toilet flush handle

Several weeks back, one of my friends Twanna was telling me about how on a few occasions she’s been chatted up by a guy only to glance down and realise that his wedding band is in his pocket. She was of course outraged at the audacity of them and as I was rather merry from a few glasses of red wine, I wisecracked that when she encounters any of this shady behaviour, she’s got to hit her mental ‘flush handle’. We were in stitches laughing and along with my friend Laura we proceeded to tell more stories and then hold our arms out and make the flush noise.

Since that night, I’ve found myself telling people to hit their Mental Flush Handle as a way to distance themselves from inappropriate people and situations – it’s like a mental acknowledgement of your boundaries and values. It says NEXT! It says like in Little Britain ‘Computer says NO’ or application denied or more importantly, it says ‘I have enough self-respect and self-love not to even contemplate opening myself up to this BS’ especially when you have enough past experience to know which way these situations pan out – stop trying to be the exception to the rule.

This week I’ve written about how dating doesn’t equal relationship and understanding code red and code amber behaviour that signals either opt out, or stop, look, and listen and only proceed with caution on a full assessment.

If you’re dating and have a genuine desire to be in a mutual fulfilling healthy relationship, with love, care, trust, and respect that has more than the hallmarks of a relationship and actually has the landmarks, you need to have your code amber and red awareness in full effect and be operating your flush handle.

I hear from people who encounter situations like Twanna’s all the time.

The person that fails to show up for a date.

The one that forgets to call but remembers to make contact when they want a shag/ego stroke/money etc

The person that’s drunk before the date has started or is drunk by the time the meal arrives and is drunk on all subsequent dates.

The one that’s rude and obnoxious, or is slipping in sneaky put downs.

The one that says that they didn’t tell you they were married/had a partner because they were afraid that it would scare you off.

It’s when they spend the date on their phone texting other people or looking over your shoulder at their next target.

It’s when they’re completely stoned, make an extremely sexual reference and cry about their ex within 30 minutes of a first date – that happened to me (I didn’t know he was stoned) and thankfully it was the last date.

It’s all the signs of disinterest and the code red behaviour.

You’ve got to know when to fold and you’ve got to know when to flush, particularly when irrespective of how much you fancy them, you don’t know them well enough for you to feel so invested that any of this behaviour is remotely acceptable.

Think about it – If you get an inappropriate email from someone you haven’t met yet, or they chat you up even though they’re attached, or they get really intense and jealous and you’ve barely known them a wet minute, week, or month, what can you be seeing that warrants you overlooking, making excuses for, denying, rationalising?

As I said in my post about dating doesn’t equal relationship – it’s a discovery phase that might be a precursor to a relationship but equally might not be, and your job is to do the discovery work not to proceed regardless of what shows up.

From the moment you give room to shady, inappropriate behaviour, you’re taking a big slide down a slippery slope.

If you’re the type of person that experiences something and then disregards it or makes excuses, how much you’ll disregard and how far you’ll go with the excuses dictate how deep you’ll get into unhealthy relationship. If your propensity to disregard and excuse is high, you are likely to be involved in abusive relationships so a ‘No Disregard & Excuse Policy’ would be highly beneficial for keeping you in reality and safe.

Know your boundaries, recognise amber and red signals, and stop fearing hitting the flush handle on inappropriate behaviour. Remember that when you know what your line is, others know what your line is because they’re not over it or busting it up.

Operating your Mental Flush Handle requires you to have an honest conversation with you and to acknowledge your needs and values, and more importantly to acknowledge your discomfort and boundaries and what that means about the person or what you envisioned for the relationship.

Don’t be one of those people that thinks ‘Oh, they must be really interested in me/their marriage must have mega problems if they’re chatting me up’ or ‘Maybe they’re having a bad day/week/month and that’s why they don’t have time to call me or put themselves into the relationship’ because if you do, by not pushing your mental flush handle, you’re giving over mental and emotional space to someone and a relationship that’s undeserving of it.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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85 Responses to Pushing Your Mental Flush Handle

  1. Sharon says:

    After one date I had a guy ask me to hold for a min while we were talking on the phone. Then a couple min later he did it again and I realized he was playing pool in a bar while he was talking to me. I told him to call me back when he was free and I did not go out with him again. Unbelievable—flush…………

    • colororange says:

      Sharon that is pretty lame. Years ago I was on a “sort of” date (was at the guys house and he was still at home with his parents). I asked him for something t o drink. He told me to fix it myself. At HIS home!?!!? Yeah. Course that situation did not last long!

      • Melanie says:

        Sharon – I hate when people do that, whether it’s a male interest or a female friend. So rude! I mean if he was busy playing pool, FINE! He couldv’e simply told you so, and call you later when he was finished to have a proper conversation with you!

        Orange – Yes unbelievable the in-hospitality definite flusher!

        Many years ago I had a boyfriend ask me to accompany him on an errand. We ended up with a few hours to kill in the course of his errand, as we were waiting we went into a little diner. He ate and allowed me a beverage but no food. After his meal he made a point of *literally* turning his pockets out in order to leave a fat tip for the waitress, saying that she deserves it, as she works hard (as if I don’t). He was always a cheapskate with me, but generous with others. I was so young then, I put up with that treatment. Today I would walk away when I recognized it.

  2. NConfusedN says:

    I would really appreciate some advice! I have been trying to push my mental flush handle ever since my boyfriend and I broke up. We had been together over four years and he had constantly been ditching me for drinking and boys nights during the relationship. He ditched me NYE knowing it would hurt me to go be a drunk loser *puking on himself, shirt off all night, peeing on dancefloor* and I called it quits. Since then he’s deleted me and all my friends off facebook, gone out drinking lots, not contacted me, added girls i asked him to delete during our relationship because I “had that feeling” immediately back to facebook, and blamed things on me as “he cannot handle stress and by me saying it’s hurtful for him to ditch me to go out drinking it adds stress and he can no longer change anything about him and he is a great guy”. Whenever he was treating me properly I always told him much I appreciated it and how happy I was. Anyways! Obviously he wasn’t that interested in me and there were signs from the beginning of this. My question is we booked a vacation. I thought we were going to work things out and go to counseling etc but he refuses to do so and has not contacted me. Except the problem is the vacation has not been canceled and I have not paid him for my half. The deadline is fast approaching to cancel and when I asked him about it a few weeks ago he said he still wanted to go and there’s nobody else he’d rather go with and loves vacationing with me but when i mentioned him putting in 100% going to counseling etc he refused to work things out and turned the tables saying he’s a great guy, he can’t handle the stress of being called a bad boyfriend and can’t change anything about him (i have never called him a bad boyfriend I just tell him when he does things that hurt me so obviously he feels like one) then I haven’t heard from him and from what I know the vacation is not yet cancelled. Does anyone know from experience what he is thinking? Is he just waiting to cancel it? Or does he have some idea up his sleeve?? This is so confusing since he has not contacted me at all since that conversation..?? And what do i do in this situation!?

    • NML says:

      NConfusedN – What is he thinking? He’s thinking that you’ll be true to your usual format and give in, back together with him even though nothing has changed or will changed and will go on holiday. He has told you flat out that he is not going to counselling and he’s not going to change and has repeatedly shown you that it’s more important for him to go out and get drunk, throw up on his shirt, and pee on the floor. You don’t need to do a damn thing. You’re broken up, you haven’t paid, leave him to it and instead start asking yourself why you persist in chasing around this waste of space. The deadline for him to step up and put himself into the relationship has *long* passed. Flush.

