Woman asking a guy how much she's worth?

Don’t forget that I’m on a ‘break’ until September so I will mostly be featuring some of yours and my favourite posts from the archives. The following post is probably the most requested post for me to revisit and is part of a three-part series (I’ll post the other two over the summer break too). If you read the original, this version has been updated a little – enjoy!

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They say that you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep, but this belief is often misplaced. We look at someone and when they say that they’ve been married or in previous relationships, or that they go to church, are a cop, seemingly have friends, and can be the life and soul at a party, and we assume that it must mean that they’re a ‘great catch’. It’s the dating equivalent of ‘social proof’ – somebody being ‘liked’ by others or having had a relationship past makes them desirable. I imagine it’s like when banks do credit checks with their checklist and bearing in mind that they get it wrong with more ‘data’ behind their decisions and they have computers to automate the process, it’s actually crazy that as humans, we expect to make big decisions with ‘data’ based on assumptions that isn’t necessarily backed up with the proof of ‘facts’ – actions and the unfolding of a person’s character.

Ever wondered why so many people get involved with attached partners?

We take the fact that the person is attached as literal social proof that they’re capable of being in a relationship and capable of commitment, forgetting that the act of cheating itself is indicative of a lack of commitment and poor relationship values.

  • When we find ourselves with someone who seems ‘good on paper, not so great in the flesh’, we wonder, Where the hell have I gone wrong?
  • We wonder why we see such a different side to this person.
  • We wonder how they can be nice to others but not to us, or why they’ve loved others but not us.
  • We wonder why they haven’t left yet, or they have but are no more committed to us than they’ve been with others.

This confusion about why someone doesn’t want us/love us, ties in with the mistake of having conflicting ideas about value. ‘I’m a person of value that deserves to be treated well – why isn’t he/she treating me in this way?’ Why him/her and not me? What do they see in them when I’m the right person for them? Why can’t they see it?’ ‘I’m a good woman/man –  why don’t they value me? Why are they throwing away my love?

You see the thing about value, is that it’s very much driven by you, so in actual fact, you can tell a lot about how much you value you by the company that you keep (or chase).

If you claim to be someone of great value and then you hang with someone who treats you like low value goods and stick around to try to get them to see and treat you like higher value goods (i.e. teach them to learn to value you), it’s you who is changing your value not the other party.

Your value is as good as how you treat yourself, the company you keep, the beliefs you hold, and the life you lead.

If you don’t treat you with love, care, trust, and respect, you hang out with people who in turn don’t treat you in this way plus you continue to hold negative beliefs about you, love, and relationships, you will not only conduct your life accordingly and slot into the merry-go-round that is the self-fulfilling prophecy, but you will diminish your own value in your own eyes…. even though you are more than good enough right now.

When we run with this line of thinking, it’s not the other parties that we judge or even the situations; we judge ourselves for things not working out. We attack ourselves instead of questioning and adjusting the thinking behind our choices.

It’s also time to get rid of the piece of paper, rein in your imagination and opt for substance in the flesh.

Hard as it may be to hear, part of the reason why we get involved with people who offer the least likely possibility of giving the very things that we profess to want and who require radical change, is that aside from having commitment issues, poor love habits, and dealing with an element of inadvertent sabotage, it’s also about inflating our own value .

Have low self esteem —> Attach yourself to someone who will need to make you the exception to their track record of not being a good relationship partner —> Invest yourself in this limited relationship and attempt to get a return on investment —> Hope that if you eventually get him to change and see you in the way that you want to be seen and valued that this will give you an enormous boost, and make you a valuable, validated person = value inflated.

It’s also: Have low self-esteem —> Choose dodgy partner —> You initially feel better about yourself as you’re distracted by their problems and apparent lack of greatness = false value.

Love isn’t about having the power to get someone to change into the person that you want them to be just because you have ‘bestowed’ your ‘love’ upon them. Love isn’t about choosing reluctant, unsuitable, incompatible partners and then hoping, willing, waiting, and demanding that they make you the exception to their rule of behaviour.

This doesn’t mean that you’re not a person of value but it does mean that by valuing the wrong things and having the wrong perception about your own value, you undermine you and your efforts while also valuing you based on your involvement with others, veering between undervaluing and overvaluing you but never actually truly valuing you.

People who have already used up more than enough of your time and energy credits and who ultimately don’t act with love, care, trust and respect are a distraction from your own issues, seemingly making what you feel you have far more valuable. It’s important to realise that the way of actually being more valuable is to opt out of the madness and treat yourself as a person of value.

If you imagine you as a valuable property and you let someone move in that treats the place like a beat up caravan, eventually, no matter how valuable the property is, it starts to lack an appearance that is in line with its value and starts showing significant signs of wear and tear. People who pass by think ‘Man, I thought this place was worth a lot more than that but I guess I was wrong if they would just let it go to rack and ruin like that’. In the mean time, the property owner started out assuming that surely someone would treat the property with the love and care it needs and has now switched to believing that in time, this person will stop abusing the property and invest themselves in it and treat the property accordingly. Eventually, they have to kick the ‘tenant’ out, and while a little work is done to clean and fix the mess and damage, pretty much as soon as this person is gone, the value starts to go back up – I explore this subject further in my post on the Broken Windows Theory applied to self-esteem and boundaries.

Likewise, if you don’t choose carefully and live a life that is in line with the values and value you claim to have, it’s the equivalent of getting any old Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street and saying ‘How much do you think this is worth?’ and them throwing out some random, low price and then trying to explain to them that it’s actually worth a hell of a lot more and you being met with a blank stare. ‘Value’ is very much a perception thing and is a natural extension of being and conducting your life in a way that is congruent with the ‘values’ you profess to have.

Your personal values are at your core and fundamental to fostering healthy, happy, successful relationships but also to having a life with good self-esteem, filled with boundaries.

If you put that in reverse, if you have no boundaries, you will have poor self-esteem and foster unhealthy, unhappy, unsuccessful relationships because you don’t have values at your core so you lack congruency while also aligning you with people whose only values run counter to your own.

This is why I emphasise the importance of having an honest conversation with yourself and being authentic as opposed to having little or no boundaries, trying to morph and adapt to other people’s values that you don’t hold, or trying to get them to take on your values that they don’t respect or see, and basically losing yourself in every relationship you’re in because you’re so desperate to be loved and validated, you have no sense of self and have got lost along the way being whatever you think people want you to be. You may also find that you are inadvertently disrespectful to others as you impose your vision of things on them, tell them the changes that you expect, or try to force your love on them.

