get off the relationship crack

There was a time when something would happen or someone would do something that I didn’t like or perceived to be hurtful and I’d go into a tailspin even if it had nothing to do with me. Being brought up in a home which had a lot of drama in it, it’s unsurprising that I found myself in dramatic relationships, experiencing drama in day to day life (or at least thinking I was or even creating it) and essentially smoking too much Relationship/Drama Crack.

If you’re a fan of Chris Rock like I am, you’ll remember when he says in Bigger & Blacker how women love “Dynasty levels of drama” (I’ve even talked about this with blogging)- that was me, especially in my relationships but I’ve had things kick off at work, university, travelling, family etc.

The key with drama or making dramatisations out of things that happen to or around you is placing yourself at the centre of the reason for it happening in the first place. It’s also participating in Fast Forwarded situations where you experience a level of intensity in hours or days that would quite frankly freak the sh*t out of another person but you’re there kicking back and enjoying the high now.

This is partly to do with how you see yourself and also assuming that people be and do because of others as opposed to it being their character. As a result, you can end up thinking that a lot of things are about you and hating when people don’t live up to your expectations.

With the participating side of things, drama seekers love the thrill of inappropriate situations, intensity, and even potential danger. You like having the last word, being a dog with a bone, and refusing to admit you’ve made a mistake or to accept the truth.

As an ex Drama Seeker, I can still manage a cringe or two when I think about quite frankly weird things that I’ve been naive about that have opened me up to all sorts of crackerjack stuff. A few weeks ago, I visited Whitely’s, a shopping centre in Bayswater central London. In 10 years of living here, I’ve only been there once – why? Because many moons before that, I visited London for my 18th, got lost in Whitely’s, was approached by a guy who was ‘concerned’ and wanted to ‘help’ me find my way back, and somehow found myself agreeing to walk with him. It was like I was a moth to the danger flame.

I couldn’t tell you what was running through my mind, but it was literally as we got to a block of flats and he opened a door to some big burly guys hanging out inside, that I suddenly ‘woke up’, made my excuses and legged it. Lord knows what would have happened otherwise. Mor-ti-fi-frigging-cation!

I’m also the same woman who tried to be ‘nice’ to her stalker at university and only took the danger seriously when he became unhinged and roughed me up, had to turn down numerous male ‘friends’ advances but secretly got a kick out of it, and the list goes on. I’ve dodged various bullets at the last moment due to the ‘wake up’ and had to sort out all sorts of Dynasty level drama.

The truth is, like everyone who is banging sequinned shoulder pads and handbags at dawn, I liked the attention because I didn’t differentiate between positive and negative attention.

When my relationships unravelled or I felt I was losing someone or that they’d find out my flaw, or we had a showdown, or I told them all about themselves, or everyone was fussing around or whatever – I liked the high.

When drama kicks off, you know you have someone’s attention and if you associate drama with normality or affection/love, the high cloaks you…until it wears off. Even if you know that nothing ‘good’ is going to come of the drama, on the high you feel more comfortable, showered with attention and in control of things.

That’s pseudo attention, pseudo comfort, pseudo control which dissipates. As time goes on, especially in relationships, just like drugs, you have to create more drama to feel the same level of attention you used to and it also gets harder to climb back up from the low.

I’ve written many posts on unhealthy and shady behaviour in relationships. I’m not talking about having disagreements, forgetting to do something and the minutae of the day-to-day; I’ve written extensively about emotional unavailability, commitment resistance and ultimately recognising inappropriate behaviour.

I read about and observe situations every day and feel like getting a gavel and hammering it and saying “This is an open and shut case of assholery. Judgement in favour of the plaintiff. FLUSH! NEXT!”

What fascinates me is that people know that someone’s said or done something that ticks at least a code amber or red, and yet there they are indignant, analysing the crappola out of it or researching on the net to see if they have a ‘condition’ that caused it, and denying, minimising, and rationalising.

If you don’t get high off the attention from drama, you may get high from feeding off the irrationality and almost absurd assholery of another person.

While you dislike or even hate their behaviour, your drama then becomes trying to understand the workings of someone else’s mind – a someone, I might add, who doesn’t think and act like you, so you could never understand unless you’re planning to be like them or are like them. You then create even more drama by refusing to accept what their actions mean and instead decide that you will be the exception to the rule and make them change.

I no longer have any desire to feed off danger, inappropriateness or just things going haywire in my life because it’s like saying that I can only feel good if my life is screwed up. I just can’t stomach the rollercoaster. That’s saying a lot for me because I literally come from a home where my parents drama, especially my mother’s controlled the temperature of everyone’s moods.

I don’t think someone’s trying to destroy me, I don’t believe I’m an unloveable person, I don’t think I deserve poor treatment, and I also don’t believe in investing any chunk of my life, no matter how big or small into playing Columbo and investigating the crappola out of someone else.

I say this to you (and yes this is one predominantly for the ladies) because we spend too much time sucking on the Drama/Relationship Crack pipe which means that life is like one scene after another of Dynasty level dramatisations.

You’re the only person you can control and if you don’t like the drama taking place around you or you have genuine aspirations to be happy and in a mutually fulfilling healthy relationship, you and only you have to stop participating in drama whether it’s creating, seeking, or analysing the crap out of it and then trying to change people.

It’s time to be choosier about who you associate/interact with and distance yourself from those who can create drama with a paper bag. Stop feigning naivety – yes feigning. Drama comes from the same type of people, the same type of situations. Look up code amber and code red behaviour – that’s a list of drama right there.

You’d literally have to be a frickin’ ostrich not to recognise what spells drama – none of us were born yesterday and most of us have a back catalogue and a life resume to draw on that indicates where drama comes from – stop trying to be the exception to the rule and stop being a short-term thinker, because the crack feels good now, but you’re suffering medium to long-term consequences.

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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104 Responses to Relationship/Drama Crack: Are You Creating Your Own Dynasty Level Drama?

  1. Natasha says:

    “You wrap up bags at JC Penney…what’s she doin’? Rippin’ up your paper?” Amazing-ness. Mr. Rock has rescued me from many an assclown-induced tearful evening.

    I need to stitch this one as a sampler to hang on the wall: “What fascinates me is that people know that someone’s said or done something that ticks at least a code amber or red, and yet there they are indignant, analysing the crappola out of it or researching on the net to see if they have a ‘condition’ that caused it, and denying, minimising, and rationalising.”

    I seriously sat there thinking, “Ohmygod, he’s making rude remarks about Jewish people (I am a half-Jew). What does it mean? Why is he doing it? Is it because I said this-that-or-the-other?! Is it because he’s afraid of commitment/the timing is wrong for him?!” I mean….HELLO? It’s embarassing, but it’s at least cathartic to admit it and learn from it!

    • cavewoman says:

      heh heh, vicarously lived and overanalysed drama, that was me
      “hmm is it narcissism or sociopathy? really, what are the causes of those? interesting, he never does talk about his mother and his childhood… maybe I should contact his ex to ask if he beat her? he would never admit it but I think I’m onto something” etc etc for months…. Ouch Natalie you got me! How did you know I googled personality disorders?! When all it should have taken is threen seconds and three little words: “What. a. loser.”

    • NML says:

      I love Chris Rock. I saw him in London a few years back and nearly threw up laughing.

      As for your ex, you were definitely were seeing the trees instead of the wood. It means he’s an ignorant, possibly anti-Semitic assclown.

      • Natasha says:

        I love him too! :) His description of the “excitement” of a bad relationship is hysterical, i.e. “You gave me crabs! I wonder what tomorrow will bring?” It’s funny, because I never thought of playing Jessica Fletcher trying to figure out why someone sucks as drama seeking, but it so is! I said to one of my friends, “Maybe he’s bipolar?” and she was like, “Maybe he’s just a raging douche who actually doesn’t like Jewish people very much or fronts like he doesn’t. This should be enough info for you, I think.” DOH!

    • Natasha says:

      Not to go off topic, but in case anyone needs a good laugh, this is Chris Rock at a charity auction for autism, where he curses out the ex-assclown of the winning bidder. Over the phone. Live. On television. ENJOY!

      • Movedup says:

        OH give the phone to ME! I can beat that one in a heartbeat. Rip ASS! Love Chris Rock – I like his bit on the “new pussy” the HBO special. He is hilarious but I could have done a much better job of ripping his ass! No holds barred!!!!

        • Natasha says:

          Love it Movedup!! My favorite part was, “How DARE you break up on f*cking Facebook!” I have no doubt you could knock it out of the park too 😉

  2. Valley Forge Lady says:

    I was diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder several years ago. With medication and support groups I now realize that I was actively seeking stimulis by attaching myself to unattainable men for the rush of adrenaline they provided. Those days are over. I am a bit sad that my dating life is so non-existent but at least I now only have to deal with the economic issues that are so pressing. I am no longer obsessing over the Bad Boys….. I am no longer using that drug. Thank you for sharing your adventures. There is a lot to be said for living a sane life. I now have more to offer myself, my daughter and the the world at large. Where are the good guys? The bar scene is non existent, I work with women and gay men in interior design, and the guys on line seem like so many non-functioning left overs!

  3. Tulipa says:

    I recognise something of myself in this post, I always thought I had to be ‘nice’ to the drunks and creeps who would approach me at nightclubs, or anywhere really, I used to think I must have a sign up asking for the unwanted attention it has taken me years to learn I can walk away I can say F*** Off that I don’t have to be nice. I am getting better at staying away from the drama not participating and not creating it.
    Though the urge to be involved in drama has not completely gone. Take the last text from ex eum instead of been sensible and saying its just a text at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything and carrying on. I created a drama in my head. I let it affect my self esteem, I went through guilt, oh i need to reply hes down he needs me to encourage him, I went through an anger stage where I wanted to call him up and tell him all about himself. Till finally I thought what am I doing its a text get over it and get on with life. All that drama though committed in my head was unnecessary if I had just said to myself oh a text wow delete and move on.

  4. Magnolia says:

    Thank you, Natalie, for addressing this in more depth.

    The dude (HH) showed up again today where I was working, to drop off another gift, after the last ones were ignored (to him) and HR was alerted (he doesn’t know that). I still felt weird having alerted HR. I had to ask myself, do I really think this guy is dangerous, or do I just like the attention? So instead of freaking out at the new visit, I went back to work, and a bit later, wrote him an email saying we’re not friends, you crossed my boundaries by getting romantic, and please don’t contact me or bring me any more stuff. I thought about BR as I did it, and maybe I said too much even by mentioning the boundaries thing, but it’s done. Then I blocked his email.