    • grace says:

      confused
      the guy has shown you what he is. it’s a waste of your life to continue hoping he will come up with the goods. you ask what he has up his sleeve? are you hoping for a last-minute romantic gesture? what he has up his sleeve is what he has between his ears … nothing.
      you analyse him, you try to get him to go to counselling, you ask him to end friendships with women, you told him you don’t like him ditching you, you’ve dropped hints about the holiday, yet none of this has made him a decent boyfriend. you saying it to him and him “listening” to it is a zillion miles away from him BEING it. you have to respect his right to be his own person … a drunken thoughtless yobbo… and stop trying to change him. Flush him!
      I’m slightly confused as to why you ditched him and are now planning a holiday but, in any case, don’t pay him your half and don’t go. no holiday. when you ditch someone like this and take them back you lose every single atom of power that you ever had. you think he’s bad now? take him back and you’ll be astounded by how much worse he can be.

      • Magnolia says:

        Yeah – don’t be telling yourself you owe the money so you have to go, or that you should keep trying to contact him because you owe him money, etc. Cut contact, don’t initiate anything about paying him back – he’ll find someone else to go with (I know that’s harsh, but I mean to say there’s no obligation for you to fix the debt). If he isn’t contacting you, then great, easier for you to go NC with an ex-boyfriend that you still seem to be keeping tabs on.

  3. Susan says:

    5 years later and still thinking I’m in a “relationship”.
    This man flirted with me…invited me over for dinner as a thank you gesture for a gift that i gave him……and the tension was so thick I could cut it with a knife. I was so angry that he wasn’t paying any real attention to me that i pushed for sex. Big mistake.
    I had always told him..that if he was in a relationship…I needed to know….theres no place for his “best friend” in that.
    2 days after our dinner…he tells me”I just started seeing someone ..yesterday”………….he didn’t have a problem having “sympathy sex” with me…and accepting MY apology for pushing him to do so.
    I’m on “No Contact” now. Blocked him from e-mail and phone.
    He stopped smoking. I can stop myself from being stupid about him.

  4. Sue C says:

    Nat, makes perfect sense to me–act like a ‘turd’–you get flushed! Love it :-)

  5. MyTimeIsNow says:

    OMG! This was right on time. Today, I finally did a “mental flush” on a relationship with a man that only existed in my head! So today is the first day of my breakup, as well as, no contact. To facilitate this, I changed my cellphone number, blocked his number from all my other phones and let the healing begin.

    Almost from the beginning, this situation was doomed but because I had no boundaries or a healthy self-esteem, I kept ignoring red flags. Within two months in the relationship, I found out that he had a girlfried of SIX years who lived nearly down the street from me, in the same complex where I live. When I found out, he immeidately broke up with her which she confirmed. Since that time, I caught him in the act with the mother of his children, that he never stopped seeing/being intimate with the ex, etc.

    Needless to say, this situation has drove me crazy! I have stooped to lows such as accessing his phone records, drive-bys, pop ups, called the ex, and the like – all the desperate behavior. I feel ashamed but once I was in so deep, he became like an addiction.

    I say all of this to say that mental flushing is a necessity in the early stages of a “relationship.” If and when red flags come up, we must be healthy enough to flush them out immediately. If I had, or even had access to this wonderful site, I would have saved myself years of heartache in pain.

    Looking back, I feel ashamed that I ignored all the signs and actually was faithful to him. I feel ashamed that I didn’t see that we were never in a relationship and all it really was equated to just a romp in the hay. If only I had “flushed” sooner! :(

    • Natasha says:

      MyTimeIsNow – I know how you feel! It sounds like you’re in the same boat as me, you don’t want this fool back in the slightest, but you’re like “WHY did I not flush sooner?” I feel ashamed too that I tried my damndest to get this man to see me as more than a “romp in the hay”. In reality, they are liars, manipulators and general assclowns – and that’s a hell of a lot more to be ashamed of than trying to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t worth it. I think it’s important to feel the “cringe impact” of our behavior at some point, but only to learn from it so we don’t do it again!

      As for the lows you talked about stooping to, don’t feel ashamed, because you were with a man that amounts to the lowest of the low. I think when you get involved with men that lie/dripfeed info/manipulate, you wind up not knowing which way is up and sometimes doing stuff like that is the result. Try not to be so hard on yourself (sometimes feels impossible, I know) and be proud of the work that you’re doing to be ready for a man that’s worth it :)

      p.s. Just to further illustrate that you are not alone, I made my ex-AC cookies as a pick-me-up because he was struggling at work (I AM STILL EMBARASSED. Oy.). A week later he disappeared and now, two months later, he is back with an ex-girlfriend.

      • MyTimeIsNow says:

        Thank you for your response. I am now in Day 3 of no-contact. I also bought Natalie’s book. This site is a Godsend! It is so comforting to know that I am not alone.

        Before I went no-contact, I really didn’t tell him anything. I just did it. I somewhat feel bad and childish but then again, I don’t. The last straw for me was last week when I was at his house. Around 1 a.m. the ex-girlfriend who lives down the street from me phoned and called 3x in a row but he wouldn’t answer. I told him too and he said that he wouldn’t. Since I knew her number, I called her and put her on speakerphone (I know, shouldn’t have done it). When she heard my voice she said that I had the wrong number and then hung up.

        When I arrived home, I saw that she had called my home number several times and left a message informing me of how the guy wasn’t my boyfriend, was a cheater, and that she didn’t care that I was over there because he would be calling her the next day. She also said that the way that I got him will be the way that I lose him (she seems to think that I cheated despite the fact that he never told me he had a girlfriend. When I found out, he broke it off with her and she confirmed this).

        Then I found out that my adult son answered one of her calls and she proceeded to tell him that I slept around amongst other garbage. I was livid. The following morning I told him about it and he acted surprised and said that didn’t sound like her. He also said that maybe he needed time to himself since I didn’t believe what he had to say anyway. That is when I changed my cell number.

        The next day, I felt panicky and called him. The conversation went okay but of course, he had pressed the “reset” button and acted like the other night didn’t happen. It was at that moment that I decided I had had enough and didn’t look back.

        Do you think I am wrong for not at least telling him that I was done with him and would be starting no contact? Although the night that it happened, I did tell him that I wasn’t going to no longer put up with his interactions with this other woman – that if he wanted me, there could be no her. Of course, he never gave me a concrete answer other than “okay, you…

        • Allison says:

          My Time,

          No explanation is necessary. He knows exactly why you have cut contact. Don’t use this as an excuse to speak with him.

          This guy cheated on both of you and is a complete waste of time. Time to move on to someone who can treat you respectfully!

