them has recently flushed, of which I am very glad for. Share BR on facebook, the more people that know, the harder it will be for these EUMs and ACs.

      • cc says:

        i’ve suggested this before, but google ‘socopath’ – someone who has keen insight into and manipulates others for his/her own purely selfish benefit with no. conscience. about. it. whatsoever. this level of evil cannot really be anticipated by someone who has never experienced it before and it may help you feel better about it.

        in other words – part of why it feels personal is because he made you feel like a fool. you are not a fool: as ixnay said, he was a super sicko manipulator who knows how to take advantage of honest and trusting women. and it would definitely have felt better to have the woman (who could be lying, but even if truthful, is stupid enough to marry this jerk) who is marrying him “validate” your revelation about him by dumping him. but try to not feel this way – it is really clearly a mistake on her part. wonder how she’ll feel when she discovers in future that he has another 2 or 3 women on the side.

        and don’t succumb to the tendency to feel you were only “3rd best” – there is no best with a guy like this, and its no reflection on you that 2 other women predated you with him, and that *they* are so damaged that he managed to hold on to them while taking up with you and are STILL with him despite knowing the truth. this is all so sick – try to back off from it so you can see it in all its horror – then you can more easily see that its truly not a reflection on you, you found out and you made the right choice. so be gentle with yourself.

        • jenny says:

          You hit the nail on the head, I’m pretty confident I dated a charming, persuasive, nonviolent sociopath. Those guys generally don’t make the news or get tv movies made about them, and unfortunately, all too often the woman is blamed for not being omniscient. I couldn’t have learned the truth through questions or investigation. He controlled all of that information, and all of it came as an enormous shock. I thought he was kind of lame, not a complicated evil genius! My confidence in my own intelligence and intuition have been undermined. And yes, there’s some straight up shallow jealousy. For instance, I was pretty pissed to find a travelogue of a fantastically expensive exotic vacation with one girlfriend, to read emails where he used florid loving language he didn’t use with me. I know there’s nothing gained in thinking about that stuff, it just sucks. I know I need to let that go.

          All that said, I’m very confident of my choice, and there’s zero chance of backsliding. It just hurts. Yes, I do need to focus on the fact that I got myself out of it. Now I need to learn how to put it behind me.
          Learning to be gentle with myself is a task I’m struggling mightily with. Thanks so much for your encouragement.

          • cc says:

            ….maybe he also has multiple personality disorder…

            hang in there. you had a terrible time with him. so, easy.

            • Fearless says:

              Jenny, Like cc I feel for you. You have been emotionally hijacked and assaulted. Be kind to yourself. This guy is a total rat. In a fair world he’d be held to account in a court of law.

            • jenny says:

              I don’t know, but I suspect he only has one personality, and that one is a really perceptive asshole with years of practice!

          • Lilia says:

            I know what you´re going through, I fell in the hands of one of those sociopaths as well. Supposedly we were having a long distance relationship and he wanted to take it slow because he didn´t want to f*ck things up with me and he cared so much for me (we were good friends before).
            He opened up, made me believe he was being vulnerable and honest. Told me about his “insecurities” whenever I was mad at him for the slow development of our relationship. Just like you, I used to think he was kind of lame but now I feel so completely manipulated! I was just a trusting lamb walking into the wolf´s mouth. I found out he had moved back to town and was dating someone else months ago, and all those months he let me believe he was still far away. It hurt so much I was in shock for about a week. I also found out about how he deliberately lied at his work about things of no importance whatsoever. It was almost crazy, it makes no sense at all.
            I still don´t know how to get over this feeling of having been fooled, it´s so humilliating. I´m using my anger towards him to maintain NC, I didn´t tell him anything but just decided to drift out of his life, as he did with me.

            • jenny says:

              I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, it’s awful. Your story is very similar to that of the “fiancee” I got in touch with. She was/is also long-distance. When I first talked to her, she spoke to him, and then went to the place you are at now. I tried to be supportive, and we talked a few times, emailed back and forth. She sounded strong, resolute, decisively done with this clown.
              But he made a really strong play for her, and convinced her I was some kind of lovesick background noise. He “confessed” about the girlfriend he had locally, and somehow turned it around where I think this woman felt she had to double down after all the time she’s invested in this guy. And really, he is the most skillfully manipulative man I’ve ever met. He has convinced her to believe in him, which flies in the face of all reason. She literally went from “Thank you , you’ve done me a favor. I’ve always wanted happiness and I know I won’t find it with him” to “the truth coming to light has made our love and relationship stronger, and we will be married soon. I’m so sorry you got involved in our life.” So sad.

              When he last wrote to me, he sounded full of self-pity, and said angry things, while telling me he’s not angry, said he takes full responsibility, and implies he’s alone, ashamed, but that was somehow my fault, not his. Then he threw in a bonus insult or two, then some flattery, then more self-pity, and then best wishes. Fucker. It’s mind-bending stuff.

              So you may feel humiliated, but you’re in a far better place than this woman. She can look forward to an ongoing, miserable rollercoaster for the foreseeable future, and she actively chose that.
              You’ve done so much better for yourself.
              We both need to get over the humiliation and get back to the anger-fueled feeling of triumph, of having made decisions that will work to our benefit.

    • grace says:

      ixnay, jenny
      I have to disagree with something you seem to be saying. It’s dangerous to say that the AC picked us because of our good qualities (even if he did). It’s still giving him the power to validate us. I must be a,b, or c because he did x,y,z. But who knows why they do anything ? I’m way past caring anymore but I’ve been down that road and – if you care to take it from me – there is no satisfactory answer for why, for instance, someone would punch me in the face or choke me until I blacked out. I get that the mind goes there and it may need to be considered but not for too long! You get trapped in it.
      The really big question that IS worth a lot of consideration is – why did we choose him? what is it about him that pushed our buttons? Why did we ignore red flags? And even if there were no obvious flags, why steam ahead? What about the discovery phase? Don’t get sucked in by charm. It says nothing about a person’s values. I see charm as a red flag now, that’s how allergic I am to it.
      As for being trusting and caring – we need to put limits around that. It’s okay to have boundaries. It’s okay to have values and standards that are quite high and go beyond charm, or how funny he is, or how much he pursues us or what he future fakes (I’m not criticising, I’ve fallen for all that myself). It doesn’t make us any less caring or make it more difficult to find love. It makes it easier. Without that we won’t find what we are looking for. They’re the signposts, the map, that keep us on the right track.

      • ixnay says:

        Yes, the guy pushed all my buttons. The good ones and the messed-up ones.

        I was thinking about abuse. That the question, “why is he doing this?” can be answered, “Because I was there.”

        That’s not as trite or tautological as it seems. I was there. A lot of people would not have been.

        So why did I go back for more? Well, we never go back for more. We go back for *different* so that we don’t have to think this person is really a mean person, or that we have such bad judgment. I can still redeem this situation!

        • Lo J says:

          Jenny –
          Once you have worked through the initial shock/hurt/anger etc. of having the rug ripped out from underneath you, please remember: “I should have walked sooner, just based on a gut feeling that his reassurances couldn’t squelch.” That speaks VOLUMES and offers insight into your self-esteem and boundaries.
          I feel for you, girl. I’ve been almost in the same predicament more than once. Stay with us.

  17. Happy Girl says:

    This makes me think back to the time my ex made a decision that affected both of us without even giving me a thought. When I asked him what made him think it was ok to do that, he answered with “Well, that’s how so-and-so treats you.” I went from angry to mortified to disgusted. I was pissed that he had hit on the truth, embarrassed that I let not one but two people take advantage of me like that, and repulsed to know that he would deliberately do something based on what he knew he could could get away with, and then outright confess assuming that it would not bother anymore than his original action. The man was not acting in my best interest or with care, but with the alterior motive of what he thought he could get away with.

    While I know I have struggled with boundary issues, I also know damn well no one has the right to bust them. And any insinuating that I deserved it because it was a normal occurence was a shameful attempt at mind fuckery. Gets me going still to this day that I didn’t take the red flag as a jump ship then, but it also gets me going in the right direction. Great post!

    • Spinster says:

      Happy Girl: And for your part, great comment.

      • cc says:

        happy girl,
        agree with spinster that that was a great comment, and with everyone else that this NML post was one of the best lightning rods for spontaneous change she’s ever written.

        yes, just because we have in the past tolerated someone’s mistreatment of us does NOT excuse that mistreatment, nor does it justify our feeling badly about ourselves or believe that we deserve no better or downgrade our expectations to an even lower level of shittiness.

        oy, the cycle. break the cycle.

  18. Melinda says:

    Of all the posts I’ve read from you, this one is the most meaningful. Thank you!

    • stella says:

      this was a truly great one NML! thank you, thank you, thank you. you have shed so much light on so much unnecessary darkness.

  19. Magnolia says:

    Wonderful post. I’d add that once you realize you’ve been living with a self-judgment that comes from having been treated poorly, if for example if you formed this self-judgment from early experiences and never really have formed a positive self-image based on shared kindness, that it takes practice to start unloading that bullshit perspective.

    If your first thought whenever you wonder about your part in things is to slot yourself into the “loser” or “to blame” corner, because others have, it takes practice to start putting yourself into the “centred person”/”responsible” position until it becomes automatic. Notice I didn’t change “loser” to say “winner” and “guiltless” corner, because that’s just the other side of a winners/losers perspective on life, which ACs like to indulge in as much as we do.

    The description of how some people put on the nicey for those they deem worthy and the snotty for those they deem unworthy was great.

  20. Fedup says:

    Natalie I wish you had made this article over a year ago.

    • Teddie says:

      We all seem to wish we’d come across Nat’s wisdom long long ago!
      Myself, while not in any critical situation right now, and with the hindsight of having made a lucky escape too, find myself dwelling on things past and gone and seeking my contribution and reasons to blame myself. While this in itself is not a bad thing, in the end, we all hope to draw some lessons form the past, I absolutely appreciate Nat’s guidance through the process. I doubt I would have been able to draw the conclusions and perspectives I did without BR! Thanks, Nat!

  21. PHDinAssclown says:

    This one really was written for me. I stupidly broke no contact last night and texted my ex to let him know I’d had some test results back. I’d had a health scare relating to a pregnancy I terminated in January. He texted me back “????” like he didn’t know who I was. I was seriously thinking “what is wrong with me that someone who gets me pregnant doesn’t remember who I am?” Then I got up and read this. Talk about timely. Still feel like and idiot though.

    • Little Star says:

      Sorry that you broke your NC…”get up” and continue No Contact…
      I think your AC knows who you are, he just taking a piss:-( My AC once almost did the same, we supposed to meet up one day, so I sent him a text asking if he was coming to my place. He answered back by: “Who are you?” Can you imagine my frustration!!! Later he admitted he was joking, what an a**…

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I had the same reaction years ago when I was with an EUM. They were blowing hot and cold, really taking their time to reply with texts or reply at all, I could SEE them online as well it was infuriating.

      What do they send me when I ask questions?
      This: ?????

      To this day, they’re still EUM, and that was 4-5 years ago. Nothing has changed. When I read my journals, I am just amazed at how much time disappears down the plug hole with these guys – many many months! You don’t realise what a massive waste of time and effort they are in return for crumbs.

      The other text classic is where they give a closed answer, and they skirt the implied/ignore the hint. So if you say something like, ‘Can you make it to X’, they’ll say ‘can’t’ but they won’t make an alternative time. . I remember asking the AC what they’d be going to do one weekend coming up, and they told me all about it, and I was left there wondering when they’d ask me along or involve me in anything they did.

      I’ve learned to be more explicit, flushes out their intentions much faster.

      • Little Star says:

        Funny enough they always “remember” and available when you meet them and they know that they going to have sex…they are so “lovely and understandable”… I was naive, thought if he wanted me physically all the time, so he was not going to look for someone else.. GOD, why I did this to myself?!

  22. Spinster says:

    Just wanna make sure that I’m processing this correctly:

    It sounds like this is a case of “when someone shows you (or says to you) who they are, believe them”. So if a person treats you like shit, it isn’t because you yourself are shit or (the common one that I’ve heard throughout life) you give off vibes of wanting to be treated like shit because of (insert issue – daddy issues, abuse, etc. – that’s used as an excuse to treat people like shit). It’s because the person treating you like shit is the problem. If you can see that for what it really is, then you can heal and, later, flush/eject/stop/eliminate shit behaviour from a shit person much faster.

    Let me know if I got that correct.

    • cc says:

      ok, i’ll take a shot.

      the phrase “when someone shows/tells you who they are, believe them” really applies to guys who say “i’m a loser”, “i don’t want a relationship”, “i have trouble committing” – the idea is to BELIEVE THEM, not think you can change their minds because you want to be their exception.

      the treating like shit concept is separate – someone who is prone to treating others like shit probably has what i’ll call a “poor esteem meter” that he then uses to target victims (not trying to make this sound too terrible). this is THEIR failing, and we must not take the fact that we’re being mistreated as evidence that this treatment is what we deserve. still, it is on us to improve our own esteem so we can identify and avoid these people. so, your last sentence is entirely correct.

      everybody else weigh in?

      • yoghurt says:

        I have a story about this, it popped into my head as I was reading the post.

