Pot Feelings. Heat in 1 minute. Get Over It Flavour. Like Instant feelings in a cup to go in the microwave

When people share their stories of their struggle to ‘snap back’ to the way things were after something has happened and the seeming pressure from others to forget about an issue, to speed up their grief fast, to ‘talk’, to ‘be friends’ and to basically get over something or someone at somebody else’s speed, I can’t help but wonder, Is personal space dead?

Why do we feel so much guilt, blame, shame and resistance to having our own emotional, mental, physical and spiritual space? It’s our right. Since when are we supposed to be able to process everything in an instant like those cheap microwave noodles? We’re humans and we need time and space. Granted some of us need less or more of it but why the hell do we keep judging ourselves for 1) being human, 2) being ourselves and 3) not being over something yet?

Let’s be real here: the reason why some people move past things quickly is because they never ‘stopped by’ in the first place.

They do avoidance and aren’t too keen on the feedback they could get from what they experience on their life journey which is why they don’t experience too much growth and ultimately why they don’t learn and why you’ll probably find yourself in the same situation with them in a matter of time. Some people have about as much compassion and empathy as a stone so of course they’re over something quickly – they never felt it or weren’t affected because they weren’t the one experiencing the brunt of it.

It is normal to need some space whether it’s emotional, physical, spiritual or all of them. It is your right.

It’s normal to need some space after a big discussion or argument. You don’t have to make up or have a conclusion and resolution right now this minute. It’s not about dragging it out but you’re probably not going to feel better or make sense of something if you’re being hurried to forget about it or agree to the other person’s perspective.

It’s normal to need some space while grieving.

It’s normal to need some space while trying to come to terms with a trauma, a big change or a big revelation.

It’s normal to not want to emotionally babysit someone when a loved one is sick, dying or has even died and it’s most definitely normal to not want to emotionally babysit someone when you’re ill or even fighting for your life. Some people want everything. I think they’d take your pee if they thought it would benefit them in some way!

It’s normal to be out of touch for as long as is needed after a breakup. You.Broke.Up. For the record, can I just say how downright ridiculous it is that someone would break up with you and then have the brass frickin neck to try to guilt you about not being ready to be their ‘friend’ or chief ego stroker or backup plan? You.Broke.Up. If you feel mad, bad, sad, or whatever, they’re your feelings for you to come to terms with and there is nothing wrong with what you feel. One day you will feel ‘good different’ but as long as you ignore your feelings, you’re going to feel worse. 

It’s normal, n.o.r.m.a.l to put some distance between you and a relative, friend, acquaintance, neighbour, coworker etc who repeatedly crosses boundaries or due to whatever situation has arisen, has left you needing to make some adjustments so that you are better emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually positioned to engage with them in the future. Can’t a human catch a break?

It’s so unbelievably normal to want space from an abusive person and it’s even more normal to want long-term or even permanent space from them. And yes, that does include relatives who feel entitled to abuse you because their blood is coursing through your veins.

So let me get this right? You want to beat me / threaten me / verbally abuse me / crazy make me / lie but I can’t even spend five minutes in the toilet to catch my breath? I mustn’t decline to let this continue? I must just take it? Oh well of course you’re not going to give me space because I might just get some strength and a life!

Some people are afraid of space, as if they fear allowing you to have what’s rightfully yours will mean that you figure out who they are or you get to be a better person who might handle them differently or who might just move on and be done. Personal space is seen as a weapon against their freedom but you know, imposing ones self upon someone never leads to anything good…

Most of us cannot deal with someone practically sitting on top of us telling us to change our feelings or our thoughts. No one has the right to hold you hostage to their agenda.

Not all of us know our opinions and feelings within two seconds and can come back with a quick witted response.

Most of us need time to make good decisions for ourselves. When we try to be The Most Easygoing Person On Earth TM, we say yes in haste and then regret at leisure and all for the sake of making other people feel comfortable and/or to avoid conflict, criticism and disappointment. And then experience them anyway.

When exactly did personal space suddenly come at such a high premium of guilt, blame and shame?

It says more about the person than it does about you if they don’t even have enough basic empathy and respect to allow you to have enough space to feel and think, even if it’s not on their beat. It doesn’t matter how they do things – you’re not the same person!

When someone doesn’t respect boundaries and has possibly grown up in an environment where boundaries were ignored or even the shadiest of stuff had to be suppressed and ‘moved on from’ rapidly, they’re not going to ‘get’ why you can’t or just simply won’t do as they expect.

What I feel in response to a situation isn’t necessarily ‘right’ or all that I’m going to feel but at least I recognise and acknowledge how I feel which gives me the chance to consider where it comes from and get clear on my perspective. This couldn’t and wouldn’t happen if I kept censoring me to appease other people’s ego’s and timelines!

The key in all of this is not only respecting your right to personal space but also not feeling ashamed of having your own needs, wishes and expectations, values, feelings and opinions. You need personal space in the form of just being able to have these as a basic – respect your own boundaries because each and every time you ignore your feelings and thoughts to appease another person, you erase a little bit more of you out of the space you have here in life.

Your thoughts?

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179 Responses to Since when did personal space become such a ‘bad’ thing? It’s OK to need some breathing room to deal with something!

  1. JenniferA says:

    I just had this discussion with a friend this morning. She pointed out that this “break up” with my EU was quite a blow to me and she knew I was trying to be strong and move on from it, but I had a right to process things and sit with them as long as I needed to. That was a wake up call to me. I do have a right to process things at my own pace and it doesn’t mean I’m stuck and not moving on because we can’t be friends right away. It means, YOU HURT ME!!! And I NEED TIME!! And just because you moved into a new relationship with absolutely no hesitation or reflection about your actions doesn’t mean I’m the same person and maybe I want to learn and grow from this. I’m gonna be better to myself for awhile. Thanks Nat.

    • Learner says:

      he hurt you, and it’s up to you to take the time you need, even if you never do become “friends”. Even being friends with an EUM can hurt. Hugs to you xo

    • dancingqueen says:


      Just my view…I would not be “friends” with someone who jumps into a new relationship like that.

      That is the sign of an unhealthy person with no boundaries and friends or boyfriends without boundaries probably are not worth it…

      • Sandra says:

        I agree to that, my ex moved into a relationship straight away, apparently something he had to let me know about, so I thought okay time to move on, and then what do I get? Yes you guessed it a text last week saying he didn’t think he had made the right choice..wtf? Then he disappeared again! He changed his mind yet again!!

        • Sandra says:

          The sad thing is I actually got my hopes up, stupid stupid stupid and then I remembered he did the same thing with the ex before me…kept in contact with her while he saw whether we would work out. You gotta laugh.

  2. Infinite Corridor says:

    Love it!
    Also, don’t let people push their “kiss and makeup agenda” on you because you want to seem like the better person. If you’re pretending, you aint!!
    and, STOP pretending you wanna be friends just so you have a peep hole into their new personal lives. It’s creepy and you’re gonna just keep reopening old wounds. Why give anybody that control over you, let alone some asshat who doesn’t care about your well being? Block, ignore and flush em.

    • Learner says:

      Infinite Corridor,
      Well said! I was just subjected to the “it’s good to forgive and forget” line by the exMM. I told him yes, I have forgiven myself, but I rarely forget. He didn’t have a reply for that.
      Repeating your advice for my own good: Block, ignore and flush em

  3. Gillyfleur says:

    I can’t imagine even wanting to be friends with someone who treated me in the way my ex sort of kind of bf treated me. Haven’t seen him for 6 months but still grieving, not so much for him but for the break-up and how it happened. It’s friends who want me to “get over it, put it in a box, don’t keep talking about it, stop feeling it, move on, forget it”. Well I’d like to, but I can’t do it to order and it’s good to hear someone say it’s OK to take your own time and work through things in your own way – because it’s your way and not your friends’ way. Thanks for this post Natalie.

  4. dcd568 says:

    It’s normal to not want to emotionally babysit someone when a loved one is sick, dying or has even died.

    It’s so unbelievably normal to want space from an abusive person and it’s even more normal to want long-term or even permanent space from them. And yes, that does include relatives who feel entitled to abuse you because their blood is coursing through your veins.

    I’m so glad to hear this. I feel guilty because I have cut myself off from my abusive mother. She has serious physical problems and is verbally abusive…Sometimes in a passive aggressive way, sometimes just flat out rude, obnoxious and inappropriate.

    I tried my best to help her out with everything, housework, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Nothing was ever enough for her. When I brought in the groceries, she would say, “Can you put those away? Oh, and can you clean out the fridge before you put the new stuff in there?” Can you do this load of laundry? Oh, and the load of sheets you did last time is still in the dryer…Can you bring that up and make my bed?” I could never say no.

    I cut her off about six months ago when she was verbally abusive to my brother, my sister and my grandmother and myself….basically her only family. I just can’t take her crap anymore. I did everything I could for her. She always took advantage of me helping her and always wanted more, more, more.

    I deserve a life. I work full time…it was hard helping her, but I did what I could…Never enough. After she was so mean to all of us I just stopped calling, I stopped taking her calls. I just cut myself off. I wish things were different.

    She has been this way all her life. She was never a mother to us…we were always the mother to her…she was a single, pretty young woman with three children…she hung out in the bars in our very small town so she could find a husband…or two or three or four…because she didn’t have any skills to get a job with.

    Anyway, it always was and always will be all about her….I wish what I could do for her was enough…but it never was and it never will be. Sad about it, but I deserve a life.

    • Learner says:

      I feel for you having a parent who can never be pleased and who is “all about them”. Your mother sounds like an unhappy person who does not know how to have a mutually satisfying relationship with her family members. In my case its my father (who is on his third wife – she doesnt put up with his crap). It is sad to watch them alienating themselves from family members through being rude and verbally abusive, sometimes seeming oblivious to the damage they cause. I applaud you for having the strength to go NC with her. In my case, I don’t ignore my father, but I don’t initiate much contact either (which he complains about but doesnt seem to see HIS EU part in our infrequent communication). Sometimes I think I will feel guilty with my lack of effort to maintain a relationship with him should he die, but on the other hand, we must think of our own need for space that does not include them, mustn’t we?

      • dcd568 says:

        My course of action does not feel like something that should be applauded, but there is nothing else I can do. I don’t want it to be this way, but it is. Her choosing. Just last night I ran some errands for my 87 year old grandmother who still has all of her mind and still lives all by herself. God Bless her…and when I got there she was all nervous and shaking. I said, Gram what’s wrong….She said I just had a conversation with your mother…and then she told me what it was about….So she is STILL mistreating her family. Even if I cut her off, she still hurts me because she hurts the people I love most…My Gram, my brother and my sister.

        • Learner says:

          Aw, so sorry your mother is still hurting you this way. Your *strength* to realize you need distance from her is what I was applauding. It’s still tough though, isn’t it? Hugs xo

          • dcd568 says:

            Learner, thank you for your support..Yes, it is very hard. I want very much to have a mother daughter relationship.

  5. Somewhat still stuck says:

    When I first needed some time, this other person acted like I had hurt him by taking a few days away without notice. He was the one who had a girlfriend, so how was I somehow the bad one for distancing myself? In the end, we never could figure out how to be friends. Maybe we never really were friends. In the end, I was of no matter to him, so I distanced myself for good. For me, it was a big deal. For him, probably not so much. I do my best not to feel unworthy with the disregard he ultimately had for me, but I have trouble with that. I am hard on myself for not moving past this because it’s an old story by now, but it seems to live on for me.

  6. Learner says:

    “every time you ignore your feelings and thoughts to appease another person, you erase a little bit more of you out of the space you have here in life.”

    Thank you for this Natalie. After seeing the exMM at a conference over the last 3 days, I needed this reminder. I thought after over 10 months NC, we would have respected each other’s space, but I was mistaken.

    For the day before the conference, we were able to keep a distance while being civil during a ten minute conversation while the planning committee (including us) was getting everything ready for the attendees. The second day, I managed to stay away from him, sitting with others for workshops and meals.
    That evening, at a social event, we had designated seating, and I was placed beside him! I continued to be cool and keep things non-personal when I had to speak to him, but while others near us were engaged in conversation, he started to spew out things he would never be inclined to say while we were “together”. It was crazy making! “I am still not happy, I miss you, I am sad that I lost you, I have thought about you several times a day since we saw each other last, I am sad that we won’t be on this committee together much longer since we won’t see each other for the meetings and conferences”. And those were just the highlights. Normally I would have had to drag these kinds of sentiments from him.

    Although I managed to stay strong and dismissive in my replies to all this, it totally threw me for a loop! I felt guilty for ignoring him, spoke to him that evening and even accepted the seat he had saved beside him for the dinner on the third night. After over ten months NC I had gotten to the point that I had so little feelings for him and thought he could have no further effect on me, but now I feel sad that the conference is over and the daily contact has stopped. What is wrong with me? I am home now and enjoying taking back my personal space, but I feel a little shaky after engaging with him. I know I have technically broken NC, but I still know this double-cheating MM is not good for me and does not have my best interests at heart. Please, please everyone, keep your boundaries in place and guard your personal space. Even after months of NC, it is NOT emotionally wise to let an AC back into your bubble. As Natalie suggests, we must fill the space that’s ours in this life. Best wishes to all on BR.

    • dcd568 says:

      Seems like the universe is testing you to see if you learned any valuable lessons, Learner. Don’t fail the test. I know from past experience that if you “fail the test” the universe gives you, you will be tested again…and again, until you pass the test, proving to the universe through your behavior that you have changed. I have had to be taught so much that I am now into “advanced placement” courses….When you finally do pass a test though, when you actually realize you passed, it feels GREAT!

    • JenniferA says:

      Learner, you are okay!! I know how hard this all is. It makes me sad to think that they can say those things and stir up all the old feelings, just like that. With no regard to the effect it has on you. Typical, I guess. Had some contact with my EU last week and finally told him I couldn’t be friends right now. I think about him a lot. Things are going really well for me and of course I want to share it all with him. He was the only man in my life I actually had things in common with besides our “relationship”. He is working on an art project we had discussed when we were together and keeps bringing it up. I refuse to acknowledge it even though I’m very excited about the idea. I love his art and music. :( You have been very brave to be in physical contact with your ex and maintained the way you have. Mine is far away. I don’t think I could’ve been that strong. Hugs to you and know that you are strong and fabulous and can do this!!!

    • Lilia says:

      the guy is still married? Incredible, the nerve of these morons… Though it gives you a wonderful retort: when he´s all “Ooh Learner I can´t stop thinking about you”, you say “yes but you´re still married”, him: “I wish things were different”, you: “but you´re still married”, him: “I will leave my wife for you if we go to a motel right now”, you: “not while you´re still married, hon”.
      And when the silly part of your brain starts to question NC, you just tell it “he is MARRIED”.
      Good luck and stay strong!

      • Learner says:

        Lilia, JenniferA and dcd568,

        Thank you for your responses. I feel like I have to catch up on the last weeks worth of BR just to recover from this latest contact with him.

        dcd568: yes, it does feel like a test! I was doing so well steering clear from him but chance had it that we were almost forced to sit together. I want to pass this test. I want that GREAT feeling you mentioned. And no offense, but I do not wish to join you in the “advanced placement courses” lol!