        • Natasha says:

          MyTimeIsNow – I don’t think you were wrong at all! I think you need to give yourself more credit for the way you’ve handled this, especially considering the circumstances. You don’t need to call him up and say “You’re a liar and now your ex-girlfriend is calling my home repeatedly and mouthing off to my son. I don’t want anything more to do with you.” I am willing to bet over the next few weeks that you will get at least a couple of messages saying “What did I do?” “Why aren’t you talking to me?” You don’t owe him any explanations either – if someone’s behavior frankly sucks, then it’s grounds for getting booted out of your life. My ex-AC hit every mark on Natalie’s “Am I Involved With An Assclown?” list and, in my case, I somehow ended up on the phone trying justify to him why I had a right not to want someone in my life that lied, manipulated and was just downright mean! Trust me, it’s not worth the effort. These guys are also very adept at twisting things, so you will probably just end up infuriated if you talk to him. You are SO better than that! Keep up the good work!! :)

          • MyTimeIsNow says:

            Thank you so much for your words of wisdom/encouragement! Admittedly, I did break one of the rules of no contact by listening to my voicemails from him. In one of the several that he left, he said that he wished that I would call so we could talk about what is going on with me and asked if maybe I had met someone else as to why I was giving him a cold shoulder. He also went on to say how I had gotten too close to his heart and that is why he pushed me away (I SWEAR, Natalie is a physic – I might have fallen for this BS if I hadn’t been reading the various posts on the attributes of EUMs). He also stated how some other lady called him and said that I called her inquirying as to their relationship! These guys are unbelievable. Just to think that your ex had you justifying your decision while they often refuse to offer us any justifications on ANYTHING! This site has been a lifesaver. Together, we all will overcome and become healthier women (men)! Go Team Baggage Reclaim!

          • Natasha says:

            I love “Go Team Baggage Reclaim”!! He wanted to know if you met someone else? The nerve. God forbid he lose you as an ego boost! Natalie has a whole post about how these guys actually have no pride whatsoever, and it’s incredibly true. Who makes up a lie about another woman saying you asked about what was going on between them?! He sounds like my ex-AC….AC with a side of crazy (if Natalie does a post on liars, I’ll share the hilarious story about one outlandish falsehood mine told – it will make your life). When I first came upon this site, I thought the same thing – like “How did Natalie know he’d say that?!”

            It’s too funny, because I just read your comment after I happened to get a ridiculous text from my ex-AC…and I actually laughed. If history is an indicator of the present, his week and a half reunion with his ex-gf must be over – or if not, he wants me around to boost his ego. What a sad existence that must be for a grown man. I then hit delete and did a victory dance around my living room! How good does it feel to get the power back to live our own lives without these fools?! Thank you for sharing with me MyTime, it’s so nice to know none of us are on this journey alone :)

  6. Suite says:

    NEXT!!!
    that felt good~

  7. Natasha says:

    I was DYING laughing over the stoned guy! Who does that?! Here’s a good one: I once went on a first date and the guy leaned over, rubbed my bottom and said “Oooh these feel lacy, what color are they?” He was 34 years old. FLUSH!

    • Ramona says:

      I can top you all……1st date, guy take off his shoe under the table while we were eating dinner and put his naked foot on mine (I was wearing sandals! I jumped so high I almost spilt my drink! FLUSH!!!!!!!!

      • Natasha says:

        Ohmygod, Ramona, that is SO FUNNY!! I am not a fan of germs, so I would have had a panic attack right then and there. I’ll see you that and raise you my most recent ex-AC, who like to drink A LOT and invited me to visit him. He was drunk when I showed up. So drunk, in fact, that to his Jewish Girl Date (aka me), he made a very bad, offensive joke involving…wait for it…Anne Frank. Classy. I have a feeling we could give Natalie and entire post on these ridiculous creatures!!

        • Magnolia says:

          Oh, if we’re going to play this game …

          What about the guy who asks where I’m from and won’t take the real answer (Toronto) and pushes to hear the ethnic breakdown, then proceeds to IGNORE what I’ve just been worn down to tell him by making references all night to all these other countries with brown people in them because he’s trying to relate. At one point he starts talking about Cuba, because, like, you know I’m practically Cuban, and says, “You know in Cuba it’s like almost every woman is a prostitute. All you have to do is bring makeup because makeup is really hard to get. Cuba is like the second-best place in the world for sex tourism.”

          FLUSH.

          • Melanie says:

            Magnolia OMG this guy sounds like a sex predator. He all but came out and told you he’s experienced with traveling to foreign countries to solicit prostitutes. Flush indeed. Not to even mention his obvious insensitivity and grand generalizations… I think we all need to just be glad for they guys who aren’t clever enough to hide their issues so we can get rid of them faster!

      • MaryC says:

        On a first date sitting in a resturant a man told me if I wanted to put my feet up on his chair in between his legs to keep them warm it was ok because I had mentioned it was cold in the resturant. Needless to say I almost choked.

      • jennynic says:

        I went on a sailing date (stupid already), he kept calling me his ex girlfriends name, starting crying, told me his whole sob story and said he couldn’t understand why she got a restraining order on him. I was stunned. After all this he asked me for another date. Flushed. Sometimes I get it right.

        • Natasha says:

          Ladies, I think we have what we can call a real Winners’ Circle right here! The best part is, a lot of these guys are still sitting around thinking they are great catches.
          To steal a phrase from Anchorman, “You stay classy assclowns!’

      • Melanie says:

        To Ramona re: the foot fetishist. Ugh foot fetishists creep me out. The also tend to be foot exhibitionists. I prefer men I don’t know to keep their yucky hairy feet covered up, and OFF me!!! Strange how some men are proud of their fetishes and wear them around like a badge of honor. Keep it to yourself guy!! But actually it’s good if they come out with it so you know and it warns you off lol..

    • TeaTime says:

      Oh I’ve got a good one – On a first date with a guy, I’m talking to him and asking him a question about his work overseas when he full on attacks my face and sticks his tongue down my throat! When I push him away he says “When I want to do something, I just do it” – FLUSH -

    • Melanie says:

      Eeew! Glad you flushed him! What the heck is up with some of these guys? lol!

      Recently I was private messaging with a guy on a dating site. We’d only emailed a few times, and I was thinking of meeting him for a coffee, as he seemed like a decent guy. But then his 3rd or 4th email asked me to tell him what makes me smile. (Silly question if you ask me…). Then in that same message he proceeded to tell me what makes him smile: “Walks, favorite songs, *SEX*, ….” Game over. Flush. I did respond to him that I haven’t even met him yet and it was WAAAAY to soon and inappropriate for him to be bringing up sex to me. He had the nerve to write back and tell me I was uptight and that he wasn’t bringing it up. He was “just casually mentioning that he likes it”…. Ok, Whatever… I didn’t respond I just deleted, blocked, and moved on.

      Expounding on the online dating I hope this isn’t too off topic but I’ve only actually agreed to meet with one man I’ve e-met on the dating site. Most are in my opinion just outright losers, and the rare ones I think might have a chance, end up showing themselves before I agree to meet them, thankfully. That one that I did meet a few weeks ago, he was decent, a police man, no kids or ex spouses, doesn’t seem to abuse substances. (From the looks of him he’s a fitness nut though which can be kind of a drag. I’m fit but I don’t obsess on it). I met him and he bought my coffee and we talked. He really was pleasant enough. I couldn’t really tell if he was interested or not. When we left the coffee shop he hugged me and said he’d like to see me again and he’d email me. I agreed but he never did contact me. But I should say I am actually very ok with that. Don’t get me wrong he did seem like a decent guy, but he was effeminate in his mannerisms. (yes a muscular police man,). Anyway I tend to shy away from men who are at all effeminate. I’d been willing to chance it and give it another date or two and see if it still seemed so, and still bothered me. But he didn’t make contact and I think maybe that’s for the best. End of long boring online dating story :-)

      • colororange says:

        Hi Melanie,

        My last long term relationship was with someone I met from a social network. He had been surfing for women and came upon me and I took the bait. The relationship had its pluses (he was good to me in a lot of ways) BUT he neglected to mention to me that he had been with several men some years prior until TWO YEARS into our relationship. In that time I even asked jokingly if he had ever been with a man and his answer was No. Now, he is dating another woman and I wonder if he’s told her or when he will and how she’ll respond to that.