        My boss got chatted up by ‘my’ EUM before Christmas (I live in a small place). When she told me about it, she said “I just gave him a wide berth because he was clearly such a sleach”.

        She has ace self-esteem.

        When he pulled the same tricks on me three years before, I thought “oh dear, poor him, he must be unhappy. I’m sure he’s lovely underneath. I wonder if I can help him?” WRONG. I had no responsibility towards him whatsoever, his awful behaviour was his business and I *couldn’t* change it. MY responsibility was to MYSELF, to avoid people who wanted to treat me like shit because, well, they’re not very nice people to be around.

        He approached my boss, with her killer self-esteem, happy marriage, good job and fantastic, effervescent personality, so he obviously doesn’t just gravitate towards folk with low self-esteem. He’d left his gf at home, so obviously he wasn’t intending on treating my boss with any more respect than he treated me.

        She was safe from his ill-treatment though… NOT because she’s an inherently better person than me but because she’s got more sense.

        • yoghurt says:

          Should add that my boss is very happily married… coincidence, much?

        • sm says:

          Yogurt you just nailed it ‘because she’s got more sense’. That is it right there. These AC’s/EU’s will try their crap on anyone, it’s just those of us refusing to listen to our own common sense that get drawn into it. Countless times when I’ve met a guy I get a weird feeling or see things and make a judgement call but then go on to rework it in my mind because of some motive I have at the time. Its like one of the posters said above, she warned a girl about her boyfriends involvement with 2 other women and the girl stayed with him anyway and planning a wedding…where is her common sense!

      • Spinster says:


        Your comment is what I was trying to say for the most part; you said it better than me. Thanks. 😉

    • bella says:

      …yes…when someone tells you/shows you who they are…. Listen!
      I found with the AC that blowing hot on the way into my life was with words… Blowing cold was with actions…I chose to listen to both..exit!
      I believe this is the reason we have all very thankfully found Natalie…we are listening & healing…
      This is a great post with wonderful comments… Thank you all for your insight…

  23. Sad and Confused says:

    Ah damn. Now I just feel stupid. I’ve been reading BR for a couple of months now and it’s really been helping me to see exactly what I’ve been doing wrong. But I began a personal journal for the first time in my life a couple of months back at the beginning of NC and I actually read through it all tonight to see if I’m actually making any progress.

    I learned that every single one of my remaining friends has ZERO respect for me. Most of them owe me money – even though most of them don’t work or live on welfare. I’m the idiot working 15 hours a day.

    I looked at all my past assclowns and realized I’m the one who chose them all – and chose to stay with them for far longer than any of them are worth. Until I chose to leave, at which point I’d find another ridiculous assclown to repeat my stupid self-destructive pattern with. Again. And again. And again.

    But rather than feeling empowered, I sit here alone realizing that I’m just a screw up. There’s no one left. I have my TV and my computer and 15 hour working days, 7 days a week. Yay. What’s the freaking point? :(

    • cc says:

      you’re NOT alone. yes, seeing the awful truth is…AWful. but now you see it, which means you can change it. if you hadn’t seen it, you’d never be able to change it. don’t think for one second that every single one of us hasn’t had the awful OMG feeling when we realize exactly what we were doing that was getting in our own way.

      don’t give in to that. push through. you can make all those facts no longer true. you can find new friends who are worthy of you and you of them, everybody goes through this, finding new connections as they learn and grow and remove toxic people from their lives.

      you don’t have to give in to the old patterns. it VERY scary to make new patterns – make them anyway. you can do it.

    • Natasha says:

      Sad, whatever people aren’t around aren’t SUPPOSED to be there. One thing I can tell you is that once you prune the users/losers/jerkoffs out of your life, you’ve just made room for the people who should be there. The most important thing is that you broke the pattern. I went through a similar transition period and I know that it can suck in the short term, but let me assure you that you’ve made the best long term choice you can make. I can sympathize with working a ton and not feeling like you have a lot of time to meet people. Do you like the people at your job? Some of my best friends are former coworkers that I bonded with over being stuck in the damn office all the time!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I looked at all my past assclowns and realized I’m the one who chose them all – and chose to stay with them for far longer than any of them are worth. Until I chose to leave, at which point I’d find another ridiculous assclown to repeat my stupid self-destructive pattern with. Again. And again. And again.

      Ugh. Story of my life… and I’d go back to the Online Assclown Dating Site and select another one and wonder why they weren’t working.

    • AngelFace,_Going_to_Hawaii! says:

      Hi Sad n Confused.

      DON’t lend out any more money!!! Put it in YOUR savings account and save it for your future. They do not appreciate it, and you are not the bank. That goes for gifts too.

      I wish I had all the $$$ that I lent and gave away as gifts. Just not a good practice to keep. Also, you can and need to dismiss people from your life, and then rebuild your social network carefully by adding and screening new and good people.

      I had a co-worker who was so Negative and harsh-speaking that I would actually get chest pains just having coffee with her. I got rid of her quickly. Now I do have a good core group of good friends and we all do share positive self-esteem.

      If it takes a season of you going it rather alone – it will be worth it! My advice would be to not sit at home alone during all your free time, but instead, go out where other people will also be – even if it is the movie theater, park, shopping, a restaurant, a concert or likeable pub…. or a walk-through a nearby town….. I hope you have a happy and healthy Spring and Summer! And best of fun meeting and adding new people into your life!

      • Sad and Confused says:

        Thanks so much for the positive comments guys. Most days I actually DO feel better being in my own space and sorting out my own head. I just started to feel so stupid for allowing myself to be treated this way by everyone else in my life for so long that it brought me crashing down. I love my job, but unfortunately I work remotely, so I’m in my office alone. My colleagues also work remotely, so I don’t get to catch up with any of them in person. I do go to the gym and I do try to accept any invitations I receive to go anywhere at all. I guess it will just take time – and I’m happy to take as much time as it takes if it means getting where I need to be. I’ll get there. I can do this. But most importantly, I recognize that I don’t want to go back to those old habits ever again.

        • Allison says:


          Try volunteering, as it takes the focus off of you.

        • Natasha says:

          Sad, I totally know what you mean, since I now work from home too! Three of my best friends are planning weddings, so most of our time together is now on the phone talking about floral arrangements. It’s fun, but then when I’m off the phone I’m in my apartment by my lonesome! Personally, whenever I meet another woman that I like, I just ask her out for a drink haha! Literally. I’m moving in a few days and the realtor that showed my place is super cool and we had a ton of fun chatting while waiting for appointments. I just had lunch with her and we had a great time. Never be afraid to take advantage of any opportunity to make a new friend – be it at the gym, the grocery store, etc. There are so many awesome ladies out there!

    • yoghurt says:

      Hey S&C
      I’m at the same point and I’ll agree with you that it does feel naff… I seem to spend my time thinking “oh good, it turns out that people only DID want to hang around with me because they got the world’s easiest ride and lots of benefits without having to put a bean in. Obviously I’m NOT GOOD ENOUGH for healthy balanced relationships because I am such a freak”.

      Then I come onto BR and it a lot to make the thoughts go away.

      The thing that keeps me going, though, is thinking about the alternatives… bigging up the EUM when he comes to pick up Son in the hope of getting his approval? Going back and seeking out my old ‘friend’s (and apologising to them for avoiding them over the last year, ugh no), letting them berate me and then putting up with their drama and attention-seeking and the frightened feeling that I used to get when I was waiting for them to arrive?

      Ick. Nein. I’d rather be where I am than go through all that anxiety again. You know, the really good times are few and far between these days, but it’s been a long time since anyone has done something to make me cry, either. That makes it worth it. And it IS a transition stage. We’ll get through.

      • Sad and Confused says:

        So I sat out in the back yard tonight, staring up into the night sky and the millions of bright stars staring back at me and I begged for help to stay strong. My nearest neighbour is a 10 minute drive away – on the next property. The nearest township is more than 35 minutes drive away on the highway.

        I’m completely alone. I work alone. I live alone out here in the Outback. I have no one to fall back on when I’m feeling weak. I have my dog. And she’s sleeping. There’s no other sense of loneliness on the whole planet as when you’re living in the middle of nowhere with no one around you for literally hundreds of miles.

        I begged the stars and the moon to help me stay strong and move past this awful sense of being completely alone in everything I do.

        And here I am, still reading this site, hoping to find a glimmer of hope that let’s me know I’m not alone out here in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a country that’s already in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

        I can’t leave. I can’t move. This is my home. But I’m out here with no one around for miles. I’m suffocating. And there’s no one within several hours drive who can help me. Even my phone has no reception tonight, so I can’t even call anyone for companionship. So I’ll finish writing this and then go back outside and stare at the stars all alone again until it’s time to finally sleep. Again. Every day is the same :(

        • Hi Sad and Confused. I’m sorry that you’re feeling lonely and low tonight and it seems on many other days. Tonight you may not be able to leave or move but another day you can. There’s not really any point in calling a place home when you basically hate it and feel isolated. Every day will remain the same until you make different choices. You can make and find a new home – there is only one you. It is hard to face the responsibility that we each have for our lives, but until we do, we feel a victim of circumstances and very angry at where we feel we’re being shortchanged instead of recognising the active thoughts and choices (or lack of willingness to choose which is still a choice), which keep us a prisoner in situations of our own making. It is a home you’ve purchased or rented, work you’ve chosen to do on your own and an isolating location of your choice – changing your home would make a huge difference. These choices may have worked for you at one stage of your life, but they don’t work for you now. That is perfectly fine and OK. Why would you choose to remain somewhere that left you isolated when you say you don’t like how things are? It sounds like you’re punishing yourself, which is just unnecessary and I’m going to assume that your lack of unwillingness to budge on your perspective and choices is down to how you see yourself as a result of experiences that you need to retract your judgement of you.

          There will always be the distance in the location of other people so it is you that has to get up and move. It isn’t that you can’t move – you have chosen not to. You do not have to be alone. At 10 minutes, I’d hop in my car and go and see the neighbour under whatever pretext you can. You don’t need to beat yourself up about where you are – you need to come up with a plan that you can implement about how you’re going to change this situation, whether it’s evaluating where you are and what is in your location that could change your experience of the place, or evaluating how to get out of your home and move somewhere else. Every day doesn’t have to be the same – start today with making positive changes to your life.

  24. cc says:

    thanks, natalie.

    yes, like magnolia said, its difficult to break the history of brainwashing and to see that poor treatment by others having a negative agenda, or who just feel bad about themselves and need to elevate themselves by lowering someone else, is a reflection of them and not of us. until we get a more permanent, resilient sense of self-esteem, we put others too high and participate in putting ourselves too low. ugh, sick of that, and don’t want to do it anymore.

    i’m starting to be able to look back on early events with my EUM through the lens of my shiny new i-still-don’t-believe-its-real sense of self. and i don’t even feel like getting all how-dare-you mad at some of the things he did, i’m not hurt and confused by them any more, i just want to kind of giggle and to (in my imagination) say to him, very gently, as one would to a precocious child, “dude…. you don’t really think you can treat people like that, do you? nooooo….” and i can see how his actions changed how i felt about myself back then, before we even knew each other, and how they might have at least a significantly lesser chance of doing so now. …i would hope. still need to really road test this sense of self.

    oo! that’s exactly what he was! a precocious child in a grown man’s body! eureka! and i let him make me feel like shit? and struggled for months with him when he was obviously so emotionally crippled that he couldn’t really relate consistently with another (female) human? jeeez…..

    well, at least i let him make me feel less like shit than the guy before him. and the guy after him? kicked him to the curb. at this rate, i might be ready for a healthy relationship sometime in 2020…kidding….god, i hope not…

    hugs, natalie, you angel.

  25. cc says:

    ok, more!

    remember in the movie “good will hunting” when robin williams pulls out matt damon’s file documenting his childhood abuse, and starts saying “its not your fault” over and over? and matt damon freaks out and they hug and he heals?

    well, and i thought i had figured this out a long time ago, when i first saw that scene, it hit me hard but i didn’t really get it. because while i never felt like what happened to me as a kid was my fault, i did feel it was what i DESERVED. because i agreed with my father’s mercurial valuation of me. we kids vacillated between ‘perfect’ or ‘lower than whale shit’ in his eyes – and a kid can’t keep up with that, so after a while it becomes easier to just default to ‘lower than whale shit’. never mind that ‘perfect’ is undefined and unattainable.

    i figured this out a long time ago with respect to my father. but i didn’t apply it to the men i date. that i allow, at least to some extent, my value to be determined by them. and if i don’t get a thumbs up from them, i keep trying until i get one. problem is, you’re trying to get a thumbs up from someone not qualified to give it to you, whose job it is NOT to love you unconditionally, and who is probably a jerk or at least emotionally injured himself. ….and who you don’t even KNOW and who doesn’t know you! aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! you know how long i had known the EUM when i started letting him determine my worth? i had just connected with him online!! and i hadn’t even met him yet!! and he had already screwed up once!! no wonder we fail and feel lower than whale shit trying to succeed at this. what the….

    so, right. who can love us unconditionally? and knows us better than anyone else? and can keep a steady sense of who we are? we can.

    natalie? you’re a genius, girl.