        JenniferA: very typical, I agree, but so unfair that they know the words to say that go straight to the heart. Or straight to the dreamer parts of our brains, anyway!It’s great to hear the reality-based part of YOUR brain has said no to the exEUM’s request for friendship. It’s so hard to stay NC when you have special interests and passions in common. But as Natalie says, it’s not the interests that count, but rather the values and the shared love, trust, care and respect. Thank you for the encouragement, and hugs back to you.

        Lilia: yes, he is still married, and still going for “coffee” with his wife’s friend on occasion. I am “gobsmacked” that he is open about all this with me, and still spews this BS out, trying to rope me back in to his twisted life. His wife is ill, and it is clear he will not leave her (nor should he) and it is clear he will continue to disrespect her by pursuing “relationships” with as many women as he can to prop up his ego. I wonder how many other women he has uttered these words to, as he did to me: “you are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me”. Sheesh, even writing this out is bringing me back to reality, and getting the feelings of disgust back instead of the pity and caring I was starting to feel over the last few days. Thank you for reading and commenting.

        As for you, Lilia, no you are NOT a loser for being single! Who needs those text-a-lay characters anyway? Maybe instead of being your own worst enemy, you could become your own best friend, and your own best lover? Just because you are not having sex with some guy does not mean you are asexual – you can have a healthy libido all by yourself! Good luck to you, too, in ridding yourself of these ghosts xo

        • dcd568 says:

          You ARE doing well! KEEP GOING! Dismiss him for the rude, unloyal, egotistical, cheater he is. YOU DO NOT WANT THAT IN YOUR LIFE. It’s apparent you are so smart and have a lot going for you. YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING GOOD. Give it to yourself! He is not going to give you anything except a bad feeling about yourself.

          EVERY single ex I broke up with (or who broke up with me for that matter) wanted me back….I never did do-overs. If you can’t treat me right the first time, why in the world would I give you a second chance? Never give up your integrity or your dignity.

          I do not want a project. I do not want to be with someone I feel like they need to change. I am looking for the man who is complete just the way he is. It takes some time to figure this out about people. But just like Nat says, they will unfold. Keep your goals in mind. When you see that they are not worthy, chop them. No hard feelings. IF they are worthy, BINGO!

          I always felt that I am a really good person. I have a good core. People are lucky to know me and have me for a friend. I do not want to sound conceited. I am not conceited. But I AM a good person. And if you are stupid enough to mistreat me, you do not deserve the fabulousness of me as your friend.

          I can honestly say, even though I know it hurts my ex’s that I won’t be friends with some of them, I don’t really care. They didn’t care about my feelings….And although I don’t hold a grudge, I am glad they get to be sorry for losing me.

          I am moving on and HAPPY! HAHAHAHAHHAH!!!

          • Learner says:

            What a great comment, and what an excellent attitude you have! I am with you on this one – moving on and happy! Thank you :)

      • dcd568 says:

        I agree Lilia…The first inappropriate comment he made to me would be met with: Are you still married? Because if you are, and frankly, even if you’re not, you need to move along….NO DO-OVERS with someone who was inappropriate the first time. OTHER PEOPLES SPOUSES ARE OFF LIMITS!

    • dancingqueen says:

      @ Learner,

      Don’t beat yourself up! You have def improved! You see him for what he is. You did not take the bait, you are moving forward…he just got a bit of his slime near you and it is hard to remove yourself from it, without feeling a bit stinky yourself. It is just a speed bump on your journey; onwards and upwards!

      • Learner says:

        Dancingqueen, thank you, that is a great way of looking at it. I do feel healthier now after all that has happened over the last year with values and boundaries and NC. Being “near his slime” def had an effect on me though. Thanks for the positive spin. I hope all is well with you xo

    • Swissmiss says:

      I am terribly sorry you went thru this–but you were able to accurately translate the meaning of what he said–just an attempt at finding out if he can still hook you, that’s all. He SHOULD miss you, Learner–you are missable.

      I have a conference in October and the MM was supposed to participate. I called his manager and said, “Find someone else.” I have to head off any contact. I still feel so vulnerable. I heard he had gone back to his wife, and that brings up a whole new set of emotions to deal with.

      The whole affair is so painful and surreal, especially how I bought his rubbish hook, line and sinker. But the lack of conscience and remorse on his part—-that’s the worst. And that’s exactly what you were seeing.

      • Learner says:

        Smissmiss, aww, thank you. Yeah, he was trying to hook me again. I can fully relate to your pain re: falling for the BS in the first place. It is fortunate that you can call the exMM’s manager and ask not to have him attend the October conference. Who needs to be around these remorseless emotional vampires? We can only promise ourselves not to be sucked back into THEIR personal spaces ever again!

        I have to see the exMM for one more conference in June, then he is leaving the planning committee. Apparently he has put my name forward as someone to take over his role on the team. I am hoping this does NOT mean more mandatory face-time with him.

        Heading off any contact is best if you can swing it, and for your sake I hope “your” exMM does not show up in October. As for me, I will be glad when this last conference is over and I can be DONE!!!

    • runnergirl says:

      You done good Learner! Nothing is wrong with you, you just feel sad. That’s okay. I sometimes feel afraid to feel sadness…then I have two feelings going at once. Keep feeding the postive fishy. BTW, Natalie has a really, really great post on the “I miss you” line. Enter I miss you in the search bar. Yeah, he misses you? Give me a break. How would he have time to miss you, with a sick wife, and another OW on the go? Hello. I got the standard I miss you line and when I asked why he isn’t doing anything to be with me, he went blank. Then I got the “we belong together” line. When I asked why aren’t we, he went blank. Sorry to be harsh but the double cheating exMM is handing you the standard lines. We could probably crash this site if all the former OW’s responded with how much the exMM’s missed them while they are busy being married. Take back your space. And as Nat suggests in this post, feel what you need to feel.

      PS. You keep me strong Learner. Stay strong yourself.

      PPS. We did find an apartment for my daughter. Last month I was feeding the fear fishy about her living alone. Now, I’m counting the days. My daughter has a wonderful way of helping me let go.

      • Learner says:

        Yeah, it’s a bunch of standard bs, but sometimes I do miss him. Or at least my dreamer fantasy version of him. I will ride out the sadness, and let his wife and friend keep him! I must look up the posts you mentioned.
        PS, I think it’s the other way around, *you* keep *me* strong runner. Thank you!
        PPS, so pleased about your daughter. They have a great way of keeping those fear fishies at bay, don’t they? Mine is off doing her volunteer work on another continent and sounded so happy and content when I spoke to her on the phone yesterday :)

  7. Sofiexx says:

    Thanks I really appreciate this. My ex told me he was suicidal when I was about to travel nearly 300 miles to be with my dying sister. Then he sulked after she died and I asked him to stay with me a few nights. I feel so angry writing this. It’s like a lightbulb came on and I can see where all my pain has come from. He is permanently out of my life. No wonder three years on I’m only just recovered and am enjoying my own company. What a great post.

  8. Revolution says:

    You done told me, Natalie. :) Shit.

  9. Rosie says:

    “and it’s most definitely normal to not want to emotionally babysit someone when you’re ill or even fighting for your life”

    Yes. When I was in the hospital or sick as a kid, I always wanted to be alone, even kicked my family out of my hospital room. A part of that is just my character but a lot of that was because my mom would need emotional babysitting and I just couldn’t do it as I needed a strong, supportive adult (I was in the hospital!) but somehow became responsible for trying to console her…how did that happen??

    On one level I knew my mom was an emotional manipulator but on another level I was powerless against it because I wasn’t given the tools to know how to protect myself against it. I felt terrible guilt for having a life and activities that didn’t involve her.

    She’s been in therapy herself and has improved tremendously (as have I) but it’s still very difficult for me to walk away from somebody or a situation. I stay in it for much longer than I ought out of a distorted sense of loyalty.

    As a religious person I believe prayers for our enemies (real and/or perceived) are quite effective. About a year ago I was really hurt over a person’s deceitful actions. I’ve been praying for this person for a year and it just occurred to me–I’m not obligated to pray for this person for the rest of my life; I can say no. If I believe God is a God of love–and I do–then He isn’t going to force His agenda on me. I can say no. Thus, I told God to “please accept my prayers that I prayed for a year but I’m done. The person’s an adult who is responsible for her own actions. I did my part. The rest is between You and her.” Hence, I haven’t prayed for this person all week and I feel lighter, less burdened. I’m now looking at a couple other situations and feel empowered to change those, too, as they aren’t serving me, really. It’s hard to explain…as a religious person, I do believe we have a certain moral obligation to act with integrity and honesty toward others regardless if that person “deserves” it or not. However, staying in an abusive situation isn’t honest nor is it acting with integrity. It’s treating myself as less than who I am and is enabling the other person to continue to sin against me, which is a sin too. Anyway, the point is I’m learning to say no and letting adults take responsibility for their own choices. I’m still in a lot of pain and am suffering some pretty serious consequences for my underdeveloped life skills but I’m getting there…I think?

    • suzy says:

      oh Rosie..
      you are so much getting there. |I understand what you mean and your dilemmas. I think you have a good insight. Forgiveness, unconditional love are tough ones. didn’t Jesus preach about shaking the dust off your shoes to those who didn’t respond? Ive struggled with all of this for years.
      Much love to you for your journey, I think you are travelling well…xx

      • Rosie says:

        Suzy–Thank you so much! I read your post on a rough day and it smoothed out the roughness a bit. You are right–Jesus did say to shake the dust off our shoes and move on if people were unresponsive. I forget about that Gospel story. I appreciate the reminder.

        Thank you, Suzy.

    • stacey allam says:

      unfortunately im the mom in this senario my son has had alot of surgeries on his leg and we have autistic daughter so my son has unfortunately learned to coverthings because he doesnt want to upset meif his leg brace or if hes walking with it broken waiting to have it fixed he would never tell me about it hes 19 now and entitled to have his own life if he were ot living with us i would not know evcerytime their wa an emgencey with his leg or anything else thats going wrong in his life its just the way things are when you are dealing with a condition in the family.

      • Rosie says:

        Stacey–How painful for you! I don’t know what’s more painful–your children’s disabilities or your feelings of powerlessness regarding their disabilities.

        Not this is helpful, but experiencing my mom’s desire to go to therapy, show signs of some healing, and apologize for not being stronger when I was younger brought tremendous healing for me. I suspect your own growth and desire to become a better mom will bring much healing to your son and your daughter (not knowing where your daughter is on the autistic spectrum).

  10. Peanut says:

    Some people are afraid of what space means especially if it involves them getting a chance to look at their own behavior. I’ve been on both sides of this. My ex thought the words “I’m sorry” were the two magic passwords to future fake his sorry ass right back into my life as if nothig had happened. “I’m sorry” does not erase past actions! If someone does something shady toward me I want a few things: to stand up for myself, the person to show their remorse via not repeating the faulty deed, or to get away from them for however long need be, even permanentley.

    There’s nothing wrong with an acknowledgement of shady behavior but only when action is taken to correct it. My transformation to emotionally available (still have a bit to go) has not been pretty. And I have acted in ways that left me feeling embarrassed and even ashamed and I’ve contemplated on apologizing but those feelings of shame were mine to deal with. So that’s what I went about doing and made a commitment with myself to not react in certain ways.

  11. NCC says:

    So many thoughts, so little time I can take away from working when I really want to to respond. Well here goes anyway!
    It’s hard to wrap my head around! I feel like I see my father in this (he abuses then wants instant forgiveness because he needs to move on because he can’t deal with the reality of the pain he causes) , my exAC, and myself (as in I feel like I’ve expected this of people as well, that need for instant “everything is ok” feeling. )
    I look back to when the exAC really offended me one day early in the relationship. I had told him something personal and that could possibly affect him, and after telling him and getting a supportive answer from him initially, then later him making an offensive comment about it out of the blue in front of his kids, I needed some space to sort through what had just happened. He has also been rather rude and abrupt with me (this was all over the phone) when I asked him when he would be coming over later, I asked “do you know what time?” and he said “NO” like in a tone of how dare I ask and how could he possibly be expected to know something like that? (yet another RED FLAG that I eventually looked past) I was with a friend at the time helping her look at a rental property. I of course went to her for advice. He BLEW UP my phone for the next hour, while I was at home chatting with my friend. I honestly had missed his first few calls, but then I actively did not answer as I was upset and needed time to think. Um, like ONE HOUR. Then, when I tried to call him later, guess what? Game playing time, he didn’t answer for HOURS. Ok, yes, HE could have needed HIS space. But when he finally did answer, he gave me some lie about where he was and was really short with me(because I now know he was with his other girlfriend that I knew nothing about) and my need for space allowed his shady agenda to take place in his mind. He did this kind of thing for the rest of the “relationship.” All I could rely on was that if I acted within my boundaries, he would bail/ignore/use it as time with the other women (again, I didn’t find that out for sure until later, but I still went back). I have serious abandonment issues and this scared/scares the f-ing HELL out of me. When he stopped answering, I went into panic mode and thought oh shit, I’ve really screwed this up. I couldn’t relax, I think I did actually have a panic attack. He blew me off in the short conversation we did have, told me he would call me back, but didn’t that night. Acted like a complete ass about it and would never discuss it later. Wow, ya NCC he sure cared about your feelings.
    I do think however, that because my gut knew this guy was fishy, this had something to do with my reaction. I felt old familiar fears creeping in, and from other things the AC had done up to this early point led me down the path of panic. But I also know that I’ve not allowed for others to have space when I’ve caused a bit of a ruckus due to abandonment issues, so was it partly that? I don’t know for sure, but I think in a healthier scenario 1) he would have been been able to take time to process what he felt about what I had told him instead of giving a fake supportive future faking answer and wouldn’t have thrown something in my face later 2) if he was upset with me about something he could have told me then on the phone rather than just been cruel (what I now know this was his cold phase/push back/change the goalposts on me behavior because he was seeing MULTLIPLE women at once and on that particular day my question about when he would arrive to our planned meeting was cramping his style) 3) I could have answered one of his calls and said I needed some time to think 4) he could have answered when I called back if he TRULY was that concerned about what had gone down (at the time I thought that’s what his repeated calls meant and that he would want me to phone back but that had nothing to do with concern about me, he was feeling out of control, so he reacted. placing ALL of myself and trust in just yet conversation wouldn’t have been so hurtful, so it was yet again about him) 5) I hope I would not have had that awful gut reaction to it all and knew in my head he was bad news. I have to hope that if this was someone that I was truly comfortable around, wasn’t blindly placing trust in when my gut was telling me otherwise, that I would have been a bit more relaxed and felt confidant to keep my boundaries. But that always needs to be the case for me, keeping my boundaries in place regardless of my fear of what they will think of me or do, as what they think of me and do reflects their character, not mine.

    • NCC says:

      oops things got a bit skewed towards the end there, I didn’t edit. Sorry about that!