  8. Adaku says:

    Sistah Natalie you must be reading my mind Thanks .I actually was chatting it up with 2 guys diffrent times both married sexually attractive great personalities and kept talking to each one knowing their major red flags I actually excused their behavior by saying well their African men so thats their way of life LOL God I actully said this,using a whole culture to excuse him. (Im Afr Amer)i have been in a vulnerable state feeling lonely not confident so it was easy to get drawn in their also dancers,which I also dance in that circle I will not tolerate this anymore I have not accetped any calls all week from him and will now set standards for myself.I know I deserve better and will look for red flags and opt out the first second.Thanks again for your words they really helped me today and Prayers to those in Japan…Adaku

    • runnergirl says:

      Adaku, I don’t know if you’ll hear me, but please run, run, run, don’t look back, and stay NC. Block all forms of communication. Married men are a nightmare based on my experience of two years of nothing but misery and grief while involved with a married man. Read everything posted on BR about being the Other Woman. I could write volumes on how awful and miserable it is to be a mistress. No matter how lonely you feel right now, you will never feel as lonely when you are alone, “in love”, and he is with his wife. And, he will leave you to go home to his wife. I wish you the best. Every woman deserves better than to be a mistress.

      • Leigh says:

        Damn straight! We need to remember we are more than a mere mistress. Second best is pants.

        The great thing is the wife gets left with the crap and lies and we get left with our freedom. Freedom from these parasites is the best thing ever!

        They suck we rock!

        Flush – next! x

    • Magnolia says:

      Adaku, I’m sure you know this; there are all kinds of African American men who have solid characters. If these married guys are flirting with you or making advances then there’s no way they deserve to be described as having “great personalities.” Keep the faith!

  9. Cindy says:

    OMG! I finally got burned by my exEUM. Here I was, trying to move on for two whole months but I didn’t cut contact. BIG MISTAKE. This guy begs and begs me to come over. I finally gave in, because he made me think that something was different by the way he was talking and begging to come over. That A$$hole ended up panicking and leaving at 3am, even though we had the next day planned out. I am in NO CONTACT now. The other day when we talked and I ask him wtf….he says I am just not the woman for him (after the crap him pulled) and you deserve someone who can give you themselves and blah blah blah. I didn’t cry or beg or anything….I just said “you know, you are right. I actually feel the same way. You are the wrong man for me”. AND FLUUUUUUUSH…I am now in No Contact. :D Bye, jerk!

    • Magnolia says:

      Sounds like you ‘sucked it and saw’, but you really saw and are ready to move on. Good news, lady!

      • Cindy says:

        Yeah, it was a push. :) I actually don’t *want* him to come back. I’ve been moving on and have made new friends in my life who care about me. That helps greatly, too.

  10. colororange says:

    Would this be the wrong thing to do?

    I considered asking this guy back to an event I actually uninvited him to. The reasons were because he relied so heavily on texting/emailing, we were a secret, quite a few people think he’s a jerk anyway, and I just did not like his way of calling all the shots. But at times he can be “nice” or pay attention to me and I doubt my original decision. I haven’t had a completely healthy relationship before so my boundaries were non-existent (working on that!!). But why does this doubt come in? Why does this feeling of “oh maybe i was wrong in my judgment of him” come up and I want to cave in? WHERE are the truly interested, good men? If it is not the right thing to do, I sure would like to be able to permanently flush him away and not think another peep about him.

    • Nikki says:

      It’s funny until last year I’ve had an on/off relationship similar to yours. He was not liked in my community and for that reason I kept our involvement private. He was decent with me (most of the time) and I would try to coach him on how to be nicer to others, understand them, etc (he had moved to the midwest from the East coast and I thought it was an adjustment phase). Anyway, he would not change (they never do) and it took me a while and some back and fort before I finally rid myself of him. During this time I was working on my boundaries and that helped me see the relationship for what it was. Funny enough last summer when I saw him again (after no seeing him for a while but chatting somewhat on FB) I realized how much of an aAC he was and then and there FLUSHED him. He tried to contact me after to provoke me to respond but I will NOT participate in his games anymore.

      I’ve asked myself why I would still want to be associated with him and I think it had to do with validation and to a certain extent some ego stroke on my part… knowing that he is still attracted to me and maybe confusing the fact that he would contact me with attachment on his part. I’m not sure I’ve answered your question but hope it helps with your decision.

    • Magnolia says:

      Colororange, I don’t know if you’re seeing this guy regularly or what, but it doesn’t sound like he treats you very well. Have you read through all the posts on this site? Occasional bursts of treating you nicely don’t make up for assclown behaviour. Flush!! And go NC!!

      • colororange says:

        I see him pretty much on a daily basis as we work together. Which makes it hard for me because it is like I’m starting over everyday. Some days I think I made the right decision, others I doubt myself. I have read the posts. Each time I see him, I am hit with flashes of how he said we would do this or when we would do that. Guess he said all that “lightly” as it didn’t amount to much because it never happened. Quitting my job is not the solution though. I have to figure out a way to deal with this everyday that works. I feel pathetic even typing about it now because I seriously doubt he’s over there spending any mental/emotional energy on me. I’m going to reread the no contact at work post again.

  11. breakingbad says:

    I have been NC in a personal way with the ex-EUM for almost 6 months. We work together so NC is actually some contact, which has made it VERY hard to move on (thinking every little contact will result in us figuring things out, which it never does, or when it does, it’s all whenever he wants and mostly about how I can help him, listen to him or tell him how f-ing great he is :)). So like others, I’m trying to get over the relationship we had, the feelings I had, and ultimately the anger and sadness I had over things not happening the way I thought they would, or believed they could.

    With the help of BR and this mental trick I’ve been trying to do, which is to try to deliberately do an out of body thing – when have to talk to him or work on something with him or whatever, I just sit still and watch what’s happening in a completely rational, logical way. It makes me totally calm, I take all the emotions out of it, I don’t try to worry about what he SHOULD be doing or saying, or trying to get him to do and say what I want, I just watch what he ACTUALLY does and says. Like the zoo :)

    And now I see things about him I have never seen, probably because I was so busy in my own head that I didn’t have the time. So after several months of doing this, I can to report that I can finally FLUSH!!

    It’s so awesome – I have really somehow, some way, gotten past all the fake, dreamy thoughts of who I thought he was, all the emotional wreckage in my head about what I wanted him to do that he never could give me, and these ideas of what we would have, and how great we were and I see him clearly now for the first time.

    He may somewhere, somehow in some parallel universe be a good guy with good intentions who loved me in some way, but the reality and his behavior show that he’s selfish, unreliable, manipulative, unable to commit, full of excuses and lies, his actions couldn’t be further from his words, and he wants me and pays attention to me when he needs something. I was his ego boost. The one who always made him feel good about himself. And once he’s good, he could care less about anything but himself. And when he’s bad, he could only give a passing crap about what I needed.

    So now I don’t try to convince him, change him, get pissed at him, pine away for the good days, care that he contacts me or tries, or anything. I just see him and his behavior for exactly what it is. And what it is, is 100% worthless to me and my life.