  26. teachable says:

    I have issues with a small number of so called friends believing they are superior to me also. I try to move away from these people & have challenged a couple on this directly but it’s diffilcult as they regularly mix in my social circle. I can only say that it was quite satisfying when after coming from a very disadvantaged background I wound up regularly mixing it up with Senators & even the Prime Minister on one occassion. I’m also now a published (academic) author. The looks on their oh so superior faces when they heard about such things was priceless! ~giggle~

  27. Mymble says:

    This has to be a favourite and I am still processing some of the thoughts.
    “often what you think is their perspective is actually your perspective gained from the meanings you’ve attached to their behaviour”.
    I read something once about “ideas of reference” which taken to an extreme is a sign of mental illness, as in people who believe that the TV is speaking to them personally. But the TV (or AC/MM/EUM) would be broadcasting the same message whoever was in the room. Our mistake is to stay in the room internalising.
    One of my issues was feeling intellectually inferior, and it seemed to me that he played on this in various ways. I used to feel such a thicko! However i recently had a revelation that in fact he may have had insecurities himself in
    that regard. Otherwise why would he need to “advertise”. The truly wise wear it lightly and don’t have the need to make others feel small.

    • ixnay says:


      There’s a guy where I work who is a true mensch. Capable, competent, reliable, understated, funny, and kind. Everyone feels relieved when he’s on a project. When I was in the throes of confusion and frustration with my boyfriend, I would contrast him with this guy. He’s a family man, and rather than a crush — and this is weird — I found myself envying his children. Imagine having such a solid, stable, good-hearted man for a dad.

      I think we need to seek out these male role models and throw into high relief how strange and unacceptable these guys are who enjoy making others feel small.

      • Mymble says:

        Where I live there are disturbingly few. It’s a chauvinistic, heavy drinking culture. My neighbours over the road seem to have a very happy marriage. I notice how much fun they seem to have and how much work he does in the house and garden. But I am a little wary Of making assumptions because you really don’t know what goes on in a marriage unless you’re in it yourself and you don’t truly know a person until you’re you’re up close and personal, or have known them for a long long time. The one I was involved with looked perfect from the outside.

        • sm says:

          Mymble, you are right about not looking at the perfect ‘outside’. I recently looked at my ex’s dating profile online, I’d never seen it before as I had met him in person. I know I shouldnt have looked but curiosity got the best of me. All the good things it said about him are true, he is a pretty picture. But what it didnt say is that he has a problem with alcoholism, drinks everyday the minute he leaves work via a cooler he always has stocked and in the car. It also didnt say that he cant stand conflict and will never tell you what he really feels or that he feels he’s not living up to his ‘career potential’ and if you are, he will eventually take that out on you. Didnt say any of that, but I only dated him two months and got the full brunt of his flaws, in two months..not a very long time at all

  28. Longterm Relationship says:

    This is a great article and I definitely keep telling myself that he’s not that special, but I’m still struggling. For me, I didn’t realize he was an AC until about 2 and 1/2 years into the relationship. He had moved into my apartment (the lease was in my name, but we split the rent and the bills) and it was only suppose to be temporary (6 months) until we found a bigger place that we could rent together. Well, as soon as we found a place, he panicked and said he thought something in our relationship was missing and that he needed more time. This came out of left field and I was heartbroken, but of course…took him back and said we could stay in my apartment for a little longer (I’m sure you can see where this is going). A little longer turned into a full year and a half, and when the time came to give notice about moving again, he panicked again and said he felt like nothing changed. This was unbeknownst to me as I thought things were fine and that we were finally on the right track — he (up until a few days before the break up) talked about the future, taking trips, and possibly buying a house together. After his freak out (which happened in the beginning of November), he moved out within two days, and three weeks later got his own one bedroom apartment within walking distance from my place. He then flip flopped about this feelings for me, said he was miserable without me, and thought we could use this as an opportunity to see our relationship in a different light. I played along for about three months and then finally decided that this wasn’t at all what I wanted — I wanted a relationship and felt that by keeping my presence in his life, I was making this transition easier from him…but I was still left feeling terrible (and it didn’t seem to matter to him). I cut it off and haven’t seen him since February, but did fall off the wagon a few times and made contact. I’ve been at NC now for almost a month and it’s hard, but I’m feeling stronger.
    I truly did love him and saw a future with him, and despite everything I’m still having trouble letting go and seeing him for who he actually is — a man who is terrified of commitment and being emotionally available with me. I just don’t get the point of faking a future, when he clearly knew that he was not going to take this next step with me. He actually told me that if I didn’t…

    • jenny says:

      Future faking seems like a great way to keep a woman invested while a guy keeps his options open. I would never do that to someone, so it’s hard to understand why someone would do that to me. Is that where you’re at?

      • cc says:

        i think guys fake a future when they either 1) don’t know what they want but want to hedge the bet by keeping us on a string; or 2) they do know what they want, but its just sex, and they’re just trying to keep the easy prey around.

        yeah, like jenny said, its very hard for us to understand this, because futures with someone we love and who loves us is ALL we want – we cannot imagine (or at least we think we can’t) being commitment-phobic.

        hugs to you.

        • Longterm Relationship says:

          Jenny and CC – thank you for your replies. It’s so helpful having this support system to get you through the tough times! I didn’t realize that my comment cut off, but I was going to say that he told me that if things had stayed as they were and I didn’t expect anything more, he would have been fine with it. I keep telling myself that statement alone says it’s more about him than me, but that doesn’t make it any easier on my end!

          I am at the point where I am having trouble understanding his way of thinking and his motives because it’s true, I would never do that to somebody. I truly valued the relationship that I had with him and I just don’t understand how he could turn his back on me and suddenly become so distant and cold. He’s shown me no empathy during the break up and I feel so disposable — like it was so easy for him to walk out of my life. Also, when he was going back and forth on his feelings for me, he said that we must not get back together again until he is prepared to get on his hands and knees and beg me to take him back — why even say that?!

          So much of this has been on his terms and at this point, NC for me is the way to go. I’m just nervous that I’m going to run into him at some point (since he moved to my neighborhood and people walk everywhere) and not really know how to be around him. I’m crossing my fingers that I can go a few more months without seeing him so I can get stronger and realize that I’m much better off! Thanks again for your support!

          • jenny says:

            Ugh, I can’t stand it when someone tries to pull the time-travel thing “if you had done X, I would or wouldn’t have done Y”.
            My ex-husband used to do that, and it made me livid. It’s a terrible mid game, and a childish one at that. If you had acted differently, there’s no reason to believe things would have necessarily ended up for the better. And that he didn’t show empathy is truly for the best. Instead of internalizing his indifference, be happy that an indecisive, non-commital guy is not trying to draw you back in for one more round.
            Dangling the possibility of begging for your love as a sort of magical happy ending can keep you engaged, hoping for the best. But it sounds like a ploy to keep you from getting on with your life, and that’s just unkind.

            • cc says:

              amen to jenny.

              y’know… i’m really sweet and loving and supportive. but i also have this anger that i’ve never known what to do with. (i get pissed off, but i don’t aim it at anybody.) i used to think this rage was a flaw, but maybe it is, properly managed and lovingly directed, an asset.

              LTR – get mad. let that anger make you strong and start disconnecting from him. and tell him to go EFF himself. and then you take excellent care of you. who the *hell* is he to tell you how to feel and how to be and to elevate himself, as if he’s so great, the loser, over your wants and needs and wishes? when he’s never been able to evolve, to grow, to become anything more than what he was at the beginning of your relationship?

              JEEEzus, NML is so right. he is so clearly, obviously and awfully proving that he’s not that special. don’t bother trying to understand his way of thinking – he literally isn’t worth the effort. he’s an EU childish selfish guy who was panicking on you the whole time.

              i know you hurt, and i’m sorry. but really, decouple your desirability, your value from him. he’s stuck AND he’s dishonorable. trust us. you don’t want him. you want a MAN.

            • ixnay says:

              Yeah, the “if/then” stuff is a killer. I got hit with a big one a few months ago. he calmly looked at me and said, “If you’d [taken a certain act of faith action], we’d still be together.” I hadn’t, and so now another woman was getting the commitment (marriage, children) I’d hoped for for 13(!) years.

              That had the intended result of displacing his ambivalence and betrayal on me. Since I have my own, long list of missed moments and things-I-should-have-done, I can get into this wild downward spiral of raw grief and regret. I even cry aloud, in my apartment, “What have I done?!”

              But what about all the other acts of faith I did take? the times I said yes and then he reneged or sabotaged things? If I had not done one of those, he could have equally told me that THAT was the dealbreaker. Over many years there are infinite times I might have zigged when the love jackpot required me to zag. Because he was the Decider. And it was always only *later* that the stakes for any given zig or zag were revealed.

              What I’ve realized, looking more holistically across time, is that he can’t handle rejection, even logistical rejection (I’m working; I have other plans) and would withdraw or punish me for such perceived rejections (which i never knew, as he would never say something was bothering him). But he could be rejecting or mean *purposefully* and i was not allowed to react or even bring it up later. it was all asymmetrical.

              • yoghurt says:

                The unwinnable game.

                I have to say, ixnay, that every time I read bits of your story it really hits me like a brick just how callous and unpleasant these men can be – I don’t know if it’s because you express it so well or just that he was so incredibly callous. I suspect both, and I wish him a lifetime of painful skin conditions.

                But anyway.

                I had a conversation with Son’s dad a few months ago (although I’ve since realised that he uses these ‘I’m sooo concerned about you and I’m SAYING all the right things’ speeches as a means of keeping me craven, so I won’t be having them anymore) in which I told him that I accepted some of the responsibility for the effects of the situation on me. And his response was to say, basically “Yes, it made me really miserable that you were letting me treat you in such an awful way. I could not help myself and you didn’t stop me”.

                For a while this really threw me (I’m still pulling myself out of it) and it was a good sneaky way of blaming me, partly because it’s true. BUT, you know, I couldn’t have brought out such a nasty side of him unless that side was there to begin with.

                There are people who’d rather walk through fire than treat anyone as dishonourably as we were treated. If the potential’s there and they don’t take responsibility for it then it’ll pop out every time they feel it’s justified, and they’ll justify it in any way that they can… even if it’s by saying “oh, she’s so nice and understanding that it’s her fault”. It’s madness and you could never have won.

                • sm says:

                  “Yes, it made me really miserable that you were letting me treat you in such an awful way. I could not help myself and you didn’t stop me”.

                  What a psycho! I highly doubt this man will ever treat anyone decently. I’d keep my eye on him.

                • Longterm Relationship says:

                  Yoghurt — my guy said the same thing to me! (“Yes, it made me really miserable that you were letting me treat you in such an awful way. I could not help myself and you didn’t stop me”). He told me that he needed to be with somebody who “put him in his place.” And I thought to myself, so you want your mother? I really don’t want that — I want to be with somebody whose my equal and realizes on their own when they are ass. It’s all about accountability and you’re right, this is his way of placing the blame on me. Screw that.

                  Yea, the if/then stuff is a killer and it is a mind game that makes you think it’s your fault. Lately, I have been getting more angry which will hopefully propel me out of this state. I’m taking it day by day, not contacting him, and moving on. Thanks again everyone!

                  • A says:

                    How exhausting would that be–being stuck with some guy lacking in integrity, having to remain vigilant with your boundaries at all times as he tries to break them down and get away with all he can. No thanks, I’d prefer a real man who actually takes responsibility for his own actions.

                  • jenny says:

                    Once, the guy was talking about having just done something nice for his mom, and how she had thanked him. He said, “She’s so sweet. I do the smallest thing for her and she’s so grateful it makes me feel guilty.” I remember thinking that was really odd, and now I have a pretty good idea he was talking to me, about me. So if I’d been meaner, not said thanks or returned favors, he wouldn’t have felt so bad about secretly being a dirtbag?
                    How broken is that?!

                    A friend recently wanted to set me up with someone she described as great but kind of immature, that he needed someone to whip him in to shape and then he’d be perfect. It reminded me of guys who say they “want someone who calls me on my shit”, or “someone who will inspire me to be a better man!”, or my favorite, “my muse”. Who would sign up for that thankless task ? So many ways to take blame for someone else’s faults or inadequacies! Turn this outhouse into a dream home! Bring your own tools and materials! Yay! Sign me up!

                    Once, at a low moment, I told him that he’d be be better off with some hardass of a woman who could “treat him mean and keep him keen”. Now I’m grateful that I’m not like that. It would have prolonged this whole situation. I would’ve suffered greater heartache, and he’d still be him.
                    I think his “fiancee” has done that. Knowing about all the other women, thinking she understands him best and has “Won” this prize pig, she’s set herself up. He can now blame her for letting him treat her like that. Despicable.

                    • yoghurt says:

                      Bet you a tenner that the phrase “you knew what I was like when you agreed to marry me” comes up at some point in the future if they do get hitched. Ugh.