    • Learner says:


      “his cold phase/push back/change the goalposts on me behavior because he was seeing MULTLIPLE women at once and on that particular day my question about when he would arrive to our planned meeting was cramping his style)”

      Were you supposed to be in an exclusive relationship with this man? If so, I can’t see how there is any chance this could represent a healthy scenario, and I think this trumps all the other potential possibilities you have listed. He treated you horribly, blew you off, cheated on you, put you down in front of his kids. How awful for you! I hope you will listen to your gut in the future, I hope you will spend as much time thinking about YOU as you do about him. An “everything is OK” feeling is not the norm when engaging with an AC like him – it’s fitting that he’s your EX now. And I hope you give yourself the space to heal from this relationshit. Strength and hugs to you.

    • Allison says:


      This guy is a real asshole!!! He is a passive aggressive, cheating, lying, manipulative creep!

      I too, am guilty of not reacting when knowing something was off – excusing and ignoring. I’ve learned that if I have to make excuses, or something feels uncomfortable, it’s time to move on.

      Be glad you are away from that one!

      • CJ says:

        Some men are sociopaths, if you find this to be the case, and it sounds like it just might be, how can you grieve/miss him at all? I just don’t get that…if anything, cry tears of relief that it’s finally over!

  12. Lilia says:

    Thanks for this post, it is so timely because I´ve been beating myself up the last few days for not being in a happy relationship already. That is, the year after the disaster of a sort of-incomprehensible-ambiguous relationshit I had with the most EU man you could ever meet. Not that I didn´t try to move on as fast as possible. But internet dating only landed me into the arms of some text-a-lay characters so I decided enough is enough!
    I was feeling pretty serene all by myself until a couple of weeks ago, when the self-questioning began: am I a loser because I´m single? Shouldn´t I be with someone new & nice already?
    Should I just jump into bed with anyone, so as to convince myself that I´m not hurt and that I have a healthy libido because I´m in fact having sex?
    I can really be my own worst enemy sometimes!
    The ghosts of past relationships still linger somewhere in my brain. I´ll just wait until they get the message and move on.

    • marie83 says:

      Lilia, I get these feelings completely, I even have friends who tell me I should have a one night stand as it’s all part of the ‘healing process’

      • Lilia says:

        Thanks Marie, and you know what? The one night stand-method doesn´t work. I know because I tried it out, stupidly. But hey, live and learn, right?

        • Marie83 says:

          Yes Lilia, I haven’t tried it out, I have been on a few dates but they make me feel worse so I have decided to stay on my own for a while. I am at the stage now where I don’t want the ex back but I miss what I thought we had and I am scared that I will never fall in love again etc

          • Kit-Kat says:

            Marie83.. I know exactly what your saying. I really have a hard time accepting the fact that I may never fall in love again. I know I will be OK if it doesnt happan but sometimes when that thought creeps in I feel really sad.

            • marie83 says:

              Hi KitKat,
              Yes I worry that this relationship (or rather breakup) is going to define me – I don’t feel able to fall in love, It feels like my ex killed that part of me that was willing to be vulnerable and invested in another and that makes me very sad

              • Infinite Corridor says:

                I have thought this at times too, but I fight it with a couple tools: a) if a part of you is dying, it’s not your ability to be vulnerable and love, but let it instead be the part that is dreaming-prone with its head in the clouds. and b) don’t you think your ex would derive some sick satisfaction from this “revelation”? Don’t let the emotional terrorists win! You’ll be just fine, you just need more time to learn to love yourself. The needy love will dissipate and you’ll find relationships even more rewarding and less hysterical.

                • Kit-Kat says:

                  Infinite Corridor.. I absolutely dont want him to know I am not in another relationship yet. I dont want to know anything about his life at all. That is why NC is so very important. It does not matter anymore, he does not matter anymore.I am 53yrs old and look back on my romantic relationships and wonder what I could have been thinking back then :).. I am not that person anymore which is a good thing but to find someone who meets my new criteria may be a little difficult. I am just going with the flow for now. Enjoying my singleness for all its worth. Holidays I find are the worse when your alone. But is over b4 you know and life goes on… I love this blog !!!!

                • jewells says:

                  Good conversation points here. I had to resolve myself with the notion that “I may be alone for the rest of my life”, accept it and it dissolved. I accepted it because I realized that ‘being alone’ was better than being ‘sick with someone’. I had to come to terms with ‘me’, be ok with being ‘alone’, and I’ve met someone who I’m just starting with, following BR advice and rules…and guess what? No drama, no hysterics, no doubts, I’m ok, he’s ok, and we’re just letting things unfold. I think it’s that we’ve both been around the block, and are in a similar space and place inside, so respect and appreciate each other. I don’t know where or if this will become something, but it’s such a nice, calm way to begin and proceed. I now that I wouldn’t have even entertained this person had I not come to terms with being on my own and being ok with that. It’s created a calmness in me that allows me to see things I didn’t before, and to approach without apprehension of ‘what if’s’ or future faking myself. Oh what a glorious place to be! No matter what, I love me from within, and as a result I see it and recieve reinforcement from without!

                  • Kit-Kat says:

                    jewells…Great Post..I know if and when I would meet someone I am BR educated which is a huge plus. U sound so level headed about your new guy… Congrats ..

                  • Tinkerbell says:

                    Jewells. That’s great news! The best thing is that you’ve done the work so if the relationship does not pan out well, you will still be able to have a full, intact life without him. Once you gain the strength and essential self-esteem you can deal with whatever these Bozos put out. The possibility of him being one of the “good ones” is much greater than before you came to BR. And if not, you will recognize the signs and flush quickly. I hope you will be fortunate. I am still with mine and we are very happy. We share a very sweet calmness in our relationship that I have never known. The mutual respect, love and caring are priceless. All the best to you. Tink.

    • Rosie says:

      Lilia–Peer pressure doesn’t end with the teen years, does it? Because of my value system and desire for my motives to be about my value system, premarital sex is out of the question for me. I feel like an alien in an alien land. Couples, couples everywhere. Isn’t there any men out there who are attracted to me and are willing to get to know me? Oh, I give up. :(

  13. lawrence says:

    All true, Natalie, but like so many kinds of statements, “I need some space” has acquired a reputation as a catchphrase for “I’m just not that into you” or perhaps “I want to let you off gently,” or “I’m feeling ambivalent about you right now,” or even “Several light years between us would be good.”

    I would suggest not using such a loaded phrase, but if you do, an explanation would be a good idea (unless you actually mean one of the above kiss-offs). :)


  14. fran says:

    Rosie you seem like a very kind hearted and spiritually evolved person, however, I relate to your ‘distorted sense of loyalty’ which consequently forces you to stay in less than ideal situations or relationships for longer than is comfortable.
    I too have had a friend do something ‘deceitful’ to me and even though she says she was acting in my ‘best interest’ it really upset me but it took almost a year before I was able to stand up for myself and say, actually, I’m not over that incident. When I finally acknowledged the fact and asked for some space from the friendship she took it like I was knifing her in the heart. Of course, it didn’t suit her or her agenda to have me do that but it had to be done. I still feel a bit guilty about it though…catholic guilt perhaps? That’s what I put it down to..anyways, you can read more here if you like. It might help to know that you’re not the only one: http://truthjoybeauty.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/when-good-friends-turn-bad.html
    Thanks again Natalie for your posts, I always find them relevant.

    • Rosie says:

      Thank you, Fran–Yes, don’t you just love it when someone is so condescending as to act in your “best interest” without your permission and then expect you to be grateful? Seriously?? Ew. We are not children. We are adults. We don’t need people forcing their agendas on us for…you know…our “own good”. Ew.

      Thank you for the link. I like it that the author writes that it is not her responsibility to feel sorry for somebody who wronged her. This is what I’m learning–the difference between authentic compassion for somebody and excuse-making for somebody. I’m learning that what I thought was forgiving somebody was simply excuse-making. I want to recognize and call a spade a spade so that my forgiveness and moving on is real.

  15. Shay says:

    I think back over somethings and the amount of guilt I’ve received for wanting space is shocking actually. I didn’t want to get over things at someone else’s time, I wanted to do that in my own time. Plus I’ve been guilty of the same thing to be honest so I’ve disrespected someone’s boundaries with my bad behavior.

    The funny thing is that now I’m single and have been for 7 months without dating makes me want to punch some people in the face. For the simple fact that they expect me to just be out there dating all and sundry. Really? I’ve come out of an on again, off again, spanning 8 year relationship! With lies, abuse, being the other woman, future faking… basically all but the kitchen sink on BR. Why would I ever want to just jump into something cause some person is in my face or on my line telling me some bs. I have feelings to process, thoughts to get through, anger to let out and healing to do. It’s either people projecting their desperation for a relationship or I’m just abnormal. OBVIOUSLY! *rolls eyes*

  16. Free2bec says:


    Read my posts. That was the kiss off I received.
    But I certainly get the message NML is conveying.

  17. Emerldeyez says:

    My ex EUM could not stand space. I couldn’t go to church, see friends, work later than he thought was appropriate, spend vacation time with my family, grieve when my dog died, I now know why. When ever he wasn’t available, he was with his other women, he projected that out onto me.

    I have a well meaning friend, that is telling me go out, find someone else, that will help you forget him. I hurt, I grieve, I am angry, and at times lonely, but I feel I have to go through it all. I am journalling and doing a lot of reading about abusive relationships, and once again want to understand why I let it continue when it hurts so bad. Verbal abuse was normal in my childhood. I now can spot it, name it, and realize I was set up to tolerate it. I don’t want to repeat it. I need time to lick my wounds and learn from my mistakes. I get an education on BR.

    i told the EUM once and ex always an ex. There is a reason they are an EX.

    My ex has violated me one last time. He called my boss today, saying he is going to send her something that they need to know about me. I had to tell her that he is going to pre-trial court in two weeks and has escalated his abuse. She is so supportive, but to me the damage is done. He violated me, he crossed the boundary of work and personal.

    • Tabitha says:

      Oh Emerald that is awful. I am so sorry you are still enduring this dreadful narc stalking abuse. At least you have a supportive boss but it must be unbearable. I guess it is too late to bring up this latest episode as evidence in the trial? Sending you hugs and hope all goes well in court.

      • Emerldeyez says:

        No, we have two weeks before pre-trial, and my boss will put the voicemail in writing for the DA. I have been no contact for months and he is trying every which way to contact me, through FB, phony texts from other people’s phones, because he is blocked. His behavior is escalating because he can’t control me anymore. I don’t love him anymore, I don’t feel anything anymore. NC really works, you get your life back, I got out from under his spell and could see what was really going on.

  18. espresso says:

    This is a great post. I have needed a huge amount of solitude, peace and alone time to deal with the emotionally trauma inflicted upon me by my ex. I like the part about it being normal to need some space while trying to come to terms with a trauma or big change or a big revelation. I find that revelations come like bombs into my heart, they often surprise me and not in a good way and and then I have to deal with the grief and sadness of what I didn’t have and what effect that had on me. I missed them during the marriage but I never grieved them. My grief is around the fact that I now realize that I had been living with a man who actually had no clue about who I was and or what would hurt me or if he did, didn’t care about it. A man that had NO insight into his actions because he had no insight into himself (and never did anything about it) and despite his veneer of being nice, courteous, and decent was no better than an AC to me.

    It really is exhausting to be traumatized and there is a lot to process after a long marriage while at the same time trying to focus on building a new life based on my family, friends, projects, work and interests. Sometimes I realize my mood is down simply because I haven’t taken the time and space just to be quiet.

    Things trigger and blindside me more than I want to and I need peace and quiet to process that. My daughter told me of the lovely day planned by her husband on mother’s day. He didn’t have a good family background but has figured things out that she cares about and he implements them. I was so happy to hear her story but it created so much sadness to think how this thoughtfulness and understanding didn’t happen to me. Nobody knows that part of my life and my sadness around it.

    I also like the part about it being normal to be out of touch for as long as needed after a breakup. And that my feelings are my feelings to come to terms with and that I can take as much time as I want to deal with them. And that when he calls me a lot or sends too many emails, that this is an infringement of my rights and oppresses me. It shows a lack of respect for me but I am not surprised. He doesn’t seem to get that I am not the same person. This post has strengthened me..thanks

    • Chrysalis says:

      Espreso, I too lived with a man who had no clue who I was or what would hurt me. I am still processing the grief at the end of our marriage of23 years. We are split now for 8 months and I think the loss is only starting to sink in as up until now I was being carried along by a tide of anger at how he treated me. I would like to thank you for a link that you posted a while back to a YouTube meditation by Jack Kornfield on Forgiveness. It was through listening to Jacks message on forgivenes that I let go of the “its all about what he did to me” and worked on embracing forgiveness for me. It has not been easy but I maintained my space, and needed my space to work on it. I suppose the ‘downside’ for want of a better word is that when you take away the armour of anger and blame you are left with looking at whats going on inside of YOU. My gratitude Espresso for sharing that link, it started me down a path that has helped me process and question what happened and why I reacted the way I did. I too feel a deep sadness that my (ex)) husband was not either kind or caring towards me, looking back I now realise that he treated me at best with indifference and worst with betrayal and distain. Sad, but the reality is you can’t receive from someone what they haven’t got to give.

      • buffalogirl says:

        Chrysalis-i can relate to exactly what you are saying. i too was stuck in a marriage for about 15 years with a husband who didnt have a clue as to what made me tick and didnt care. it was always all about him. He was the most selfish, self center SOB i have ever known and i am sorry to say that i stayed in the marriage so long because my self esteem was nil when i got out of it but because he bullied me so much and basically made me feel like i couldnt make it on my own i stayed. He has no idea how to give of himself or care about another person. I cringe sometimes when i think of the things he has said and done to me. Me a grown woman who he treated like a child with no brains.It’s funny because now that i look back i never looked at him as my husband but more of an adversary. He never respected any boundaries and he still tries to cross them even though I have cried foul. Somehow he always makes it all about him. I know he will never change because in his mind he doesnt have a problem and in some ways it makes me sad because he is going to end up being alone. I certainly don’t miss him. As for forgiveness well that one will be a long time coming in my book. I do know that he wounded my spirit so deep that now I am gun shy of men and dont trust them and frankly couldnt care less about them. Hopefully my time riding my bike and running by myself will clear my head where i can get to the point where i am willing to put myself out on a limb again.

    • Learner says:

      Yes, why not take some personal time and space to find your balance again? With your new self knowledge, how about an “espresso day” in which you do wonderful things for YoU that you know you like? You have a lot to reflect on and recover from, so why not plan a day just for you?

  19. Selkie says:

    I have an ex who I run into here and there who tries to say hi and talk to me like he never ambush dumped me. It wasn’t fun for me to pick up the pieces and sort out my confusion and I don’t want to be his friend now. He had every right to want out of the relationship, it’s his life, but I have the right to not want to know him anymore. When I don’t respond, he just says “Hi Selkie” louder. Nope.