If you value yourself and have boundaries and values, nobody can come along and have you doing and being things that have you becoming distanced from who you are and also normalising bad behaviour in your relationships. By the same token, if you truly value yourself, and have boundaries and values, you’ll value and accept others who reflect your beliefs, and you won’t cross their boundaries or disrespect their values.

It’s important to note at this point, that say for instance, you’re involved with unavailable or even assclownic folk,  while no doubt it’s apparent that there’s a conflict in values, it’s recognising this rather than thinking, I can see that it’s screwed up that they value this so I must get him/her to change it because surely someone who values these things must realise it’s wrong and just needs the love of a good person?

If you really are looking to be happy and to meet someone who you are genuinely compatible with, it’s not about having dubious relationship habits, finding your ‘type’, and then trying to make them have your values or abandoning yours by hammering the square peg into a round hole so that you can get your ‘happy ending’. It’s about respecting you by respecting your values and aligning yourself with someone with similar core values.

Ask yourself: What are my values? Then look at your relationships and see if they reflect them and if they don’t, not only will you identify why your relationships haven’t been working, but it’s also time to question why you essentially ignore yourself and identify where you’re inadvertently or willfully compromising you and in turn suppressing your own needs, expectations and wishes.

Ultimately, we are all free to choose partners for whatever reason we feel like. We can root our choices in shared values or we can choose based on toxic beliefs, appearance, money, sexual attraction, desire to change the person, assumptions or whatever but… we are not free of the consequences of those choices.

If you choose partners without true regard for shared values, you will not only feel devalued and in the end, act from a position of feeling devalued, but you’re be perpetually on the back foot feeling bad about the lack of shared values you never sought in the first place. You matter. Don’t sell you short.

Your thoughts?

Holiday Update

Golden Girls wine glasses

  • I’m up t’north in Hull with one of my best mates Nikki ‘Nac’ helping her to get her new business launched. We had a mojito earlier and have reminisced about some of the bonkers stuff we’ve been through as well as chatting about anything and everything while we beaver away. Cue the Golden Girls theme tune. Aren’t these glasses (above) so cool?
  • I bumped into another BR reader this morning while getting off the train at Victoria! She lives two streets away from me and after shady relationships, she’s grown her self-esteem and is getting married next year. We ended up getting the tube together and having a laugh! I must admit that I did keep thinking, I hope she’s not staring too closely at my eyebrows… (wax time).
  • Don’t get too excited…yet… but I am going to be needing some help from a few Stateside readers in the autumn as I will be shooting a pilot for a show… More details in a few weeks. OK you can squeal now.
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80 Responses to Revisited: Values & Being Valued In Relationships – Your Value Is As Good As How You Treat You

  1. Liz says:

    “You don’t value me!”, was one of my ex’s favourite complaints along with, “we’re not progressing” and “I want to be with someone who *.* (insert whatever quality I appeared to be lacking at that particular moment)”. It was quite exhausting and demoralising, not coming up to scratch alot of the time. In the end I got tired of it and told him if I wasn’t good enough he should find someone else. Then he’d get upset because I was “being horrible”. He wouldn’t accept it when I said I wanted to end
    the relationship. He wanted seemingly endless numbers of discussions over it and I felt my only option was to insist it was over on a text message. Not nice I know but he just would not g give in.

    • Karen says:

      I was bamboozled by an assclown who carefully cultivated a perfect image of herself on paper (Ph.D, Texas oil millionaire, college president, etc.) but neglected to cultivate an authentic personality to match.
      It took me a long time to see past the image and realize that she’d overlooked the work of becoming a sincere, honest and trustworthy person who respected boundaries and valued others.
      It soon became apparent that the love she professed for me was actually a pile of crumbs she paid me to fluff her ego, amuse her and distract her whenever she felt bored.
      When I started feeling like nothing more than a doggy chew toy in her life, I dumped her and never looked back.
      When a relationship doesn’t work out simply because the chemistry was off, it’s smart to have an amicable break up.
      With an assclown who cons me into loving them by using charm, lies, manipulation and fake promises, they get a boot in the butt break up. No sense wasting respect and diplomacy on a phony.

      • Karen says:

        P.S. Isn’t it odd how great EUs are at building their own 20 foot tall impenetrable boundaries and how easily they ignore your normal ones?
        I guess they think boundaries are only for special people like themselves, and we “service providers” should just trust them when they say we don’t need any.
        As if!

  2. Liz says:

    Argh! Bloomin’ phone. My point is that by him continuing with our relationship, trying to make me value him, he was devaluing himself. He still doesn’t see it. I think both of us have EU issues but I had to opt out in the end to preserve my own values and self worth.

    • Lara says:

      Liz, sometimes, ACs try to validate themselves and value themselves highly, by doing the worst things, to see how much you will put up with — then, the fact that you put up with a lot of their crap, makes them feel like they are so valuable. In reality, of course, the fact that we stay with people who abuse us in this manner, has to do with our PROBLEMS and doesn’t say ANYTHING about their value as human beings and as decent men.

  3. Liz says:

    Btw great news on the pilot show. Hope we get to see it in the UK

  4. Sandy says:

    I love the house simile, I too was starting to look tired and worn out because of all his ass clownery but now my value is starting to rise again :-)

  5. Mr. Able says:

    Starting now. If I wait another five, ten, 15 years, I might not even be around. So, even if it takes years to get to healthy AND happy, I’m going to do it.

  6. Gibby says:

    Bleeding to have the toxic beliefs not be toxic … Yes, true sufferage and not sustainable! Must stop the cycle…

    Thank You Natalie.

  7. Sue S. says:

    Squeeeeeal! for the TV pilot!!!!!!!!

  8. Maeve says:

    oh! I’m stateside!

  9. Swissmiss says:

    Total squeal for the pilot! Yee-haw! Tell us more when you can!

    Wrote two long letters to the XMM. Stood in my sitting room and bellowed them out at the top of my lungs. Wow did that feel good. I hadn’t realized how much I dislike him. Three months of NC, and I value my equilibrium so much more than trying to squeeze some insincere apology out of him.