    I thought a lot about what you had already written, Natalie. It’s hard to admit a habit of blowing things out of proportion and looking for sympathy, ugh. I couldn’t handle the idea of just saying no to him with no big scary reason behind it, like it’s no big deal to me, in part because it reminds me too much of when the shoe was on the other foot.

    When all the ladies expressing such anger at this guy’s behaviour, I didn’t totally get it. I just felt so SORRY for him. Really I thought it would be more likely for this guy to self-harm over being rejected, than to harm me. I just couldn’t get over why it made me so sad to cut him off, until I sat down, decided I was projecting, and wrote out all the things I THOUGHT was him and it turns out I’m assuming that he is where I was at when I was young and messed up and throwing myself at cruel men who, instead of turning me down, used me. I couldn’t bring myself to get ANGRY at someone throwing themselves at me in that needy, bright-eyed way. I couldn’t get angry at something that seemed more like desperation than selfishness.

    There was a time when I really didn’t know what would become drama; it really seems like this guy doesn’t know what he is doing wrong – can’t it be possible? I honestly didn’t know what I was doing wrong for many painful years. Is this the same as being nice to your stalker?

    What I realize is that I must be sending a signal of “you can get personal” or even “please get personal” with me when I share too much too soon. I need to learn to “drive my own experience” as you put it, and not overshare. To be a good poet, you get as personal and intimate as possible in the shortest amount of time. I never realized what this skill is in the ‘real’ world. I have been faux-naive about this; because I never sat back and looked at what I have been doing.

    I just finished reading a bunch of letters from a poet who is clearly one of the hugest drama-seekers of the sixties. He complains that “every time he talks to a girl she falls in love with him” and he takes it as his burden that so many women “fall in love with him” and he can’t say no. He knows he’ll cheat before he even starts. He starts talking marriage right away as soon as he finds her pretty.

    I see now that I start talking intimate things as soon as I sense I’ve got male attention. I’m sending the wrong signal and then I wonder why the wrong guys pick up on it.

    Thanks for this post, which I’ll read more than once before the week is out.

    • Elle says:

      Mag – Just a few quick thoughts. I also have a way with words, am very comfortable meeting new people, and possess an intuitiveness that can be a bit overwhelming at times (at the risk of sounding like one of those awful psyhics who see themselves as different to everyone else!). These attributes are great in certain contexts, but the downside is that it can create false intimacy with people. The AC was a wordsmith on a grander scale. He possessed that depressive, poetic quality, which I think he also saw as a burden since he knew he could tell people who they were, thereby making them feel, on a superficial level, loved and validated, but he did not have the intention to do the things that endure. Once all the words subsided, he needed to jump to another person to analyse, charm, and own. Being with him made me realise how unhealthy some of my qualities can be, if I can’t say ‘no’ to people and situations, if I don’t roll out intimacy slowly (instead of fake intimacy quickly) and if I don’t hold myself open to every attention-seeking situation (thereby making people feel less special and throwing myself to the winds). In any case, I can relate to your feelings, and you’re heading in the right direction and trying so don’t be too hard on yourself.

      • Magnolia says:

        I’m really confused. I don’t know whether to point the finger at myself for ‘getting into drama’ or to ‘not make it about me’, realize this dude was just inappropriate, and move on. The guy from HR just talked to me, and I didn’t know by the end of the meeting whether I’d made more of the situation than necessary, or if I was just feeling the crap feeling of having to go through any of it. He’s like, “It’s terrible to be a victim of this kind of thing.” I said, “I’m not a victim, I think I’ve tried to act as much as one can in this kind of situation.” Anyway, I feel like shit now, and I’m not even sure what I could have done differently, other than be less alarmed in the first place and not tell anyone. Maybe this is my epiphany moment. The idea of HH showing up at my reading might have thrilled me at some level before. Now the idea of it just fills me with dread – not because of alarmism, just because it’s all so crappy, people’s brokenness. There is nothing vindicating or righteous or fulfilling about being at the centre of this kind of attention (I don’t just mean HH’s overeagerness, I mean the whole web of official concern I set in motion). And that goes for the pathetic attentions of attached men, too. I was titillated where I might have been insulted.

        • grace says:

          I’ve worked in HR and that’s what these situations are like. Maybe a colleague takes another colleague out for lunch to celebrate a deal. One of them gives the other a birthday card. The other reciprocates. The msg is somewhat suggestive. The recipient isn’t sure what to make of it … and so until until a year later it’s a full-blown harrassment case. The HR guy will have seen it all before. Could you have handled it better? Probably. But I assume HH is in a superior position to you, or at least in a position where he can take advantage, and ultimately it’s up to him to be careful. You already know he’s done it before so it’s not really about you.
          In future, I would be a little bit more suspicious of people (not just men) who are overbearing, too friendly, oversharing, over dramatic etc at work. It’s just not professional. A little distance is a good thing, certainly until you get to know them – which takes months, not the few days it took for this to blow up!

          • Magnolia says:

            Thanks Grace and Elle. I’m not handling the attached professor too well either. Though he let up on the funny stuff for a few days once I met his partner, tonight after an event he started up again. I just laughed stuff off or pretended not to notice. I can do better.

        • NML says:

          Hey Magnolia. I wouldn’t dwell on it if I were you – that’s drama in itself. Of course you don’t feel like a ‘victim’ – you’ve been flattered by the attention and let’s be real – most of your alarm bells going off have been sparked by other people’s perception of it. I think you can only learn and grow out of this. Learning isn’t dwelling – learning is the next time you’re sliding into managing a week or two worth of interaction in an evening, to wind your neck in and roll back. I get it, you’re a poet, creative, and probably feed into the emotional depth of people, but what you had with that guy is pseudo depth – he’s like a frickin’ puddle. *He’s* a drama queen if ever there was one.

          What I will say to you as a woman who has probably been in more inappropriate situations than she’s had hot dinners – wake up and be aware of inappropriate behaviour so that mentally you know it. The whole naivety and letting yourself get swept up and flitting around these strange situations – you’ve gotta kill that because guys like these twits can smell that naivety and hopefulness for romance out of an odd situation like sharks around blood. This is not how you want to meet a life partner or even a friend. You don’t want to start even a relationship that may not last with people like these guys and personally I wouldn’t trust these guys so it’s not like they’re in line for Friend of the Year medals.

          From too much personal experience, friends, acquaintances etc, I have a standard response when I hear about eager beaver, overzealous people drawing them into inappropriate situations – “They’re trying to f*ck you”/”They’ve got designs on you”. Harsh, but true. It cuts both ways for men *and* women.

          The girl that cooked the boyf’s brother’s dinner for him for months, filled up his freezer, helped him out with work stuff, and made herself indispensable even though they weren’t even involved – he didn’t believe me when I said she wanted into his pants and life. Oh yes she did! Flipped out on him one day. Don’t be naive.

          • grace says:

            NML has said it all here but be careful of “laughing stuff off” and “pretending not to notice”. To the average person (and especially an EUM/AC) that can look very much like approval. You’re well within your rights to screw up your face and say “That’s not appropriate! You’re living with someone.” If he’s a repeat offender, cut him off.
            It’s not really about”I can do better”. He’s not an option for you to give even the slightest consideration. Not every man who pays you attention has to be considered.
            I have five nieces, all growing up very pretty and I would HATE for them to get into compromising situations because they didn’t have the gumption to FLUSH. If someone keeps stepping over the mark you’re no longer obliged to be friendly or polite. The world won’t stop and they won’t care. He has no genuine feelings for you. Do you really think that this is the first time he’s ever contemplated doing the dirty on his girlfriend? Yes, you are special but NO ONE should want to be special in THAT WAY. ie the one he will cheat with, the one for whom he will abandon all human decency, the one he can jerk about – that’s just rubbish! Let him take his junk (albeit dressed up in pretty words) elsewhere.

          • Magnolia says:

            I’m guessing aloud that the poet thing is what gets me in too “deep.” I am mainly looking for the behaviour that is causing the problem on my end. *I* must be shallow, too, then, because I don’t have a sense of how a more healthy conversation *should* or could go.

            Last night, for example, I allowed the conversation go all kinds of places but I didn’t think I was saying “I’m open to your advances.”

            I have been feeling responsible for them coming on to me, both in a self-flattering way and an I-must-be-saying-it’s-okay way. But if I understand correctly (I feel so THICK about this!) if I really get that their behaviour isn’t about me, then my job is simply to act in the face of it and get out of the situation.

            You say that what I had with the grad student was pseudo-depth. I was thinking of your “chasing a feeling” post. The laughs I shared with the student guy – that is honestly the first time I’ve ever felt so “gotten,” even for a day, by someone. I was disappointed that it got overintense – I guess that means what I felt wasn’t worth much? It is disappointing to think that feeling was false or ill-founded.

            If, as you say, guys don’t chat you up without having intentions, then how do you learn what it is like to have a one-on-one conversation with a decent guy?

            Anyway, thanks for the harsh voice of reality: I know it comes with support and encouragement.

            I do feel like giving up! My sister called today: she just got engaged. She’s not working on herself, she is just living lightly, often really selfish, having fun, and she managed to meet someone who is great to her, with scads of cash and who takes her everywhere. She says *he’s wonderful*. I don’t get it. She hasn’t gone through half of what BR readers are working on. I’m happy for her, but I wish I knew what the secret is.

          • runnergirl says:

            Hi Magnolia,

            I so appreciate your honesty and self-awareness. I’m sorry you are experiencing this drama but I am in awe of your ability to be so honest about how you feel about it. Your posts and descriptions about these two folks have triggered lots of honest discussions with myself as well so thank you. But again, I’m sorry it is happening.

            Every time Natalie responds to you, I feel like she is writing to me. “…wake up and be aware of inappropriate behaviour so that mentally you know it. The whole naivety and letting yourself get swept up and flitting around these strange situations – you’ve gotta kill that because guys like these twits can smell that naivety and hopefulness for romance out of an odd situation like sharks around blood.” For me, I’m like a moth to a danger flame and they are like sharks around blood.

            “They’re trying to f*ck you”/”They’ve got designs on you”. Harsh, but true.” Ouch! You mean we didn’t have an immediate connection and were soulmates? Until I get a clue, assuming I do someday, I’m going to post this one on my bathroom mirror.

            BTW, when do you get out of Kansas?

          • Magnolia says:

            Ladies, what an amazing thing to have you “here” for me no matter where I travel.

            Thanks Grace, for spelling out that I have the right to make a face and say knock it off. Doing so will be uncomfortably confronting, but it IS doable. When I say I can do better, I simply mean better at doing that; not better in terms of guy (lordy!! puh-leeze!): this guy is a douche and I’m simply trying to not to be on complete non-speaking terms for the next two weeks while I complete my stay.