    • High Anxiety says:

      Selkie, this just happened to me the other day! I saw one of the men who I allowed to take me for a ride (I was head over heels, he was opportunistic) up until I put a stop to the charade in 2009. I saw him in chance meetings twice, two years apart, over the last four years. I didn’t plan to speak. When he ran after me to “catch up” I bit my cheecks to keep from smiling at him. I have this bad habit of smiling when I shouldn’t… I think I was cold but cordial towards him. My friend says I should’ve come across in my usual happy way, because now he thinks I’m not over him. But I told her that how he feels about my behavior is irrelevant. I intended to convey that we are not friends and I remember the disrespectful ways he treated me. For instance, there’s a good chance he was married the last time we were together and he kept that information from me… His deal is that he does not want to be the “bad guy”… My unwanted advice is that if he doesn’t want to be the bad guy, he should not treat people disrespectfully. I do not want him talking to me. Even a simple Hello years later is not ok. That is my right.

      • Allison says:


        So agree!!!!!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        High Anxiety. Good for you. What do you care what he thinks. It really doesn’t matter if he gets the impression that you’re not over him. YOU know the truth, that you don’t want to have any interactions with him, because he is a turd. He is not your friend. When someone stabs you in the heart do you smile and say, “Thank you so much”? Hell, no. I applaud you.

  20. Natasha says:

    Oh Lord, I went through this with one of my friends. (Spoiler Alert: I wound up dumping her.) I needed space from her because she committed a number of Marked Lane Friendship Violations, i.e. trying to force me to go out with guys I wasn’t into/may as well have draped themselves in red flags, telling me how to “fix” my life, condescending instead of listening, etc. Anyway, in all of her relationships with others, she’d yell and scream (literally) until the person who disagreed with her agreed just to save their hearing and sanity. Before I became a Recovering Conflict Avoider and Shirker, obviously I never disagreed with her in the first place. When I finally oh-so-gently told her that I appreciated her help and I know she meant well, but I could handle things on my own…well, there was no yelling, but she just got mean. To paraphrase A*shole Speak, she basically said, “You’re a nice person with good qualities, but you are SUCH a loser.” I decided to let a few of her calls go to voicemail. This was unacceptable apparently, because she left me a very bitchy, sneering message ON MY BIRTHDAY. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s one thing to be upset that someone has taken some space away from your ass, but it’s entirely another to let your displeasure be known on their freaking birthday. Take back your personal space people, it’s yours and yours alone to decide what to do with!

    • Revolution says:


      She was obviously jealous of your foxy, down-ass self, girl. ;)

    • Little Star says:

      OMG Natasha who need an enemy with a fried like this?!! Thanks GOD you rid of this snake, I agree with Rev, your “friend” was definitely jealous of you, and by putting you down she wanted to feel important. She is a real loser here!

  21. Sheela says:

    I’m getting mine(personal space),Nat.And thanks for defining normality.
    It’s amazing how you get it so right every time.Love you,Sis and God bless!

  22. dancingqueen says:

    Wow what a great post. I could really relate to this on so many levels. My dad and his multiple wives were like this; boundary busting and expecting you to jump to their tune.

    You know it is funny, sometimes taking space from people, esp permanent space, makes you see them so clearly. I did not talk to my dad for almost 10 years. The first time we spoke in the same place again, I was back East with family. Within 2 hours he was screaming at me at the top of his lungs, like when I was 14. I remember standing there and just kind of looking at him like “Really? We have not spoken in 10 years and I have a credit card and I am an adult…you honestly think that I am going to put up with this?” I told him, calmly, that I would leave if he was going to yell and he shut up. So that was good….

    But you know, after that, I still let a loser boyfriend yell at me about 7 years later, in public no less. Now that would never happen, but I did not have this blog then, so I was not clear, really, about all the history of me and my lack of boundaries. I knew that something was wrong, but things had not clicked.

    Things have clicked now. I know I have my back, mostly due to what I have learned here. I will never, EVER, let someone manipulate me again. EVER:)

  23. 539 says:

    I remember when I told my ex that we had to part ways because she just wasn’t therefor me, she tried every trick in the book including the guilt trip and the classic “she dated me to make me happy.”

    At times, I even started to feel bad about being away but these BR articles really helped and reminded me that I should pay more attention to me. I have my space from her now and had no contact since Jan. Still think about from time to time but I don’t feel guilty anymore.


  24. Rachael says:

    I am officially ‘processing’ and that’s ok :)

    • jewells says:

      I’ve adopted that. With the exMM end, I didn’t talk to anyone about it. If anyone queried, I just replied that something had happened and that I wasn’t ready to talk yet as I was still processing. If the person respected me, that’s all they needed and left me to it. When I was ready to talk, those were the ones I talked to about it. I think that’s why I managed to learn so much from the experience – I had space to process. I gave myself persmission to do that, to feel the feelings, think the thoughts and let it all lead me to where I needed to be with it all. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself – it is self love and self respect.

      • Rachael says:

        We march to the beat of our own drum. The pace at which we heal is ours, be it short or long. We know who we are, we have lived with ourselves all our lives

  25. newmoi says:

    Stop peeping into my window!!! HAHA! I just completed week two of an unofficial “no contact”. I say unofficial as I’ve not reviewed the actual steps as stated on this site and my intent was not to purposely stay away from my gym especially for this long. I just simply chose one day after making a different big decision (cancelling my PT contract) to just not go back to the same place where I would see this individual on a regular basis. For a long time I had struggled with the idea of leaving my gym as I felt that I was there first therefore, there was no need for me to have to leave because of the way things went down between the two of us (personal trainer). “Pride comes before a fall” they say. I had even struggled with the idea of cancelling my personal training contract officially for a long time as in my head I knew the difference between business and personal and that it would work out on its own, so I thought. Emotions, anger, behavior roller coaster, patterns resurfacing with another therefore causing doubt that he changed or recognized that his behavior was wrong….I’ve realized, it wasn’t worth putting myself in harm’s way and that I had to make a conscious choice to protect myself, my mind, my well being regardless of what anyone else thought about it. At any rate, I have to say that it has felt so good and I have been able to clear so much head garbage it is unbelievable. I have been able to remind myself of all of my qualities and really…I mean really look back over that year to see the changes that have occurred with me and begin working on snapping myself back into “great me” I have been re-energized beyond belief. I miss my friends at the gym but I’ll be back one day. I just need the time to reflect and get him officially out of my system. I don’t want to continue to attract emotionally unavailable men.

    I also wanted to comment on the whole “processing emotions on someone else’s schedule”. We all have friends who have good intentions and want to help. Sometimes though you just want to be left alone..you don’t want to talk…or if you do, you don’t want or need the lecture especially when it is about spiritual no, nos. “Duh, of course, I’ve gone back and forth between the guilt and shame to reconciliation and redemption. Be real. Just because I didn’t tell you first about what I was going through for the last few months does not mean I’ve not already processed and replayed the movie reel in my life over and over again. Since when did it become about you?” Just sayin’…
    So yeah, I get this post perfectly. On time confirmation. Thanks!

  26. noquay says:

    I often feel as though many folk cannot stand to be alone, without media distraction, reflecting, for more than 5 minutes these days. Always texting, on Face plant, emailing. I need a fair amount of alone time, and when grieving, even more. I need to reflect, analyze, figure out warning signs I missed so I do not make the same mistakes again. I have not had a lot of breakups in my life, being pretty cautious before emotionally investing in anyone. It is best that I never have to deal with the person again after a breakup. This is why it has taken me so long (two years next month) to get over the AC. I am on a coupla dating sites now, and that most suitable men and I are 100 miles apart is in a way a good thing. If they are indeed financially stable and feel I am truly worth it, they can meet me half I way, if it doesn’t work, I never have to see them again. Even if a bus load of good looking, older, PhD’s were to be stranded in this poor, broken town tomorrow, I would only proceed with extreme caution.

  27. AquaGirl says:

    I think you DID PASS THE TEST!! I am proud of you handling yourself in that situation and while coming home made have left you a little shaky- you got through it. There is nothing wrong with feeling what you do/did. You are a human being with feelings and empathy and love and just because you felt bad for him and had to talk to him does not make you wrong or weak. The alternative is to be LIKE those men out there who have NO FEELINGS- cold and non-emotional and hurtful. That’s not you and that’s not me. I like who I am on the inside and I would have empathy for anyone- even if they had done me wrong. I may not forgive them, but I still could not wish hurt or harm on them. I am in a similar situation. I had a real low moment last night that scared me. I was doing good on NC for 4 months…starting to feel good about myself without him. I was calm and at peace and enjoyed my alone time. Like another post said, I was processing. I read my books, became happier around my children and put some serious effort into my dissertation and made great strides. I felt good without him, strong, and it was OKAY to be alone. But I broke contact, sent him a ‘closure’email that I felt compelled do to, then he sent me a birthday card and the past 3 months have been like hell-revisited. I thought I could handle it-what little he could offer. Any attention was good attention even if it was harmful to me. But I have to say that those 4 months were not for nothing- when I re-connected with him it didn’t feel the same. I kept myself emotionally distant and I think that was my new-found self-respect and self-esteem telling me- ‘hey girl, you know this is not good for you.’ Well- today is DAY 1 of the rest of my life. I have children who need me, I have ‘me’ who needs me. I am so lucky to have found a wonderful therapist. One session she asked if I believed in God, as not to be intrusive and bring up religion if it made me feel uncomfortable, and while I was not overly-religious, I said that I do believe in God. And from then on I feel we incorporated God into our sessions and it helps, a lot. Basically, what God means to me is truth and goodness. We all need to live in what is true and good. We started over together on Thursday at my last session and after my mini-breakdown last night I woke up this morning worn out and exhausted- physically and mentally. Ironically, before I crawled out of bed and after I said my prayer for the day,(more like an informal chat with God :) I told myself that it’s ok to feel bad, sad, angry, hurt and it’s OK to want to be alone and get through this- once again. Then I read Nat’s post and it helped re-affirm what I just told myself. Always perfect timing. Again for Learner and all of us- it’s okay and natural to feel things…if we didn’t we would be like those men who made us feel so bad for too long. I like me and while I put my heart out there and loved the WRONG man, I wouldn’t want to change me for a minute.
    God Bless all of you.

    • Learner says:

      Aqua girl,
      Thank you so much for your vote of confidence that I passed the test. I am glad the right words seemed to come out of my mouth at the time, but disturbed that a small part of my reptilian brain is contemplating a friendship with him. Thankfully, the more rational grey matter is suppressing that urge! As you said we loved men who were WRONG for us.

      I am sorry to hear about your difficult night, and about your second visit to hell after 4 months NC. You seem to be going in a good direction with your therapist, which is great! You are inspiring me to reflect on my own relationship with God, for which I thank you. Your informal chats with Him sound like just the remedy for getting out of a funk caused by exAC thoughts. Congrats on the improvement in your self regard, and on the renewed commitment to your children and dissertation. You sound busy! You are right though. we have a right to our feelings,and to take all the time we need to heal and grow and just to be our wonderful, empathetic selves. Thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts xo

      • AquaGirl says:

        Thanks so much for your reply!! While I wouldn’t wish this hurt on anybody else, it is truly nice to be able to talk to someone who understands how hard it is to get over someone- someone who was so damaging to us but yet in my case, so addictive. I think what really gets me is how there can be people/men out there like this? How can they exist in their own skin without feeling bad about what they do to nice, trusting people/women? I cannot grasp the concept of being so selfish and so self-absorbed as to treat others like that. They are takers, and lie about being givers. There’s a part of me that actually pities them. They are living such an empty life- they can’t be truly happy or content. They may think they are but there has to be something hollow in their souls and hearts. Some sort of unsettling turmoil has to exist. These types of people may not acknowledge it consciously, but subconsciously there is no way that they are not being eaten away at some level by the way they live their lives. Something is suffering…Just my opinion. But I know there are sometimes no answers to questions such as these.
        A few weeks ago I had the chance to meet up with him for a mini-get-away. I was so excited at first, bought new clothes, made all the arrangements. But all the while, I knew it was wrong-like this gnawing feeling under my skin. I knew deep inside that I wouldn’t end up going- but I kept planning on it- weird, I know. I guess I was hoping my ‘self’ would stop talking to me and let me go without feeling wrong and guilty. Well- about 2 nights before I was still undecided, unbeknowst to him, and I woke up SUDDENLY in the middle of the night in sort of a panic attack. These clear thoughts, until then suppressed, entered my mind. I visualized what our time would be together, cold, unromantic, really just a physical fix for him with no regard to my emotions or needs, and how I wanted, deserved, so much more than that from a man. Then I imagined and actually felt, the feelings as I drove home afterwards. Sadness, emptiness, lonliness, feeling used and belittled, guilt…also how much money I would have spent to be tossed away after he was done with me. It was horrible. I thought that maybe God woke me up to make me face these harsh realizations that I was trying to bury. I was awakened so abruptly and those thoughts came instantly. Such a strange experience-one I will never forget. The last time I was woken up like that was 20 years ago the night before my grandmother passed away. I was dreaming of her-that her cancer was healed and we were sitting drinking Coke out of cans together (she use to make sure I would wipe the top of the Coke cans with a tissue before I sipped out of it :)-like she was well again, however at the time she was actually in a hospital bed. I was woken up instantly and I knew that it was just a dream, went back to sleep, and she passed away early the next morning. But such a clear dream.

        Anyway, back to the story-I knew that second that I would email him in the morning and say I wasn’t coming afterall. And I did. It was hard to do though.

        I am sad this morning- but moving forward. I know that I need time and I am going to try to focus on other things in my life. Put the focus back on those positive things. It will be a hard couple of weeks but I did it before and that gives me the confidence that I can do it again. The last time I went through this my best girlfriend kept asking me to get out of the house, go out partying with her and to and get over it. But I couldn’t. I needed that time alone, in a safe place, to recover. And it worked…

        By the way-it seems that a lot of posts come from England/Great Britian? I am from the U.S. and I am so happy I came across this site!! I told my therapist about it and she is so happy that I found it as well. Between her, BR and God- I know I will get through this.

        • Learner says:

          I agree these people cannot be happy, and although I am not sure their actions eat them up inside, I do think they are too dysfunctional to live happy lives. When I used to look into the exMM’s eyes, there didn’t seem to be a whole person behind them – just a shell of a person, or a masked person. Kind of creepy, really.

          It seems your gut/God is trying to keep the ex away from you via the middle-of-the-night panic attack. How wonderful that you listened to it/Him! Who needs time with an AC if it leads to “Sadness, emptiness, loneliness, feeling used and belittled, guilt”? Keep focusing on the positive AquaGirl – every time you quit an addiction, it gets easier as you build new ways to cope. Do what you need to do to remove him from your life so you can get back to YOU.

          Re BR, I believe Natalie is based in London England, but her followers are world-wide. My previous therapist thought the site was great, too, although he kept saying “EMU” instead of “EUM” lol. Stay strong girl, you CAN get through this! Hugs xo

          • Tabitha says:

            yes, the ex narc idiot I was involved with knew he was “fucked up.” He was basically a very unhappy man and was constantly looking outside himself for a fix. He was incapable of actual introspection so he looked at drugs, food, and women to heal his issues. I believe he truly wanted a long term relationship but because he had never done any work on himself and had a raging personality disorder this was impossible for him. I also feel a bit sorry for him but I would not have any contact with him. I need protecting from him. He had no respect at all for my need for space when we broke up. I even spelt it out but he still just rode all over that boundary. He wanted me around for ego strokes and back up and just to generally make him feel like a good guy. So glad to be free of him.