    Had a few match dates, liked them both but not interested in developing anything with either. Told them friends are fine, nothing else. I was strung along for so long, I can’t do it to anyone else. That’s new behavior for me. Valuing my own integrity.

    Life is so much richer than one year ago!

  10. Enough says:

    Thinking back WOW!!!! My value to my ex must have been “0” based on the way he treated me and the way I allowed him to treat me.It showed me that i really didn’t value myself. Well I did but i constantly allowed him to slowly take away from my worth. Sad i know. Its amazing how 3 months of not being together makes thing seem much more clearer. I have taken off the rose tinted glasses now trying adjust my eyes to the light now. It hurts at first but slowly things become clear!!!!

  11. WooHoo! TV – Fabulous news!

  12. Snowboard says:

    Congrats on the show, Nat!!!!!!!!!!!! NO ONE and I mean NO ONE deserves it more!

  13. Sarah says:

    Squeel for the TV pilot!!!!!!! That’s so cool and exciting! I almost got to meet you in Orlando FL a few years ago, right before your book release and still regret not being able to make it.

    This blog sums me up in a nutshell. I’m really going to try to start employing this because I am tired of dodgy relationships and would actually truly rather be alone than go through yet another one. Thank you, Nat! I’ve been referring all of my single friends to this site.

  14. Selkie says:

    S q u e e e a l, how exciting about the TV pilot! That is so cool Natalie!

  15. micheyl says:

    Wow, wow… sad wow!! This really fits me to a T.

    ‘Why her and not me? What do they see in them when I’m the right person for them? Why can’t they see it?’ ‘I’m a good woman – why don’t they value me? Why are they throwing away my love?‘

    OMG! This is what I thought when husband #1 remarried. This is what I am thinking now that EUM has replaced me with the next in line girl. I keep asking myself why I am so replaceable? I am so un-valuable to these men. I like looking at it the way my therapist and Natalie have conveyed – basically these women were willing to accept a limited relationship from a limited man and I wanted more. But honestly I guess I don’t truly believe that deep down. I know I would have accepted this limited relationship too, but they were the ones that broke it off, not me. Pathetic…

    “basically losing yourself in every relationship you’re in because you’re so desperate to be loved and validated, you have no sense of self and have got lost along the way being whatever you think people want you to be.”

    Yes that is me as well. I completely lost myself in EUM. I put him above me. Why? It didn’t start out that way. Why am I so desperate to be loved that it turns into that? I know it stems from not getting love from my mom or dad, at least not getting the unconditional love you should from a parent. Anyway, one day at a time. EUM still says he loves me. I need to turn it off. I need to turn off the importance of his words. They are so important to me. And I know they are not so very important to him. Just words, just empty air. There is no action to match them and I treat them like they are goddamn treasures. fuck this rollercoaster of up and down. I need to get off the ride. I just can’t do it. But I have to. I feel so fucking defeated and pathetic and alone.

    • Sue S. says:

      Hey Girl, I hear you. Do you have the Mr. Unavailable book? In it, there is a plan for weaning yourself off, a quit-by date, to get ready to break it off, so you don'[t have to take such a big step all at once. Sending positive vibes your way.

      • micheyl says:

        Hi Sue S.,

        Yes sadly I have read it twice! (and the NC book) I love it but can’t seem to put a lot of it into practice. Thanks for the positive vibes :) I think once I go truly NC it will be easier. I hope so anyway. Then his words won’t have value since I won’t hear them (or read them rather).

  16. micheyl says:

    Yes…. and I am so excited for the pilot Natalie. I need a good show to watch!!!!

  17. Peanut says:

    A PILOT?!

    CONGRATULATIONS NATALIE.

    If you’re ever in Texas and need any help ;)

    BTW-those Golden Girls glasses are VERY rad.

  18. Marie83 says:

    “trying to get them to take on your values that they don’t respect or see”

    The above I still struggle with. I often discuss with friends not being able to get my head around the ex’s behaviour – how he can treat people as disposable items and pretty much keep beating myself around the head with the idea that he is going to magically transform into a loving caring boyfriend with someone else – this hasn’t in fact happened – he got someone pregnant and they are already fighting about visitation rights and threatening court etc whilst he is also spending his free time going on the ‘pull’ with his mates – he is also still only working part time. His behaviour astounds me – not only did he willingly get someone pregnant who he was not invested in at all but he is not even seeing how serious having a child is – he is still carrying on smoking weed, playing videos games and chasing women – whilst also texing me sporadically to tell me he misses me!

    • Lara says:

      Yeah, I totally understand this feeling:

      “The above I still struggle with. I often discuss with friends not being able to get my head around the ex’s behaviour – how he can treat people as disposable items and pretty much keep beating myself around the head with the idea that he is going to magically transform into a loving caring boyfriend with someone else ”

      And you’re right — they don’t change; they are not as valuable as we think they are; we put them on a pedestal and almost worship them but in fact, they wreak havoc and damage wherever they go (i.e. whoever they get into a ‘relationship’ with). I have satisfaction in knowing that he will stumble from one failed relationship onto another, because HE was the problem. The only problem on my end was that I put up with his BS. He will devalue anyone he ends up associating with, whether it’s friends (which he doesn’t have), work colleagues (few if any want to associate with him), “girlfriends” (at 40, he cannot even hold down a relationship; he has jumped from one failed relationship into another), or family (only his parents, who I think know he has major issues and just put up with him because he is the only child they have near them; the other lives in Australia). I used to feel sorry for him, even when he kept dumping me; even during the pain of being dumped! I now realize that I should not feel sorry for anyone, especially him. He used and abused me, and then disposed of me! I devalued myself for him. And because I did, he also devalued me and disposed of me. If I hadn’t, though, he would’ve disposed of me regardless, because he WANTED someone to devalue themselves for him, because that was indication (in his sick mind) that he was of high value. But then, once the act had been done and he’d received a temporary ego boost/”fix”, he would realize that I was of little value at that point since I had devalued myself so much, and he’d get rid of me because if he hadn’t, his ego would suffer because he’d be devaluing himself by staying with me. Some effed up logic. We had some pretty effed up “relationship” dynamics… worthy of a psychology experiment/study, for sure. Especially his behaviour.