            Thanks Runner, for saying that my opining helps you, because as you posted a little further down – “You all must wonder how I find my way to work in the morning. I sometimes feel so foolish to be 52 and just figuring things out” – I feel the same, pretty obtuse!

            This whole foofarah shifts my understanding: no longer naively thinking that them getting fresh with me is about me (you mean it’s not because I am superduper? :)), it becomes disingenuous of me to pretend I don’t see what’s happening. Low self esteem and my old mental tapes would have me not quite believing they want to f*ck me but being kinda grateful someone wanted to.

            I’m starting to feel the difference between “wants to f*ck me to boost HIS ego” (which may include lots of attention and fake getting-to-know-me) and “wants to build a relationship with me.”

            Thank. You. Natalie.

  5. metsgirl says:

    Ohhh I am so the analyzer. I would have never thought of myself as seeking or creating drama but then you had to put the “Columbo” thingy in there LOL.

    When I met my very first AC five years ago, I was in absolute shock over his behavior towards me…I’d never seen another person act the way he did. Needless to say I felt his behavior was a direct reflection on me and I had to know what the hell he knew that I didn’t know…hence the “trying to understand the workings of someone else’s mind”.

    It pains me to see the time I’ve wasted because now the drama drains me and I can’t live in that world anymore. I really have made strides to get off the roller-coaster and feel I’m growing stronger everyday. I still poke around on here bc I love NML like a distant friend…Thanks Natalie!

  6. MaryC says:

    “….You like having the last word, being a dog with a bone, and refusing to admit you’ve made a mistake or to accept the truth”. Nat have you been talking to my ex again because that’s him to a tee Mr Drama Seeker himself. Now that he’s gone its so much calmer in my life, actually its down right boring at time but I love it. There’s alot to be said about being on your own, finding your own way and reclaiming your own happiness.

  7. Charlotte says:

    I’m with Tulipia…thinking I had to always be nice, giving people the benefit of a doubt…or five.

    Nat, a lot of what you write takes a good while to sink in with me. I need to let it seep for a while before it begins to permeate and I fully understand it. This may be one of those times, but I honestly don’t see myself as a crack addict, drama mamma, or any of those other terms.

    In a lot of ways, it almost feels like I’m a child in a 37 yr. old woman’s body. Meaning, I’m having to learn the RIGHT way, I was never taught these things, like I honestly didn’t know what appears to be common sense to others. But learning, I am. Changing, growing, developing boundaries and self esteem. Thank you for what you’re doing.

    This post reminds me of one of mine that I’d be very interested to hear any comments on, Mr. Inappropriate.

  8. Darren Miller says:

    This story reminds me of a girl I used to be close to. She used to be an extreme attention seeker when it came to guys. We would go out clubbing and when she wanted to, she would pick her ‘target’, or her ‘victim’ as I would call him.

    She was a very attractive girl and had bucket loads of confidence that men found irresistible. Once she had captured her prey she would play with them, tease them, make them chase her. Then, as they started to get real feelings for her she would drop them and toss them to the side. She no longer wanted them.

    The mind games ceased to be a thrill. On some occasions this was very dangerous for her because a few of these guys refused to give up on her and began to follow her every move, causing arguments and trying to cause trouble with the next guy on her list.

    • Used says:

      Sounds like, if given the chance, you would have loved to have been one of those guys. Otherwise, why were you “close to” her? For “friendship”?


      • Darren Miller says:

        She was a house mate when I was at university… (I don’t s**t on my door step.)

        • NML says:

          Love that saying Darren. I used to work with a guy though who literally used to diarrhea on his door step. He worked his way through so many women in the office, I don’t know how he held his head up!

          • Used says:

            The ex-EUM was Mr. Diarrhea Guy. Also, Mr. Eager Beaver. With many women, even mutual acquaintances, and even if the circumstances were inappropriate or had the potential to be inappropriate.

  9. colororange says:

    My mind was spinning a fine tale less than two hours ago. A friend gave me a book about a place I’ll be visiting in the next couple years. It was one of those “For Dummies” books. As I sat there, I was creating all this baloney in my head: she gave me this because she thinks I’m a dummy. Well this must be how she really feels about me, etc. I actually started feeling bad about myself, that people thought I was dumb!!

    When really she had been at a rummage sale, saw this book about a place I was going and figured what the heck and bought it for me. Outwardly, I don’t create too much drama but my mind……PHEW…..I can have a whole series of Dynasty episodes churning. It is as if I LOOK for reasons to be offended. And then almost anything anyone says or does becomes huge until I can’t tell when/if a boundary’s been crossed or not. I know one thing I do need to tend to is asking what someone meant by what they said instead of me creating my own stories about it.

  10. Kay says:

    I’ve not always intentionally sought out drama – I suppose I did moreso when I was younger – but I have been repeatedly guilty of choosing nice, handsome and smart assclowns who don’t treat me well in one way or another (they do at times, of course, that is why I stay involved with them). I then do graduate level research on them to try to figure out what is going on with them, what sort of syndrome they have, are they narcissists, are they bipolar (yes, two probably were) or what….rather than just leaving them when I start to feel bad or confused, and not heard, in the relationship. Going forward I want a simple, normal person that does not take so much time and mental energy to evaluate. Such as I am, myself. As you say in the post, there is enough to deal with, just with normal day to day honest things that arise between good people in a relationship. After the last assclown I gave a second chance to, who ended up behaving the same way as before (disappearing acts when we started to get close), I am not only done with emotionally unavailable men, but with men I have to “figure out” the entire time I am with them. Thank you, Natalie, for helping me to see these things. My brother pondered whether it was more “exciting” for women to be with guys who aren’t too predictable and easy. I suppose that is true, but it is very transient and unhealthy “excitement”, much like doing a line of man-cocaine – these men can pull out all the stops when they want to show you a good time. I now want to have genuine excitement that is lasting and positive and reliable.

  11. kirsten says:

    Nice post Nat,
    I am wondering at the moment how to deal with a good friend who is a drama seeker. Without going into too much detail, she basically lives her life around the next shag and I’m getting pretty tired of the whole thing. She has men coming and going (mostly going lol) constantly and that’s all she talks about. I do find I have really distanced myself from her lately and I have tried to talk to her about it. I don’t miss hearing her shit but I do miss my friend. Hopin she will wake up to herself soon *sighs*

    • Darren Miller says:

      This is a tough one Kirsten. Most of us go through this shag stage in our life. It’s actually a positive thing that she is actually seeking someone.

      When I was at that stage and one of my mates asked me when are you going to settle down my answer would be ‘I’m having fun’, but deep down I was looking for the one. As they say, you have to kiss many frogs to find your prince.

      There are ways to manipulate the situation but I would go for the easy approach, just be there for her, make sure she is taking care of herself and express your dating or relationship success.

      • kirsten says:

        Thanks Darren, yeah I’m trying to do that but finding it a little frustrating that she lives her life around scoring her next shag, instead of getting out and actually living if you know what I mean. Yes we all enjoy a good shag but it’s almost obssessive for her, and when she has 3-4 on the go at one time it’s no wonder they don’t come back (small community thing). Cheers for your response :)

        • Natasha says:

          Kristen, I’ve been there with a good friend! If a hook up called her, she’d ditch me. If we were going out somewhere and one of her dudes was going to be elsewhere, we had to go there. Then would come the inevitable dramatics and tearful calls (I’m not judging AT ALL, I’m a recovering drama-holic myself) when it didn’t work on, and so on and so forth. I agree with Grace’s advice that it’s okay to be a little blunt. I said to her, “I feel like everything we do has to revolve around these guys and you’re not even dating any of them. I love you dearly, but I can’t live my life based upon the pensises of strangers.” She hadn’t even realized I felt that way and also hadn’t realized how much she herself was revolving her life around them, so we had a good laugh and have been friends ever since :)

    • grace says:

      if she’s friend, be a bit blunt. friend of mine is constantly whingeing about her boyf. he’s not EU, she just gripes about him falling asleep on the sofa, eating too much etc. I can stand the complaining for about five minutes then I just say “Well, that’s what he’s like. He’s been like it for a year he’s not going to change. You have to like accept it or dump him”. And then we talk about something else. Until she brings it up again. I say it again. Etc. It’s a bit annoying but I’m sure I do things that annoy her. If you just nod along maybe your friend has no idea that you’re not interested.

      • kirsten says:

        Thanks Natasha and Grace,
        Lol if all we had to worry about was our boyfriend sleeping on the couch and eating too much…bring it on :)

  12. izzybell says:

    My ex’s ex-wife called me the other night, I’ve never talked to her, and she was obviously looking for some drama. The ex had invited her to stay over his house while he was away, and she found my number, called me and told me all about myself. I am so proud that I did some yogic breathing, stayed calm, and got off the phone as soon as possible!

    Ok, the drama did rage out of control in my own mind for a while after hanging up and it was because I was thinking WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS. But I didn’t act on it, I just realized I was making up a self-involved story about why she chose to call, and instead forced myself to chalk it up to her being a wackadoodle. I started having contact with the ex again relatively recently, and this was a perfect reminder of why being in touch with him is totally not worth it. It just opens the door to boundary-crossing, which then leads to drama and dysfunction- none of which I really need or want.

    This article is a great reminder that crazy is as crazy does (drama queen is as drama queen does). There are no shortage of opportunities for drama out there, but there’s almost always the option to stay calm and bow out. The drama ship will pass, just like everything else.

  13. jennynic says:

    Hi, my name is jenny and I’m a dramaholic. I recently fell off the wagon. It’s down right shameful and I am embarrassed at some of the things I did in my past and recently as well. In my most recent relationship, towards the end I started creating drama when things were bothering me or if felt he was being unfair. He would participate too and he was not perfect, but even he started to look at me with a raised eyebrow. I couldn’t help it. I told myself that I would be calm and not overreact, cry, not yell, not freak out, but I did all of them instead of just opting out. ( We told you so is in order here, and well deserved. ) He learned my triggers and started throwing ‘bombs’ out on the table when we actually were having a good day, then calling it a joke once I got upset. I became very emotional and honestly just exhausted from trying so hard to be good and adult and perfect. Out came my emotional vomit. I am angry at myself for acting like a fool and not having more control of myself. I grew up with serious drama in my house between my parents. I hated it, it made me puke, or climb out a window, hide in a closet when they would engage in their huge knock down fights, now I am the one doing it. I try to pep talk myself that I have overcome a hurdle by at least recognizing my part in creating drama, and that I have a problem, but am disapointed in myself right now. Crack indeed, including the part about coming down to a low place after the crack wears off. I don’t know how to get off the roller coaster of myself. My own self. I am more upset with myself than the ending of the relationship.