            • Emerldeyez says:

              Tabitha, I agree. idon’t believe anything eats these guys up inside, certainly not over how they treat women. If something did that would mean they have empathy, some insight. What eats them up is what affected them, what got in the way of not getting what they want and how they are going to get it or get revenge. they are personality disordered and don’t think, feel like we do. I don’t feel pity for my EUM. Right now, it’s more fear, and the need to protect myself from him. He is trying to destroy me professionally because he can’t get to me any other way. That is not love, that is power and control. I too have found great comfort in a spiritual belief right now. And staying in the here and now, so that my emotions (fear and panic) don’t get the best of me. I have reconnected with a lot of friends that he isolated me from which is helping me get my self esteem and confidence back. he never knew me, he projected onto me. My friends knew me, so it is helping me heal from all the verbal abuse, and character assasination that he did. I need time right now. And it’s ok

  28. PeaceLilly says:

    Hi Natalie and fellow BR readers,
    I have been reading your blog for the past year without missing an article. Your articles and the comments of BR readers as a product of their personal experiences helped me a great deal. Only thing I could wish for is that I found your site sooner.
    Everything, I had to be able to find the answers to move on and progress, was answered in your blog without the need to ask for. But some recent events makes me feel the need to ask you and the fellow BR readers for advice.
    It has been nearly 3 years since my 20+ years of marriage ended and we are finally divorced. And I believe it is for the best for both of us. The main reason I walked out was him to make me an option not a choice. Our marriage was suffering and with all my heart I tried to rescue it before I came to the point of walking out. He was physically next to me 24 hours (we run a family business together), but mentally out of our marriage. The moment I saw that he was looking for other options via social sites i.e. facebook I confronted him and told him I am out. I have chosen “him” every single morning I wake up for 20+ years yet his actions of looking for other options made me an “option” as well. For me this was a cheating, for him it is still not. Of course this shows me that we didn’t even share the same values and have the same perspective when it comes to evaluation.
    I never regretted leaving him on this basis, because when you loose trust there is no point in anything else in the relationship. I was still deeply in love, as I always have been for the past 20 odd years (I can proudly say not anymore) thus despite the fact I was the one walked out, I felt so rejected, devalued, degraded and incompetent. It took me nearly 6 months of therapy before I started to see the light again. It was too painful, but I knew I should not look back. My life still is a work in progress, and some of the things (ie change of carrier and being financially stabilised) are making very slow progress. When I look back I can see how far I come, but still no where near where I want to be. There are times I feel that I put my life on hold while I am working on these issues. Or perhaps I am hiding behind them as an excuse not to get close to anyone.
    My ex-husband has been the only man for me, and after the marriage ended I strongly reject people who has or may have any romantic interest on me. I thought I was giving myself the space I needed for my full recovery. But now I am not entirely sure, for the past few weeks in a totally confused state and trying to work out my feelings. I still insist to myself that I need at least another year before I involve in another relationship, but what I feel for this one particular person doesn’t corroborate to what I say to myself.
    I met this gentleman nearly 9 months ago. Due to being in the same social activity we have spent approx 5 hours each week and it was a 2 people team. We know about each other quite a lot now, and all the discoveries are made in a natural way, no pretences on either side. Our friendship grew over the time and we participated in other activities outside this social circle. I have always openly declared that I am not open to any relationship apart form being good genuine friends, he took my words for it, and never crossed the line, not even tried to overstep the mark. I grew great respect for him and noticed that I can finally trust someone from opposite gender. He very subtly show his romantic interest in his gentle ways but as I always stonewalled myself, he has never declared his feelings. Few weeks ago he phoned the day after our social meeting, and told me that he won’t be able to participate in this social activity anymore. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that there was nothing wrong and he enjoyed every moment of our partnership and I am very likeable person, but due to some changes in his life he won’t be able to continue. And then he said that he met this new women about 4 weeks ago and would like to give it a chance and see how it goes. However, he said that she hasn’t mentioned about her wishes him to stop his social activity he thinks it is for the best, and also added we are very good friends but it will be very hard for other people to understand our friendship. As we had been nothing but very good friends I wished him all the best and told him that I hope this lady knows how lucky she is, and know his worth. He was suprised to hear that, asking me is this what you really think of me. I said yes without hesitation, because I believe he is a really decent man. Finally we wished each other good luck and agreed to stay in touch.
    I never thought that I had feelings for him, but his leave made me to carefully consider his place in my life. When I was able to admit to myself, I cared more than I do for a friend, I decided to get in touch and talk with him. Honesty is the best policy in my life. I told him that I need to see him and talk. He promised to contact me to meet, and he did. We met and talked about 2 hours. I made it clear to him that I do not want to confuse him or complicate our lives, but I wouldn’t be able to live with the fact that after I have been able to admit my feelings to myself, not letting him know. I am not asking him for anything that only he would know what he really wants. I just made it clear what I want and leave it at that. I must mention we have never been physically intimate with each other, so there is no way my or his visions would be blurred by it. It has been couple of weeks since we talked, and said goodbye, he said keep in touch I didn’t answer to that wish. I have no intention of getting in touch with him. I believe he needs his space to tkae in and process all at his own pace. I need some space too. It was extremely overwhelming for me to open my heart to him. I am prepared that he may never get in touch. Despite the fact I am thinking of him and he means a lot to me, I have respect for whatever decision he makes in the end, and I will leave him in peace. I am upset with myself a lot for being in denial so long, but yet again perhaps this is the life lesson for me to learn from. I know need all this space to work on my emotions and roots of my denial of my feelings aven to myself.
    It has been a very long post and thank you for your patience to read it all. I will very much appreciate the views of Natalie and BR readers. I know male and female perspective may differ, fellow male BR readers’ comments will be very valuable to me as well as ladies. Please do not hesitate to give me your honest opinions.

    • Espoir says:

      You were true to yourself – good for you – if it,s meant to be – it will be. Now let it go and continue enjoying your life and the activity with or without him.

    • Learner says:

      He has been open with you about the new woman in his life, and you have been open with him about your feelings. This seems like a good start to me. If you and he are meant to be together, it will happen. If not, you are right to accept that he may not contact you again. Hugs to you

  29. lo j says:

    As a child there was no such thing as personal space. It wasn’t respected, and as one of the commenters mentioned, it was about my parents feelings, not ours, and when there was ‘space’, it was done as a means of manipulating the other parent. An example of the craziness of this dynamic between my parents: my brother and father one night were playing games, shuffleboard/pool, etc in our basement when my brother was probably 12 years old. My mother tried to open the basement door and couldn’t because it had been locked. She began screaming at my father because she thought he had deliberately locked HER out. Dad came to the door, let her in, and the fight was on. The way it turned out, my brother had locked the door. My dad beat the shit out of my brother. For locking a door. I believe it was the worst beating my brother ever got. Because my mom felt slighted by my dad. And my dad was mad at my mom. And my brother was probably just needing time with his father. But my brothers feelings were just completely dismissed. So anyhow, we had no space as children.
    Now, I find myself requiring a lot of space. Sometimes I think I return to the scene of the ctime too soon to make the other person feel better.
    Thank you for this Natalie. Very timely.

    • Tabitha says:

      LoJ it seems this particular post of Natalies has stirred up feelings for a lot of us who were brought up by parents with, let’s just say “issues.” I was not allowed any personal space or any boundaries by my mother. I was not even allowed my own bedroom but had to share with her and what would have been my room was used as a store room. She had to know every last details of my relationships with friends, their relationships with each other, and then later relationships with boys etc. I had no privacy either physical or emotional and I didn’t really know any better. As I got older I realised that something was off and I was NC with her for about 8 years, but I got sucked back in when I had my own kids and the cycle of abuse started again. No space. She intruded on every last facet of my life, contributing greatly to the breakdown of my marriage. Thanks to her I have very little self esteem and no sense of boundaries, as she criticised and undermined everything I did, said, thought, wore, studied……. However, my BR education has started a real change and I now have been enforcing boundaries which feels great. My self esteem has increased to the point where I have been able to take on my dream job, which she had told me I would never be able to do. I am NC with her again now.I have taken back my personal space and she is not robbing me of it again.

  30. lo j says:

    “No one has the right to hold you hostage to their agenda.” – LOVE!! And I have no right to hold another hostage to my agenda. This helps with letting go as well.
    I really needed this very compassionate post Natalie. Bless you.

  31. LEYLA says:

    I’m not sure if this is the right comment to be adding to this post,but I recently split up with my boyfriend. He ended it. He blocked me on Facebook, but now has created a fake account and has added me as a friend to try and snoop on me. I don’t get it?? I’m trying to move on, but I don’t think he wants me to have any breathing space. I think its all a big con and I called him stupidly this morning obviously not answering but he told everyone about it on Facebook as I was told. This won’t end will it?

    • Lilia says:

      A fake account to add you as a friend? I wouldn´t even know how to do that (would you end up with two accounts with the same name?).
      This guy sounds like the type who behaves like a dog – No you can´t have my bone because it´s mine, even though I´m not munching on it and don´t plan to.
      Or: I already peed on that tree so it´s mine and you can´t pee on it because if you do I will do it again.

      That behaviour is more common than you´d think, even in the seemingly more mature individuals. I´d just respond as you would to any aggressive old dog – run and hide! Block him on facebook, phone and pretend he doesn´t exist. You´re nobody´s property.

    • Tabitha says:

      Leyla it will end when you decide it is over. I know from pesonal experience how confusing it is when they don’t want you but don’t seemt o want to let you go. You convince yourself that they must care in some way. But they don’t. They just care about how they look to other people, their own ego, about maybe keeping you in the background as a fallback option just in case times get really really hard. Him trying to keep you in his life in this capacity is not flattering, it’s a total insult. Do not call him and do not respond to his calls or texts. Total NC is the only way this will end. Sending you hugs. And strength.

      • LEYLA says:

        Thank you for such good advice. He has unblocked me from facebook. I found out by mistake; however I have now blocked his account and told him I know it’s him and gave him my thoughts. His were not invited. I feel betrayed at his behaviour and I’m stepping away from
        facebook. L

        • Emerldeyez says:

          Mine did the same thing on facebook. I don’t know how. I had phony friends, I never accepted. I reported them to FB and then blocked them. I check my friend count daily so that he can’t spy on me. He has also hacked into my email account. I have him blocked every way possible: phone, email, fb. On Gmail, you can create a filter, so that you never even see his emails, it gets instantly deleted. This isn’t love, it starts to feel like stalking. Mine went so far as to start putting letters on my car. He can’t do that anymore, I have moved, and my car is in the garage. I have neighbors watching my house, while I work. How he did it on facebook, or my email, I will never know. I am not computer sauvy.

    • Allison says:


      Why don’t you de friend and block?

  32. Peanut says:


    You are so spot on. Right on Selkie. We have every right not to want to be friends with people who dump us, treat us poorly, give us the cold shoulder, initially dismiss us, or even just out of lack of interest. I’ve found certain people that didn’t give me a second glance now find me a bit more interesting due to a lot of changes I’ve made. I refuse to interact with them. They blew me off once and that is enough. I judge people less on superficialities and when I sense that is going on toward me in any way, I shut it down.

    My ex behaves in a similar golden retriever ridiculously friendly manner when we run into each other. And I think in mu mind, “You broke my heart mother fucker, skipped town and left me to clean up the mess.” I just discretely get away and have a cry in my car.

    I had an outright laugh at what your ex does; saying high louder! What denseness. These men. Anything to preserve that ego.

    • Selkie says:

      Good for you for being strong and knowing how to weed people out that don’t deserve your time. It feels good when we see our own growth and stick to our values. I’m the same way about not wanting to give certain people the time of day after they’ve been crappy/hurtful to me. Once someone shows me their ass I’d rather not see it again. It was ugly enough the first time around. I’ve been labeled a ‘runner’ by a few because of it, and I probably do run away sometimes when I should stand up and face it, but sometimes I’m just not ready.
      I recently let my guard down….a tiny bit….and let someone get near enough to hurt my feelings again when I knew better. Lesson for me? Space from these kind of folks keeps me sane. It’s too easy to engage in the old insanity if you even dip one toe into it thinking you got it handled this time. When reality hits with a thud, I remind myself why ‘handle it’ when I can avoid a known source of bullshit altogether. My gut was telling me this….but I slipped up. After getting mad at myself for trying to talk sense into a word twisting/cement wall with a new coat of paint, I gathered my composure and got back on the wagon of doing what is in my own best interest.
      I have to be careful that I don’t use space to isolate myself while trying to avoid conflict or hurt. Alone time has been my best and worst friend. Too much alone and I get hungry and pick low hanging fruit.

      • EllyB says:

        Selkie: “I’ve been labeled a ‘runner’ by a few because of it, and I probably do run away sometimes when I should stand up and face it, but sometimes I’m just not ready.”

        We should never – repeat: never – “stand up and face” abuse and poor treatment. That’s just mindf*ck.

        • Selkie says:


          I agree about not sticking around to face abuse, I’ve been on that train to no where and don’t plan on getting back on. I was referring to conflicts between normal, healthy people. I guess I struggle with being assertive when I need to be to be heard more. Some of this is being gun shy from being abused, but not everyone who disagrees with me is an abuser. I want to learn how to be more assertive in my communication instead of hiding behind my fears. For me, this includes enforcing boundaries with normal people instead of just avoiding them because I’m uncomfortable with speaking up.

  33. Sandra81 says:

    You won’t believe it, but I’ve been “pressured” more by 3rd parties rather than my ex himself to get over what happened, or to continue staying in contact as friends, etc. Or, I’ve had people asking themselves why he hasn’t made contact in a few months, after I told him clearly that I wanted to distance myself, at least for a while. Well, to tell you the truth, I would actually see his eventual attempt to make contact as a form of disrespect. You disappointed me, you can’t give me the relationship I want, I told you I needed to cut contact, the least you can do is respect my decision and leave me alone! -.-

  34. Peanut says:


    Wow, do I identify with you. One of the biggest lessons to learn from my ex was that there are most certainly men, people and situations I cannot handle. I remember thinking with my ex, “He drinks a lot. I can handle it. I don’t have to drink like him, so it’s okay.” I couldn’t and I got very sick while sticking around him.

    Also, I was really hungry because though I hung out with people I called friends, there was no authenticity or intimacy. The ex came galavanting along, chest puffed out in false narc confidence and threw some crumbs of authenticity and intimacy my way and I thought I had hit the jackpot. Bless my sad, lonely little naive heart. I had no idea what I was getting into, what I was attempting to handle. I am grateful I am out of the fog. It was a narrow escape. I’m not that sad, lonely little girl lookin for her daddy anymore. I’m a sorrowful woman. But a woman. I’d take that over where I was a year or so ago any day.