      • A says:

        Lara,

        Thanks for this:

        “…he WANTED someone to devalue themselves for him, because that was indication (in his sick mind) that he was of high value. But then, once the act had been done and he’d received a temporary ego boost/”fix”, he would realize that I was of little value at that point since I had devalued myself so much, and he’d get rid of me because if he hadn’t, his ego would suffer because he’d be devaluing himself by staying with me.”

        It’s a great description. I think that’s what the AC was all about: if he could treat me as a slave and degrade me, it made him feel like a big man, b/c surely he must be some kind of king to have someone waiting on him and sticking around even after his terrible treatment. And the more messed up the request the greater the ego boost I’m sure (as I shared recently, this guy actually yelled to me from the bathroom once–while he was sitting on the toilet–to come and massage him as he sat there using the washroom. I refused, but it’s still such a revolting memory).

        • Lara says:

          Wow, A, I can only imagine how disgusted and shaken and angry you must feel to remember that incident every time. I know that I do, when I remember the stuff my ex did to me / the crap he asked me to do, etc. What a creep and disrespectful person your AC was, to have asked you for a massage while he took a dump! One thing that I find these ACs have in common is the desire to treat the women they associate with, as lesser people, as servants or worse. Get them to speak about women, and most of them will spew toxic, sexist stuff. Only some of them are smart enough to cover up their toxic hatred of women, but even so, I think the red flags will appear not long after you start dating them. In my case, it only took a few days, and he started spewing BS about women being golddiggers, etc. I felt like I would be the cool girl and agree that some women are like that, and go out of my way to prove to him that I wasn’t one of those. So I started bending over backwards to prove it — paying for his meals on a regular basis, etc. Crazy. Most of the time he didn’t even pick up the tab, or if he did, he wanted to split. He was saving up money for a visit to Thailand to visit his hooker gf. Anyway, I was also supposed to read his mind/moods, as to when it was ok for me to pay for both of us, and when it was not: sometimes he’d get offended if I took my wallet out, but usually only at McDonald’s. Guess he found it too insulting for people to see him standing there and not paying for his McDonald’s burger and letting the woman pay for his. But restaurants? It was surely OK for me to pay for his meals. Not to mention drinking together at pubs. My bill was once $100 at the pub, and he didn’t even offer to pay for half of it (he had consumed most of the alcohol). What an ass. Anyway, he saw how far I was willing to go, and he pushed even further. It was all my fault, though. I’ve got no one to blame but myself. I ain’t putting up with any more of that sort of BS and disrespect, and am only ever paying for my meal, not for the both of us, if I ever start dating again. We set the parameters of how we are to be treated. We have to respect ourselves to the extent that we expect others to respect us.

  19. NK says:

    ‘If you claim to be someone of great value and then you hang with someone who treats you like low value goods and stick around to try to get them to see and treat you like higher value goods (i.e. teach them to learn to value you), it’s you who is changing your value not the other party’

    I wonder how much this statement can be applied to employment. I have been let go from my ‘new’ job this week. I was there 3 months and didn’t pass my probation. My input into the role was high I was most definitely performing – but obviously not enough for them to see past me not being a fit for the organisation. From quite early on I got the vibes and knew these people were bitchy and shady but i carried on trying thinking Ill get past my probation and after about 6 months I’ll keep an eye out for another job. But they got rid of me. In contextual terms its not a majorly bad thing as I wasn’t impress with this organisation either, but my track record has been inconsistent in the last year or so and now Ive had yet another employment contract terminated, I feel like a bad smell. What am I suppose to be learning from this? seriously – what vibes am I projecting out there? are my decisions on jobs just bad? why couldn’t they have been reasonable and said look we rant your biggest fan so start looking for another job and you can leave amicably instead of getting rid like a bad smell….

    • Tinkerbell says:

      NK,

      I don’t know about the other jobs, but perhaps this one was just a wrong choice. You say you noticed early on that other employees were “bitchy and shady”, probably gossipy and you didn’t fit into the clique. Sometimes, depending upon the organization, long time senior employees can influence the boss’s decision on whether you stay or go. This happened with my sister, a very bright attorney who had been hired to an executive director position at a non-profit organization. She had consistently run into bad luck trying to keep a job in NYC, for one reason or another. A couple of the senior employees felt strong resentment regarding her appointment, feeling they deserved to have been offered the position, instead. These employees gave her a hard time, but she was determined to stay. Her track record had been inconsistent also and she really needed the job. Lo and behold, the Executive Board found a reason to terminate her employment after <6 months. It took her a very long time to recover from that experience, because she'd given her best and was still blind-sided. Like you mentioned, the humane thing to do would have been to let her know it was not going to work out and that she should start looking around. Then she would have had sense enough to hand in her resignation in order to save face. But, no. That was not to be. Her ego, self esteem and her own opinion of herself as an employee plummeted. She previously had had confidence and knew the job. She'd handled broader responsibilities than that job entailed, but even so they burst her bubble and made her feel very badly and doubting herself. I think sometimes the effect of having made a bad choice can have a huge negative impact on one's self esteem and feeling of worth (value).

    • Rosie says:

      NK,

      I’ve been fired innocently previously due to jealousy in the workplace so I know where you’re coming from. I’m job searching right now (still have present job but hours are shrinking and shrinking…). I now know how to own my strengths, talents, knowledge, experience, and educational background but am forced to lower my rate of pay and what I’m willing to do in order to stay competitive. After all, why hire me when an employer can hire somebody else who will work for lower wages and do twice as much?

      Friends and acquaintances tell me not to sell myself short but then bills are piling up, I have rent to pay and I can’t pay (for long) so what do I do? Yet, potential employers know my worth, won’t pay me my worth, but if I lower my rate of pay too much, they’re still reluctant to give me a chance because it looks as if I’m hiding something, “If she comes with all this knowledge, education, and experience, why is she charging so much less than she’s worth? She must not be as good as her resume states…” I don’t know what to do here. :(

      • NK says:

        I seriously feel your pain Rosie. Tinkerbell, thank you. My job history is interesting to say the least. I became depressed in 2008, ironically after I won an award and got a first for my dissertation at uni. It was ‘ok'(it wasn’t but it was managing..) for a while but as I’ve put on here I became extremely depressed and it become worse in 2011. I had a breakdown and that became the start of my experiences in the workplace becoming severely effected. Here I am now with issues resolved and a higher level of self esteem and Im still struggling, but I’m better. I know I had good input into my last job role and I know I was more than capable. So their loss. The only way is up. Because I sure as hell ain’t going down again.