    So a mental F-L-U-S-H. Ah, exactly…. Sorry for the long post, this just is exactly how I’ve been feeling. Good riddance.

    • Cam says:

      @breakingbad – I enjoyed this – thank you. I too had this situation with a current co-worker. Some days are good and some are not (… 12 months later). The good news is that the good days are increasing more and more. I will try your tip and see if it helps. I feel like I would heal a lot faster if the “no contact” was truly “no contact” and not still “see your sorry face every day”.

      I have learned a lot from this though so I am counting it as the necessary pain of growth and learning.

  12. Tulipa says:

    Working on repairing my flush button it has not been functioning properly for a long time now.
    At least it worked for the guy who popped round to my house to ask me on date that proceeded something along these lines
    “I would like to give you my phone number if you fancy seeing a movie or dinner or something I’m just moving my things this very weekend from my girlfriends place we haven’t been getting on not that I have much stuff there you know you know I dont know how to ask someone out so I hoping Im doing okay ?”
    FLUSH not even a starter… looks like I can operate my flush button when I want to.

  13. Lynda from L says:

    I went out with a guy I knew from work several years ago and he spent a big part of the date advising me that he liked women to look really smart at all times,wear heels,skirts etc. A few days later he phoned and asked me out again. I was reluctant but he was really persistent so I agreed to go for a quiet drink. I explained I was helping a friend paint a flat and would be casually dressed,wearing scruffy jeans, covered in paint blah blah…
    When I arrived he was dressed once again to the nines,cufflinks, italian leather shoes(but he did have on smart jeans!!!). As we sat down he said
    ‘ Guess our ideas of casual dressing are somewhat different…you’re a really attractive girl and I ‘d love to give you some tips on smartening up’
    I put my drink down , leant over and said I hoped he found what he was looking for and left….FLUSH!!!

    • Leigh says:

      OMG I love this! I bet the look on his face was priceless. What an ass!

    • Melanie says:

      Lynda from L. Good for you! What a jerk that guy was. That man begs you to go out last minute, and really just didn’t listen to a word you’d said on the phone did he? Super shallow. I had a very similar experience a couple years ago. The guy and I had conflicting schedules so the only time we could work out was immediately after I was going over to spend a whole day and evening doing elder care for a relative of mine. So I told him I’d be doing elder care and the cleaning for them all day, and so I’d be dressed accordingly. He still showed up dressed nice and seemed surprised when I showed up dressed the way I said I’d be.

      • Lynda from L. says:

        Hi Melanie, yes absolutely no capacity for listening whatsoever… Incidentally I heard on the grapevine recently that he had got married and it only lasted a few months…he probably didn’t like the wedding dress! Seriously though, what’s that kind of thing about…is the fact they dressed up about powerplay or something?

  14. EllyB says:

    Back in my teenage years, there was this guy whom I only knew by sight, who suddenly approached me during a party and said: “I know that you aren’t very popular with your peers, but you are quite pretty, and that’s why I’m willing to kiss you”. I found him totally crazy and pushed him away.

    Do you know the sad truth? I fell for quite a few other guys who told me almost the same thing – only in a less direct and more sophisticated way.

    • Magnolia says:

      Elly: I am 37 years old and never have I heard it put like this. You have articulated exactly what every dude I’ve ever let into my life likely thought, because I was attracting what I believed about myself. Somehow the way you wrote it is like a wake-up call.

      I have allowed it because I always thought, gee, you’re willing to kiss me??? Wow! Thank you for stooping. I know I’m unpopular, thank you, thank you, thank you … when I should have said FLUSH!

      Man, the self esteem work continues. Thanks Elly.

      I’m so grateful for this site; it’s like the good friends I didn’t have as a girl, that make it possible for me to turn away the attention of guys who prey on girls without friends.

      • EllyB says:

        Magnolia, yes, it’s such a sad game. When I was a kid and was being emotionally abused by my mother and bullied by my schoolmates, I so often wished that out of the blue, some other adult would appear and tell all those people to stop. Do you know the first chapter of the first Harry Potter book, where Hagrid rescues him from his abusive foster parents and takes him to Hogwarts? I think my fantasies were very similar to that. Only, there was no Hagrid for me.

        But the point is, at that time, I still understood that this was all wrong! Only later on, it got all blurred. I tried to rationalize the badness away and put all the blame on myself instead. This continued through my adult life.

        In a blog about narcissistic parents, I found the following quote about how to stop a narcissist wreaking havoc in a community: “That is, every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged.” (http://narcissists-suck.blogspot.com/2009/02/more-red-flags-history-of-past.html)

        I think this can work on a larger scale too. If we continue comparing notes and supporting each other in places like this, trying to better understand how emotional predators (who all seem to act in similar ways) try do destroy our lives, we can stop them.

        By the way, I highly recommend the aforementioned blog, especially this section: http://narcissists-suck.blogspot.com/2008/06/best-of-posts-on-narcissists-suck.html.

        I was at first reluctant because of her harsh words and lots of bible quotes, but she uses both to make many excellent points.

      • Used says:

        Outstanding analysis, the both of you, especially (as to my life in particular) yours, Magnolia!

  15. Adaku says:

    Thanks Runnergirl (love the Name) he just called and left message i texted him back saying I wont accept anymore calls because hes married and its just not right Duh. There was no response back kinda wanted to hear sumthing back(the sick part of me) but I’m glad he didnt.Yes reading all there is.He lives out of my state so thats a plus Thanks again for support. Adaku…

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey Adaku, great job and good for you. Keep reading and stick with NC. Don’t stress on not hearing back. He was probably busy with his wife! Based on my experience with these types, they don’t much want to talk about the fact that they are married. They are much more interested in talking about hooking up for a shag. What’s up with guys and sex?

      Hopefully, you’ve nipped this in the bud and will never hear back. Consider yourself fortunate. Meanwhile, you can go on with your life and have a happy future.

      Good job. BTW, sign up for Natalie’s e-book on No Contact. It is really, really great. It has helped me tremendously.

  16. charla says:

    I flushed when the ex-EUM dumped me. It was a curt “is that it? get lost” and a push out the door. Bye! :)

  17. debra says:

    “If you’re the type of person that experiences something and then disregards it or makes excuses, how much you’ll disregard and how far you’ll go with the excuses dictate how deep you’ll get into unhealthy relationship. If your propensity to disregard and excuse is high, you are likely to be involved in abusive relationships so how a ‘No Disregard & Excuse Policy’ would be highly beneficial for keeping you in reality and safe.”

    A very accurate portrait of me. I am actually glad to say that, because it means I can now see it. See myself clearly enough to help myself and take care of myself. I love the flush idea. I actually did it this week. I found myself attracted to someone who immediately felt too familiar. Thanks to the past experiences with the narcissist abuser, the red flags were immediate and unmistakable. The guy was arrogant, not the least bit interested in me unless I was paying attention to him, made excuses and blamed everyone else under the sun and felt “misunderstood” by everyone he ever met.

    I hit flush and walked away. The only thing that gave me pause was the fact that I had been even the slightest bit attracted in the first place. I am hoping it is just the universe sending me a test. I also figure old habits die hard. What I am thrilled about was my ability to see it and protect myself. No pain, no grief, no weeks of obsessing. Just the realization that this particular person had nothing positive to offer me. For the first time in my life, I cared more about me than I did about him. It felt really good.