    • Charlotte says:

      Maybe I’m not the best one to reply to you, as I’m not out of the woods yet myself as far as clear thinking is concerned, but I felt compelled to write and tell you not to beat yourself up about it. Acknowledging you have a problem is a HUGE step and I don’t believe change occurs overnight. It’s a slow process and something we most times have to relearn. You’ve been doing it the other way for so long and only this way for a short amount of time. Give yourself a break. You recognized you went there with the drama. All you can do is learn from it and hopefully recognize it sooner next time.
      And by the way, that guy sounds like an AC. Provoking, “dropping bombs” and then looking at you like you’re crazy. That doesn’t sound healthy to me. In my mind, a healthy relationship should have been him remaining calm and asking what’s at the root of the problem, trying to help you through that rough patch.

  14. Lori says:

    Guilty…irresistibly drawn to impossible situations and bad ideas

  15. Jennie says:

    I love this post! The stuff about being nice to crazy people is something I am guilty of doing all the time although the stories in this post sound scarier than anything I have ever experienced. Definitely a wake-up call!

    I especially love the part of the post that says if you “have genuine aspirations to be happy and in a mutually fulfilling healthy relationship, you and only you have to stop participating in drama.” So true. If you keep participating in the drama, maybe you don’t have genuine aspirations to be happy because you are keeping yourself miserable.

  16. Ariel says:

    I absolutely love how you really understand things that happen in a relationship!!!! I have been on this site for almost 3 months or so and it has helped me sooo much! You literally are an angel of wisdom for myself and thousands of other readers out there! Please do not every stop with this blog or sharing what you have learned in your experiences because you have no idea, just how many people you are helping!!!

    I have restarted, for the 2nd time now, NC with my AC… just found out one week ago that he got engaged, via FaceBook.. and when I asked him about it, instead of apologizing or admitting, he got defensive. If I had not discovered it on my own, he would of continued to see me, and god only knows how many other girls. The sad part is, 2 weeks prior to his engagement, we were ‘together’, when he came down to visit me. This past week, I was so desperate for him that I continued to talk to him and actually contemplated meeting him again, knowing he was engaged… I immediately came to this site and long and behold, there were post about ‘ letting go’. Today is my 2nd day of NC and its so quite in my head – since this past week was a roller coaster of emotions with drama in every single twist and turn. I know that at the end of the day, I am in the better seat, rather then marrying a guy who is cheating before, through and most likely after the engagement, but I have linked myself with the ‘am I good enough index’ that this is so so so hard. I keep telling myself not to validate myself by what he does or doesn’t do or the fact that he is with her forever. I know that I do not love myself as I used to and need to work on myself, and I am trying. I just wish this all would just be easier. The sad part is that I keep checking my phone to see if he text-ed, but I know I should not be b/c hes engaged. There’s times where my brain wants me to contact him or something but I know its just drama that I want b/c I know how things will end. Never realized how addicting and mentally and emotionally dangerous drama can be :(

  17. NK says:

    Recently I have had to take a step back because my new relationship has started to turn. My intituition is telling me that hes either going to dump me or hes thinking about it. Its been 4 months or so. I had a birthday party last week and he turned up without a gift or card. I didnt say anything, 4 days later (he was texting me every day). I menionted it. He gave me a very vague answer. The next day he text me when I was wasted at my leaving party. THE WORST TIME TO TEXT ME when somethings up. Hes texting me how are you? and I reply with by mentioning the present thing he replies with ‘good things come to those who wait’. But I dont stop there, I then phone him and send him an essay of an text saying that im not happy with this situation.
    I then then felt ‘oh sh*t’ damage control needed, so I ask him to meet up with me a few days later. I apologise for the increased attention but I dont apoplogise for being upset that he was inconsiderate. He replies by saying that he forogt my card and he has something planned as a present. That I need to be patient and how could I think he wouldnt do something for my brithday……
    Now, all I had to do was sit and wait and see what happens. Now I’ve made a big deal out of it, I unintentionally got emtional and also brought up a few other things during this conversation. The week before the birthday I felt as thought I was becoming ‘too available’ for him and was in the process of pulling back, I also had a very bad day and was emiotional and he was their to comfort me. This made me feel very exposed. Because then straight after this he goes and misses my brithday…..coincidence?

    • NML says:

      NK, while there is a lot of drama going on here, this whole ‘good things come to those who wait’ BS is BS. As Lord Sugar said last night “What I’ve forgotten about bullshit, you haven’t even learned yet”. If I could say that to your boyfriend I would – or you can pass on the message 😉

      Point is – this would have to be some unbelievably spectacular surprise to string out for what – a week to 10 days? What kinda f*ckery is that? The moment has PASSED! Why would he let you think he’d forgotten or that he wasn’t bothered and act like a distant dick and STILL not produce so much as a homemade card?

      Don’t get things twisted and think “Oooh, I was dramatic a couple of weeks ago which is why he didn’t give me anything for my birthday. And OOOOH, if only I hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t have ruined my spectacular surprise”.

      Now granted, you could do with getting off the crack pipe, but you have someone else with you who is contributing to the drama. You are not an island stirring up drama with no input from him. That said – you’ve put yourself between a rock and a hard place. All this drama making is sending the wrong message plus just like the woman who browbeats her way to an engagement, by kicking off about your birthday, you’ll never enjoy this gift *anyway*. The real issue here is that you are not comfortable being available in this relationship and you also think that he’s unavailable which means you both have bigger fish to fry than a birthday present – sort out your fears, your drama inclinations, the pulling back and your availability issues.

      • NK says:

        I agree with you NML. I don’t buy that excuse. He knows that.
        Its a shame, I was doing very well in the beginning, a whole lot better than other situations I’ve been in. There were boundaries and it was going slowly, but some how (and I think I can pin point when) I started to slip into old behaviours and he either encouraged it or was ok going along with it. Now I’ve got to a point where I am feeling physically ill, because I know that the situations not right and as much as I am trying my best to get on with other things and wait until I see him next to ‘sort it’ or break up with him. I’ve actually broken down today. I need to do it today, as soon as possible really. I cant relax until I do.

        • Used says:

          A manipulative little mo-fo, this one.

          Simple–2 rules:
          1. If he calls and leaves a message, or texts you, you don’t reply;
          2. when he does get a hold of you, you tell him, “thx for the offer, but I am busy on that day.” Then get off the phone w/some sort of valid excuse (that you are busy, or that conveys that you are busy).

          You’re welcome!

          • Fearless says:

            I agree with all the above re the non-birthday card/gift, and the ‘good thing come to those who wait”!! I felt like swearing when I reas that – you shoud get Crhis Rock to cuss him out (is that the expression?!) What a tosser. And I know this shit cos my Mr EU wa always ‘distant’on my birthdays… always very very very very busy!! And then he’d show up weeks later with yet another effing book (the gift) all wrapped up in the plastic bag it came in when he bought it. Tosser. A ‘big’ birthday of mine fell on one of our “off” times. Like an idiot I texted him over a week after to ask why he hadn’t even wished me a happy birthday (attention seeking, I know) and I got a rext back saying he “wished had wished me happy birthday in his thoughts”. Tosser.
            The turning up to your b-day party with no gift or card is just his way of teeling you:
            1. I am an asshole
            2. You better not go getting any ideas above your station.

            He was juts doing the pushy-pulley game – when he realises you are not just accepting his behavious and he has caused a bit of a chill he pulls you back in with some crap about a big surprise – what a load of bollocks. Tosser. I feel angry on your behalf NK! Tell him to sling his hook and go find some other mug.

          • NK says:

            I broke up with him last night. It was hard. I offered him the chance to be honest with me. But he said that I was wrong. That I’ve interpretated it differently. But then he didnt say much else at all. He really has communiation issues. He cant even express BS!
            He says he is going to give me my gift on the weekend. I said ok.
            Although, I do feel as though I’ve given up to quickly, because I then suggested that I made a mistake (classic drama seeker right?). Told him to think about it. If he does decide to then there certain things I wont accept. But I wont be accepting any behaviour like this. Now its the morning after Im kind of regreting it……..

            • NML says:

              NK, this is one of those situations where you seem to be taking more crack than getting off it.

              Breaking up is for one purpose and one purpose only – to break the relationship. It’s not a way to solve problems, to force someone to do something or even manipulate them, which in my time I have seen thousands of readers do because they think that breaking up is a game.

              Your intention is not to break off this relationship – it’s like you’ve broken it off with him to force his hand and get him to do the big reveal on the gift or speak his mind. Now I get that communication isn’t his strong point, but the truth is, neither is yours. You cannot have a honest and mutually respectful conversation with drama at your end and ambiguity and lack of communication at his. This is a horrendous way to go about getting a gift and you really have to stop. Leave it be. Stop being dramatic and stop saying you’ve made a mistake. Stop ‘reacting’ and sit on your hands and tape your mouth shut. You cannot browbeat someone into giving you a gift. It would have been better to 1) let it go and see what happens and then based on how you feel, assess the relationship overall and ask yourself if there are any *other* more pressing issues in the relationship or 2) end it and move on.

              At such an early stage in your relationship, you are both communicating the wrong things about yourselves.

              • NK says:

                I tried to let it go. I decided that I would wait and see what happens. But after a week I physically felt ill and couldn’t really concentrate on other things. I tried to relax and distract myself but it realyl bit me in the butt. The last thing I wanted to do was play games. But I’ve ended up doing it. I didnt do all this so I could get a present. I knew he was going to give me something eventually. But my gut was saying ‘get out’…..I listened. But now im not sure whether its just my fears. Im starting counselling again (stopped it last month after 2 and half years). Hopefully that will help me process my feelings, because my brain goes at full speed and I cant handle it. even when I do excercise or something to take my mind off it. It comes back!
                Thanks for your replies btw….

          • grace says:

            Are you thinking of taking him back because he might buy you a birthday present? It’s not about the birthday present. It’s the fact that he doesn’t want to a proper relationship. Are you going to be directing this relationship (how often you meet, when he should call, what he should buy you) like an air traffic controller for the next x years until you’re completely sick of it?
            Of course he’s not going to agree with you. You can still do what’s right for you without his permission or agreement.
            Let him be what he is. It’s the ultimate drama to try and direct someone else’s life/attitudes/feeling/emotions/actions. You’re not a film dirctor, you can’t do it!