                  • tired_of_assanova says:

                    I think there was a post on the different varieties of assclown. This one is MANCHILD or CRIMINAL ASSCLOWN

  29. Karina says:

    This could not have come at a better time. I finally got accepted into my dream school and an awesome Master’s program and my “friends” initially congratulated me and then proceeded to pretty much say why having a dog, leaving my job, etc is not a good idea for school. I had to really put the break on them and just tell them, if that’s what you think then fine, but guess what…at the end of the day the only person I have to live with is me and my choices! It was a wake up call because all my life I have struggled with this and going with what others say, whether it be friends or EUM! So I posted something on my FB page and I get this backlash from people…like HELLO…it’s MY page and I can say what I please and how I feel. I don’t think I need to be justifying anything to anyone anymore! Like seriously…what’s wrong with living and letting others live? Because of this constant berating over ANYTHING I say or do I am finally at a place when I’m saying enough is enough! No wonder my self-esteem can be compared to turd. And all the guilt I felt afterwards for even speaking up was ridiculous.

    Thanks Nat…I truly realize that I need to do me in every sense of the word…LOL. I need to just keep on truckin’ and feel good in my own skin! =)

    • Natasha says:

      Congratulations Karina!! :) No doubt you’ve worked your bum off to earn this opportunity and don’t let anyone take away from how great it feels to see it pay off.

      • Karina says:

        Thanks Natasha! It feels good to finally be the one in control of MY life. As for the rest of them…I’m starting not to giev a damn! =)

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      A lot of people when you post BR will lay ‘Oh, I don’t agree with that’ and get narky with you. And then I think of all the times that someone has posted some lame ass sex joke and so on and I think, if they can post THAT why can’t I post BR up.

      No contest!

      • sm says:

        Tired it is amazing the amount of people who will disagree with what should be common sense in the dating world. Since I decided to stop being ‘friends’ with all my ex’s 4 years ago, you wouldnt believe the amount of people who think I am the one with the problem. Like what is wrong with me that I cant still be friends with ex’s. They act like its a character flaw when for the first time in my life, I am showing character. Amazing, you just keep on posting BR stuff, if will fall on the right person and the rest can just suck it!

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          Tell me about it. Many people panic and fall of their chair, “WHAT YOU ARE NOT FRIENDS WITH THE EX!!!” it is like a major mega emergency! And it is even worse when they’ve got an ex or ten hanging around / festooned with exes and they think you’re refusal equates to judging them!

          Three of my friends are BR readers, so there you go.

      • Karina says:

        You are sooo right! That’s why I say it like it is and how I feel at the moment. But I am also learning to sometimes just let it roll. Too many different emotions and opinions on people. I say live and let live!

  30. ChiTownKitty says:

    Bravo! I am dealing with this (in a slightly different form) in my new relationship. I’ve started seeing someone who lives an hour away and just a casual look at both our calendars makes it obvious that seeing each other is going to take some planning. We both know this and both of us have said we want to give it a try.
    Anyway, he commented about his upcoming week and said that he won’t be able to see me for a while.
    Of couse in my messed up mind that meant oh, he will call when the snow flies….I really needed to stop and look at this through the lens of NOW not my PAST. He’s not my ex the MM EU AC, he’s his own person and I am me—not the way my ex treated me.
    So, I took a deep breath and we talked. I told him about what was coming up for me and how I felt it was important that we saw each other even if it was for coffee sometime before I left town in two weeks (bringing daughter dear back from college). He listened, said he would have to look at his schedule and that “he wouldnt let me down.”
    First it was a big step for me to even speak up. I silently suffered through my last relationship and accepted any crumbs the AC would throw my way and felt that speaking up was being “demanding.” Now, I refuse to let the past ruin my future.
    So now the new man in my life has heard what’s important to me, made a promise, and I will judge him on his actions—not my fears.

  31. Reality says:

    This post feels like healing! I have been searching for something to ease the pain of the rejection I feel from this non existent relationship. Even thought my head knew he was an AC and that he has issues, it could never get to my heart. So my heart just felt restless and in pain. This insight you brought today… it’s finally broke through to my heart and I can literally feel the pieces mending back together. THANK YOU!!

  32. little mouse says:

    i was having a conversation with my work mate today who is going through the same thing , he has moved back to his mums whilst he decides what he wants. Basically men are cowards when it comes to telling women they want out , both i and my workmate would always prefer the truth than the bumpf the tell us to make us feel not so bad. When i left my husband (a mental bully) i just left . I wish there was a magic wand to help all the hurting ladies out there , it does make me wonder about us women because theres no web site with hundreds of men on needing help. part of it scares me as there are so many women on here i wonder if there are any decent men out there or maybe because our primial function as women is to nuture and care and we struggle with swithching it off,men seem to be able to just click switch off , decide el done with you.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Men have automatic flush installed. They just give up and walk away, and they don’t say anything or they withdraw. They don’t want dirt on their hands of have to fess up! Hell no!!!

      And then they write off their responsibility by calling you ‘needy’, ‘psycho’ or ‘crazy’.

      Ladies on the other hand seem to want clear answers, what does it mean, can we fix it etc etc…

  33. Sally Webster says:

    Yep, agree with many of the others on here – definitely one of the best posts to date :)

  34. Reality says:

    To your point – Little Mouse
    “it does make me wonder about us women because theres no web site with hundreds of men on needing help.”

    I think about this a lot too. Like what is wrong with all of us.

    1. women deal with stuff by talking to each other, wheras men just either stuff it in or go play sports, etc or just start with another girl.

    2. women have been attacked by media of all kinds for years, about how we look, how we act, how successful we are, how skinny we are, literally every aspect of being a woman is scrutinized. It has created a lot of insecure women. It takes a LOT of guts to know who you are anymore and not only know it but stand on it. Men sense this about us and use it to their benefit.

    3. Women have become the aggressors. I have heard several men say to me who are back in the dating game after a divorce, “I can’t believe how forward and aggressive women have become!!” This ladies, sorry to say is the beginning of our problems for ourselves. Because not only is it more difficult to gage a mans interest when we are doing all the work, but now even after you find him, there are loads of other woman coming on to him and some don’t even care if he’s taken.

    The dating world at this point is pure chaos!

    • little mouse says:

      I agree , for a moment when i was replaced i was like whats wrong with me???????? i looked at the women and i pulled myself to pieces , but then i took a step back ….
      1 this women is prob just the same as me sucked in and bedazzled

      2 even jenifer aniston gets dumped.

      3 Its not me , this man is a serial cheat , insecure about himself so has to appease his ego with women.

      Also in this day and age with mobiles and email its easy to flirt and get away with it you just press delete at end of working day before going home to wife or girlfriend. i resisted a mobile for yrs and now i wish i never got one when i got involved with my ac i spend the whole day looking at it , its become a ball and chain around me .
      It seems the world has become a more deceitful place and it sits easily with us , i cant call any one a liar , i did it so well myself , its like they taint you and you take on their crap values as well

      • Lilia says:

        My theory is simply that we make it too easy for the men out there! We adapt to whatever the guy wants, because we are terrified of being alone for a while. So if he wants to give out crumbs, we take it eagerly, because we feel it´s better than nothing. There is this idea that relationships should be easy to obtain, as if it´s a product you buy whenever you´re in the mood. While in real life, healthy love relationships don´t happen all the time because you just don´t click with every guy that comes along. I find it´s a good strategy not to be like those aggressive women because if you take the initiative you´ll never know if the guy is really interested in you and you run the risk of being fed crumbs in the end. I´m not into this “hard to get” theory that´s so fashionable nowadays, but it does help to just wait and see how things unfold.

      • Teddie says:

        I’m reading a book now, “The End of Love”, by a German author, he says that people nowadays suffer from “love bulimia”, they feel compelled to gorge themselves on what appears to be endless possibilities, but since they cannot make use of all possibilities, they make themselves throw up and so on. People don’t see people anymore, they see “possibilities” as have themselves become a possibility in the eyes of the others… uurrgghh!

  35. Isabel says:

    I just wanted to write a quick note of thanks for Nathalie wonderful blog that I discovered a few days ago. Its like have been re-interpreting my whole life in a completely different light, like the clouds have parted. I wish I had stumbled upon it sooner and that she had start writing it 20 years ago. It would have save me countless trials and errors with a fairly long string of jerks. I find this last post so helpful, not only for romantic relationships, but for relationships in general. She wrote:

    “Rejection is a hell of a lot easier to deal with and reject the impact of, when you get your self-esteem house in order so that you can hold your own. This is as simple as operating from a basis that you will treat you with love, care, trust, and respect at all times. This means that when someone doesn’t do this, you’ll step in and opt out or distance yourself instead of taking up a vocation in trying to prove them wrong and demanding that a grown up treat you better.”

    This resonated so much with my past experience. I don’t want to sound paranoiac, but it is in the interest of many of those dysfunctional folks to keep us down by withholding treated us with basic decency. Without self-esteem, no matter what you do, you’ll never be pretty enough, smart enough, hard working enough, good enough…And you’ll always find somebody who will prey on this, using your need for validation like the proverbial carrot in front of the donkey, to extract every drop of sweat, money, time, free shag etc. they can. I mean, who never worked overtime for free just to hear the boss tell you grudgingly you did a good job? Who never did some sexual favor, even when uncomfortable or tired, just in the hope of being told what an amazing lover you are? I sure plead guilty on all charges. My most recent one has been to put up for months with a so called friend going through depression, whom I helped and listened to for countless hours, spending complete nights up at times. Just to prove him I was a good person who would not let him down, like you know, all of those others untrustworthy, meany people from his past. Later on, when I came to discuss some issues of my owns, that was his answer:

    “You’re a pain in the ass and ya irritate the fuck out of me with this stupid pretty drama crap. I don’t give a fuck what you say “its not petty noeeeessssss”, IT IS PETTTTTY! So…

    • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

      Hi Isabel –

      The ‘depressed friend’ thing struck a chord with me. Depression is very often anger turned inward, and in this case the anger turned outward!

      If it’s genuine depression, then the person needs professional counselling and help – you can listen, but you need to put some boundaries in place to stop you being used as free therapy. Don’t try to do DIY psychoanalysis; it just screws you and the person up further …

      There are people out there who are paid to have this person offload to them, and unless that’s what you do for a living, don’t make yourself into a punching-bag like that. You don’t have the emotional resources and boundaries to cope.

      And remember – some ‘depression’ is actually wallowing and self-pity, and it might just be that your friend is using you for narcissistic supply? And when you dared to have some feelings and wanted to share, they told you exactly what they really thought of you.

      But don’t worry – there are plenty of recovering Florence Nightingales on this site, myself included, so it gets better!

      • Isabel says:

        Thank you for your kind reply :) . I suffered from depression many years myself and the way out is self-work and therapy. Following this, in a pay it forward mentality, I spent two years volunteering on an online depression support community. You’d think I would have known better. Anyhow, this is where I met my ” friend”. I normally had pretty good boundaries but this one sneaked under the fence. He lured me into giving him my personal contact information and built a more personal rapport than what I usually allow. You are really spot on: my take on him, when I look back, is that he is a conniving narcissist looking for attention and a shoulder to cry on and who found that online support communities can be a pretty fertile hunting ground.
        I mulled over Nathalie’s post “This one time in the band”. Empathic, decent people process their stories of hardship and as a result, become more compassionate and understanding. Selfish and narcissists folks recycle them over and over again as hooks to soak all the care and attention they can get while having a handy excuse for their bad behaviors.

        • yoghurt says:

          Ooo, that rings a bell for me.

          I used to work for a support-line and blithely took its ethos and the skills that it taught me into the real world (somewhat unwittingly, I should say), whereupon I managed to pick up a very large number of depressed, disturbed and unhappy folk. One of whom turned out to be the EUM. We were supposed to be ‘friends’ as well… although I’ve never met anyone who treated me in such a passive-aggressively unfriendly manner.

          One of the (many) conclusions that I’ve come to is that I will only work on support lines again when I’ve a dirty great big boxer of a husband and fab boundaries that I consistently maintain. Support lines run on the principle of a) support that flows in one way b) non-judgementalness and c) ONE person giving their opinions and feelings. Those principles just DON’T WORK in rl. You can’t live by them and build healthy non-exploitative relationships.

          That’s why support lines are there – they’re providing a service because, in real life, people CAN’T provide those 24-hour services in an unprofessional context. That’s also why they have such stringent rules about confidentiality and anonymity – it’s to protect you, because in providing that sort of support you’re making yourself very very vulnerable.

          I’m really sorry that you had that experience, it’s the sort of thing that makes you feel as though the world is a pretty threatening place. But you’ll be stronger and more aware now :)

          • Isabel says:

            “Support lines run on the principle of a) support that flows in one way b) non-judgementalness and c) ONE person giving their opinions and feelings. Those principles just DON’T WORK in rl. You can’t live by them and build healthy non-exploitative relationships.”
            So true! I wish I had that posted on my fridge door back then. Can you say naive? I am trying really hard to kick the habit of picking up all two legged stray dogs who end up at my door. May my inner Mother Teresa stay chained in the basement for at least a few years until I sort the boundaries thingie!