        BTW Rosie perhaps you could do some freelance work? Are you in a position to do that? might help…keep on keeping on….I think I’d rather stay unemployed then take up the wrong kinda position again

        • Rosie says:

          Thanks, NK,

          I’ve got about one more month to find something. I do a little bit of freelancing but can’t gain enough to get rent paid, etc. I was crying over the phone when talking with a friend and she knows somebody who knows somebody…Yes, it’s gotten to that point.

          Yeah, it sounds like a good thing to have been let go of your last position. As you said, nowhere to go but up. :) You’re a strong person to have overcome depression and other struggles but, ironically, it makes sense to still struggle in spite of having past issues resolved. This is because we often have to pay long-term consequences for past struggles. I’m glad, though, that you’re out of that mess! Onward and upward, NK! :)

  20. noquay says:

    Going to mildly disagree with you here, Nat. Folks get involved with attached people because there are a lot of attached folks who are looking for attention and are not honest or forthcoming about their relationship status. They act single, act as though they are attracted to you through their words and actions, then toss you like last weeks trash when they’re caught out. Yep, I will say that pursuit of someone obviously married is a whole different kettle of (rotten) fish. It’s really easy to hide what you’re about when you are from out of town or spend a great deal of time traveling as part of your job. Runner dude with girlfriend is heading this way for our final race of the series so it will be three days of avoidance on my part, giving him my back. Sad that I wasted time on this dude; glad nothing physical happened (boundaries!) but now all the runers/cyclists leave and it’s back to social purgatory for nine more months. This was really shades of the at work AC, it hurts, I am pissed, but at least I learned my lessons. The whole issue of social proof is a hot debate in itself; a persons status, community involvement, how strangers/friends are treated is no indication that you will be treated with love, caring, respect. However, a person who is down and out, not involved in community, no real friends, not kind to strangers, most certainly will not have the ability to treat you well either. Social proof is kind of step one; but you have to keep your heart closed, invest nothing until he/she has proven they will treat you well which takes a lot of time.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Noquay. I have to raise my glass to you. You’ve made some very true and noteworthy points, here. Thanks for that input.

  21. Lara says:

    Nat, I am in Montreal, Canada, not in the States, but any time you need anything, I am available to help out in any way!! I’m excited!

    Also, the Golden Girls rule, and those glasses look really neat!

  22. Becky says:

    Wow this article has really hit home. Its what I’ve been going through and finally after months of not feeling valued and expressing that to him and nothing changing was finally able to let him go. I think for me certain things had to happen for me to get to that point. I have been figuring out why I do what I do when it comes to men. I love all the articles on this site.Nat you rock!!

    Your other article on “does he miss me”…LOL!!! omg! i asked myself all those things and came up with all the same sort of answers. That its not him I miss but the future I may have seen for us. and YES I think WAY too much!! I will work very hard to stop analyzing and put my focus back on me and what I enjoy. Today when I think about him i just repeat to myself, “he’s just a man” to keep my perspective.

  23. MaryW says:

    Congrats on the pilot, Natalie!

    I made the mistake of assuming that because he’d been married for 18 years, he was not a commitment phobe and therefore emotionally available. I made lots of other stupid assumptions. And let him in.

    Eventually, I kicked out the tenant who (so to speak) ate all my food, used up gas and electricity and peed on my carpets. And I’m fixing up the house. I am doing DIY and called in a professional (actually, luckily, I had just started therapy before the tenant entered my life). The house is starting to look a little better. And it’s not letting in any more tenants for quite some time, until it’s shiney and beautiful, inside and out.

    The tenant, who was booted out over a month ago, sent a text today to apologise for not being in touch (!). Apologise! As if he forgot he’d actually been evicted and blacklisted. How utterly … bizarre.

  24. Tinkerbell says:

    MARY W,

    Doesn’t the fool realized you’re relieved as hell to have gotten him out? Please, after fixing up your house try seriously to explore other options rather than letting in another tenant. Nobody is going to treat your home the way you would. If you must, make sure you hire an agency to screen them to the hilt, background checks, etc. and then you screen them again. You can’t be too careful. I’ve had bad tenant experience when I had my house. It not pleasant at all.

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Mary W, Hi Tinkerbell; How are you both? Haven’t been able to keep up with the activity on here recently, but I’ve left late replies for both of you wonderful women on some previous posts (can’t remember which now!).

      MW- The house reference was metaphorical right? I have a ‘front boundary’ fence literately booked in for erection (sorry about that, there’s a better word but can’t think of it!:-()on Aug 30th. Thta’s very symbolic of where
      I’m at within my own house – other’s will need to open the gate first because I’m busy inside getting things in order and I want to hear them coming before they reach the front door and start knocking.

      I wonder how the ‘ideal’ would pan out. Maybe we are looking for someone to share the mortgage/a co-owner and we will likewise do the same for this person’s own house? Or even better sell up our individual houses and buy a new one together, which would be the equivalent of ‘us’ (co-piloted relationship).

      • lizzp says:

        p.s. I like the idea of a therapist being a ‘professional’ house repair specialist. Yes, can’t go for any old tradesman, even if he is good looking and promises a good price and good job. No offence to the good guys but I’d guess many of us have the experience of a tradesman whose promises and costs have blown out – ie we’ve been future faked. But what else can we expect huh if we expect a tradie to fix the problems if we haven’t worked on diagnosing and repairing the cracks ourselves?

      • MaryW says:

        Hi Lizzp,

        How have you been?

        Yes my post about the house was metaphorical, and about values. Ideally, I’d love to co-own a house in a co-piloted relationship. But, metaphorically, I can’t do any of that until I work on the foundations of this house.

        Lizzp, I’ve been pushing myself maybe a bit too much with everything (distracting myself?) and got a throat infection so laying low today, resting and reflecting. I did read your thoughtful response about parents (foundations) – thank you!

        Mr. Messiah sent a strange text yesterday. 4.5 weeks after I went NC (or disappeared; I just didn’t respond to his last measly “how are you” text after I felt we’d thrashed it all out, which was after I’d told him it was over). His text yesterday was out of nowhere. He said he was sorry he hadn’t been in touch for so long (!), then said he just wanted to say he hoped I was OK.