          • Jennie says:

            What I think you need to realize, and what I’ve been realizing and I see a lot of ladies on this site realizing, is that you can’t faux-break-up with someone for the purposes of teaching him a lesson and think to yourself, “OK, if he comes around and does what I want him to do this time (ex. buy a birthday present, call, acknowledge me in public, whatever), he’s worth another chance.” Almost all of Nat’s readers have learned the hard way that this will not work. If someone is an assclown, while you may be able to manipulate him into showing you some good behaviour for five minutes or as long as he thinks he may lose you, he will at the end of the day return to being an assclown. That’s why you need to get behind your decision to have a real breakup where you don’t get back together with him even if he apologizes.

          • Fearless says:


            and how many of us have tried this! (as you say):

            “I offered him the chance to be honest with me.”

            Trouble is that we should actually be offering oursleves the chance to be honest with ourselves! He cannot be honest with himself never mind with you and the reality is we are not being honest with ourselves either – it’s a case of the blind leading the blind. Nothing gets better till you take your own blimkers off.

  18. MissE says:

    So very accurate yet again!
    I spent an exorbitant amount of time analyzing my ex and his hot messes 2 year ago. I checked dozens of books out of the library on attachment issues, narcissism, men in general, read ans saved hundred of online articles and decided it was my duty to play therapist and to understand and put up with his behavior and help him change. I “told him about himself” a couple times…he did even ask for my help to change one time…but as we can all guess NOTHING came out of that except more drama and heartache for me as he continued to be an assclown. SMH!

    Now I realize that while a man may have legitimate issues, it is not for me to solve. I also think working on my own issues will actually cause me to repel men with a slew of issues, so then it would not even be an issue anymore. That is in fact the ONLY thing I can control. Trying to fix a man or be his therapist is NOT rewarding and quite stressful, so no thanks. I wish you well in fixing your problem but I can’t be along for this dysfunctional ride. It’s embarrassing that my nickname is dramaqueen and that people have called me dramatic, but I always thought it was in the “cute” way because of my great, storytelling abilities…but it just hit me that OMG the reason why I always have these crazy stories, particularly surrounding men and the most ridiculous, movie-like scenarios is actually an unhealthy one….smh. When you spoke of your experience it was a mirror of my own and even being nice to stalkers…I would always bemoan the fact that “crazy men” seemed to love me. Funnily tonight my cousin asked if I had any new “funny stories” to hell her (as I was speaking to her a couple nights ago about mu ridiculous past) and I told her no new, dramatic and crazy thing has happened to me with regards to men, because I am no longer like that so I don’t even attract such crazy scenarios anymore…I suppose I will have to be a different kind of friend now without those crazy stories. Oh well :-)

  19. Ali says:

    “This is an open and shut case of assholery. Judgement in favour of the plaintiff. FLUSH! NEXT!” This made me LOL!

    This made me sit up and take notice…….
    ” I liked the attention because I didn’t differentiate between positive and negative attention”.
    Another great post Nat, again, it sounds like you are talking about me – boy am I learning :)

  20. Minky says:

    Wow – another timely one! I live with a drama seeker/ drama creator! I personally hate drama (though i am guilty of thinking everything is about me) – i like everyone to get along peacefully. She, on the other had, is not happy unless she has something to be ‘outraged’ about. She will quite happily kill an entire evening by telling a ‘can you believe what happened to me!’ story. A friend of ours was visiting and working in the UK for the summer. She found out that something bad had happened to him and just went ON and ON all night about how she was going to ‘get’ the people responsible and ‘make them pay’. He has gone home now. Has she done anything to seek ‘justice’? Has she buggery!

    My other flatmate and I are actually moving elsewhere and i am really happy about this. I don’t like the constant negativity. Her parting gift has been to interrogate my other flatmate and i about how much rent we pay (we have different scales according to room sizes) and trying to convince us that we’ve been paying the wrong amounts (me too little and my friend too much). I took massive offense to the insinuation that i was being dishonest and trying to con people, but then i realised that it was her intention to move to the bigger room and, naturally, she wanted to pay less for it. It wasn’t about me at all. I think my main problem is making people’s actions about me. It isn’t anything to do with me! Thanks to articles like this, i am now able to rationalise these things and it has done my self esteem the world of good! It’s horrible and exhausting blaming oneself for everything. I am so much happier now that i’ve started removing myself from situations and seeing them for what they are.

  21. Elle says:

    Natalie, This is an awesome post. This part was, for me, both poignant and bloody hilarious: “The truth is, like everyone who is banging sequinned shoulder pads and handbags at dawn, I liked the attention because I didn’t differentiate between positive and negative attention.”

    Truth be told, I was actually going to come onto BR today to use it as a buffer between me and this new guy I have just (2-3 weeks ago) started seeing. He appears to be great: kind, super funny, smart, self-sufficient, a listener, generous etc. But I found myself last night, and then again today, when we speaking, having this crazy urge to start trouble. Let me say upfront, he is not a vapid, remote, flakey, or stonewalling type. (There is no excuse to start trouble, but some people make it harder for you to resist the urges to be dramatic, especially after you’ve tried healthy means and have not had the presence of mind or confidence TO FLUSH!). Anyway, I have noticed this building desire, and I purposely chose not to see him tonight because I could tell I am in the state of mind where I want negative attention, even maybe to start a fight or make him despise me. The higher part of me has obviously taken some control over the situation (albeit not necessarily the most sustainable solution), but I can’t tell you how intense the urge is to relate to this person in a negative way or get him to say or do something as a result of shitty behaviour or maybe even end things, even though there is really nothing he has said or done to suggest anything unsafe about him, I like his company a lot, and he’s been only reliable to me. I don’t want to do the whole ‘offload’ to him because I will probably regret that and I need to learn to deal with this on my own. I think I have had this impulse for a long time/forever, but it seems to be more noticeable (maybe stronger, but prob just more noticeable) since the AC shot through. Geez, it’s a strong force. I need me some Luke Skywalker to resist it.

    • Used says:

      B/C my mom was friends w/their mom, I was forced to grow up with 2 girls, sisters, who intentionally seek trouble. They, older than me by up to 5 years, tortured me growing up. B/C they acted like angels in front of our parents, and b/c their mom always bragged about how they were “such good girls”, including bragging about how men found the eldest attractive and hit on her, my mom came to think that I was jealous. Funny part is, my mom always kept me down to accommodate and not offend them. EX: When I got into a great college, my mom didn’t tell any of them until months later. EX: Though I have great legs, b/c the eldest had bigger thighs, and b/c her mom thus felt it necessary to brand all girls who could wear short skirts as “sluts,” both I and the younger daughter were forced to wear longer (a few inches below the knee) skirts! (Now, of course, th younger daughter wears short skirts all the time!)

      They never speak unless spoken to, so they are horrible company. If they do speak to you, then they are out to cause trouble. A few years ago, I was insulted by the eldest at a holiday party at my parents house. She wanted a reaction, she got it. The party, which took my mom TWO WEEKS to prepare for, was ruined. I have not spoken to these sisters since, unless forced to and then it’s only a “hello”. Funny, the younger sister is meaner! Why? B/C she has been brainwashed into being the Family Defender.

    • Used says:

      …anyways, over the years, I have learned that these girls’ mom had a dysfunctional upbringing (alcoholic father, their grandfather). So, for this reason and others, their family has had a histor of being social outcasts. THEY HAVE BEEN REJECTED.

      You are rejecting before being rejected.

      Don’t worry about whether others like you–you just worry about liking other people. Good people!

  22. Sue says:

    Again, Natalie, you’re spot-on correct about me and my relationship. I met an assclown who fastforwarded, and although I didn’t know the term at the time I felt rushed. Nah, I said, I’m flattered that he’s paying so much attention to me – until we got married. Thankfully we’ve been divorced for a few months, and my eyes are wide open to prevent me from ignoring my code red alerts next time.

  23. Sydney Wilson says:


    Your posts get better and better….perhaps I am repeating myself but I look so forward to your articles. The Crack Pipe image/rhetoric is spot on. As a newcomer I’ve read a little of your history but really…it’s striking that you are so clear about Healthy/Unhealthy Relationships. I need this blog right now because it truly validates my inner wisdom that my mind, at times, will doubt.
    I love the image of you and your gavel saying, “This is a clear case of Assholery, next… ”

    Thanks again for great writing and great truths!


  24. meagen19 says:

    If there is one thing I can say about my f-ed up EUM relationships, I hated drama. It made me sick. I grew up with a mother who is the poster child for depression and histronic personality disorder and an alcoholic father I saw on the weekends and who once strangled my mother in front of me and on another occasion kicked in our apartment door. My mother’s father was cold and unloving, so his boys (my uncles) became that way. My aunts adopted passive aggressive personalities to get by with their father and continued that pattern as adults. I always wanted my grandfather to love me and he never said he did- it’s taken me a while to realize he was actually my prototype EUM. My mother’s drama seemed to make my grandfather pity and/ or resent her and I felt likewise: being dramatic=showing emotion=weakness (rearrange those anyway you like) so I resented my mother and became…emotionally closed off like the males in my family. I don’t think I had the level of drama in my relationship that some ppl here (NML included) – maybe because I was EU myself?- but what drama I did have made me physically sick because it made me think “I’m becoming my mother” . I think in trying to avoid drama I may have stayed in relationships longer than I should have, trying to –seemingly logically- work through/tough things out. Is it possible that had there been intense drama in my relationships I might have bailed sooner? I have to wonder. (BTW I now also realize that for a long time I’ve conflated “love” and “drama” because the ppl who have claimed to love me have always been dramatic and manipulative, i.e like my mother. I think this is a cornerstone of my EU-ness)

  25. Relationship or not, some people just thrive on drama. I had a recent question on co-workers, and decided that the writer basically just loved to stir the pot!

    Some people just seem to buzz of the anxiety, like you say.

  26. CC says:

    I’m a recovered dramaholic, proud to say. Yes the days of analyzing texts and coversations and allllllllllllll that with my friends, etc are over. One of the later things I realized I had to also deal with was the fact that the phone doesn’t ring all the time, I don’t get guys texting every week asking where I’m at, what I’m doing… the quietness is NOT a reflection of my worth! It’s another level of realizing the stillness is a good thing. That no attention is ok! Its part of the work that needs to be done to just be ok in and of yourself, by yourself. Not feel popular, in all aspects of my life, I used this in my work and friend relationships as well, has been completely eye opening to the extent at which I sought validation. Taking it all away is not easy, the highs can make you feel great, but its good work to constantly remind myself that none of it defines us as people. I had a great ability to turn the fact that no one would call me into “I must not be liked by xyz…”. Ridiculous, but was hard work for me to understand. So glad to have BR as daily reinforcements to all this. I enjoy reading everyone’s comments as well and often want to respond to all of them!