            • yoghurt says:

              Haha – my inner Mother Theresa (love the phrase!) occasionally has epic temper tantrums about what I’m FOR without her, but I remind her firmly of the following things:
              – if they treat you without respect/honesty/care etc then they’re just perpetuating unhealthy behaviours and that doesn’t actually help them much
              – I’m all for helping people, but there are times and places and contexts in which it’s appropriate. A single woman living alone’s first duty is to protect HERSELF, because quite frankly since everyone nicked off with my self-esteem and drive then I’ve been bog-all help to anyone.
              – If I was a mental-health professional and really knew what I was doing, I’d be paid more and I STILL wouldn’t take calls in the middle of the night.

              Besides which, I still keep reminding myself that I’m good enough, nice enough and fun enough for people to want to hang around with without the halo.

    • Little Star says:

      WOW, Isabel, thank you for your wise words:-)
      You shocked me with the response of your “friend”, how mean he is! WTF?! WE do not need these kind of friends, I hope you are not communicating with him. So many weird people around, it is scary sometimes!

      • Isabel says:

        Thank you Little Star :)
        And thank god no, no more contact initiated from my part although he phoned me a few days ago even if I was pretty clear I told him: Hasta la Vista baby, I aint your therapist! I just stuck to “do not call me again”. It was difficult. I felt that I was just confirming all his spiel about people abandoning him and being untrustworthy. But reading Nathalie’s blog really helped me realize that without boundaries, I am just setting myself up to be treated like a doormat. I knew somehow people were picking that I am a natural born sucker, but I could never figure the how and the why. Did I say I wish I had found this blog way earlier? But maybe its only when we reach a certain level of fed-up-ness that we are ready to listen anyway.

  36. yoghurt says:

    This is an amazing post – thank you so much.

    It took me a long while to get over the idea that the EUM didn’t want to be with me, but it’s taken me even longer to get over his assumption that, because he didn’t want to be with me, he was under no obligation to treat me as though my feelings or thoughts mattered in any way.

    If everyone who doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you is entitled to take as much as they can get out of you without giving anything back then the world becomes a scary place. But it’s such a wrong-headed way to think. I KNOW that, and in my right-headed moments I know full well that I’ve had a lucky escape.

    • Longterm Relationship says:

      I can completely relate to your post! During the break up with my EUM, it was as though my perspective didn’t matter — it was all about him! There was no negotiating and no discussion, it was his way or the highway!

      There has to be better out there and at least now we can see the red flags earlier on. We’ll be stronger people because of it.

      • yoghurt says:

        Yeah, there’s no genuine co-operation with you over your relationship, ever. They do what they do and if you don’t like it, tough.

        But it’s so easy, as well, to assume that the reason they’ve lied/snuck about behind your back, ignored you or said hurtful things is justifiable because you aren’t the one that they want to be with. Like they’d be better people if you were somehow what they wanted.

        I spent ages thinking “I get treated like this because I’m too old/too ugly/a bit annoying sometimes/he saw me that time with no make-up on”. Whereas really I got treated like that because he thinks it’s okay to treat pe0ple like that.

        He might tone it down now that he DOES want to be with someone and wants something back off her, but in essence his values haven’t changed. He still thinks it’s okay to be emotionally manipulative, dishonest and unkind to people when it suits him and he doesn’t feel bad about it either.

        There’s lots of people in the world that I don’t want to be with and sometimes I’d rather not spend time with them either. But you know what? I don’t hassle them in the middle of the night for sympathy and sex, either.

        I SO don’t want to be with someone who assesses someone else’s entire worth on whether or not he sees them as a serious long-term prospect. I didn’t used to see anything wrong with that but it’s just depressing.

  37. rosenfire says:

    There’s a new hit show here in the States that I enjoy watching called “New Girl.” I was disappointed in the main character this week, as she ended a relationship with a stable man who treated her well in every aspect. Her reason? She wanted “passion, even if that means [she] has to work harder and hurt more.” She was jealous of what she saw between him and his ex-wife…something she called “passion” and he called “hate” – the reason they DIVORCED! He tried to tell her that “passion” was over-rated, and that what they currently shared was good (which is to say HEALTHY), and she still ended it.

    In the past, I would have applauded this character’s choice of “passion.” But she had the healthy kind of passion with this man already – a great relationship, great sex, great attraction. Now I think this character is crazy. Hurt more?! No thanks.

    • cc says:

      …why can’t i meet a guy like that…

      • Lilia says:

        Sort of like Sense & Sensibility in reverse. Only in this case the girl dismisses sense in favor of some lame apparently passionate guy. (And no, I didn´t read the book, I´m thinking of the film with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.)

    • A says:

      It’s what most of us grow up believing–passion, chemistry, etc.

      It’s a bit of a side note, but I wonder if the passion and chemistry can work for those who grew up with healthy examples of relationships–that is, for these people, when they meet someone and feel that ‘pull’ it can be for healthy reasons rather than feeling ‘chemistry’ due to some kind of disfunction…?

    • jenny says:

      I thought the same thing! But I think that’s what happens in real life – people meet at different stages, and even if they’re both great, it somehow feels not quite right. Maybe when you skip stages, you don’t avoid making mistakes just because you “chose wisely”, you just end up making different mistakes.
      The Jess character can’t appreciate someone who has been through all that nonsense and grown up. She needs to learn that on her own, and appreciate stability for what it is. If she doesn’t appreciate it, she’d just be bored and resentful. I think it’s okay to want passion and adventure, but that’s not everybody’s cup of tea. For me, growing up means making wiser choices, and not equating drama with passion, not letting chemistry get in the way of sound decision-making.

  38. goodkarmagirl says:

    Dear Natalie,
    I hope you get a chance to read this.
    I usually just read (and have subscribed to your) posts online for quite a while without ever leaving comment, as I enjoy just taking in and processing your sage advice and guidance. However, today I was compelled to write.
    Not only have your posts been “timely” almost following the slow and painful ending to my love relationship perfectly, but this “self-esteem” post hit me so hard that I could not stop crying when reading it the other day, and had to re-read it multiple times every day just to get through it.
    It’s so spot on, and the pit of my stomach is aching from knowing I had been this person for so long…this person who thought she was taking the high road and not rocking the boat, when in fact, I was surrendering who I was and what I stood for. I surrendered who I am to this relationship and let it define me. For the last year, he has told me how much he, his parents, kids and friends love me (even until recently) and that I’m his “other half and best friend and he has never had a love like this” but when I confronted him about why he went back online with a dating profile, he said “I’m not cheating….because we’re not an official’ve always been just a prospect”, my self-esteem took a nose dive and I blamed it on my having gained weight, or disagreeing with him on something, or being too independent, or whatever. And he’s NOT ALL THAT SPECIAL. YOU’RE SOOO RIGHT. But I had idolized him and our relationship. Even after I broke it off, in my alone-ness, I still thought I had made a mistake.
    “You never deserve to be mistreated, so don’ t mistreat yourself in the aftermath of the relationship”…WOW. Such powerful words have never made it so deep into my mind and heart.
    Thank you for what you do here on BR.
    Your generous sharing of insight is truly lifesaving work.

    • blueberry girl says:

      Hi goodkarmagirl,
      “…when I confronted him about why he went back online with a dating profile, he said “I’m not cheating….because we’re not an official couple…you’ve always been just a prospect…”

      Ugh, that’s awful. I don’t think you’ve made a mistake at all to break it off. You’re nobody’s option waiting on the back burner to be chosen. Ifyou’re just a prospect to him, make him just a memory!
      You don’t have to surrender yourself; you deserve better.

      I was always taught as a good Catholic girl to” turn the other cheek” and “not make waves,” as you describe, but that mindset has opened me up to painful emotional abuse, neglect and disrespect, from both men and women.

      I relate to what you’re saying completely. In fact, I commented on the same quote of Natalie’s and also cried my eyes out when I read this post. After my mess of a EUM, a nomadic, devastatingly charming alcoholic, left me, I plummeted into a deep, dark depression. In my mind’s eye, he left because I was too old, too needy, too plump, too available, had too many kids, too ME, in essence!
      Forget that! Why aren’t we focusing on why being with these men doesn’t work for US?? No one is that special to be prancing around mistreating others that they profess to love & care about. Reading BR has also taught me that words mean very little; love involves actions. I was told he was “ready to settle down” but he couldn’t return a phone call.
      I’ve maintained NC since he’s left. That would be my advice.

  39. Steff says:

    Great post!!>>”This means that when someone doesn’t do this, you’ll step in and opt out or distance yourself instead of taking up a vocation in trying to prove them wrong and demanding that a grown up treat you better.”
    I’m having a great deal of pain and difficulty with this-trying to get “more” and getting better treatment. My EUM has distanced from me a great deal due to his great need for “man space” and also having issues with his relationship with my young son- we’ve been together almost 2 years and live a few blocks away and hardly see each other 2 times a week, even when he has no other plans. I give him space (don’t call/text him a lot, don’t ask him about hanging out very often anymore) I know it’s complicated getting involved with a woman and a child from another marriage. He does try. Part of the time. But as soon as we get close, he backs away seven more steps. We live within walking distance of each other and he makes no efforts to see me any longer and never makes any plans with me except big trips or last minute hey, what are you doing tonight? after it feels like I’ve guilted him into it. I don’t understand why he would want to stay with me if he doesn’t want me. I’m not even being “used” for sex- It feels like he makes obligatory phone calls to stay connected but then doesn’t want to hang out. I feel like I’m going crazy, but can’t break away. I feel pathetic how much I adore him and how much it hurts when it feels like I’m making all the effort and it just feels like he doesn’t want me. Then we do get together, we are very close and communicative and I feel like I’m crazy and am making something where there was no problem I feel in a double bind-I can’t force him to want to spend more time with me or treat me better. When we’re together he’s full in, full on attention and affection. It’s all or nothing it seems…he can’t be consistent.

    • Polly says:

      One of the best things about this blog is the realisation that there are so many situations out there that mirror your own. I thought my situation was unique and my ex was uniquely complex or whatever. But reading your story Steff has hit home more than any other that there are men across the world all behaving in similar ways and there are women like you and me and others herewho let it happen, analyse it to death and try and make sense of the nonsense in order to extract the relationship we want.

      You know this but you will never get more, and better treatment by asking for it from someone incapable of giving it. You can only get it by seeking it in other places.

    • grace says:

      I feel for you. Does it help to know that we’ve all felt this way? Plenty of men and women with children go on to build solid relationships. So can you if you believe you deserve it. You don’t have to accept a lesser relationship because you have a child. I know a woman who had three children by three different fathers. I imagine each time she thought she’d thought she found the one. Eventually, though, she did find a keeper and is still married to him over ten years later.
      Nothing you say is unusual, which means that the usual “cure” will work – see what’s really there, stop hoping, stop putting yourself down, stop thinking that he’s better than he is and stopovervaluing his crumbs.
      And, yeah, I’ve no doubt that I could be the PERFECT PARTNER too. Twice a week anyway.

      • LisaLise says:

        Grace, you are absolutely correct.

        One of my best friends had 3 kids with 3 different dads. The reason being that she NEVER EVER put up with crap. At the first sign of real trouble, she left. She didn’t care if she was pregnant, not working, whatever. She got out with no looking back. Now she is happily married with her own house. Plus, she had 3 more kids with her husband, and she is now a grandmother of one. She is absolutely FEARLESS and she has self-esteem that is unrivaled in anyone that I know! Myself included. How many women could up and leave a man when she is pregnant and has 2 other kids? Things have to be intolerable for most women to leave, and then some women STILL stay.

        But, my friend opted for love, care, trust and respect for herself. If she had stayed with any of those losers, she would have closed off any chance of having the great marriage that she has now!

        Natalie says it all the time: Us women, who use the fact that we want meaningful, loving, long-lasting relationships as an excuse to stay with ACs and EUMs, are ACTUALLY preventing and blocking our own selves from having what we want. The men aren’t doing it. WE ARE! My friend bit the bullet and walked away time after time. And now she has what EVERY person deserves.

        Thanks Natalie. Because of BR, I understand EXACTLY what my friend knew all along: You have to love yourself FIRST.

    • A says:


      This man does not want a real relationship. You’re right, you can’t change him. You can change your actions though. I know it’s hard but honestly, do you want to spend another two years in a ‘relationship’ with zero progression, with someone who barely sees you twice per week? As long as you’re with this man you’re not open to meeting someone who does want a healthy relationship with you, who would love to spend lots of time with you….the sooner you move on from this man, the closer you will be to finding what you want.

    • Wised Up says:

      Almost sounds to me like he has someone else distracting him or he is deliberately trying to create distance because he does not want commitment. I would make myself real scarce. Don’t be convenient and start to disappear. That is how you will know how into you he is. If he doesn’t show a real effort then I would start dating others. Hate to say but he sounds EUM to me.

    • cc says:

      you poor thing…neighbors and everything.

      this is the magic of the EUM – you go slowly crazy as you start to think you imagined it all. and then his crumbs start to look like loaves until a little while after your last meeting, and then his magic wears off and you think – hey! wait a minute!

      my hang time with my EUM was about 50 hours – within 3 days of seeing him, all his reassurances (blowing hot) would wear off and i’d start to shiver again (as he blew cold). the more distance i get from the breakup, the more i see that, except for my participation in it and being unwilling to accept that i had to exercise my only opton (to opt out) it wasn’t me – it was all him.

      you’re not going crazy. you’re not imagining it. he’s hot and cold. he’s EUM. and you’re right, you can’t force him to be anything.

      and you deserve better. but i’m sorry it hurts.