    • Lilly says:


      I can relate to your post. One of the biggest lessons that I learned was that I cannot handle having sex with a man who doesn’t care for me. I remember the last time with the exAC and I just wanted to cry and cry. I managed to hold it in so he didn’t know, but I will never forget how lonely and devastated I was at that moment. I’m still sad, but I know I won’t ever make this mistake again. I’m very unhappy, but there is light here because I’ve learned so much.

      • Peanut says:


        I have never in my life desired something or wanted something so badly as much as I wanted sex with the ex. It never happened. I just couldn’t go through with it. After we broke up the fantasies tormented me (or more like I tormented myself with the fantasies) for a bit over a year. I still wake up and think about him. I still want him sexually. But this just can’t happen without me being a wreck or feeling terrible afterward; like I’ve sold myself short. He was openly promiscuous and stds are quite common around these parts and I didn’t want to take the risk, so there’s that.

        Sex with him would have certainly fulfilled a huge fantasy of mine. But they’re just that; fantasies. And if I ask myself what’s next, if I’d had gone through with it, emotional torment and regret are what would have surely followed.

        There’s got to be something else out there for me. I know this is delving into possible TMI territory, but I realized Natalie really was right about needing to be able to take care of all our needs ourselves and the sexual realm ain’t no different. This has been one of the lessons I had to learn. I had to shed all the shame I’ve been taught about sex and what it means to be human and have a full range of needs.

        “I’m very unhappy, but there is light here because I’ve learned so much.”

        Lilly, I’m not happy either. The only things that keeps me going are the pieces of truth I pick up along the way trying to get healthy.

      • Rosie says:

        Lilly–Yes! I was in a fwb situation with an ex-bf for 2 years out of denial that he broke up with me. The sex before break-up and then after was much, much different. I allowed myself to be used and, if I were really, really honest, I’d have to say I was using him too emotionally. I don’t ever want to go back to that dark place and that is the real reason I didn’t have sex with the latest player that tried to use me for sex, which is the situation that brought me here to BR. As much as I want to think it was for religious reasons or whatever, no. I knew I wasn’t cared about, that he wanted to use me. I thought once he got to know me, he’d like me but we didn’t get that far. I’m so glad I told him “no”!

  35. nancyw says:

    I became friends with one of AC’s old girlfriends. She was hurt terribly by him and went NC. But when I would meet up with her, we found ourselves comparing stories and it became too much for her, as it was setting her back instead of moving her forward. So went no contact with me saying that she will only be friends with me WHEN I dump his ass and can talk about other things. Well, as you all know..I’m not quite there. It’s sad because she is a really good person. I look at her and envy her strength and resolve. I hope I get there soon. Today was a good day for me…but I know he’s lurking in the shadows, so I need to figure out what to do when he reappears.

  36. espresso says:

    I would like to take credit for that link on forgiveness but it wasn’t me who posted it. I thought I was over the anger and the hurt but can see that I am not there yet. I have limited contact with my ex but MOST OF THE TIME whenever we have contact it upsets and triggers me. I am really striving to find ways of letting it go. I am better than I was six months ago when he dumped a really horrible experience on me.
    I have had a lovely week with him out of the country and not much in contact so I have felt positive and relaxed…but yesterday I got three phone calls re business and several emails and feel unsettled. At the moment , he is trying to be very very nice to me – I don’t want it and it makes me very uncomfortable. I want distance, respect and consideration in our interactions but I am finding his actions and words are intrusive and inappropriate.Like strings of x’s at the end of emails, writing that he will always want to share the most important things in his life with me, doing favours for me that I do not want and have not asked for. I can honestly say that I have been very very clear and congruent with him in both words and actions so it I see all these things as ignoring my boundaries which is a typical pattern….but now it is all under the guise of being “caring.” And it makes me feel like a bitch because I do not want his “gift.” He can’t seem to get that WE ARE IN A DIFFERENT PLACE NOW AND I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON. I think he feels if he basically ignores what is going on …then it might not be going on. I know that NC is the best option here but for various reasons (including a big work project) I can’t do it definitely.

    • Espoir says:

      It was me (the other Piscean – I think that I share the same BDay with Espresso :) and I,m glad that it was useful for you. I love Jack Cornfield and I listed very often (check also Francis Lucille, Mooji)I have to be honest and say that after 7 months of soul searching and NC I decided to give it another try with my ex – this is what I feel right now and this what I,m going to do. I don,t know about changes on both sides , but I know that I changed and since it has been said to “Be the change you wish to see in the world” I,m willing to try again (veeeery slowly and aware of everything) Wish me luck :)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Espoir. All I can say is “WTF? WHY!!!!!!!!!

        • Espoir says:

          Thanks for your concern, Think -but I will be OK…it comes from a place of knowing what,s best for me, not from a needy place. In our case, it,s workable – no cheating, trashing, abusing were involved so I will go ahead read and reread Nat,s post http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/if-someone-has-truly-changed-theres-growth-and-a-change-in-their-habits/ and hope for the best. I had my part of blame and it would not be fair to only point the other side. Thanks, BR, and all of you. I,ll keep close, very close :)

          • Tinkerbell says:

            I really hope you are right. My mantra is remember why, and what happened to make me go went NC in the first place. That doesn’t change. Perhaps you were a little hasty in doing so, like maybe he didn’t deserve it? That may be possible. But to think that he has actually changed for the better in 7 months just because you may have grown and become more wise doesn’t mean he has done so also. You may just be disappointed all over again. That’s more often the case than not.

  37. espresso says:

    Before I got into that last rant I was going to say that today I got “helpful” (NOT) advice from a friend who has never been in a long term relationship on how I should be managing my life right now. Another dear friend who has been a great support to me is telling me also that I should just “move on” when she still gets triggered by her first husband who she divorced 25 years ago and then and now had none of the financial/work concerns that I am having to deal with. I know that these friends mean well and that they are there for me but I find it hard. Basically I want to have self compassion and to give myself good feedback for the courage and strength I have shown…rather than feel like I haven’t measured up because I still feel stuck at times and am having to process a lot of grief. I think that this process is necessary for me..for my health and for my future. I just wish it wasn’t so difficult sometimes! This post is really helpful and supportive to me.

  38. Trikywu says:

    Wow. I cannot believe this post was in my email inbox today. Tonight, of all nights, too. I just avoided the phone calls from a guy I had been seeing on and off because I’m tired. He’s a very spiritual guy who has studied with gurus and traveled to ashrams around the country. But his spirituality creates a detachment that gives him carte Blanche to be douchey. I’m tired of him talking about his ex-girlfriend, whom he calls fat and horrible online. I’m tired of going out to dinners with him or having him over my apartment, where he talks about his horrible bosses. We started out as friends and wanted to see how things would go. It turns out, he didn’t develop feelings for me. He’s made it clear on Facebook, when after we dined out one night – the next morning he writes on his wall that he likes his female friends, but he wants to find a “quality” girlfriend. That the women he’s been seeing don’t “please” him. He’s made it clear he has no feelings for me, but he wants to be friends. Frankly, I was starting to like him, and was hurt to find he felt that way. But it didn’t take me long to see I wasn’t feeling it for him either. Yet, I wanted to continue a friendship. Perhaps this would be a test for me to know how to just be friends with a guy. But when I spend time with him, I don’t feel comfortable. When we talk about things, the conversation is all about him. When I ask him questions about his actions in the name of the Universe, his answer has condescending tones. (“Why do you send blessings to your ex yet you call her fat and terrible?” “They’re just words. Words mean nothing!” Fuck you, they mean everything in this world. Not everyone is floating on Krishna’s cloud bliss and is enlightened to this. People commit suicide over words!) I’ll drop him a note to say “hi”, and then he’ll call just when I really don’t feel like talking because I know it will all be about how he hates his bosses, how he hates the girl who dumped him a year ago, how he ran into her at a meeting and wanted to slap her face. When I ran into him one morning, he asked me, “How are you?” I said “Fine. No. Wait. I’m not fine.” He wanted me to call him that day to talk, and I didn’t do it. The idea makes me tired. He saps the energy out of me, with his insulting comments on Facebook, his need for the perfect woman, yet it’s clear he doesn’t think I’m her. He seems to use me as the “good enough for now” good ‘ol pal kind of friend. And I don’t want it. I want a man who loves me. Who makes me feel happy and safe. Who gets me. I can’t even be my funny self around him because he doesn’t get my sense of humor. So, he called me last night and today. And I avoided him. My new job is crazy. I’m stressed out. I’m tired of various challenges in my life. But I can’t talk to him about it because the conversation will just turn back to him. I tried to just be friends, but this isn’t working. Space. I need space. I’ve had both parents die within one year of each other a few years back. I then moved to across country and started a new life 3 years ago. I’ve had one job after another. Now, my dream job is kind of a nightmare – and he probably won’t give a damn because his problems always seem to outweigh mine. I’ve kept him at arm’s length, but now, I want to let him dissipate into thin air. Problem? We are neighbors, and we run into each other. I’m moving…

    • Espoir says:

      This is not a spiritual person – he,s an “Ego-driven look at me I studied with gurus“ wannabe. A spiritual person will never do or say any of this. This is not detachement – it,s pure ass-holery. Step away and detach yourself from the emotionl vampire- you don,t need such person as a friend – not to mention lover.

      • Trikywu says:

        Thank you Espoir – you’re so right. I’m seeing that now more and more. Just wish I didn’t have to deal with running into him while walking my dog. (That’s how we met. We both have dogs.)

        • EllyB says:

          Trikywu:(“Why do you send blessings to your ex yet you call her fat and terrible?” “They’re just words. Words mean nothing!” Fuck you, they mean everything in this world. Not everyone is floating on Krishna’s cloud bliss and is enlightened to this. People commit suicide over words!)

          Comments like that make me think that you are a very smart and very good person. Don’t allow a toxic human being like him to spoil your good nature. Believe me, their badness rubs off onto the people around them over time. Get him out off your life NOW!

    • Tabitha says:

      He sounds like a totaly jerk. Hiding behind this controlling mindferry veneer of being Mr. Guruhead. You don’t respect him, you don’t even like him. He certainly doesn’t care about you and has no problem advertising that fact to the world via facebook. He wants a “quality woman?” Fat chance! If you asked him what that actually meant (don’t) you would get a load of meaningless mumbo jumbo crap back at you. Flush his pathetic self centred ass and block him on facebook.

      • Trikywu says:

        Tabitha – his “quality” woman (if he finds her for a minute) will end up realizing that he’s bad news. He bitches about an ex-girlfriend who dumped him a year ago and paints her out to be his horrible lady. I’m only hearing his side. I’d like to meet her. She’s probably smart and knows what she wants – and that’s not a 54 year old “artist” who only recently sold his futon to sleep on a real bed. Thanks for the support!

        • Trikywu says:

          Also – I might add…that his friends on Facebook – mostly women – think he’s just the best and supported his comment about not finding the right women. I even posted something myself. Something like..”Geez, sorry I didn’t get the job.” And he said..”Hey, you’re great, but not for my company.” Insulting. Damn insulting.

          • Sunyata says:

            My mouth literally dropped open reading this comment – you are great but not for his company??
            Refer to the pleasing the unpleasables post and FLUSH.
            Wow. I am having a hard time believing you even give this guy, as Nat says, the steam off your pee.
            It’s like applying for a job at a slave labor camp on a pig farm shoveling shit on a chain gang in the Texas summer heat and feeling bad that you didn’t get the job.
            Ick ick ick ick ick.

    • Wiser says:

      Triky, I hope you’ll read your own post over and over because it should dawn on you that this guy is NOT spiritual, NOT enlightened and doesn’t have the most basic qualities to be a friend, let alone a boyfriend. A lot of people use so-called spirituality as an ego stroke and to feel superior to others. I know a couple of really enlightened and spiritual people, and the main quality they have is being humble and kind. Plenty of assholes study with gurus – it means nothing!! Trust your feelings on this one – if you feel uncomfortable, there’s good reason: this guy is bad news.

      • Trikywu says:

        Wiser – you are absolutely right! I have read my post again and again and it has solidified my gut feelings. Honestly, this is all so recent. I haven’t even written it down before for me to see. Great advice. Thank you!

    • Amanda says:


      I am terribly sorry about your parents’s passing.

      This ‘guru’ person sounds like a complete nightmare with a misplaced God-complex. If he wasn’t so horrible his actions would almost be comical. He is about as spiritual as a stuffed toy, maybe even less so. I do agree that actions speak louder than words, but that doesn’t make words unimportant. One of my favourite books “The Four Agreements” states that we should always be “Impeccable with our words”, that we should speak with integrity and always say what we mean. I believe that whole-heartedly Mr. God-Complex Guru is an “energy vampire” sucking you dry and it’s time to take a deep breath and walk, no wait, RUN, in the opposite direction!

      • Trikywu says:

        Thanks for your condolences, Amanda. :-) And thank you for reminding me of “The Four Agreements”. That’s one of my fave books too, although I haven’t read it in a while. Some spiritual guy he is. He always tries to be “humble” and grateful to his gurus – seriously he is friends with Baba’s and Guru’s – serious spiritual leaders in their own realm. But his ego is so large, and his well of openess so shallow, I find him to be a massive walking, talking, chanting contradiction. Thank you. I’m grateful to you and everyone above who have responded to me. I’m glad I could actually write everything that’s been bottled up inside me for others to see and confirm my own gut feeling.

      • dancingqueen says:

        I disagree: He is comical: What a db!!!lol:)

    • Allison says:


      Why are you working so hard to be friends with this asshole!

      He may know the lingo, but is not living the life of a spiritual being. This man is a mean, insecure bully, who thrives by making others miserable.

      Ditch this creep!

      • Trikywu says:

        Amen, Allison. I’m done trying to be friends and open minded with his issues.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Okay this is probably really late Trikywu but I think that you need to ask yourself, of who in the past he reminds you…he is obviously hooking you with some childhood issue…he surely is not amusing, right? Nightmare. You need to ask yourself what makes him appealing and get to the root of that, because that is the real problem:)

    • pax says:

      Sweety, please say no to putting yourself through this “relationship insanity”. This man clearly makes you uncomfortable. You cannot turn a donkey into a stallion. Flush him without pause.

  39. Espoir says:

    On relationships (Thanks for allowing our links, Nat, I believe that it,s another way of you helping us – Thank you :)


  40. Gillian says:

    I have so much time alone but most of the time I was telling myself that there was something wrong with me because I was alone. My husband died 5 years ago and I was alone for 4 years before meeting Mr Narc. I’m 4 months NC with him after 14 months of shit!

    So, now I’m alone again and this time I am learning to revel in it. I stretched out in my bed this morning and loved the feeling of being alone…I’m going to an “ecstatic dance” (don’t even know how to spell ecstatic – what’s that tell you!). I am exloring new things alone and if I don’t like them, I don’t go back. The same with people!! I just made out like there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t in a relationship and consequently got myself into a horrible relationship just so I could be part of a couple.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love being part of a couple but this time it will be with my newly fabulous feelings of being alone as part of the relationship. It takes courage and practice for me to be this way but it is like something really changed in me and that is all because of Mr Narc and finding BR and learning about narcissistic men through a couple of other sites. Basically, I learnt about me and how easily in the past I have become the fallback girl and not loved it and missed my alone time. But, it was like I was addicted to having a relationship with a man – any relationship.