  27. Australia says:

    What amazing timing on this post. I need some advice though…

    I am currently ON in an on/off very casual relationship – we hang out, we sleep together, we’re not seeing other people, but there is no progression or intimacy or balance.
    I am young and I don’t necessarily want a very serious relationship right now, however what bothers me in this whole situation is that my self-esteem is low because he can be negative and just unkind to me. He’ll talk to me in unloving ways, and I just don’t like it. He’s not always like this mind you.
    I see that this is not a good situation for me and I do want out however I have a hard time of how to do it because I do care and love him because I know he is how he is because he has some issues from the past, therefore I want to talk to him and tell him I’ve had enough but I don’t want to hurt him. I thought by ‘telling him his flaws’ in a kind way and easing into it might be easier. Because the other option is to lay it out on the line, and leave, but I know deep down he cares for me too, so I can’t approach it in a harsh way. I really don’t want a dramatic situation.
    Can anyone relate to this? I think he may still take the ‘telling him his flaws’ in a bad way too even though I really am coming from a loving perspective.

    • grace says:

      there’s no need to tell him his flaws. just tell him you DO want a serious relationship after all. You say you don’t but progression + intimacy = serious.
      It won’t hurt his feelings. If it matters that much to you, he’ll think something along the lines of “I’m so great, girl’s always fall in love with me and want more”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, these guys are like teflon, nothing sticks. He’ll just bounce right back.

    • annied says:

      @ Australia … you sound like a sweet, loving, kind and empathetic person – just like me! You are going to get hurt even more if you stay. The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave and the more your self-esteem will suffer. I hope you find your strength and walk away – like I should have done 4 years ago. ((hugs))

    • meagen19 says:

      I guess my question would be: is his caring for you “deep down” good enough for you? It seems like you are settling for what he might be feeling and not what he’s actually willing to say/give. And why be kind to him if he’s being so unkind to you?

      • Elle says:

        Wake up Australia! There’s a very high chance, if you don’t tell him you want more and then leave if he’s not sincerely open to it, that you’re going to get yourself into the situation where you’ll break up anyway (because it’s not going anywhere and you’re not going to be young and breezy forever – one of you will bail), and it will then take you months, even years, to forgive yourself for having all of these signs that this is not good for you and ignoring them. You’re not looking after yourself properly. He’s not going to learn things from within a ‘demi-relationship’. You’re actually doing him a favour – in the big picture – by leaving him. More importantly, you’re saving yourself from a world of harm that will, otherwise, continue long after you guys have ended.

    • grace says:

      May I just caution you against telling him his flaws, however lovingly. No one wants to hear that. It would piss me right off if someone sat me down and lovingly pointed out everything that’s wrong with me. To be honest, the more loving they were, the more annoyed I would be. It’s very patronising. I think it could backfire horribly on you, especially if he has a history of being unkind.
      You don’t have to be an AC to be resistant to this kind of “constructive criticism”. Seriously ask yourself why you feel the need to tell him about himself.

  28. Minky says:

    Hey Australia,

    I understand not wanting anything serious because you’re not in that place, but doesn’t the fact that you say you *love* him make it serious – at least for you? Casual relationships are not supposed to involve strong emotions, they are convenient arrangements where both parties want the same thing (to have superficial fun with one another). It’s supposed to be uncomplicated and not very deep or meaningful – that is the defining factor of a casual arrangement. I know – i’ve had plenty! I’m still on good terms with almost all the guys because no one got emotionally attached.

    You are not responsible for how hurt he feels. You have to do right by yourself. If he’s unkind to you sometimes, you need to tell him. Lots of people have issues in one way or another (everyone on this site, for example), but they don’t go around hurting other people and being unkind. It’s not an excuse. And it doesn’t look like he’s as concerned with not hurting you as you are about not hurting him, hence his actions. You sound like you care more for his feelings than for your own.

    If you want to be kind, simply say that you are not in a place where you want to be involved with anybody and leave it at that. You can’t predict how hurt he will be based on how hurt YOU would be if someone were to do this to you. He’s a different person, with different feelings. If this is a casual relationship, you should be able to walk away fairly easily.

    Best of luck.

  29. annied says:

    How great it is to relate to someone – even if it’s over crap like drama! My family is THE drama family. It goes on to this day and I’ve been forced (by my own sanity) to stay away from my parents, lest I get sucked back into it. It is really safer to stay away. That being said, though, I can be a drama queen myself. I over-think and over analyze … start battles when there is nothing to battle about except being bored

    And Natalie, I totally understand … “This is an open and shut case of assholery. Judgement in favour of the plaintiff. FLUSH! NEXT!” But here’s the thing… it seems so easy to see things from the outside when you are not IN the drama. When you are in it, it’s like you feed off of it and it’s how you live or something. Then, there’s that ODD thing of forgetting! Here’s an example:

    My wonderful, smart sister was telling me to stay a way from the AC (don’t worry, this was a year ago or more). She went on to say how I had the habit of picking guys that were just plain mean – jerks in almost every way. She told a story about ex-husband and how bad he used to be to me… and you know what? I had forgotten! I completely blocked out what an a-hole he was. When I said, “Wow, I forgot!” She said, “I haven’t forgotten. Talk to me and I’ll remind you.”

    Well, Nat, it is your voice of reason that keeps me going. You are definitely the “Rope of Hope” for me :) Thank you

  30. EmLAW says:

    In all honestly I must have been seeking drama when started conversing with MM. My drama index skyrocketed from the onset with the wooing texts, emails, and passsionate phone calls. Maybe also from the secretative nature of our affair. Boy, did I ever come to realize that he thrives on drama – me not so much! His entire home life is drama…blow out fights, screaming matches, storming out of the house….or so I am told. Maybe that is why when the wooing was over and I was carefully put in my OW box that it hurt so much. The crumbs themselves created huge drama in my life – pathetic as it may be….I actually got butterflies when I would see I had an incoming text. I become addicted to sucking on the Drama/Relationship Crack pipe and my index was off the charts. Stepping back…its not like he treated me like gold but when I was managed down the lack of drama killed me.

    “That’s pseudo attention, pseudo comfort, pseudo control which dissipates. As time goes on, especially in relationships, just like drugs, you have to create more drama to feel the same level of attention you used to and it also gets harder to climb back up from the low” probably exactly why I am in the dumps on day two of no contact. I know I am doing the right thing but I never imagined it would hurt so much.

    • Fearless says:

      At least you are starting to question your belief in him but, more importantly, your own contribution to the situation. If you keep doing that you will gradually reach a different understanding – it hurts – I know. Try to stay firm – give yourself space and distance from him and his manipulations (whether you think they are intentional or not – the effect on you is the same). Refuse to allow the instinctive reactions to him to reign – question them when you feel them. I know what you mean about butterflies when he sends a text… the feel good factor (or drama) is addictive, like a reward for good behaviour! We are the human version of Pavlov’s dogs – but we must not lose sight of the fact that other woman are not getting a “high” over a pathetic text message. They would see a crumb – and be insulted that this was all he thought she was worth.
      Magnolia hit a nail on the head with: we are titillated by the attention we are getting when we should in fact be isulted. It helped me when I started to tap into what I should be feeling (insulted) and suppress what I knew was the wrong reaction! I also think you are right to question his version of the fights and dramas that go on at his house – at best it’ll be exaggerated (my guess is crapola!) Bottom line is tho’ – he chooses her. Full stop. End of story for you. Good luck.

    • Minky says:

      Hey Em,
      I’m SO glad to hear you’re in NC. It is hard. Going NC was one of the hardest things i ever did. I actually used to throw my head back and wail ‘i miss himmmmm!’ when talking with my friends (oh the shame!). Now, i couldn’t care less about where he is, what he’s doing, who he’s messing around. He’s just another guy i once went out with. He no longer has any impact on my life at all.
      I could absolutely not have reached that level of indifference if it weren’t for NC. It helps you to get the perspective you need and forces you to think of yourslef and your life without them in it. It’s the addict version of detox and it is PAINFUL! There will be times when you have to literally sit on your hands. I can tell you now that breaking NC will be even more painful though and the disappointment you will feel when the MM shows you, yet again, that he can’t give you more than crumbs, will be crushing.
      Be strong, think of the long term benefits of turning your life around and squash all desires to make contact or respond to contact. I would block him personally, but each to their own.
      Best of luck!

      • EmLAW says:

        Natalie’s recent post “Never, ever, ever, ever, *ever* allow yourself to be demoted from girlfriend/boyfriend, to Friends With Benefits, to booty call. If you’re not good enough to be in a relationship with, you’re not good enough to screw” was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, that and the other valuable information and support I have received from you all!!!

        Its very humiliating to admit feeling that I have been managed down to a booty call…not that it was a relationship to begin with because he was married but, it was a lot different because of his obvious future faking! Its also a wonderful feeling to be able to slam the door in their face and walk away. Thank god I love food and crumbs are just not enough for me!! I am determined to walk away with my head held high and I am not going back. The fact that he has dragged me down to the dumps of despair and managed to get me addicted to the ole drama crack pipe is clear evidence that I am FAR FAR above him and I need to get back to my good place.

        Geeze pretty much I have had every trick in ass clown manual played on me haven’t I?? I have stepped into an imaginary bubble and I am not letting anyone in that isn’t something comforting and something I can look forward to consistently and that makes me happy instead of (just to name a few) confused, frustrated, used, miserable….and the list goes on.

        The “bonds” that MM always claimed we had (27 + years) were clearly just infatuation. Looking at the BIG picture he treated me worst than anyone in my entire life….he is not worthy of the pedestal I had him on, and most importantly I don’t need to be friends with him any longer because a friendship is based on mutual trust and respect – he does not respect or value me one bit.

        So, in no contact (DETOX) do you recommend that I keep reading BR as therapy? I have never been in DETOX but I hope/expect the worst has already passed. I think its my turn to finally help others see the light.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hi Em,

          Good for you. I felt the exact same way when my denial cracked and I realized I was not only a booty call but one that cooked dinner too. Of course, I only cooked the things he liked which didn’t include tomatoes or cucumbers. I’ve been eating tomatoes and cucumbers for the past 6 months. My exMM did the future faking thing very nicely as well so it felt “different” for me too. Oh yeah, we were also “soulmates” and I was his “sunshine”. We were the only people on the planet that truly “got one another”…blah, blah, blah.