    • sm says:

      Steff and there in lies the problem. ‘he cant be consistent’, that is what Natalie’s whole blog is about. I assure you it is not because you have a child, he would be like this with anyone. I dont have children and I’ve dated men like this. I think he doesnt ‘want’ anyone. I had one guy who hung out with me seemingly out of obligation, it sucked. It was the worst ever, I’d rather them be full on then dumped out of the blue. I wonder what would happen if you just never called him anymore. Bet he would fade away. You’re better than that, I’m not just saying that either, everyone deserves more than that.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this Nathalie.

  41. Claire says:

    Every article I read so far is refreshing! Thank you!

  42. tired_of_assanova says:

    Sigh. I need intimacy and cuddles. :(
    I’m sorry, I guess this makes me lonely now, but it has just been so long now, and while the other parts of my life are all good now, I need cuddle :(

    • malaise says:

      I had a relapse because of this very reason. Yesterday I couldn’t resist texting back the ex EUM, but it ended up blowing up in my face anyways. I was missing his company for some f*cked up reason, and he was sending me these texts obviously trying to get back into my pants, which at first I ignored, but yesterday I was just so bored and lonely I impulsively texted him back. BIG mistake. He all of a sudden flipped back into asshole mode and sent back a very terse reply which made my stomach drop yet again. UGH. I will never text again!!!!!! Can someone destroy my phone for me?!?!

  43. Leigh says:

    I so needed to read this right now….
    Thank you so much!

    Ive been a whirlwind 2 1/2 month situation (I feel silly calling it a relationship) with someone that I opened myself up to after deciding to just be on my own for 2 years. I really thought I was making a good call..well, what I didnt realize until after I got involved was that I was a rebound, (even though he said it wasnt). The first month was beautiful, he was so attentive, telling me I was just what he had been looking for, was I real or a dream….blah blah blah. And like a fool I believed it, HA! I really was there for him, providing support, encouragement and lots of Love.Then right at the beginning of the second month it all started to crash, first he wasnt sure if he wanted to be in relationship with me because I didnt want any more children and he wanted kids “in the next 3 to 5 years”,ok, fair enough…. then he wanted to get back to gether but,” Can’t we just “be” and not have any expectations, or call it anything…so I went along with that, walking on eggshells, trying not to get too “heavy”. But he started putting more and more distance between us. Started seeming generally irritated by my prescence at times, being sarcastic or snapping at me. I noticed that every time I tried to suggest an event for us to do, dancing or music, etc, There would be a reason why he didnt want to go. I really began to feel as though he didnt want to be seen out with me, (he is a DJ)
    A few weeks ago we went for a beach hike and I wore some old boots and a flannel jacket to trek around in the sand, and a few days later is telling me how I need to get rid of those hideous boots and that ugly ass jacket. I really felt like shit, because when we go out I always try to look my absolute best. I left town for a week for my birthday, he drove me to the airport and gave me a gift card for a shoe store and told me ,”Buy yourself some nice shoes”…as I had to lift my bag out of the car in the pouring rain.
    While away, I reached out to him sending a text, (that is his main mode of communication) hoping he was well and having a great weekend. He didnt respond until half a day later and then it was very short and then nothing else the whole time I was away. When I got back I got a text, saying why didnt he hear from me, I explained tthat I had tried to be in contact but he seemed…

    • NeverTooLate! says:


      He is playing the push-me pull-me game, He is upset you didn’t get back to him. He wants to be the the one to have the last word, he thinks that you should be honored to be receiving his short texts. He is childish and narcissistic. I just finished going through this, he is not that special. You are waaaaaay to good for him, but yourself some sexy shoes go out with your girlfriends and have some fun!

      • Fearless says:


        Nevertoolate is right. This guy is Mr Unavailable and you are the Fallback Girl. If he’s making you feel like shit now, how you going to feel in a year or two, or three, or four….?
        Stop investing in this manipulative crap. Read Nat’s Mr EU and the FBG book. It’ll open your eyes.

    • A says:


      He may just be trying to beat you to the punch re the lack of contact on the trip, turning the tables so that you take the blame. The guy sounds like a total jerk, and I’m guessing if he wasn’t in touch he didn’t even have the decency to wish you a happy birthday? Sorry to hear it, you deserve much better. Don’t second guess yourself, you haven’t done anything wrong.

      “then he wanted to get back together but,” Can’t we just “be” and not have any expectations, or call it anything”.

      Red flag. So one minute he says you’re not compatible, and the next he wants to be together but without any labels or expectations…..fantastic. I think any time someone wants to scale back a relationship it’s time to end it. The nerve of these guys, pulling you in one minute and then trying to downgrade to just having a woman around with the stipulation that she expect nothing. Your post got cut off, but I’m hoping that you’ve broken it off with this guy or are planning to do so. Someone who puts you down and makes you feel bad isn’t someone you want in your life.

    • Allison says:


      He is also emotionally abusive!

      Don’t put up with this crap any longer! Dump him!

    • grace says:

      He’s abusive in case you haven’t been able to call it. Starts with criticising your appearance and what you wear (and future faking though bogstandard EUMS do that too). And for some reason – these nutjobs have a thing about shoes – and especially high heels. Your comment is the fourth time (including myself) that I’ve come across it. I wonder if they are frustrated transvestites.
      Still, you got the giftcard. Spend it and NC him.
      It’s only been two months, get out now.

      • happy beginning says:

        Make that five times!

        • ixnay says:

          Six. “You’re not wearing THOSE tonight, are you?”

          Had nightmares about having the wrong shoes, having to sort through boxes of shoes for a mate, and being forced to wear wooden clogs and then run (twice I dreamt that).

          • jennynic says:

            Seven. Mine said I could be pretty if I dressed like the other girls he knows and wore heels, maybe he could arrange for them to teach me to shop better. Yep. Funny, when I did dress really nice for an occasion, he never ever once said I looked nice or pretty. He also said I didn’t wear enough makeup, that I could be pretty if I tried harder. Hairy back Douche bag.

            • Spinster says:

              Oh my goodness. Eight. 😐 College Ex wanted me to dress more like his sister. Granted, I was a bit tomboyish back then & I began dressing a little better as a result & he never laid a hand on me… but he ALWAYS wanted me to dress more like his sister – she’s fashionable, prissy, wears HEELS (!!!) & always the center of attention with numerous men fawning over her. It was weird that he wanted his partner to be just like her.

              I (and a few good friends) often wondered if College Ex and his sister had an incestuous relationship as kids. 😐

            • keepcalmandcarryon says:

              Mine wanted me to wear less makeup. He’s gone from my life (Hallelujah!), but every time I put my makeup on, I still hear that put-down and cringe. I asked my friends if I looked like a tranny, but was reassured to know my makeup is ok. I was no different (makeup wise) to when he met me, so why the sudden change of attitude?

              Along with various other put-downs (far too many to mention here), I never called him on his hideous plastic ‘leather’ jacket, imitation ‘gold’ bracelet and his phoney EUM behaviour towards me.

              Thank God for Natalie, all you BR girls and a huge lightbulb moment. FIVE months NC – never felt better :)

              • Plastic leather jacket? Were you going out with my ex? *snigger*

                Ladies, you must understand – someone with a modicum of decency and respect, would not cut you down with these pathetic comments. The way to differentiate between a well meant comment and someone cutting you down, is to put it into context of the situation. In an otherwise healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust, and respect plus intimacy, progression, commitment, balance and consistency, it’s some ‘feedback’ which you can heed but you don’t have to and won’t experience negative consequences if you don’t.

                Is your relationship marked by code amber and red behaviour and someone who has no business giving you life advice that they themselves don’t heed and in fact, criticism doesn’t cut both ways? Yeah, tell ’em to jog on.

                If you think that changing your make-up or your dress sense would win over these mofo’s, think again. Not only will there be something else that they’ll find to ‘critique’ you about, but you’ll be someone who is tarted up or toning down for all of the wrong reasons AND still subsisting on crumbs and mind fuckery. Stop analysing why they’d say they’d say this shit and stop questioning yourselves – these people just aren’t that special.

                And never take style advice from a man in plastic leather. Or someone who would buy you clear heeled shoes (that was more for me).

                • keepcalmandcarryon says:

                  Thanks Natalie – I’ve been a Grade A student of BR this past year or so. Very grateful for all your advice and loving reading all the comments. Gradually, the penny dropped and I realised the he was NOT as special as he thought he was. I also realised that I am more special than he thought I was too. It’s been a long road, but I’m getting there.

                  You’ll be pleased to hear I DIDN’T get rid of my makeup for Mr AC/EUM – or anything else for that matter. I grew some self esteem instead and got rid of HIM. Whoo hoo!

                • Spinster says:

                  Nail —–> Head.

      • Magnolia says:

        Ha grace – I discovered many months into my relationship with my exAC that on one of the first nights I stayed over with him, he had taken my high-heeled, open toe slingback shoes and snapped a bunch of pictures of them! I think you’re right about mean guys and the shoe fetish … he used to actually seem to visibly relax when he’d check my footwear and find I was wearing heels.

      • Tea Cozy says:

        Yeah, what is UP with the shoe thing?!

        Oh god, I just had a flashback to the first AC I’d ever encountered. It was an online/LDR situation (oh, how I see the red flags now in hindsight). The guy had me on the phone one night, before we’d met, and had me ITEMIZE the clothing in my wardrobe. “Oh, do you not own any sleeveless blouses? Oh, do you not own any short skirts?” Creeeeeeeepy.

        When we finally met, our first and last date, I’d drive 8 hours to meet at a resort in the mountains, and was wearing comfortable flats — not only because of the long drive, but because I’d sprained an ankle terribly, and had it wrapped in an ankle support. The LOOK he gave my shoes–!

        Friggin’ weirdo!

      • Allison says:

        Mine liked boots!

        • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

          I think if it wasn’t shoes, it would be something else – the message is that these guys are spending WAY too much time thinking about what you’re wearing/not wearing, and zero time thinking about you.

          Any negative stuff about how you dress should be a red flag, I think – whether he wants you to wear:

          -more tailored clothing (like that woman he works with who he secretly has the hots for),
          -looser clothing (like his momma, so no other men will look at you),
          -skimpier tops (like his last girlfriend),
          -longer skirts (like the girlfriend before that),
          -shorter skirts (to show your legs),
          -jackets (to hide your tits),
          -ponchos (because he’s Peruvian),
          -a Ronald McDonald costume (who can tell?)

          This kind of playtime is fine when you’re in the bedroom, but not in real life.

          And let’s face it, ladies: most red-blooded men don’t really care that much about what you’re wearing, as long as you take it off frequently! Men who fuss too much about your clothes are usually gay!

          My last word on the subject:

          Anyone hung up ON your wardrobe will probably one day be found hung up IN your wardrobe, wearing your best cashmere sweater and your nicest high heels …

          • Spinster says:

            formerly PJM: you hit the nail on the head. Definitely gonna keep an eye out so that I can flush anyone who turns out to be similar to College Ex, quick fast & in a hurry.

            You think I should wear what & how? Eject!

          • blueberry girl says:

            E the Unready,
            I hooted at your post. Hilarious stuff (i.e. Ronald McDonald costume!)
            I am instantly suspicious of any man who cares more about what I’m wearing than I do. Controlling much?
            I had a man tell me once on our first meeting that I was wearing the wrong jeans for my body type. Immediate flush.

          • jennynic says:

            You guys are cracking me up. I’m glad we’re able to laugh at these bozo’s now. I can laugh at myself now too. It feels so much better to just accept myself. SO MUCH better. No more jumping through flaming hoops like a decorated circus dog.

          • yoghurt says:

            Ethelreda – totally. I think that a lot of EU people’s thought processes focus on WHAT you are, rather than WHO you are. Do you look right? Will his mates be jealous? Do you fit his idea of feminine? Are you a good cook? Are you intelligent?

            Tick tick tick tick, oh I’m sorry, your hair is quite messy so you aren’t ‘The One’ but you’re passable so you may as well hang around until she turns up.

            In the meantime, we’re turning ourselves inside out trying to show him the best side of our personalities in the hope he’ll fall for WHO we are. Nope. Snowball’s chance in hell. That’s not what they’re interested in.

      • Spinster says:

        “I wonder if they are frustrated transvestites.” –grace

        *hollering screaming laughing* (Good point.)

        • Lilia says:

          Oh lord. I´m always so naive. I had my former AC/EUM tell me I´d look sooo stunning if I´d wear high heals/tailored suits/black underwear (most of the time I go in jeans or flowery dresses) – of course he complained I was too tall when I did put on high heels. It was really irritating how he wanted me to send him photos in different outfits before a date so he could choose what I would wear… I should´ve just asked him if he was gay.
          And the creepy thing (this is the guy who wanted to take me to a strippers club to make out): he told me he wanted to shred my underwear before having sex, claimed many girlfiends had asked him to do that in the heat of the moment… of course now I´m thinking it was his idea, not theirs. I´m so happy I´m out of this “relationship”, I don´t want anyone to destroy my clothes!! And now that I´m opening my eyes some (yes I know I´m probably as naive as Little House on the Prairie) I´m guessing this shredding of a lover´s underwear is a form of complete aggression/abuse/SM, not passion.