    • Cam says:

      @ Debra – Good for you! I feel like karma is sending me the same tests and I am having the exact same response as you. My response feels different than it would have a short time ago and that is the best feeling ever.

  18. JJ2 says:

    Been awhile since I have read Natalie’s posts. Thought I would see what she wrote. Wow, still writing good stuff! The fact that I’m not reading as much any more means I am healing. I consider myself 99% healed. I hate that it took me a year to heal (never taken me that long before), and I’ve had bad relationships, but never with someone as COVERT as the last EUM was. He was, what I call “COVERTLY CRUEL.” It’s like….. On the surface, it SEEMS ok, but he is really so cruel you don’t notice it until you have spiraled way down.

    • Natasha says:

      JJ2 – that was a really great comment. I totally agree with you and I think that’s why I have struggled to get over it. It doesn’t matter if they are as nice as pie on the surface, using someone and lying to them IS cruel. My ex-AC could act like the nicest man on earth, but it was an act to get what he wanted out of me, which is a pretty frickin’ mean thing to do. I like your insight!!

  19. Renata says:

    I need to flush my ex-BF out for good. Why can’t I stick to NC?! WHY?! I’m going to drive myself nuts with this Peter Pan. Logically, I know better, but yet I keep going back for more. I feel helpless. He’s a total AC. I can feel myself get more stupid every time I do it. He is nothing special. He’s totally undeserving of me. So why, why, WHY?!

    • JJ2 says:

      Renata, you are like I was with the A/C I walked away from a year ago. Even though I walked away, I was still stuck in “make me the exception.”

    • MaryC says:

      Renata as the saying goes the journey starts with one step. It takes time and probably some setbacks. Don’t beat yourself up over this, I’ve been there but it can be done. Take it one day at a time, hell for me sometimes it was hour by hour.

      For me the sting of being dumped for someone else was the trigger, the more I thought about her the more I wanted him. It was a snake eating its tail. It took me 18months to finally see the light, there were lots of tears and sadness before I was able to garner enough strength to let go and see the situation for what it really was.

      We do have choices but that is eaiser said than done, the heart wants what the heart wants no matter how unsuitable that maybe at times. All I can do is tell you to start NC as soon as you can, enlist the help of someone you can trust, keep reading Nat’s advice but most of all be good to yourself, you do deserve better.

      • grace says:

        maryC
        “the heart wants what the heart wants” is, I think, what woody allen said when he ran off with his girlfriend’s adopted daughter. I’m sure a gazillion married men/women use this concept to justify their affairs. hell, I bet people even say it to explain why they are messing about with the under aged. I’m not saying you’re doing these things – I used to think the same thing, thatI was experiencing some great love I was helpless to overcome.
        if your heart wants someone who is abusive, married, dumped you, messed you about, robbed you or is generally unavailable I would work very very hard to change what your heart wants. and it may seem impossible but, hey, I did it.

        • MaryC says:

          Grace you are absolutely right, my ex use that line on me when he left me for another. I changed what my heart wanted too.

    • Magnolia says:

      Renata,

      This may be too extreme to apply to you, but I had a BIG moment of clarity a couple months ago when I went to a presentation on human trafficking and the speaker put up a slide from the trafficker’s handbook. Yes, there really is a handbook: there is so much money to be made from selling girls that these guys ‘train’ each other. There are very straightforward techniques that these men use to give the girl the affection and attention she legitimately needs and then harshly pull back once the girl is ‘hooked’. And these women really are hooked: they stay, think about it, with men who are pimping them out. The speaker mentioned how incredibly psychologically difficult it is for these women who get out to make the initial break, and then deal with the fallout from such a long period of helpless hoping that if they just do what their man wants, he’ll eventually be the kind guy they saw at the beginning.

      I think a lot of guys who aren’t pimps still understand the psychology and do this mental mindf**k to women to ‘own’ them, not to be their loving partner. It’s where the ‘covert cruelty’ JJ2 describes comes from.

      I heard a song the other day where the guy is singing to the girl that he wants to play with her head, say the sweetest things, and hurt her bad. I thought hey! That’s what the AC never admitted to!

      http://www.kovideo.net/gallery-piece-lyrics-of-montreal-575318.html

      All this to say: don’t feel bad that it’s hard to break it off. He’s some bad smack, lady, and he gave it to you telling you it was good medicine. Up to you to go cold turkey, but no one’s saying it’s necessarily easy.

      (Though once you do, it will feel great and be easier than you thought!)

      • Used says:

        Again, outstanding.

        Between you rpost above and this one, and BR of course, I now I FULLY understand why, even though I have always had ON PAPER what a former AC and other friends have always wanted in a girlfriend and friend, respectively, its’ been hard for me to get what I want out of the relationships:
        1. As to the AC, though he professed to want a nice girl who had it all together (jncluding things she couldn’t help, like good looks and family), he ACTUALLY wanted and purused the woman who knew how to PIMP HIM, with sex, of course, punishing him by withholding it and her attention whenever he acted AC-ish; SHE trained HIM (have to adnit: good for her!);
        2. As to my “friends” (one of whom happens to stay in contact with the AC and his now-wife/former-pimper-of-the-AC), they know I am “at it” (at life) alone; the AC knew this best of all–after all, he is still friends with my ex-friend, who he has never been crazy about! (BUT SHE IS BUDDY-BUDDY with the now-wife and he can’t get rid of her!)

        Jokes on them, my dear!

      • Lynda from L. says:

        I enjoyed your post Magnolia, very thought-provoking for me at minute. I wanted to add something to these ‘techniques’….once we wise up we absolutely shouldn’t fall prey to getting into
        ‘post mortem’ type analyses with these AC’s….

        The more we open up to them,the more we waste time picking over the carcass of a relationship- the more clues and ‘extra training’ they pick up to use with other unsuspecting women.
        They use the feedback we give them not to become better, more empathic partners but as recycled relationship jargon to dupe new women.
        I ‘m sorry if I sound horribly cynical but I know that some of the charm techniques(and excuses as to his unavailability) my AC used had been tried and tested before. By staying too long in these relationships and by continuing to share with them how deeply we feel we are giving them blueprints for abusive behaviour.
        The only way is NC.

  20. Sumumu says:

    FLUSSSHHH!!!

    breakingbad, I tried the outerbody thing myself the last time my AC caught up with me (no choice of mine) and it was great. You suddenly see someone for who they are and who they are showing themselves to be, as opposed to the fantasy you have built up in your head. Everything he said sounded ridiculous and laughable and I just gave him a blank look as he went on and on, I think he just got tired eventually. I also have a mantra, every time he pops into my head, I ask myself who is he to be taking up space/having an effect on me? He is actually totally irrelevant in my life and realising that has made it possible for me to start consciously ‘flushing’ him out mentally. We share nothing, no friends, no home, no office, no neighbourhood, no family, no finances, no children, no activities, no nothing!!!

    • Emily says:

      Sumumu,

      Thanks for the tip! I’m going to try it when my “ex pops into my head as well” — and then do the mental *F*L*U*S*H*!! :)

  21. RCGlasses Off says:

    “If you’re the type of person that experiences something and then disregards it or makes excuses, how much you’ll disregard and how far you’ll go with the excuses dictate how deep you’ll get into unhealthy relationship. If your propensity to disregard and excuse is high, you are likely to be involved in abusive relationships so how a ‘No Disregard & Excuse Policy’ would be highly beneficial for keeping you in reality and safe.”