    As an example, last night I felt at a loss because it was Saturday night and I didn’t have a date. So, I walked my dogs in a beautiful place and ended up feeling like there was no place that I would have rather been. I came home and there was a great British TV show on..loved it!! BUT, I could only love these things because I had got out of the headset that there was somethings wrong with me because I was alone on a Saturday night!! Boy, is that an old story….

    • dancingqueen says:


      That was a great comment. It made me feel all happy to be alone myself!:)

  41. Amanda says:

    Very well put regarding family! I cut my Dad off about 2 years ago — 5 years after my Mom passed. He died last November. He physically beat my Mother our whole lives and abused us kids by ignoring us (at times I thought hitting us would have been better). He never beat us, he spanked us when we misbehaved, but that was about the only time he paid attention to us. I don’t recall once as a child ever having a conversation with him. He never expressed love or affection to his family, but at church he was the most loving, caring and giving man. I didn’t like my Dad, at all, he was a hypocrite, I didn’t enjoy his company or being around him at any point in my life. When my Mom passed I was the only child that looked after him, cooking, cleaning and clearing out my Mom’s belongings. I did this out of respect for my Mom, not for him. He was so involved in his own grief that he didn’t see the grief of anyone else around him. It was about a year after my Mom passed and he made a comment that sealed my decision to cut him off. He wanted me to sell my downtown condo, buy a house with him, move in and take care of him in his old age (none of my brothers and sisters wanted much to do with him). I was 38 and single at the time and he said “i don’t see what other choice you have, your 38 and unmarried, no man will want you now.” That one comment was the final straw. I was miserable, caring for a man that I barely knew and didn’t even respect. I bailed on our connection and never looked back. Last November I got a call that he had had a stroke, was in a coma and was not going to wake up. I caught a flight that day and sat by his bed for 3 days and waited for him to die. Watching him lying there I relived my life with him as a father and I felt profoundly sad, not sad b/c he was dying, but sad b/c I felt nothing, I didn’t love him and I felt relieved. Relieved because I knew that once he passed away any residual guilt I was feeling for not loving him would be gone. When he died I caught the first flight home and haven’t thought about him much since. I didn’t even go to the funeral. Even though his “blood was coursing through my veins” once I got to the place where I was ready to ‘cut him off’ permanently I didn’t think twice about it and I have no regrets. Never be afraid to walk away from anything or anyone that is abusive, no matter what their connection is to you, you’ll be much happier for it.

    • Trikywu says:

      Amanda – that is one of the most inspirational comments I’ve ever read. You’re a strong, intelligent person who saw her father as the person he was. You had the strength to say “enough”, and did as much as you felt obligated to do. Bless you. I would provide condolences on your father (as you kindly did with mine), but it seems that is not needed. Many good vibes to you as you continue to let the past move far behind you as you look ahead and find the life and love you deserve. The old cliche – you don’t pick your family – is so true. I have a 1/2 older brother and various relatives I find toxic. There is nothing in the world that says we have to endure this in our life just because we are blood. Blood may be thicker than water – but blood isn’t thicker than loving someone, being there for them and supporting them. You knew when to walk away. Life isn’t mean to be lived in the dark, and you knew that. You’re awesome.

  42. Tinkerbell says:

    Maybe I’m a hard-Hanna (pardon me all Hannas). If you have had to endure a situation that is beyond your control, i/e illness, loss of a relative or significant other due to death, I feel it may take a long time to come to grips with it and move on emotionally and spiritually. However, I just cannot see spending months and even years grieving over the loss of a relationship. For what ever reason you and that other person could not maintain a healthy satisfying relationship. You have got to pick yourself up and not waste precious time thinking about what went wrong and why. It didn’t work out. Fini! I cannot see deifying someone and assigning them such huge importance in your life that you become stagnant and cannot continue living your life without them. That says something about You. Life is too short to keep fostering your own misery.

    • EllyB says:

      Sometimes a bad relationship can trigger things that go waaaaaay deeper than the relationship itself. The “relationshit” that brought me to BR about two years ago has lasted for about three weeks I think (and it wasn’t really a relationship either).

      Anyway, I only got involved with that creep because he reminded me of my narcissistic mother. She (together with my father and several school bullies) has abused me for about 20 years, and that is certainly a whole lot of baggage to deal with!

      Don’t blame people too quickly when they have trouble “moving on”. There might be deeper issues in play.

    • BurnedAgain says:

      Well said, Tinkerbell.
      I absolutely believe people are free to grieve the end of a relationship for as much time as they need to though, everyone’s different and sometimes when we break an attachment to someone or they break one with us, it’s almost too painful to bear – I believe in some cases it can be as painful as someone dying actually. It’s loss, and no one has the right to judge the level of anyone else’s loss.
      However: what we all need to remember is exactly what you said here: ‘deifying someone and assigning them such huge importance in your life that you become stagnant’ is NOT the way forward. And yet I see so many women doing it. So many great, intelligent, beautiful, powerful women! And ladies, fine if these guys were actually gods, deify-away. But in most cases, they’re literally the opposite.
      My Narc had the tricky behaviour pattern of being a mean jerk one moment and then suddenly surprising me with thoughtful presents or kind deeds the next; saying cruel stuff then being sweet; saying he just HAD to see me, like his life depended on it, then once he got to my house talking about how awful he felt about cheating on his gf; and if things got too close and too honest between us, he’d disappear for days because he couldn’t handle it.
      I think the whole hot and cold push and pull is what keeps a lot of smart women stuck on guys like this, so I know it’s easier said than done to let go, as you want to keep on trying to solve ‘them’. But letting go is the only way you get your life back.
      It’s your choice. You own the choice to who controls your head. Because once you recognise all the random confusing behaviour is THEM and THEIR unhappiness, you’ll also have to recognise that you may NEVER be able to work them out, so to try would be like banging your head against a wall every day.
      You’re all smart enough to have found BR and are clearly amazing people. Why choose to still board that train to Crazy Town every day just because he’s on it? HE’s the crazy one, not you. Choose to board a train to Empowerment City – it’s faster, shinier, you get to drive it yourself and much cooler men will board it :-)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hey BA I love your analogies, “crazy town” and empowerment city”. We’re on the same page. Flush ‘em.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Tinkerbell,

      I disagree. When someone leaves you it is their choice, they are saying ‘I don’t want to be around you anymore, I am going to continue the life I have left without you in it.’ When someone dies its not their choice to leave you. Don’t get me wrong death is traumatic — I lost my Mother, my best friend, 7 years ago and it was indeed extremely painful.

      It’s not as black and white as you would think. Everyone experiences events through their respective paradigms and unless you can say with absolute certainty that you understand what it is to be in their shoes you cannot judge.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Amanda. I never said or implied that the sorrow incurred over a death of a relative and that felt when a relationship ends were the same thing. Of course not! I’m saying that in THE LATTER CASE, not the former, one has some degree of control over how much grieving they will allow themselves, and for how long. No person is so special that you give up living because they hurt you. You have to overcome.

  43. espresso says:

    I had a blinding revelation last night that my ex is using me as an emotional air bag, sort of a FWB without the sex. He does not see or cares not to see the rigid and formal boundaries I have been putting up or the words I use (always formal, detached and business-like) I do not share anything emotional or important to me with him anymore but I expect that he doesn’t even notice that. I know he doesn’t…never did. He is a very emotionally detached man and never did see/hear/ or understand anything about me.

    But I can see that more and more he is using me to drop the details of his life on….all in the guise of being “friendly” and “expressing his feelings.” I don’t want to know what a wonderful time he had in Barcelona or how when he went to a conference so many people asked about me and he talked about what I was doing. He is using me, kind of like a form of emotional masturbation with a fake doll. It makes me sick. And it is pointless to have a conversation because he doesn’t listen and/or understand. Basically it is deeply deeply manipulative and disrespectful on his part.

    Part of what has really sunk me is that when I ended the marriage I didn’t want to be cruel or mean. We had a long history and he is not a “bad” man – we still have a business together and he is a good father. I also did not want to appear “mean” to my children because they love him. Yes, I allowed that to entrap me. Also fundamentally in terms of MY value system I don’t believe in being cruel. But I have received NO personal benefits from doing it this way, none at all. While he gets to sail along feeling there is somebody he can get to listen to him. And better yet, I don’t ask anything of him anymore…What could be better than that?
    I can see that being in contact is more destructive to me than I thought it would be and I need need to figure out a way of erecting more solid boundaries. Lots to talk about at the therapist’s this week.

    • Espoir says:

      We share the same BDay and the same views about a lot of things – I think it,s normal in a way :)
      Funny how I was having the same discussion on another board about resentful feelings towards exes when kids are involved and how we, the mothers ALWAYS have to be the Big Girls behaving despite our real feelings that we try to stuff inside for the sake of our beloved children.. Like yours, my ExHband is a good father – he loves and takes good care of our son, giving him the much needed father-figure. Just because we did not worked out as a couple does not means that we can not work as parents : together or apart. And if I have to work a little on myself (we can not control the other part anyways)in order for my child to be a balanced- happy one now and later in life so be it : I,m willing to do my best. I just copied and pasted from the other blog since I was too lazy :)
      “And lately this is what I,m aiming for : being graceful in any situation – relationship with my Ex included – Yes, it takes work but it also gives you that lightness in your step, sincere smiles and not feeling like a victim all the time.
      And on a nonrelated note (actually, I think it,s related ) a link about kids and divorce http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/how-divorced-parents-can-have-a-happy-thanksgiving-and-existence/article556298/
      May Grace be with you :)”

      And May Grace be with you too, Espresso – you already have it – let it shine !!!!


  44. espresso says:

    I wish you all the luck in the world in terms of establishing a new relationship with your ex. You had a really good run at NC and I think that sends a message of change more than anything. Stay strong.

    • Espoir says:

      Thank you, Espresso – there is always a way. It,s just a matter of time before you realize it (you will not know if it,s the right one but you are willing to try with no fear) I found that the most important thing is to trust and listen to yourself – and this is what I,m doing RIGHT NOW -this is what and how I feel in THIS MOMENT. It,s a liberating feeling :)

      • Lilia says:

        Espresso & Espoir:
        I really relate to these situations with an ex husband. Mine has never noticed that we are now living in separate houses and that mine isn´t his anymore. He´ll show up whenever he pleases, last Sunday he even brought food he began to cook in my kitchen for me and our kids – without even asking! We could´ve been going out for lunch at that exact moment or whatever. But there´s no use telling him that. He never listens, never has. I have to be thankful that he rings the bell and doesn´t demand to have his own key to my house.
        It reminds me a bit of a story by Alice Munro I read a while ago, called Lichen. Apparently some ex husbands think we become their mothers after they´ve moved on to someone else?
        I would love to have some sexy guy in boxers sitting in my kitchen the next time this idiot comes by unannounced.

        • Allison says:


          Why do you let him in? I’m sorry, but you’re part of the problem, as you’re not reinforcing boundaries. For goodness sake, its your house!

          • Tabitha says:

            Yep, I would get a safety chain put on my door and tell him it is not convenient and that he needs to check with you first before he comes round. Basic boundaries. Who cares what he “demands.” It’s your house and your rules. He sounds like and oventitled idiot but you are enabling him Lillia. You say he never listens. I would imagine that is because you are only offering him empty words rather than actions that back them up?

            • Lilia says:

              Allison & Tabitha:
              It´s because I want to keep the peace for my children´s sake. They won´t go to his home because his new partner makes them uncomfortable and very unhappy, she has been really bitchy to them in the past. They only go there when she´s not there (so, not too often). It wasn´t like that before she entered the picture, they would go stay at his house and things were much clearer, with boundaries in place. But anyway, I feel it´s really unfair towards my kids that they have to renounce to their space at their dad´s because of this bimbo. And I don´t want to make things more stressful by forcing them to go there!
              Or meddling in their relationship, questioning him on why he isn´t able to make her be decent towards them.
              So having my ex husband come over seems like the least harmful option.
              Not for me, probably. But then, don´t we all become secondary characters when we have children? It hurts me more to see them in pain than to be in pain myself (not that I´m in pain, just irritated).

  45. Laura says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I have been feeling guilty lately for wanting to have “me” time. Your articles and stories always help put everything in perspective.

  46. SM says:

    Amazing that I just now read this because I’ve been thinking this exact same thing all weekend. My mom is raising my brothers kids. I had spent the weekend with them and noticed that my mom’s hatred of my dad (she has never even spoken of it around me), was coming out of my nieces mouth. My first thought was that she shouldnt be talking about my dad like that to his granddaughters. Then an idea popped into my head that she has every right to hate him and to speak about it. the final straw in their marriage was when he drove her out into the woods at midnight and stuck a gun to her head and told her to stop going to college. Thankfully he didnt kill her but only locked her out of the house that night where she had to go sleep at the neighbors. That was 23 years ago and if it was me, first I would have had him prosecuted, then I would take out a fb page announcing what he did to the world and then I would hate him for the rest of my life and would not allow my grandkids around him. So it was like an epiphany, that my mom has every right to hate my dad and say whatever she wants about him even 23 years later.
    Thank you Natalie.

    • Espoir says:

      My heart goes out to your mom – I can not believe how hard it must have been to live like this especially in a time when all the support that we have today (even this site being an example of great support)was non existent…BUT IMHO kids or grandkids should not become parents or therapists. If her frustrations are coming out of their innocent mouths your fist impulse of having a gut feeling were spot on : she should not burden them with her problems. Find a way to suggest-talk to her in a diplomatic non-hurtfully way. I get that you are empathic with you mom – but also think at your nieces – you noticed something dysfunctional and you can make a difference. She tried her best with you – support her to do the same with the others.
      Trust yourself. Good luck.
      From the mouth of a kid:
      7. Get a counselor to help you with your problems – I need you to be strong and stable for my well-being. I don’t want to hear about your dating and your disappointments. Talk to someone else. Don’t make me be your parent.

  47. Jule says:

    This is a very good post and as I ponder where I’m at, I wonder if I should incorporate some space. Single moms who share custody may be able to identify with my issue.

    It’s been 3 whole years since my divorce and I still struggle with the divorce and the past and how I lost something, the dream of marriage with family, the house, the whole thing. We still have our young daughter and I love her deeply but our family dream is shattered. He recently got married and in fact he is on a very long honeymoon right now. :(

    It seems to have taken me so much longer to get over this marriage. I sometimes want to go get hypnotized or get a lobotomy because I just can’t stand it. I feel like I’m not allowing myself to move on for reason. He obviously moved on a long time ago, but like Nat says in her post, he was the stone who displayed very little emotion for us during and after our dying marriage.

    Now Because we have our little girl, to exchange the child, I have to see him a lot and his pain in the arse fiance, (now wife). She is a irritating bubbly, over the top person. She calls him babe in front of me. I hate it. It almost feels like they are rubbing it in my face every time I see them.