          • Polly says:

            Lots of girlfriends have asked him to shred their underwear? Do me a favour! What a load of bollocks

          • Fearless says:


            “he wanted me to send him photos in different outfits before a date so he could choose what I would wear… ”

            “this is the guy who wanted to take me to a strippers club to make out”

            “he told me he wanted to shred my underwear before having sex”

            What a creep.

          • Allison says:


            He’s a weirdo and control freak! Yikes!!!!

          • Spinster says:

            Sending outfit photos before dates. Shredding underwear before sex. Oh.

            😐 😐 😐 😐 😐

  44. cc says:

    on the subject of men who subjugate us…its pathetic that i consider this a victory, but….

    i was just chatting on FB with a guy who is a mutual friend of a FB friend . we connected over the mutual friend’s FB display of relationship ridiculousness. in this “isn’t he silly and dramatic” context, we FB emailed a bit. then he friended me (the guy in question), and tonight, we had our first real chat.

    it started off fine. then he said something i didn’t like, that was pretty out of line but not entirely unforgivable and i was like, wow, you should beg my pardon for that. he didn’t. then he started taking everything i said and turning it into sexual innuendo. i didn’t respond to the innuendo and kept my end of the conversation clean to see if he would get the hint that i wasn’t into it. he didn’t. i let it go to three times, to see if it would stop. it didn’t.

    and instead of making it about me, complaining about it, trying to change it, or correcting him, i decided that he was a tool, that he came that way, and simply said “ok, i’m going to say good night”, ended the chat, and defriended him.

    i’m actually proud of myself that i went through this little process. i had that little impulse, that i did not honor, to feel less than because he was treating me less than and to try to get him to treat me better, but i also had that gut twist that told me he was really a rude jerk and a bit abusive to speak that way, sort of offensively, to someone he’d never met, who had already enforced one boundary that he tried to cross. and instead of letting it continue or trying to play along so he would like me, thereby further busting my boundaries, i ended it, without blaming or protesting, i just opted out.

    forever a tool he will be. but nothing to do with me.

    thank you to all of BR and to NML!

    • sophia says:

      CC well done. You truly are an inspiration.

      • cc says:

        thanks, sophia.

        i have to say, while it was happening, it hurt. just a little, but it did hurt, which i was kind of surprised to discover – or maybe i was just more aware of what was happening. i had teeny little expectations that got disappointed and it hurt. its just that i stopped myself from blaming myself for this.

        this dynamic can be applied on a grander scale when one is actually in a real relationship. higher stakes with poor behavior equals lots more hurt. the difference is, i guess, is in trying to avoid more hurt by STAYing versus avoiding more hurt by GOing. this time i chose to go. but i could only do it because i was aware of what was happening and my second by second reactions to the FACTS. awareness + wisdom = a different decision.

        but i didn’t do this by myself. i did it because of my own therapeutic journey, which includes BR, and all the help i get from this. i am very, very, very grateful.

  45. steff says:

    Thanks everyone who responded-it really helps not to feel so alone! HE and I had a long chat tonight. It was uncomfortable for me to talk about what’s been bothering me as we had a really nice and bonding weekend together but I wasn’t going to erase or diminish the feelings I was having earlier in the week about feeling how he’s been avoiding me and scaling back the relationship–and no, it’s not about my son in entirety. He’s scaled back our relationship and doesn’t put as much effort in-for reasons only known to him. He DOES call me when I don’t call him, and he clearly missed me a great deal after we were apart for five days. He also instigates calling me when I make a decision and don’t call him-but like I said, sometimes his calls feel like obligation. He said of his own accord tonight that he could be putting in more effort. We’ll see. If it feels like obligatory hanging out I don’t want it. There’s no sense in me being with someone who doesn’t really want to be with me or has completely mismatched needs for intimacy. I just don’t know if I could get any better is the problem in my thinking. I keep thinking he’s the best I can get given how picky I am. I should be happy with what I do get-but that is ‘making him so special’ thinking I guess… But even telling him I wanted and needed to hang out more felt pathetic. To have to ask for more attention/time together feels so low. It should just be a given. No real time together=no relationship. Not that I’m entitled or anything, but just that it should feel more mutual. To be left the one always hanging, wanting more really sucks, but he has total control this way. The one who gives less always is in the position of control. But either he wants to see me or he doesn’t. He’s been choosing the later. I equate not making the effort to hang out to ‘I don’t really want you that badly.’ I’m just afraid no one I like as much will ever feel that way about ME. No one wants to be with someone who is always screaming out: Give me attention!!
    I could start dating others and we’ve talked about seeing other people but he’s usually the one to say no-he’s not interested in seeing anyone else. Admitted he’s had opportunities but turned them down. (Mind f*ck!) I hate saying it, but the men who show the most interest in me are married w/kids and bored/unhappy (my age demographic in mid…

    • A says:

      “He said of his own accord tonight that he could be putting in more effort.”

      So, did he actually say that he *will* make more of an effort, or just acknowledge that he doesn’t most of the time? I’m not sure it’s worth waiting around to see if anything changes if he hasn’t even truly told you that he wants to do things differently. You mention that you may not be able to find someone you like as much, and I think I’ve fallen victim to that thinking before too. The thing is, you can’t separate the aspects you like from the whole–and you’re not happy with this guy overall. That’s the bit to focus on.

  46. Snowboard says:

    In the interest of maintaining honesty in the community – but NOT because I want anyone to feel obligated to repeat the good advice that has already been generously offered so many times – I just wanted to say that I got back together again with the problem guy. (It’s a long story, and I definitely deserve blame.) I told him we will only be together until he moves to another city in three weeks.

    This happened last Wednesday, and so far, things have been really nice between us. It makes it hard to tell if he really is a jerk or not.

    For example, this wknd he was telling me for several days how irritated he is with his friend, because that friend is cheating on his super-sweet, younger girlfriend. The weird thing is that when I first met this friend, I thought that he was such a gentleman, super-polished, mature, etc. And I said that to my guy, and he said that it just goes to show: women fall for the super-polished guys who have a ‘good show’ and don’t appreciate the guys like him who may be pretty rude (because honest) from time to time but are incredibly loyal and devoted and are actually there for you when you need them.

    I have also told him about my non-EU boyfriend of five months from last year, and how gentlemanly and generous and sweet that guy always was to me. And yet, that same super-generous guy, one day, while I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown springing from my OCD, quickly broke up with me over the phone and has barely talked to me since. Again, my current guy said, that just goes to show – my “non-EU guy” was able to be there and be “the perfect guy” as long as things were easy, but he wasn’t able to tell me when something was bothering him, and thus had to leave the relationship when it got difficult. Whereas this guy has been there for me, and continues to try to work things out between us.

    I am not saying I am 100% convinced by this argument (I’m not), nor that I now think my neighbor is the best possible guy for me, but I can’t help noticing there is some truth to what he is saying.

    Now I am wondering if it is possible to have both: a guy who is a gentleman at the surface level but also very loyal and willing to work through the hard stuff with you.

    • Snowboard, it’s never a good thing when you start to get predictable as the sun coming up about a shady relationship. That said, you don’t need to report in here like we’re your parole officers and you also don’t need to ‘confess’ like someone falling off the wagon and returning to the fold for a pep talk, because you won’t get it here.

      This is your life, your choices, your accountability. The fact that you are with this man is a choice, albeit an unhealthy one which is no doubt exacerbated by your OCD. Nonetheless you are making choices and crying wolf and talking about blame when you should be talking about responsibility. You have made a sequence of choices that have created this situation and ultimately you are choosing to learn the hard way. This doesn’t mean that you’re responsible for his behaviour but you are responsible for the fact that you’re still there.

      You are not helpless – you are actually using your power to opt back into this dynamic. If a man came to us and told us that he’d go out with us for 3 weeks like some sort mercy outing, there’d be uproar.

      These are your mistakes to make and much as I and others would love to warn you of the perils of walking into oncoming traffic, you are not inclined to listen so you will likely get run down. What you need to do is get professional support and hold yourself 100% responsible and accountable for everything you’re doing and involved in. When you do this, you may think twice about breaking up and getting back together each week with a jackass and then fast forwarding yourself and us and expecting descriptions of a short period of time and his manipulative explanations to actually be plausible.

      I’d like to add – I feel for you, I really do but it is not of help to you for people to be florencing around you, trying to convince you, when really, your heart is not in making better choices right now

    • Tea Cozy says:

      “Now I am wondering if it is possible to have both: a guy who is a gentleman at the surface level but also very loyal and willing to work through the hard stuff with you.”

      The best way to find out is to *not* waste your time on someone who, by your own description, is NOT a gentleman at any level.

      “Whereas this guy has been there for me, and continues to try to work things out between us.

      Baloney. This guy has been incredibly nasty and controlling. Go ahead and lie to yourself if you must, but please don’t try to lie to those of us who’ve tried to help you make sense of all this. It serves no purpose.

      • cc says:

        yikes, snowboard. well, recidivism is part of recovery.

        but be HONEST, do not delude yourself that he’s someone you want him to be, or let him brainwash you into looking at the situation a certain way. like tea cozy said, you already know who he is.

        and try not to keep this going too long, the longer it goes, the more it will hurt. and we’ll still be here for you.

      • Thank God for That says:

        “For example, this wknd he was telling me for several days how irritated he is with his friend, because that friend is cheating on his super-sweet, younger girlfriend. The weird thing is that when I first met this friend, I thought that he was such a gentleman, super-polished, mature, etc. And I said that to my guy, and he said that it just goes to show: women fall for the super-polished guys who have a ‘good show’ and don’t appreciate the guys like him who may be pretty rude (because honest) from time to time but are incredibly loyal and devoted and are actually there for you when you need them. ”

        Contempt for others is contempt for that quality in yourself. I have heard so many EUs say this kind of stuff. Guys who bitch about other guys – that’s a red flag immediately. And then pointing out his virtues….!!! Actions speak louder than words. This guy might have the gift of the gab, but he hasn’t shown through actions that he can be consistent and loyal.

        And as for the whole honesty thing – I’ve heard that one before – and as Nat said in a previous response, you can tell if someone’s being honest because they genuinely care and something significant *needs to be said* and when it’s just a cheap dig. In most cases, when it comes across badly, it’s a cheap dig. There are kind ways of confronting things, and honesty should never be used as an excuse for abuse.

        Good luck x

        • Thank God for That says:

          Also, you tend to be able to judge a person by their friends. If his friend is this two-faced…and he’s still a friend…it shows a certain endorsement of that behaviour.

          • Polly says:

            What are you doing Snowboard?

            • Snowboard says:

              Hard to explain what I’m doing…

              Following my pattern, I ended up breaking up with the problem guy a few days after returning to him. While I think this situation is more difficult than usual – as he is both unusually persistent (his best friend ‘jokingly’ warned me that I would never be able to get rid of him) and also my next-door neighbor – it is helping me by highlighting a crucial problem I’ve always had. I am terrible at enforcing a breaking up. (This is not the first guy I didn’t want to be with but I kept returning to because I didn’t want to hurt him.) As Natalie pointed out, this is probably because I take being broken up with so unbelievably hard (months/years of excruciating pain) that I can’t bring myself to inflict that kind of suffering on someone else.

              I see now that I have a lot more work to do on myself. I am getting much better at acknowledging the red flags, not deluding myself about who the guy is, not falling for fantasy relationships, etc. But I still need to learn how to be firm when I get to that point of recognizing who he is and want to opt out of the relationship; otherwise, I am still just as “stuck” as I ever was in an unhealthy relationship. At the same time, I am turning myself into a flip-flapping EUW – dating a guy I don’t love, unavailable to potentially loving relationships.

              At the moment, in an adaptation of Grace’s advice to wear embarrassing underwear, I’m literally wearing six pairs of underwear at the moment, in case I run into him again, as a reminder to myself of what I don’t want to happen.

  47. teachable says:

    I agree. Well done with fb chat guy Cc! Great stuff to nip him in the bud so quickly! I had a similar thing but w a guy I knew IRL. We starting talking on the phone after not having run into each other for a few years (we had a mutual circle of friends). He was only an aquaintence. We became fb friends & he made sexually suggestive comments during a couple of p/calls. It made me uncomfortable as I liked him but was only in the ‘getting to know him better’ phase. We’d never even been a 1-1 date! I ended up sending him a message on fb telling him I found his innuendo inappropriate, especially as I barely knew him & that whilst such comments might be fine b.tween a bf/gf situation, but that I was a lady & expected to be treated & spoken to like one. He didn’t apologise or take any responsibility whatsoever for his behaviour so to I told him he was not suitable ‘friend’ material for me, explained exactly why, deleted him off fb & never contacted him again. Also, I’ve never regreted it. He obviously, was never a friend anyway to have disrespected me like that. 😉
    PS Struggling today. Had thoughts of xAC. Recognised trigger (facing probs in my own life & feel overwhelmed). Maintained NC w the dead donkey. So tired & want my previously fabulous life bk but but sadly, that will be a long haul :(

    • cc says:

      thanks, teachable.

      yeah, to me, and maybe this is just my reaction, there’s something vaguely abusive about a person just assuming the other person is up for that kind of interaction and then disregarding the stop sign when they get it. it really is piggish behavior.

      re: your p.s. – if it helps, and i’m not sure this applies, but i thought of it, so here goes…one thing i have become really aware of is negative internal self talk, which only gets worse when external problems wear us out. i used to not even know i was running myself down inside my own head, and then i’d wonder why i felt like shit. becoming aware of the knee-jerk internal negativity has helped, it took a while, but i’ve trained myself to contradict these thoughts and to stand up for myself, even against myself.

      it doesn’t help if you miss a previously fabulous former life, that sounds like it feels awful. but just let those feelings be there and comfort yourself. its completely understandable. be proud of maintaining NC, and try not to miss guys who never gave what you wanted/needed them to give. you’ll be ok.