          The only way I made it through the early days of NC was by reading every single thing on BR, including all the comments. I found the OW articles and comments extremely helpful. I don’t know why I didn’t download Natalie’s books back then but I highly recommend them, if you haven’t read them already. I still have hard days and struggle after 6 months but I have had a few good days too. One thing I know for certain though is that I’ll never be that woman again.

          Good luck to you and keep us posted. xxo

  31. Karina says:

    This is soooo me to a T! One of my friends recently asked me ifI like the drama? And I had to admit that I truly did! It makes me feel alive and somehow cared for. But now I’m working with a therapist to get past that since it has been doing me no good ever since I found out my ex is dating an old ex friend of mine after she knew of our entire dilema. I’m trying to focus more on me and then move on. The interesting thing is, my family is so dramatic that it sends me cringing everytime and now I see where I got my drama seeking tendencies! Shame!

  32. jj says:

    it feels confusing to me that there are so many types of EUM – i feel my head and heart are on a see saw and just as i get it that he isnt good for me in my head – my heart starts coming to the top and reminds me of all the lovely tender sweet things he did. No drama, no insults, no arguments ever, just disappearing, longer gaps, the closer we got, the further he ran….and then my head tells me how clever that was. How he managed down my expectations. Never invited me to his, never introduced me to anyone, never made plans, never mentioned even next week into the future….. 6 months that started with such promise, felt like something beautiful – but within weeks dwindled into gradual disappointment, butterflies turning into cement mixers, increasing bewilderment, wondering why things werent progressing… he was EUM. I am no drama queen – but I want passion, consistency, a man. I need more SEX than he was giving – never mind love affection commitment and respect :) jxx

  33. jj says:

    Though I confess I have crystals sitting on my mobile phone – willing and waiting for one of his mega long texts, I have decided in my head that its over , I pray I am wrong, Nat is wrong, you are all wrong, and really he is so in love with me it has frightened him….. but I know that is ludicrous. No one with any sense risks losing someone they care about -and he is obviously very smart….I also have long alternative stories in my head about how I will tell him it is over if he makes contact from sort of Gone with the Wind romantic ones to Kill Bill cut him dead ones :) …. so not completely over him yet. This place is a true blessing for me .

    • crystalclear says:

      Aw hang in there JJ, I can relate ……but have stopped hoping for miracles. You say he wasn’t giving you enough sex nor letting you into his life? Sometimes amazes me how on earth these guys manage to get what they get! Defintely right choice and time to flush I say. x

    • NML says:

      “he is so in love with me it has frightened him” – JJ, you need to put down that crack pipe! Many a woman has given over their lives to wait around for a man they believe is so shy/busy/scared/tired that they just can’t ‘handle’ their love. People are scared of love and being vulnerable but they do it all the frickin’ time because taking the risk and being vulnerable is necessary to love. If he can’t be vulnerable, he can’t love you so I’d leave him with his melodrama and stop waiting around for a ‘super text’. Text? Screw that. Lazy communication!

      • grace says:

        You might be on to something – can I not turn up for work next week becaue I’m frightened by how much I like my job? Or maybe I won’t see the family this weekend because I’m scared of how much I love them. Or flush my pet fish down the toilet because I’m too fond of them.
        If there is ONE foolproof thing I’ve learned in life it’s this:
        People will make time for what’s important to them.

      • jj says:

        oh i know lol – i was failing at irony there :) I know it is a load of rubbish the stuff you tell yourself to justify giving it a bit longer – i am quite pleased with myself that i found BR and am going to flush after just a few weeks of vanishing acts, and not years – I have never have anyone behave like this and it was extremely confusing. You cant have enough sex with someone you see once a fortnight. So even though he wasn’t witholding sex for its own sake – thats what it amounts to in practice for me! I like the physical, emotional, affectionate side to relationships, you know, the things that help you get closer! So he will be flushed – dont worry :) He is already in my head/heart. Just dont know what to do if he contacts me (txt!) and shakes my conviction. Do I ignore it? Or respond and say forget it we are over? Or say we need to talk? I still want to behave like a decent person – and finish it respectfully – but don’t know that it is really necessary….

  34. grace says:

    “While you dislike or even hate their behaviour, your drama then becomes trying to understand the workings of someone else’s mind – a someone, I might add, who doesn’t think and act like you, so you could never understand unless you’re planning to be like them or are like them. You then create even more drama by refusing to accept what their actions mean and instead decide that you will be the exception to the rule and make them change”
    This reminds me of a line from a Woody Allen film “How the hell would I know why there were nazis? I don’t even know how a tin opener works!”. I am so much happier since I stopped trying to figure out why people do crappy stuff. That was such a pointless waste of my precious time and energy. But the funny thing is, when you step back and care less, the why becomes fairly clear. (Hint: open and shut case of …)

    • Used says:

      Grace, God bless you. You are absolutely right!

      Funny thing is, it was all so clear when I was younger, a teenager even. In college, people were nicer, so I let my guard down. This was O.K. with the emotionally unavailable. Not with those who weren’t. Sometimes, on some occasions, I learned to make excuses for those who acted like jerks. Sometimes even blamed myself.

      I am going back to who I was pre-college: no delusions, no lies, no b.s. Someone acts like a jerk, they are a jerk. They may get one chance, if the occasion/circumstances call for it (e.g., they didn’t invite me to a party b/c of a death in the family and wanted to “have it be small”–despite that our kids have established playdates with each other; fine; then I’ll invite you…ONCE; the next time your kid’s b-day rolls around and you don’t invite me b/c you are putting my ex-EUM and his wife before me, I’m not going to be a chump: you are officially OFF the b-day party list!).

      Problem is, the jerks I know know my other friends, as well. This skews things.

  35. Movedup says:

    Wow yeah drama – its everywhere! Working on a *friend* flush at the moment. Got to know a couple and they seemed like nice people- nice enough anyway at least to hang out and get to know better. Not liking what I am seeing – actions not matching words, back biting other mutual friends – creating situations just to watch them play out – definite game players. Not interested in continuing a “friendship” with them and putting distance between us. We still have mutual friends and hang out in the same places but its brief conversations these days – I just won’t go there when they start gossiping about so and so – make an excuse and leave the situation. Real eye opener and kind of sad but… I am on a BS diet and the games they play are just that BS. No thank you. Have to say I am getting better at spotting it and taking action on it. NO I am NOT that woman anymore.

  36. Rob Dawson says:

    I enjoyed your blog post.  Hopefully it won’t be long until our culture embraces these topics more openly.  It reminded me of this talk I saw at TEDxSF last week about redefining the female orgasm:

  37. Gingerbell says:

    I grew up in turmoil so it’s no wonder I feel oddly safe in an unsafe environment.. it’s just that it is very familiar.. so these codes, this hard wiring takes a lot of work to redirect.. Thank goodness for this blog because it really helps in the rehabilitation. Many of us are hard wired or we wouldn’t be here looking for solid insights like Natalie’s.
    I think beyond the drama crack is another kind of crack,.. pain crack.. Sometimes hanging on to the heartache, keeping ourselves closely aligned with the pain, keeps us hanging on to the relationship.. we still feel invested, still a part of him (or her) if we nurture and rest with the agony. While I know this is a short term or accepted mourning in a relationship’s demise, it can sometimes go on and on if the pain replaces the relationship.. Pain is addictive.. I am testament to that. If I have to do the work to be happy, I let go of pain.. meaning I let go of him.. so I go back to those old files in my mind that reel with nostalgia and heartache. It disgusts me while I am doing it but I know exactly why I am doing it.. I don’t want to move forward, because moving forward means letting go..taking control and taming the drama dragon…
    There are a lot of smart gals who post here, so I know we know what we’re doing.. I think we just have to bite the bullet and make the change.. which I, personally, find extremely hard. But it has to be done. I want to love someone kind, loving and faithful, but so far I’m addicted to arseholes who I love on the pretense of the way I WISH they would be. Just like any other addiction, it takes a strong will to change habits and no idea how you’re going to do it,..but just believe that you will. So can we please start a new AA?… Assclowns Anonymous?

  38. crystalclear says:

    Cracker post Natalie. I love this ;

    “This is an open and shut case of assholery. Judgement in favour of the plaintiff. FLUSH! NEXT!”

    I don’t thrive on drama, I actuallu prefer to avoid it, but it tends to know how to find me somehow! Hot tip is to never data an actor too. I have been guilty of over analyzing the crap out of itty bitty bits of information, flip flap behaviour and can relate to ‘deciphering the codes’ more so than just worrying about the overall ‘open and shut case of AB/accepting bullshit’. Hope this isn’t off topic too much but I broke two weeks of No Contact today, not because I felt like I needed to reconnect/ need attention but I wanted communicate to let him know that I was ‘onto’ his shady behaviour, it’s not for me and I was not pining for him with my silence . Fustratingly he hadn’t been in contact for the two weeks either which was very unsual and I was annoyed that did not have the chance to consistently ignore his contact when I was so looking forward to it, hmm I know.. who cares if he is out of my mind and heart right? So anyway I emailed him. Off the wagon.: “If you do not respond to this email, I shall assume you have actually had a full monty fatal asthma attack, If xx boss is reading this can you please contact me to arrange posession of his valuables” To which ofcourse which we replied with the old; Very funny. What’s happening? Any hot dates? How’s the corporate takeover going? Pointless careless questions. So I ingnored answering and just said, “I just wanted assurance you were still alive and kicking and everything has been going great with me:)”. He finally replied “Goos stuff, well we have to do… coffee soon :) ” We all know that code. I replied. “Nah caffeine is bad news. I’m on the straight and narrow. Am sure your ex will be hankering for a bean or two though…..or the ladies will be lining up now.. to see their reflection in your new wheels. Best to save your money for them.”

    Maybe I should of kept to NC, has he obviously does not really give a shit, but is it twisted that I enjoyed toying with him to imply he can’t toy with me anymore? Sigh. Guess it is still a flush.

    • NML says:

      CrystalClear, what’s crystal clear to me is that certainly in this instance, you do thrive on drama and don’t have a preference to avoid it. Make sure you evaluate why you’re doing NC – it’s for you, not him.

    • grace says:

      This reminds me of my MM encounter. I found myself texting him “I don’t want a text relationship”. Thankfully, I realised how stupid that was before pressing SEND. It’s like standing by the side of the road shouting “I don’t want to get run over! I’ve got a life! I know how to take care of myself!”. And then leaping in front of the bus, getting run over, staggering back up with broken limbs and yelling “What did you do that for?!”
      If you don’t want him to toy with you, then don’t toy with him. Not least because you can’t win. Yes. Flush.

      • crystalclear says:

        hehe Grace you are right. You are both right. It’s insanity and I knew it. Eeek I am more of a crack addict that I thought.