    I think it’s time I instill some boundaries. I think I have to. I will have to figure out how to make a meeting place where I don’t have to see him and her, at least for a while.

    It won’t be easy to do this now, but I feel I must to really get past the hurt of seeing them together. He lives far away so he comes to my apartment in the late day on Friday so often times her daycare is closed already. I’ll have to figure something out.

    I welcome suggestions.

    • Tabitha says:

      For starters you could say you don’t want his new wife at your door. You really shouldn’t have to endure that. What is she doing there? This will get easier as your daughter gets older and can open the door and go off with dad by herself without your interaction. You can say your goodbyes and give her a hug when you know he is due and she can go off without you having to see or speak with him at all. It will get better. Hugs.

      • jewells says:

        Jule, Sorry for your predicament, I couldn’t imagine having to deal with that same scenario. It’s like a death of sorts, the death of the dream of family that you had him in. It’s not him, he was not capable of living in that picture. Try to work towards the notion that it wasn’t him, that you are now free to find the person who DOES fit the picture. Your ex’s wife sounds as hideous as he does – completely insensitive, shallow and inappropriate socially. Trust me, you are free to find someone better, what you lost was less than you deserve. He didn’t have it in him to match your vision, but someone will be able to. Work on treating YOU right, make yourself happy, that’s all you can do. Both you and your daughter deserve more than your ex could have ever done. Good luck, believe in yourself and your dreams and you will accomplish what your heart most desires :)

  48. PeaceLilly says:

    Thank you very much for your kind and supportive response. I agree that if it is meant to happen it will. It is not right to force it to happen from my point of view. I can only decide on behalf of me and act in my best interest. And I recognise of his right of making his mind without further input (that is why I am not contancting him) from me. It all has to be his decision. If he ever contacts me in the future at least I will have no doubts that this is his
    wish. Patience is a virtue, allowing time and space helps everything to get crystal clear for both of us.

    • BS says:

      I question giving yourself “all the time you need” to feel your hurts – for some, it’s easy to just stay in that place…still thinking on this one – anyone have a strong argument to the contrary?

      • vhs says:

        it’s more a matter of, feeling all you have to feel. It doesn’t mean ‘dwell all the time you need’. And for some this will take longer than for others. Depending on how effectively the work is that you do on yourself and for yourself. I strongly believe that once my grieving time is over, and after 4 months (yo yo relationship, I actualy am grieving for 2 years to be exact) for me personaly, it isn’t, but I will know when it is over. It does however not mean that I do not force myself to go out, make new connections, try to have a laugh and enjoy my time ‘outside’and the people I meet. But I also know that the minute I go back home, I will feel empty again. As long as I feel this way I can not pretend (any longer) that I don’t. Pretending only serves for smaller issues. Not for this one. I truely want to meet love in my life again, how will I do this if I’m stil l grieving the loss of a fantasy. I’m still in the acceptance and anger fase that it in fact wàs a fantasy. If I don’t take the time needed I surely will get lost in another fantasy. That would be the easy way out in the short term. And within a year or so I’d be back here complaining the loss of yet another EUM or AC. I will take my time now, and try to ensure myself that in the long run, this needed time will prove shorter than any other possible ‘way out’.

      • runnergirl says:

        It depends BS. In my case, I had to peel back decades of childhood issues brought up through my involvement with the exMM. How long should it take to work through my childhood issues? About as long as it takes would be my answer. In my case, it really wasn’t about being an OW, it was about the deep underlying reasons why I opted into such a destructive and demoralizing role. Sorting through that giant heap of crap takes time. Off loading the childhood baggage took lots of time, lots of space, and lots of work. And I’m not done yet. Don’t know if I have a strong agrument to the contrary, I have my experience and need my space to sort it out and I need my time. Since I’m 54, I figure I get to have that time!

  49. Peanut says:


    “cry tears of relief that it’s finally over!” When I came across from this it really stuck out to me. I have been crying over the ex consistently since the breakup. There were what felt like magical moments but they were interspersed in a sea of lies, chaos and torment. Perhaps I am confused why I am crying. I got out of a really toxic, abusive situation and am not going back. It’s finally over. The madness of being with that man is finally over.

  50. espresso says:

    I really feel for your situation. You have been deeply traumatized and the awful thing is, as you say, you can see that he is the one who has the lobotomy. I am in a similar position. I seem to be feeling the pain much more than him but then he never felt the pain/emotions etc IN the marriage which is why I had to end it. Yet it still hurts a lot to be so affected when I see it is easier for him…and to be exposed to the bubbly nature of his new life – that is intolerable. I don’t actually want to HEAR how “happy” my ex is at ALL. Why should I? And if I am having a bad day the contrast really hurts. I am glad I am who I am (and you should be glad you are who you are!) but having stuff in your face is so hard. For me it hurts when I see my ex doing things he never did IN our marriage…like spending more time with the adult kids, reaching out to them more, doing more things with them and of course they LOVE that. I wish I could say “how wonderful” because technically it is nice but I am deeply cynical and angry because he is scoring lots of points with them. And I don’t like feeling that way..it is destructive. Just like when he couldn’t be bothered to dress nicely when we were together even though I asked him too – he now looks terrific and takes real care with his appearance. So he gets strokes for that too.

    I think you need to think about what you need and plan the best way of taking care of yourself. Minimize in whatever way you can, your exposure to him and the bubbly one and do NOT feel you have to explain this or feel guilty about it. (I wonder if you are like me – sometimes I feel putting up really strict boundaries feels like I am being nasty and mean and I don’t like that). Realize he might object and ridicule you. Be prepared to stand firm. Don’t “explain.” You need this space in order to recover and focus on your own life. Also I am trying to learn ways of not letting my ex bother me. This is a major subject of my therapy. He still takes up to much of my energy and focus. I don’t think total NC is possible for you or for me. But we need to give these guys a lot less power over us emotionally so that we don’t get retraumatized. I find that when I feel fragile this all feels much worse.

    I honestly try to fake things when I have contact with him a bit. I try to keep my life and feelings private and fake feeling good ha ha ha even when I am not.
    And as others have said..this will get easier as time goes on.

    • yoghurt says:

      It’s not the same, because I wasn’t married, but a lot of that rings bells for me espresso.

      A favourite phrase of Son’s dad is “Life’s moved on, hasn’t it?”. Yeah, buster, life’s moved on… FOR YOU. Some of us were too busy looking after the baby to go out meeting new partners whilst whetting his head and were instead developing emotional disorders and/or a complete fear of intimacy on the back of your behaviour. Cheers for that, gitface.

      I trust that after last time he has the sense not to say that while I’m holding breakable objects (hope so, else I’ll run out of plates), but maybe not – he can be dense. Because, again, he wasn’t invested and therefore cannot fathom that I was.

      Jule, I don’t really have much in the way of advice – I have a stringent unbreakable Don’t-Mess-With-This-Unless-You-REALLY-Want-To-Know-What-Trouble-Is boundary about his gf (for a variety of reasons, one of which is that he has hassled me in various ways since they met), but that sounds like a different situation to yours. I also know from experience that the constant contact of co-parenting is a complete nuisance while you’re trying to get space to get over something, but that other arrangements are difficult, inevitably involving as they do third parties.

      All that I will say is that you’re not obliged to explain – he doesn’t need to know the reasoning behind your decisions. And also, whilst it’s a good thing for your daughter to have parents on speaking terms, it’s a better thing to have a primary carer whose emotional welfare isn’t under constant threat. And I say that as someone who really does respect a father’s right to know his child… if he’s that serious about his child’s welfare then he’ll take yours seriously too. And if he doesn’t, he can put up with you making his life irritating and inconvenient if that’s what you need to do. You have a responsibility to your daughter to get yourself to the point of feeling okay.

      It is an unbelievably horrible horrible feeling handing over your precious baby to someone like that and I like espresso’s use of the word ‘traumatic’ – that’s how I’ve found the whole situation and I wasn’t even married to mine.

      • runnergirl says:

        Ladies, I’m on the flip side. After raising my daughter alone, while her father went through his drama, at 23 she’s finally figured out who has her back. I always had her back. She had great fun playing video games with her dad but…video games don’t pay the college bills.
        There was a time when it was rough and I was pissed off that I was stuck paying the bills and maintaining a stable home for my daughter while he needed time to find himself. I don’t much care anymore whether he has found himself or not. He’s 46 and still hasn’t supported his daughter. Fortunately, I never have to interact with him. It seems he doesn’t much want to talk with me when all I have to say is “can you support your daughter yet”? I gave him space since he was 23 when she was born. Now she’s 23 and he is still unable to support his daughter! I’d say 23 years is enough space.

  51. teachable says:

    Thankyou Nat. This is EXACTLY where I’m at atm. I don’t have the energy to bother defending myself from the incorrect (misguided I suspect) views/thoughts of others even. All of.my engery is exhausted just facing each day & trying not to lose my mind (& don’t worry, fat chance of this). I just couldn’t care less about anyone or anything right now (outside of the few ppl I continue to provide some limited support to). I am.grieving a death. I am traumatised over very serious issues (from which I can’t escape as cirrently daily all over the media due to Royal Commission on said issues, I.e. after participating in three senate enquiries on related matters & helped to lobby for the RC yrs truely will be involved in this up to my freakin neck & actually, it kinda sucks to have the NEED to be involved)…

    Not to even mention my physical health being compromised to the degree that I can’t work & facing possible financial disaster (still waiting for decision on my appeal). It goes without saying that being under such high stress for such a prolonged period means I am now also fighting off the alarming prospect of becoming mentally ill. Over my dead body & I am busy as all heck during my ‘time out’ trying to prevent a crash landing…

    Yes in-effin-deed I am taking time out. And so I bloody well should be. Anyone who’d like to criticise can kiss my freakin ass because the fact that I am still IN THE RING & FIGHTING makes me a friggin WINNER in anyones language!

    The end.

    Crawls bk under doona in CC’s genie bottle….

    • Revolution says:


      “I don’t have the energy to bother defending myself from the incorrect (misguided I suspect) views/thoughts of others even.”

      Oh girl, I so relate. Not that I’m in the same exact sitch as you, but I feel like my adrenals are shot from various stresses and interpersonal problems (read: giving assclowns the steam off my pee) that, even were my mind to *try* to care about people’s opinions of me and the way I’m running my life, my body is just like “Eff THIS.”

      Take care of yourself, my dear.

    • Lilly says:

      Same here Teach, Down But Not Out, hugs xxxx

  52. Peanut says:

    This is an indisputably large universe that we are a part of, some would argue infinite. Our time here on earth in this body is unique and limited. If you reach elderly years, great, but even if you reach 100 years or live to be 150, your life span is no greater than the blink of an eye in a greater scheme. Chronological time slips by and then we are old. What have we done with this life? What will we do while we still can? Do not use another minute of it to waste time on unavailable men, miserable unfulfilling jobs, abusive family, overly negative critical people, news and chaos junkies. Do NOT allow anyone to cheapen your experience while you are here. Do not allow anyone or any job to high jack your experience or belief system. Think for yourself. Act out of strength, bravery, and understanding and not out of hostility or fear. We are all human beings here. Most of us don’t know what that means. We are aliens to our own earth, plopped down here without a lot of direction until we wake up. Wake up. You are dreaming.

    • Brenda says:

      Well said and TRUE 100% “Do NOT allow anyone to cheapen your experience while you are here.”

      Problem is so many had that done to them when they had no say and no way out and no choice as children and then have sometimes either no idea they are continuing on the merry go round OR do not know how to make it stop.

      That is why Angels like Nat are here and we are here, To finally get away from the nightmarish merry go round and on to our true selves that apparently some would like us to never find.

  53. Diane says:

    After a couple of years of marriage my husband finally ‘got’ me. In the early years when I would say “I need to be alone for a while” or “I just need some space” It wasn’t because I was critical of him,
    but he would sulk or mutter something under his breath.

    Nowadays my alone time to think things through, is when I go to bed and chew over something in my mind into the early hours until I am exhausted. I’m much too busy during the day in others peoples space to find time to get in mine..

  54. mereanne says:

    So here I was thinking that I was doing pretty well post break-up with the ex AC. I have been reading BR for the last couple months. My ex A and I broke up in March. I have not seen him for almost 2 months, and have had limited contact. So not officially NC, and I have been doing pretty ok. He wanted to be friends, in fact offered the “hand of friendship” when we broke up. I thought sure, yeah we could maybe do that. And despite reading all the posts about the whole friendship thing after a breakup I still thought it was a good idea!! Not straight away but later on. How wrong I was! I am still grieving for the relationship, yet the ex-AC meets someone two days after we broke up…its like he is in a hurry for me to be okay with it?to hurry up and be friends with him. Obviously he is in a hurry to move on. Last month he tells me he is seeing her and…wait for it…wants me to meet her? WTF?! I didnt reply. Then he starts calling my cell, I dont answer. He sneakily calls my work and asks are we ok?he only calls to make himself feel better, to not be the bad guy. I just tell him I need some space. Stupidly I think later that gosh things are going well for me, Im feeling better, Im doing things that I enjoy, Im spending time with friends and family, work is going well, so I drop him an email. BAD IDEA. He wants to meet up. Sure I say, lets try this friends thing. Im feeling stronger now. He suggests lunch Friday, yup ok, Thursday night comes he postpones. Suggests Monday, Monday comes he has to postpone cos work is busy, Wednesday?but then Wednesday morning a phone call to say work is CRAZY busy, how about the weekend?Weekend comes and ………….tumbleweeds blowing along. Same sort of sh$% he would pull when we were together. Suffice to say I ignore him. Icing on the cake this morning. Get an email from him, he would like to catch up. But he can’t this weekend because he is going snowboarding with the new girl. Does he just want to rub my nose in the fact that he is moving on?He just wants me to hurry up and be okay with it? I’m not ready to be friends, I dont think I will be, and in fact I don’t think he deserves my friendship, so NC is official. I can’t waste anymore energy on this guy. Its like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. I was doing so well! Im staying true to my plan of focusing on me and my son. I know now that friendship cannot work even 2 months afer a break-up. And that I really do just need the space to heal properly.

  55. Christie says:

    I have tried to respect my husband’s need for space, but he has had 4 months of near silence, and has his own place he’s moved to…yet he says he needs more time and space.

    At what point is it that one is respecting someone’s need for space while not allowing themselves to be used?

    If love waits, and is loyal, and is loving…how long does one really wait for someone that really needs time?

    I could use some help on this gray area. I have some saying 4 months isn’t that long, and I have others saying, “who needs 4 months to decide if they want to save a marriage?!?!?”


    • Mymble says:

      I think he is being an AC and jerking you around. I would guess there’s an OW in the picture too. I would suggest that you see a Lawyer as soon as possible to find out where you stand and what to do to protect yourself and your children. He may be buying time while he hides/transfers assets. Serve him with divorce papers as soon as possible (you can always stop it later if you want to). I am sorry that you’re going through this. You’re NOBODIES OPTION and he doesn’t get to sit around humming and hawing.

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!