    This was so true for me and I had never stopped to think about it. I accepted almost anything until I couldn’t take anymore but once I’d leave, the next guy would be more of the same or worse. Every guy was abusive on some level (including one who was physically abusive). The latest one I left 6 months ago & he was (& still is) mentally /emotionally abusive. But I believed everybody deserved love & they had a messed up childhood blah, blah, blah. Now I’m changing my thinking to “love, care, trust & respect” MYSELF, not make excuses for “red flags” & no more “fixer uppers”!!! I don’t deserve to be tossed around anymore. Cheers to Natalie & all sharing on here :-)

  22. Area 51 says:

    I’ve had partial honest conversations with myself, but my will seems to crumble everytime. Lying to myself, thinking my life is too messed up for what I really want, so I’d accept the little I got. But it isn’t enough.
    Last night, my AC of almost one year was going to pass by, the time got later and I got some advice from a friend, player himself, he said, message and say don’t bother to pass by and switch off my phone, which I did. I turned it on this morning and found 4 missed calls, and not too long ago he tried calling.
    I’ve gone NC with him before, but I’ve thought about going NC even more because I do not want to cross a year with this guy. I can’t allow myself to waste so much time.
    He himself says he’s selfish for wanting me but not as a g/f and wants to develop himself. Then he gave me a scenario of why it would be unfair to be his gf, because of all the training he’d be doing for work. So he is contradicting himself, and I know when he lies, he’s unwilling to change, makes me feel like just an option I just was avoiding, ignoring, I can’t do it anymore. The bit of crumbs that he gives to me, is what let’s me hold on, hoping he’d appreciate me. I just hope my will let’s me stay strong. I want him, but not like this anymore. I need to move on. I’ve known Natalie’s advice was true for a while, but I’ve been ignoring myself.

  23. Jana says:

    I can’t tell you how timely this post is.

    I am caught up in a no-win situation myself. After seeing something upsetting on FB last night I had a breakdown. I cried and cried all night. I got no sleep. My eyes are all puffed out. I look like shit.

    For what? Nothing, that’s what.

    I logged on my computer this am and came right to this site where, as usual, a column has saved me.

    Thank you.

  24. Melanie says:

    Natalie love the imagery, flushing unwanted, um, ‘waste’ lol. :-) And it’s fun and therapeutic to hear and share stories about some of the unbelievable antics some of these AC’s get up to!

    You might be proud to know: Though I dumped the ex with the ‘narcissistic harem’ from my facebook page, I still have been unable to resist checking up on some of his harem’s pages if there’s any interaction with him. (his own page is private, as is mine). From what I have seen it seems that he did indeed go right back to his harem, his ways, his flirting, possessive and married female “best friend”, etc. So now I’m actually kind of glad I checked as it does help solidify things for me. And now it’s been several days and I haven’t checked on any of them. His family and harem all seem to be a tight band, circling the wagons, patting each other on the back about their undying loyalty to each other, but never standing on their own, and never bothering to consider how their actions affect others. It seems they deserve each other as they’re a bunch of classless overgrown teenagers, and probably always will be.

  25. debra says:

    I reread this post this morning and then went for a walk and had a new thought. Because of my lack of boundaries, I had let some very abusive, bad people into my life (and then desperately had tried to get love from them). Because of my painful experiences, I began approaching my life and everyone in it from a fearful, combative place. I didn’t trust anyone (except whatever assclown I was trying to have a relationship with, who was always the last person I should have trusted),and I was sometimes hurtful, disrespectful or uncaring about others feelings because I was trying so hard to protect my own. Thanks to this site and the necessary lessons of the AC, I now know that, with healthy boundaries and self respect, I can enter the world with the appropriate level of trust and respect and care for others. When someone shows me they are not worthy of that trust or care, I can then act to protect myself from that person. I don’t need to keep everyone at bay. I can trust myself enough to know who should be allowed to get close and who shouldn’t.

    I mentioned in a previous post that I was concerned that I had been attracted to another assclown but had “flushed” him very quickly because I could see immediately he was an AC. At first, I had panicked, thinking I was still an assclown/abuser/narc magnet. Now, I realize that it was just a small lesson, to show me that I can now spot them a mile away and that I don’t need to be scared of everyone or live my life terrified of being hurt. I can just spot the jerks, distance myself from them and go on, giving the good people the time and care and respect they deserve.

    This is a really good lesson and I feel better for having learned it. A million thanks Natalie.

  26. Renata says:

    Thanks JJ2, MaryC, Magnolia:
    Covert cruelty is for sure what keeps me from hearing that flush down the toilet.
    The last time I saw him he gave me a weak hug and said, “Are you gonna be alright sweetie? If not, call me if you need anything.”
    Meaning:
    1) Call me if you’d like the simplest request rejected.
    2) Call me if you’d like to hear a subtle put-downs.
    3) Call me if your character needs a good nit-picking.
    4) Call me if this will all end in a booty-call.
    It has got to the point where I actually think I may have masochistic tendencies = eyeopening experience. He’s far too stupid to be the devil, but just smart enough to be my worst emotional enemy. Love this website, it’s gonna save my sanity!

  27. NML says:

    Ladies, just a reminder that while comments are *mostly* on topic, please ensure that you don’t treat the comments box like a forum. If your comment doesn’t appear after this comment (I approve comments every few hours bar at nighttime), it’s because it hasn’t been approved.

  28. Aimee says:

    I two favorites!!

    1) Guy took me to lunch – ooops he forgot his money. I asked him if he was prepared to do the dishes. I let him squirm. Then proceeded to pay. He then asked if we were going to still hang out. I said no – please take me home. Have a good life!!!

    2) Blind date w/ best friends husband’s brother. Showed up in disco pants, disco boots and a gauze shirt from the 70′s. He had flowers in his nad that he had picked from someones garden with the dirt stil hanging from them. In one night he wanted a commitment and said he moved from California to get away from drugs. Told him I was not interested in a commitment with, have a good like. LMAO!! Blind date from hell!! Have to laugh now – it’s hilarious!!

  29. Magnolia says:

    I wonder, Natalie, if you can say something about handling people who have power and influence in a social/professional way in your life who otherwise we would *flush*?

    I went out last night to an event where I knew the headliner, and know him to be a jerk (at least he is to me). I told my hosts, who were bringing me to the event, that I wasn’t fond of this guy. But he’s a big deal in our world, and next thing I know, after the event, my acquaintances are all sidling up to him and laughing at his jokes, etc. and wanting to go for a drink. They’re my ride and my place to stay afterward, so I go. He was behaving decently most of the evening, but about halfway into the socializing he starts asking why I’m not drinking alcohol and when my answer didn’t satisfy, he got nasty, saying things like maybe I didn’t understand him and he’d have to start using shorter words (we’re both writers – he’s specifically going after my intelligence).

    I thought of this blog when I still felt like the kicked kid at school when we got home, and then when I still felt that way when I woke up. I thought, I should mentally flush! Why give this dude even an iota of space?

    (I have to say the targetted meanness in front of everyone sure pushed every button of mine. Interesting to see how it feels like it has always been this way.)

    Anyway, I thought, okay, I need to flush this guy. Anytime I’m in a position to opt out of his company, I will.