        First and foremost, I didn’t reply. But it was odd. It’s like he’s switched it around that NC was actually his idea, that I’m the one who was dumped. The message would have been appropriate (or made sense) if I’d sent it to him, but not that other way around. It was mid afternoon on a work day so he can’t even have been drunk (yet).

        Made me think he’s manipulated the whole situation around in his head so he’s in control with poor MaryW suffering (yes I have been suffering, but he doesn’t know that). Or he’s deluded. I don’t think he has learned a single lesson from what happened. I know, not my problem. I least I’m learning.

        Back to house metaphor: nope, not relying on a tradesman to fix my house. As I said, it needs work on the foundations first: too big a job; not fair or appropriate to hand over to a tradesman anyway.

        • LaPinturaBella says:

          They are rewriting history so THEY can continue to believe that a) they ARE in control and the King of the Universe and b)so they can continue to think of themselves as “good guys.”

          The apology IS fake. It’s fishing to see if they can reel you back in. How the eff cares if they’ve re-written history? YOU dumped HIM, you know and actually so does he. You’re never going to engage with him again so let him have his delusions. And in Mr. Messiah’s case, his brain is being pickled more and more every day so God alone knows if everything with this clown isn’t a delusion anyway.

    • MaryW says:

      Tink, no he’s deluding himself. Or as Rosie suggests, trying to save face. I am truly relived as hell he’s gone.

      I’m doing work right to the very foundations of my house, and installing safety doors and windows! No tenants until foundation work done, and then yes I’ll be much more careful about screening.

      Hope you are well. Been thinking of you x

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      I think the “tenant” was an analogy for the ex AC and her “house” is getting her life fixed up!

  25. Rosie says:

    MaryW–Could it be that these guys feel humiliated and are trying to save face? The guy I tossed out who tried to booty call me kissed me before he left, held my hand for a second and said that he’ll give me a call later. He hasn’t, of course, wasn’t expecting him to but I was puzzled by his comment. But then it occurred to me that he might have felt humiliated and was trying to save face.

    • MaryW says:

      Rosie, is this the man who was lying naked (uninvited) on your futon? Yes I can see he would have felt humiliated (his fault, brazen man hussy!).

      I know what you mean about saving face. I agree. With the guy I refer to, I suspect it’s a control thing – he has huge control issues (though/ because he can’t control himself). So saving face or regaining a sense of control – or a mixture of both – yes.

      • Rosie says:

        MaryW–Yes, I’m referring to the brazen man hussy (love that name for him!). You mentioned that Mr. Messiah is a workaholic and alcoholic and I’m wondering if brazen man hussy is a sex addict. When you mentioned control, it occurred to me that brazen man hussy does have a bit of a controlling side to him. When I googled signs my date’s a sex addict, all the sites are for people who have been dating the person a while. Are there signs to look out for from the get-go?

        You are right. It seems Mr. Messiah is deluding himself as a way of controlling what he can’t control as well as trying to save face (maybe). It makes sense what you say. It reminds me of a line from the movie, “Walk the Line”. It’s a movie about Johnny Cash. In it, Johnny, a drug addict, states, “See, everything works out.” (or something like that) I can’t remember the exact scene, but June says (something like), “No. Everybody does it for you.” I wish I can remember the lines as they fit perfectly with addicts’ mentality. They live in a fantasy world thinking they’re a part of things and they don’t know how removed from reality they truly are. All addicts are control freaks, I’ve noticed.

  26. pinkpanther says:

    Excuse me, but a PILOT!!!! Seriously, can’t wait to hear more. Natalie, you rock!

    As for this particular post I can honestly say that with the help of BR and this community, I will never, ever, let anyone treat me like crap. I’m full of self respect, and won’t get duped again. In the past, I had no guidelines to go by, and was used to all kinds of crazy BS.

    No matter who I meet in the future, they’re going to have to prove THEIR worth to me before they get so much as a second date. I know my worth, and I”m top notch, one hundred percent, grade A, prime cut, no hormones added, grass fed, book read, BR grad.

    Thank you very much!

  27. Rosie says:

    Natalie–I forgot to thank you for sharing with us the Golden Girls glasses and CONGRATULATIONS on your pilot show!!! How awesome!!!! :) :) :)

  28. Little Star says:

    I finally moved on from my both ACs as I have a major change in my life;) no men involve! I read recently what made me think and start to action: “stop riding a dead horse!” No matter what we do, think, fight with our ACs, when relationship is dead it’s dead!!! Time to move on and concentrate on YOURSELF!

  29. Natasha says:

    Congrats on the pilot Nat!!! I am so very, very happy for you, your beautiful family and the BR team. You’ve done so much good for all of us and it’s lovely to see all that good coming back around to you :) I think at least one plot line NEEDS to feature Nia giving some fool the side-eye!

  30. Peanut says:

    I’ve been having a rough few days. I haven’t chosen to fully read this post. It hits hard and I don’t have so much emotional energy or energy at all.

    I read the title and knew what was up.

    I’ve been doing a lot of affirmations, yet I’m just talking the talk. Don’t get me wrong, I think they do so much help when it comes to the subconscious.

    I treat me badly.

    It doesn’t matter what I say to me if I don’t treat myself well.

    Also, Nat, I just caught a glimpse of you and your husband in the instagram feed to the right.

    I got a bit weepy. From what I know about you and your journey, ya’ll are a beautiful couple and give me hope that perhaps, I too, can have something lovely with a lovely man who treats me well.

    Though, I know none of that will come into fruition unless I start treating me well.

    Thank you BR.

    Because of BR I did stop horrifically abusing myself, i.e., mostly in the men I chose.

    • Rosie says:

      Peanut–When I started therapy, my therapist said it will get worse before it gets better. We’ve covered our deep wounds for so long with mere band aids so when we pull off the band aids, we’re faced with the reality that we’ve let the wounds get infected and the healing process is long and painful. But it’s good that we are facing reality even if it’s painful because now the healing work has begun.

      Be gentle with yourself and therapy is like any workout program. You will make terrific strides in the beginning, plateau for a while, worry that you’re not making progress in spite of working so hard and then make strides again.

      I’m glad you noticed that you don’t value yourself. This means that your boundaries are improving. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have noticed. Now that you know, you can improve.

      You’ve come so far in such a short amount of time! Wow!!!