  39. Leigh says:

    I don’t believe I ever sought out drama. I just bought into it when I had the dysfunctional relationships with my exH and the exMM.

    I met my exH when we were young. I recall him telling me: “You don’t argue with me we should argue it’s healthy.” So I started to argue with him and he didn’t like that at first but then it went to catastrophic style arguments. Mainly by mind games and tactical moves. Eg: One year, the day before our anniversary we had a huge argument. He did his usually thing of not talking to me blaming me and looking right through me. Giving me filthy looks for a whole day. The day of our anniversary came, he invited one of his pals over for a night in. I overheard his pal say to him: “It’s your anniversary I shouldn’t be here talk to her man.” He said: “I know it is, I’m teaching her a lesson.”

    He not only taught me a lesson on our anniversary he also taught me a lesson on my birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions.

    It was for the thrill of the drama he did it. Seeing me in tears or deeply hurt empowered him. I bought into it by reacting. It became a cycle.

    Enter the MM. First year we knew each other he was all over me on my Birthday. (How sweet YUK!) After that he made it a point not to contact me on my birthday doing the silent treatment. Last time I saw him it was a week before my birthday and he said: It’s your birthday soon!” and I replied: “I thought you didn’t know when it was.” He said “Oh I know exactly when it is!”

    What a f**kwit!

    I recall when his wife left him, a couple that knew them well took him out to dinner and said. “Romance her, take her some chocolates and flowers date her again.” His response? “Why should I reward her for her bad behaviour.”

    These men are abusive even if you are not the type to seek drama out in the end your self esteem is so shattered you buy into the drama and the cycle gets created.

    Best way to deal with these types is to IGNORE AND FLUSH INSTANTLY!

    My Father always said “The one who laughs last last longest.” The people on here can laugh last and longest simply by brining the power back home and dumping these abusers and drama seekers. Breaking the cycle is freeing! :)

    • NML says:

      Leigh, unfortunately when you’re involved with an abuser, drama is a mainstay of your life. I don’t know how you stomached him. I was involved with someone like that – 18 months was all I could manage and the hangover lasted much longer. The walking on egg shells, the pissing them off with something entirely innocent, the antsy tummy, the feeling like a child and often ending up behaving like one as you play into the drama. Breaking the cycle is indeed freeing. Well done.

      • Leigh says:

        Thanks Nat!

        I stayed with him for 27 years. Ten of those years I was made to sleep on a sofa as I wasn’t allowed to sleep in a bed. I can’t begin to describe the stomach churning feeling of not knowing what he would be like from one day to the next.

        I stayed not for him but because I thought that leaving would hurt the children – I was wrong, I hurt myself. I’m mindful now that I express everything to my daughter ( as the way I conduct my life is an example for her) and that she knows how to deal with the types of men that can shatter her esteem. The only good thing that came out of my marriage was my children and I’m grateful for that.

        I finally empowered myself after our divorce. He was still coming to the home, stomping around, enforcing his ways, being disrespectful. I threw him out and he’s no longer allowed to come here to see the children. They are old enough now to form a relationship with him and make their decisions based on what they think is right and wrong.

        There is only one area left that he can inflict any games, and that’s the division of the property. It looks as if I have to give him his share. That’s fine but he won’t let me buy him out. I can’t wait until this last part is over but I also know my daughter is hurt by his behaviour in this regard. I doubt that she will ever speak with him again after this has taken place. There is nothing I can do about that except be there for her. My son is another matter entirely as he has special needs but he does understand what’s going on.

        I sit back now and I don’t engage in any of it. He has a sense of entitlement and some huge issues around my status, my job, my bank account. His issues and methods of game play no longer have an impact because I am no longer emotionally invested.

        I will start another life and another home for my children and myself and I look forward to the day my Mother predicted when he comes knocking on my door for help and I close it firmly in his face.

        That’s karma and life and what happens to abusers – payback. Only they are too self-centered to realise it and like to portray themselves as the victim.

        I am so glad to be out of the whole thing I finally have peace.

        • Fearless says:

          This is a dreadful story. I am so glad you found your way.I am very curious as to why you were “not allowed” to sleep in a bed? (though I know there’d be no good reason!)

  40. Vanja says:

    Thank you Natalie for this post! You hit the nail on the head for me. I am a drama princess, not a queen. Why? Because I live in other people’s drama and let it enliven me. I am very quiet, easy going and undemanding, but I always have demanding and toxic friends, male and female. And I like them and let me excite or sadden me.
    I am currently in love with a EUM who has me crying, laughing, hoping and curling up in a ball from pain of no contact for weeks. Then he will suddenly show up and act like he just saw me yesterday. My “best friend” who is a girl, is always yelling at me, then loving me and then hating me for something I said or did (but I never know what was wrong with it). She gets mad and me and says she will never call again, but then after a few weeks she does and we pick up like nothing happened.
    Between the two of them, I am on the constant roller coaster and wild ride. I can’t seem to shake either one. My friend is so dramatic and comes from highly dysfunctional family and tells me everything and wants me to be as upset as her. I get caught up in her drama and take the pain on as my own. I have lost all my normal friends that I had before I met her, because they are, according to her, terrible and phony. And my EUM tells me nothing of his life but acts like a torn misunderstood poet. He says loves me but can’t get close for reasons he won’t divulge. So between the two I’m a basket case. My friend always makes me laugh and we have the best times when she isn’t mad at me, but I never know when she will get mad and so I walk on eggshells. With my EUM, we have wonderful times too and the sex is fantastic. But then he goes away and each time I don’t know if and when he will return. Then suddenly, I get a text or email (phone calls are rare), or he shows up with flowers, tells me he loves me and is ready to hang out.
    I’ve tried telling him (and her) to go away and never come back, but after a week, I’m the one calling and begging them to talk or see me. I wish I could get off this merry-go-round. I am a basket case and lost all my confidence and hate how “wimpy” I am. I want to do the NC with both, but I know I am too weak!

    • Fearless says:


      these people are selfish, manipulating, using, abusing losers. Do yourself a big favour and block all lines of communications and go NC with both of them right way. Don’t sit on it – focus on you and your happiness as the top and ONLY priority. Don’t bother your shirt giving them reasons, or discussion or f all. Just drop them.

  41. Cinderella says:

    Perfect timing. I’m dealing with this issue now on a professional level. The men who are supposed to be working are 8 weeks late on my project. I take every delay personally instead of understanding very coldly that their sense of responsibility is totally lacking. I get incredibly frustrated and worked up at the poor communication and even poorer follow-through. I wish I’d had the balls to leave 2 months ago at the first hint of their laziness. I don’t leave because I’d lose my deposit money. But this article of yours teaches me to be more savvy in the future and insist on penalty clauses up front. And know that their avoidance of getting the necessary work done isn’t because of anything not good enough about me as a client.

  42. runnergirl says:

    Thank you Natalie for this article. It sent me back to my early journal entries of when I started NC. In between the wailing and moaning and ranting and raving were comments about how strangely peaceful and quiet it was. I described it as “all the noise suddenly stopped and the quiet was deafening”. This article gives me the words to describe what was happening. It was strangely peaceful and quiet because when he left, he took the relationship crack pipe, the drama, and his baggage with him, leaving me with peace and quiet. You all must wonder how I find my way to work in the morning. I sometimes feel so foolish to be 52 and just figuring things out. Over the months, I’ve adjusted and grown to like the quietness. I also noticed in my journal that when I slipped off the wagon, all the anxiety and drama returned. I described it as feeling “icky” because again I didn’t have the words. The crack and the drama returned but this time, it didn’t feel good. It felt uncomfortably noisey.

    Thanks for describing the “moth to the danger flame” episode. I’ve been in those situations as well and thought I was the only one. One New Year’s Eve several years ago, I found myself crawling out of a bathroom window and legging it five miles back to my car!

    And thank you for the distinction between positive and negative attention. Again, no clue. When I read your posts on healthy relationships, they stand in such stark contrast to what I’ve experienced, I just scratch my head and wonder if I was raised by wolves in a tropical jungle somewhere. Thanks again for the clues.

    • EmLAW says:

      I am feeling the same sort of peace you felt….it is deafining at times but it is also pretty wonderful :)

  43. Crazy Love says:

    Hey Everyone,

    I just needed to vent, have had a very bad day! :,(

    I went back to someone recently, who hurt me repeatedly in the 3 years we were together (on and off). Manipulation, cheating, put downs, reverse psychology, you name it he did it, he would nit pick at everything I did. He was / is a sex addict. He takes loads of cocaine. Nothing was ever good enough for him and he would finish me nearly every 2 weeks, then wait a week apologise and beg me back. We must have broken up about 50 times. He would get into these rages and blame everything on me.

    Anyways, he has been seeing a counsellor for 8 months now. And proclaimed to have changed. Recently I went away and he sent me love letters, poems, saying how I was the love of his life, how he would never hurt me, that I was his soulmate, telling me he loved me everyday. He would never leave me, he would look after me and keep me safe. When I got back he couldnt have been happier. He asked me to move in with him, well its only been a week later, and after a lovely weekend away he drops the bombshell that he doesnt think its a good idea to live together. I was obviously upset and didnt understand why, he just said its not a good idea. I got so upset, he said I was pathetic, he hated me, that he didnt understand why anyone would go out with me. Then just split up with me, after promising me repeatedly that he wouldnt do this. He said its not real love, but I dont understand why he would do this?? Im absolutely devastated. Beyond heartbroken.

    I trusted him so much, and stupidly believed everything he said. I just dont understand how you could do that to another person?? I am very attractive, outgoing, creative, smart, yes I have my faults like the next person. But I feel like im dying inside, he wont answer my calls, or texts and has just simply said its over. I have tried repeatedly to move on with my life and get over him, and he always comes back when im at my most vulnerable.

    I am sick of living this life, I cant stop crying, and this time it feels worth than ever before, as he has made me think that he meant everything he said.

    I just want to know that I will be alright.

    Peace and love.


    • Magnolia says:

      Dear Crazy,

      Sounds as though you wanted to believe he had changed but he in fact had not. The person you describe – addicted to sex and coke, lying, etc – does not sound able to be a good partner. Why, after so much evidence that he is bad news, did you keep going back?

      That is extremely unreliable, cruel and selfish to have you move in one week and give you the boot the next. It may not seem like it, but being finished with him is the best thing to happen to you. He seems the type to come crawling back eventually. But you can take control and decide for yourself it’s truly over, and start the job of figuring out why you would settle for such a poor relationship.

      Hugs to you – it’s no fun to lose a relationship. This one, though, seems worth being rid of.


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.