    I’ve read your posts about NC at work, but it’s not like I’ve slept with this guy (I slept with a friend of his, years ago, which is when the meanness began). But I can say with fair certainty that for the rest of my career he is going to be around. He’ll be at parties, on committees, at conferences, etc.

    I think figuring out how to know when to flush on a social level will do wonders for me: I mean, should I be flushing my hosts, too? I guess I shouldn’t have expected their loyalty: they’re not my friends, but I had thought they might become friends. I don’t know now whether to erect a mental boundary for the rest of my stay and then keep my distance, or if I was wrong to expect them to not fawn over this guy just because I opened up to them about my real feelings…

    • grace says:

      magnolia
      it’s very powerful – ignore him. if he makes stupid comments just stare over his head, if you feel the need to be polite, fake a smile and move on, if he continues – look puzzled as if he was a baboon doing something weird. say nothing.
      let others do whatever they want to do. you can’t control who they associate with. it’s no reflection on you if they choose to schmooze this guy. most people are too wrapped up in their own stuff to take much notice of others, especially at parties etc. let that be a comfort to you.
      mental boundary – flush and forget.

    • EllyB says:

      Magnolia: I can relate to that in many ways. Right now, after a career step that didn’t pan out very well for me (although this was quite obviously not my fault at all, but due to a stupid decision by my employer), I have to return into a team were a colleague (slightly above me in hierarchy) used to frequently steal my ideas and sell them as their own. I think she has a abusive personality, often putting me and others down in sneaky ways, while achieving little on her own.

      Sadly, the rest of our team used to be very nice (she joined us after I had been with the team for several years), and they used to validate my work a lot. But they didn’t seem to understand what was so bad about her personality. I probably need to find a way to move on again, but for a while, I’ll have to put up with her. I’m scared.

      After all I’ve read, people with a history of abuse (which I certainly am) tend to attract more of the same kind. Those people simply notice we are vulnerable. But it’s not our fault! I think understanding those dynamics and learning how to draw boundaries will help us in this field too. It won’t stop those people altogether (sadly), but it might stop them to pick us as victims.

      Grace’s advice sounds very wise to me.

      • EllyB says:

        I also had that, probably much more severe, experience at a former job where I caught our boss manipulating our whole team to our own disadvantage. How did he react? He (sucessfully) agitated the rest of our group against me!

        That was a very tough experience, and I was glad that I was able to leave the company after about a year. Needless to say, I didn’t become friends with anyone in the group. However, whenever I happen to meet those people (except the former boss, of course) in different circumstances, I’m getting along with them in a polite way. I’m still angry with them, but I somehow understand the dynamics.

        I think you shouldn’t try to become friends with the people you’re mentioning either. However, I don’t think you should change your career just because you’re going to meet him occasionally. Is your daily work environment okay? Doe you feel validated, do you enjoy it (at least to some extent)? In this case, focus on all the people and situations that make you feel stronger, not on occasional encounters with the bad ones. Simply follow the advice from Grace and others whenever you have to deal with him.

  30. Lynda from L says:

    I thought I had flushed hard enough with regards to a guy I spoke to briefly at a wedding reception 3 weeks ago but have just had to flush again because of his inappropriate e mails…. This guy was introduced to me as a friend of a friend and we had a conversation at a crowded table about work and my son who is at university… He studied the same subject as my son and offered to lend him books. I did not give him e mail add,phone no or anything… I actually thought never to see him again.
    On Friday I got the first of seven e mails to my add which he had picked up from a work colleague of mine. At first I was surprised but polite…. I replied briefly but nicely.
    Talk about ‘fast forwarding’…this guy is telling me about his house which needs decorating and someone to share it with. Today he sent me stuff about his rugby injuries! Asking far far too many questions about my life….then being definitely shady and talking about how if I go out with him ‘I’ll be out all night on the razz as he knows how to show a woman a good time…’( I spoke to him for twenty minutes tops!)
    I have not replied at all for two days and think he’ll get the hint. If not I ‘ll block…
    I ‘m more than a bit annoyed that he used his professional knowledge falsely to promise my son the loan of books.
    At times lately, and I ‘m in my mid forties now, I think it’s a veritable minefield out there, am still recovering from the disappointment of a EUM…then I get some stranger e mailing me like he’s known me for years! Both these guys saw me as a means to an end,for their own imediate needs and not how I actually am at all….
    Today, I’m a bit down, I feel there is only so many times that you can get back on the horse, I am a caring,decent, hard working attractive woman and I’m fed up of sifting through the grit to get to a bit of gold…. I ‘m going to flush again then look after myself today.

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      Here is a “hug” from one of your baggage reclaim sisters! Don’t despair. I, too, feel your pain. However, you should feel proud of yourself that you have some boundaries and a sense of what you want to deal with. Although this guy doesn’t sound like he made it too hard for you to not want to be bothered, you at least recognized him for what he is – odd at best. You could have settled for the sake of having ANY man. So allow yourself to have a down day. You are human. But do take stock in the “good” which is that you have boundaries and can walk away when it is necessary. Keep reading these wonderful posts and know that you are not alone. You do have people rooting for you! Our dream man is out there and WILL come so get ready . . . ! :)

  31. PJM says:

    It’s done me a LOT of good to read these horror-date stories. And it also tells me exactly who those guys are who are writing all the ‘advice to women’ stuff on the net, and sounding off about how awful and emasculating modern women are, or how we have no sense of humour, etc. It’s these guys!

    *FLUSH*

  32. mieze says:

    I started off internet surfing this evening to try and understand whether it’s me that’s in the wrong and whether our relationship is salvageable. I’ve been going out with M for two and a half years, we don’t live together but about 2 miles apart, so I spend most weekends with him and usually on weeknight. It now seems that he doesn’t want to be with me anymore because I don’t respect his requirements for tidiness. Background: He is a very successful and well-off man of 36, and left his wife shortly after i started working at the company where we met, but says that this wasn’t because of me, as the fact that he was attracted to me was separate from the breakdown of his marriage. I’ve since left that company as we did start going out and I wasn’t happy in the job either. I earn probably a tenth of what he does but have equivalent if not better education.
    Here is the weekend (today is bank holiday Monday): Friday evening I went to his house after work, as usual. he got back from work, and as previously agreed, we went for a run. Both of us a bit tired from the week. His parents were arriving on Sunday from new zealand, and he only moved into his new place last weekend, so still a lot of packing and tidying to do, which I spent all of last weekend doing with him. So I made dinner, we had some wine, put together some wardrobe rails and put some clothes away, then went to bed, he said he was too tired for sex, I didn’t mind as I was too. The plan for this weekend was that we would do a few things separately with friends on Saturday afternoon, tidy up again, get everything ready for his parents. To be perfectly honest, I was really really bored, I spent last weekend unpacking and going with him while he bought incredibly expensive chairs, helping him move furniture etc. I’ll cut to the next day, Sunday, his parents arrived at 8.30am. We went out for breakfast, met some other relatives of theirs, went for lunch, then walked the other relatives to the tube station. He said, why don’t you go get and ice cream with my parents while i go to teh phone shop. So, I got a scoop of chocolate ice cream. He got back, looked at me and said i had ice cream all over my face. I was a bit frustrated as i had tried to avoid that as i know how much it annoys him. I wiped at my lips/nose, he said no, still there, grabbed me in the middle of the street and sucked very…

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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