  48. teachable says:

    ps nat, I just want 2 say thanku for this site. yr feedbk to posters is no BS but also so very kind. I dont know u but as I get to know u a little better through yr feedbk posts am starting to really like you. U have a special gift & were obviously called to yr vocation. We are all most fortunate you heeded that call.
    I really cant thank u enough. U & this site are helping me to literally save my own life. x

  49. teachable says:

    thanks Cc. It hasnt all tht hard to maintain Nc w xAC. He was a pig. but even thoughts of him r a flag for me. im seriously ill. just dealing w tht, right now. i appreciate yr kind support. hanging on by a thread here.

  50. Kitty says:

    I have been giggling reading all these posts about dressing up… I now have a shoe collection to die for all paid for by my EUM… problem is that they are totally impractical and I now feel really stupid wearing them. It seemed fun at the time but I’m really creeped out now. Eeewwww.

  51. Anne says:

    I usually agree with Natalie 100%, but this time I don’t. Personally, I do believe that certain people put out messages that they are emotionally weak, which users and emotional abusers pounce on in order to make them their next victim. I absolutely believe that males are great at sensing who is the weakest prey, by which I mean at sensing which woman, even if she looks assertive and as someone who won’t take crap, will in reality turn herself into an emotional pretzel to try to turn the dating into a relationship or to keep a fizzling relationship going.

    This is very similar to kids on a playground or in a classroom. The kids who are abusers and bullies know who the weak kids are – the boys who don’t stand up for themselves, the ones who walk around with shoulders hunched over, tentatively looking around, walking with an unsure gait. Those boys are toast in the jungle called school.

    The same thing applies to women whom men pick for pretend relationships. They know that we desperately want to be loved and for the guy to be in love with us, that we want the romance, the “love story” – and they create a lovely mirage to last just long enough for them to get what they want (to feed their ego, to get over some woman who dumped them, for sex, or simply to hurt us because they get their jollies out of emotionally abusing women). In the end, we have to forget about the beautiful untruth and unrealistic expectations created by romance novels. The reality is drastically and dramatically different. We need to be satisfied and content with ourselves. I can honestly say that I have reached that point in my life. I no longer give a whit about finding lasting love and romance. I don’t even care to date any of the guys out there – most of whom in the 50s age group are impotent, fat, unkept, ungroomed, hairy, and possessors of a pregnant-looking gut. After all the pain I’ve been through over a period of 7 years (wow, how time has passed!) I am finally free of illusions and my eyes are wide open to the reality of modern-day life: it’s best to be alone than in bad company.

  52. rana says:

    nice one
    thank u

  53. PurpleLily says:

    I cried reading this one.

    I recently got the “I’ll look at the dating website right after we have sex while you are still in the room” treatment, followed by passive aggressive treatment including “Im trying not to talk to you, so you shut up, but it doesnt seem to be working!” and absolute disregard for my presence from the assclown I was dating for a month (thank god, it was short). I know it was all him, this was not about me but his emotional unavailability (talked about the ex from 4 years ago, got pissed off with everything when she texted etc) and his insecurities. Sad thing was this happened all on the ONE weekend when I decided to buy dinner for his birthday and cook breakfast. Never have had someone turn around and do that – be a absolutely lovely and then do a complete turn around over 1 weekend. Never been so shocked and paralysed.

    I did stand up later that day and ask him what was going on, only to be told that he would never date someone else while he was with me..followed by we are too different and he cant see me mother of his children. Yup. Had a whole month to tell me, but ofcourse, wait until we have had sex (oh and he said didnt feel the passion inspite of repeated shagging). I am so proud of myself for standing upto him and I know he will never contact me (I wasnt good enough for him and Im sure he thinks he can do MUCH better).

    I got treated like I was toxic. I stood up and didnt let the behaviour slide by and approached the issue like an adult. I am glad he broke up with me and it wasnt 6 months later when I would have been in love (I wouldnt have lasted that long, such treatment would have taken me no further than a few more week). But it hurts, so so much. On a good day, I power thru, knowing I have a generous spirit and a kind, honest heart. On bad days, I punish myself for thinking the red flags were amber and for not asking questions (I thought the questions could wait, it had only been a few weeks of dating). I beat myself up so much, I expected better from me. On worse days, I define my worth by how he treated me.

    Why can some people be so selfish, lost in their own s*it to even realise that the other person is human and showing you care and respect? Are EUMs that lost? Do these people have a “better side” at all?I dont think they do, not at all. I have dodged a bullet, but it has shattered so much of me…

    • FX says:

      PurlpleLily, That man is toxic! Certainly, not you. Please do not let his hostility and disrespect for women become internalized. It’s like the crazy homeless person on the street yelling at nobody and everybody. It’s jarring but not personal. His disordered personality is his alone and not a reflection on you. (((Hugs)))

      • PurpleLily says:

        FX – thank you for your kind words. This man’s awful behaviour caught me off guard. Never had I seen someone who is so kind and then switches (been with full on EUM who was nasty from the start and a massive coward; younger me). Everything was about him, he never asked me about me, it was about HIS job, HIS bad relationship with his mum, HIS rebellious teen years, HIS Ex’s who left him broken, why he felt HE shouldnt be paying so much taxes, how much he hates the fact that HE has bad teeth…you get the idea. And the constant mention of “me and my ex../my ex….”

        Shockingly enough, he once told me “I get very attached in my relationships”. HUH?? Is that even possible? I cant imagine someone who knows how what it feels to be ‘attached’ and ‘broken’ to turn around and treat me like s**t? I cant imagine how his ex stayed for 3 years (and another for 8 months).

        He promised me he wanted a relationship and is over the one-night-stand phase of his life, doesnt like the head games etc etc…but I think this man is addicted to the chase. I dont do the mind games, I dont do the chase the lusty feeling or the chemistry, I dont want or provide the drama. Just a healthy, fun, dating phase where I will respect and care and trust and work upto a similar, mutually fulfilling relationship.

        I feel so broken. Its 3 weeks since the split and every week, my mind has a different story to cope with “I know I didnt do anything wrong..what are you punishing me for?” Next week it is “did you care at all? even a little bit?” This week “did you perhaps have some goodness and I screwed it up somehow?”. It doesnt feel like I am getting better…but I just hold onto the fact that I am a good, decent, caring human being who stood up for herself. I think that will get me thru to the other end of this lonely, painful tunnel.

  54. Square One says:

    Hi there

    Struggling a little today. Someone that I though (probably erroneously) cared for me has met another woman and I feel like I’ve been taken for a ride. I probably was …

    I can’t wrap my head around whether this man is an EUM or not. We had a ‘moment’ some time last year but I refused to sleep with him because I didn’t feel like he knew me and I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough. Plans to make a date and a million cancellations – punctuated by a sojourn to ‘find himself’ – then back to base and then another bunch of ‘almost made’ and cancelled plans had me thinking it was time to move on. In fact, emotionally, I had taken those first few steps. But now I find he is romancing someone new and this has set me back. Now I wonder: ‘was I too hard on him?’ and ‘should I have just taken a chance?’ or, even better, ‘What does he show her that he doesn’t show me?’. Do I really think he is showing her a different side to who he is because he actually cares about her?

    Even now, I don’t want to think the worst of him – but, what I know of him and people generally, leads me to think that she is seeing the best side of him right now and he is on his best behaviour. I wonder whether my inclination will be vindicated…

    My friends tell me that I’ve dodged a bullet and I’m sure they are right. When I first met him I didn’t get a good feeling about him – I didn’t even really like him at all – but, somehow, over years he managed to get under my skin. Proximity no doubt helps – we are (at this point in time) unavoidably in each other’s vicinity most of the time. I wonder whether I would have given him the time of day if I had only met him once or twice. I think probably not because he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to inveigle his way under my guard.

    I’m frustrated in myself for not sticking with my gut instinct. But I was really attracted to him and I wanted him to be the man I wanted to have in my life – for this reason I gave him far more mental energy than he deserved. Thankfully, my physical boundaries remained firm so I, at least, have that positive to take away from this.

    But today I feel stupid and foolish. And I wonder how many times I’ll have to come across people who don’t treat me the way I hope to be treated before I am more clear in myself to just be able to move on and not let my hopes and…

    • PurpleLily says:

      Square One,

      I do not know the background to your story, so I will not comment on it. But I just wanted to send you hugs – I am having a bad day/week too. I know how everything you have said feels..and it breaks your heart and leaves you in this scary, lonely place.

      DONT blame yourself so much, you didnt do anything wrong. Infact, look, you had the clarity of mind to not have sex with him. It might/would have hurt a LOT more if you did. You stood with yourself and what you felt (that you were not ready) and made the right choice. You also knew in your heart that he was perhaps not giving you the right sort and amount of attention that he should – he cant keep cancelling, that says that he somehow, isisnt keen (Ive been there and feels like shit).

      Were you too hard on him? I dont think so. Taken a chance? You did, you wanted to go out with him but he kept cancelling. There is your chance, it just didnt get accepted. What does he show her..? Well, if he is an EUM (he does seem like someone who cant be upfront and honest..), she will see the shiny beginnings but eventually he will go back to being who he is. They never last being “good”. There is no such thing as good person = bad behaviour. Never. And people you know think so too. As NML said somewhere here, a good, honest guy doesnt become an assclown. He was always just one.

      Dont even think about “does he care about her?”..what good does that do to you? It is tough now but give yourself time and you wont care what he does (Im desperately hoping for this to happen soon).

      You have dodged a bullet. Something in you said that you didnt like him..something in you gave you those signals. Next time, you will learn to really, really listen to it. Maybe if you had spent time with him, he wouldnt be that amazing after all.

      Dont feel stupid and foolish..or atleast, know that I feel stupid and foolish too (a fun boat when there are two or more!). WE all have been there – where we want this man to be THE man in our lives. And the desire is so strong. But you will get thru this and you will meet someone worthy of you, someone who cherishes you – soon. Just know that how he treated you was NOT ok, you dont want someone like this for life (I imagine weeks and months and years of the poor, passive aggressive treatment that I received in just the one day and I want to throw up). What sort of life would…

    • Magnolia says:

      Square One,

      “I wanted him to be the man I wanted to have in my life”

      I don’t know if you meant to put it like that, but I think this is brilliant – it captures exactly the problem for so many of us:

      We don’t want *them* in our lives; we want them to BE the man we want in our lives! Yes!

      Makes me picture an FBG sussing up her latest EUM, thought bubble over her head: “So, there’s this man I want in my life. Can you please be him?”

    • PurpleLily says:

      (continuing from above)..

      …What sort of a life would that be? No one deserve poor treatment, absolutely no one. There are so many people out there who do not and will never value us, no matter how much we value them. Doesnt matter, they are screwed up beyond help and its not for us to save them. You got out and you will only get better and stronger. Believe that.

      Square One, I hope your day gets better. If it doesnt, come back and share . Always helps to talk. Be kind to yourself and hugs.

  55. Magnolia says:

    Sorry, Square One, I don’t mean to make light of what you’re going through right now, which is painful and real. I just thought how you phrased it was absolutely spot on and it made me light up!

    It sounds like the man you were seeing wanted to keep it all no-strings and the moment you showed some loyalty and intimacy (wanting to celebrate his birthday), all his nasty behaviour came out, basically the coward’s equivalent of saying: go away. Your friends are right. This guy is no prize.

  56. Joy says:

    i needed to re read this one and i am so glad that i did. i get so hung up on horrible things that are said about me by someone that was never a good person to begin with and wonder if i’m the one with the issues? i can get so caught up in someone else that you start to think their behavior is normal and that i’m the one who causes the spats that caused him to be mean and nasty, when really, he is just mean and nasty from the get go and is playing a role that he is, well, otherwise. so thankful for you, Natalie, and all the other people who read this blog and get stronger everyday by applying these life changing principles to your own lives. so great to know i am not alone in this and that i don’t have to tear myself down over and over and over.

    • PurpleLily says:

      You are NOT the one with issues. EUMs are the one with issues – they just do not connect to their emotions, they no nothing about empathy and nothing is ever their fault. Im sorry you were treated that way, you are no alone at all and do not blame yourself for his behaviour. This is who he is and always has been and always will be. Dont give up, you will get stronger. You deserve so much better.


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


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