      • Peanut says:

        Rosie,

        Thank you for your words! I’ve never looked at it like that, but it makes total and complete sense.

        Though I’m not as eager to go to therapy as I used to (I was just so incredibly thrilled to have a safe place where someone respectable listened to me in person) I still get a lot out of it.

      • MaryW says:

        Rosie, I’d also like to thank you for your words even though they were for Peanut. I just started therapy a few months ago (just as I started seeing the latest EUM), and I have to admit that I feel totally overwhelmed with all I have to deal with. So it’s comforting to read about your experience with therapy.

        Peanut, you are coming a long way. We have good days and bad days. Good hours, bad hours even. Mostly you sound very positive while also reflective. Even if you feel it’s just talking the talk, at least it’s positive talk, not negative back chat. X

  31. Marie83 says:

    I have recently created a board on Pinterest of all the things that make me happy and I keep adding to it everytime I think of something else – I am also considering starting one of all the things that make me sad/unhappy as it may help me idenitify what I value

  32. Tulipa says:

    Peanut
    I was reading something and thought of you

    “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and just try to do the right thing,the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up”
    -Anne Lamott

    • Peanut says:

      Tulipa,

      Awh, thank you :) This is really beautiful and true.

      I was in such a dark, dark place when I made the choice to get away from the ex.

      I am seeing now my darkest moments pave the way for the most growth if I do not give up on myself.

  33. Maeve says:

    So this probably happens to everyone here but I’m now seeing everything through the prism of BR. Including my own behavior and including the flippant, good natured behavior I’ve developed to avoid confrontation. (although when I DO confront, I cut right to the bone).

    What it looks like from my perch is not only do I have shaky boundaries, but many if not most people have crappy ones as well. Which is why I need mine so desperately.

    Anyway, little steps…the peripheral EUM (he’s an acquaintance, not a lover) is starting to annoy me with his incessant need for female attention. In our dancing group, he seems to have tied himself to every pretty face there and that’s the only value I hold (pretty faces are a dime a dozen, frankly). Last night there was a minor drama with some other woman (whom perhaps he’s screwing) and he went out of his way to make sure I had a front row seat. I won’t go into details, but the whole thing seems childish.

    Also, he’s a good dancer but he’s not advancing in the technique of this dance (Argentine tango) so I think I’m going to stop the practice sessions. I’m a serious chick, I don’t have time for this crap.
    Truth is, I don’t respect him or take him seriously.

    This is all just superficial peripheral stuff, but I think self respect starts there. If I let inappropriate people hang around my peripheral, there’s no room for the good ones to get in…

    • A says:

      Maeve,

      I think you’re taking the next step in this process: having shady people anywhere around you is still enabling their shitty behaviour. You never got romantically involved with him, but you’ve still had him around. Not giving these people the time of day is where it’s at.

      • Maeve says:

        Thanks A! It’s occurred to me that I’ve been stuck at that junction forever: shady people at the peripherals. I’ve ignored it like it’s inevitable. You’re right—it’s toxic.

  34. teachable says:

    big squeeeeeeeaaal for yr great news nat!! congrats on yr AWESOME news!! xx

  35. teachable says:

    I ‘get it’ Noquey. I like you, was willfully deceived into believing my ex now deceased AC was single! Of course, he lived interstate which is how he hid his ‘double life’ so well. You can imagine the inandescent rage I exploded with when I found out. I was fucking ropable! How DARE he! I never spoke to again. Soon after (ie with 3 mths) he died. This may terrible but after all BS that asshat subjected me to (which was a lot & stupid dumbass me thinking, gosh he’s REALLY changed since we were last together 17 yrs ago, it must be the DRUGS) it’s far more a case of good bloody riddance than RIP!!

  36. teachable says:

    NK,

    There isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with you, unless YOU determine thisd to be so! And do u re employment? Aside frm a few dodgy experiences, my guess is NO!

    I have experienced workplace bullying in my last FOUR workplaces (not always aimed only at me, sometimes far worse aimed at others but what came in my direction was still enough to force me into not applying to renew a contract in a job I loved).

    I haven’t been terminated but have suffered a heart attack (aged 39 yo, non smoker of 14 yrs at the time & training in martial arts 3-4 times a week for a decade, so I was pretty darned fit & healthy) & now have another TWO chronic health conditions both also directly caused by bullying.

    As all this went on, I watched ppl like yrself, ie competent workers, get shafted within 3mth probationary periods, for workplace politics that had nothing to do with the new employee! It was disgraceful & I made my thoughts on this known to a supportive boss (also bullied in that job) at the time. She agreed but b.c.she was also being bullied there wasn’t much she could do.

    My point NK is this; IT’S NOT YOU IT’S THEM! Chin up & try not to take it personally. Like you said it was crap place to work anyway! Better off out sooner than later! You could have ended up like me otherwise (off work now for 2 & 1/2 yrs due to illness initially caused by a work imjury!)

    • NK says:

      Hey teachable, so envious that you go to martial arts! I went to ju jitsu for a while and after cracking my knee I stopped….
      Thank you. I the conscious part of me knows this, but the subconscious continues to try and f*ck with me by making me an easy target for this kinda thing. Explaining to people about why I’m out of a job yet again is the tedious part of this process….make them look at me in suspicion….sometimes
      Anyway as I said already the only way is up as I’m not going down….no way x

  37. Peanut says:

    This reminds me of the career advisor I saw after I graduated college.

    She was this really serious woman in a ridiculously thick polyester suit in 100 degree Texas weather and handed me her seven page resume to read, I guess, as an example.

    No thanks lady.

    Not my path. I do not see polyester suits in my future. Problem is I’m not too clear on what I see: More cleaning, old people, my grandmother gossiping in her sleep, and my poor elderly dog’s gnarly teeth?

    Also, if you date a man who is cheating on her with you, he will cheat on you with whomever. Cheaters cheat. Non cheaters do not.

    Ah, and my ex. He’s a charmer. Oh, how the oh-so-lonely moms of his friends and fallback girls of his friends just drooled over him and could create a bullshit chorus just a singin’ his praises.

    OH MY GOD NATALIE, you just described what I deal with day in and day out (though Lord knows I try to avoid it like the plague). My grandfather owns rental property and repeats this shady cycle day in and day out. It’s painful to watch.

    Truth is I’m really confused on how to treat myself well. It’s like the most gargantuan battle I have ever tried to win. I have an idea in my mind what doing it perfectly looks like, i.e., perhaps an unattainable fantasy sure to torment. It’s strange how good enough appears so unattainable to me, yet whittling my time away amongst myriad fantasies seems the better option?

    Peanut you’re in danger.

    NAT, in regard to your couple-ly instagram pic: Your husband is a stud, you are beautiful, and your outfit is fabulous.

    I also had a dream that I babysat your kids, lost them, then found them, though you still weren’t very happy about it all.

    Before went to sleep last night I was just thinking how I might like to give babysitting a try to quell this baby fever. Weird.

  38. Peanut says:

    Lara,

    Wow. Looking back I really get the feeling that was part of the ex’s game. Sometimes, especially when he got off the hook so easily ( he’d do something terrible like drive me drunkenly or shadily disappear on his birthday) and I’d do the equivalent of going “oh, well,” turning a blind eye, and rationalizing “Hey, at least we’re still together” which really meant “He still spends time with me, I like him, and I’m really lonely.” I think he got off on being able to act shitty and still be accepted and “loved” or at the very least tolerated. He did the same with his mom. They lived together. The shit that woman took from him… He was like a giant 25-year-old infant.

  39. Magnolia says:

    I want a shot at writing an episode or two and getting on the story team!!

  40. Peanut says:

    I’ve sort of had a revelation. I realize why I am oftentimes so vulgar. I thought it was just me (and maybe part of it is).

    But perhaps the larger picture is that I’ve gone through a childhood where no one really cared, as my caregivers came from generations of poverty, mental illness, and addiction, and were trying to make do with their owns heaps of baggage. I got lost in the mix. I was giving up wanting to die or just trying desperately to get noticed.

    I go from one extreme to the other: compliant to rebelling. When I am compliant I feel insignificant, invisible and dead. When I rebel I feel powerful but crazy and OUT OF CONTROL.

    Truth is I’m not comfortable with all I say or the language I use. It’s not me. The real me feels a lot more delicate and is much more vulnerable.

    If I think people don’t care then at least I can get their attention and make them hear me even if it is crass.

    I fear the real me is boring and will be forgotten about.

    BUT none of that matters if I treat ME WELL.

    I’m going to check my words and behaviors and make sure they are authenticity driven vs. external attention driven.

    Only authentic expletives from this point out!

  41. Peanut says:

    And, though I’ve known it on some level all along, BR people here do care about me and what I have to say. That sort of hit me tonight. I’ve never felt so supported in my life.

    Thank you! :)

  42. Peanut says:

    Thanks MaryW,

    I can really identify with being overwhelmed. If only I had known what I was unleashing when I first stepped into the therapist’s office or stumbled here.

    But I’m glad I didn’t know, as I would have turned the other way toward the EUs and buried my face in a big bag of donuts!

    My current therapist and BR are the best things overall to have happened to me, yet.

    Progress creeps on us, thankfully not in an EUM way though!

  43. Peanut says:

    Lara,

    I hear you about assclowns and unailable men treating women as less than.

    My ex didn’t pay for my two dollar tea our first date. He just stared at me with all this attitude. He also took me on a date to a strip club where he insisted I tip a dollar to his favorite dancer. Big spender this man! It was all so humiliating really. But sadly I justified it all because of how he looked in his jeans. I even felt happy that night because he forked over $8 for my beer and made out with me a lot.

    It’s odd though, because he’d ask me to do assistant type stuff for him such as online ordering, helping set up his computer, and locating live music. I always felt like these were little assignments to keep what he thought was my simple mind busy. He even gave me several intellectual books to read. I guess to get on par with him?

    Come to think of it my father treated me in the same condescending way and like I was stupid. Truth is I’ve always had a good mind academically. I was actually a pretty bright if not brilliant kid. It threatened my father. I went on to graduate college, he is near illiterate and didn’t finish high school by a long stretch.

    Just like my ex! He graduated college but was delivering Chinese food and working toward nothing better; I had a goog job and was in grad school. I picked someone who just like my father wanted to tear me down because they felt threatened I might succeed and shed truth on their inadequacy.

    The only thing my ex was working on was his binge drinking, just like my father. It is truly a blessing I found BR and told those men to beat it.

  44. R says:

    Your own show! How exciting!! Congratulations Natalie. Sending you lots of good wishes from Toronto, Canada!

  45. 2Fearce says:

    So I’ve been practicing this “I am of value” thing n stopped contacting smone that wasn’t a gd fit but we had amazing chemistry… It’s been a cpl weeks since I saw/spoke to her.

    But right now all I want is to be held. There are those who offer to do so…. n Yeah Uhm no. But her… Something about her seems hard to shake.

  46. Tinkerbell says:

    2Fearce,

    Well, go for it. With your BR boundaries in tow, of course. At least, you’ll know quick enuf if she’s not a fit for u.
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  47. 2Fearce says:

    Tink,

    I’m fidgety, scared, uncomfortable, n have no clue how its gng to turn out…. but yeah… gng for it.
    I can honestly say I underestimated how much damage my ex did to my trust meter. Rebuilding it slowly..

  48. Karen says:

    After years of therapy, dozens of self help books and four years of Al Anon meetings, I realize that I still had a tendency to look for relationships that seemed more like broken toys for me to fix.
    Then I woke up.
    I am not a therapist and I’ve worked hard to deserve a partner who has at least knows how to sweep her side of the street, and trusts that I will handle my side.
    It took me forever to realize that it was perfectly all right to run like hell when I encounter EUs, ACs and other emotional vampires.
    I already did my emotional work and I’m not looking to do anyone else’s work for them. If they are not emotionally healthy when we meet, I’m no longer willing to wait around while they “try” to catch up.
    I don’t want to be better than or worse than the person I love. I just want an emotional equal. I think that’s a reasonable request.

    • lizzp says:

      “If they are not emotionally healthy when we meet, I’m no longer willing to wait around while they “try” to catch up.
      I don’t want to be better than or worse than the person I love. I just want an emotional equal. I think that’s a reasonable request”.

      Well put Karen. I think this is mostly where I find myself. My background, my trigger issues, my (very) sore points and wounds have not gone away but generally I do “sweep my side of the street” – my awareness and willingness to now what’s mine – and need someone capable of doing the same.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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